If you are about to self-publish your book but are unsure about which platform to use, have a read through this list of things I’ve learnt over the last year or so. I initially published my book on Amazon CreateSpace (now renamed as Kindle Direct Publishing) as that’s all I was familiar with at the time back in Dec 2017, but have since found many other platforms which are also similar. For the sake of this post, I am concentrating on KDP vs IngramSpark as I was looking into, and since have, published my book through IngramSpark.

One of the best points between the two is that Ingram supplies many bookshops across the world. I’m in the UK and am trying to get my book in to the local Christian and indie bookshops. No one (or very few) bookshops will touch Amazon/CreateSpace, but through Ingram I potentially can get my foot in the door.


While KDP is completely free, there are a few things to note about using IngramSpark alongside it. Let’s have a look at a few key differences to be aware of:


Ingramspark has an upfront cost, whereas KDP is free — but the pros of using IngramSpark outweigh the cons of any costs, in my opinion.

Prices as of 21st Oct 2019 are — eBook: $25 (£19.23), Print: $49 (£37.69)

See the full costing here: http://www.ingramspark.com/features

Along with a title set up fee (above), there is also a cost to making revisions after you have submitted your book for distribution. Any changes to cover design or manuscript will incur a $25 fee on IngramSpark, whereas KDP is totally free. So the major con is the cost of using IngramSpark over KDP, but some of the main pros to consider include:

  • Opportunity to get into brick-and-mortar bookshops
  • The ability to create hardbacks, which Amazon doesn’t have.
  • They also have UK distribution so you can order your own book at an Author discount with fair postage prices, this will like pass onto retailer who may buy your book on wholesale.

Since CreateSpace became merged with KDP, they also now have UK distribution for ordering your own books too, which they didn’t have before (it was all US based).



KDP offers you a free ISBN for your book, but with the limitation that it’s only applicable to Amazon. On top of that, the KDP assigned ISBN lists them as the publisher, which is typically what you want to avoid when self-publishing and aiming to get into bookshops as many retailers don’t look favourably upon “CreateSpace publishers” listed on the ISBN. IngramSpark offers a placeholder “ISBN” which you can use while sorting out your cover files and manuscript in their author portal, but you can’t go to print with it and will require a real ISBN number to publish your book.

On pro of the KDP platform is that you can publish eBooks without being required to buy a new ISBN as Amazon will assign it a number using its own internal system. IngramSpark will require a separate ISBN for print and eBook.

Many sites sell ISBN’s at a high cost — often around £80+ (around $100 USD). I’ve found a couple of websites that sell them a lot cheaper and which are still compatible with KDP and IngramSpark (I contacted them to make sure, though double-check their FAQ pages in case anything changes). Be aware that getting the ISBN could take up to 2–3 business days, so don’t leave it until the last moment!

Here’s a couple of cheaper ISBN providers you can buy from:

A couple of other options which may cost more: https://www.isbnagency.com and http://www.isbn.nielsenbook.co.uk

One thing to note is that if you buy one of these cheaper ISBN’s, they will have a fixed publisher name on it as the company who provides the ISBN number, whereas the full price ISBNs will let you specify the publisher name.



On an ISBN-related note, this is worth being aware of especially as both KDP and IngramSpark offer multiple book formats which you can create (eg: eBook, paperback, hardback).

I updated my first book to publish a revised version to add a few new appendices, additional content and possibly a cover update. Under ISBN rules, this constitutes as a different version and so requires a new/different ISBN.

As I’d only published it on CreateSpace originally (as it was called then), what I did was to publish my revision on IngramSpark and also republish it on KDP as a new edition and use the same (new) ISBN across both platforms. Though this way is more costly than purely using Amazon, the pros of being with Ingram outweighs the con of the cost, as I was aiming at trying to get into my local bookshops, which Ingram could help with more than Amazon/KDP extended distribution.

For more info on whether you need a new ISBN if you are revising your book see: Publication Formats, Reprints, Editions, etc. — https://www.isbn.org/faqs_formats_reprints_editions

For any of my future books, I plan to publish on IngramSpark first with an ISBN number I buy, and then use it on both Ingram and Amazon to save any trouble with multiple ISBN’s or same edition clashes with the free KDP issued ISBN.



With Amazon, the publisher is listed as “CreateSpace” (it may be KDP now, I’m not entirely sure) and to many bookshops and distributors, this is a red flag and has the connotations of being a poorly-written self-published indie book which they rarely want to touch (regardless of whether the content is amazing). IngramSpark has no other choice but to use your own ISBN number, as they don’t provide any.

When you buy an ISBN (the expensive ones anyway) you get to list your own publisher name if you are self-publishing, and so “blend in” with other “real” publisher on distribution lists. The cheaper ISBNs may use their own publishing name, but it will still be less obvious than the CreateSpace/KDP connection.



Amazon KDP “Expanded Distribution” crosses over to Ingram automatically. This is fine if you only use Amazon, but if you are using both, you can’t have Expanded Distribution and sell individually on IngramSpark. Personally, I use IngramSpark as my “expanded distribution” to try and get into bookshops and keep Amazon purely on Amazon; that way the royalties will also be slightly better.



If you are in the US you can have any returns bought via Ingram sent directly to you if you cover the postage — or you can have them destroyed. As I’m in the UK, destroying is my only option. But either way, having a proper returns route is an incentive for retailers who often buy in bulk but may not sell everything.



IngramSpark offers “Wholesale Discount”. Basically this means that you can set the cost price retailers buy at in order to stock it, and the level Ingram offers is more in-line with traditional publishers (usually 30% or 55%, the latter being the retailer preference).

I ended up setting my wholesale discount at 50% on IngramSpark, so bookshops can buy it at less of a cost, and then focused on using Amazon to be my primary online sales channel until I get my own website shop up and running.



Until recently before KDP and CreateSpace merged, IngramSpark was the only one to offer UK-based printing for author discount copies of your book. But now, both Amazon KDP and IngramSpark can print and post to the UK without incurring hefty overseas postage from America. I think Amazon is typically cheaper with the author discount, but not by much.



…But unless you have a high cost book, the trade off will be less royalties. So I’m basically using IngramSpark for “expanded distribution”, and relying on Amazon for any decent royalties to make up for the loss from Ingram.



Buying an ISBN isn’t the same as getting a barcode (though that will depend on where you buy the ISBN from). If you get a cheaper ISBN you may have the number, but not the barcode image. So in order to get a barcode image to put on your book cover, you’ll need to generate one.

Here is a good website to do that (I’ve tested with my own book and a few others to see if they scan properly with apps like Amazon): http://www.creativindiecovers.com/free-online-isbn-barcode-generator/



Some comparisons and tips from IngramSparks official blog: http://www.ingramspark.com/blog/ingramspark-vs-createspace

IngramSpark Promo Codes:

Check out the official IngramSpark blog for any codes and discounts they have: http://www.ingramspark.com/blog/ingramspark-promo-codes-available-now

Other discount codes can be found here: ingramspark-voucher-codes

Cover Design Official Templates:

Both KDP and IngramSpark have template generators which will be the exact size for your book and paper width:

Cover Vault:

A free resource for book cover promo designs. Just add your cover image in Photoshop and the template will do the rest: https://covervault.com

Barcode Generator:

This will create the actual barcode image you need from your ISBN number: http://www.creativindiecovers.com/free-online-isbn-barcode-generator/


Free graphic design and logo creator: https://www.canva.com


To see an example, I use CoverVault to create most of my promotional graphics, which you can see an example below:

“40 Days with the Fathers” book series by Luke J. Wilson


You can view and order my books from Amazon here: 40 Days with the Fathers.

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| 07th July 2020 | Self-Publishing


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40 Days with the Fathers: Companion Text Preface

| 04th July 2020 | 40 Days with the Fathers

40 Days with the Fathers: Companion Text Preface

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6 Simple Ways to Format and Publish Your eBook

| 22nd June 2020 | Self-Publishing

6 Simple Ways to Format and Publish Your eBook

So you’ve recently written a book. Great! Maybe you’ve published it online as a paperback already, but now you want to get it into the hands of those with eReaders and Kindle devices. Seems straightforward enough, right?  Well, kinda.  An eBook isn’t quite as simple as just handing out a PDF version of your book. I mean, you can do this, but it’s not very optimised for reading on a mobile device via the various eBook apps. It’ll require a lot of pinching-and-zooming on smaller screens! Your eBook Options If you’re publishing/published via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), once known as CreateSpace, then there is an automatic option for you in your author dashboard. It’ll take your uploaded manuscript and attempt to rework it into a formatted Kindle version.  Related: 9 THINGS TO CONSIDER BETWEEN INGRAMSPARK & KDP Personally, I’ve found this method to be rather hit-and-miss leading to various formatting issues and messy internal code (that makes up the eBook), leading it to get rejected on other eBook publishing websites (I’ll come to these later). Other online publishers offer similar automated methods, and there are even extensions you can get to plug into OpenOffice or MS Word that’ll enable you to export to ePub format. But there is a way around this using a variety of tools and websites that can help, and using these methods you can create an eBook which will be accepted everywhere and work smoothly on all devices! As I’ve only had experience with KDP’s automation, I’ll be explaining my methods from that perspective, and the end result will be a working Kindle (MOBI) and ePub formatted eBook. Step One: Get your Kindle file The first thing to do will be to upload your manuscript to KDP if you haven’t already. Once Amazon has processed it all, you’ll have the option to download your book as a Kindle preview MOBI file. Doing it this way first will take out the bulk of the work you will need to do in creating a working eBook version of your manuscript. The Kindle eBook preview page in the KDP Dashboard Step Two: Convert your MOBI file Once this has downloaded, head over to mobi2epub.com where you can upload your MOBI file and have it converted into the ePub format. Other online converters are out there, I’ve just found this one to work well. Step Three: Validate Your ePub File Now that you have an ePub file, you will need to validate it to make sure there’s no extra bits of code in there or bad formatting which will get your eBook rejected by publishers like iBooks. Many places have very strict guidelines on how an eBook must be formatted for acceptance, which can be frustrating if you don’t know how to fix these. Now, head on over to ebookit.com/…/epub-validator and upload your ePub file. Depending on the file size (and your connection speed) this will take a moment, plus processing time. When it’s complete, you will most likely see the following message with similar errors: Error messages from a failed ePub file This may look daunting, but it’s not as bad as it seems! Now you know exactly what you need to look for to get your eBook in order as the error message tells you which file the error is in (eg: part0002.html) and also it tells you the line and column number in the brackets at the end of the filename with the error. For clarity, that last error in the screenshot above is telling you that in file part0002.html on line 12, the error begins 69 characters across and is something to do with the id attribute. Step Four: Cleaning Up Your eBook This is where it can get a bit technical; and this step will be easy or difficult depending on how familiar you are with editing basic HTML code. You might be thinking, ‘aren’t websites made with HTML?’ — and you’d be correct! ePub files are basically very simple, self-contained websites using simple HTML and CSS styling. If at thi...

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| 24th May 2019 | Self-Publishing

7 Tips for Marketing your Book on a Budget

7 Tips for Marketing your Book on a Budget   Create a website and/or blog. Getting an audience who is interested in other things you write is a good place to start, and then you can tag on book promos etc. to your blog posts. It also gives you a mailing list for targeted promos later on as your audience and subscribers grow (And if you're interested, you can view my main blog here). Make promo advert graphics and share them to your Facebook/Instagram stories. These always show at the top of people's feed and in Facebook Messenger and so get seen more often than regular posts. Join Facebook author promo groups. Join and share links to your sales funnel/Amazon page etc. These groups are often just a massive link-drop groups but it gets your book seen by more eyes, and they often have "follow parties" to gain a few extra likes/follows. Every bit can help!Here's some Facebook groups I am in and which I recommend for different reasons:Self Promo Groups: Authors Promoting Their Books Author Book Promotions Writers and Authors Promotions Author/Publisher/Editor/Book Readers Authors, Artists, Book & Art Promotion Authors, Writers & Bloggers Motivational/Help Groups 10 Minute Novelists Indie Cover Project #SupportIndieWriters Christian Authors Book Marketing Strategies Join other Facebook discussion groups that are of a related topic to your book (if possible). Then you may be able to share links direct to you book/blog to people actually interested in your genre. You can also share your promo graphics to the group "stories" and get more eyes on it as well. Facebook will also tell you how many people have seen these stories, and I’ve often gathered 900+ views. That doesn’t mean 900 sales, but I have seen a few sales spike after doing this, plus it means 900 people are now aware of your book which they may have saved for later or recommending to others who might be interested. You never know where it can lead.  Please note: that as of September 2019, Facebook retired group stories (which were an excellent way of gaining lots of attention!). Boost Facebook posts to "people who like your page and their friends". I've had more results with that type of targeting over trying to be overly specific. Plus this has only ever cost me about £10 per boost every few months, so it doesn’t break the bank. Start a Facebook group specifically about your book. Do daily posts, encourage conversation around the topic/storyline etc., maybe offer sample chapters to garner interest. Then just invite all your friends to join and roll with it! I did this recently in the run up to my new book release, and it gained me about 20 new sales in one week! Join Twitter and get involved in the #WritingCommunity. This community on Twitter is a great place to talk to and connect with other writers and authors as well as a place to promote your book to other interested readers. You can also jump on the #amwriting hashtag or watch out for the #indieauthors and #amreading tweets where people are often looking for new books to buy and read.   I have published two books in the last year and a half, and have been using these techniques myself as I was doing everything with basically zero budget. But over that time this has gained me around 120 sales so far, which for an unknown author I think is pretty good going! So don't lose hope that just because you're an indie author with no budget to speak of, that means you'll never make a sale. There's a reader out there for every author!   If you haven’t got to the publishing step yet and aren’t sure which route to go down between self publishing options, I have written another post: 13 Things to Consider Between IngramSpark & Createspace.   Interested in Church History and Christianity? Have a look at my new book series: 40 Days with the Fathers book series  ...