Would you like to publish your own eBook, but you have no idea how to do it? We’ll walk you through the best publishing platforms that make the process super easy!
eBooks are insanely popular these days, and more people than ever are becoming self-published authors. As a result, there are tons of different eBook publishing platforms to choose from if you feel like jumping on the bandwagon!
Essentially, these websites give you the ability to promote and sell copies of your eBook. They all work a little differently and everyone takes a little piece of the pie when they make some money.
We review and rate some of the best publishing sites below.
Top 7 eBook Publishing Platforms
Many authors upload their eBook to Amazon KDP and then to an aggregator site to reach other retailers. But don’t be crazy; The more platforms you have to work on, the more valuable time it takes – – nor does it make sense to submit your book to the same stores more than once.
This is our round-up of the top eBook publishing platforms. However, we encourage you to check these (and others) for yourself:
License fees: 60% from the retailer, 80% from the Smashwords Store
Smashwords is one of the best websites for eBook aggregators – – Upload your book with them and it will reach Apple Books, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and download more retailers and library networks.
They give you a free ISBN if you want one and give you daily sales reports from the biggest stores so you can keep track of how well your book is doing.
You earn 60% of all sales through a retailer (since Smashwords also makes a small cut) and 80% of all books sold in the Smashbooks Store.
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
License fees: Up to 70%
Amazon sells an absolutely HUGE number of eBooks, so the Amazon KDP publishing platform is also very popular – – This allows you to reach a large audience.
It accepts text documents and EPUB files but converts them to a Kindle book for sale only on Amazon. KDP gives your book a free ASIN that works like an ISBN.
The optional KDP Select program offers higher license fees and promotional tools. However, you need to list your title exclusively on Amazon in order to use it (which means you can’t sell your book anywhere else!).
Otherwise, get 70% royalties on books priced between $ 2.99 and $ 9.99, and 35% on books priced lower or higher, up to a maximum of $ 200.
KDP also offers some free software if you want to publish illustrated books. Use Kindle Kids’ Book Creator for picture books and Kindle Comic Creator for graphic novels and your hand-drawn masterpieces.
Apple iBooks author
Costs: Free (Mac only)
License fees: 70%
iBooks Author is a gateway for publishing books on the Apple Books Store and comes with some nifty free software that you can use to create your bestsellers, including illustrated books.
However, books that you save in iBooks format can Only available through the iBooks Store. In order to sell anywhere else, you will need to save your book in a different format. However, as far as we know, iBooks Author can only save an iBook, PDF, or rudimentary text file, not an EPUB.
You need a Mac system to use it. So, if you don’t have a Mac system, it might be better to use an aggregator site like Smashwords to get your eBook on Apple Books.
License fees: 60%
This is a fairly new aggregator site with a more modern and elegant design than the old school Smashwords, their main competitor.
It doesn’t get distributed to as many websites as Smashwords, but it hits all the major websites like Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.
The best thing about Draft2Digital is the automated formatting service that turns your simple Word document into a smart, professional eBook – it’s easy!
License fees: 40-50% from retailers, 75% from Lulu books
Another up and coming eBook aggregators website, Lulu will be distributing your eBook to all major retailers (including Amazon).
However, unlike Draft2Digital, they don’t help you with formatting and your book has to pass the quality assurance test to be accepted.
If you are not sure how to do this yourself, it may be better to go elsewhere. Remember that Lulu also offers a marketing service (at an additional cost), including website setup and promotion.
Kobo writes life
License fees: 70%
Kobo is a pretty big eBook retailer – while not on the same level as Amazon or Apple, it’s available in 190 countries.
You convert your manuscript to EPUB format. As long as your book is priced at £ 1.99 or more, you’ll get 70% off the list price of your book – any books that are cheaper will give you 45%. Plus, you can publish your books elsewhere as you wish!
Barnes and Noble Press
License fees: 65%
Formerly Nook Press, this is the official Barnes & Noble e-book publishing site – they are a large retailer in the US and have a huge audience here in the UK too.
You’ll earn 65% on books priced at $ 2.99 or more, which means you’ll earn more if you distribute directly through B&N rather than an aggregator site. However, uploading your books to individual retailers is more problematic.
They take advantage of all of the extra advertising that comes with visiting the B&N website (they have millions of customers) and they provide an easy to navigate dashboard that you can use to track sales.
Where should you publish your eBook?
There are a number of different considerations to consider when choosing a publishing platform. First, most publish pages fall into one of two categories:
- You sell books directly to readers – These websites act as both eBook retailers (online stores) and publishers and include companies such as Amazon, Apple Books, and Barnes & Noble
- They distribute your eBook to a number of retailers – These websites, known as aggregators, distribute your book to a number of retailers, including those listed above.
The second option sounds more appealing (surely more retailers mean more customers, right?), But keep in mind that it usually comes with an additional cost. Also, keep in mind that a large portion of eBook sales come from Amazon alone.
How do you choose a platform that suits you? As with anything, take a look at some and compare their key features:
- How much Are they charging? for converting or hosting your book (heads up: most don’t ask for anything!)?
- Do you need your own? ISBN number?
- Can you submit your book as? Word file?
- Which Formats Will your book be converted? EPUB (short for “electronic publishing”) is the most common and versatile eBook format, but some websites may use others
- How long does conversion to take?
- Can you download the converted EPUB if necessary? (It’s convenient for marketing purposes)
- Can you transfer to another publishing platform if you want later?
- How long will it take to finish your book? in the stores? Which shops?
- How much will you earn on every sale (License fees)? Don’t forget your publishing platform AND the store will both want a cut!
- When are you going to get paidhow and in which currency?
Alternatives to using a publishing platform
Publishing platforms take the burden off the process of creating an eBook – and definitely help get your title in front of customers – but you don’t to have use one.
Here are a few other options you can try:
- Save your finished text document as a PDF (Some word processing programs allow this)
- Some word processing programs allow you to save your file as a EPUBalso – although it can play with the layout quickly and easily!
- If you’re more tech-savvy, you can Code your own EPUB from scratch – or try Caliber, a free desktop converter that lets you peek behind the scenes and get knee-deep code
You can then sell PDFs or EPUB files from your own website or blog – that way you are in full control and every profit you make is 100% yours!
Once you’ve chosen your publishing platform, it’s time to get to work – we’ll walk you step by step through the process of publishing and marketing your eBook!