Aggregators and Self Publishing Distribution Platforms strategy

What To Know About Self Publishing Aggregators & Self Publishing Distributors

You’ve published your book, but how do you get it out for public consumption? This is where self publishing aggregators and self publishing distribution platforms come into play. If you’re scratching your head and going huh, don’t worry. I’m going to break it down and walk you through step-by-step, including how to weigh your options.

Learning the Lingo: Self Publishing Aggregators

First off, let’s start with definitions. Self publishing aggregators work to bridge the gap between authors and online retailers. Basically, they act as intermediaries between authors, libraries and all the different self-publishing distribution platforms.

What’s also nice about self publishing aggregators is they serve as a one-stop shop for you. Instead of you attempting to load your book individually to all of the vendor platforms, you can load it once to your aggregator. Many will even offer you a full dashboard to see all of the stores and places your book is available. They also display monthly sales reports, promotional options and more.

So who are some of these self publishing aggregators? You may recognize some of the biggest names like IngramSpark, Draft2Digital, and PublishDrive. I’ll get into some more detail below about the differences between them. 

Learning the Lingo: Self Publishing Distribution Platforms

Now for self publishing distribution platforms. These are the actual stores or vendors who are getting your book into the hands of readers. Some of the names you will probably recognize are Amazon KDP, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks, etc.

It might feel obvious to try and get your book into as many places as possible. But before you choose an aggregator, make sure you strategize depending on your individual goals and target audience. 

For instance, if you write children’s books your priority is going to be getting into school libraries and places where parents shop. You also might focus less on ebook distribution and more on print distribution.

Romance authors however, might be okay skipping this step entirely and putting their books exclusively in Kindle Unlimited where voracious readers will devour them and go from one romance book to the next and the authors get paid by the page read.

Genres are different. Target age and readership are different. These factors should all play into your decisions and distribution needs.

Aggregators and Self Publishing Distribution Platforms Strategy

So, how do you find and determine these factors? Research. Look for data and statistics. For instance, Pew Research shows that the average American reads five books a year. This number increases as adults grow older. Good to know for authors targeting older adult readers. Cozy mysteries, romances, spy novels, etc. 

However, it would also be important to note that older readers are NOT the ones buying ebooks. The same Pew Research shows that as of 2023- 75% of ebooks were bought by readers ages 18-45. This is the same age group that is buying audiobooks. So if you’re writing for the 18-45 year old demographic you definitely want to make sure you’re getting your book into ebook and audiobook distribution. But if you’re targeting those older adult readers, focus on print distribution and libraries.

Comparing Your Options

With this information in mind, it’s time to look at these aggregators and determine their strengths and how to best use them. Ingramspark, for instance, is best for print distribution. But they’re not the best resource for ebook or audiobook distribution. Draft2Digital is an excellent ebook and audiobook distributor, but they’re just getting started and have limited print distribution. That’s where it might be best to use a combo of aggregators. I, for instance, use both Ingramspark and Draft2Digital to fulfill my needs.

If you’re targeting a demographic that might have voracious ebook or audiobook readers, you may want to look into an aggregator that distributes to subscription platforms. For instance, StreetLib and PublishDrive distribute to Bookmate and Scribd. If you’re not familiar with these platforms, see my blog post discussing ebook subscription services from last week.

All in all, there is some research to be done to best strategize your needs, but the tools are out there to help set you up for success. And luckily, once you decide, all that is necessary is uploading and pressing a button! 

If you have further questions about any of this, or just want to discuss the best strategy for you, feel free to reach out or ask questions below in the comments. Happy Publishing!

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Blockbuster shift in books

Signs of Growth: The End of Blockbuster Names

Books and movies have always had a special relationship, so what does the end of blockbuster names in movies mean in books?

I recently watched a movie on Netflix with my husband and realized there was not a single actor or actress I had heard of in the movie. We discussed it and realized that’s happening more and more these days. I used to think it was because I’m getting older and more out of touch. But then I did some digging as I’m apt to do and found this is actually a “thing” now. 

In the past there were always the gatekeepers. The content curators. The studio heads who would greenlight which few movies got made per year. Or which shows were chosen for the fall season on the main channels. We were limited on what exposure we got to content. We only got to partake in what the curators chose for us. 

However, that’s all changed with streaming platforms. Movies and shows are now launched with regularity. Suddenly we can get access to almost anything. You can go down rabbit holes of niche topics and shows. Gone are the days when the curators kept us limited. 

But with that constant stream of content there are less and less of those big Hollywood “stars” rising to the top with the notoriety of the past. How could they? They can no longer be cast in everything. More actors HAVE to come to the stage and play.

blockbuster actors

The same is happening in publishing. With self publishing becoming more popular and writers launching new books with regularity there is just more content out there. More content equals more competition and less opportunity to rise to the top like the John Grishams, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King and other “blockbuster” writers of the past.

So does that mean that fame and fortune is a thing of the past? Will there never be another Jennifer Aniston or Brad Pitt? Possibly.

I can honestly say I’m okay with that. This might sound surprising coming from me as a writer. Wouldn’t I want the possibility of becoming a “blockbuster” success? Yes, but so few ever got to be. Whereas, in this current oversaturated market it’s anyone’s game. How though?

It’s all about niche marketing. Think about it. As content consumers we all have our particular genres of books and films we prefer. Netflix sets up our recommended for you algorithms as does Amazon. There are also the follow buttons. You like an author’s book you can follow them on Amazon, Goodreads and Bookbub. Then you get an alert whenever they publish something new. 

I do this with all my favorite authors. And as soon as I get that alert, I know to preorder the next book they have coming out. I just did this with Fiona Davis’s new book The Spectacular (was fabulous by the way) and Marie Benedict’s The Mitford Affair and The First Ladies. 

There is the same loyalty garnered with these systems. Just like you’d always go see the new Julia Roberts movie, you’re continuing to follow people you like. It’s just more spread out and catered to your specific tastes. 
In the long run, I feel it’s a more equitable and sustainable market. What are your thoughts on the matter? Are you enjoying the availability of more content or do you miss the days of content curators? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

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AI Integration

AI Technology– is it the end for creators?

AI has arrived in the world of publishing. Is it welcome?

AI. Two letters that evoke such strong feelings. We have doomsdayers predicting the end of the working world as we know it. And then there are others who praise the technology as the best thing since sliced bread. So which is it?

I think there is a reason people are afraid. There has been evidence of competently executed manuscripts and artwork by this new technology. I believe it was Stephen King, who used the technology to generate an example of artwork that was spot-on for one of his potential books. The staff of sci-fi magazine, Clarkesworld, had to close submissions for their annual writing contest in January after they were flooded with AI generated submissions. But were those submissions successful? “It was “easy” to see which submissions were machine-generated,” said the magazine.

One can argue that will change in the future and people will soon be unable to differentiate as easily. But I still have to say, I don’t envision an AI program completely taking over the creator industry. Call me naive- but I just honestly don’t.

Thirty years ago the first computer beat the best chess player in the world. Everyone predicted the end of chess. Why bother anymore? And yet– my son just had over forty kids sign up for his after school chess club this past winter.

There will always be the fun in the “game” to draw people into wanting to create. And people will always still be drawn to the human element both in and behind the creation. People want someone to root for and relate to. People want to get to know the author or artist. They want to know what their inspiration was. What their thoughts, process, and difficulties were during the creation. 

One can argue that’s not always the case– hence why I’ll even agree some AI generated work will most definitely enter the marketplace. But this is why I feel it will never dominate the marketplace.
Now, what I do envision happening is a divide between the creators who embrace this technology and the ones who don’t. Just like the technology in the past, those who grow comfortable and find ways to utilize it will be the ones to rise to the top.

And there are plenty of ways to utilize this AI creator technology without having it replace us. Who couldn’t benefit from gaining time by dictating and immediate editing software? Meaning in addition to grammar– it would correct awkward sentence structure and misuse of words. This alone could save hours of rewrites and drafts.

There is also AI narration. No, we do not want to replace human narrators entirely. But it is costly to use a human narrator, limiting what we can get made into audiobook format. Utilizing AI for shorter works, bonus content, sneak peek chapters etc., could greatly increase our marketing potential and library of content.

Overall, the Hollywood writers on strike are partly right that we need to examine how the technology is implemented and how it will affect writers and their pay scales. Jobs might change. But do I honestly envision an AI program writing a writer out of a job completely? No. 
Instead of living in fear, let’s be strategic and discern how AI can make our lives better and more productive.

What are your thoughts on AI? As usual, I always love to hear from you. Please share below in the comments!

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Kindle Unlimited OR Kindle Piracy

Authors Under Attack & Kindle Piracy Policy

Where is an author’s place in an Amazon world?

Piracy. The word has run the gamut of affiliated issues in different markets over the years. It’s been linked with issues with music and downloading songs without payment to the artist. Remember the days of Napster? Piracy has also been linked to theft for authors. Websites are springing up where full manuscripts are available for public download. This is problematic enough, but Amazon’s new stringent policy against kindle piracy creates even further punishment for authors!

Kindle Unlimited has always been controversial for authors. There has always been that double edged sword of affiliating yourself with Amazon to be paid for page reads along with their marketing, but you have to pledge exclusivity. This has always been a difficult decision. 

Many authors swear by it and build their entire platform around having their books in the Kindle Unlimited library. Others start off that way to get their book out there and then pull to go wide (aka list it in other vendor marketplaces) after they’ve got a solid base of reviews. This is what I did. 

I felt, as do many authors, that it was unfair that to be listed in Kindle Unlimited I was restricted from even selling my own ebooks directly on my own website! It felt like it goes against the grain of why many of us went into self-publishing in the first place. To have autonomy over marketing decisions. But still, I did understand why some authors chose to stay. The Kindle Unlimited page read payouts are alluring. 

Author Kindle Piracy Problems

However, Amazon recently opened a whole new can of worms against authors. Amazon added kindle piracy to its exclusivity violations. So now in addition to an author already feeling frustrated when their work is stolen and posted on a random site for download, they’re also getting shut out of their Amazon accounts. 

That’s right, Amazon is not even serving them a warning or advice on how to fight the kindle piracy, they are just shutting authors out of their accounts and sole sources of income overnight and citing breach of their exclusivity contracts.

The worst part is authors don’t even know how to go about fighting it. Some authors are trying to organize a solidarity Kindle Unlimited strike- however understandably many claim they can’t afford to pull their sole income source right now.

There is also a petition being shared as well as one acknowledging that Amazon is one of the primary sources for this kindle piracy in the first place! Many automated systems use Amazon as the source for them to copy the e-files they share on their free sites. 

It’s a vicious cycle. An author needs a source for selling/publishing their product, they turn to Amazon and commit to their exclusivity clause, their work gets stolen from Amazon, then Amazon boots them out of the program without support. 

This cycle needs to be broken! 

Perhaps by at least spreading awareness of this issue, whether that be by sharing this article, the circulating petitions, or just by talking about it– change can occur. Amazon needs to be held accountable and they need to support the authors they are making money from.

As stated in an article from ‘’ posted on Dec 7th, 2021;

“Per the AAP, tracked ebook sales REVENUE from January through October 2021 amounted to $892.5 million.”

Do better Amazon. Authors make you money. Protect them.

Do you have a Kindle Unlimited Account as either a reader or author? What are your feelings about Kindle Unlimited?

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SCBWI Meet the Author

Exciting SCBWI News: Their Team is Growing!

I am ecstatic to join the SCBWI team!

You may recall I recently discussed what SCBWI is and the many benefits of joining. (You can find that post here). The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is a global community of writers, illustrators, and many other industry professionals working to establish a more imaginative and inclusive world through the power of children’s literature. At last, I am thrilled to share I have been selected as the new Mid-Atlantic region Indie and Self-Published Coordinator. Obviously, I am hugely honored to be part of such an important mission! SCBWI is dedicated to supporting the creation of an abundance of quality children’s books. A mission that strives to ensure young people everywhere have the books they need and deserve. 

Meet a Writer featuring Joyana Peters

I had a wonderful opportunity to dive into my self-publishing journey and share a few things you might not know about the road that led me from teaching college-level English to the release of The Girl in the Triangle and beyond. I enjoyed having the opportunity to share a glimpse into how I got to where we are today. If you haven’t yet read this edition of Highlighter SCBWI Mid-Atlantic Journal, you can find it here.

SCBWI Meet an Author Quote

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Bookstores for Self Published Authors

What Do We Need to Know About Bookstores for Self-Published Authors?

Bookstores. We love to browse them. We love the services they provide. But do they serve the needs of a Self-Published Author?

Are bookstores worth it for self-published authors?

Are Bookstores Worth It for Self-Published Authors?

I love Indie Bookstores, I do! I’m a Shop Small Girl, I promise! I buy books from bookstores ALL THE TIME! I wanted to say that first and foremost because today’s article might otherwise be viewed as controversial.

I’ve seen a number of articles and even a campaign sponsored by Bookshop (the leading online ordering service for Indie Bookstores) out this week encouraging readers to NOT shop Amazon for Prime Day and instead get your books from your local bookstore. In theory, I support and understand this. We NEED indie bookstores to survive and have been fighting this fight for them for years. Remember the Meg Ryan/ Tom Hanks movie- You’ve Got Mail?

BUT, as a Self-Published Author, there’s a reason I prioritize Amazon for my own books. Unfortunately, I’ve found there are things we need to know about bookstores for self-published authors.

When The Girl in the Triangle launched last year, I was all about getting it into bookstores. One, there was the romantic idea of seeing it on shelves. And two, I thought it would really be to my benefit. Exposure, free marketing right? Most of you even know I’ve done plenty of bookstore signings. However, although I met some awesome bookstore owners and people, the shine quickly wore off.

The unfortunate reality is bookstores DO NOT benefit the Self-Published Author. Some will not even consider self-published books, others make you pay to rent your shelf space and then there’s the royalty/return issue.

I did an event a few months ago and was excited they got a bunch of my books in for it. Well, in the few hours I was there- I made less than I would in one hour at a festival. (35% per sale vs 100% – printing cost per sale).

Then I learned the hard way what happens when the bookstore decides they’re not going to move the stock. They gave my books less than eight weeks before returning. Although they bought them at a 55% discount from my supplier- I had to eat the entire full price cost of the return! And I didn’t even get the books back- they were destroyed at the warehouse!

I honestly can’t even blame the bookstore for this. I get it. They are a small space and need to stock what moves the fastest. But when traditional publishers can pay for highlighted tables and window space- my book on a back shelf didn’t stand a chance.

In contrast, the Amazon beast is set up for self-publishing success. I get a 70% royalty off a sale there. The item is only printed when ordered- so no worries about unmoved stock. And Amazon eats the cost of any returns.

The world of publishing is changing. I honestly don’t know what it will look like in the future. I already know I need to prioritize getting my books into audio book form for the upcoming year. And even on Amazon the bulk of my sales comes from e-books.

Will I find in the future that paperback format isn’t worth carrying at all? I hope not! I’d hate to never again hold a book in my hands and have that magic of turning a page. For now, I’ll stick to Print on Demand.And hopefully, one day, there will be a better system for partnering with the bookstores I love.

In the meantime, I’ll say- you can still support both me AND your favorite bookstore by ordering my books off their websites and getting them sent to your house! You just won’t see me pushing for them to stock my books in store again. 🙁

Read More of Joyana’s Posts About the World of Publishing and Books Here!