6 Things to know before self-publishing with IngramSpark

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!

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Nora Holtmann is a passionate platform hacker: She loves to discover new platforms and explore their technical possibilities for new businesses. Her specialty is developing new digital business models for social media platforms and reporting on them in books and blogs. That you are reading about her here is the best proof that it works. As a lecturer, she trains online marketing managers and helps them to develop creative opportunities for their companies. Her passion is traveling. When she is not traveling with her backpack, she travels the world via the internet. This way she has made contacts all over the world. She lives in Berlin and also loves to travel culinary to the countries where she is currently mentally active (currently China and Korea are on the menu). Nora Holtmann can be booked for lectures and seminars. Also check out her books on Amazon!

3 thoughts to “6 Things to know before self-publishing with IngramSpark”

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