By Rob Davis
“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”
This quote from Harvey Dent from the ever-famous “Batman: The Dark Knight” movie and comic is an apt representation of what an ebook goes through as it rests in your hard drive, waiting to be published and sold.
As time passes, your ebook seems to get more ‘outdated’, not to mention you start losing interest in publishing it. There are two major reasons why people often fail to publish ebooks:
- No response to queries sent to publishers (yeah, that one hurts. I’ve been there.)
- Inability or unwillingness to go to the self-publishing route
The popular myth is that self-published books aren’t that refined or not the ‘epics’ that popular publishers usually go for. To add fuel to the fire, people also believe that if you self-publish, your book might not get the traction it needs to sell.
Here, I will give you 8 platforms that you can use to publish your ebook successfully without sacrificing on sales, just like some legends did (listed below). It might take some more work from your end, but the results are always well-worth it.
But before we get into it, let me name a few self-published legends who had their own epics to tell but found no publisher to do it for them. Who knows, perhaps one of these success stories helps motivate or inspire you to go this underrated path after all. These include:
- Fifty Shades of Grey – E. L. James
- The Martian – Andy Weir
- Eragon – Christopher Paolini
- The Path of Flames – Phil Tucker
- We Ride the Storm – Devin Madson
- Beautiful Disaster – Jamie McGuire, and many more!
Top 8 Ebook Publishing Platforms for 2020
1. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
No list of ebook publishing platforms would be complete without listing the biggest platform out there; the Amazon Kindle. It is easily one of the most popular online ebook marketplaces, let alone other types of goods.
Here’s an interesting statistic for you; out of all the books sold by Amazon, the most popular one is indie, taking up to 35% of the market share. This means with the right marketing practices, you can’t just publish your ebook here, you can sell it well enough as well!
The best part, publishing your ebook here is free and with every sale, Amazon allows you to earn somewhere between 35-70% of the total price.
Publishing your ebook here is easy; you simply have to register online, open your store, and click publish. Perform enough marketing and you’ll sell ebooks too! If you’re someone who only purchases a lot of stuff from Amazon, it’s time you started using the full potential of the platform and start publishing!
Plus, you don’t just sell your ebook on Amazon, you also get a good amount of verified feedback from buyers.
2. NOOK Press
Another book store, Barnes and Noble, also helps aspiring writers publish ebooks free of cost. It has two platforms on which your book gets published; the NOOK e-readers and BarnesAndNoble.com. The publishing site is called NOOK Press.
The best part about NOOK Press, besides that it’s free, is that it lets you control how much you want to charge for your book, which could in turn impact your royalty rates. Just make sure you don’t overcharge, lest sales suffer.
The NOOK Press tool offers all the tools necessary to publish an ebook, including a formatter.
3. iBooks Author
For those of you looking to go Apple exclusive or simply want to target the audience that uses Apple, you simply can’t go wrong with the iBooks Author. Surprisingly, this application is free. However, you do pay a hefty sum of your proceeds to Apple upon each sale.
In the app, you get access to thousands of ebook templates within Apple’s library along with other design tools. Publishing your book is easy and can be done with a tap or click of a button. Furthermore, you can set your own price here as well. Again, be careful when setting the price. Although you’ll end up paying a bigger percentage of your book’s proceeds, the customers will have to pay the full price, so increasing the price might lead to lost revenue.
The best part of this app is just how easy publishing an ebook with iBook Author is. It can be done straight from the Pages app! You can also target those looking for educational books by publishing your ebook on the iTunes U to target a specific market.
4. Google Play
Yes, Google Play isn’t just for those looking to download software or games, you can publish ebooks here as well. Google Play allows you to target Android and Google Books users easily via its Google Play Books Partner Center.
You have the same level of control here as you do with iBooks Author, only with Google Play, you don’t have to part with such a sizeable chunk of your ebook’s proceeds. You upload the book, set your price, and gain access to people around the world.
The best part about Google Play is that you get access to a much larger market than with any other platform, including Amazon Kindle. Plus, publishing ebooks on Google Play means that while your ebook will be better compatible with Android devices, anyone who uses Google will be able to read your book.
This includes Apple, Android, and Windows devices alike. You get to benefit from users’ familiarity to the search engine, its enhanced UI, and not to mention how Google will almost always give you preference over the competition.
For example, if your book is published on Amazon and Google (bad idea, plus not possible due to the exclusivity clause you agree to in the ‘terms and conditions’ page), Google will always put your Google book on Google Books ebook first.
Next up, possibly the only platform capable of giving the giants a challenge without itself being a giant: Smashwords. It is a free tool for those looking to edit, format, market, distribute, manage metadata, and create sales reports of their ebooks. As well as for those who want nothing to do with all that – just want to publish.
With Smashwords, you get complete control over your book – something that even print-authors rarely get. You get to set not only the price, but also the sample size and how the ebook is going to be marketed.
The best part about Smashwords is the percentage you get to keep on top of all the free tools; 60% if sold at any major ebook retailers and up to 80% if sold at the Smashwords store. The platform enjoys unprecedented integration with almost every store, including but not limited to:
- Google Books
- Barnes & Noble
- Aldiko, and several others.
Apart from the free supply chain tools listed above, Smashwords also gives you other features such as a free ISBN, unlimited updates, free formatting and ebook conversion tools, and more.
Tradebit is an ebook publishing platform that isn’t just limited to ebooks. With a simple click (after registering) you can upload your novella, short story, poem compilation, or a full-blown ebook for the world to see. It takes the traditional ebook publishing ideas and entwines them with today’s more salesy attitude of the internet.
Once published, you can choose whether you want to make it visible on your store’s front or not. Plus, you can pay a bit more to feature your book and take it to the website’s front page! If you sell any book from your own page, Tradebit will keep between 25-30% commission based on your location. If, however, the sale is made on its own page, the commission might increase.
Selling via Tradebit is where you get to be creative. Like Amazon, it has affiliate programs as well to help you market your ebook better. Moreover, the platform is fully integrated with social media so that you can market your products without any limitations. You can even use eBay to sell your product!
You can set your own price on Tradebit – just be sure to take customers’ perspective into consideration as well and not overcharge.
You get 10 GB storage upon signing up, allowing you to publish different sort of content, including videos and products! If you’re having trouble marketing your ebook, Tradebit offers up-to-date marketing tools so that you can reach a much wider audience.
Selz isn’t like a traditional bookstore where customers can go and browse through a collection of ebooks, choose the one they like and purchase it. Instead, Selz is a listing website where you can create a free account, create a store, and sell your ebook.
By registering onto Selz, you get access to its proprietary analytics tools, widgets, and fraud prevention tools on top of five custom listings. Simply upload your ebook and start selling. It’s not like the traditional publishing option since you don’t get an ISBN number attached to your book.
The premium membership of Selz starts at $12.99, offering unlimited listing as well as a wide variety of customization options for your ebook selling page.
With numerous selling options, a fee of just 3.5% on each ebook sold, and a monthly membership of just $10, Gumroad is the way to go. This is another website that lets you set up your own shop and sell your book from there. It is cheaper compared to Selz in terms of membership but has just as many options.
However, the market share of Selz is relatively higher than that of Gumroad, so consider this when selling your ebook. It moves away from the traditional ebook publishing platforms and does so rather gracefully, leaving little to be desired.
The flexibility in terms of customization isn’t just limited to crafting the outlook of your page but also includes crafting membership and subscription plans catered to specific user groups, offering discounts, promo codes, and direct sales.
With all these platforms out there to help you with your ebook publishing ventures, the only thing standing in your way to becoming a published author is you. If you’re having trouble finding the time or simply the motivation, you could always hire professional ghostwriter for your ebooks to edit, format, publish, and market your ebook, polishing it along the way.
If you think we’ve missed an important platform or would simply like to share your thoughts on this, let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear your ebook publishing endeavors and whether you found this helpful!
Rob Davis is a master of his craft, helping customers not only write but also publish and market their ebooks as well. He has helped numerous aspiring ebook writers to fulfill their ambitions by holding their hand and leading them towards getting published. Working at Ghost Ebook Writers, he has amassed years of experience training people the art of ebook writing – be it their own or as ghostwriters.