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June 23, 2012 / diannegray

Self-publishing #2 – e-books

The three publishers I use for e-books are Lulu, Kindle and Smashwords. All are relatively good and easy to use (they must be because I am by no means technologically minded).

The first one – Lulu – converts your hard cover book for free so that takes absolutely no work whatsoever and who can resist that! Having said that – to date I have not sold one e-book through Lulu but they are the biggest seller of my hard copy work (go figure).

Kindle was a little bit fiddly (for me because I’m an IT dummy) and it took me a few days to go through five novels and convert them so they would sit nicely on the site. There are plenty of companies that will do this for you (for a price), but unless there is a major reason why you can’t work on it yourself I strongly recommend you don’t pay someone to do it for you. This is a process that you are better off controlling yourself because you don’t really want to become dependent upon someone else if you need to update or make changes (and for all we know they may charge for a cut of the sales or for every time you want to add or remove something or adjust the price – which I have done several times). If I can e-publish, anybody can!

On your kindle dashboard you can see how many e-books you have sold in the past month in the US, UK, Spain, France, Italy, etc. But if you don’t live in the US you don’t get paid until you’ve reached $100 in sales. Also, if you don’t live in the US, UK, Canada or Germany you only get 35% for sales as opposed to 70% if you do live in these countries, which is a bit of a bummer for me.

So far, Kindle is my biggest seller of e-books.

Smashwords is my third publisher. They have a free step by step process to convert your book so it’s readable in almost every format. They take a small cut for each sale (not nearly as big as Kindle) and your book is available on a wider array of platforms. They distribute to Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, Diesel and Baker & Taylor’s Blio. Unlike Kindle, you get paid after only selling $10 worth of books.

Even though self-publishing hard copy and e-books is great – be prepared for some hair pulling and frustration to begin with. After you’ve done it a few times it just gets easier and easier.

Good luck and I’d be keen to hear of the experiences you’ve had with self-publishing, whether it’s been a success or a complete disaster!



Leave a Comment
  1. itsallthelittlemoments / Jun 23 2012 5:30 am

    Have you published traditionally too or have you always self-published? I’ve always been curious the difference between the two.


    • diannegray / Jun 23 2012 7:41 am

      Hey Brad – I’ve been published traditionally a few times, mainly writing competitions where the publishing house produces an anthology of award winning stories (Harper Collins Enter, Vintage Scarlet Stiletto the First Cut and Ginninderra Press Lunatics lovers and Poets). This great to get your name out there, but you don’t always get a cut of sales (two of these books reached the top of the bestseller list) you only get a flat payment which can be painful when you see it climbing the charts. When you self-publish you have more control over how much you get paid and what you really want to write (because editors like to cut, cut, cut). I’m pretty sure a lot of writers self-publish now (I know Stephen King started self-publishing in about 2000) because it gives them greater editorial and creative freedom. In short – it’s instantaneous and it pays better 🙂


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