When I first made the decision to self-publish novels, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know how to format novels for eBook or for print, and I didn’t have a clue how to get my book uploaded to Amazon, let alone any of the other online marketplaces available for authors.
Even when I started looking into the process of getting the book uploaded to the likes of Amazon, Barnes and Noble and co., the idea of spending all of that time formatting the books, uploading them and every other process in between made my head spin. The way I looked at it was that it would be a laborious process that would take an age.
That’s when I started looking into services that helped indie authors get their novels out into the world, and the one that really caught my eye was BookBaby. When I saw that they converted files, formatted novels and then distributed your eBooks across multiple marketplaces like Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Kobo, GoodReads and dozens more I’d never heard of, I couldn’t see how I could go wrong.
I couldn’t have dreamed of having my book in that many places, and I’d have gone insane trying to get them all up there. Uploading, writing descriptions and setting up the book takes time, and the more places you’re putting it, the longer it’s going to take.
The first thing I did was check the pricing, because – as we all know – if it seems too good to be true, it usually is. At the time that I self-published my debut novel WALKING UP A SLIDE, BookBaby was charging $99 for the single-book package, and that has now gone up to $299.
This might make you raise your eyebrows, but for me, it was win-win. I simply didn’t have the skills, the patience or the time to do all the things BookBaby were going to do for the money, so I was more than prepared to pay it. When you start using all the other tools that you get for the fee, you start to realise that it’s worth that initial payment.
Also, when the $99 rate was in place, you only received 70% of royalties from book sales. Now that the $299 rate is in place, indie authors keep 100% of the royalties. BookBaby take no commission at all. When you consider that authors who publish directly to Amazon get 70%, or 35% if books are sold out of the 70% region. Read up on Amazon’s pricing guidelines here.
Once I made the decision to use BookBaby, I paid an extra $25 to get an ISBN for my book and started to set up my book listing. It was incredibly easy to do. You just have to follow a simple step-by-step process of uploading a book cover, setting the short and long description/blurb for your book, and then uploading any image files you might have. Then you can upload your manuscript as a Word Doc and choose the genre you want your book to fall under when it goes live.
BookBaby take a few days to check over your manuscript and then prepare it for distribution across the various channels. You’ll be given a proof copy to download and read over before you give them the go ahead, and then it’s time to play the waiting game until you see your book in the marketplaces you have chosen to sell in (which should be all of them!).
BookBaby has a great support team that get back to you within 24 hours easily. I’ve only ever had one question to ask, and it was answered swiftly within three hours of emailing the team. That’s pretty damn good, although I have to say that the CreateSpace team were really quick to respond, too.
One standout feature – and a unique selling point – is that BookBaby also comes with a Book Promo guide, which comes complete with a host of discounts, coupon codes and helpful services for book marketing services. This gives you access to free book reviews, listings at self-publishing websites and money off a variety of services from reputable companies. Check out the full list here.
I’ve used these services to get reviews, Tweet packages, book listings on GoodReads, SelfPublishingReview.com and other sites, press releases, eBooks, free memberships for sites like Author Marketing Club and much more. It more than makes up for the initial $299 payment.
Once your book is live, you are given a My Account page, where you can view your listings, edit your distribution options and keep tabs on your sales and payments. It takes around 60 days for your book sales stats to start coming through, so impatient and stats orientated authors might go a little stir-crazy, but it’s a minor quibble. You can also set a pay-out point, which means that BookBaby will pay out via PayPal when the target $ amount is reached.
I’ve used BookBaby for two books now, and I’m definitely going to use it for a third time. I think that it’s important that indie authors help each other out by recommending services that they have used, and I hope this post helps indie authors make a decision as to which service they ultimately use, whether it’s BookBaby or another publisher.