A guide to self-publishing with IngramSpark (@EasternRegional @IngramSpark)

The Eastern Regional Libraries (ERL) is partnering with IngramSpark to offer its members the opportunity to turn their novel, poetry, memoir or family history into a beautiful print book and/or ebook.

Having worked with IngramSpark since 2017, this reviewer can offer some tips on how to use the platform to publish, promote and distribute your book(s).

IngramSpark, operated by printer and distributer Lightning Source, is the print-on-demand (POD) unit of U.S.-based Ingram Content Group. The company is headquartered in Tennessee and has operations in the U.K., France and Australia.

POD means copies of a book are only printed when an order is made, allowing prints of single or small quantities. This eliminates the costs in producing, warehousing and transporting large numbers of books.

To self-publish with IngramSpark, you need an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) from Thorpe-Bowker. The 13-digit number contains essential information used in sales tracking, retail inventory systems, library catalogs, online bookstores, etc.

Each specific format of your book requires a unique ISBN, including print (hardback or softbound) and electronic (ePUB, PDF or MOBI). For books translated from another language to English or vice versa, each edition also needs a separate ISBN.

To publish a print book, you need two files in PDF format. The first is the Interior. It should contain the internal pages of your book, including the title, imprint, table of contents, and completed and edited content, accompanied by page numbers. The other file should contain the front and back covers and the spine.

IngramSpark has a cover template generator. Based on your book’s ISBN, trim size, interior colour and paper, binding type, laminate type and page count, you can download a template and an automatically generated barcode for your cover design.

Meanwhile, to publish an ebook, you need two files as well. The Interior file, in ePUB format, contains the internal pages of your book, but without page numbers. The Cover file, in JPEG format, only requires the front cover.

Note: Ideally, your cover should be professionally designed in order to efficiently and effectively present your book. Despite what people say, EVERYBODY judges a book by its cover.

IngramSpark has considerably streamlined its publishing process in recent years,. Once the files are ready, you only need to provide the “metadata”, which conveys information about your book to customers, bookstores, libraries, wholesalers and retailers.

Such “metadata” includes the book’s title, language, full description, contributor(s), imprint, subjects (BISAC codes) and types (region and theme), and audience,

The most fun part is setting the book’s list price in six different markets – U.S., U.K., Europe, Canada, Australia, and Global Connect (which covers all other territories). This allows your book to reach its greatest sales potential by garnering as many markets as possible.

It’s a great opportunity to take control of your writing and publishing career. You can even purchase copies of your book at a discount price (i.e. the printing cost) to share with families and friends

More details about the offer are available from ERL’s website.

Note: This article was originally published under the title “Guide to self-publishing with IngramSpark” by Ranges Trader Star Mail, February 15, 2022, P.13.

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