Hello everyone, and welcome to Author Assistance: a series of blog articles that shows you how you can publish your work, as well as tools and tricks to help do it!
Please be aware that all opinions stated within these articles are my own, and that any links you click may offer me a commission as part of an affiliate program.
With that said...
Where to Self-Publish Your Work
Self-publishing has come a long way since I "officially" started back in 2012. At the time, you had to manually format your work with special formatting codes, pray to the writing gods that automatic converters (or "meatgrinders") would accept it, and that, after those converters accepted it, hope that your work would look professional. Nowadays, the number of options writers have is absolutely incredible. This list will work to guide you on where you can publish your work (rather than the how) as well as how you can do it without getting overwhelmed.
The major bookselling/buying websites that I recommend authors be on are:
Amazon.com (KDP): Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing interface allows you to publish eBooks, paperbacks, and even hardcovers (currently in beta) directly to their website. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing interface also allows you to publish your work through Kindle Unlimited.
Apple: Through iTunes Connect, you can upload eBooks directly to the Apple ebook store (which is typically available for users of Apple products such as iPhone and iPad.)
Barnes & Noble Press: Barnes & Noble's publishing interface allows you to publish eBooks, paperbacks, and hardcovers directly to their website.
Google Play: Google Play allows you to publish eBooks directly to the Google Play store (which is typically available for users of Android products.)
Kobo: Kobo (or Rakuten Kobo) allows you to publish eBooks directly to Kobo.com and their products. Kobo also has its own subscription service/lending library, called Kobo Plus, that does not require exclusivity to be a part of.
Now, you might be wondering: why are there so many retailers? And what are the benefits of being on multiple sites?
If you aren't an author publishing through Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program (which requires exclusivity for a number of months to be a part of,) there is an option to publish to other vendors, such as Barnes & Noble and Apple, in order to expand your reach. It is important to remember that not everyone buys exclusively from Amazon, which is something you must consider when thinking about where you are going to publish your work.
There are two ways you can go about publishing your books on each of these sites:
You can upload to each site individually, which increases your percentage of royalties on each.
As someone who has a number of books in a variety of series, and oftentimes struggles with micromanagement of my work, I personally find that using a combination of the above two works to my advantage. In this sense, I distribute to Amazon directly through Kindle Direct Publishing and Google Play through the Google publishing dashboard. I then use an aggregator such as Draft2Digital to distribute to Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Smashwords, and other smaller sites and library apps. A full list of where Draft2Digital distributes their ebooks can be found by clicking here.
My AUTHOR ASSISTANCE ADVICE for writers just starting out would be to consider where they feel their book might be read most widely, and then base their decision on that. Theoretically, you can upload to almost every retailer individually. However, some writers may find the variety of requirements confusing, may become frustrated with the tediousness of the set-up process on multiple sites, or may just simply become overwhelmed by the amount of time it takes to do it (especially if they have multiple books.) Ultimately, it's your choice as to whether or not to use an aggregator such as Draft2Digital. I personally use an aggregator for everything except KDP and Google Play due to the number of books I have available at present. Draft2Digital does distribute to Amazon, but if you're a fan of being paid three times a month, use KDP separately from Draft2Digtal and Google Play on its own.
With that said: if you are a new author and would like to try Draft2Digital for your distribution, consider joining through my referral link by clicking or tapping here. You not only support the site, but this series as well!
Feel free to comment below if you have any thoughts about the above article, or feel that something needs clarification (and while you're at it, let me know what you want to see next!)