Self-publishing is no simple feat. It requires a lot of time, research, and yes, money. It's easy for hopeful authors to become bogged down as decision fatigue sets in. You've got a story in hand, and it's been revised till you feel it couldn't be any better. Maybe you've already sent it off to an editor. Now you're wondering: where do I publish my novel when it's all said and done?
While there are many platforms for self-publishers, and the big names are all reputable, with a bit of research you'll find that each platform is a bit different. For the sake of clarity, I'm going to hone in on the two self-pub platforms I hear questions about the most in my interactions with authors: Kindle Direct Publishing and IngramSpark.
This will not be a comprehensive overview of every little difference between these two platforms. I could write multiple blog posts on the subject, including an in-depth look at alternative self-publishing platforms. This is intended as a general overview of the two platforms for anyone just dipping their toes into the self-publishing world and feeling a bit overwhelmed with the information out there.
A quick comparison
*The info above is accurate as of the post date of this blog (2022).
Other quick self-pub info for the discerning author
Can I self-publish on more than one platform? Yes. You may want to in order to expand the reach of your book. You will need your own ISBN(s) to make this happen.
How many ISBNs do I need? One for each version of your book you intend to publish (for example, one for your e-book, one for your paperback, and one for your hardback). If you want to publish through both KDP and IngramSpark you will need your own ISBN(s) in hand. If you're in the US, Bowker is the only place to get your ISBN(s).
So which is better?
Depending on the type of book you want to publish (e-book versus paperback or paperback versus hardback) and the genre (are you publishing a picture book with a low page count?), each platform may have advantages over the other. If you aren't limited in this way, I recommend publishing through KDP first as it truly is a completely free experience and will place your book immediately into the (virtual) hands of readers. Unlike IngramSpark, KDP also allows you to make free revisions to formatting after you've uploaded your book file.
You can always publish with IngramSpark later on to place your book into a larger market. If you've always dreamed of seeing your book in a bookstore or local library, then IngramSpark is going to be your go-to for that type of distribution. And between KDP and IngramSpark, your book will have the widest distribution possible, which is the end goal, right?
Already self-published? I'd love to hear about your tips, tricks, and experiences outside of KDP and IngramSpark.