Last week I explained how you add your books to KDP. This week it’s iBooks! Now, you’ll note I talked about this kind of already when I said I was pushing my books to iBooks. But I really didn’t talk about the hassle of iTunes Producer.
First, some bad news. Windows and Linux are screwed, because iBooks can only be added by iTunes Producer, which right now is only available for Macs. Yes, that means there is no web interface! So either borrow a Mac or use a ‘aggregator’ to push it for you. Apple has a list of iBooks Store Aggregators but it really does suck for someone who wants to do it on their own. You’ll end up paid your ‘rent’ twice in most cases. One hopes this Beats purchase improves things.
Also bad news? iTunes Producer is the absolute touchiest piece of Apple software I’ve ever had to use in my entire life, including iTunes on Windows. The same is true of their website for managing your books. Sure, it looks nicer than KDP, but it’s really a poor tool. Two-thirds of everything you do will be on the website, but uploading and editing your book content requires the app.
Third bad news? I can honestly say that the experience of submitting a book to the store was the absolute worst. Fiction books with camelcased titles (like “Death at WordCamp”) aren’t allowed. Perfectly good HTML (like em and strong instead of i and b) aren’t allowed even though they say they are. The linkchecker defaults to lower-case URLs which breaks with any URLs with capitalizations, and so on. Oh and good luck getting a human.
But hey, you wanna try it out?
Signup for iTunes Connect
Go to https://itunesconnect.apple.com/ and sign in with your Apple iTunes account. The same one you use on the App Store. They’ll send you an email to confirm, and then you’re in. If there’s an issue, you get a number to call, and they’re very helpful. Melissa was able to resend my email and get me set up in about 10 minutes, and much of that was me thanking her for being so nice.
Once you sign in, you’ll need to ‘sign a contract.’ Don’t panic. They just mean fill in your tax information. Click the link for Contracts, Tax, and Banking and fill in your contact information, bank information, and tax information. You can add in multiple banks, savings or checking, but only one gets paid at a time from what I see.
Any time you want to go back to the beginning, click on the ‘iTunes Connect’ logo on the top left of every page.
Don’t use the back button. I told you the website was stupid.
Next go to the Deliver Your Content page and download
iTunes Producer. The current version is 3.0. They also have some great examples there of better ePub layouts that are made for the iBooks store. But now it’s time to add the book
I want to call it Publisher, but it’s Producer since I guess you can also do music though I don’t see how. When you open, you have to log in with your Apple ID again, and it asks if you’re making a book or a textbook. Unless you’re really making a textbook for schools, it’s a book, so click that and you’ll start on the Details tab:
This looks familiar, right? Fill it in, drag and drop the cover (it has to be 1400px on the shortest side … see why I told you that last week?) and you can pick multiple categories.
Fill in everything that is required. Your ‘publisher’ will probably be yourself, so you use your full, legal, name there. I put in the publication date of when I first published the book on my store, but you don’t have to. I got the page numbers by looking at the PDF. I don’t know why they want you to do it, since page resolutions vary, and books that are 130 pages work out to 400 or so on my iPad Mini with the large font I like to use.
Click the Price icon to go to that tab, and there click on the plus button on the tool bar. If you forgot anything in the first tab, it’ll have an alert with a number of how many fields you forgot. This is where you can decide about DRM:
Once you set your price (and you can’t set the price before you pick the currency), you’ll decide who to charge what. If you decide to charge different rates in different countries, you’ll have to click the plus button again for that region. Since I do it all in one, I select ‘All’ from the region dropdown and hit save. If you change your mind later, you actually can edit it on the resulting page.
Click on the Region you want to edit (say, US and Canada), and you’ll see that the Price Tier column has a drop down. Change those to adjust prices as you see fit.
Finally we upload! But … Actually I like to save the file first. Apple-S and it’ll save an itsmp file for you. Now we go to the files tab and drag-drop the epub. If you have an epub of a sample chapter, you can do that as well.
Click the submit button, and wait to see if there are any errors. Depending on the size of the book, this may be really fast or not. If you used an epub editor to clean up your file, you will need to strip some of their extra headers, because iBooks is really picky.
Back to the website!
Once it’s uploaded and you get the happy Mac install complete tone, go to the website.
You may notice there’s a red badge with a 1 in it, as if I had unread emails? I do. I have one open ticket because I misspelled my name in a book. I put in my given name as “Mika, Epstein” because I miss-read a field. I’ve pushed a new version of the book and I’m waiting on that to be fixed. And this is where it gets totally illogical.
If you click that link to view in iTunes Producer (which is the only way to fix my gaff), you download an itsmp file, which doesn’t actually have the rest of the data in it! So I tried rebuilding and was told that since I originally wrote in iBook Author (a mistake), I had to redo it in iBooks Author. Which I didn’t want to do. So I removed the original from iTunes Connect like this:
Manage Books > Select Book > Edit Rights > Change ‘Cleared for Sale’ to “no”, select all countries > Save
It’s still in my books, mind you… I resubmitted the new one and that was that. I don’t like the experience there. I want a nice ‘delete’ button to pull a book, especially if it’s pre-sales.
If you can’t tell, the iBook store is a pain in the ass. I prefer the simply basic utility of KDP, but of course, self publishing? Still the easiest. The iOS app for tracking your books, though, is pretty darn amazing. Provided my books ever get published.