My on-going adventure into e-book publishing has been eye-opening. Although I didn’t do even a fraction of it myself, setting up an account on Amazon/Kindle seemed relatively easy (once I got through the hurdle of the tax-exempt forms required for non-American publishers). Kindle Direct Publishing’s instructions were clear and to-the-point, a class act. And the cost: zero. 

Barns & Noble doesn’t deal with non-US publishers at all—so that was a dead-end.

Kobo is a growing force in Europe, but they are suffering growing pains—and it shows. Their contracts were confusing and contradictory. They’ve launched a clean, new interface—but it couldn’t upload my books (too big!), so we had to go the geeky route. (So glad Kris was dealing with it, not me.) Although my books are up, I still can’t see them, much less get at any direct information about my sales. Too, it seems they are weekly changing their system. Go, Kobo! You’re David against Goliath, but you do need to get your act together. 

iTunes, known to take For Ever to approve a title, came through surprisingly quickly. There were glitches uploading, but once up, okay, although their sales reporting system leaves a bit to be desired. Plus, the sales are about 1% of what gets sold on Amazon. That said, the titles display most beautifully there. 

Because most of my INK titles are sold in the UK, I wanted to be in Waterstones and other UK venues. That has turned into an expensive headache: first to get the titles on Nielsen’s database (I’m still working on that), then to have to pay for a middleman. (This requirement was discovered in a deluge of confusing small print.) OK, I got that far, but I was just now informed that to get a book synopsis and reviews even mentioned on Waterstones’ e-book website (which is hard to find and not that functional), I’d have to pay upwards of $240 plus tax each year. I think not

Which all brings me back to Kindle Direct Publishing: its user-friendly interface, the remarkable ease of uploading and editing … for free. (Sort of: there is a charge for each downloaded purchased title.) Plus, Kindle accounts for well over 90% of sales: no wonder.

I’ve got my own issues with Amazon, but frankly? My practical advice to someone starting out in e-book self-publishing: stick with Kindle Direct.

For information about Sandra Gulland Ink titles: click here.