Should I self-publish my book with Smashwords, IngramSpark, or Draft2Digtial or sell directly?

As a self-published author or author-publisher you have A LOT of options as to how you can get your book out to readers. Most readers and self-published authors are aware of how to get their book on to Amazon via KDP. But there are actually multiple ways to get your book onto and to get your book on to OTHER online retailers or even into brick and mortar locations.

I talk about this as part of the decisions you’ll need to make in Self-Publishing for the First-Time Author as well, but I want to make sure you are clear on all the options that you have BEFORE you upload your book anywhere. Knowing your options and having a plan makes the process easier. (If you’ve already uploaded your book somewhere and now want to try one of these other platforms that is fine, but you may have a little bit of extra work ahead of you.)

Alright, you can list your book directly with Amazon (KDP), Google Play, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo. That means you can sell your eBook and print book (mostly KDP and B&N) on those platforms and your book will show up for sale there. It is a one-to-one ratio. If you want to update the book description, you’ll have to log in to all 5 and make the update.

That’s a lot of work… And that is why aggregators can help. Now, with each platform you list your book with they will take a cut of the royalty. When you go through an aggregator you will have the retailer cut on top of the aggregator cut coming out of your royalty, so keep that in mind. The top aggregators are IngramSpark (for eBook and print distribution) as well as Smashwords (eBook distribution), and Streetlib (both eBook and print). Draft2Digital is another option, but I haven’t used them so I can’t speak to that experience.

These aggregators will take your file and push it out to their network which includes Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple, Overdrive, and many other locations. Each network is a little different so you should check each one. The nice thing here is that if you want to update that book description or price, you do it in one place and then you’re done!

For me, I sell direct on Amazon and Google Play and then I use aggregators like Smashwords, IngramSpark, and Streetlib to get my book out beyond those two. For me it is a matter of convenience. I don’t want to have to manage a dozen passwords and updates. Also, because I have been using an aggregator, to try and list my book directly with B&N and Apple and Kobo directly now, may cause some glitches. If my royalties on those sites continue to rise and take over more and more of my royalties then it would likely be worth it for me to make the switch over.

For you as an author, you need to think about what is the most important to you. Direct control and access and one less middle man to take the royalties? Or convenience?

There is no one right answer. But keep in mind that when you list the book with an aggregator and agree to have them distribute to a site like Amazon, B&N, or Apple that you may have issues if you go to directly upload the same book to that site later. Pack your patience.

What is your publishing plan? What is more important to you? How has your experience been with aggregators vs direct platforms? Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments.

Music from:​ E.R.F.

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