Smashwords founder Mark Coker has created an Introduction to Smashwords slideshow, to get the word out to more authors. I sometimes come across authors who plan to self-publish eBooks but have never heard of Smashwords. My experience with Smashwords has been wonderful, so I’m always happy to tell others about it.
Everyone was excited when the Kindle 70% royalty went live. But now folks are grumbling. Why? Because of the fine print.
Amazon doesn’t pay the 70% royalty based on the list price, which is the price the publisher set. It pays it based on the price in effect when a copy sells. To match sale prices at other online stores, Amazon often sells books at a lower price than the list price, so this won’t be a rare occurrence. It’s already happening to folks that belong to EPIC.
For example, if a publisher sets the list price for My eBook to $5.99, and Barnes & Noble puts My eBook on sale for $2.99, Amazon may adjust its price to $2.99. When a copy sells, the publisher will get 70% of $2.99, not $5.99.
The 35% royalty option doesn’t operate this way. The publisher always gets 35% of the list price.
Keep your eye out for this type of clause when considering where to offer your books and what options to select.
Last month, Barnes and Noble announced that it would offer self-serve eBook publishing, similar to Amazon’s DTP, in the summer of 2010. The announcement was short on information, but now a FAQ is available.
Unfortunately it looks like a US bank account is required, which isn’t good news for those of us outside the US. For the longest time, Kindle publishing was off-limits for the same reason, but Amazon dropped the US bank account requirement earlier this year.
So Smashwords might still be the best way for anyone outside the US to make eBooks available at B&N. I’ll keep my eye on the PubIt! news.
I see this question asked a lot “out there,” especially for Canada. You see, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, Amazon.ca is a scaled down version of Amazon.com. If you want to publish to the Kindle and go to Amazon.ca, you won’t find what you’re looking for.
To publish to the Kindle, you must use Amazon’s DTP Platform. If you have an Amazon account, you’re already registered. If not, it’s easy to sign up.
Read the Get Started and FAQs sections. If you run into a problem, check the forums, which contain useful information.
The process goes something like this:
- You provide your publisher information (name, address, how you want to be paid, etc.).
- You provide information about your book.
- You upload your book. Amazon says it prefers HTML, but it will also take other file types: Word (.doc), MOBI, PDF, TXT. Unless you upload a MOBI file, it will convert your file to a format the Kindle can use. You can look at the results of the conversion and tweak, if necessary. You’ll find guidance in the FAQs and forums if you need help. If you upload a MOBI file, you’re not offered the chance to tweak since no conversion is necessary, so make sure it looks all right before you upload it.
- It’ll say that your book will go live in 48-72 hours, but it can take longer. You’ll probably receive an email from Amazon asking you to verify that you have the rights to sell the book. Your book won’t go live until you provide the information they requested.
- Your book is live!
Happy Kindle publishing!
If you’re Canadian and want to self-publish your book, but you don’t know where to start or you’re trying to piece it all together, check out my comprehensive Self-Publishing for Canadians book.
Monitoring the various Amazon sites to make sure my book is showing up all right has been a fascinating experience. Before this, I’d assumed that all Amazon sites drew their information from a central database. Not so. They seem to operate as independent entities. Reviews, tags, availability, and book information can vary from one Amazon site to the next.
My book’s information first showed up at Amazon.com, which makes sense. It also showed up quickly at Amazon.co.uk, but with “Unknown Imprint” listed as the publisher. So apparently all of a book’s metadata isn’t pushed out at the same time, or perhaps each Amazon site obtains the publisher information from a different source.
At Amazon.ca, the book also appeared with ”Unknown Imprint” as the publisher, and the listing initially said something like, “Sign up if you want to be notified when this item becomes available.” As of yesterday, Norn Publishing is the publisher and the site is now accepting pre-orders. [Note: this post was originally published in January 2010, on another of my blogs]
I had set the publication date at LSI to February 1, 2010. Usually bookstores ignore that date and sell LSI books as soon as they become available for printing, but I guess Amazon.ca does things differently. Amazon.fr apparently does, too.
As far as the Kindle version goes, I uploaded it to Amazon’s DTP platform last week. A few days later Amazon asked me to confirm that I own the digital rights. I sent them the information they requested, and now it’s a waiting game again. So hopefully the Kindle version will be available soon.
I’m glad Amazon is being careful about rights. It wasn’t always, and that allowed people to sell books in the Kindle store when they didn’t own the digital rights. Just last week someone reported on one of the publishing groups that she’d found one of her books for sale in the Kindle store under another publishing company’s name. She informed Amazon and they took it down, but the worrisome part was that the Kindle book seemed to have been created from the source files for her book. So how did the other publisher get its hands on her source files?
She contacted the other publisher and it said that the same thing had happened to its books and may have something to do with Amazon’s Search Inside feature. If you want your book in the Search Inside program, you have to provide Amazon with a PDF file of your book, usually the same PDF file you provided to the printer. I guess the other publisher was trying to imply that somehow there was a mix-up at Amazon and the book ended up in the Kindle store. But the whole thing sounds fishy to me. Even if Amazon did make a mistake, why would the book end up in the Kindle store under another publisher’s name?