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Where to Self-Publish in 2024: Maximizing Profits

Maximizing Your Income

The further that traditional publishing falls into the past, the more the publishing industry is opening up to the general public. That means more money in your pocket...if you know how to tap into the market.

Where to Self-Publish in 2024: Maximizing Profits
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The rise of self-publishing means that the only requirement for publishing a book these days is having the desire to do so in the first place. You've got so many different platforms to choose from, like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more, that let you reach readers worldwide, and you can get paid to do it.

Figuring out where to publish can be kind of overwhelming, though, right? All the different companies offer their own deals and ways of distributing books. Do you go with the big names like Amazon that have huge audiences? Or something smaller that might be a better fit for your genre? Not to mention, the self-publishing landscape is always changing. What works great now might not be the best in a year—especially with AI disrupting the market.

This blog post covers the best places to self-publish in 2024, but don’t forget to keep up with the latest publishing trends and play-by-plays of the publishing process by bookmarking this blog! 

Discover how to make AI work for YOU. Our free webinar is filled with secrets to making passive income with Amazon (and we’re talking true passive income—the kind that pays you even when you’re not actively working on your business). 

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP): The Gold Standard

Amazon KDP is a self-publishing platform that allows authors to publish both eBooks and paperbacks, reaching millions of readers worldwide. Most platforms just can’t compete with their size or capabilities.

A major advantage of KDP over traditional publishing is its royalty system. With Amazon KDP, you can earn up to 70% in royalties for your eBooks, which is significantly higher than most traditional publishers (some won’t even give you 20%). Additionally, you'll have complete control over your book's pricing, which allows you to experiment with marketing strategies and offers tailored to your readers.

Amazon's powerful algorithms also help promote your book by cross-selling and providing other readers recommendations. When you publish with KDP, your book will be displayed alongside similar titles, providing increased visibility and potential sales.

KDP Select: Pros and Cons

KDP Select is an optional program on the KDP platform that enables you to enroll your eBooks exclusively with Amazon for a set period. Here's a brief overview of the pros and cons of Amazon self-publishing:

Pros:

  1. Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners' Lending Library: Your eBook becomes eligible for these programs, giving you access to a larger audience of readers who pay a monthly fee for unlimited access to books on Amazon. 
  2. You Still Get Paid: Payout will be determined by the number of pages that people read. 
  3. Promotional Opportunities: KDP Select offers promotions like the Kindle Countdown Deal and Free Book Promotion, which can get your work in front of more readers. 
  4. Print-on-Demand Services: Amazon handles all the shipping and inventory for all the books sold through their KDP program, so you don't have to spend time or money keeping track of it yourself.
  5. Book Cover Designer: Kindle Direct Publishing offers simple software to format your book covers and adjust them to the correct size.
  6. Free ISBN: ISBNs (the little code that identifies your book with the barcode) can be expensive. If you're just publishing on Amazon, you don't have to worry because they're included!
  7. Customizable Book Description: Being able to tailor your book description is huge for including keywords that your readers are searching for. Amazon allows you to draft your own, while some other platforms don't offer published author pages at all.
  8. Multiple Languages: As long as you aren't just running your whole book through Google Translate, you can get your book published in several different languages to reach an even bigger audience.

Cons:

  1. Exclusivity: Enrolling in KDP Select requires keeping your eBook off all other platforms for the duration of the 90-day period. It might limit your reach to readers who prefer other platforms, but 90 days really isn’t that long in the grand scheme of things. 
  2. Impact on Global Reach: Amazon's reach in certain international markets may be limited compared to other platforms, which can affect the global availability and visibility of your eBook.

Other Leading Self-Publishing Platforms

Amazon IS the gold standard for self-publishing, but there are certainly other companies and contenders to begin a self-publishing business. In this section, we'll briefly explore PublishDrive, Barnes and Noble Press, Apple Books, Google Play Books, IngramSpark, and Kobo Writing Life.

PublishDrive

PublishDrive helps distribute your eBooks across a wide range of retailers and libraries worldwide. With a user-friendly interface and advanced analytics, you can also monitor your book's performance. Some key features include:

  • Revenue: Keep 100% of your royalties
  • Distribution: Access to hundreds of stores and libraries across many countries
  • Support: The analytics and marketing services help you make informed decisions
  • Cons: Upfront costs, subscription fees

Barnes & Noble Press (formerly Nook Press)

Barnes & Noble Press is the self-publishing platform for one of the largest booksellers in the world. With an established reputation in the industry, you can trust their platform to get your book in front of millions of potential readers. Key benefits are:

  • Revenue: Earn up to 65% royalties on eBook sales
  • Physical Books: See your print book in brick-and-mortar stores
  • Promotions: Access to Nook promotions and advertising opportunities
  • Cons: If you'd like to reach a global audience, this might not be the best fit

Apple Books

With Apple Books, you can publish your eBook directly to the Apple devices of millions of readers. Apple Books offers a simple process for self-publishing, making it a great option for those new to the book industry. Consider these features:

  • Royalties: Receive up to 70% of your eBook sales revenue
  • Availability: Access to the Apple ecosystem, reaching millions of customers
  • Tools: iTunes Connect for monitoring sales data and adjusting pricing
  • Cons: You can only reach readers who have an Apple iCloud account

Google Play Books

By self-publishing on Google Play Books, you're tapping into the vast reach of the Android platform. Google's platform is straightforward and offers various tools to optimize your book for success. Key highlights include:

  • Royalties: UP to 70% royalties on book sales in 70+ countries
  • Insights: Integration with Google Analytics for data tracking
  • Visibility: Utilize Google's search engine to boost discoverability
  • Cons: The Google Play market share in the US is allegedly less than 10%

IngramSpark

IngramSpark offers distribution and print-on-demand for hardcover and eBook formats. Other noteworthy aspects include:

  • Distribution: Access to 40,000+ retailers and libraries
  • Formats: Offers print-on-demand, hardcover, and eBook options
  • Fees: Initial setup fees start at $49, with ongoing fees for revisions
  • Cons: Limited publisher and author services (no book editing, designing, etc.)

Kobo Writing Life

Lastly, Kobo Writing Life gives authors an opportunity to reach a dedicated community of eReader users. As a global platform, you can benefit from Kobo's partnership with various international retailers. Key perks are:

  • Royalties: Earn 70% on eBooks priced $2.99 or higher
  • Global: Sell your book in 190 countries through Kobo's international distribution
  • Customization: Set your own price and change it at any time
  • Cons: Much smaller audience of readers than Amazon or Apple

Choosing the Best Self-Publishing Companies

When you are picking the best self-publishing companies to work with, you'll have to weigh out the pros and cons. Here are some additional criteria you might look for to help make your decision:

  • Wide Distribution is Key: Look for a company that puts your book in as many places as possible, from major online retailers to local bookstores.
  • Fair Royalties Matter: Your hard work deserves fair earnings. Compare royalty rates to ensure you're getting a good deal.
  • Ease of Use: A user-friendly platform can make your publishing journey smoother. Bonus points for intuitive design and helpful guides!
  • Universal Book Links: These are a game-changer for marketing. They allow readers to access your book on their preferred platform with just one link, boosting your book's accessibility and convenience.
  • Genre-Specific Perks: Many self-publishing companies house all kinds of genres, but some self-publishing companies offer a platform tailored to certain genres. If you're writing romance, sci-fi, or non-fiction, find a company that specializes in showcasing your genre.
  • Support and Services: Good customer support can be a lifesaver. Also, check if they offer extras like marketing tools or cover design services.
  • Mind the Costs: Be aware of any hidden fees or additional costs. Affordable doesn't always mean low quality, and expensive doesn’t guarantee success.
  • See What Other Self-Published Authors Are Saying: A big userbase is one thing, but happy users are another. Look for verified, recent reviews and a solid reputation.

Pro Tip: The best part of self-publishing is becoming your own boss. If something isn't working, you have the power and freedom to pivot to something else. That's not the case with a traditional publishing house.

Crafting High-Quality Content

For self-publishing success in 2024, the focus on high-quality content will make the difference between making 100 book sales or 1,000+ and ranking as an Amazon bestseller. 

Here's how to ensure your work stands out:

In-depth Research:

  • Stick to the most profitable niches and learn your ideal reader profile inside and out.
  • Use credible sources and cite your sources! (We recommend APA style in most cases)

Content Quality:

  • Pay attention to grammar, narrative flow, and manuscript structure.
  • Consider a professional proofreader for error-checking and improvements.
  • Originality is key. AI is great for ideation, but always double-check its outputs to avoid plagiarism.

Cover Design:

  • Invest in a visually appealing, thematic cover.
  • Hiring a graphic designer is worth it!

Effective Formatting:

  • Ensure clear headings and subheadings.
  • Use consistent font styles and sizes.
  • Apply bold and italics appropriately for emphasis.
  • Include tables and lists for organized information.
  • Be mindful of eBook formats like ePub, PDF, and Kindle for device compatibility.

Physical Retail vs. Online Marketplaces

Offline and online retailers both have their pros and cons when it comes to self-publishing. Physical retail offers the advantage of a tangible, in-person browsing experience for readers. However, it may require a significant upfront investment to print and stock your books, and distribution deals can be difficult to secure.

Online marketplaces, on the other hand, give you instant global access to a massive pool of potential readers. Digital publishing also significantly lowers production costs and offers higher royalty rates. At the same time, competition can be fierce, and standing out may require strategic marketing efforts.

To maximize your earnings, consider a combination of both approaches, leveraging the benefits of each to reach the broadest audience possible.

Targeting Foreign Markets & Translation Services

As the global book market continues to grow, tapping into international readership can be a game-changer. To reach non-English-speaking markets, consider investing in professional translation services that can help localize your content to maintain its essence and appeal to foreign readers.

Don't forget to research the specific preferences and trends of the target market and culture when entering foreign territories. This step will help you to tailor your approach and strategies based on local consumer behavior and preferences, ensuring maximum impact (and royalty potential).

Marketing Strategies for Self-Publishers

How do you reach your target audience in 2024 when you’re competing with all the doom and gloom of the news and a dozen other apps? 

By letting the reviews do your selling for you. 

Reviews and reader engagement make all the difference between getting more eyes on your book or getting drowned out by the crowd. Encourage readers to leave honest reviews on platforms such as Amazon and Goodreads. Positive reviews make your book more appealing to potential readers and improve its ranking in online search results. Consider organizing giveaways and free promotions to increase exposure and generate buzz around your book.

Supplementary Revenue Streams

Besides self-publishing, there are other methods to boost your income in 2024.

Here are a few possibilities to explore:

Podcasting & Speaking Engagements

Podcasting can be a highly effective way to share your knowledge, expand your audience, and generate additional income. Creating a podcast around your book's theme or your field of expertise can engage your readers on a deeper level. Combine this with speaking engagements such as conferences, workshops, and book festivals, and you can further gain visibility while receiving fees for your appearances.

These are absolutely NOT NECESSARY to make money from self-publishing, but some people have a passion for speaking! 

Teaching & Creating Writing Courses

After building your expertise in publishing and/or writing, you can create courses for other aspiring self-publishers. One idea is to establish a passive income by selling courses online using platforms like Teachable, Udemy, or Skillshare. Alternatively, you may offer your services as a coach or tutor, engaging in one-on-one sessions with students or groups.

Offer courses covering topics such as:

  • Balancing motherhood with publishing
  • Scaling your business past six figures as a college student 
  • Effective self-editing techniques
  • What do you wish someone had told you five years ago?

Again, these marketing techniques are NOT necessary to earn royalties and make a solid living self-publishing, but they can bring you more fulfillment. 

Book Bundles

An attractive strategy for reaching a wider audience and increasing revenue is to create book bundles. Grouping your books into themed collections can entice readers to purchase multiple titles at a discounted price, thus boosting your income while providing value for your readers. Collaborate with other authors for a multi-author bundle, which can widen your reach and introduce your work to new readers.

Example book bundle ideas:

  • A collection of your best-selling titles
  • Grouping similar genres or themes
  • A series

Maximizing Profits in Self-Publishing with Data Analytics

In 2024, leveraging data analytics is essential for maximizing your self-publishing profits.

Here's how to use it effectively:

Understanding eBook Sales Data:

  • Analyze trends and preferences in your target audience.
  • Use tools like Amazon's KDP dashboard for insights.
  • Identify what types of books are selling and how yours can stand out.

Optimizing Advertising with Analytics:

  • Utilize data to allocate your advertising budget efficiently.
  • Track which marketing channels and ads yield the best results.
  • Adjust strategies based on performance data to enhance ROI.

Learning from Reader Reviews:

  • Use reviews as a feedback mechanism.
  • Spot common themes in positive and negative reviews to refine your book and marketing approach.
  • Implement changes based on reader feedback for better engagement.

The Road Ahead: Innovations in Self-Publishing

The future of self-publishing is exciting, with technological advancements and innovative strategies continually reshaping the landscape. Here's a glimpse into what's on the horizon:

Emerging Technologies in Book Creation:

  • Watch for new software and tools that simplify writing, editing, and formatting (like Grammarly).
  • AI-driven writing assistants and enhanced graphic design tools may revolutionize content creation (Hint: check out Publishing.ai).

Advancements in Distribution and Marketing:

  • Anticipate more sophisticated distribution channels, making it easier to reach global audiences.
  • Expect advancements in digital marketing tools, leveraging AI for targeted advertising and reader engagement.

Enhanced Reader Interaction:

  • Look out for interactive eBook formats that offer immersive reading experiences.
  • Innovations in virtual and augmented reality could bring stories to life in unprecedented ways.

Sustainability in Publishing:

  • Eco-friendly publishing options are likely to gain traction, including sustainable printing methods and materials.
  • Digital publishing may lean towards more energy-efficient platforms and practices.

A Self-Publishing Company That Cares About Your Story

The number of books published in 2024 is expected to reach the millions. The sad truth is that a good chunk of them won't go on to earn anything at all. That's because most indie authors and publishers have no idea how to navigate editing, book formatting, book marketing, and getting their books priced according to the market all on their own.

Imagine two publishing companies. One is making money off your ideas and calling all the shots. The other is giving you the full reigns to make your own decisions while offering you golden tidbits of advice with a proven track record of over $50 million in results.

The first is a traditional publishing company, and Publishing.com is the second. Which one do you think has your back? 

Watch our co-founder, one of the Mikkelsen Twins, demystify the self-publishing process in this completely free webinar.

Your self-publishing journey starts here!

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