As my readers have noticed, all my books to date are available as a print version. This I accomplished going through Createspace. I'm not the best formatter in the world or the best techie, but was able to eventually get through the hurdles using Createspace templates. The covers were also done by using an open source software program called Scribus. This of course had another learning curve to overcome. This included such things as converting to PDF, determining binder size and using bleeds. And I thought writing was going to just be a bed of roses. Writing seems to be the easy part. You will never hear me ever complaining again about not knowing what to write next or about having writer's block. This is the smallest of my present day issues. My main goal is to keep books coming out for all my readers as is with all author's objectives. Once I was already published on Createspace it was made so convenient to get into Kindle Direct Publishing. The only problem with this (if its even considered a problem at all) is that I was very tempted and bit the bait to join the Select program. This program has many good features to it, but as everyone knows requires exclusivity. It's an easy way out of doing the hard legwork and not expanding distribution or growing a long term career as a successful author (Once again God willing). This program however in combination with other channels for specific projects may prove to be a great alternative to using it exclusively for all my books. I grew concerned with my long term potential and realized I wasn't reaching all my fans when a reader that didn't have access to any of my ebooks contacted me. I know amazon presently has the biggest reach, but missing out on that one reader really got to me. Who knows how many other people are out there in the same boat. I would hate to not be exposed to as many people as possible. Because of this I have decided to expand my reach and break out of exclusivity. It's like a baby being let to walk for the first time. Everything seems great while crawling, until of course the potential of standing on two feet is finally realized.
So what were my options? What's out there for me and other self published or indie authors to expand distribution of ebooks. I can't possibly list them or even remember them all but I will list some major players. Please add to the list as well. Being I'm not the best formatter as previously stated, The easiest way out may be to get over one hurdle and bite a bullet by using an ebook distributor instead of uploading directly to Ibookstore, Kobo, Nook, Google Play, Scribd, Page Foundry and the many others out there. The only problem with using a distributor is giving up a percentage cut of course, which might not be a bad thing for authors pressed for time or computer illiterate. Distributor changes will be slower as well compared to uploading directly I imagine. The main distributors I have come across were Bookbaby, Draft2Digital, Smashwords and also another one I just located called BookTango. My exclusivity will be up before year end so my decision must be made soon. I figured why not use a combination I can live with. Ones that are easy to upload direct to and combine that with distribution services adapted to my computer skills. For me personally, it seems like Draft2Digital is the way to go for my skill sets. I also find their reporting to be optimum. Seems like this is the easiest of them all to convert files into the correct format. This distributor hits Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, Scribd, PageFoundry and Createspace (which I already have so don't need) presently while attempting to add more in the future. Once I'm going to do this though I (We) can't stop there. It will bother me knowing I still haven't hit all possible channels. Smashwords is another biggie that has many more channels already open to people that can pass their formatting process. Reading all the horror stories has made me try to attempt them second. I might spare myself the learning curve and have to pay someone on this one. I will definitely be trying to add them to my arsenal to get into their store and enjoy their many advantages. Not only is it hitting the ebook stores out there, but now libraries are even getting involved in the mix. A couple are out there but Overdrive is the one I can presently recall. Ok so just a little summary of what I have done and what I'm deciding to presently do.
1. CreateSpace (done for print version)
2. Draft2Digital (Apple, Nook, Kobo, Scribd, PageFoundry if I decide not to go direct on certain ones. Having everything reported in one place would be nice though)
3. Smashwords (for their own store and the very generous list of channels they presently have that Draft2Digital doesn't. If I was great with formatting this may have been ahead of the previous option)
4. Bookbaby has upfront costs which I'm trying to avoid. BookTango however seems like an interesting option. Will look into them further. I just discovered them so sorry I don't have better info at the moment.
5. GooglePlay seems like another site to hit if its not in Smashword's channel at all.
I will list some more as I come across them. Please add comments and your experience or ideas as well. That would be greatly appreciated. I have mentioned Createspace as my print option. Another great option for authors to look into would be Lightning Source. They have a connection with Ingram so appears the only hope for indies, self publishers or small presses to get into brick and mortar bookstores. This though seems like another process in itself (purchasing ISBNS, formatting etc.) I will attempt this soon but hope the person I hire to format for SmashWords has experience with them too. So that's it on my agenda so far for gaining exposure and reaching more fans distribution wise.
The part I'm tackling now which should've been done many precious moons ago is social media of course.
1. Website (Check)
2. Blog (I think I can finally check that one off the list now. Looking into Blog Tours.)
3. Book trailer (For the fun of it. Not sure exactly how much exposure that will gain, especially with my great skills. Sarcasm. Will be doing one professionally with a buddy of mine soon with actual video this time)
4. GoodReads (Check. Great to gain exposure with contest giveaways. I'll also add LibraryThing to this list eventually)
5. Reviews (Working on those as I build exposure. Would love for you guys to help me out with those if at all possible.)
6. Interviews (Was just approached to do one. Will post the link once it's published.)
7. Facebook (I'm guilty of not being on there yet.)
8. Twitter (Guilty as charged)
9. Others I need to research include Pinterest, LinkedIn etc
10. To reach more readers I will hopefully get accepted by advertisers with mailing lists. Bookbub, Gorilla, Awesome Gang, Pixel of Ink etc.
11. Mailing List and Newsletters (Building a list. Please join if interested at http://www.Paul-Morabito.com )
12. KDP (Check. For those unaware the Kindle Select program allows you to do countdown deals and 5 free day giveaways every 90 days)
I hope this article helped other authors, self publishers, small presses or aspiring writers. I also wanted to present this so my readers and fans know I will be expanding distribution of ebooks in the future for better access to my work. I'm trying to keep pumping out new material as well so you have more to read and hopefully enjoy. I'm not a guru by any means and would love to hear feedback on how I can improve as well. What did I miss? How can I improve my books? What do any readers like to see more of from me? What readers have I left out? For more information about me or to view my work please visit Paul-Morabito.com