Thursday, July 11, 2013

Self-Publishing Hurdles and Their Resolution...Continued

In my recent post on The DONTs of Self-Publishing, I left a few ongoing glitches open. Here I offer a continuation on these stories, with a few more lessons learned.

  • Lightning Source 
    • For print book access to Ingram for B&N print book distribution and Baker & Taylor for libraries. 
    • Takes forever.
    • There are forms to fill out online, then you wait for approval. 
    • Then you are sent a slew of additional forms which you must print, sign and fax back.
    • Then you wait for approval.
    • Once approved, upload files, order a print proof, and wait some more.
    • I'm still waiting.
The LS print proof looked great, so I approved it and LS is done. I subsequently started the paperwork with B& and then noticed how much is required. They don't just say, "upload your files here." They ask for a whole press package (marketing strategy, reviews, etc.) While my marketing strategy is pretty much written, I am still need to incorporate a few reviews from key people (such as this AWESOME one from Carolyn Hart) - so I'm waiting to get those incorporated before proceeding with B&N.

However, re-reading Lance's comment on the DONTs post, I now think maybe heading straight to Ingram might make more sense instead of sitting idle.
  • iBookstore
    • You need to apply online to publish in the iBookstore.
    • Then wait five days.
    • Then you don't hear anything back from them.
    • Contact customer service.
    • Then get an e-mail response that there was an issue with your Tax ID number and legal entity name.
    • Send some e-mails back and forth over several days to resolve the issue.
    • Application takes another five days to review.
    • I'm still waiting.
The pain in the rear continues. My application was finally approved, and I was allowed to start with the file upload process. This means setting up an account with iTunes Connect (which is different than your normal Apple iTunes account.) So you set that up (basically set up a profile) and request a contract under that profile. Agree to the contract online, and then you can set up your bank information. I had the same problem with my bank info that I had with Kobo, so I took the same steps to resolve it, and it worked! Enter routing number, enter city (NOT city, state) and leave zip code blank. It gives you the wrong bank branch in your city. Accept that branch, and then enter your account number and eventually you find your own branch.

Once your banking info is approved, you can "deliver your content." This entails downloading another program, called iTunes Producer (or, you can begin your entire book here, using another program called iBooks Author. But if you already have an epub file and a cover, skip the author program and go straight to iTunes Producer.

Once you have downloaded iTunes Producer, you have to enter the usual info into a form. After you're done with that, you upload a separate epub file and cover file (the epub should also have a cover as its first page.)

I got stuck again here. The validator told me that my epub file cover image was too large. I e-mailed my formatter and he said, no, it's well within their required specs, but here, try this one. So he sent me another one and I uploaded it. Then it looked like the cover image is OK but something was wrong with a couple of the other images in the file (logo, etc.) It turned out to be just a filename glitch.

Here's where I'll stress again that it was worth every penny for me to pay Damonza's to do the formatting as well as the art. Instead of ripping out my own hair over all of this, all I had to do (really) was send screenshots to Benjamin at Damonza's and say, please help. He fixed it. Files are now uploaded, but I'm on vacation so I haven't looked to see if the book is in the bookstore yet. Stay tuned.

First issue:

Second issue:


  1. What B&N paperwork are you doing? PubIt! and Nook Press are both pretty straightforward (though you might want to use PubIt! since it apparently has fewer random issues - and you go straight to the "upload your stuff" screen.

    If, however, you're registering as an approved vendor, yes, it's a PITA. The main (perhaps only) benefit is that if you can browbeat a store manager into carrying your book, he/she can order it through corporate channels. (Then you get to deal with returns and all that fun.)

    I'm so glad I don't have a Mac, so I wasn't tempted to try to deal with iTunes myself. Perhaps if Apple had put as much effort into developing the iTunes indie-publisher interface as they did in establishing a publishing cartel, this process would be as easy as Amazon's.

    Great get on the Carolyn Hart blurb -- congratulations.

    Keep plugging away. Good luck!

  2. Lance, my understanding is that PubIt is going the way of the dodo and Nook Press is the new PubIt. So I used Nook Press. But I was talking about paperwork not for the ebook, but to get the print book on the B&N site. There's a lot requested for this. But my understanding from your last post on the subject was that will happen automatically once I set up Ingram, so I might hit Ingram and see what happens.

    RE: Carolyn Hart blurb - have I expressed my enthusiasm yet? If not...WOOHOO! I'm totally stoked about it. She's been awesome.

    Thanks again!

  3. Yes, once your paperback is in the Ingram catalog, it'll show up automagically in B&N, Powell's, Books-a-Million, Indiebound, and a bunch of overseas outlets. It took a week or two but required no additional paperwork. Make sure to sign up for LSI's partner POD outlets and distributors to land in places like Australia and Scandinavia (no extra cost, just extra paperwork).

    B&N intends to replace PubIt with Nook Press, but the latter still has many problems and PubIt is (AFAIK) still alive and kicking. PubIt has its own issues, just different ones, so in the end it may not make much difference. Neither of them is the well-oiled machine Amazon offers, but the incremental cost is zero, so it's worth going for that 20-25% of the market. Same with Kobo.

  4. How interesting...I was expecting to have to do more to get on Indiebound, etc. But I just made the observation that my book is already listed all over the place (Goodreads has a really convenient drop-down menu to show where your book is available.) Evidently approving it in Lightning Source pulled that trigger all by itself.

    At the moment, I have made 0.00 sales on Kobo. But that's OK.

    1. Meaning...I didn't actually "sign up" for the Ingram catalog. I just signed up for Lightning Source and my book metastasized.