Pick Your Platform, part one

Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time researching the various self-publishing platforms. There are quite a few of them out there, and, no surprise, trying to compare them, is often like comparing apples and oranges. There are a few main players though, and I thought I would take some time to give you a quick overview in a three part series.

In part one, we will look at publishing your eBook.

There are two main formats that you need to have if you want to get your ebook out to the widest audience possible: .mobi and .epub.

.MOBI

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Amazon is a big player in the self-publishing world. No surprise there really. In most ebook markets, the Kindle, Amazon’s eReader which uses the proprietary .mobi format, holds the largest market share. Most Kindle ebooks must be bought from Amazon’s Kindle store and can only be read using an Amazon device or the Amazon eReader app (provided free by Amazon for most platforms: Android, PC, etc).

Since Amazon is going to be one of the bigger sales avenue (if not the biggest) for my book in eBook form, I will certainly be publishing to Kindle. This is made simple (or at least that’s what they say, I haven’t tried it yet) using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Once your book is uploaded and published, it will be listed across the Amazon empire, including Canada (Yay!). You are able to set your own pricing and you can earn up to 70% of the list price.

.EPUB

Most of the rest of the eReaders in the world use the .epub format which is an open industry standard maintained by the International Digital Publishers Forum (IDPF). The .epub format is accepted and distributed directly by most major ebookstores, including Google, Apple’s ibookstore, Barnes and Noble and Kobo (again, Yay for Canada).

You can directly publish your .epub to Kobo using their Kobo Writing Life platform.  It seems to be pretty straightforward. You can set your own pricing and you earn 70% of the list price.

There are several third party distribution platforms that will distribute your ebook to other ebookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Apple so if you want to reach more than just Kindle and Kobo, you will probably have to look at this option as well. (There will be more information on Third Pary Platforms in part three).

Many of these third party companies will also distribute to Kobo for you, but from what I have read, if you can deal with Kobo directly you are better off doing so. Not only will it allow you to set your own prices across their various markets, you have the opportunity of taking advantage of being part of limited time sales, thus getting your book in front of more readers.

In the next instalment, I’ll look at printing your book.

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