Publishing Platforms

I have three questions for everyone out there who has self-published a book or books.

If you used a platform other than Amazon, which one did you use, why did you use it, and how do you promote and sell?

I have published two books, both on Amazon, and I used that platform as it seemed the easiest and is obviously popular and sees lots of traffic. Yet I would now rather not use it. I actually avoid buying anything on Amazon if I can, feeling there is so much about it (and its founder) that I do not like. But equally I would not like to be a hypocrite, so I need to find another platform which will work for me.

Irrelevant-ish photo – making paper by hand in Kalimpong, India

What is the answer, good people of WordPress?

66 thoughts on “Publishing Platforms

  1. I’ve used both Smashwords and Draft2Digital (D2D), and one attempt with Google Play, but removed that. I haven’t tried to do it by sales sites individually (Kobo, Apple, etc.), too much work. Some have who say it’s worth it for the deals they get, but I’m not good enough to go the whole highway thing yet.
    I’m about to take D2D (I used them as they sell through Amazon, but the returns to me aren’t as expected (shd be 70%, but isn’t for all countries) out of the frame, and stick with Smashwords (who may sell through Amazon if you get good sales).

    Good luck, and it would be interesting to see how you go with it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Cage. I’ve had Smashwords recommended to me before, but I understand they only produce e-books and not physical copies – I think those are what might cause me the most problems, and that’s the format I would like most to produce.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I think it depends on whether you want to see primarily ebooks or paperbacks. From what I’ve heard there are far better places to see ebooks from than Amazon – Kobo or even Apple Books. I’m actually thinking of looking into it. I’ll let you know what I discover.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Jan. I’d like both, but I see paperbacks as being slightly more of a priority. I’ve tried Kobo in the past and I wasn’t overly impressed, but having said that I made no effort to promote them. In fact promotion is likely to be my biggest problem, but that’s another story.

      Yes, I’d be really keen to find out what you learn.

      Like

  3. I went with Draft2Digital for a while. They distribute ebooks to other platforms such as Kobo, Apple etc. Unfortunately I haven’t had any luck ‘going wide’. Haven’t had a hell of a lot on Amazon either, but I have had some. I suspect it doesn’t matter where you have your books for sale so long as you market them properly. I’m terrible at marketing and can’t afford paid advertising so…-shrug-
    I have just read an interesting post about paid advertising that said some of these advertising places have caps on how much you have to spend – e.g. Book Raid has a cap of $40 so no matter how many ‘clicks’ you get, you only pay a max. of $40. That’s something I could afford so…maybe next time I’ll give one of those places a try.

    Good luck. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Cage mentioned Draft2Digital – I’d never heard of them before.

      ‘I suspect it doesn’t matter where you have your books for sale so long as you market them properly. I’m terrible at marketing and can’t afford paid advertising’ – those are absolutely my feelings, too. I can’t market to save my life – in which case perhaps it doesn’t matter what platform I use!

      And I’ve never paid for advertising, because the feedback I’ve had is that it never justifies the outlay, but it might be worth looking at the Book Raid one you mention.

      Thank you!

      Liked by 2 people

            1. Hi. I am a social media marketing assistant and content promoter. I can tell you that yes marketing is difficult. I can tell you that yes marketing can if you go with the wrong people cost a fortune and bring about small result. I can also tell you that my prices are very very inexpensive, tailored to meet the clients needs, and they do bring about results. My services require author participation, but I have lots of clients who can give you great references. In the meantime, whatever you do have fun doing it. Have a great rest of your day

              Sent from my iPhone

              >

              Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Plaisted Publishing and commented:
    Other platforms I’ve used… for myself or for clients. Smashwords, draft to digital, Lulu, Ingram Spark. I’ve yet to use Kobo and Nook (Barnes & Noble) Each one is different on how you upload and set up your book to some degree. Most of them do wide distribution which means you can still get books on Amazon, however, the royalty is peanuts. During these Covid times, I don’t publish paperbacks on KDP due to not being able to get Author Copies sent to NZ. I have to use Lulu instead. I don’t like the paperbacks on Draft to digital (unless they have changed since I last looked.) I like Smashwords because it means those who use a screen reader can still download and read your book. It really is a matter of picking and choosing what is right for you.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for the re-blog, Claire.

      Lulu and Smashwords are platforms that seem to be getting lots of mentions. It would be ideal, obviously, to have both e-book and paperback on the same platform (another reason I used Amazon), but I think I’m correct in thinking Smashwords don’t produce paperbacks. Do Lulu produce e-books?

      I’d settle for a smaller royalty if I was happy with the platform, as long as it wasn’t ridiculously small – it would feel like the situation I’ve met in my incarnation as a painter when gallery owners want to take about 80% of any sales and you think ‘Well, I painted the damn thing! I don’t think so!’

      Liked by 3 people

        1. I think that fee is worth it!

          I cannot remember if my books are there or not?

          Patty L. Fletcher

          Self-Published Author and Social Media Promotional Assistant

          Email: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

          See my latest book, Pathway to Freedom Broken and Healed: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life Second Edition in eBook and Paperback at: https://www.amazon.com/Patty-L.-Fletcher/e/B00Q9I7RWG

          Find it in various accessible formats: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/PattyFletcher

          See my Facebook business page: https://www.facebook.com/tellittotheworld/

          Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a client who is using kobo and getting results it has come about by my putting his kobo link directly into his sponsor ad space. Anyway, you really have to realize that we as authors are in a blizzard of authors we are but snowflakes in that blizzard and so if people do not know about us they cannot by our work they are not scrolling through Amazon looking for us we have to leap out at them.

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Hi.

            Well, like I say, I’m not going to advertise myself, but if you want to see a unique fun way to promote yourself which won’t break your bank, check out the services and sponsor pages on my blog. It will give you a whole new way to look at promoting your work.

            I make marketing fun!

            Patty L. Fletcher

            Self-Published Author and Social Media Promotional Assistant

            Email: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

            See my latest book, Pathway to Freedom Broken and Healed: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life Second Edition in eBook and Paperback at: https://www.amazon.com/Patty-L.-Fletcher/e/B00Q9I7RWG

            Find it in various accessible formats: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/PattyFletcher

            See my Facebook business page: https://www.facebook.com/tellittotheworld/

            Liked by 1 person

          1. The ad thing with Amazon is a trap. You can never expand if you get stuck in that.

            Patty L. Fletcher

            Self-Published Author and Social Media Promotional Assistant

            Email: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

            See my latest book, Pathway to Freedom Broken and Healed: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life Second Edition in eBook and Paperback at: https://www.amazon.com/Patty-L.-Fletcher/e/B00Q9I7RWG

            Find it in various accessible formats: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/PattyFletcher

            See my Facebook business page: https://www.facebook.com/tellittotheworld/

            Liked by 1 person

              1. Hi.

                I thought so but someone wrote how the ads and the money they make from them makes it hard to go wide and so that’s what inspired my thought. Sorry, possibly I replied to the wrong comment. That’s easy to do when you’re using a screenreader program. Sometimes the computer doesn’t do quite what you tell it. 😊

                I enjoyed the post.

                Patty L. Fletcher

                Self-Published Author and Social Media Promotional Assistant

                Email: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

                See my latest book, Pathway to Freedom Broken and Healed: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life Second Edition in eBook and Paperback at: https://www.amazon.com/Patty-L.-Fletcher/e/B00Q9I7RWG

                Find it in various accessible formats: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/PattyFletcher

                See my Facebook business page: https://www.facebook.com/tellittotheworld/

                Liked by 1 person

                  1. Hi.

                    I’ve got to be dashing off now to work on my magazine for the month but before I go I’d like to add one more thought to the mix.

                    I think it’s a great idea to be on Amazon. They are by far the largest seller of books both Paperbacks and eBooks. However, I do not think that should be one’s only platform.

                    That having been said, I think that one should try not to spread themselves too thin. As with social media, narrowing one’s focus will help with the promotion process. There are a lot of ways to promote one’s self which require nothing more than set it and forget it.

                    That however will only take you so far. As with blogging, if you’re not engaging with your readers, they’re going to lose interest in you and go onto something and someone else.

                    Just my marketing musings.

                    Patty L. Fletcher

                    Self-Published Author and Social Media Promotional Assistant

                    Email: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

                    See my latest book, Pathway to Freedom Broken and Healed: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life Second Edition in eBook and Paperback at: https://www.amazon.com/Patty-L.-Fletcher/e/B00Q9I7RWG

                    Find it in various accessible formats: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/PattyFletcher

                    See my Facebook business page: https://www.facebook.com/tellittotheworld/

                    Liked by 1 person

  5. My books have been languishing because I’ve been offline for quite a long time. I had them enrolled in Amazon KDP Select because the Countdown deals used to bring in sales. I’ve taken them out now and will be going with Draft2Digital. D2D is starting paperback publishing too now. The Amazon taking over the world thing is definitely a thing. I watched a Youtube artist’s video about the Amazon Basics colour pencils and was blown away by how many people commented that they would never buy them on principle no matter how well they worked.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think D2D is another one I must take a look at – a couple of other people have mentioned them.

      I like that you say there were a lot of people commenting they would never buy the Amazon pencils on principle – I hope that attitude spreads a bit more!

      Thanks, Jo.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I dislike Amazon as an overlarge global entity who are reluctant to pay taxes, reluctant to pay their staff decent wages, and who find it convenient to hang onto any money earned from book sales by you or me for three months before paying us.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Val (Erde)

    I’ve had friends and one relative who published on Lulu. I’ve never self-published anything myself – at least, not to sell online… have certainly done some offline self-publishing but that was always small run and was poetry.

    Be aware that some of the sites that seem to be separate from Amazon are either owned by them or distribute to Amazon. It has its greedy claws in everything.

    Hope you’re well, sorry I’ve not been around the blogosphere much. Since getting rid of all of my blogs I’ve been rather distracted by other things. Oh and I now have to use a new email for commenting as wordpress still haven’t released the one I used with Colouring the Past.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nice to see you here, Val.

      Yes, they’re impossible to completely avoid. Many platforms will sell through Amazon, but since they won’t be the only platform, at least that dilutes their profits slightly. I’ve unpublished my books on Amazon, but they won’t take down the listing completely, as they argue someone might put up second copies. Not much I can do about that.

      It’ll probably be Lulu – I haven’t decided for certain, yet. But no rush.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Nan Jenkins

    You pose a great question. I have just learn of lulu and ingramsparks through YouTube research. I have also learned a few new ones reading the comments. Good luck with your quest of being free of amazon.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m just trying to figure out if I can publish at Amazon while also publishing at Smashwords. I quite like Smashwords, so far (and I’m VERY new at this)…and Amazon, honestly, gives me the willies. I feel…overwhelmed over there.

        The journey continues. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. It depends what you’re after, really. There’s no reason you can’t publish on both platforms, unless with Amazon you enrol your book into their KDP select scheme, in which you declare your book will only be on their platform. It does work well – the reason I left is I have issues with them as a tax-dodging low-paying multinational, not their efficiency.

          Liked by 1 person

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