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How to Upload Your Book to Bookstores (IngramSpark)

Let’s learn how to upload your book to Ingram Spark. I use IngramSpark with my clients to upload their hardcovers, but you can also upload your paperbacks. This is your huge, expanded global distribution. Amazon will have your books in a lot of different places, hundreds of thousands of places! IngramSpark will take your books everywhere…schools, libraries, retail stores, bookstores, you name it.

Create an account and then log in. When you have logged in, you're going to go to the top right and click add title.

Ingram Spark gives you 3 options for uploads:

  • Print + Ebook - $49

  • Print Book Only - $49

  • Ebook Only - $25

Note, I do eBooks, with Amazon KDP. One because they are free to upload and two because Kindle is the biggest ebook distributor. Once you select which format you will be uploading hit continue to the next page. They will ask if you have all files (you should when you’re ready to upload-PDF the Interior and Cover). Once you answer yes, they will ask What do you want to do? Print, Distribute, and Sell, or do you just want to only print? You want to Print, Distribute, and Sell. You’re not doing expanded distribution with Amazon KDP because they play the middleman to get to Ingram Spark, which means you get less money back when you take in royalties. You want IngramSpark to print, distribute, and sell your books.

Once we hit continue, now it's time to put in the information. Insert the tile, language of choice, and the ISBN number you purchased from Bowker. They will also give you the option to use their FREE ISBN, but you want to select no. Using FREE ISBNs from IngramSpark and Amazon limits how and where you get to distribute and sell your books.

Once you have done that you will need to select that you own the work-have copyrights. They also want to double-check with you and make sure there are no famous people, no famous images, no logos, no toys, and none of this stuff is in there before proceeding. You have to approve of that and say, “No, my title does not include any of the above”.

Once you click okay you’ll head to the next page where you will enter the author(s) information. This can be co-authors, editors, illustrators, etc. Whoever you want to add in that spot, it's up to you. Then you will select your categories. Your categories are which genre your book falls in. Try to get as specific as possible. Even look at the subcategories.

Next you will select the audience for your book. Is it for college, elementary, juvenile, trade professionals, adults, young adults? Select the appropriate one and then head to the next section, which is your book description.

This is a must and the easiest way to do this is by adding the same description as you put in Amazon into Ingramspark.

After adding the description, check for spelling and grammatical errors. Then add your keywords. KDP gives you seven (7) spaces to add keywords, whereas, IngramSpark does a 500-character maximum. You just need to separate them by a semicolon. We're just going to just start typing, our keywords in as many as we can fit in there. For keywords, you want to think of what people will search to find your book and that is what you will use. If you are interested in us choosing all your metadata (keywords, categories, book descriptions) to ensure that you get optimized results with your book sales, CONTACT US.


You will need to know the trim size and color of your interior paper.

If we're doing a children's book, we strongly suggest using premium colors. You want your images to pop off the page. You don't want them to be dull or ashy. If you're doing a journal, a novel, or a coloring book, black and white is perfect. For binding, you will choose whether you want paperback or hardcover and for case laminate decide if you want to do gloss or matte for your cover. The gloss has a little shine to it when you move it, whereas matte is more smooth, some may say dull, but very clear.

I like them both, it just depends on the kind of book you’re publishing. Next, you will need to know the page count. Select the market that you are in (country). Once you add that it will tell you how much it will cost to print your book based on the type of book you want to publish, page count, and cover.

Now that we know that information, you can go and put in how much you’re going to retail your book for. Do your comparative and competitive research to determine how much a book in your genre is. Being sure not to overprice or underprice your book. Then you will be directed to fill out the wholesale discount. This is the discount that bookstores all over the world will get.

Any store that will carry your book, will usually favor 55% when you're doing black and white books. That works, but those color books are so expensive. You want to make sure that you still get a decent royalty, which in my book is anywhere between $2.30 cents and above. $2.50 is nice, good, and the sweet spot for children’s books. As far as the royalty percentage for children’s books, we recommend 40% in order to get a good royalty. Novels, journals, and coloring and activity books are good at 55%.

Make sure when you’re doing the royalty and price of your book for other countries that your royalty earnings are positive. Otherwise, it will turn red and not let you proceed. Play around with the numbers. The other countries’ currency is different. You must change it to accommodate their currency so that you are making a profit when you're selling your book.

After you do the royalties for all countries you will need to head to the right column and decide what you want to do about returns. You have three options:

  • No returns

  • Yes, deliver the returns to my address

  • Yes, destroy those returns.

Now, the “no option'' is not an option if you want your book in stores, you must have a return policy because that's very unattractive to them, lessening your chances of getting your books picked up. For instance, the book isn't as popular as they thought it would be. I is not selling. It's holding up space for other books that could be selling. They want to return them.

Then you have the option of, “yes, return them,” but deliver them to me. The caveat to this option is that the books could have been sitting in the storage unit where it's covered in dust, or it could have gotten ruined, pages could have been torn out, or it could be returned to the store, and it's just deformed. There are all these crazy things that could have happened to this book, and now it's being returned to you and in your house or in your garage, and you can't sell it because it’s ruined.

We don’t suggest clicking that option either. We strongly suggest clicking “yes, but destroy it.” IngramSpark, allows them to return it, but destroy it for you. IngramSpark will prompt you to agree that you understand that by selecting these options you approve of the prices that you selected, and they fit the compensation for the royalty that you'll receive.

Print Options

The “Enable Look Inside Future” is awesome because it gives your potential buyers an opportunity to see just a snippet of what your book has to offer. It's usually only about 10% of the book. Maybe a little less, maybe a little more. Just depends on how big your book is. Next is the Large Text Edition option. This is great for children's books because the font is usually 16-point font. The right-to-left content option depends on if the book is, written in Arabic. If you have it right to left, you want to make sure you see that in your printing options.

Publishing Date

If you know it, great! Enter it in the space provided. If you don’t, that’s okay. Try to get as close to your ideal date as possible. Hit continue!


Remember, you need your two print-ready PDF files (print interior and print cover). Upload the files and click continue. IngramSpark is going to check your metadata and the content files to make sure they're all correct without error. It usually doesn’t take too long. Once everything is green you will be done!


Now it's time to purchase. It was $49. Sometimes IngramSpark has a code that they may give out via their emails, so make sure you sign up to ensure you don’t miss out. They don’t give them out as much as they used to but every now and then there is a good one! Always look for a code before uploading. You also have the option of joining an independent author organization like Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLI) and for the price of about 2 uploads, you get in return 5 FREE UPLOADS A MONTH! It’s a wonderful benefit, and ALLI has a ton of resources, training, discounts, and more to offer independent authors. CHECK THEM OUT!

If you don’t have a code, you’ll go ahead and pay for the upload, click you agree that you have the correct and final edits (because if you don’t you’ll have to go and submit new files for $25 per file or FREE if you have an ALLI membership). Once the payment is processed, IngramSpark will send you an email within 48-72 hours letting you know that everything is okay, or that they have found some errors and you need to correct them and then resubmit.

After that, you're good and ready to go! Congratulations! Your book will be available for you to order. If your publishing date hasn’t come yet, you'll still be able to order copies. If you want to do pre-orders, you can do that or, you can just let it sit there while waiting for your publication date.

There you have, Brilliant Author! This is How You Upload Your Book To Bookstores like IngramSpark!

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