Ingram Spark’s new platform offers small publishers an excellent deal with low pricing by cutting out the ‘middle-publishers’ and giving all the benefits that the big publishing boys and mainstream publishers have on offer. It doesn’t cut anybody out but more importantly it give self-publishers and small publishers the same distribution as the big players.
Essentially, Lightning Source and Ingram Spark are part of the same company so you could think of self-publishing with Ingram Spark as the same window into Lightning Source, which only deals with publishers of a certain size.
Look at Lightning Source and Ingram Spark as a building – both doors get you inside to self-publish your books. One is easier access for smaller self-published authors and the other is for larger mainstream publishers.
Luckily for us self-published writers, Ingram Spark deals with eBook publishing as well. So Ingram Spark can set up both your eBook self-publishing and your paperback self-publishing.
Using A Trusted Print On Demand
With Lightning Source being the world publishing traders largest Print On Demand (POD publisher) for many years, it made sense for the company to offer the same services to small publishers and self-published authors who have more than one book to self-publish.
No Self-Publishing Set Up Costs
Apart from the $49 or £30 fee to put your book’s title into the Lighting Source world-wide distribution network, there are no other set up fees to self-publishing your books. With this small fee your self-published book will be accessible to their network of 39,000 retailers in over 100 different countries. It will also be accessible on Amazon, Kobo and different e-readers.
Another bonus: once you set up your book title and order 50 copies for your own personal book marketing, you will get the small set-up fee mentioned above refunded within 60 days.
So – in essence you won’t be paying any set-up fee at all! Okay, you may say that’s only if you order the 50 books, but all self-published authors who are serious about promoting their book will have a marketing and promotions plan and will need at least that many books to start their book marketing campaign, if not more. Remember – you get the money from these books you’ll be selling through personal promotions.
You don’t pay anything up front, Ingram Spark fulfils the purchases for you and gives you the author the costs minus the printing costs. Remember that high street bookshops costs are higher so they take big discounts, so factor this in when working out your revenue from your book sales. For example, Waterstones order at a 55% discount.
One Stop Self-Publishing Platform
It sounds very enticing for self-published authors to work with Ingram Spark. It looks like they offer a one-stop-shop to give your self-published book reach-ability and help you find readers for your books through the Lightning Source distribution network – which is the largest in the world – and gives you all those distribution channels to market your self-published book.
Some things you’ll need to know if you decide this could be the self-publishing route for you:
- You’ll need your own ISBN – you can get this from either Bowker.com in the US or Nielsen.co.uk in the UK.
- Formatted book files and covers – more on this here
- I haven't tried it yet myself – but I am keen to do so – but the guys over at Ingram Spark tell me that their online self-publishing platform is very intuitive and will ‘walk’ you through adding your book to their system to get ready for POD publishing.
Book File Converters
Once you have gone through the process of uploading your book, it will also convert your book to ePub, which publishers use for eBooks, Nook and Kindle and iPad. They have a built-in file converter which will convert your paperback PDF to make it available as an eBook to spread through their world-wide distribution network.
I am keen to login and see the tools to use to upload your books. There is a cost and revenue calculator whereby the author puts in the sizes of the book and lists their prices. Use this tool to determine how much you will be paid on your print titles sold through the distribution channels.
Check this Self-Publishing Pay Out Calculator.
Print On Demand Colour Books
Ingram Spark offer a premium and standard colour book print-on-demand service. The difference is that premium uses lazer jet technology thus the costs are higher. This is ideal for photography books or books with lots of high quality photos, such as cookery books or craft books and home interior books.
Standard colour uses inkjet and the quality is said to be fantastic for illustrated children’s books. This also helps to keep the price point down.
Wider Distribution Of Your Self-Published Books
Global Connect is a service where Ingram Spark partner with other countries where Lightning Source (remember they are the same company) does not print, such as Russia. What that does is make your self-published book available to Russia and other book markets that are really hard to reach.
This is where you as the self-published author needs to market the book to sell i.e. Ingram Spark will enable the book to be available in Russia so if you want sales in Russia (or any country for that matter) self-publishers need to market in those regions of the world. Just because it’s available doesn’t mean it will sell, you need distribution and marketing.
So this is how global book sales works:
Your book needs distribution (Ingram Spark's bit) + book marketing (your part as the self-published author) = global sales.
After all, as a self-published author you will need to reach as many readers as possible from all over the world!
If self-published authors would like to take advantage of the Amazon book marketing offers you can select opt-out for Amazon. You can work with Amazon directly and use IngramSpark for everything else. Amazon is one channel, Ingram Spark plugs you into 39,000 (which includes Amazon, unless you opt out). If you want to keep it simple, just use Ingram Spark.
In a nutshell, Ingram Spark gives any self-published author free access to global book markets.
Your Rights With Ingram Spark
When you self-publish with Ingram Spark you retain your own copyright and IP and control remains with you as the author. You can also remove or change a book title at any time and amend the pricing.
Ingram Spark will handle the print and distribution of your self-published titles. You as the author handle and own your content.
Local Book Marketing Tips From Ingram Spark
Although bricks and mortar bookstores is not the best way to market your book and get free publicity, self-published authors are advised to strike up a relationship with their local bookstore to do author signings. You may want to offer coffee and donuts with a promotion or get a local celebrity involved to endorse your book, which will help you get national book publicity. If your self-published book strikes a chord with the media, shops will order the book.
Why physical stores not stocking more books? The market is shrinking put there are many more thousands of books on the market due to the explosion in self-publishing. There is a growing number of bookshops.
The Alliance of Independent Authors
Ingram Spark also work closely with ALLI: The Alliance of Independent Authors
And recommend that self-published authors pop over to see the support that ALLI can offer to self-published authors. They are Not For Profit and exist solely to support your self-publishing journey and act as a peer review body. The alliance can also help authors new to self-publishing to understand the jargon.
Find out more at http://allianceindependentauthors.org/