Every now and then we work with an author who wants to republish their books. Typically they’ve come to us from a hybrid publishing company that didn’t meet their expectations and they have decided to self-publish instead.
Why would you want to self-publish versus use a hybrid publisher?
There are a myriad of ways to go about publishing a book- from getting a traditional publishing deal to using a hybrid publisher to self-publishing. The bottom line is that publishing a book is personal, and it’s all about meeting your specific goals.
Some of the main reasons we’ve seen authors leave a hybrid publisher and choose to self publish is because
- They want full control over their book
- They want easy access to their publishing accounts be able to do things like order author copies or run Amazon price promotion deals
- Something in the book making process didn’t quite go how they wanted it to (could be with the cover, or interior formatting) and they’d like a redo
- They want to keep 100% of their royalties
Those are just some of the reasons someone might choose to walk away from a hybrid publishing company and decide to self publish.
However, a bad experience with a hybrid publishing company isn’t the only reason someone might want to republish their book. We’ve worked with one author to republish her children’s book after her traditional publishing company went out of business after being charged with stealing royalties from their authors.
No matter what your reason is for wanting to re-publish a book, it’s not always as cut and dry as creating an Amazon KDP account and re-uploading the book.
How to Republish Your Book on Amazon
We’ve helped authors make this transition and we’ve learned some lessons along the way about how to re-publish a book on Amazon:
- Make sure it is clear in your contract with your hybrid publisher that you own and retain all the rights to your book–including the cover, interior, and any marketing copy like the testimonials or the back cover copy. Be sure to follow whatever process is outlined in the contract for ending the agreement and getting all your files back. Usually this is pretty smooth and we certainly are not here to offer any legal advice, but following the steps in the contract should get the job done.
- Get a co-signed letter between you and your previous hybrid publisher that you own and retain all the rights to the books. You may not need it, but it will come in handy incase you do
- Purchase new ISBNs for your book. The ISBN that your publisher used is associated with their publishing company, so you will need to buy new ISBNs to republish the book as a self-publisher
- Make any adjustments needed to the interior file. At a minimum, this will require updating the copyright page with the new ISBN numbers, and indicating this is a second edition publication. It’s always a good idea to say “first originally published in DATE with PUBLISHER” to avoid any confusion.
- Determine how you want to set up your publishing accounts. Will it be you as an individual, or a business? What name do you want to use as your imprint?
- Remember when entering the meta data for your book to tell Amazon this is a second edition.
After you’ve done these things, ideally your previous publisher has removed your book from Amazon and any other publishing platforms- as they should since they no longer have rights to publish it. If that has happened then you might not have any issues uploading your self-published version to Amazon KDP and hitting “publish.”
Every so often though, we see cases where Amazon’s algorithms pick up that the book already exists (usually from third-party sellers) and they require additional proof from the author that they do in fact own the rights to that work.
While this is frustrating and can eat up a lot of time, in the end Amazon is just trying to keep pirated books off the marketplace.
Should that happen, you will get an email from Amazon asking for additional proof that you own the rights. You have five days to respond to this email. This is where that co-signed letter between you and your previous publisher will come in handy and a thoughtful explanation to Amazon as to why you are choosing to publish with them directly.
What if you are already a self-published author that wants to publish through Amazon KDP?
We also work with authors who have published their book directly through IngramSpark, but want to re-publish the ebook on Amazon inorder to take advantage of KDP Select and some of Amazon’s price promotions.
This can be an even trickier situation than those who come to us from a hybrid publisher because IngramSpark’s distribution channels include Amazon. That means when you go to upload an ebook version to Amazon KDP it will almost certainly get flagged because the book already exists in their system.
Similarly in this scenario, Amazon will need you to prove that you own the rights to the book and explain why you are publishing it again. Unfortunately if you self publish your book on IngramSpark, that letter from your previous publisher won’t work because you are your own publisher (and Amazon won’t accept that letter. Believe us, we’ve tried).
In this case, we’ve found a few options that can work in getting your book onto Amazon KDP:
Option One: Before you upload your ebook to Amazon KDP you will have to ask IngramSpark to remove the ebook from distribution on their end. The only way to do this is by submitting a request through customer service, and it can take several days for them to respond.
This is an important step one, however, because if your plan is to enroll your ebook in KDP select then it cannot exist on any other platforms.
To avoid any confusion down the road, you could also remove any other versions of your book (paperback or hardcover) from distribution on IngramSpark, which would remove them from Amazon’s listing and likely make it easier for you to republish directly with Amazon KDP and avoid any confusion.
I would only recommend this if your book is fairly new and hasn’t received a lot of traction.If it’s been around awhile and has garnered a lot of customer reviews on Amazon, you don’t want to lose all that good work by removing the book from IngramSpark.
Option Two: If removing all versions of your book from IngramSpark isn’t an option, go ahead and upload the ebook version to Amazon anyway (after you’ve removed it from IngramSpark, of course).
When Amazon undoubtedly flags your ebook upload as suspicious, take the time to explain to them that you previously published through IngramSpark and why you want to upload an ebook version to Amazon KDP. That letter might look something like this:
Thank you for your email. I greatly appreciate your due diligence to ensure that books published through Amazon are not infringing on anyone else’s rights.
The book was previously published through IngramSpark in both paperback and ebook. I have since removed the ebook version from IngramSpark in hopes to publish the book on Amazon KDP and take advantage of the KDP Select Program. Prior to this, the files have only been published through IngramSpark.
Please find attached screenshots of my IngramSpark dashboard where the titles and ISBN numbers are displayed, as well as the purchase invoice from when I bought the ISBNs. Instead of continuing to have IngramSpark distribute the book to Amazon I want to publish it directly with Amazon KDP.
Be sure to attach screenshots of your IngramSpark dashboard to prove you own that account where the book was originally published. Also send screenshots or receipts from your Bowker account or wherever you purchased the ISBN numbers for the book. If you receive sales reports from IngramSpark you could attach those as well.
Likely you will also want to upload a copy of your driver’s licenses or other government issued ID to prove your identity.
You will get an email back from Amazon saying they need more time to review the information. Ideally they will review all your information and approve the title for publication.
Sometimes, even in the best scenarios Amazon has still blocked a book from getting published, even when an author has followed all these steps. While it’s unfortunate, and we hope in the future Amazon can find a way to resolve this issue, we know at the very least we can still distribute to Amazon from IngramSpark (though you can’t take advantage of KDP Select).
Let us know if you’ve run into any of these problems and what solutions you’ve found for dealing with them.