Self-Publishing Print & Distribution Basics (KDP & IngramSpark) // Looking to self-publish your book but don’t know how the print and distribution process works? You’re in luck because I’m covering everything from the basics to the finer details self-publishing distribution. Learn how to get your self-published book into stories and libraries, what your options are for printing as a self-published author, and how you can get your self-published book printed and sold worldwide while working with a print on demand company like Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or IngramSpark.

Things to Know Before Publishing with IngramSpark:

Get a signed paperback for $10 during social distancing:

Video transcript:

If you’re a new self published author and you’re looking to publish your book and you aren’t sure how the sales and distribution will work, then be sure to stay tuned because by the end of this video you will know how to sell your book worldwide through Amazon as well as other distributors, how much it’ll cost you and what exactly your options are. Hello everyone. My name is Mandi Lynn. I’m an author, your book cover designer in the creator of The Book Launch Planner and if you want weekly videos on writing, book publishing, and marketing, be sure to hit the subscribe button as well as the notification bell icon to be notified every single time I upload a new video


In today’s video we’ll cover some of the basics of distribution and printing when you’re a self published author. Some of it is going to be super, super basic that if you’re a more seasoned self-publish author, you’re going to already know all this. While other information might be a few things you didn’t know already, so be sure to stay tuned and if you enjoyed the video, be sure to give it a thumbs up and subscribe. And also as a side note, I will be talking exclusively about paperback and hardcover distribution. I won’t be talking specifically about ebook though I will mention it quickly, but ebook distribution is a whole other ballgame, which I’ll probably cover in another video. So first things first, don’t sell your book yourself. Basically what I’m saying here is that you don’t need to have a garage full of books in order to sell your book.

That used to be how it would be if you were self-published, you’d find a book printer, you’d have the printer print, God knows how many copies of your book, and then you’d keep all those copies in your garage as you attempt to sell every single copy by yourself one by one. That is not something you need to do because now we have this thing called print on demand companies. Which brings us to point number two, choose print on demand. Print on demand means a copy of your book is only printed if someone actually orders that book. Basically that means if someone ordered a book through Amazon, one copy of the book will be printed and shipped right away. This means that neither you or Amazon has to have any risk of having hundreds of copies of a book that might not sell. So now it’s time to talk about selling your book on Amazon.

So the easiest way to sell your book on Amazon is to work through Kindle direct publishing, also known as KDP, which I will refer to as in this video. KDP is owned by Amazon, so they of course handle all the orders that come in through Amazon. Kindle direct publishing handles paperback copies as well as Kindle. So Kindle is of course ebook and that means it’s anyone who wants to read through their Kindle or the Kindle app on their phone. KDP and most print on demand companies are great because they handle all the distribution and themselves. You just upload their files and they handle the rest. When someone buys the book, they print it, they ship it, and you just get the money. Now, like I said, KDP only does paperback and ebook, but what if you want to do hardcover so naturally is cited to talk about hardcover editions. So if you wanted to have a hardcover edition of your book, you’ll have to go through a company called Ingramspark.

Now, there are other print on demand companies out there that create hardcover books, but I found Ingramspark to not only be the most cost effective, but also the best quality as well. One of the newest things that they’ve updated is that when you take off the dust jacket, the cover underneath is something that you can design. This makes it very easy to customize your book cover and also to make yourself look that much more professional. Because in reality, that’s really your goal when you’re self publishing, you don’t want to look like you’re self-publish. You want to mimic the traditional publishing world as much as possible and high quality hardcover books can be your way of doing that. Now I will say I have a love hate relationship with IngramSpark so I highly recommend watching one of my other videos, 10 things to know about Ingram sparks before publishing.

That will just give you a little bit of a heads up of some of the things that you can expect when you go publishing with them because they aren’t quite as user friendly as Kindle direct publishing. Now IngramSpark handles paperbacks, hardcovers and ebook, but I’ve actually talked to a few other authors and they don’t recommend you using their ebook distribution. The best ebook distribution is draft 2 digital. But if you want to learn more about draft to digital, let me know in the comments down below and I’ll be sure to do a video on it soon. Now since we talking about hardcovers, I of course have to ask, do you guys as readers prefer hardcovers or paperbacks? Let me know in the comments down below. I personally prefer hardcovers most of the time, but paperbacks are growing on me these days. So the next thing we’re going to want to talk about is how to get into stores and libraries.

So while it’s not always easy for an indie author to see their print book on a shelf in a physical bookstore, it is possible. Now, if you only publish through KDP, it’ll be a lot harder to get on a bookshelf in a local bookstore. While sometimes it may be possible, depending on what your bookstore orders through, you’re basically guaranteed that your book will be in the stores catalog if you publish through Ingramspark. Ingramspark has a much larger distribution. Like I said, KDP handles orders through Amazon, so if you want places like libraries and schools and stores to be able to request your book and have a physical copy in the bookstore, you’re going to have to publish through IngramSpark. Now, just because you publish through IngramSpark doesn’t mean your book will automatically be for sale in a bookstore, but it does mean that the option is there. To get your book physically in the bookstore someone would probably have to request it or if you’re a local author, the bookstore might want to just support you and buy your book and have it on their shelves to say that they have a local author in their store. Either way, either someone has to request the book or you might have to do a little heavy lifting to get your book into the bookstore. Otherwise, the only way to get into a bookstore without having to do any work is just to have a lot of book sales that the bookstore naturally wants to have your book in their store anyways. So now it’s time to talk about getting fancy. Now, when I talk about getting fancy, I mean having your book have cool features like having foil on the cover, having a paperback with French flaps, having embossing on your cover or having something like wire binding or painted page edges or deckled edges or even board books.

I will let you know outright that INgramSpark and KDP do not do any of that fancy stuff as of right now. That doesn’t mean that maybe sometime in the future they will do it. But as of April, 2020 neither KDP or Ingramspark offer those services. And as far as I’m aware, no print on demand company offers those services. If you want your book to have one of those more fancier features, you’re going to have to find a book printer that specializes in those sort of things. It’s actually not that hard to find a printer that will print a book with some of those features, but the hard part comes into fact that they will just print your book, they’re not going to handle the distribution or anything like that. And that’s when you create the scenario of all of a sudden you have hundreds of copies of your own books sitting in your garage.

And also keep in mind that when you print through a book printer like that, that they usually have a minimum order and that can range anywhere from 500 to a thousand copies of your book. So if you want to have some of those cool features, keep in mind that you’re going to have to order at least 500 to a thousand copies of your book in order for them to even bother printing your book. Now, how much does print on demand costs? Well, I’ll let you know right now it’s extraordinarily cheap. If you go through, KDP it’s technically completely free. You can upload your files and start selling your book right away. Now I do recommend ordering a proof copy of your book, which will cost you money, but it’s probably going to be less than $10. Now on the other hand, we have England spark. Now, even though spark does have a publishing fee where you have to pay a certain amount and then they’ll publish your book, and then they also have another fee where after you’ve published your book, if you need to make changes to either the cover or the interior files, there’s a fee associated with that as well.

But besides that, that’s all you’ll need to pay to publish your book. Now the way that IngramSpark and KDP actually make money is that they take their cut out of the sale before you even receive your royalties. So after KDP or IngramSpark take their cut out for printing costs and distribution costs, then whatever’s left over is called your royalties. When you set up your book on IngramSpark or KDP, you can see how much royalties you’ll make per book sale. When you start changing the price, they automatically calculate everything out for you. So with that said, what is the best distribution option? I highly recommend publishing your book through KDP as well as Ingramspark. The reason for this is is that any books sold through KDP, you tend to make more money. So while you can publish exclusively through IngramSpark and still have the same distribution, when you sell through Amazon, you tend to make a little bit less per sale than if you sold through KDP.

So set up you just your distribution first through KDP and then go into Ingramspark and set up your distribution through IngramSpark as well. That way Ingramspark will only handle the expanded distribution and hardcover sales and KDP will handle the paperback sales on Amazon. Now the way you do this is that you have to make sure that you use the same exact ISBN number for the book. So whatever the ISBN number is on Amazon, you need to make sure it’s the same ISBM number on IngramSpark. That way they sync up correctly and there aren’t any errors. Last but not least, let’s talk about ordering your books. So like I said, you don’t want to have hundreds of copies of your own book sitting in your house because the distribution will be handled by your print on demand company. But you can still have copies of your book either just to have for yourself because you know you wrote the book, so might as well own a copy of the book or you might want to have it to give to friends and family.

But a third reason to have your own copies is to do in-person signing events where you’re in charge of the inventory. Sometimes when you do book signings at bookstores, they’ll order the inventory for you, but most of the time you’ll find that they prefer that you just physically bring your own copies of your book to the signing and they’ll pay you for whatever sells. So in that case you can do what they call ordering author copies of your books. This way you’re just paying the price of what it costs to actually print and ship the book to yourself rather than paying the retail price. I personally try to do book signings once a month when social distancing isn’t a thing. And then I also sell signed copies of my books through my website. So if that’s something you’re interested in, be sure to visit the link in my description.

And during social distancing, you can actually get a signed paperback for just $10 so again, visit the link in my bio. Let me know in the comments down below. What part of this video you found the most helpful to you as an author. Otherwise, I’d like to give a shout out to my patron of the week. Cassie Kelly. Cassie is the author of the soon to be published, 9 Ways to Normal, which features neurodiversity. 9 Ways to Normal is a realistic fiction novel, and you can learn more about Cassie and her book by visiting her website, which will be linked down below. If you’d like to be my next patron of the week, be sure to join me over on Patreon where you can unlock cool and exclusive content like videos, podcasts, and more. You can also join my newsletter and when you subscribe to my newsletter, you will get access to exclusive downloads, webinars and excerpts of my books. That is it for today’s view. If you want to learn more about self-publishing, be sure to watch the playlist, which is linked right over there and continue to learn about the publishing process.

Liked this post? Add it to your board on Pinterest!