I'm regularly asked how I distribute my self-published books, and so I thought I would write down the process that I follow for each new book or update.

First of course the book needs to be written, edited, rewritten, edited, and finally ready for publication. Those steps I'll save for another few blog entries.

When it came time to self-publish, I looked at the various options and decided I would "go wide" as they say, rather than restrict my sales on one specific channel, like Amazon's Select program, where they are the only one who can distribute your book for three months. Though it probably hurts sales initially - since Amazon promotes books in this program over books that are not - I decided I did not want to be exclusive in one format and one store.

The second decision was how to get a paperback copy of the book, since not everyone wants to read an eBook.  I ended up going to CreateSpace, a Print On Demand service, that still allows me to make my book available to bookstores through Ingram, the largest distributor of wholesale books in the world.

Let's get back to the publishing process.

I write using an application called Storyist, on my Mac and my iPad. Storyist has some great built in tools for writers to help me stay organized, and it handles my 270,000 word novel without any issues.

When the work is finished, I export this is RTF and ePUB formats. Why two different formats?  Because I need to create several final formats for publishing. Read on.

The ePUB format gets pulled into another application called Sigil, that allows me to fine tune the formatting in ways that Storyist does not.  This is mostly around the front and back matter pages with links to my website and my books, and with Sigil I can apply my own CSS formatting to special sections of the book like embedded letters.  I've not gone overboard with formatting as I believe that most people want their eBook to be clean so they can change the font and font size without any ill effects.

The ePUB version splits off into three different ePUBS in Sigil.

  1. Generic - no platform specific links or information
  2. Kindle - this is going to become a MOBI for Amazon and has Amazon specific links to the next book
  3. Smashwords - though this sounds silly, there is a specific version for Smashwords following some of their unique rules
  4. Each of these ePUBs gets a special PREVIEW ePUB created that is 10% of the story, so potential readers can get a feeling for the story before buying the book. These PREVIEWS get their own cover image as well as new front and back matter.

The Kindle version of the ePUBs gets saved as MOBI files.

Now let's go back to the RTF version we saved from Storyist.

I pull this into OpenOffice, into a template for CreateSpace formatting that was built using their BASIC template, in the 6x9 page size format.  Because I do a little more formatting in the print version, I then walk through the entire book, page by page, and adjust the formatting.  The print version has page numbers, uses a glyph between sections in a chapter, has drop caps in the first paragraph of each chapter, special formatting for embedded letters, etc.

After all of the editing on the print version, it gets exported as PDF for CreateSpace.

Now I add a cover image and save another PDF version for the PDF version of the eBook.  Replace this cover image with a PREVIEW cover, strip out all but 10% of the book and create a PREVIEW version of the PDF as well.

Once the book blurb has been written, and all the different covers are created (different sizes and specs are required for many of these formats), it's time to upload the content to the various websites.

Amazon gets the MOBI format for their Kindle store.

  • Amazon.com
  • Amazon.ca
  • Amazon.co.uk
  • Amazon.fr
  • Amazon.de

Apple gets the generic ePUB version for the iTunes store.

GooglePlay gets the generic ePUB version.

Draft2Digital gets the generic ePUB version and they in turn distribute that for me for a share of the royalties to:

  • Barnes & Noble
  • Inktera (used to be Page Foundry)
  • Scribd
  • Kobo
  • Tolino

SmashWords gets the generic ePUB version, and they in turn distribute that for me for a share of the royalties to:

  • SmashWords online store
  • Baker & Taylor Blio
  • Txtr
  • Library Direct
  • Baker-Taylor Axis 360
  • OverDrive
  • Oyster
  • Flipkart

CreateSpace gets their specially formatted PDF, which they turn into a Print On Demand paperback. They in turn distribute this or make it available to:

  • CreateSpace online retail store
  • Amazon (.com, .ca and Europe where it links to my eBook)
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Ingram Book Company
  • Baker & Taylor
  • CreateSpace Direct (wholesale eStore)
  • Lightning Source

XinXii is used for distribution throughout Europe, and they get their own ePUB file. They in turn distribute to:

  • XinXii Online Store
  • Casa del Libro
  • o2
  • T-Mobile
  • Vodafone
  • Weltbild
  • Thalia
  • Hugend
  • e-Sentral

Triadine Saga Website - That would be here. As you might imagine, we have all of the eBook formats online, and will soon be taking print book orders directly as well

All of these options mean that my books are available for purchase for any bookstore, anywhere in the world and could be on the shelf of YOUR favorite bookstore, if they knew about it and decided to order it. Here is the rub.  They don't know, no one is asking them for it, and they are not likely to order it.

If you want your local library to carry my books in OverDrive or Axis 360 so you can borrow them, ask them!  They can order my books through their catalog.

If you want to see my books on the shelves of your local Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Popular, Waterstone's, MPH, etc, ask them!  They can order my books at normal wholesale prices and make them available to you and your friends in high quality print format.


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