Aim to simultaneously publish paperback, ebook

NOTE: This blog was updated in 2022 to reflect changes in the self-publishing industry.

Writers sometimes wonder which version of their book they should print first – the paperback or the ebook. Ideally, both would come out at about the same time. After all, you are selling one product – your book – and you want all the different platforms that it can appear in to be available as soon as you tell everyone you’ve released your title.

Currently, though, if using the most popular print on demand service – Kindle Direct Publishing – there is some lag time between the ebook and the paperback being published. Still, that usually is limited to within a 24-hour period.

As your ebook for the Kindle version can go through the self-publishing process faster than the paperback, to get both to come out at the same time, you’ll probably want to upload your paperback first. This occurs because the vetting process for a paperback is more involved than for an ebook.

In addition, before uploading, you’ll want to create two formatted versions of your book – one for the paperback and one for the ebook. The formatted version for your ebook can eliminate all of the problems that comes with letting KindleDP converting your paperback into an ebook. Further, if done to Smashwords’ formatting standards, this ebook version for your Kindle then can be used to submit your ebook to Nook, iBook, Kobo, Sony Reader and various other formats (though you may need to add a copyright note on your title page to these non-Kindle ebooks).

The vetting process for your Smashwords ebook is instant, so you can upload that version while KindleDP vets your ebook and paperback or upload it immediately after KindleDP publishes the ebook.