Indie-Author Navigating Choices in Self-Publishing

September 27, 2017 by: Douglas

I’ve mentioned around this webpage and on bios before, how I’m constantly trying to navigate and contemplate the surge of indie-authors and self-publishing in a growing digital literature field. Recently, I cam face to face with some harsh consequences to my decisions.

Roll back the clock to when Trafford published my books. Having had rejection after rejection, I found a company called Trafford that made self-publishing relatively easy and cheap, for that point in time anyway. Even then, I had to pay over a thousand dollars to publish a book. But that book would have an ISBN, barcode, be on Amazon, and able to be stocked on bookstore shelves. The smaller, private bookstores could host my book-release parties, and often did. The big, chain store wouldn’t give me a second glance.

Fast-forward a bit, and Trafford changed ownership. The new motivation of the company seemed to be dangling offers in front of their authors, hoping dreamers like me would spend extra money on questionable services. They wouldn’t help me sell books, but they would offer me costly programs for the chance it might help get me things like a “gold seal” or a chance at movie rights. These deals were sketchy at best.

As the age of Self-publishing began to mature, I started looking at new options. I remember comparing Createspace with Ingram. One thing I failed to do is see how other authors compared them. I went with Createspace because it seemed cheaper, and would open doors in Amazon and Kindle. So far, 99% of my sales have been digital through Kindle.

Now is where I get to the big shocker. With the release of “Pilgrims with Blades”, and the purchase of several things so I could set up nice author signings/appearances again, I started contacting the local bookstores. I hated to say it, but it seemed like I was getting the silent treatment. I finally visited one so I could meet the owner in person to set something up. Things went fine until the point he asked, “These aren’t from Createspace, are they?” And I found out why that was important.

Createspace = Amazon. Apparently, this locks me out of any chances of signing books at any local bookstore, because they would be feeding Amazon’s machine. They won’t book me for appearances or events. The owner was kind enough to point out IngramSparks as an alternative. So, I had to do some research again.

Found a couple posts that started enlightening me.

Karen Myers “How to Use Createspace and Ingram Spark together” – https://selfpublishingadvice.org/how-to-use-createspace-and-ingram-spark-together/

“Why You Should Buy ISBNs for Your Books” https://hollowlands.com/2014/03/why-you-should-buy-isbns-for-your-books/

I’m still researching my options. It seems some authors use Createspace only for Amazon’s store and ‘maybe’ for Kindle. They use a regular ISBN  and Ingram to handle all other markets. Despite Amazon’s current influence over the digital market, other authors keep ISBNs for their digital work too, keeping options open with Apple and a host of other foreign reader companies.

So, I’m left weighing my options and trying to determine my best course. Even if I do change, it seems I can leave the Createspace/Amazon listings as is, but to appear in local stores, I would have to set up Ingram for the rest. And what about Kindle? That’s another good question.