Beware Newbie eBook Publishers

I recently self-published my fourth novel.  Does this mean I’ve got it all figured out?   Far from it as a matter of fact.  Yes, sad to say, I’m still a newbie in so many ways.  I’m about to try to explain a situation that occurred when I decided to join BookBaby.  If you are an indie publisher and you publish in the ebook format—listen up.

I formatted and uploaded my novel, Turn on No-Bridge Road, to CreateSpace where it is printed as a paperback on a print-on-demand basis.  So far so good, I remember thinking.  I was feeling very proud of myself for saving money by managing the formatting myself this time, and the book looks beautiful by the way.  My first two books were also formatted for the Kindle by CreateSpace; this is called a mobi file.  This time however, I wanted to make the novel available to all the other ebook devices as well, so that readers could buy it for their iPhone, iPad, Sony, Nook, Kobo, etc.  And that required that it be formatted as an epub file.  CreateSpace does not offer this service; they are affiliated with Amazon’s Kindle Direct (KDP) program.

I turned to the same designer (Bulldog Press) who helped with the cover for No-Bridge Road, and learned he also offered formatting for ebooks.  I accepted his very reasonable price for the two files (mobi and epub).  At this juncture I had to decide whether to send the mobi file to Kindle Direct for publishing and the epub file somewhere else OR was it possible they could both go to the same ebook publisher?  That’s how I came to discover BookBaby, a company that offers many services.  One of the most intriguing things they can do for an author is to manage the sales and keep the records of all the various places that sell copies of your ebook (i.e. Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, Baker & Taylor, Kobo, Gardner’s, Copia, and others).  Can you imagine trying to make your file available to all those sellers on your own, and then to have little royalties coming in from 10-12 different places? I can’t!

So I joined BookBaby and uploaded my two ebook files.  It took several weeks for all these places to have the book listed for sale.  I was checking my Amazon page and KDP page frequently and discovered that while the Kindle version of No-Bridge was listed on the Amazon sales page, it was not listed on the KDP page.  I sent an inquiry and here is the answer I got:  “Please note, when titles are published through publishers like Book Baby in Amazon website, the KDP books will be available in the publisher’s KDP account and not under the author’s KDP account.”

What this means is that although you can buy it there, the title does not show up on my Author Central page on Amazon.  I find this a bit distressing.  But, I learned the choice between ebook publishers was complicated and produced at least one unexpected result.  I’m thinking that with my next book, I’ll send the Kindle file to KDP and the epub file to BookBaby!  So much to learn and so many decisions!  If you write and publish ebooks I’d be interested in your reaction.  If you read on an ebook device I’d appreciate your comments also.