Back to all articles
Self-Publishing Distribution Services

Your Guide to Self-Publishing Distribution Services

Self-Publishing Distribution Services

As the world of self-publishing continues to grow, you may find yourself facing two big options for getting your book out and into the world. Deciding whether or not to self-publish and upload your book on your own or uploading and selling your book through distribution services is challenging. There are plenty of pros to each choice that can make them attractive to authors. In order to help narrow down your decision, we’ve compiled information on five of the major distribution services, how to use them, and what exactly they offer authors.

Self-Publishing On Your Own

Interested in self-publishing completely on your own? If so, you’re looking at completing the process of writing your book and then uploading and managing your eBook sales through retailers. The process of doing this, as well as the amount of royalties you can earn, changes per platform.

Where can I self publish my eBook?

You can self-publish through any of the major retailers: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google, Apple, and Kobo. While managing these sites will certainly require your time and attention, it can also pay off – big time. By self-publishing and managing your own book sales, you’ll have complete control. You can create countdown deals, you can freely make edits, and so on. If this sounds right for what your needs are, self-publishing (and not using a distribution service) may be right for you.

How do you publish and distribute your own book?

For clear, step-by-step instructions on the publishing process for each retailer, take a look at our articles on self-publishing with the major eBook stores:

For a quick overview of these sites, feel free to check out this table that we made to show some of the major differences between the big eBook retailers:

Royalties Author portal? Online app? Can anyone use this platform?
Amazon 35% or 70% Yes Yes 45% or 70%
Google Play 52% Yes Yes Yes
Barnes & Noble 40% or 65% Yes Yes Yes
Apple 70% Yes Yes Yes
Kobo 45% or 70% Yes Yes No, new users are invited

Using Distribution Services for Self-Publishing

If you’re interested in receiving a little more help and guidance in the self-publishing process, we recommend checking out distribution services. This article will focus primarily on BookBaby, Publishdrive, Draft2Digital, Smashwords, and IngramSpark – five popular distribution and aggregator companies that are used by self-publishers. Not only will we go over all the minute details of each of these distributing services, but we’ll lay out the pros and cons for you so you can make a clear decision on which one will serve you best.

If you’re interested in learning about every part of eBook distribution, we recommend reading our entire post. However, if you want to check out a side-by-side comparison of the major distribution services, skip ahead in our post.

Before we break down each distribution service by name, let’s go over some major questions that tend to pop up from this topic:

Why should I use a distribution service?

If you feel overwhelmed by the self-publishing process, or are simply disinterested in the process of managing retailers, we recommend using a distributor or aggregator to get your book uploaded to popular retail services. Distribution companies make self-publishing easy because they’re capable of handling all steps of the process – from converting your text to the proper formats (such as ePub), or setting up Kindle Countdown Deals, they’ve got your back. Some services can even help you out with creating a new book cover or finding a copyeditor. The 24/7 assistance that distribution services offer can be hugely reassuring for authors and create a sense of ease in a pretty hectic process!

What is the best self-publishing service?

It’s a no-brainer that finding the best distribution service for you is important. If you’re spending money getting your book out and into the retail world, you want to make sure it’s done right! While the five major companies this article is focused on – those companies being BookBaby, Publishdrive, Draft2Digital, Smashwords, and IngramSpark – are all reputable, they each have their own highlights. Are you interested in your book being sold through a brick-and-mortar store? Then an aggregator may be the best choice. Are you looking to spend the least amount of money on distribution? Then there will be some services you should prioritize over more costly options. Overall, when narrowing down your distribution options, consider the following:

1. Finances

What fees does the service charge? What amount of royalties do they take from you? Will they charge you for making changes to your text? What are the hidden costs? Decide whether or not you’re interested in paying a flat fee for services, or if you prefer to pay commission through your royalties.

2. Ease of use 

Is it hard to use the website and user portal, or is it straightforward? Are the fees and costs easily spelled out for you? How quickly will your text be available at retail stores? Do you receive payment quickly?

3. Customer service

Can you easily get in contact with someone if you need assistance? Is there a high level of support offered to you? Is support 24/7 or during work hours?

We recommend keeping these three points in mind as you read through our article.

If you’d like to see a straightforward table of what each service has to offer, take a look here.

How do I get my book distributed?

To get started, you’ll need to decide which distributor or aggregator is right for you. Once you’ve decided who you want to pick for your distributing purposes, you’ll go to the website of that service. Sign up is easy, with every single website mentioned in this article clearly showing users how to get started. Some websites will give you immediate quotes on what type of price point you’ll be looking at for their services, while others will require more in-depth details on your book to estimate fees.

Check out these screenshots of our two example sites, IngramSpark and Publishdrive, and their easy-to-use signup pages:

IngramSpark’s signup and home page.

 

Publishdrive’s signup and home page.

Easy enough, right? The hardest part of this process might just be having to figure out which service you want to go with. But take a deep breath and hang on – we’ve got the full breakdown on each service to help you!

How much does it cost to self-publish a book?

If you’re using a distribution service for the purpose of self-publishing, it won’t be free. You’ll definitely have to pay for the perks that these services provide, although individual costs per company vary. Personally, we think that a paid service can be worth the cost simply for the amount of time you’ll save not having to upload manuscripts and manage retail accounts on your own. Think about it this way; if you were asking someone to put in countless hours of work to get your book sold on numerous platforms, don’t you think they should be paid for it? That’s what the distribution services are doing! They also offer services and extras that go way beyond basic distribution. Some sites will provide authors and readers with review copies (a helpful way to gain reviews before your book goes live), others can put out hard copies of your book to libraries or universities, and much more. The perks of using a distribution service make their cost worth it.

eBook Distribution, Aggregators, and Direct eBook Distribution

On the road to eBook distribution, you may come across the term “aggregator”. So what is an eBook aggregator? What’s the difference between self-distribution and direct distribution? Here are definitions of what these words mean and how they might affect the publication of your book:

eBook Distribution:

This is the process of making an eBook available for sale through a retailer.

Self Distribution:

This is when you, the author, make an eBook available for sale through an online retailer.

Aggregators:

This is when a company makes your eBook available for sale through multiple retailers, such as Amazon, Google Play, and so on. Aggregators will either charge a fee or keep some of your royalties as payment for this service. Some aggregators are able to distribute your book to brick-and-mortar stores – not just online retailers. Aggregators are also known as distributors.

Direct eBook Distribution:

This is when someone submits an eBook directly to an online store (such as Amazon, Apple, and so on).

In the world of self-publishing, you also have retailers, something we’ve mentioned earlier in this article. This simply refers to the websites or stores that will sell your book, such as Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Google Play.

Deciding whether or not to self distribute or use an aggregator/distribution service is entirely up to you. As we previously mentioned, services such as aggregators can charge you fees. This may be something that is unnecessary or undoable for an author. Below, let’s look at the five main distribution services that we’ve mentioned to see what stands out from each site.

An Overview of The Top Five Distribution Services

Interested in seeing an overview of the top five distribution services? Check out our chart below, where we list the major companies, their fees / royalty rates, and more!

Conversion fees? Do they take royalties? Do they take fees? How many retailers do they reach? How quickly do they get your book uploaded? Do they offer cover design services?
BookBaby Yes Both. They take either 15% or 0% of net sales, depending on what service you use, plus a fee 60+ online stores 5-10 days Yes
Publishdrive Yes / No. They offer no conversion fees only if your book goes from .docx to ePub Either. You choose whether you pay fees or they take a portion of sales 21 online stores Anywhere from several hours to two weeks No
Draft2Digital No Royalties. They take 15% of net sales 25 online stores Anywhere from two hours to two weeks No
Smashwords No Royalties. They take 15% of net sales 20 stores and growing Anywhere from a few hours to one week No
IngramSpark No Fee. You pay upfront 20 stores and growing This is decided during the order submission process No

Interested in a more in-depth look at each distributor or aggregator? Keep reading below for our breakdown of BookBaby, Publishdrive, Draft2Digital, Smashwords, and IngramSpark, along with our answers to popular questions that authors ask about distribution!

How to use BookBaby

BookBaby’s website provides an easy overview of the many services that they offer authors, such as book printing, eBooks, editing, book design, selling your book, and more. BookBaby even offers a “complete self-publishing package” to authors for $1,699 – this package takes your book from “printing to promotion, design to distribution”. They have other, more budget-friendly eBook packages as well. Know that if you choose BookBaby as an eBook distributor, they’ll really be there for every step of the process!

Getting started

To begin distributing with BookBaby, click on the “Sell Your Book” tab at the top of their website. Next, select “eBook Distribution” to upload your manuscript. You’ll be able to receive a quote on the price estimate for your project.

Access BookBaby’s website and this is what you’ll find.

When we walked through these steps, we found that uploading and converting an eBook, including the use of distribution services, had a base price of $249. This was without asking for additional text formatting, supplying our own eBook cover, and providing our own ISBN. Adding any of these will alter your BookBaby quote – and it can change it by hundreds of dollars. Adding on an ISBN number will cost you $39. Requiring text formatting costs $349. Once you move through the uploading process, the website provides you with the option of adding on marketing consultation services through BookBaby. Additional services, like a social media promotion, can cost $399. While this process may feel overwhelming, one of the highlights of BookBaby is that it is truly an in-depth service. Upon completing the registration for your title, you’ll finish signing up and will have access to your Publishing Project Center.

The Publishing Project Center gives you a clear overview of what your order entails. It shows the services you’re paying for, your book information, and it also offers distribution information. You should note that the distribution information is helpful to authors! This breaks down BookBaby’s distribution partners, payment info, and more.

Once you’ve completed payment for your order in the Publishing Project Center, expect to see your book being distributed to retailers in five to ten days.

Remember, BookBaby offers three publishing packages to authors: free, standard, and premium. With the free or standard (this costs $99) package, authors keep 85% of sales. BookBaby will take 15% of your royalties. However, if you pay the $249 for a premium publishing package, you keep 100% of net sales. A premium package offers a lot of benefits like free customer service phone and email support, priority processing, and more. So remember, not only will you pay BookBaby a fee for uploading and distributing your book, but there are also paid options that will affect the royalties you receive for sales.

Retailer options

BookBaby provides distribution services to 170 countries and over 60 online stores, including Amazon, Google Play, Apple Books, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Playster, BookShop (exclusive to BookBaby) and more.

Payments

As we mentioned in the table above, BookBaby takes 15% in royalties only if you’ve chosen a free or standard eBook package, or if your sales have been made through BookShop (this is a “one-stop shop” retailer option exclusive to BookBaby authors. The competition is lower here than a site like Amazon because there are fewer authors).

Have you made a sale? Great! Something unique about BookBaby payments is that you get to decide your pay point. The price minimum for this is $10, so once you’ve made $10 in sales BookBaby will automatically issue your payment the following Monday from your sale.

Within the United States, BookBaby offers payment by check, through Paypal, or through ACH options. If you’re an international author, you can be paid through Paypal, Payoneer, or physical check. Note that there is a $1.50 processing fee for Paypal or a physical check. You can select your preferred payment option in the “accounting” section of your dashboard.

The fine print

1. BookBaby offers both a basic and deluxe cover design package for your eBook. The basic package is currently priced at $249, while the deluxe package will cost your $349. Check out the image of BookBaby-designed covers below:

2. Get familiar with the free, standard, and premium packages available to authors on BookBaby. While the premium package has a higher upfront cost, you get to keep all of your royalties and have innumerable unique amenities offered to you.

3. BookBaby is one of the few companies that cover every need in the self-publishing process. This can be a huge draw, despite some of their higher costs.

4. They offer users a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee.

5. If you decide to use BookBaby, make sure you’re aware of their editing services. They offer their users special rates on book editing!

How to use Publishdrive

Publishdrive, like many other eBook distribution webpages, has a clean, easy to use site that easily breaks down the distributing process to authors. While they may not offer the number of services that someone like BookBaby does, they’re a proven, successful tool for getting your book out to more readers.

Getting started

Once you’ve accessed the Publishdrive website, get started by signing up for an account. After you’ve filled out your name, email address, and password, Publishdrive will take you through five steps: “Welcome”, “Your goal”, “Publisher info”, “Location & currency”, and “Pricing”. Be aware that unlike sites like BookBaby, Publishdrive is not a one-stop shop. You’ll have to come to the website with your book cover and text prepared. If you don’t have an ISBN number, don’t worry about it – you don’t need one to upload your book. However, if you are interested in getting an ISBN, the Publishdrive can create a free, unique number for you.

Depending on what your goal is for self-publication (whether you’re publishing your own book, publishing other authors’ eBooks, or you want to refer other publishers), Publishdrive can create a distribution plan that works for you. Along the way in this process, you’ll become familiar with Publishdrive’s pricing options. As we mentioned in our earlier table, you can select whether or not you want Publishdrive to deduct 10% of your royalties or pay $100 monthly for a subscription service and no royalty share. Publishdrive advises authors to choose the royalty share option if they “expect to sell under $1,000 a month”. On the other hand, they suggest that anyone expecting “to sell over $1,000 a month” choose the subscription option.

Once you’ve created an account, you’ll have access to your dashboard. Publishdrive’s author dashboard shows a clear overview of the books that you currently have for sale, what your earnings are, as well as live sales statistics from iTunes, Google Play, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Overdrive, and Amazon.

Your Publishdrive dashboard.

While most of Publishdrive’s site is pretty similar to other distribution service’s author dashboards, they’ve recently rolled out a new feature: Marketing. You can pay for extra advertising on Amazon, or choose free advertising with a review copy, social media posts, and more. The free options are a good way for authors to dip their toes into book advertising without having to pay astronomical fees.

Retailer options

Currently, Publishdrive offers distribution to “25 channels representing 400+ stores”. Many of these are international retailers. The main retailers that they distribute to include Amazon, Apple Books, Google Play, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Scribd, and Overdrive.

Payments

Once you’ve made your first sale, Publishdrive will pay you at the end of the following month. For example, according to their website, “sales made during May will be reported around [the] 25th of June and paid until the end of July.” Their company’s payment guarantee makes certain that you will be paid according to your sales report, around 60 days after original sales.

After your first sale, you’ll need to make sure that your payment details are filled out in your author dashboard. You have until the 15th of the following month to fill out billing, payment, and tax details to ensure payment. The minimum payment threshold is $5, and you can get paid through a wire or bank transfer, check, Paypal account, or intercash. A note for international authors – all Paypal and check payments are done in USD.

The fine print

When narrowing down your eBook distribution options, remember to keep the following points in mind about Publishdrive:

1. They offer two pricing options: royalty share and monthly subscription (for $100). The cool thing about these options? You can switch between them anytime as your sales go up or down.

2. Publishdrive has a 24/7 support team ready to assist you at any stage of the process.

3. Have any changes that need to be made to your book? You can easily do this through your author dashboard on Publishdrive’s website. You’ll never need to withdraw your book or upload a new version to make changes.

4. End up enrolling in the monthly subscription service? You’ll get a $50 Amazon advertising credit with your purchase.

5. Through a special deal with DangDang (a Chinese eCommerce company), you can get your book sent out to an even wider audience of international readers.

6. Their author referral program enables you to earn $25 in Amazon advertising credit once you’ve reached $25 in gross sales.

How to use Draft2Digital

While researching Draft2Digital, we found that one of the most common praises of the site is the ease of their service. On Inkwelleditorial.com, Yuwanda said that, “That’s the first thing that stood out to me. I thought publishing with Amazon was easy. Draft2Digital makes it super easy!” The website has a clear, easy-to-navigate webpage that breaks down their offerings in easy categories: You can format, publish, and distribute with Draft2Digital.

Getting started

You can get started with Draft2Digital by signing up for their service – this is where you’ll agree to the site’s terms of service (this explains with they’ll do for you, as well as what you, the author, are responsible for). Once you’ve agreed to the terms of service and signed up, you’ll be taken to your author portal. This is an easy way for you to view “My Reports” (this shows how many books you’ve sold, your royalties accrued, tax statements, and so on), “My Account” (basic account settings, payment options, notification preferences, and more), and “Support”. You can easily access contact information for Draft2Digital as well as a Knowledge Base here.

Retailer options

Draft2Digital can distribute your book to the following retailers: Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, Kobo, Tolino, OverDrive, Bibliotheca, Scribd, 24Symbols, Playster, and Baker & Taylor.

Payments

As for pricing, the website explains that there are no fees for distributing or formatting your book. They go on to say that they keep about 10% of the retail price of your book. However, when we looked into the fine print of the costs of Draft2Digital, we saw that they actually end up taking 15% of the net royalties of your book. Remember that this is 15% of royalties on top of the royalties taken by other sites.

For example, Thomas distributes his $0.99 eBook through Draft2Digital and makes one sale on Barnes and Noble. Since we know that Barnes and Noble takes a 40% royalty rate for books priced at $0.99, and Draft2Digital takes 15% royalties, Thomas can expect to earn $0.34 per book sold on Barnes and Noble and distributed through Draft2Digital.

Alternatively, Lucy distributes her $2.99 eBook through Draft2Digital and makes one sale on Apple Books. Since we know that Apple Books takes a flat 30% royalty rate, and Draft2Digital takes 15% royalties, Lucy can expect to earn $1.77 per book sold on Apple Books and distributed through Draft2Digital.

Once you’ve made sales on your books, Draft2Digital will pay you by check or through a linked bank account, a Paypal account, or a Payoneer account, each month. However, note that there are minimums for payment options. Being paid through Paypal has a $10 minimum and check payments have a $25 minimum.

The fine print

What do I really need to know about distributing through Draft2Digital? Here are our findings on some of the more minute details that you might miss upon first read-through of the site!

1. You can list your book for free on any site but Amazon. You’ll be charged $0.99 when you submit a book to Amazon. Additionally, Draft2Digital can only submit books that meet minimum pricing per file size: their website says their regulations include, “$0.99 up to 3MB, $1.99 for 3MB to 10MB, and $2.99 for 10MB or greater.”

2. Draft2Digital makes it easy to publish audiobooks through their partner, Findaway Voices. Curious about learning more about the world of audiobook publishing? Be sure to check out our article, “How to Publish an Audiobook: Your Guide to Audiobook Production and Distribution”.

3. The easiest file format to upload in is a Word document. Draft2Digital says that “anything Word can read, we can read.”

4. You do not have to distribute your book to every one of Draft2Digital’s partner stores. You get to pick and choose who you distribute to.

5. Need to make changes to your book? Simply do so through the “My Books” tab on the Draft2Digital website.

6. Every time you publish a new eBook through Draft2Digital, they “automate back matter”. This means that Draft2Digital automatically adds your new book to the “Also by this author” section of your other books’ backmatter. This saves you time and hassle.

7. They offer the “Books2Read Universal Book Link”, or B2R UBL, tool. This creates one page that houses all of your book links. Plug in your Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc., links and hit go – boom. You’ve now got one link that gives readers access to every retailer that sells your book.

How to use Smashwords

What’s so appealing about using Smashwords? For starters, its title holds a lot of weight in the world of eBook publishing. Ask anyone about eBook distributors and one of the names they’re sure to mention is Smashwords. According to their website, they’re the “World’s largest ebook distributor for self-published authors and small independent presses”. Using their Premium Catalog, your book has the opportunity to be sold to a growing list of over 20 retailers. Wondering how to get approved for Smashwords’ Premium Catalog? Getting accepted is free and fast if your book meets listing requirements (such as having professional formatting, proper navigation, and an acceptable cover image). You can apply to have your book sold in the Premium Catalog during the upload process. Make sure to include as much information as possible, such as an ISBN, relevant series information (if it’s part of a series), and an accepted ePub file.

Getting started

Ready to sign up to distribute your eBook through Smashwords? Either create an account or log in to the Smashwords website. After either filling in necessary login info or making an account, you’ll be taken to the main Smashwords page:

From here, you can browse books that are available for sale, edit your account, or access your dashboard. Your dashboard contains all relevant information pertaining to your eBook distribution. This is where you can view sales and payment reports, manage your ISBNs, and more.

The Smashwords author dashboard.

The actual uploading process on Smashwords is pretty simple and can be accessed under the “Publish” button on your dashboard. By supplying your relevant information, you can quickly and easily get your book’s info sent to Smashwords for approval. Remember, this is the point where you’ll need to have everything prepared for the Premium Catalog. Entrance to the Premium Catalog offers even more retail options to self-publishers. Once you hit the “Publish Immediately” button, your book will be sent to Smashwords where it will (presumably) be approved and then uploaded to Smashwords’ partnered retailers. Be prepared for a quick turn around! As we mentioned in our table, your book can be listed on retail sites in as little as two hours. Sometimes this process can take up to one week, though.

Retailer options

If your book has been approved for Premium distribution, your eBooks will be available for sale on over 20 retail sites like Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, Baker & Taylor, Library Direct, OverDrive, Scrib, Odilo, and more. The exposure from so many sites has the potential to boost your title’s exposure… which equals more potential sales! As Smashwords states on their website, they’re constantly building their partnered retailers’ list which means that the retail sites they reach can change.

Payments

After you sell your first book, Smashwords will pay you quarterly; normally within 30 days of the sale that you’ve made. Your total earnings must be more than $75 USD if you’re being paid by paper check. However, if being paid by electronic payment such as Paypal, your total earnings must be at least $10. Every international author and publisher is paid through Paypal.

You can keep track of accrued and expected earnings under the website’s “Dashboard” section.

As we mentioned in our distribution overview table, remember that Smashwords takes 15% of your royalties as their payment.

For example, Matt distributes his $3.99 eBook through Smashwords and makes one sale on Kobo. Since we know that Kobo takes 30% of royalties, and Smashwords takes 15% of royalties, Thomas can expect to earn $2.37 per book sold on Kobo and distributed through Smashwords.

The fine print

There’s no question that Smashwords is a distribution giant in the world of self-publishing. With their very own bookstore, they have a great understanding of what it’s like to self-publish. Before you move forward with using Smashwords, take a minute to get familiar with a few tips and tricks we’ve come across:

1. While Smashwords does distribute to Amazon, this is only an option to authors who have reached at least $2,000 in sales.

2. Once you’re signed up, you can create an author profile page where you insert your own interview, website / social media links, and relevant information on your book. This is similar to the Amazon author page.

3. You can run flash sales of your book through the “Special Deals” feature on their website.

4. Extraneous tools like widgets and alerts can further aid in the promotion of your book.

5. Don’t have an ISBN? No problem! Smashwords will assign one to your for free, just like they offer free eBook conversion, sales reports, and anytime updates to your book.

6. We recommend you enroll your book in the Premium Catalog. According to the Smashwords website, 80% of all sales come from retail partners and the Premium Catalog enables you to make the most of those sales.

How to use IngramSpark

IngramSpark is the largest distribution company in the world. Not only does IngramSpark distribute eBooks to online retailers, but it also puts your book in real brick-and-mortar stores (or libraries, universities, schools, and niche retailers – according to their website). So how many stores does IngramSpark reach? 39,000 to be exact. With so many stores at your disposal, IngramSpark puts you in the position to have your book spread all around the world to very different types of readers. They even have the Global Connect Program, an easy way to increase international sales and get your book out to Australia, Europe, and Asia. This is a great option for someone interested in a wide reach for their book market. Interested in learning more? Keep reading below to get the fine print details on using IngramSpark!

Getting started

Once you’ve accessed IngramSpark’s website, start out by creating an account. You can easily do this under the “How It Works” tab on the dashboard. After you sign up or log in to your account, you’ll need to agree to their website policy and start plugging in your necessary user information. You’ll be able to handle everything from your preferred payment method to your contact info.

Getting started with Ingramspark.

After you’ve entered all of the requested information, IngramSpark’s website is your proverbial oyster! Learn more about creating print and eBook formats under “Plan Your Book”, allow IngramSpark to walk you through the distribution process with “How It Works”, discover pricing options under “Pricing”, and access multiple resources, a site blog, and even enroll in IngramSpark’s “academy” to learn more about the self-publishing process.

Something important to note is that IngramSpark does not take royalties as payment. Instead, they have fees depending on what exactly you need from the website. Want to distribute an eBook? That’ll cost $25. What about a print book? That’s $49. Their best value fee is for both eBooks and print books and costs just $49. This included distribution, customer service, advertising opportunities, and more. Be sure to check out their feature page to see what each fee includes. Unfortunately, IngramSpark does not guarantee a window of time for when your titles will become available on retailers’ sites or in stores. Instead, you’ll be made aware of this once your eBook is being processed. The typical turnaround time for file review is 3-5 days, after which you receive an eProof of your eBook. You’ll need to approve this to enable distribution.

Retailer options

As we mentioned, distributing with IngramSpark gives your book the opportunity to appear in 39,000 stores. For an overview on the big names, IngramSpark currently lists the following major online retailers as distribution partners: “Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters/Indigo (Canada), and other well-known book retailers and wholesalers across North America.”

Payments

After you’ve sold books through IngramSpark, you will receive a monthly Sales Report via the email address that you have on file. These reports will include your book title, ISBN, the number of books that were shipped, the wholesale price of the books that were sold, the cost of printing, and the compensation earned per title. If you didn’t receive any sales, you will not be sent a Sales Report email.

Once you’ve made a sale, you’ll be paid 90 days from the end of the month in which your book sales are reported. A note for authors in Australia, Europe, or Canada – the minimum price threshold is $25.00 for payments. Your payment will arrive via direct deposit. If you’re a US-based author, you also have the opportunity to be paid via Paypal.

The fine print

1. IngramSpark offers a trifecta for customer service: you can utilize live online chat, email support, and / or phone support.

2. During the uploading process, you’ll need to either provide your own ISBN or buy one through IngramSpark for $85.

3. Revisions are subject to a $25 revision fee. You can upload as many revisions as you need at absolutely no cost until you approve the eProof that you’re sent. Once you approve the eProof, you will be charged $25 for each revision that was submitted.

4. Through partnership programs, IngramSpark can put you in touch with professionals in the fields of book cover design, editing, crowdfunding, and more.

5. Their online academy offers self-publishers a wealth of knowledge. Courses are absolutely free and relate to subjects such as how to build an author platform, how to increase sales, and marketing for beginners.

So there you have it, folks! An overview and an in-depth look at the top five distribution services for self-publishing. Below, we answer a few popular questions related to the topic. Have any other questions for us? Feel free to ask us in our comments, or let us know if any of these services have worked well for you!

Distribution and Self-Publication FAQ’s

How do I get started on self-publishing and what sites do I use?

Are you new to the world of self-publishing? Curious about where to start? Before you go anywhere, we recommend reading this article, followed by our articles on how to self publish on Amazon, Google Play, Nook, and Apple Books. Form a solid understanding of the retailers that are available to you, and then see if you’d like to manage those retailers on your own or pay someone (a distribution service) to do that.

Is it worth self-publishing my book internationally?

In short, yes. Think about it this way – the more stores, or retailers, that your book appears in, the more sales you’re likely to make! The great thing about BookBaby, Publishdrive, Draft2Digital, Smashwords, and IngramSpark is that they all offer international distribution options to self-publishers.

Should you ever pay to publish a book?

We think so! As we said earlier in our article, some self-publishers find paying for distribution services to be much simpler than having to manage retail platforms on their own. If you’re looking for peace of mind, we recommend paying distribution services to get it!

What is a reliable self-publishing company?

All five of the services mentioned in this article are highly regarded. They are well known in the self-publishing industry and are backed by many satisfied authors.

Get more articles like these!

We send out monthly emails full of tips, resources, and industry data!
3 comments on “Your Guide to Self-Publishing Distribution Services
  1. Hi Kelsey,

    As a monthly user of Written Word Media to promote my novels I just have a few comments. Good suggestions. I have found after twenty years and forty novels as well some nonfiction books in print in ALL formats that the “Hook” line is the best line. For book one, I open with a simple but grabbing paragraph that introduces my potential readers not only to the main character, who is both the protagonist, but also the antagonist, this single paragraph lets readers know right away, what the first novel is about, who the main character is and what the series is going to deal with novel after novel. I use this across ALL eBook platforms and it has been very successful.

    “If someone you loved was brutally murdered, would a lifetime prison or even death penalty sentence (where the savage killer could remain for years unpunished) be enough punishment for the killer? The Iron Eagle doesn’t think so either. Meet the surprising vigilante handing out justice that truly fits the crime in this Los Angeles-based 30-novel series. For the killers who cross the Eagle’s path, there is no mercy. See justice delivered with exacting precision and follow along as even law enforcement’s top cops become fans of this unknown hero. Justice has, indeed, evolved, thanks to the Iron Eagle.”

    This tag line sets the stage for the reader from the get go. However, I didn’t stop there. The series is for adults ONLY 18 , so inserted right after that is a detailed content warning for ALL potential readers of my series.

    “”***Content Warning: While the Iron Eagle Series can be read out of order as a stand-alone book the reader should be advised that backgrounds and details of the characters may be confusing if readers choose to do so. The Iron Eagle Crime novel series contains mature subject matter, graphic violence, sexual content, language, torture and other scenes that may be disturbing to sensitive readers. This series is not intended for anyone under the age of eighteen, reader discretion is advised.***”

    This lets readers know upfront before they ever make a purchase what they are getting into in the series from book one on. I have found this to be very important and I did a great deal of research on this before posting it. One very common complaint from readers is they felt a title was misrepresented and they found the content objectionable. By doing this I let my reader know right up front before they move on to the longer description of the book where it is going and what to expect. This has cut down tremendously on one star reviews that have nothing to do with the quality of the writing but the content of the title. Now informed, the reader can go on to read the back and flap matter after the, “Hook” Line and the “Content Warning” to read the back and flap matter prepared for the series content. This allows readers to NOT down load the book if they find this type of subject matter objectionable.

    The other very important thing I have learned and recommend to ALL series novelists is make the first book in the series, “FREE.” It might sound crazy, but for a series that is going to span more than three titles it is imperative. Once the reader is hooked, informed and downloads the novel from their preferred vendor or platform. Conversion to paid sales increases dramatically. Then using the great tools of WWM as part of my long term strategy along with ads move titles extremely well. I release a novel in my series every quarter, or four novels per year and currently have the first thirty-five novels written and in print the series will release through 2023. Just some food for thought for you and your readers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *