In the last few months, a lot has changed with some of the major self-publishing channels, specifically Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Smashwords.
Aside from Amazon launching Kindle Worlds, which changes the way fan fiction is written and published, it also recently started publishing Kindle Single Interviews. The second interview will be with Obama. Additionally, when you publish via KDP and upload your e-book to sell, the program will automatically scan for misspelled words that you can easily go back and correct.
Barnes & Noble moved from PubIt to Nook Press, though it still has its issues. Personally, I preferred PubIt. Although Nook Press is a slicker platform, I don’t like the way it treats EPUBs. Sure, you can easily write/edit/format your e-book on Nook Press, and Nook will convert it to an EPUB file to sell on its site. But if you are taking the time to format your e-books on your own, which I like to do because it gives me more control over my book and looks more professional, it messes up the files. PubIt used to let me upload my own EPUB file, but Nook Press takes my already validated EPUB file and turns it into a messy EPUB file. It screws up some of my formatting and changes all the names of my HTML files, which makes it harder to edit later.
Kobo Writing Life recently updated the platform to explain all the steps necessary to publish on Kobo. It’s a handy tool but I honestly don’t think it helps much more. To me, the Kobo interface was always slick and intuitive. However, though Kobo can convert Word docs to EPUBs, I still recommend formatting an e-book on your own and uploading your own file. This is because Kobo uses Calibre, and if you were to download that file and run it through EPUB (or try to use that file to sell on another platform) there would be errors and your EPUB would not be accepted on other retail channels (such as Apple).
A few weeks ago, in July, Smashwords introduced pre-orders for iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. Authors now have the ability to start their marketing earlier, get readers to pre-order their books, and potentially shoot to the top of the best seller lists. According to Mark Coker on HuffPo, there are six reasons that pre-orders will become a best practice for indie authors: higher placement in best seller lists, simultaneous availability, advance marketing, existing titles helping to market pre-orders, capturing readers attention, and increased on-store merchandising.
Smashwords also recently started letting authors create their own interviews. According to the Smashwords blog, the interviews help readers get to know authors and make them more likely to buy books. Here’s a little more on how it works, according to Mark Coker on his blog:
Smashwords Interviews guides authors to create, edit and publish their own Q&A interview. Authors simply answer a series of questions, or create their own questions, and then click publish.
Your interview will be published on the Smashwords site, and is cross linked and discoverable from your author profile page, each of your book pages, and the Smashwords home page. At the end of each interview is a clickable listing of the author’s books. The interview includes social sharing features so your fans can help spread your interview on their favorite social media channels.
To learn more about creating your own e-books and distributing/selling them, take my Udemy course How to Create Beautiful E-Books.