The horrors of waiting, waiting
There are occasions in life when I don't mind waiting for the goods. Television is a great example -- rather than watch an episode of Mad Men each week, I'd prefer to wait for the season to finish, then over-indulge and watch all of the episodes in two days. But when it comes to things that I've created, and sharing those things with people, I'm incredibly impatient. Eleanor is a great example of this -- every time I finish a page, I want to share it immediately, even if there are still a dozen previous pages waiting to be published.
Self-publishing my book is no different, and I've discovered that there are varying levels of satisfaction with different markets. About a week into my self-publishing adventure, here's my verdict on the markets.
Amazon. Well, Amazon killed it. They promised that my book would be listed within 12-24 hours, and they nailed it. Just 13 hours after uploading my novel, The Man Who Ended the World was available for sale.
Barnes & Noble. B&N comes in second. Once I uploaded the book to their store, they promised that it would be in the store within 72 hours. Now, that's a long wait, but they gave me an expectation and they delivered. I submitted the book late one Sunday night, and on the following Wednesday evening, the book was available.
Kobo. I'm still waiting for Kobo to list my book. While their actual upload process was not painful at all, their followthrough needs some work. I submitted to their store at the same time as Barnes & Noble. They made the same promise -- 72 hours. Five days later, I'm still waiting. I don't mind waiting -- but why promise a timeline that you're not able to deliver?
iBooks. Dead last. Before I could even upload my book to Apple's store, I was directed to a page where I could request permission to sell anything in their store to begin with. Once you've done so, you have to wait for their approval... then go through a complex account setup before you can upload your book file. Apple took four days to give me the okay to sell, and now I've uploaded my book only to learn that it could take as long as 2 weeks for them to list me in the store. (Not to mention there are infinite horror stories of authors who have waited months for any news of their book's approval.)
So at the moment my little novel is just available in two stores, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Amazon's the clear winner here, making it incredibly easy to upload my book, set prices and royalties, and rewarded me by quickly making the book available.
We'll see how the rest shake out.