Things on IngramSpark I wish I knew before…
In this article we’re talking about the six things to know before self-publishing with IngramSpark.
Now, there are many ways to self-publish your book. You can do it through KDP (Amazon), IngramSpark, there’s BookBaby, there’s Lulu. There’s a bunch of print-on-demand companies. However, IngramSpark is really the best company to go with when you want expanded distribution of your book or if you want to see your book in hardcover. Now with that said, I wanted both of those things, so I actually did publish with IngramSpark exclusively when I first republished all my books.
However, I learned very quickly I did not want to publish exclusively with them and there’s a lot of reasons as to why and I’m gonna talk about them now as well as the solution I came up with.
1. Be prepared for terrible customer Service
So, the first thing I learned about IngramSpark is that their customer service tends to be pretty terrible. It is getting slightly better, but from my experience whenever I do call up someone on IngramSpark they usually can’t help me with whatever issue I’m having. And usually the issue I’m having is related directly to their platform. It’s an issue on their end and they can’t fix it. Like, I needed some reports being drawn up and they weren’t being sent to me, so I called them, and they weren’t able to send me the report but it’s like, don’t you have access to my account? So, customer service pretty terrible.
Plus, you always have to call. I believe you can email but I emailed them sometimes and they just don’t respond. All around customer service ain’t he best thing in the world on their end.
2. Be prepared for extra-change fees on IngramSpark
Next thing is that when you change your book, like I’m talking about when you physically change the inside of the book, either the cover or what’s written on the inside of the book if you ever need to change stuff it’s a $25 fee. Now, that is because they are more official, blah, blah, blah, there’s a lot of fancy stuff going on. So, there’s a processing fee or whatever which I guess is okay, but there’s no fee like that on any other print-on-demand company so just be aware of that. For example, be aware of the fact that you’re gonna rack up a bill when just fixing your typos sometimes.
3. Changes do not come in before next month
So with that said, since we’re talking about changes not only are we talking about regular changes, but if you want to change things like the way the book is listed genre-wise, the price of the book, the royalty rate of the book or the description of the book. Any sort of changes don’t go in until the next month.
So, say if it’s like, July 2nd and you decide, I’m going to make this change to the price. I want to change my royalty rate from like 40% to 50% or something like that, that change won’t actually go into effect until like August because it goes into effect at the next start of the month. So that’s incredibly frustrating, especially if you aren’t anticipating that. So just be prepared if you make any changes that it won’t go into effect until the next start of the month.
4. Problems with delivering sales reports
So, the next thing I learned, and this might actually be the most frustrating with me maybe because it’s what I’ve encountered the most, is that I’ve tried to generate sales reports and sometimes the reports just don’t come in. Like, so you select the report and what you want, and you put the start date and the end date and then it emails the report to you and sometimes the report just doesn’t show up. Like, a whole weekend went by and I never got the report. And so, then you have to reapply for the report and put all the information in again. It’s a pain, it’s just not fun. I don’t know why they always have this issue, but they do.
5. Payment only comes in until three months after generating money
Which brings me to the next point, let’s talk about the fact that you don’t get paid until three months after you’ve generated money. So sometimes I generate reports on a monthly basis because I want to know how many books I sold that month as well as how much money I made that month. So even though I might have sold X amount of books in July and made X amount of money, I don’t see that money until, let’s see, July, August, September, October. I don’t see any money that I generated in July until October. So, you see that you made this much money this month but you don’t get it until three months later and it gets automatically deposited into PayPal. Which I find slightly weird, but I’m sure that’s safer.
But yeah, I just find the whole setup of Ingram and their reports and the way the money works confusing. It’s not a user-friendly platform whereas Kindle, KDP. IngramSpark is about the opposite. They are changing it. They’re making updates and it’s seeming a bit better, but still when it comes to generating reports, I always have issues.
6. Royalty Rates in IngramSpark affect royalty rates on Amazon (KDP) as well
So, I guess the next thing we need to talk about is royalty rates. The whole reasoning usually behind IngramSpark, why you would want to exclusively go with IngramSpark is because their expanded distribution is awesome. So not only can you sell your books through Amazon, you can sell them basically anywhere you want. When your goal is to sell your book to Barnes & Noble sometimes you want to make a lower royalty rate because that will encourage retailers to buy your book more because they can buy it at a lower rate like other regular publishers do.
So, I did that thinking, okay, I want to sell my book at Barnes & Noble so I’m going to do a royalty rate of like 40 or 50%. What I didn’t think of was the fact that that means I’m only making 40 or 50% when I sell my books off of Amazon as well. All of a sudden, I was making almost no money off of my books and I know I’m not the only author that’s done this.
Like, you almost wish that you can set a royalty rate for expanded distribution versus just regular Amazon distribution. That way you can be like, okay, when I’m selling expanded I want to sell my books at a 40% royalty rate and when I’m selling on Amazon I want to sell at a 75% royalty rate which makes way more sense.
What to do about the royalty rates?
If you would like to publish your book in both places, on Amazon, on KDP and on IngramSpark, you just have to make sure your book has the same exact ISBN number in both places. That way on Amazon they link up. So basically, what happens when you do that is KDP handles all the Amazon orders and then anywhere else that orders your books is printed through IngramSpark. So that’s kinda how you solve the problem of, hey, I want expanded distribution but I also want to make good royalty rates off of Amazon.
Now, it doesn’t solve that problem for hardcover books. Hardcover books, you can’t publish hardcover books through KDP, but honestly as a self-published author you really don’t sell a lot of hardcover books.
I believe Lulu produces hardcover books as well. I don’t think their quality is as good, and I think their prices for printing the hardcover books is much higher, so if you do want to do hardcover books try to stick with IngramSpark.
What do I think?
In the end, IngramSpark is necessary for all the publishers, who want their books spread. Even if Ingram has a couple of communication problems and this really confusing royalty rates issue, you can’t avoid it. Plus Ingram offers so many possibilities, I still recommend it. If you do want that expanded distribution stick with IngramSpark. Just be mentally prepared for a few roadblocks.
Let me know of your experience with IngramSpark in the comments below.
I look forward finding one day one of your books!