How to Self-Publish, Produce and Distribute Your Books for Maximum Impact

Finishing your book is just the beginning. Crossing fingers after you’ve hit publish on Amazon won’t justify the time you’ve spent cooking up a remarkable story. Luckily, there are alternate routes before and after you publish, produce, and distribute your masterpiece that drift straight to greater sales and wider market.

We’ve found authors talking about where to go, what to do, and how to do what they did for maximum impact. Let’s see what they have to say.


The stigma of self-publishing is going away precisely because people are no longer just uploading files to Amazon and hoping for the best. - J. Altucher

James Altucher Author

Amazon’s suite of services for independent authors makes it possible for me and many other authors to bypass traditional publishing companies. It gives us the tools to create and sell digital books; print and sell paperback copies on demand; add author pages and even market books. - P. Jarvis

Paul Jarvis Author, designer, and podcaster

On demand printing, coupled with easy access for book buyers via Amazon or Ingram’s catalogue, is a self-publishing coup. All you have to do is create something worth reading. - Dodson

Patrick Dodson Author

The first thing I tell authors who tell me they want to publish a print book is that print should be their secondary focus. Digital, not print, is your best bet. - D. Carnoy

David Carnoy Author


Don’t quit your day job yet. Even if it’s great, there’s a good chance your book won’t sell. In other words, quality isn’t a guarantee of success. You’ll be lucky to make your investment back, let alone have a “hit” that brings in some real income.

If you have market aspirations for your book, buy your own ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and create your own publishing company.

How to Self-Publish

It’s also worth noting that you can mix and match and go direct with Amazon (KDP), uploading your own file and managing your account, and then use an aggregator such as Smashwords for additional distribution to other e-book stores. - "How to Self-Publish an eBook" by David Carnoy

How to Self-Publish an eBook

Like I told you, this is not self-publishing. Nor is it a trick or a scam or anything like that. It is, quite literally, owning your own publishing company. It’s also an extremely effective way to substantially increase the amount of revenue you make on your book sales and gain total control over all aspects of your book’s creation and promotion. - T. Max

Tucker Max Author and co-founder of Scribe Media

Making good decisions about where to spend your publishing dollars gets easier when you understand the difference between aggregation and distribution and when you familiarize yourself with the major players in each space. - C. King

Carla King Author, traveler, and workshop leader

Therefore (and this is a big therefore), I advise opting out of the Amazon CreateSpace Expanded Distribution program (which is free, but don’t be tempted) and using IngramSpark to distribute your PDF-formatted print-on-demand books everywhere else. That way the books will always be “in stock” at Amazon and you will get Ingram’s great distribution elsewhere, including to brick-and-mortar stores.

Carla King


Preorders work best for established indie authors, but can also work well for new authors – With each well-orchestrated preorder, you’ll be able to make the next release all the more successful...

I expect preorders to become an essential best practice for all professional indie authors. Although preorders represent a powerful new tool for every indie author’s toolbox, like all tools they work best in the hands of a talented craftsperson – and that’s you, the writer. - M. Coker

Mark Coker Author, entrepreneur, and founder of Smashwords

The ability to discount your book on Amazon is limited, to say the least. But with direct sales, I can create as many unique discount codes, at as many levels of discount, as I like. This means I can reward mailing list subscribers with free and/or discounted books, so every fiction newsletter subscriber gets a free download code for Argleton and a short story, and another code that gives them Queen of the May for 99p, a £1.50 discount. - Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson Journalist, writer, and social technologist

I think the key to self publishing is to not expect to become a millionaire by it, and to distribute on as many channels as possible. Once you do that you’re rewarded with a relatively stable amount of income that has no expiration date and requires no extra work. - Tynan

Tynan Author and creator of CruiseSheet and Sett

Bottom line on self distributing is that it’s a cool thing to do because you get 100% of the money, but unless you’re a real Adwords jockey, you probably won’t actually make enough to sustain yourself.

Tynan Author and creator

The most profitable and low risk form of book distribution is self-distribution. No special skills are required. You just need to follow three basic plans: one for selling books locally, one for selling books online, and one for selling books in non-returnable quantities (special sales). But none of these plans are effortless. They require persistence, patience, and a positive attitude.

Richard Perry Author

If the book buyer or owner is not available, leave a complimentary copy of your book with a “thank you for your consideration” letter along with instructions for ordering your book. After two or three days follow-up to make sure the book was received, and again two or three weeks later asking if they will carry it...

Always carry copies in the trunk of your car! You never know when you will need them.

Richard Perry


..it seems that Amazon is easily the better option. But the eBook market place is changing everyday and my advice is definitely to have your fingers in as many pies as possible in preparation for the changes. I personally cannot bring myself to be limited to half the potential market simply because it’s harder to reach the other 50%. - R.G. Scott

Roger Gerald Scott Author, blogger, and philosopher

Many experienced self-publishers use Lightning Source, Inc. (LSI), as their printer because of its connection to Ingram. Ingram opens up distribution of their books nearly worldwide, including on Amazon, and offers industry-standard discount rates to book buyers –the LSI author has total control of his/her book pricing and can set the discount sales rate to standard 55% with returns allowed.

In summary, an author who plans to be a serious contender in the book market, and has a book that will pass muster with librarians and store book buyers, should consider going beyond the Amazon experience. - L. Austin

Linda Austin Moonbridge Books

When I did my personal research, I determined that the best course of action is to sign up for Amazon KDP Select for three months, run promotions, build volume and then immediately switch to Smashwords after the Amazon KDP Select has completed. This allows you to both take advantage of the boost that Amazon KDP Select offers and the broader distribution of Smashwords. - J. Inouye

Jenna Inouye Author


During my research, I came across very strong anti-Amazon opinions…I don’t share those. But I do care to have the option to list my books in a variety of outlets, and Smashwords lets me do that! Including libraries/OverDrive! And that’s pretty cool, right? - A. Mulberry

Andy Mulberry YA & MG fiction author

Let’s not forget that another great place to sell your eBook is on your own website, where you get to keep 100 percent of each sale. Make sure you offer buyers a secure payment method and have your book formatted so that it is downloadable via any computer. - A. Dunams

Alicia Dunams Author and international speaker and facilitator

I’d argue that for new authors the goal should be to get their book onto as many eReaders as possible and that’s exactly why KDP Select makes so much sense for new, and even established authors.

If you start with a third-party distributor and later decide to sign-up for KDP Select you will need to remove your books from all other stores. In this case you just eliminated the key benefits of a third-party distributor. - D. Wogahn

David Wogahn Publisher and president of AuthorImprints

What’s your strategy for maximum impact? Let us know in the comments section below.

You may also like

How to market your young adult fiction
The Automatic Bestseller Launch Campaign That Works Every Time
How to Write a Bestseller: Tips from the Industry’s Finest

Leave a Reply