Some readers prefer to feel the weight of a book and the texture of the pages of a physical print book-either paperback or hardcover. Some appreciate the convenience of accessing hundreds of books on their e-reader or electronic device. There are others who enjoy hearing stories read to them through an audiobook.
Self-publishing authors have access to technology that will allow them to distribute their books in each of these formats.
Distribute as Paperback
I often recommend that self-publishing authors partner with CreateSpace to distribute their paperback book. If I’m not convinced that CreateSpace can meet the author’s needs, I may encourage them to partner with Ingram Spark.
Take a moment to review these posts to see which company is best for your needs:
- Publish Your Book on Your Own with CreateSpace
- The Best POD Distribution Partners for Self-Publishing Authors
Distribute as Hardcover
I rarely recommend that first-time authors invest time and money into producing a hardcover book because the extra steps and cost involved rarely produce higher book sales. However, for authors who are confident that a hardcover release is key to their success, I recommend that they only release a hardcover version without a paperback version and that they use Ingram Spark.
Distribute as e-Book
e-Books are cheaper to produce because the printing step is skipped, so it’s not unusual for some authors to:
- Distribute their book only as an e-book,
- Use an e-book version of their book to raise money to produce the printed version (as in part of a crowdfunding campaign), or
- Release the e-book in addition to releasing the book in one or more of the other book format options for distribution.
Even the tightest budgets can usually afford to produce a quality e-book, and it usually doesn’t require too much additional time.
Learn how to produce and distribute an amazing e-book by reading the tips in this post: 7 Tips for Self-Publishing Profitable e-Books
Distribute as Audiobook
Your book shares your story, and every story is always better when we can hear it than when we read…or at least that’s the way I see it.
If you choose to release your book as an audiobook, seriously consider reading the book yourself instead of hiring someone else to do it. Not even the best of actors can have the same passion and conviction for your book’s message as you do, and if you make any errors during the recording process the sound engineer can edit them out.
Learn how to produce a memorable audiobook through the tips in this post: Publish Your Audiobook Like a Pro with ACX
As a self-publisher, you still have a full range of options for how you can distribute your book.
If a paperback distribution is your goal, consider also distributing as an e-book because the top distributors I recommend for paperback also have e-book distribution options.
If your dream book is a hardcover book, consider also releasing e-book and/or an audiobook options to give buyers other price points to consider. If you also want to release a paperback, consider waiting a year or so before releasing it because if you release both hardcover and paperback at the same time, most buyers will go for the cheaper option instead of buying the hardcover book that you put extra time and money into producing. The delayed-paperback release strategy is a common practice for traditional publishing companies, so there is no reason that you cannot do it too.
If you are looking forward to releasing your book as an e-book, consider releasing your book as a paperback too. Readers who fall in love with the e-book version are likely to buy the paperback version too.
If you plan to record an audiobook, don’t be shy and let your audience hear your voice. It can make a huge difference in how they enjoy your story, and you may be surprised by how much you enjoy telling your story!