If you’ve decided on self publishing, you still have to decide where. I strongly advise against paying to self publish. I’ve never tried it myself; but with other options available; paying to self publish seems like a waste of money to me.
One of the most popular options for self publishing is Amazon. Just for this option alone, there choices to be made. Do you publish solely on Amazon or on various platforms?
Publishing your eBook exclusively on Amazon allows the author to register it on KDP. This means that readers who join Kindle Unlimited, paying a monthly subscription fee, can read your book without buying it.
What you receive as the author, is a very small payment per page read. This often equates to much less than if someone had bought your book. Although for many readers, if may not come down to a choice of buying or reading through their Kindle Unlimited membership. It’s quite possible that many subscribers choose to read a book which they would not have bought, by an author they’ve never heard of, simply because they have already paid the monthly fee and have nothing to lose financially. Therefore, it”s a good way to bring in new readers and possible future fans who will want to read more from you, if they like what they have already read.
It’s entirely possible that making your eBook available on more platforms can lead to more exposure and more readers. My personal experience is that Amazon has the been most successful platform for me. I have seen other authors have success on multiple platforms though. The best thing to do if you have more than one book, is to try having one exclusive to Amazon and making the other more widely available, to see which option works best for you.
Smashwords is another platform I’ve tried. It gives authors the option to have their book available in various eBook formats, as well as on various platforms such as iBooks and Kobo. This saves the time and hassle of uploading your book individually to each website. Lulu also has this feature, but I have never tried it and can’t comment. So I will stick to talking about Smashwords.
It’s important to remember that Amazon, Smashwords and other self publishing websites have formatting guidelines and often won’t accept your eBook if these aren’t followed.
There are some benefits to publishing your eBook non exclusively.. Personally I haven’t received any paid sales on Smashwords, but have listed some short stories on there for free, which have had numerous downloads over time and gained me some small amount of exposure. Although, compared to Amazon, even downloads of free my eBooks are low. This has been my experience, when advertising my Amazon and Smashwords books through Facebook and Fiverr, but I will discuss advertising in a future blog post.