Negotiating techniques for publishers

If you do business in the publishing industry, you have to develop your own negotiating techniques. When you are doing online business with different partners such as editors, authors, designers, retailers, distributors, literary agents, you will shortly reach the status when you have to learn how to negotiate. In the publishing industry I have already had many business meetings and in overall, I found out that many usual sales or negotiating techniques would not work either because of the nature of the industry or just because it does not fit to my personality. And most of all, if you want to build a long term partnership, you have to be genuine and authentic to your partners, but most importantly to yourself as well.

At PublishDrive we negotiated terms with retailers and publishers and we always wanted to reach a mutually beneficial end result. I summed up my usual business development negotiating techniques what I can advice to anyone in the industry wholeheartedly.

  1. Be humble

When you are getting into a partnership you always have to show your excellence. But people like other people who do not brag about their success, but who are willing to embrace them with their humble mentality. Do not push your own success and results into the face of the people, let them discover it through the excellence of your team.

  1. Show your intelligence and expertise

Do not push yourself too much, instead of being an inconvenient bragging person, show your intelligence and expertise with market data and research studies. Even if no one asked, try to build your pitch in a way where you can show off your great knowledge of the market, cool trends which are new information for the listener.

  1. Listen, listen and listen

Many sales people overestimate their charm and their communication skills, so they are giving the talk all the time. But first, you have to know whom you are talking to, so you have to ask first a lot of questions to understand how you can convince them in the first place. Do not make your sales pitch as an intro, but try to build a relationship through communication and through giving something away. In a healthy partnership if you give in, you will certainly get to take away as well.

  1. Behave like you are dating

Investor relationships or customer acquisition is like dating: you can fall in love or just hate each other in seconds. First impression and the way you behave at the first sight will have a stamp on your relationship on the long term. If you are dating, you do not want to be an open book in the beginning, you want to explore the other person in pieces on your own. You want to get the other excited about what you are doing. So be attractive with showing your results, your vision, keep them updated how things are going, but do not push too much without getting any interest from them. And most importantly, have fun, because dating should be fun for all.

Do you have any other cool ideas how to negotiate better and in a more authentic way? Drop us a line to and we are happy to have your guest post on our blog!


How to Publish a Book – Step-by-step Guide

The first step for your global publishing after signing up is to create your epub and upload it to PublishDrive.

Watch this video to learn how to upload a book to PublishDrive. Don’t like videos? Keep reading.

How to upload a book?

Choose the “Add book / Add book from epub” option in your account.

Publish a book in Publishdrive

ebook conversion

Drop or upload the content file (epub) and the cover file (jpg). We accept epub 2 and epub 3 formats, based on the IDPF standard. If the upload of your epub or cover is unsuccessful for any reason, please email for help on how to fix it.

ebook conversion

Some of your metadata will automatically be filled in with data from the epub file.

Required fields: Publisher/Imprint, Title, Language, Page number, Category, Description, Suggested retail price, Publication date.

ebook conversion

Choose Publisher/Imprint.

ebook conversion

Select up to three categories for your book. We use BISAC codes for categorization. You can just start typing the category you would like to use and it will come up.

ebook conversion

Add description: it should be unique and accurately describe your book.

Publish a book in Publishdrive

You can format the text with the following functions:

Publish a book in Publishdrive

Add Suggested retail price and Publication date. If you give a future date, pre-orders will automatically be allowed and your book will be available to pre-order immediately.

ebook conversion

Optional fields: Subtitle, Series, Target Audience (required for children’s books), Keywords (help readers to find your books in stores), Territory rights (start typing), Print version list price, Print version ISBN, Print version publication year.

ebook conversion

Just save to publish! If your legal information is up to standards, your book is ready to go to the stores.

Publish a book in Publishdrive

Publish a book in Publishdrive

Before sending it out, our colleagues will review the book both automatically and manually. If everything is fine, PublishDrive will send your titles to the stores automatically.

Do you need to change something? You can update your metadata (price, description or even an updated epub file) any time and we’ll send the updates to the retailers.





Order an ebook conversion in Publishdrive

PublishDrive is the most intelligent ebook publishing platform where you may ask for ebook conversion if your books are available only in docx, InDesign file, rtf, html or PDF. After conversion, you can publish your beautiful ebook to iBooks, Kindle, Google Play and to 400 other outlets easily.

Technical details about the ebook conversion

You have to pay a one time fee for ebook conversion based on the complexity and length of the book (average price: 0.5 USD per page). We prefer to receive docx, InDesign file, rtf or html as an input format, but the print PDF can be uploaded as well to make sure your ebook will be similar to the print book version. After successful conversion your files can be downloaded via PublishDrive, so you can use them on your own as well (so you as the copyright holder will be able to sell those ebooks in your own shop, but not in the stores where PublishDrive is publishing your books already).

We will get in contact with you regarding your ebook conversion order and it takes usually 3 business days per one book. But in case of complex and long ebooks it may be a longer period.

Ebook conversion order steps in Publishdrive

Register for free in PublishDrive and log in.

ebook conversion

Choose “Add a book” option in your account and select the ‘Order conversion to ebook’.

ebook conversion

Follow the instructions.

ebook conversion

Provide your book details.

ebook conversion

Upload your book manuscript and cover file. You may add more source files like docx, pdf, indd, etc.

ebook conversion

Provide the accurate number of characters and images. Open a text editor program and check it out.

ebook conversion

ebook conversion

ebook conversion

After typing in the accurate numbers, you’ll be able to see the price of conversion. When you accept the following conditions you can save and pay.

ebook conversion

You can pay via Paypal.

ebook conversion

ebook conversionAfter payment, wait for your epub file getting ready. We use human power to create your beautiful ebook, so it takes usually a few days until it is converted. Your ebook will be high quality, commercially valid file which is the first step if you want to sell your ebooks globally.

After successful conversion your epub file can be downloaded via PublishDrive.


PublishDrive demo ebook publishing

Check out our demo ebook publishing video, so you can see how PublishDrive works in realtime.

If you like what you see, sign up and start increasing ebook sales by publishing over 400 stores in 100 countries!




Profile Settings at PublishDrive – Step-by-step Guide

After a successful registration (read more here), you should go through your settings: set your payment and legal details and imprints information.

Watch this short video or keep reading.

Continue Reading…


Ebook publishing platform registration

Watch this video on how to register at PublishDrive:

You can register at

Don’t like videos? Read on.

ebook publishing

Fill in the form.

ebook publishing

By signing up you agree to Publishdrive’s Terms and Conditions.

In the second step, you can select between self-publisher account or publishing company account, and choose your preferred currency for billing.

ebook publishing

After finishing the registration we send you an email for verification. (Make sure to check your spam folder too.) Email verification is needed to use all features of PublishDrive. If you don’t receive this message in a few hours please contact us at

ebook publishing

5ebook publishing

After a successful registration just log in and start publishing your books!


Ebook formatting – too large cover in epub file

Does your beautiful ebook have some unexpected problems when you tried to upload it to Publishdrive? One of the very common errors PublishDrive may show you ‘The embedded cover image is too large.’ it means your cover art is too large in your epub file because pixel number is over 4 million pixels.  Do not feel embarrassed if you do not know how to fix these issues. It is simple, but you have to know some simple tricks in the ebook editor Sigil. If you have never used Sigil ebook editor before, with some simple steps you can fix these issues.
It’s simple! We will show the solution, so that you can do it yourself too.

What should you know about the cover art in an ebook?

  • Can’t be blurry, pixelated, mismatched, misaligned, rotated, incorrect, or have other similar quality issues.
  • Should include only the front cover and not the back cover.
  • Can’t promote websites that sell books.
  • Should be spelled correctly and match the information provided in the metadata and book.
  • Can’t contain materials that infringe the rights of others.
  • There should not be any references to the physical book.
  • The pixel limit is 4 million pixels.


For editing, open the ebook in the Sigil ebook editor.


Find the cover from the images folder on the left side.


Save as the cover.


Link your file to an image editor program (Paint, Photoshop, etc.)


Choose the resize function in the image editor program.


Resize pixelsizes.


Change the vertical size maximum 1000 px and Save.



You can take the new cover into the epub.

Search Image/Add Existing Files… and choose the new cover (this has the same file name).




Add Semantics to your new cover.


Check and replace the cover in the text.



Save the file and close the Sigil epub ebook editor.


You can upload your epub to Publishdrive.


Ebook Pricing Strategy Guide – How to Do It Right

Ebook pricing can feel like a maze without any exits. Publishers may get lost, or just simply refuse any new business models or ebook pricing methods. I totally understand why. Because they feel threatened by new complicated ebook pricing models and they simply defend their nominal revenue share. But if publishers shortly calculate how much they can earn in some models, you may be surprised in the end.

That is why we are here to help you understand ebook pricing strategy in overall: just keep reading, the first part of this article is for you.

If you are not a publisher, however, and “nominal revenue share” is all Greek to you, just click on the links to skip the first part, and jump to learn about international markets, Amazon KDP and tips and tricks for setting the price of your book.

Ebook pricing models

Direct purchases

This is the simplest ebook pricing model ever coming from the print book industry. However, we have to differentiate between wholesale and agency model.

Wholesale model

For instance, Google Play uses wholesale model for ebook pricing rooting back to the traditional print book industry. If you ever wondered why anyone would use the same old business model in an innovative industry, you are right. Google Play is the only one from the major players who sets its pricing in a wholesale model resulting in a 52% revenue share for publishers instead of the usual 70%.
The main difference between agency and wholesale model is that in wholesale model publishers set a digital list price, but in the end, the retailer sets the final price for ebooks. This case they are usually trying to sell ebooks cheaper than any other channel. In the case of Google, they usually set a 33% off from the digital list price. But this behavior is a vicious cycle, because other retailers or even countries may have a price matching regulation meaning that publishers cannot sell their books cheaper. So the best way is if you can set a slightly higher price for Google to receive the same amount of revenue – that is how PublishDrive already recalculates digital list prices and ebook pricing for Google.

Agency model

The most usual way of ebook pricing is agency model. That is how PublishDrive works as well – PublishDrive receives 10% cut after every book sold in any of the stores. This method gives the publisher freedom: publishers set the price for end users. If there is a promotion, then all of us will share the costs of it. But the nominal revenue share remains the same, so there are no strings attached.

This model helped Apple grow to a real competitor of Amazon. Of course, it wasn’t seamless – they got into a lawsuit because of Apple and the Big 6 (minus Random House) colluded to artificially increase the price of ebooks by letting publishers set the prices. Apple has lost this war, but on the long term, they are still gaining more users and quality content throughout their partnership model. So they are still competitors of Amazon.

Subscription based stores

Subscription can be a big game changer if we think about music or movie industries. On the ebook market, subscription is something different because average readers usually read less book per year then watch movies or listen to songs. So as a customer, you have to be a heavy reader to choose the subscription-based business model.

Pure subscription

But that is where the beauty comes in when you are a publisher: stores with subscription based business models such as Scribd pay after how much readers have read, not after real purchases. It means in practice from a user perspective that for an average of 10 USD subscription, readers can read whatever they want for one month – which is the dream of bookworms.

But of course, publishers have to have a financial gain to provide books to these stores, so the publisher is paid out usually after reading more than 10% of the book. Even though with a lower royalty of the digital list price, but in a quantity which cannot be generated with direct purchases. So in the end publishers may earn more.

Defining parts of the book and lending

Other subscription-based business models cutting the text of the book into 5 parts and they pay out some % of the digital list price based on the length of usage. This way publishers earn as much as the ebooks were read, not more, not less.

Subscription and characters read

In the case of newer subscription-based stores such as Bookmate, publishers are paid out based on the amount of characters read by all end users in publisher’s books plus they receive some part of the end user subscription receipts. This model gives flexibility, fair reporting, and revenue share to all stakeholders. Meanwhile, readers are happier.


Digital libraries are getting more popular in ebook purchases where there are again different confusing ebook pricing models. But in the end the result is the same: the publisher reaches out new readers and earns money. However, you have to understand the basics of library pricing models to feel safe in this environment.
Libraries usually buy a book once, and anyone who is a member of the library can reach that book. That is why a higher ebook pricing is used when publishers are selling to libraries.

1 copy/1 user

Libraries may buy a book permanently, until an expiration date or for metered checkouts. This flexibility of ebook pricing let libraries choose the best way of buying your books. Meanwhile, publishers may earn much more. For instance, in the case of perpetual ebook pricing of a 10 USD book, publishers may earn around 16 USD (c.a. 55% of 30 USD), because the list price is tripled for libraries. This way one library will have a right for lending your ebook for good.

Pay per use

Pay per use is the ultimate way of ebook pricing based on the reading experience. As mentioned in the subscription based ebook pricing as well, pay per use is used to pay out publishers with a typically recommended 10% of List price for 21 days: 10% of $10.00 for 21 days = $1.00 per 21-day loan. This option allows librarians to meet a short-term demand for a popular title without having to overburden their budgets or turn patron away if their ‘permanent collection copies’ already borrowed. After the 21 day period, the title must be repurchased for another 21 days.


This way of ebook pricing at libraries gives you a lot of flexibility. Publishers may offer ebooks at a discount with an annual subscription to the whole catalog or publishers may sell your titles with a scaled option of 10, 20, 30 for scaled discounts.


Here publishers can be creative – publishers may scale it to the number of users in an example of setting a three times higher list price allowing a maximum of 5 users to read the ebook.


International ebook pricing strategies

If you want to sell your book across the globe, there are a handful of things to take into account. VAT on online services differs from country to country – and within the EU, it applies based on the buyer’s country of residence. The VAT can even change based on the fact whether you have an ISBN or not! Fortunately, this is something we manage for you: you just enter your list price, and we calculate your royalties based on your sales in each country. There are also different trends and ideas everywhere about how much an ebook should cost, but this should be the topic of a separate post.

Amazon KDP Select

As the strongest kid on the playground, Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) worth mentioning. We will explain to you how it works and whether it worth it.
Amazon KDP offers an either 70% or 35% royalty to the author based on specific requirements. To qualify for 70% (without VAT, less delivery costs: yes, you pay for delivering your ebook to customers $.15 per megabytes!), you have to price your book between $2.99 and $9.99, and at least 20% lower than the print version. You also have to agree on your book being available through Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. In this case, you get 70% royalties from books sold in specific countries and 35% of books sold anywhere else.
Amazon KDP Select gives you the opportunity to sell exclusively on Amazon for a 90-days period. During this time you earn royalties after the Kindle Unlimited downloads ($2 per book) and you can select five days on which your book is available for free. You are right to wonder why ‘free’ is such a magic word: because your free downloads also count into your rankings, which can give you a real boost and pop you to the top of the category.
But exclusivity has its price: while your book is only available through Amazon, you might lose your potential customers from other countries where Amazon doesn’t have the biggest share of the market.

Setting the price

So far we covered the models used for direct purchases, subscription and library use and Amazon KDP. It is all beautiful and interesting, you might say, but I still don’t know how much I should sell my book for. At this point we have to disappoint you: there is no “one size fits all” answer for this question. How much you charge for your book depends only on you – and on several factors which you should consider before you decide to sell it for $.99 or $10 (or $100).

How much writers in your genre are charging

You need to do your research: go to an online bookshop and check out the genre in which your book is going to appear. People searching for your book are going to see similar titles – if your book is much more expensive, odds are that people are going to buy a cheaper one.

Your primary goal

You have to decide whether you want to go for more readers or more money. Yes, you want both, but nothing comes easy at first. Setting a low price could help you draw in readers who are just browsing and came across your book. If you’re selling for $1.99, you can get many buyers by impulse shopping – but bear in mind that low price is often associated with lower quality. Unless you are selling a short book (under 100 pages), going under $2.99 can be considered suspicious. A very often used strategy is to sell a gist or chapter of your book for $.99, and prompt your readers to subscribe to your newsletter if they liked it.

Your audience

Fiction and entertainment books on Amazon are usually sold between $2.99 and $9.99, well-known authors on the higher, and newbies on the lower end of the range. However, educational, self-help books, textbooks in hot topics can sell for much higher. This is also the case for certain uncommon hobbies and interests – as an extreme example, the International Encyclopedia of Social & Behavioral Sciences is priced $11776.66 on Amazon. (But don’t worry, you can get a hardcover for only $799.95!)

Your peace of mind

Writing your book wasn’t a piece of cake, and your worries still cannot end: “Will people read it? What if no one buys it? But if I sell it for too cheap, I won’t earn any money!” Thankfully, you are an independent author, in complete control over your sales. You can easily start with a lower price and change it once you built a readership who are likely to come back and buy your second book as well – or recommend you to their friends. Indie-publishing an ebook gives you the flexibility with your pricing you would never get with a publishing house.
PublishDrive chooses the best options for ebook pricing and make sure you will earn money in either way. We set ebook pricing techniques in the metadata, so you just have to give the average list price for your book as you were in an agency model and we will do the magic for you.
You may benefit from all ebook pricing models by reaching out new readers and by increasing your sales. However, it is the best if you can find a partner who can manage all different pricing models for you, so you will not get lost. PublishDrive is taking care of all pricing models, so you have to focus on what you are the best at: creating beautiful content.




Ebook marketing and its secret sauce

If your ebooks are out in different stores, it is not a guarantee your readers can find them. Build your ebook marketing strategy and increase your sales.

Book promotion is a competitive area and results may depend on many factors. But if you are trying out the followings, you may find what works the best for your authors and/or ebooks:

  1. Use your metadata

Metadata is the key in automated book promotion. Build your own keywords, chose the right category for your book to make sure, intelligent recommendation platforms will find your book and make relevant connections between other books to reach the readers you want. In PublishDrive you are able to save keywords, special target groups as well, so do not forget to use your metadata wisely!

  1. The power of bloggers

Reach out bloggers to write reviews about your book. Of course, it requires some previous research in the blogger world of the category your books are, however it is worth the effort, because they can give you unscalable, relevant and human-written reviews for your book. Use the influential factor they may have and build relationships with bloggers. The best is that with PublishDrive you can even cut your costs on reaching out bloggers by sending them protected review copies. Please contact us for further information at

Continue Reading…


IPG UK Quarterly Event by PublishDrive

Publishing industry is centered in London and New York where you can be in the vibe of the industry. PublishDrive had the awesome opportunity to get involved in the London publishing scene being a full member at Independent Publishers’ Guild UK. The IPG helps publishers to do better business and become part of a real community — somewhere they can find advice, benefits and information. They give independent companies the support they need to get the most out of publishing and keep their businesses growing what is in perfect line with the values of PublishDrive.

On 26th November there was an event organized by IPG Digital Quarterly – to have an overall view of the digital publishing industry. Andre Breedt (Director of Nielsen Book Research), Lindsey Mooney (Kobo’s Content Lead for the UK), Steve Potter (commercial manager of Wordery) and Jonathan Griffin (business development at PLS) were the key speakers at the event besides the networking part with juices and wine.

The main take away from the IPG workshop was that in the industry everyone is whispering about the threatening plateau of ebooks, but marketing activities can do a lot of magic for ebook sales. However from the presentation of Andre Breedt which was amazingly structured with data and statistics it turned out in my understanding that usually industry professionals does not count two major factors: ebook sales abroad (export) and self-publishing. These two areas are extremely difficult to measure, meanwhile at least 40% of titles are self-published which shows a massive amount of content not easy to track if there is no ISBN associated with the books. So the situation of ebook sales is not that bad at all despite the event at IPG, because emerging markets are still booming in ebook sales, meanwhile in more mature markets self-publishing has a louder voice which makes it less easy to measure in the industry.

Lindsey from Kobo showcased their marketing effort with real data and statistics – what is very unusual to make in public at an IPG event for instance. It turned out that on the UK market Kobo is a marginal player with a market share of 4-5%. However, Kobo is doing significantly better in other markets (such as Italy) and with their new acquisition of Flipkart, India could be an interesting area of growth. In overall, the main tendency is that engagement is growing at Kobo – consumers buy more books, but still 10% of customers make 50% of the sales, so it shows who starts reading an ebook, will be a huge fan and will read more. There are many marketing tips which were mentioned by Lindsey to be working at Kobo. For instance, merchandising activities such as Author Day and special merchandising promotions such as 3 for 2 increased the market share by 782% of the promoted books and by 914% in daily sales during promotion. The special “Daily Deals”  had even better results: 4340% increase in volume, 1615% increase in revenue. Kobo puts a lot of effort on their loyalty program, so the customers in their program buy 5 unit books per month on average and reads mostly romance.

With PublishDrive we believe that ebook sales are growing rapidly, if you can increase your reach in new markets and step foot in underserved areas. As a publisher you have to be more conscious about your ebook management processes and that is what PublishDrive gives you: control over your sales strategy and operations, meanwhile you can focus on the most important job: to create beautiful content.

Want to read more news about publishing industry? You can sign up here.