Commission, uploading fees, and royalty fees
Before choosing your distributor, look at how they earn their revenue and compare that to their competitors. Some distributors earn their revenue largely through pre-publication services and uploading fees, while others make their revenue entirely on sales commission. Consider which model works best for you and your book. Also make sure you compare the royalty percentage you will earn through each sales channel.
Exclusivity and “opt out” options
Some authors choose to place all their eggs in one basket, while others find that spreading their audience over multiple sales channels generates higher revenue. Again, think about which of these options is the best choice for your book. And depending on how detailed you’d like your sales analytics to be and how much revenue you’re willing to sacrifice on commission, consider a combination of more than one distributor by making sure you have “opt out” options for certain sales channels.
Most online distributors have intuitive platforms, making distribution relatively easy. For those who don’t feel entirely confident with online platforms or simply prefer talking to a human, some distributors certainly have more robust customer-service features.
If setting up your book for pre-ordering on certain sales channels is an important part of your marketing plan (i.e. for generating buzz and having a place for early-reader reviews), make sure your chosen distributor has pre-order functionality.
Many authors rely heavily on sale promotions or offering their ebook for free for a limited time. If this sounds like you, then be sure that promotional tools are available through your distributor. In many cases, the best promotional tools are on a sales channel’s own platform, like KDP Select and Kobo Writing Life.