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Timothy Dean

As an indie (with an incorporated LLC publisher, in which I'm a principal), I have a few suggestions regarding ebook preparation and sale. You can use a "publisher for hire" if you want, from Lulu to Amazon's CreateSpace (and if you also intend to put your book out in paperback as a Publish On Demand - POD - you'll probably need one of these). BUT it's tough to make money as an author. You need to watch how many middlemen you put between you and your royalties! So I recommend you buy services "a la carte." Don't give away percentages of sale unless you have to!

In order to keep most of the pie, here's one distribution model:

1) Upload directly to Amazon [for the Kindle platform https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin]. It's picky work, but not hard - follow the clear instructions. You're going to want your own account with the biggest seller out there, bar none. This way, you get the entire 70% commission (when you sell at a price point between $2.99 and 9.99). You don't need someone to upload your MS for you, control sales reporting, and keep a piece of your action.

2) Upload directly to Barnes and Noble as well, for the Nook, through their own Pubit, their digital Amazon-like arm [http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/pubit_app/bn?t=pi_reg_home]. This way, again, you get the whole author tamale. Why not?

3) Upload to Smashwords. In my experience, their sales are much smaller than Amazon, but it's worth doing. AND you can create a coupon to give downloads of your book away at a discount, or free - you decide. This is great for promotions, and as a way to distribute to reviewers etc.

After you qualify for the premium catalog (which just means they vet your book to make sure it's professional, from cover to formatting - and if you're already on Amazon, it will be) this puts you in front of the i-world (Apple). In addition, you choose where Smashwords distributes (3rd party). Allow your MS to be downloadable in Kindle and Nook formats, but don't use Smashwords to distribute to Amazon or B&N since you're already there. Smashwords goes a lot of other places! They take 15% of any sales, and more when there are other distributors involved - but the good news is, this is "off the back end." That is, you pay nothing unless and until a sale is made.

There! I've just given you what I've learned in two years of online distribution and marketing!

I love Dana's newsletters and info-stuffed books, by the way. As an author of fiction, I post tips I learn from selling in the real world. "Like" my page and get 'em free. (Thanks Dana!)

Dana Lynn Smith

Thanks for the real-word perspective, Timothy (and your kind words about my work). I agree with the publishing to Amazon/B&N/Smashwords approach - that's what I'm doing with my own ebooks. Great tip about the coupons on Smashwords. You can also publish free promotional books on Smashwords.

Also, I want to clarify that all three of these platforms allow you to upload a Word document, but you do need to clean it up first to get rid of formatting problems. I'm making a note in the article.


Buy Essays

Your post really helped me to understand the this. It has great details and yet it is easy to understand.That's what i was looking for. I will definitely share it with others.Thanks for sharing.


Hi, Dana:

First how do we receive notice of a reply to a comment? I don't see an alert button anywhere. Let me know.

I have an ebook in the works and I've already uploaded a copy via Amazon, but I also want to upload to the other ebook readers such as Kobo and Nook. Plus the iPhone too.

Would you say the best method for this is to submit my MS to Smashwords? And if so, would an Open Office word doc suffice to get it approved there?

Let me know.


Dana Lynn Smith

Hi Missy,

Sorry, but the "subscribe to comments" button seems to have disappeared - I will send a help ticket to Typepad about that.

You can upload directly to Nook, but Smashwords is the best way to publish to the other bookstores. I think they require a .doc file, but you would need to check their specs to be sure. There's a link to their style guide in the article above.



Great! Thanks for your speedy reply.

First years wave stroller

Fantastic post Dana, i have been searching for a post like this and i'm absolutely thrilled that i have stumbled across this website. i am currently close to finishing my book...this gives me great encouragement to go ourt and monitize my efforts.

Thank you very much for sharing.

Rosalie Marsh

Thanks for all the insider information which comes with your newsletters. The facts about Apple, B&N etc are welcome. I have published Chasing Rainbows:with Just Us Two on Amazon kdp and love their promotional activities in linking books etc. My two new Lifelong Learning:Personal Effectiveness Guides are due in Print on Sept. 1st, also with worldwide distribution. They will also go on Amazon kdp ( I love their sales rankings which are a good marketing tool)but the jury is still out on the best way forward for other formats.
Have been deliberating for some time. The problem is that living outside US with no US bank account usually means no electronic transfer of royalties and a minimum amount for cheque payment (USD which has to be converted) so you can end up with little pots of money in various stores until there is enough of each to be issued. Then there is the US tax situation.
One question. Do Smashwords target retailers outside the US or are sales US only?

Rob Aaron

Question for you experienced guys and gals: I am almost finished with my e-book and want to market it exclusively on my web-site. I am not concerned about the volume. I may later choose to publish with the other retailers.

My question is, can I do this? Can I format the book for the Kindle, the Nook, and the iPad and sell it exclusively on my website? Is this allowed by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple?

For now, I want 100% control.

Any suggestions?

Rob Aaron
Neebie to all of this!

Dana Lynn Smith

Hello Rob,

I can't think of a reason why you can't sell the Kindle (prc), Nook and iPad (epub) files directly from your website. But customers may find it inconvenient to have to load the files onto their device. When they buy from the Kindle etc. store, the book is automatically zapped onto their ebook reader (kind of like magic). You will also get more exposure on those stores and people are more comfortable shopping there.

If it's a nonfiction book, you can also sell PDF ebooks from your site.

Good luck with your ebook!

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