With self-publishing now a respectable avenue for authors to follow, there are so many channels available to get our books noticed. I initially published my novel, The Last British President with Amazon in paperback and Kindle. This didn’t cost me a penny and I later discovered Draft2Digital (D2D), a publishing aggregator that distributes books through numerous channels such as Barnes and Noble and others. This means that the book’s availability is vastly increased as you can see from this example from my D2D account:
There was a time when D2D distributed books through Google Play but due to their account management system and general ground rules, they pulled out of the agreement in October 2019. Whilst my book is being sold in numerous outlets through D2D, I became curious about Google Play Books, so decided to investigate further.
Google Play Books
Google is known for playing catch-up in many applications, particularly social media with Google+, Circles, Chat, and a few others that I can’t remember, being just a few examples of Google not quite hitting the mark. With that in mind, one would have thought that the company could grab the self-publishing industry by the neck and become a market leader in that sector. After all, it is a mega-corporation and probably the most well-known brand name in the world. Anyway, my experiences with both Amazon and D2D were painless with easy-to-follow publishing steps and more importantly, almost instant publication. This is not so with Google Play Books which, for the most part, is very straightforward, but becomes completely bizarre at the end.
First, I set up a Partner Account with location and financial information and the final step was to upload the book in eBook or PDF format. Fortunately, D2D allows you to download your book from their site in eBook format, so I already had that available — it’s not quite that easy with Amazon which requires several hoops to be jumped through. Once uploaded, I set a price which was then converted for worldwide sales, and then hit the big red button marked PUBLISH, expecting my novel to go live within a matter of minutes.
Twelve days? Seriously?
And what on earth is a preliminary policy review? To be honest, I find this approach quite bewildering bearing in mind that I already have an account with Google in several departments including advertising and YouTube, so one would imagine that I am already a known quantity. But wait, I’ve already had my YouTube channel demonetised for allegedly stealing other people’s content, so this approach definitely fits with Google’s modus operandi.
I’ve also read in a few self-publishing blogs that some authors were asked by Google to provide proof of identity, such as a driving license and utility bills, with many of them simply deleting the application and going somewhere else because of the needless bureaucracy.
In conclusion, I can only say that, while the publishing process with Google Play was relatively straightforward, being left in limbo for nearly two weeks takes the shine off what should be an instant result in this day and age.