The Book that Can’t be Published

I made a stunning mistake. I wrote a book that can’t be published.

It takes skill to be that amazingly shortsighted.

Especially given that I’m an indie publisher!

I’ve taught classes on indie publishing, both one-on-one and in group settings, for years. There are thousands of books out there on the subject. But I came to see that what my students needed—what most writers needed—was a simplified walk-thru, a step-by-step guide. As many times as I’ve gone through the process of helping an author turn their book from a newly conceived idea into something they can hold and touch and sell, I couldn’t believe there wasn’t one comprehensive book on the market. I decided to write a book to walk you through everything. One book that would cover how to get your book produced, published, and distributed to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and in print world-wide.

I thought it would be really helpful to have an ebook that linked you to different vetted sources for more information as well as showed you exactly where to go to sign up on each major platform, and then helped you know which buttons to push once you got there. It would be like publishing a book with your friend the publisher standing over your shoulder saying, “now push that…go there…you’re done!”

And that’s how I came to write a book that could not be published.

What Went Wrong

It is amazing to me that I didn’t see the problem before I went to all the trouble of writing the book. When I started to get it ready for distribution, cold reality hit.

Distribution is where the magic happens in publishing. Distribution takes the book or epub from your computer and delivers it to the vendors’ websites so that customers can buy the book. Amazon and iTunes are well-known distributors. Smashwords or Lightning Source (one of the most powerful in the business).

I’d committed an unforgivable sin in the eyes of not one, but all of my distributors: I’d written a book that talked about all of them, weighed their pros and cons, and linked to useful information.

The links caused the problem. You see, each distribution contract forbids linking to other distributors.

I understand that in the terms of selling books. Of course they don’t want links to other vendors in their books. I would never include a link to buy a book on Barnes and Noble in a book intended for sale on Amazon. That is just obvious. But it turns out the “no linking” policy extends to linking to other vendors even if you aren’t suggesting buying from them, but selling through them.

Now my all-in-one guide will be a series, with parts of it only available on my website. I’ll also make a master set available on my website for the highly motivated souls who want all the puzzle pieces in one box.

Stay tuned. Cover reveals coming soon.

Update: the series of books are available individually or in a set from Smashwords.

One Reply to “The Book that Can’t be Published”

  1. While Amazon has refused, Smashwords has agreed to distribute the highly contested book 5. The wonderfully sane technical support representative understood that the book follows the intent of the “no links to competitors” rule while technically violating it. I’m excited!

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