Having spent a little time learning more about writing, publishing and narrating my own book, I have discovered that Amazon has built up a very powerful and amazing ecosystem of services for the author.
Let me explain and hopefully, relate something useful to save you some research if you ever decide to publish your own book. The first item to note is that this ecosystem favors the self published author, almost to the exclusion of the publishing houses, worldwide. I have read a fair amount of virtual ink on the subject of self-publishing vs. trying to publish with a big publisher but I’m not going to cover that this time. My personal opinion is that these days, the benefits of self-publishing outweigh the costs, especially if you are just getting started.
So, there is one main entry point in the ecosystem for the author: CreateSpace. This platform (owned by Amazon, of course) allows you to upload you manuscript and they will print your book for you. There are many, many tricks to creating a nice book, most of them I am still learning, but generally you can fairly inexpensively create a book that gets printed on demand when each copy sells. That book can be distributed through the biggest bookseller around: Amazon. It can also be distributed elsewhere depending on your book’s distribution settings (again, more for another time).
But wait, there’s more! Let’s say your book is a good candidate for being published as an e-book. If that’s the case, then you can head on over to Kindle Direct Publishing. The cool part here is that you can transfer your book out of CreateSpace and (with some formatting for the Kindle platform) publish it for download via Kindle. Again, Amazon owns that platform.
But that’s not all! What if your book is a good candidate for narration? Your great American novel can then be transferred to ACX (also owned by Amazon). There, narrators can audition to record an audio reading of your book for you, the author. However, they do encourage writers to narrate their own books. Why? Because readers love to hear their favorite authors’ voices. Of course, you can also audition for narrating other books in addition to your own like I did.. but that’s another blog post.
Once you are done with your narration and it is published through ACX, it appears on Audible. Audible is one of my favorite platforms for consuming books for a variety of reasons. It is convenient, helps me spend my commute time wisely and it is accessible through my smartphone.
So I came up with the following very rough diagram showing how I envision these pieces fitting together. I am sure I am missing some details and I know that CreateSpace allows you to distribute your book on platforms other than Amazon but I think it gets my point across. Enjoy!