Seven Venues for Virgin Indies to Sell Books

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 3.10.50 PM


You want to publish your book and have waited forever for your agent to find a publisher. She hasn’t. Or you can’t find an agent who wants to represent you. Maybe you’re a speaker and want to sell books at your events. What should you do?

Self-publishing your book MIGHT be the way to go.

When I made the decision to self-publish two years ago, I ONLY sold books through Amazon SELECT. Why? It was simple! I loved the simplicity. It’s a lot of work to learn how to load files for a book cover and the book guts to all the different sites.

At the time, Amazon Select was THE way to go because you could garner a 70% profit even if your book was on sale for under $2.99. As part of their deal–if you ONLY published with them– they allowed you this benefit every 90 days. I think they still do. (Typically if your price is less than $2.99 you only garner 35% profit).

But when I discovered that I could never make the best-seller lists at the NYTimes or the USAToday, I changed my strategy.

If you only publish your books with AMAZON SELECT you’ll never make it to the New York Times or the USA Today Bestseller list. It’s true. Your books must be available at the other sites.

NOTE!! Do this first. Before you offer your book for sale make sure it’s been through many editors and has been formatted in three different formats:  MOBI, PDF and ePUB.

Here’s where I publish my books now:

Where I publish my books


Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 9.05.16 PM

Amazon KDP Publishing for e-book. You’ll need a MOBI file of the book to load to their site. Their site is user-friendly and this is where I sell the most ebooks. They pay 70% of the ebook price if your price is above $2.99. If it’s below $2.99 they only pay you 35% royalties. You will need a separate ebook ISBN. (You can buy your own or buy one from them.)

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 10.14.07 AM

NookPress for e-book only. I load an ePUB file to this site. This is the Barnes and Noble version of the ebook. I don’t sell a lot of books with them, but I sell a good amount. This is where you can read about their royalty structure, but for simplicity, below is their royalty rate.

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 8.36.31 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 10.11.57 AM

D2D – Draft To Digital – e-book only. They can convert your book to the proper format for you. I load an ePUB file of my book. They can distribute your ebook to Kobo, iBooks, KOBO, Nook Press, and several others if you choose. I love their site because it’s a one-stop shop and their site is user-friendly. (This Tech-Tard loves simplicity.) Here is their royalty pay structure.

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 10.18.57 AM

Smashwords for e-book only. Here’s the link that shows how to publish your book at Smashwords. They’re like D2D–a one-stop shop. Load your book there and they’ll distribute your books to all the different sites. They pay 60% for most retailers and 85% if you sell your book through their site.

However, when you format your book you’ll have to make sure that you use their formatting on the inside cover page. They require that you have a separate ISBN and mention on the inside of the book that they’re the distributor.

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 3.18.45 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 10.21.08 AM

Google Play for e-book only – I found their site to be less user-friendly than others. It’s also difficult to place books on sale because you have to enter a promo at their page, but I always get an error message and have to call for help. Their system doesn’t accept an Excel document from my MAC. Or something. I’m not sure what my problem is, but it’s frustrating. I sell the least amount of books at this site. (I hope this changes since my nephew will be going to work for them soon!)

* * * * * * * * * *


Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 10.05.43 AM

Create Space for paperback. Here’s the web place that shows you how to calculate your royalties. Most authors sell most paperbacks through Amazon. I chose NOT to be included in their expanded distribution. I use Ingram Spark for that (below) based on Jim’s research where he compares Create  Space with Ingram HERE. (This is eye-opening!)

But you’ll make more money if you buy your own books through Create Space’s POD option and sell them out of your garage.

A math example: If you buy one book it might cost around $4.50 (depending on how many pages, this amount is approx.) plus shipping and tax. So if you sell that book for $15, your profit could be around $9.00 a book. Not a bad profit. If you know you’re going to sell books at speaking gigs this makes sense. However, if you’re going to order a large quantity of paperbacks, it’s more cost-effective to order them through Ingram Spark.

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 10.05.55 AM

Ingram Spark for paperback only. They charge set-up fees when you load your book, (unlike Create Space) and if you find a typo or a misspelling and want to load a new PDF it will cost you another $25–even if you only have one typo.

This is the site you want to use to get into libraries, academic institutions and brick and mortar stores. To compare the differences between Create Space and Ingram Spark, check out Jim’s website HERE. He’s done extensive research about this. It’s worth your time to understand the differences.

Ingram’s fees for large quantities of books delivered to your door are less than Create Space’s fees, but you will wait much longer on the phone for their customer service center.

* * * * * * *

As you can see, there are many different ways to distribute your books without a publisher. If you’ve written the book you’ve spent hours studying the craft and perfecting your prose. Learning how to load your book is simple. It simply takes time.

You might choose to distribute your books through other sources, this is only what I do. And I don’t know it all. (Don’t tell my husband though. He thinks I’m never wrong. Lol.)

If you have questions, please ask me. If I can’t answer your questions, I can find someone who can.

I thought I’d throw in this interesting article too: How does the New York Times Bestseller list work? Check out this article to learn how: New York Times Bestseller List.

Where do you sell  your books?

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address:


  1. You have really done your homework on all of this. Thanks for sharing. There are times I wish I had self published but I am not at all techy so in that respect it is good to have a publisher. Sure do not make any money though!

    • Hi Judy- We make a lot more money self-publishing, that’s for sure. But not if we don’t sell books. Ha! Kelly is selling thousands of her book, Fractured Not Broken. (My most recent release. She’s a quadriplegic so I wrote it for her.) It really matters how well-known you are. She has a huge following of supportive people and communities. Her book is filling a perceived need–people are looking for inspiration–and this book has it. The difficult part for me is finding my next project. They all pale after Kelly’s story. Thanks for stopping by. It’s always a pleasure to “talk” to you!

      • That is a wonderful story. Yes, it is very hard to become “known” as an author. There is so much competition out there Unfortunately, traditional publishers do not do much marketing for their authors. It is a bit of an uphill battle for sure.

        Keep up the great work!

  2. This is important and very helpful info. Thank you so much!

  3. Thanks! I’ll keep this to refer to when I decide to indy publish!

  4. Thanks so much for this list.


  1. […] Weidenbenner on Random Writing RantsSeven Venues for Virgin Indies to Sell Books “You want to publish your book and have waited forever for your agent to find a publisher. She […]

Please share your random thoughts.


Thank you for stopping by!