x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Self-publishing options: From Kindle Direct Publishing to Blurb.com

Kindle Direct Publishing is Amazon’s self-publishing tool for its Kindle e-reader (but which also works with Kindle apps on other platforms).

Kindle Direct Publishing
• What is it?
Amazon’s self-publishing tool for its Kindle e-reader (but which also works with Kindle apps on other platforms) beloved of John Locke. Simply prepare your manuscript, upload it, set a price point and pray you stand out among the many millions of hopefuls.
• How easy is it to use?
Self-published author Antony Last says it is a doddle – 90 minutes after clicking on the site he had uploaded his book... 24 hours later he was open for business.
• What does it cost?
It’s free to use, which is clearly a major bonus.
• How much do they keep?
Thirty per cent from each sale, if the book retails above $2.99.
• What is the audience reach?
As Amazon is one of the biggest online retailers, huge.


Blurb.com
• What is it?
Blurb.com is strong on self-published photobooks, a bonus to all those with dreams of turning their photography into objects of coffee-table envy.
• How easy is it to use?
Really simple. So simple, in fact, we made one ourselves in about 10 minutes.
• What does it cost?
This is the catch. It’s free, but you essentially pay what you would if you were making one for yourself – around $20 for a reasonably sized hardcover book – and then set a price above that to sell it to the marketplace. You then pocket the difference every time one is sold.
• How much do they keep?
The price of manufacture, plus a small monthly processing fee
• What is the audience reach?
You can only sell via the Blurb Bookstore and there are shipping fees to pay from the US. So, limited.

iUniverse.com
• What is it?
How self-publishing used to work before Kindles and iPads became ubiquitous. You write a book, purchase a package from iUniverse, and they publish it for you.
• How easy is it to use?
Because you’re paying anything from $599 to $4,199 to get your book on shelves, it’s a much more intensive process. You can ask them for one-on-one author support, editorial evaluation, and sign up for the author learning centre. This is a world away from uploading a book on spec and seeing what happens.
• What does it cost?
As we said, depending on your needs, anything from $599 to $4,199.
• How much do they keep? The fees you pay.
• What is the audience reach? One of the things you’re paying for is insertion into Amazon, Barnes And Noble, and so on. Potentially limitless, but you pay for it.

Lulu.com
• What is it?
Although they also help authors publish e-books via Apple’s iBookstore, Lulu is a popular site for authors also wanting the thrill of a physical book.
• How easy is it to use?
It’s simple to upload content to their management system if you’re happy to use Microsoft Word. The process of getting it to market is slightly more complicated, though, particularly if you want to print hard copies. Last had a bad experience of this: the distribution process took 15 weeks.
• What does it cost? It’s free to create an account. But if you want to get your book seen outside of the world of lulu.com and on to Amazon, you’ll need to purchase their GlobalReach Package at $75.
• How much do they keep? It depends. With an e-book sold via the iBookstore, Apple and Lulu share 44 per cent of the revenue. With a hard-copy, there are manufacturing costs to consider, as well as Amazon’s retail markup and a small additional fee from Lulu. So for a £5 book, the author will receive just over 10 per cent.
• What is the audience reach? The iBookstore is a big market, but it’s supported only in the US, UK, Canada, France and Germany. With the best will in the world, lulu.com is not the first port of call for book buyers, so the GlobalReach package is key.