Maybe you have already tried publishing your books on one of these platforms and wondering if you can also publish on the other one. Find out which of the two works best, IngramSpark vs. Amazon KDP: can you publish on both?
Today's article has three points and you're going to want to stick around for the third point. Because it is a secret as to how we can get onto Ingram Spark without paying anything.
The topic that we're discussing today is IngramSpark vs. Amazon KDP: can you publish on both? Now, this is a very common question not from new authors. Sometimes new authors are wondering which platform should you choose to go with?
For whatever reason, maybe you don't like Amazon, or whatever it might be you would choose Ingram Spark. So you're trying to decide between the two. But for most authors, it is not this question.
The real question is once you've actually got your book onto Amazon, should you perhaps go on to the next level? Which is putting your book onto Ingram Spark. But then again, isn't it already being distributed through the massive distribution network that is Amazon?
So maybe it's not worth your time and also Ingram Spark charges fees both for the ISBNs and also for reviewing your books. Whether we're talking about your EPUB digital book or the paperback book that you're doing with Ingram Spark.
This can be very frustrating for authors to figure out which is the right solution for them. And this is what we are going to discuss in today's article. Grab a copy of my absolutely free Self-Publishing Checklist.
It will help you make sure that you are not skipping any of the important steps when it comes to self-publishing your book and getting your book to sell. So let's get into it from my own story. When I first got started, I started on Amazon like so many self-published authors.
Starting on Amazon, I started seeing sales in my books. So that was great. Started with the Kindle and moved on to KDP or Kindle Direct Publishing, we're dealing with Kindle books.
Check out this related article: How to Self-Publish Your First Book: Step-by-step tutorial
We've been putting on their Mobi files which are now EPUBs that we're putting out there onto the Amazon platform. And now it's KDP Print, it used to be CreateSpace. They've switched names now and then and they buy up companies and such.
But it's now KDP Print that we're looking at here for this particular one. Then the final thing is the audiobooks, putting it on ACX Audible, getting my books onto those markets, and Apple ibooks as well at iTunes. I believe they also push it through there and maybe some others as well.
So we already have a massive distribution just sticking inside of the Amazon network itself. But then I learned that there are risks associated with staying on only one of the platforms in particular.
People who are doing things that can sometimes seem a little innocent. Like for example, people with their promo codes, giving out promo codes for people to leave reviews and stuff. Then Amazon ACX accusing them of abusing the system. And as a result, getting their accounts frozen and is something I do not believe is worth doing.
The Downside Of IngramSpark
Several years ago, ACX come after me and freeze my account for a little bit but then they opened it up. And now allowed me, they didn't ever freeze my earnings but stopped me from publishing new books. But it was a misunderstanding and was clarified.
So they allowed me to continue publishing. But the fact is they can shut your account down whenever they want. For example, some people have had their accounts threatened as a result of shifting their prices too much on their paperbacks.
That's one thing that could get you in trouble or maybe it's getting reviews from your friends and family or other authors with review swaps. These are all things that could theoretically potentially get your account shut down. And if you're only on Amazon, this is going to get you in trouble.
You're going to have all of your money disappear immediately. So I began to realize that there is a risk associated with only being on one platform. So I started moving my books to Smashwords where we're selling to an even broader audience.
I chose them over Draft2Digital based upon the distribution channels. And the fact that I already know how to create the books in the right format and in terms of the returns, it looked like a better deal for me.
Personally, I did explore some of the other ones but I found Smashwords for me was the clear winner. For hardbacks, it was Lulu because people started commenting they were making a ton of sales on hardback books of all things.
I figure if you have a paperback, why do you need a hardback? It's because some people like the way your books look on the bookshelf and the hardbacks will look a lot better. The final thing I had was that I heard that Ingram Spark had promo codes.
That would make it possible for me to use those promo codes for the review cost. And then also for the getting free ISBNs in Norway. That made a big difference in terms of the Ingram Spark side of things.
So I started to put my books on Ingram Spark, starting with my best performers on Amazon Print. Only to discover that yes I was getting higher sales on Ingram Spark for the same books compared to Amazon. So Ingram spark is the clear winner.
The downside is that your ISBN code can cost you $150 for one. And the review process on Ingram Spark is $50. Now we're already at $200 in order to put a book on Ingram Spark.
How long will it take you to earn that back? Well for me, it would take a couple of months for a given book to earn that money back. So it's still worth it. But in terms of running an experiment to even see if it would work, the price was a little bit prohibitive even for me to take the chance on that.
We're going to get into the secret here. The first thing I want to say on IngramSpark vs. Amazon KDP: can you publish on both? Yes, you can publish on both and it is a great idea because they have different distribution channels.
It's going to maximize the number of readers we're going to be able to hit with our books that we're putting out there. Ingram Spark is going to cost you since as I mentioned you'll have to pay for the ISBN and the cost of review. On the positive side, you can put both your eBook and your paperback book onto Ingram Spark for only $50 combined.
If you want to do one or the other, I think it was also like $50. So you almost can get the eBook on there for free. This was a mistake I was making earlier, not doing both. After all, I have a Kindle version, why do I need an eBook version?
The answer is because we want to maximize the distribution. We do not know which devices people are using to get their books and which format. Maybe they don't want to use the Kindle device, they want to use something else.
This will give them that flexibility in addition to of course Smashwords and Lulu. But we're focusing right now on KDP and Ingram Spark. And the secret answer of the day is that many countries like Canada and Norway will give you free ISBNs.
Now in Norway, you have to submit them into the library and there's a bunch of things. There are fewer restrictions in Norway than there are in Canada. But whatever country you're coming from, you might check on that.
Secondly, I've heard recently that they've changed the policies on the U.S. You can get the Ingram Spark ISBNs. Now, that may be a mistake, let me know if I'm incorrect on that.
But that was something I had heard recently and you can Google to find promo codes from Ingram Spark for free reviews of your book. This means you can get your books onto the print-on-demand and the eBook versions for free.
If you are playing these games correctly and it is just a game. Understanding the rules of the game, understanding the correct strategy of the game, and then following through. That is what this Blog is about.
Making sure you are not missing any of that. So those are the key things that I would highly suggest. If you are not on Ingram Spark, you should get over there immediately but first, start with Amazon. One thing at a time.
At selfpublishingmadeeasynow.com we like to keep it simple and easy. That is one of the things, do not overwhelm yourself too much at once. Because when you're doing covers for Ingram Spark, it can be very painful.
There's a whole bunch of things that are not involved that as opposed to when you're doing it for KDP Print. Lulu is even more painful than Ingram Spark in my personal opinion. Now we all have our own understandings and views of these.
Check out this related article: KDP Keyword Research Guide For Low Content Books
But each of these sites has its advantages and disadvantages and I actually prefer the best KDP Print. But the others give me better sales so you definitely need to consider it. So, IngramSpark vs. Amazon KDP: can you publish on both?
My question for you is are you publishing on Amazon and Ingram Spark? If you are, write "Yes" and if you aren't, write "No" below in the comments. So I know exactly where you're coming from.
To make sure the articles and videos I'm producing will be able to hit your needs better. Check out my other articles and videos for more answers to your self-publishing questions.