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  Self-Publishing Basics  
  Writing On The Road logo

If considering self-publishing your creative work, there are four resources with the largest sales volume to date. Upload your book to all of them.

These four booksellers/distributors have the largest retail possibilities for your book.

They all make their catalogs available to booksellers around the world. Uploading your book is free, royalties are paid directly to your bank account, and all promotion is at your expense.


Amazon Kindle Publishing (KDP)


Amazon Kindle is a book aggregator that also has a retail sales option. Kindle Publishing is not a traditional publisher in that no contract is involved that covers the editing, proofreading, and cover design. Amazon Books currently has 65% of the online book market sales.

Any promotion available is paid for by you. The converted Kindle file (.mobi) cannot be used by any other publishing option.

Kindle Publishing (KDP) can convert your MSWord or HTML content file to its eBook format and provides commercial web space, all free services.

KDP makes it money by taking a percentage of the retail price (30% for ebooks $2.99 to $9.99, 65% for ebooks under $2.99 and over $9.99) and a few cents ($.15 per MB) for electronic distribution to the customer. Amazon makes 40% on print books (all costs included).

A good deal all round, but it is only one resource.

After converting the book content file to ePub (see more on this below), download kindlegen.exe to make the conversion from ePub to mobi.

How to convert : Put kindlegen.exe in the same directory as your ePub conversion file. In Winows File Manager, simply drag the epub file onto the Kindlegen.exe file and let go. A black screen displays the conversion. In the same directory, look for the .mobi file right next to the .ePub file. Review the .mobi file in your Kindle eReader. If it displays properly, upload directly to kdp.amazon.com. If not, change the content, convert again to ePub, then to Mobi.

When you convert and upload yourself (rather than allow a aggregator/distributor to do this part), the control over how it displays in the eReader or on a computer is in your hands.

See my book, "Writing & Publishing for Fun & Profit," for full details.

Format: .mobi


Barnes & Noble (Nook Press)

Nook Press

Although Barnes & Noble (Nook Press) no longer has a big sales presence, it provides the same free services and makes its money the same way by taking a percentage (35%) of the retail sales. There is no distribution fee currently.

Format: .ePub


Apple iBooks

Apple iBooks is the #2 bookseller in this country. It provides the same free services and makes its money the same way by taking a percentage (30%) of the retail sales.

To upload with Apple directly (ePub), you must use an Apple computer or iPad. All retail sales are conducted through iTunes, an Apple application that can be downloaded to a PC as well. Customers can use either version to buy your books.

Non-Mac users can work through another book distributor (aggregator) that is approved by Apple to upload the book. I use Draft2Digital.com for this purpose. They take a slice of the profit pie for this service.

Format: .ePub


Kobo Writing Life


Kobo is a large bookseller/distributor based in Toronto, Canada. Self-publish directly through Kobo Writing Life.

The process is basically the same as Kindle and Nook Press. Conversion to eBook format (ePub) is free. Their commission is a little different since they are not based in the USA (45%/70%).

Format: .ePub


International Sales

You can expect sales from customers in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and any country where there are English language readers.

After the commissions are deducted from foreign sales, the royalties are small. A sale is a sale though, so go for it.


Food for Thought

If you are rethinking the Kindle Select option, here is some food for thought.

Does it make sense to limit your book's exposure to one competitive source?

Is Amazon converting your text to Kindle format or are you doing the conversion?

From an economic standpoint, converting to eBook format can get expensive if you do not handle this process yourself. Some aggregators (distributors) charge for the conversion.

There are a few software applications available now that provide one-step conversions to ePub. From there It is an easy conversion from ePub to Mobi with Kindle’s own free software (see above).

Listed here are a few applications to research.


AtlantisWordProcessor.comMy favorite as it opens any Word file, and is inexpensive.


Publish ExpressThis is a free online utility that works well but some experimentation is necessary to keep the headings from dropping back to plain text. It handles graphics much better than I expected. It is free, so expect some instability.


Adobe InDesignThis is an expensive software and has a long learning curve. I have not used it myself.


JutohThis is a try-before-you-buy software for a test tryout only. It does not open Word files (or any other word processor files), so best start the document here. I tested the ePub conversion on a pasted text file and it seemed to work well.

    Scrivener—This software is a favorite among experienced writers. Free trial period. Does not open Word files or export to Word.


To successfully convert to eBook format regardless of the conversion method, a few rules must be followed.


Strip out all formatting not necessary for the headings and style sheets.


Use only a common serif and non-serif font, such as Arial, Helvetica, Georgia, and Times Roman.


Ensure tables are limited to 3 columns.


Go big on the graphics, rather than small. This does increase the file size, something to consider with Mobi. There may also be limitations with some of the conversion methods. Atlantis Word Processor does not have a problem with graphics.


Do not expect to use the same paragraph formatting as the print version. Strip out all headers and footers. Reformat any speciality paragraphs, etc.


eBooks are one long file, similar to HTML files. If you have problems with the conversion, try an HTML version.

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