Tips for KDP Authors

9 Essential Tips for KDP Authors

There are countless advantages to self publishing over traditional publishing, but being an indie author is hard work! Self publishing requires you to become an expert in every aspect of the publishing process, from writing to formatting to marketing.

While tools like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing make self publishing accessible, they can feel overwhelming to independent authors. What do you need to use this platform? How do you ensure ‌your book meets the required technical specifications while also ‌enticing potential readers?

Here’s how to hack Amazon’s publishing platform so your book can be successful. Nine tips for KDP authors starting now!

1. Perfect Your Book Description

A good Amazon book description is crucial for your book to do well. Your book description gives readers a taste of your writing style and tells them exactly what to expect when they buy your book.

Your book description should look and sound professional. A poorly written description hurts your credibility before anyone ever reads your book. Run your blurb through a grammar checker like ProWritingAid to check for mistakes, style, and readability.

Aim for a genre-appropriate, keyword-rich (but not keyword-stuffed) blurb that is crafted carefully and professionally. We’ll talk more about keywords in the next section.

You can also format excerpts and review quotes. You’re not limited to plain text. Amazon KDP uses HTML formatting for descriptions.

2. Research Long-Tail Keywords

One of the most important aspects of Amazon self publishing is the keyword boxes, which allow you up to forty-nine characters. A keyword is a word or phrase that people type into search engines to find what they’re looking for. Readers on Amazon will search for keywords to find books they want to read.

Aim for specific long-tail keywords. Instead of “regency romance” (a broad, short-tail keyword), you might enter “regency romance widowed heroine” (a specific long-tail keyword).

You can research these using a keyword research tool, hiring an expert in KDP categories and keywords, or simply using an incognito window to search yourself. Look for keywords that only give you a few hundred results, not thousands, to decrease your competition.

3. Request Extra Categories

Kindle Direct Publishing has preset categories for books, and it’s hard to select the best one for your work. When you upload your print or ebook manuscript, you can select two Amazon categories.

Often, your book might fit into multiple categories. You also enhance your chances of being a bestseller in a category when you’re in more of them.

The good news is, you can add your book to additional categories with a bit of extra work. If you call KDP customer service, KDP will allow you up to eight more categories for a grand total of ten

4. Invest in a Quality Cover

The first thing potential readers see is your book’s cover. A quality book cover can make or break a potential sale. 

There are a lot of factors that influence whether a book cover is appealing. Different genres have different expectations. A generic cover does not take into account genre trends and expectations. A nonfiction book should not look like a YA fantasy book and vice versa.

Unless you’re an experienced graphic artist, avoid using DIY book cover makers, like the one offered by Amazon. Find experienced cover artists who are familiar with your genre and look at their portfolio. Reach out to other authors for recommendations or browse Instagram and Twitter to find artists who work with independent authors.

5. Hype Your Readers with Pre-Orders

If you want to have a successful book launch and be a bestselling author, you must offer pre-orders. Those pre-orders count toward your launch day’s sales. With enough pre-orders, you can jump the line and end up a top seller in one or more of your categories.

When you self publish through Amazon, you can allow pre-orders 90 days before your release. Don’t worry—you don’t need to have your manuscript completed‌ when you start pre-orders. You can upload the final manuscripts 72 hours before launch. 

Use those three months to hype up your readers and get them to order your book in advance.

6. Focus on Interior Formatting

The quickest way to a one-star review is an ugly book. When your print books or your ebook format are a mess, you turn readers off before they get past the first page.

Don’t gloss over this step. There are several programs, like Atticus, Vellum, or Kindle Create, that allow you to format your book and make it look professional. It’s also affordable to outsource your formatting to an expert.

7. Adjust Your International Pricing

When you publish a book on the Kindle store, you set the price. Prices that end in .99 sell better: people think they’re getting a bargain. But that same marketing psychology isn’t just for the American markets.

KDP automatically adjusts the currency amount for other markets. You can manually change your international prices, however. Add a .99 to the end of each price for each currency. Just be careful that whatever change you make doesn’t affect your royalty rates. Monitor the pricing boundaries for 35% and 70% royalties for each currency.

8. Determine Your Distribution

Amazon offers you access to the KDP Select Program when you self publish. That means you get access to Kindle Unlimited, a paid membership for readers to read free books. If you publish with Kindle Unlimited, you’ll get paid for the number of pages of your book that Kindle Unlimited users read.

The KDP Select Program can be a great option for certain genres and authors who may not want to publish on other platforms outside of Amazon. However, when you enroll, Amazon gets exclusive access to your ebook for 90 days at a time (and it defaults to re-enroll you automatically every 90 days.)

If you choose to enroll, you can’t sell your ebooks anywhere else during that exclusive access period, including Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Google Books. You can also get in trouble for offering that ebook for free in your newsletter, Patreon, or website.

If you want to go wide, avoid enrolling in KDP Select. Going wide also allows you to publish to library services like Libby and Hoopla.

9. Become an Amazon Affiliate

There is one way to make more than the 70% royalties on your books. You can become an Amazon Affiliate and use affiliate links for your own book!

Use your affiliate link on your website, social media links, and anywhere else you link to Amazon. Your affiliate link allows you to earn an additional 4% on the selling price of your book. It’s not much, but that additional 4% can add up quickly with enough sales. Keep in mind you only get this income when someone buys through your link, not from searching Amazon themselves.

In the End, Make KDP Your Friend

The Amazon publishing world can feel overwhelming. But KDP doesn’t have to be your nemesis. Using tips like these can help you be an Amazon self publishing success.


Krystal N. Craiker

Krystal N. Craiker

Author and Freelance Writer

Krystal N. Craiker is a fantasy author and freelance writer for ProWritingAid . She is the author of the Scholars of Elandria fantasy series. When she isn’t writing, you can find her playing board games and volunteering. Krystal lives in Texas with her husband and two adorable dogs. 

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BookProposalAcademyReview

Book Proposal Academy Review: Chad Allen Helps You Craft a Compelling Book Proposal

Book Proposal Academy is an online course that walks you through the process of writing a book proposal that sets you on the publishing path. In addition to providing clarity and direction, prompting you to think about your book’s structure and teaching you how to talk about yourself as a writer, you’ll gain insight and understanding of the publishing industry.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this Book Proposal Academy review:

What is Book Proposal Academy?

This is a course and community built around learning how to create a book proposal that gets results. Through Book Proposal Academy, you learn from industry experts about the publishing business, how to decide between self-publishing and traditional publishing, and how to craft a proposal that engages readers and, more importantly, sells your book.

Inside Book Proposal Academy, you’ll find a wealth of resources walking you through the ins and outs of casting a vision for your project, structuring your book, and creating your book proposal. 

In addition to pre-recorded training videos, Book Proposal Academy includes sixteen book proposals that have secured book contracts and a Private Facebook Group for asking questions and learning from other Academy members.

A Note To Our Readers:

We want you to make informed decisions when it comes to how and where to invest your money. That’s why our mission is to help educate authors on the various self-publishing companies and services that are on the market today.

Our reviews are meant to be unbiased, 3rd party reviews, but we will speak up if there is a scam or a clearly better option.

Here’s what you’ll learn about in Book Proposal Academy:

When you enroll in Book Proposal Academy, you have immediate access to more than 35 instructional videos and transcripts, as well as a field under each training for asking questions.

When you log into Book Proposal Academy, your first step is to watch the welcome video where you’ll get a high-level overview of the program and what to expect. From there you’ll have a chance to join the Private Facebook Group and download sample book proposals before beginning the coursework.

The training is broken into nine modules. The core modules two through six mirror a traditional nonfiction book proposal:

  • Module 1: Introduction
  • Module 2: Brief Description
  • Module 3: Table of Contents and Chapter-by-Chapter Synopsis
  • Module 4: Bio
  • Module 5: Marketing Section
  • Module 6: Writing Sample and Wrap-Up
  • Module 7: For Fiction Writers
  • Module 8: For Children’s Picture Book Writers
  • Module 9: Pitching Your Book to Agents and Publishers

Book Proposal Academy creator Chad R. Allen says this course is the distillation of his two decades of publishing experience. He aims to help authors learn and understand everything that goes into writing a winning book proposal.

Who is Chad Allen?

Chad R. Allen is a writer, editor, speaker, and writing coach with a BA in English and a MA in Theology. Before going full-time with his own business, Chad spent 20 years at Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, and has collaborated with numerous bestselling authors such as Michael Hyatt, Jeff Goins, Caroline Leaf, Ernie Johnson Jr., Chip Ingram, Mary DeMuth, John Burke, Mark Batterson, and Phyllis Tickle. He is passionate about helping writers get their books into the world. 

How much does it cost?

At the time of this review, Book Proposal Academy retails for $997.

The Book Proposal Academy team believes this is the best course available on how to write a book proposal, and back the claim up with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not fully satisfied, for any reason, just let them know within your first month for a full refund.

Who will get the most out of Book Proposal Academy?

No matter if its memoir, self-help, or prescriptive nonfiction, if you’re writing a nonfiction book and want to pursue traditional publishing, then a book proposal is essential in securing a book deal.

However, if you write fiction, children’s books, or are considering self-publishing, you may also benefit from writing a book proposal. The process of putting one together helps you clarify your idea and build a solid structure for your work. While the core material will most benefit nonfiction writers, the seventh module is specifically for fiction writers and the eighth module is especially for children’s picture book writers.

Book Proposal Academy Perks

Of course, the absolute biggest perk of Book Proposal Academy is if you follow the videos and do the homework, you will have completed a book proposal by the end of the course.

Here are a few other less obvious perks from becoming part of this membership community.

  • Chad breaks down the overwhelming process of writing a book proposal into manageable steps

There are many steps and each step matters, but taking them one at a time is much simpler than attempting to build a 50-page document explaining your book idea, detailing your marketing plan, and demonstrating your writing skills all in one shot.

  • In addition to having access to winning book proposal samples, there is a book proposal template to follow

It’s so helpful to have a template and Chad provides an easy-to-follow document to aid in the proposal writing process. The sample nonfiction book proposals range from young adult to Christian living and memoir. There are also sample proposals for a novel and a children’s picture book.

  • Private Facebook Group

Members have access to an exclusive group created for the Book Proposal Academy community. Inside the group you’re free to celebrate wins, ask questions, and share ideas.

  • Watch a coaching session

You’ll have access to a previously recorded coaching session between Chad and a Book Proposal Academy member. There will be many takeaways you can apply to your own book proposal.

Book Proposal Academy Areas for Improvement

The concept for this course is straightforward: learn why you need a book proposal, and how to write one.

But like any course or membership community, there are elements of Book Proposal Academy that aren’t for everyone. Here are a few potential pain points when considering purchasing.

  • You will need high-speed Internet access

This is an online, video-based course. While you do have the option to download the videos to watch them offline, this will be a bandwidth-heavy experience so plan accordingly.

  • No subtitles on many of the videos

The majority of the videos are uploaded into the course platform and there are no subtitles. There are transcripts available as a workaround, but it’s not quite the same.

  • There are a lot of videos and you really do need to watch them in order and do all of the steps to get the most out of this course

Once you purchase your membership into Book Proposal Academy, you have immediate access to every module and video in the course. However, there is a natural order to follow if you want the best results. 

Be sure to give yourself lots of time to take in the teaching material and to do the homework at the end of each module to make the most of this course.

Deep Dive Into Book Proposal Academy

While this course is primarily focused on the actual book proposal writing, there is also plenty of education on writing, publishing and how the industry works.

Here are the main modules included in this course.

Introduction 

Learn about agents, book contracts, publishing, traditional publishing versus self-publishing, and how to come up with a great book concept.

Brief Description

This section teaches you how to put together the description portion of your book proposal. When done well, you’ll cast a compelling vision for your book and capture the interest of readers and publishers.

Table of Contents and Chapter-by-Chapter Synopsis 

Learn how to structure your book in order to give your readers an engaging and enjoyable reading experience that keeps them turning the pages.

Bio

How do you craft a bio that establishes your credibility and positions you as an authority? This module covers the basics and sometimes difficult process to writing a compelling bio.

Marketing Section

Your entire book proposal is a marketing piece, but it also includes a marketing section where you outline how you plan on building your platform and selling your book.

Writing Sample 

This is one of the larger modules in the course and it includes training on how to create a compelling experience, first lines and paragraphs and even some tricks of the trade.

Next Steps

If you’re considering writing a book but you don’t know where to start, a book proposal may be your next best step. Learning about the writing and publishing industry can be an overwhelming process, but you don’t have to navigate this world alone. Chad R. Allen has poured his life’s work into this comprehensive course with the singular goal of helping you start and complete your book proposal and open the doors to the possibility of a book deal. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.

Because we have found this course helpful, and Chad R. Allen to be a person of integrity, we have set up a special offer for our readers at this link.


This post contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase through our links, you’re supporting Selfpublishing.com— and we thank you for that.

createspace

Amazon CreateSpace – 2022 Guide for Authors

Many of today’s aspiring writers choose the self-publishing path for several reasons – one of them being that this rapidly evolving industry offers an abundance of opportunities. Plus, the chances of getting your book picked up by a traditional publishing company are becoming slimmer.

If you’ve already done some research into self-publishing, you’ve probably heard of Amazon’s platforms CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). These two used to be the go-to options for most self-publishing authors. 

In this post, we’re going to cover what happened to CreateSpace and what other options you have for self-publishing your book in 2022. 

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Here’s what what we’ll be covering on Amazon CreateSpace today:

  1. What was Amazon CreateSpace?
  2. Why use Print on Demand? (POD)
  3. Amazon launching KDP Print
  4. CreateSpace is now Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
  5. CreateSpace and KDP — similar features
  6. What’s the difference between CreateSpace and KDP?
  7. CreateSpace alternatives in 2022
using Amazon CreateSpace on a laptop

What was Amazon CreateSpace?

CreateSpace was a self-publishing platform using the Print on Demand-model (POD), i.e., printing and shipping books to fulfill customer orders. They produced high-quality paperbacks from files you uploaded yourself. 

Does Amazon still have CreateSpace?

CreateSpace was a popular choice among self-publishing authors, mainly because of their reasonable prices, speed and convenience. They offered a range of reasonably priced services, such as design, marketing, printed proofs, and extended distribution. In 2005, Amazon bought CreateSpace while developing its existing self-publishing service, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Why use Print on Demand? 

POD books used to be considered an inferior product, with cheap covers and low-quality paper. That’s no longer the case. Today, traditional publishers also use POD technology for books they don’t intend to store. For the most part, POD books are equal in quality to those printed on a press. 

Plus, the POD-model means that you can save money by not printing hundreds or thousands of copies at once. It’s an excellent option for self-publishing authors, especially if you’re on a limited budget. Print on demand gives you more freedom to market and sell your book without worrying about shipping, storing, or checking stock levels.  

Amazon launching KDP Print

For a few years, CreateSpace and KDP were two separate Amazon-owned businesses, with the first being a POD service and the latter a platform for publishing e-books. In 2016, Amazon launched their second POD service, KDP Print. One of the reasons behind the launch was to encourage authors more strongly to add a print version to their Kindle book. 

However, KDP Print’s launch left many authors confused about whether they should stay with CreateSpace or shift to the new platform. Since Amazon wouldn’t allow authors to go back once they’d made the switch, the decision had to be permanent. And rumors about CreateSpace closing down or merging with KDP were already starting to arise. 

benefits of publishing on Amazon list

Is CreateSpace still in business?

Two years later, in August 2018,  Amazon confirmed the rumors and announced that CreateSpace and KDP were merging into one. Effectively, all CreateSpace services were now discontinued, and the books were shifted to KDP

The merge inevitably brought about a few changes, but on the whole, there are more similarities than differences between the two platforms. KDP is an established and trust-worthy service that’s been around for years. And with KDP Print, you have the benefit of being able to publish both paperbacks and e-books. Plus, you receive the combined royalties on one platform. 

If you want to find out more about this platform, you can read our extensive KDP guide here

CreateSpace and KDP — similar features 

Amazon made the transition as smooth as possible, keeping most of the features that made CreateSpace such a popular platform. Few of the affected authors seemed to encounter any significant hiccups when shifting their books. 

After Amazon moved the books to KDP, you could track your sales on the new platform. You could also access the older CreateSpace report data in your KDP reports, minimizing the risk of losing anything. 

The paperbacks are still printed in the same facilities as CreateSpace, except when they’re distributed to Europe. Other features that remain the same are:

  • International Standard Book Number (ISBN). You still have the option to use your own ISBN, get a discounted Bowker ISBN, or a free one through KDP.
  • Distribution and associated fees. KDP Print also offers distribution to Amazon only (with a 40% fee) and extended distribution to stores outside of Amazon (with a 60% fee). Note that there are new requirements around extended distribution, which you can read about below. 
  • Book cover and design tools. KDP Print uses the same Word templates and Cover Creator tool that CreateSpace offered. So the quality of the design remains the same. 

What’s the difference between CreateSpace and KDP?

For the most part, CreateSpace authors have gladly moved over to KDP, despite inevitable changes and new features. KDP is an excellent all-in-one platform and a quick print-on-demand service. It can help you reach the paperback markets in the US, Europe, and even Japan with comprehensive distribution services. There are many areas where KDP is gaining ground on CreateSpace, such as:  

  • The integrated sales dashboard. Having a combined publishing and accounting platform for both Kindle and print versions is a big plus, giving you an improved user experience. 
  • Updates without losing the old version. With KDP, you can update your book while the old version is still available for purchase. This feature is a vast improvement, especially for those authors whose books are selling well. 
  • Expanded international distribution. Authors will now be able to distribute to Japan, which wasn’t possible with CreateSpace.

Along with these three changes, there are a few more differences between CreateSpace and KDP. We’ve put together a list that summarizes the most important ones you need to know. 

Other changes between CreateSpace and KDP

  • Royalty payment schedule. While CreateSpace paid royalties approximately 30 days after the end of the month where you earned them, the KDP payment comes out 60 days later. But the payment schedule is still monthly, the same as it was on CreateSpace. 
  • Unsupported languages. Some languages supported by CreateSpace may be unsupported by KDP. CreateSpace books that are already published will continue to be available on Amazon, no matter what language. But you can’t publish or update new books in an unsupported language, and drafts that you move over may need to be translated. Note that Amazon continues to evaluate its features and services, including supported languages.
  • Expanded distribution. On KDP, your book must be available on Amazon to enable expanded distribution, which wasn’t a requirement with CreateSpace. 
  • Author copies. KDP lets you order author copies by adding them straight to your Amazon cart, like a regular order. If you’re a Prime member or if your order is above Amazon’s minimum spend, this process can save you both time and money. 
  • Local printing for Europe distribution. CreateSpace only manufactured their books in the US. With KDP, local printing and shipping are available within Europe. Good for the environment and more convenient for customers. 
  • Printing costs. There are some minor differences in terms of printing costs. For example, certain low page count books printed in Europe (color books less than 30 pages and black-and-white books less than 110 pages) will have increased printing costs. However, this affects only a few titles.
  • Amazon advertising. With KDP, you’re able to purchase Amazon advertising for both e-books and print books. 

CreateSpace alternatives in 2022

As we mentioned before – the self-publishing industry is evolving vastly, and there are so many alternatives. While Amazon’s KDP is undoubtedly one of the giants, other options may suit you better. Here are some other examples of self-publishing companies offering print-on-demand services: 

  • IngramSpark is a self-publishing company located in Nashville, with a global distribution network offering print books and e-books. 
  • Lulu has been around for over a decade, offering a range of services, including print, publishing, global distribution, and Shopify integration. 
  • BookBaby has all the services necessary for self-publishing, such as book printing, e-book conversion, and cover design. 
  • Izzard ink is a hybrid publishing company founded in 2013, offering everything from distribution to marketing and design. 
  • Blurb is a POD service offering image-based products (such as photo books and magazines) and standard print books. Thanks to their printing software, they’re an excellent option for high-quality images. 

This list is only the tip of the iceberg. If you want to read more about other alternatives, you can find our comprehensive guide on self-publishing services here, including comparisons and reviews. 

Pssst…. want the “fast pass” for learning how to self-publish in as little as 90 days?
Check out our free training linked in the image below!
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We hope this post has given you some more insights into the world of self-publishing and cleared up any confusion around CreateSpace. 

Feel free to leave a comment below and share your thoughts on self-publishing services. 

self-publishing platforms

Self-Publishing Platforms – 12 Options for Authors

Deciding on the right self-publishing platform is an exciting time for any author.

When you reach this stage in the process, your book is so close to being enjoyed by readers. All of the time and energy you’ve invested is about to bear fruit. All that’s left to do is choose the best way to make your book available to the world.

Choosing a platform isn’t something you should rush. Your choice will impact the number of potential readers you are able to reach. It also determines how much you can charge for your book and the royalties you receive. 

So what are your options? Which self-publishing platforms are available, and how can you choose between them?

Read on to discover our guide to twelve options available to independent authors today.

self-publishing company

This guide to self-publishing platforms covers:

  1. Amazon KDP
  2. Apple Books
  3. Barnes & Noble Press
  4. Blurb
  5. Bookbaby
  6. Draft2Digital
  7. Ingramspark
  8. Kobo
  9. PublishDrive
  10. Smashwords
  11. StreetLib
  12. XinXii 
self-publishing platforms

What is a self-publishing platform?

Before we delve into our list of self-publishing platforms, let’s stop and consider exactly what the term refers to. 

A self-publishing platform is simply a service that allows you to offer your book to the world. 

Broadly speaking, you have two types of self-publishing platform available:

  1. Retailers 
  2. Aggregators 

Retailers are stores such as Amazon that allow people to browse and buy books. 

Aggregators are specialist services that allow authors to distribute their books to a large number of retailers through a single service. 

Choosing an aggregator involves a trade-off. You can save time and effort by not having to manually upload your book to multiple retailers and monitor its performance, but you will have to pay for this convenience in the form of a one-off fee per book, a monthly subscription, or a portion of your royalties, depending on the retailer. 

Now that the basic idea of a self-publishing platform is clear, let’s take a closer look at your options!

self-publishing platforms

Amazon KDP

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service is the dominant platform in today’s self-publishing marketplace. 

Offering your book on Amazon should be an easy decision. It’s the platform where most people go to buy new reading material. Amazon also offers the Kindle device and app, giving customers another way to discover your book that doesn’t exist on some other platforms. 

For self-published authors, there are plenty of benefits to being on Amazon. You can easily offer print and audiobook versions of your work. You also have the ability to create a hub where readers can discover more about your work via the Author Central service.

If you decide to offer your book on Amazon exclusively, you gain access to special programs like Kindle Unlimited. Every author should evaluate if that’s a choice that makes sense for their situation.

Whether or not you decide to publish on Amazon exclusively, you should make its platform part of your approach to publishing. Otherwise, you’re missing out on a vast number of potential readers.

Apple Books

Apple Books might not account for the same level of sales as Amazon, you would be unwise to dismiss it.

There are plenty of iPhone, iPad, and Mac users out there who prefer to stick to apps made by Apple wherever possible. Apple is known for frictionless integration across its entire ecosystem, so this preference makes sense.

Aside from access to devoted fans, Apple Books has a number of other benefits. A 70% royalty rate is on offer no matter the price of your book, so you don’t need to go through the price constraints imposed by Amazon. Apple also offers authors more control by not engaging in automatic price matching, allowing you to know your book’s price will remain stable.  

Barnes & Noble Press

While Barnes & Noble might be one of the biggest names in the publishing world, the company has struggled to compete with Amazon’s success. However, they provide an easy to use platform for self-published authors, meaning there’s no harm in offering your book there if you decide to avoid Amazon exclusivity.

Barnes & Noble Press supports both ebooks and print books, and also has the benefit of promoting titles to customers of its Nook device and app. 

One final benefit to choosing Barnes & Noble Press is that all of the platform’s print books can be ordered by request to any physical Barnes & Noble bookstore. 

Blurb

Although Blurb is most famous as a major provider of print on demand services, the company also offers the ability to create eBooks using either its own tools or 3rd party options like Adobe InDesign. 

When you decide to use Blurb as a platform for creating a print or eBook version of your book, the company lets you sell it through either its own retail service, or via its partnerships with Amazon, Apple, Ingram, and even Kickstarter. 

If physical books are an important part of your approach to self-publishing, you should check out Blurb further. In addition to print on demand you also have the option to order a large batch of your book with a lot of options relating to design and format. 

BookBaby

BookBaby is one of the powerhouse players in the self-publishing world, offering not only one of the best-known aggregator services out there, but also its own retail store. 

Authors who choose BookBaby as their self-publishing platform benefit from the size of  its distribution network. The company claims to have the widest reach, partnering with over 60 retailers from across the globe.

If you’re willing to invest money upfront, and you need the full range of services provided by BookBaby, it’s a platform worth exploring further. However, if all you’re looking for is a simple retailer or aggregator, BookBaby probably isn’t the best fit for your needs. You can learn more here.

Draft2Digital

Draft2Digital is one of the most famous aggregators out there, distributing books to almost all of the major retailers, including Amazon, Apple, and Kobo.

As well as its aggregation service, Draft2Digital offers authors help with formatting and promotional abilities such as Universal Book Links. One of the major reasons to choose Draft2Digital is the company’s lack of upfront fees. Instead, Draft2Digital makes money by taking around 10% of the retail price each time a copy is sold. 

Before you settle on Draft2Digital as the right aggregator for your next book, take a moment to read in more detail how the service compares to Smashwords

IngramSpark

IngramSpark is a good option if you are looking for an aggregator with global reach that offers excellent customer support. 

Authors who decide to use IngramSpark as a self-publishing platform tap into one of the largest worldwide distribution networks possible. As well as the major book retailers IngramSpark’s titles are available to libraries, universities, and indie stores.

You need to pay an upfront fee to publish via IngramSpark. The company supports both eBook and print formats and you get a discount if you will only be offering one type or the other. Check out our full guide to IngramSpark here.

Kobo

Rakuten Kobo, commonly referred to as just Kobo, is one of the biggest international book retailers on the market. As well as its retail operations, the company provides a self-publishing platform known as Kobo Writing Life. Like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Kobo also offers a physical eReader device. 

Kobo distributes books to more countries than the vast majority of other platforms, claiming over 190 nations at the time of writing. 

The ability to set your own pricing, the backing of parent company Rakuten, and the lack of an exclusivity requirement are some of the major reasons to think about publishing with Kobo. 

PublishDrive

Like a lot of the other aggregator platforms featured in this guide, PublishDrive boasts of the wide reach of its international distribution network. However, while offering everything you would expect, PublishDrive also has some rarer features that help it to stand out.

A lot of aggregators support print and eBook formats, but PublishDrive also supports audiobooks. Also, PublishDrive offers you control of how you want to pay for their service. Most platforms either charge a flat fee per book or take a slice of your royalties. PublishDrive operates on a subscription model where authors pay a monthly rate depending on the number of books they have.

If you’re trying to decide between different book aggregators, it’s worth crunching the numbers and seeing how many copies you would need to sell to cover PublishDrive’s monthly subscription. Depending on your popularity, PublishDrive might make a lot more financial sense than giving up a portion of your royalties. 

Smashwords

Smashwords is one of the oldest and most famous book aggregators out there. For many authors, the choice of platform comes down to weighing up the pros and cons of Smashwords and Draft2Digital. So what are they?

Draft2Digital is widely considered to be an easier and more intuitive service than Smashwords. The Smashwords interface is older and looks a little dated. Smashwords also doesn’t provide the formatting capabilities found at Draft2Digital. 

Also, one thing to be aware of is that Smashwords doesn’t distribute to Amazon. It has a wide reach other than that, but it’s something to keep in mind. We feel that most authors will prefer Draft2Digital to Smashwords after weighing up both options.

StreetLib

If international publishing is a big part of your approach to self-publishing, you should check out StreetLib. 

An international approach is baked into everything StreeLib does. For example, its dashboard is available in a wide range of languages and the company website has dedicated pages for almost any country you can think of.

StreetLib distributes audiobooks in addition to print and digital. You can access all of your worldwide sales data directly within the StreetLib dashboard, removing the need for any external sales tracking service. 

If you’re based outside of the USA, or are an American author who wants to sell books around the world, take a closer look at what StreetLib has to offer. 

XinXii

XinXii is another example of an internationally-focused book aggregator. So what are the key facts you need to know about XinXii?

This aggregator offers support for eBooks and audiobooks only. There is no print on demand option, so if you are looking to sell physical copies of your work, this isn’t the right service for you. 

Although XinXii has a wide range of international distribution partners, there isn’t anything that really stands out about their service. If you don’t care about the lack of print book support, and you particularly like the markets XinXii distributes to, you might want to explore further. 

What is the best self-publishing platform?

So now that you have a good grasp of the different self-publishing platforms, how can you determine which is the best fit for your needs as an author?

Overall, there’s no single best platform. Different companies have various strengths and weaknesses. It’s all about asking the right questions to narrow down exactly what you’re looking for. 

To help you determine the right self-publishing platform for your needs, take the time to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I looking for a retailer to upload my book to directly, or an aggregator service that will distribute to multiple retailers on my behalf?
  2. What formats do I want to offer my work in? 
  3. Would I rather pay an upfront fee for aggregated distribution, a portion of my royalties, or a monthly subscription? 
  4. How important is international distribution to my book marketing plan?
  5. Do I need help with formatting and other services, or do I want a simple distribution platform with no added extras?

Want the “fast pass” to finding the right self publishing company for you?

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You now have everything you need to choose the best self-publishing platform for your book

Will you decide to be exclusive on Amazon to take advantage of their special author programs? Or will you go for the widest international reach possible with a powerful aggregator?

No matter what type of platform you end up going for, we wish you and your book every success!

Self-Publishing Programs – 9 Teaching & Tech Resources

So, you’ve reached the stage in your journey as an independent author where it’s time to seek out the best self publishing program for your needs.

Investing in knowledge and technology to bring you success is a smart move, but it’s easy to make the wrong choice.

Ask around the writing community and you’ll be sure to come across plenty of disgruntled authors who shelled out cash for a program that wasn’t the best fit. There’s nothing more annoying than getting your hopes up about a particular tool, only to find out it wasn’t what you expected.

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So how can you avoid making the wrong choice?

No matter if you’re looking for a writing course to boost your self-publishing knowledge, or a software program to give you better capabilities, we’ve got you covered.

Read on to discover our curated list of the best educational and software programs out there for self-publishers.

This guide to self-publishing programs covers:

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Self-Publishing Programs

#1 – Self-Publishing School

Trying to navigate the maze of self-publishing on your own is no easy task.

There are so many different skills to master and things to learn. From the initial process of coming up with a book idea, all the way through to marketing your work in a way that sets you up for a successful career, there are plenty of hurdles to fall at.

You could spend an eternity trying to figure it all out, but there’s no need to do that.

Our partners at Self Publishing School have distilled years of wisdom into several concise programs that set you up for success.

A lot of people seem to have the misconception that Self Publishing School is a single course, but that’s not the case. This is not like other self publishing programs, as the name suggest, it’s delivered like an actual school. They can help you no matter how far along you are as an author. From teaching first-time writers to come up with a roadmap to publish their first bestseller. Or helping existing authors set themselves up for a full-time career. Self Publishing School has a program for every situation. See our full review for more details.

They also have an incredible range of free resources, so take the time to check those out if you aren’t sure about investing in a full program at this stage.

#2 – Authority Pub Academy

Authority Pub Academy is taught by Steve Scott and Barrie Davenport in tandem. This is a refreshing change from a lot of the other programs out there, as it allows you to enjoy two different personalities and teaching styles.  

This teaching program is a good option for new authors who are looking for a mix of tangible and intangible advice on what it takes to make the leap and become an author.

Some of the content covers aspects such as the mindset authors need to adopt to succeed, as well as more practical tips such as the process of writing a book. It also delves deep into how to set up an account on KDP.

If you’ve already published a book, you might find a lot of the material in this course to be a bit beneath your existing level of knowledge. That’s not to say it has nothing to offer seasoned authors, but it is better suited to those just starting. 

Like many of the programs featured here, Authority Pub Academy covers book launches and marketing in some depth, showing the importance of these topics. 

Authority Pub Academy might not cover anything groundbreaking, but there’s no denying the credibility of Steve Soctt and Barrie Davenport as teachers. If you’re a fan of their personalities, consider exploring this program in more detail. 

You can learn more here

#3 – Self-Publishing 101

Mark Dawson is one of the most successful authors to ever self-publish. If you’re looking for an inspirational success story, look no further than Dawson.

As the name suggests, Self-Publishing 101 is intended to teach the fundamentals for authors who might be adept at writing a book but unsure of how to take things further. 

Dawson’s course covers the basic elements of establishing your author platform, some guidance on whether to commit to Amazon on an exclusive basis or go wide, how to put together the right team to help launch your book, and how to attract the right reviews to boost your book in Amazon’s eyes and sell more copies. 

If you want to learn from a true self-publishing rockstar, Self-Publishing 101 taught by Mark Dawson could be a good choice for you. Explore it further in our full review. It’s easily one of the most personal self publishing programs.

However, if you’ve been around the indie author scene for some time, you might already have a good understanding of most of Mark’s ideas.

#4 – Your First 10K Readers

Your First 10K Readers by Nick Stephenson stands out from several of the other teaching programs featured here due to its focus on a more advanced approach to publishing. 

You won’t find basic tips on writing a book here. This course instead offers advanced tips on how to succeed as an author if you have already mastered the fundamentals. 

If you choose Your First 10K Readers as your program of choice, expect to learn the truth about how Amazon’s algorithm operates, how to not only build but monetize your author platform, advanced approaches to book launches, and how to advertise a book on Facebook.

While it’s great to see a course aimed at intermediate and advanced publishers, not all of the material here will be useful for everyone reading this. For example, a lot of authors feel that advertising a book on Facebook isn’t as useful as advertising it on a more buyer-focused platform such as Amazon or Bookbub.  

If you feel you have a solid grasp of the basics of self-publishing and would like a structured course to take things to the next level, consider looking at Your First 10K Readers in more detail. Just be sure to look at the contents carefully to double-check it covers the material you will find useful and take action on. 

#5 – Tribe Writers 

Jeff Goins is one of the most likable people in self-publishing. 

His blog is a fantastic resource for self-publishers who see themselves as artists looking to make a decent living from doing what they love.

So what does Jeff’s Tribe Writers course cover?

The first focus of the course is helping authors to find and hone their unique voices. The course then delves into more practical aspects such as platform building, how to reach more readers, and how to eventually get published.

While there’s some useful material here, there’s not nearly as much as found in other courses. You can learn a lot more in-depth information elsewhere. 

That’s not to say that Tribe Writers is bad. Far from it. If you are a fan of Jeff Goins and want to get an understanding of his approach to platform building, this might be the right self-publishing program for you. You should compare the contents and pricing with the other programs in this guide before making your final decision. 

Software

What is the best self-publishing software?

Well, before we take a look at five great software programs for self-publishers, let’s stop and consider how to choose the best one for your needs.

To help you weigh up different options, keep these factors in mind:

  1. Features. What features do you need from a self-publishing software program? It’s useful to write these down so you don’t overlook anything when evaluating different options.
  2. Compatibility. Is any software you’re considering compatible with the hardware you use? For example, if you want to work on Mac and iPad, you need to check compatibility with macOS and iOS.
  3. Cost. How much does the program you’re interested in cost? Is it a one-off payment or do you need to subscribe? How does this cost compare with other options?
  4. Learning curve. How difficult will it be to learn to use a particular program? Are you willing to invest the time or is it better to use a simpler option?
  5. Integrations. Is your intended program capable of integrating with other software? Do you foresee any issues using it in conjunction with your existing tools?

With those five guiding criteria in mind, let’s take a look at five of the best self-publishing software programs. 

Writing Software

#1 – Publisher Rocket

If you’re like most self-published authors, writing your book isn’t the difficult part. You’ve probably been a lover of the written word for most of your life, so putting words down on the page is a pleasure for you.

The frustration often begins when the time comes to market your book. Knowing the right categories and keywords is an entire science on its own, and figuring out manually can be seriously time-consuming.

Thankfully, a better way exists!

Self-publishing stalwart Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur fame created the Publisher Rocket program to make his personal book marketing process more efficient and effective. It’s a powerhouse software solution for authors that takes the mystery and guesswork out of book marketing.

If you want to save wasted time and energy, you owe it to yourself to give Publisher Rocket a closer look. New features are being added all the time, such as the data you need to market your book internationally.

You can learn more about Publisher Rocket in our in-depth review here.

#2 – Scrivener

Have you tried to write an entire book using a program like Google Docs, and found it didn’t have all the features you would hope for?

If so, you’re in the same boat as a lot of other writers. As versatile and useful as Google Docs is, it wasn’t designed with book creators in mind.

Enter Scrivener!

Scrivener is one of the most fully-featured writing programs out there. It’s jam-packed with the features authors need to research, write, and export their books.

Scrivener has something of a reputation for being difficult to learn. While it does have a learning curve, it’s a lot easier to understand in its current iteration than was the case with older versions.

If you’re willing to put in some time to get to grips with Scrivener, we’re confident you’ll find it a rewarding experience. It happens to come with a full free trial so you can decide if it’s right for you before investing a single cent.

See how Scrivener compares to other options in this book writing software guide

#3 – Grammarly

If a self-editing tool isn’t part of your stack of author programs, you’re seriously missing out.

One of the main criticisms of self-publishing is that it lacks the rigor and care that an editor from a traditional publishing house would bring to the table.

To be truthful, editing is one area where some indie authors feel they can cut costs. But what if you could cut down on the amount you need to invest in a human editor by using a state of the art program in the first instance?

That’s where Grammarly comes into play. Let’s be crystal clear about one thing – Grammarly is no substitute for a talented human editor. However, it is an amazing way to self-edit your work initially, catching your most glaring errors and allowing your real editor to make deeper improvements, rather than spotting your spelling and grammar mishaps.

If you use a tool like Grammarly consistently, you’ll learn more about yourself as a writer and where your weaknesses lie. This is invaluable feedback that not only gives you polished writing but also invaluable insight.  

Delve deeper into what Grammarly is capable of with our full review here

#4 – Hootsuite

When used properly, social media is a fantastic way for self-published authors to connect directly with their readers and form meaningful connections. But it’s very much a double-edged sword for a lot of writers. There are so many different social media platforms that they can end up being a time drain that doesn’t produce meaningful results.

To avoid social media becoming a burden rather than a blessing, you need to be proactive and disciplined about the way you use it.

One of the best ways to regain control over your social media as a self-publisher is to use a program like Hootsuite to efficiently manage multiple platforms from a single app environment.

Hootsuite allows you to advance schedule content for your social media platforms. Rather than having to manually post, you can line up all your content for a period of time. This allows you to take advantage of the efficiency that comes with task batching.

If you find yourself constantly checking multiple social networks to like and reply to comments, please stop!

You can save massive amounts of time by using Hootsuite to make social media work for you, rather than the other way round.

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Conclusion

Although picking is entirely a function of your needs, we hope that our thorough look into self publishing programs as well as writing software offered you value when considering your next step. We encourage you to let us know in the comments below what course or software you choose and any results or observations you find helpful for the community to consider.

Additionally, if you have any other suggestions for the best programs out there, feel free to leave a comment!