Say you, like me, wrote a book about the two Lithuanian lovers who find themselves trapped in a basement and have to solve mysteries and learn magic to escape the traps set by them by an evil wizard robot using their brawn, brains, and a little sultry lovemaking. How would you publish and sell it?
Presumably you would visit the Kindle, B&N, and Apple book stores and upload it, making it available on all of those platforms and raking in the dough. Now, however, you can just use Booktango.
Before we get too deep into the “Whys” and “Wherefores” of this thing, I’d like to riff a little bit on Booktango and it’s parent company, Author Solutions. Author Solutions runs a number of what were once called “vanity presses” including iUniverse, Xlibris and the like. A few years ago I would have told you to stay as far away from these guys as possible and that their services were, at best, predatory and at worst rapaciously bad. My buddy Scott was excoriated for daring to say self-publishing wasn’t great six years ago but, on the aggregate, vanity presses usually took your money and left you with a crate of sad, unwanted books. However, as the rise of digital self-publishing shows us, everything changes and it’s fascinating to see the company move into the epub world with services like Booktango.
That said, how does this service work? You upload your book and a cover and prepare it for sale. The company offers a tablet-based editing suite so you can do a few touch-ups on the fly, but the real magic happens after you upload. You can sell your book on the Booktango website and receive 100% of the “royalties” or 90% of the sale if you sell through any other ebookstore including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.
The “free” service includes a full editing suite, cover designer, and ISBN assignment. Then, as you sell your book, the company tracks your sales and pays out royalties based on “net sale.” You can also pay $49 for a bit of hand-holding in terms of book upload and management and $189 for assistance with the book as a whole as well as copyright protection.
Now net sale gets a little tricky. Booktango, for example, takes $1.50 per book as a retailing fee but then you’d get the remainder of that sale. If you sell through Amazon et al, you have to deal with their fees and then Booktango gets 10% of that net sale, leaving you with 90%. It’s not a horrible deal, to be fair, but it’s not quite clear unless you read the FAQ.
There are plenty of sites out there like this and there are plenty of good ways to get your content into ebook stores. However, Booktango might make a good tool for the technologically maladroit to upload and sell their masterpieces without much fuss. I tried it today and it was a bit confusing and the editor a bit underpowered, but presumably you’re going to do most of your work offline and upload it when you’re done. While I doubt I’ll see my Lithuanian love story on the site (I’m holding out for a huge advance), I would publish my other beautiful work including my epic, 100,000-line adventure poem featuring Andy Dick and King Arthur and my advanced guide to sandwich making. Look for them wherever fine ebooks are sold.