For many new authors, self-publishing without Amazon is not an option you would consider.
However, Amazon’s Kindle Book Store is so big now, and it’s becoming more and more difficult to attract attention for a new book.
In the time it takes you to read this article, ten new ebooks will probably be published with Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).
Many new books have a small potential readership. So they often get lost in the massive number of books on Amazon. Is there a better way?
When self-publishing without Amazon is an option
By some estimates, there are more than 9 million ebooks available on Amazon. This number is increasing rapidly every day.
But thinking that bigger is better is not always the best way to sell a book.
If you write a book about the history of your town or city, most of your book buyers will be local.
They would also be more likely to buy a print book than an ebook.
In this example, there is not much benefit in trying to sell your book or ebook globally.
Another example is books that relate to country-specific sports.
These might include Australian, American or Gaelic football, lutte, hornussen, or hurling.
Biographies and memoirs are also often related to a local area, which means that they may have little international appeal.
If you are self-publishing in a language other than English, you might decide to target a specific region or country.
With books such as these examples, self-publishing without Amazon is sometimes a choice you can make.
It might be better to investigate self-publishing options that suit your book and your local market.
The big advantage is that you can concentrate your book marketing on where your book is likely to sell.
There are many ways you can self-publish a new book without using Amazon.
Think about who your potential book buyers will be. Will they prefer to buy ebooks or print books?
Do you want to sell your books online or directly to local buyers?
Understanding your market makes it much easier to decide on the best choice.
There are many self-publishing services to choose from nowadays. Here are a few options you could consider.
Self-publishing a paperback with Blurb is an economical alternative to Amazon KDP.
For example, a 200-page softcover paperback will cost you as little as $6.50 per copy. The price reduces by 25% if you order more than 50 copies.
There is a shipping charge, and it will vary depending on where you live.
But if you plan to sell your books locally, you can offer your book at $15-20 per copy and make a tidy profit.
You can also sell your book via the Blurb bookstore.
There is also the option to publish and distribute an ebook version of your book.
Like most self-publishing services now, you can self-publish in many languages with Blurb.
As one of the pioneers of self-publishing, Lulu is a favorite for many authors.
There are many options available for book formats. But for a standard US trade paperback, the price is around $5.80 plus shipping.
Print-on-demand books have come a long way in recent years. Like similar services, you can now self-publish in hardcover with Lulu.
The quality of print-on-demand books is now much closer to a traditional offset printed book.
It’s an option, but Bookbaby offers self-publishing packages.
You need to contact them to ask for a quote, so I can’t give you an accurate estimation of the price per copy of a book.
If you want some background on Bookbaby, Alli published a watchdog report some time ago.
The report gives you a good summary of the services on offer and the value for money.
The report is a bit dated, but I checked, and Alli now gives Bookbaby an excellent rating.
4. Publish and sell an ebook directly
If you don’t want to publish in print, it’s easy to publish your ebook.
There are a lot of tools available to create an ebook in the most popular ebook file types.
All you need is your Word manuscript and a book cover image. Calibre is probably the most popular tool to use to create an ebook.
Once you have created your ebook files, you can offer them from your website or blog in mobi (for Kindle), epub, and pdf.
One of the best ways to sell your ebooks is to use an online payment service.
Unlike Amazon, the big advantage is that you won’t need to complete all the time-consuming tax declarations to avoid the 30% withholding tax.
It’s not a book marketing model for all new authors, but it is another choice.
Perhaps you only want to publish for fun. If so, Inkitt could be a good choice for you.
Readers from around the world will be able to access your story as soon as it is published.
You have a great chance to find readers because Inkitt states that it has over two million active users on the site or using its app.
There are also regular writing contests in a variety of genres that you can enter.
You can still use other publishing platforms, so there are no restrictions.
One other bonus is the possibility of earning a publishing contract if your story proves to be very popular.
It’s not a true self-publishing platform like Amazon. But take a look and see if it’s an option for you.
How to promote a local book
I took a break from writing this article to read my local newspaper, La Côte.
I receive a copy every weekday morning because I love reading a real newspaper. It’s also an opportunity for me to read in French.
On page five, there was a full-page story about a new book, “Le Bois de Chênes : Secrets d’un lieu magique entre Léman et Jura”, that was precisely about the topic of this post.
Luckily, I found it online to share it with you.
I can’t share the whole article with you because it would take too much space.
The story was in French, but I have translated the first couple of paragraphs for you.
It is a terrific example of how to promote a self-published book locally.
The authors prepared for their book launch exceptionally well.
Not only did they contact our local newspaper for a story, but they also arranged to have the book on sale at local stores.
It also shows that self-publishing is international and that you can find success in publishing in any language.
Book promotion ideas
Local newspapers are a terrific way to promote a new book.
My local newspaper is a big supporter of new writers and regularly publishes stories about new authors and book reviews.
You could also consider contacting local radio or television.
There are so many ways to promote and sell a book locally.
Try a small stall at a local market.
Contact your local library and bookstores.
Contact local reading groups.
Ask local stores and cafés if you can display your book for sale.
Contact clubs, associations, or your chamber of commerce.
Do you have a local book fair?
Can you speak at local events?
Promoting your book locally has far more potential for selling your books.
You can get your book in front of people’s eyes much easier than trying to promote online.
It’s the old-fashioned way of self-publishing, but it still works.
On Amazon, it would be just another book lost in the crowd no matter how much you promoted it.
Yes, most new authors will self-publish on Amazon. It’s easy, quick and your book is available for sale in around 24 hours.
But it’s not for every author and can be problematic for authors who don’t live in the US or UK.
One of the biggest hurdles is registering with the IRS to avoid losing 30% of your royalties in withholding tax.
If your new book lacks international appeal, you might be wasting a lot of time and effort.
Finding alternative ways to self-publish and market your book can sometimes be more effective.
There are plenty of alternatives available. So self-publishing without using Amazon KDP is certainly now an option for many authors.
You could look at it like this. Is it better to be a small fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small pond?
The choice is up to you.