Amazon Is NOT Your Publisher

I am surprised by the number of indie and self-published authors who tell me that the publisher of their book is Amazon, Kindle Direct Publishing, or IngramSpark.

Amazon is NOT your publisher.

It is clear to me that these authors do not understand the difference between an author, a publisher, and a publishing platform.

Authors and publishers have distinct jobs. These jobs are as follows:

Author’s job:

  • Write a manuscript
  • Engage in marketing to assist sales

Publisher’s job:

  • Edit the manuscript
  • Create a cover
  • Lay out the book
  • Secure a printer
  • Assign an ISBN
  • Access distribution for sales to retail and other channels
  • Engage in marketing to ensure sales

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is neither an author or a publisher. It does not write, edit, lay out, or create a cover design for your book. What KDP offers are services.

They offer a cover design template, an ebook conversion program, printing, distribution for sales, and even advertising options. They also offer the option for you to have Amazon assign an ISBN number to your book. This still does not make them the publisher of your book. The option to secure an ISBN is just another service they provide.

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is a publishing platform. Other publishing platforms include:

  • Kobo Writing Life
  • Barnes & Noble Press
  • Draft2Digital
  • Smashwords
  • IngramSpark

A publishing platform is a service provider. These platforms allow an independent author—acting as a publisher—to secure printing and access distribution for a book.

If you are an author who is also producing your book—directing the editing, layout, cover design, and securing printing and distribution—then you are also the publisher of your book.

Amazon is a publisher. But it is not the publisher of your books. Amazon owns 16 publishing imprints. You can find the complete list of these imprints at https://amazonpublishing.amazon.com/our-imprints.html. Be assured, Kindle Direct Publishing is not one of Amazon’s publishing imprints.

Don’t be confused about the difference between a publisher and a publishing platform. If you are the one responsible for bringing your book to fruition, then you are the publisher.

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Photo courtesy of mohamed_hassan.

Publishing Myths Busted!

Over the years, I have heard writers make some fairly outrageous claims like:

  • “My book is going to rock the Christian world.”
  • “Everybody needs to read my book.”
  • “I just write; I don’t read.”

These writers have bought into ideas that are not true. Sadly, there are numerous publishing and marketing myths that newer writers and authors often believe.

Publishing Myths Busted

In his new book, 10 Publishing Myths, W. Terry Whalin sets out to debunk 10 popular publishing myths while educating writers on the reality of book publishing and marketing.

This small book is packed with useful advice and resources for aspiring and new authors. For each myth, Terry provides an MBA—not a Masters of Business Administration—but a Myth Busting Activity for the reader to do.

Terry Whalin knows the publishing industry. As both an editor and a writer, Terry has written over 60 books and numerous articles. He has worked as a magazine editor and is currently an acquisitions editor. His advice is sound.

In debunking the “My Book Will Be a New York Times Bestseller” myth, Terry states:

With over 4500 new books entering the marketplace every day, it is a challenge for any author to find readers—and to find readers who will write a few sentences of honest review and post it on Amazon and Goodreads and other sites.”

I agree with Terry. The competition for readers’ time and money is stiff. Authors have to devote time and energy to promoting and marketing their books to reap sales. I have often said that book reviews are your second most important marketing tool—your book’s cover is your number one marketing tool.

In the “My Editor Will Fix All My Mistakes” myth chapter, Terry writes:

One of the ways we can grow as a writer in the knowledge of our craft is to read how-to books. Even though I have an undergraduate degree in journalism and have shelves of how-to write books, I continue to read books on the craft of writing. For years, I’ve read at least one of these types of books each month. New how-to books continue to be created and published—and I learn something from each of them.

Every writer and author can benefit from this piece of wisdom. There is always room for improvement, and there is always more to learn. As an author, you should follow Terry’s advice and encourage others to do so also. One way you can put this into practice is to gift Terry’s book or another book on writing or marketing to one or more writers in your life this Christmas.

Authors should be readers. Read books in your books’ genres and read books to improve your writing and marketing skills. I suggest that you start with this book and then read all the additional resources and books that Terry recommends in the book.

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What Are You Learning?
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Photo courtesy of Patrick Fore.

Take Time to Love a Bookstore

The second annual Love Your Bookstore Challenge starts tomorrow. This year the #LoveYourBookstore Challenge will run Friday, November 8 through Sunday, November 17.

#LoveYourBookstore

Love Your Bookstore is an industry-wide celebration of all brick-and-mortar bookstores across America. It’s a way for book lovers of all sorts to show support for bookstores.

We need Christian bookstores in America! Christian bookstores can be a shining light of Christ to a lost world. They provide a place for both seekers and believers to find encouragement through books and other resources.

As an author, the #LoveYourBookstore Challenge provides you an opportunity to get to know and support a local bookstore, as well as promote your books.

The Challenge encourages authors to:

  1. Visit a local bookstore during the challenge. Be a patron!
  2. Take a picture with a book you love or want to gift this season—or a picture of you with your book located in the store.
  3. Share the picture on social media using the hashtag #LoveYourBookstore.
  4. Then challenge your friends to participate in the #LoveYourBookstore as well.

I would also encourage you to make a purchase while you are in your local bookstore. Support these retailers who are an important part of the book-selling structure.

Christian Supply Shoppe

If you want to locate a Christian bookstores near you, you can use the Christian bookstore locator found on https://getitlocaltoday.com. Just plug in your zip code and it will let you know where a Christian bookstore is located near you. The site lists over 1,800 Christian stores.

If you do not have a Christian bookstore in your community (and many places do not), then visit a local independent bookstore. Last year, I drove 20+ miles to the nearest Christian bookstore for this challenge. Interestingly, this bookstore is not listed in the Get It Local Today directory. The store has a fairly sizable section devoted to local authors and a number of loyal customers. While I was there a number of local people stopped by including a pastor picking up his order.

Galatians 6:10 says, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” The Love Your Bookstore Challenge allows you to put this verse into practice. Visit your local Christian bookstore this coming week and do good by supporting their endeavor.

You can share your plans for the #LoveYourBookstore Challenge below. I would love to hear from you.

Related Posts:
How Many Christian Bookstores Remain?
How to Get a Book into a Christian Bookstore
Why Christian Bookstores Are In Decline

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Murphy’s Law for Book Publishing

Murphy’s Law is the name given to any adage stating that if anything can go wrong, it will. Things do go wrong in book publishing. Here are five Murphy’s Law book publishing adages that I found on the Internet. Can you relate?

Murphy's Law for Book Publishing

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Videos Are a Powerful Marketing Tool

Are you using videos in your book marketing efforts?

Done right, videos are a powerful tool for promoting your books. Creating good videos takes time and resources. Yet, the payoffs can be worth the effort.

The infographic below by Renderforest provides an impressive overview of video marketing statistics. Four that caught my eye are:

  • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users.
  • Marketers who use video receive 41% more traffic from search than non-users.
  • Including a video on your homepage can increase conversion rates by 20% or more.
  • Using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts the open rates by 19%.

Check out all the statistics in this infographic. It may convince you to create some videos to market your books.

Video Marketing Statistics

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Are You Using Videos in Your Marketing Efforts?
Using Videos to Promote Your Book

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