Thursday, March 23, 2017

Vendor Spotlight: Pronoun. Distribution Beyond Amazon

By Angela Quarles, @AngelaQuarles

Part of the Indie Author Series

Many have expressed frustration with going wide on platforms other than Amazon, with much of it centering on how daunting it is to navigate the different interfaces on B&N, iBooks, Kobo, or even with the interfaces on distributors to these places like Smashwords and Draft2Digital.

I thought I'd spotlight a relatively new entrant into the distributor arena: Pronoun. Pronoun currently distributes to the following retailers: Amazon, Apple iBooks, B&N, Kobo, and Google Play.

Pronoun is owned by Macmillan, so keep that in mind when deciding whether to use it. This has some great benefits, but it could also have some negatives for some of you who are purists. But if you're looking for ease of use and simplifying the process, this might be the route for you.

Creating a book

The interface is much more user-friendly than any of its competitors and is perfect for the technophobe. Large type with step by step, colorful steps makes it pretty clear what information you need to provide or what you need to upload.

It's definitely finickier on the cover that's embedded in your ebook than Make sure you ask your formatter that the cover embedded is smaller than 4 million pixels. This is to comply with iBooks, and I'm guessing that books with higher pixelation uploaded at draft2digital must have those covers resized on their interface because the same epub I uploaded there was rejected by Pronoun.

Fellow writer Olivia Devon shared with me her thoughts on Pronoun:
At first I thought Pronoun's dashboard for uploading new titles was going to annoy me. It seemed way too much, but after using it, I really like it. They've got built in tools such as keyword suggestions that I really like. Sales reporting seems to be very delayed, so that's a little frustrating. But Pronoun's customer support has been very responsive to my barrage of emails.


Royalty is higher

Your potential earnings will be higher with Pronoun for several reasons. The main one being that unlike other distributors like Smashwords and Draft2Digital, Pronoun's cut is much smaller, and most of it is the PayPal fees for sending you your earnings. For books in the US in the 2.99-9.99 range, you receive 70%.

Your royalties can also be higher, because you have the muscle of Macmillan behind you with Amazon. Due to their agreement with Amazon, books distributed by Pronoun are not subject to Amazon's restrictions regarding pricing and royalty. This means that you can have a book priced less than 2.99 or more than 9.99 and get more than 35% royalty. For books in the United States, you get 70% for books between 0.99 and 9.99, and 60% for books priced higher.

For a full explanation of their rates, view their policy page.

Ability to go free

Apparently you can also list your book for free with just a click, not only on the other retailers, but also on Amazon, which is an ability not available to authors using KDP who are not in KU.


On your product page, it says it's "sold by" Macmillan, which may make a difference for some readers who are still averse to self-published titles. On a purely anecdotal level, an author friend recently transferred her list to Pronoun for all retailers (including Amazon) and her sales are much higher across the board.

One ring to rule them all

If you dread the idea of keeping your back list up-to-date on all retailers, you can upload it once here and not worry about it.

Google Play

If you're an author who is locked out of Google Play, this is one of the ways you can sell with that retailer.

Customer support

It seems to be on par with the excellent responsiveness of Draft2Digital.


Slow reporting

If you like the hourly reporting you get on KDP, you'll be severely disappointed with the slow reporting for sales on Amazon. I'm in a multi-author boxed set which released last week and a week out it was still not anywhere close to reporting the number of sales we know we should have received based on rank for launch day.

Series pages on Amazon

If all of your books in a series are through Pronoun, no problem. However, I've heard of Amazon refusing to create a series page if one of them was in Pronoun because there were multiple distributors, but would not allow the series page to be created without that book because otherwise it would be too confusing for readers. So beware.

Slower uploading to Nook

This particular assessment is anecdotal. Our multi-author boxed set was uploaded on a Friday and it took until nearly the next Thursday before it went live on B&N. Other authors who uploaded on that same day via Draft2Digital had theirs go live by Monday/Tuesday, which is about normal since B&N does not process over the weekend.

Summing Up

Using Pronoun would be ideal for these scenarios:
  • An author who doesn't like learning multiple interfaces or who doesn't want to expend time dealing with the multiple interfaces
  • Authors in a multi-author boxed set. We chose Pronoun so that it would make it easier to figure out and distribute royalties to the various authors.
  • Situations where a book would be priced Free, 0.99, or 1.99
  • If you bundle your books into a boxed set and wish to price it for more than 9.99
  • You're looking for a way to sell on GooglePlay

Have you used Pronoun? What's been your experience?

Angela Quarles is a USA Today bestselling author of time travel and steampunk romance. Her debut novel Must Love Breeches swept many unpublished romance contests, including the Grand Prize winner of Windy City's Four Seasons contest in 2012. Her steampunk, Steam Me Up, Rawley, was named Best Self-Published Romance of 2015 by Library Journal. Angela loves history, folklore, and family history. She decided to take this love of history and her active imagination and write stories of romance and adventure for others to enjoy. When not writing, she's either working at the local indie bookstore or enjoying the usual stuff like gardening, reading, hanging out, eating, drinking, chasing squirrels out of the walls, and creating the occasional knitted scarf.

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About Must Love Kilts: A Time Travel Romance 

The Jacobite Rebellion--not the best time to get drunk, hook up with a guy, and lose your sister.

A drunken bet...

When computer game designer Traci Campbell gets too close and personal with a bottle of Glenfiddich while vacationing in Scotland, she whisks her kilt-obsessed sister back to 1689 to prove hot guys in kilts are a myth. Hello, hundred bucks! But all bets are off when she meets Iain, the charming playboy in a to-die-for kilt.

Wrong place, wrong time, wrong name...

Iain MacCowan regularly falls in love at the drop of his kilt. The mysterious red-haired lass with the odd accent is no different. But when his new love is discovered to be a Campbell, the most distrusted name in the Highlands, his dalliance endangers his clan's rebellion against King William.

It’s all hijinks in the Highlands until your sister disappears...

Traci thinks men are only good for one thing--thank you, Iain!--but when she awakens once again in Ye Olde Scotland and her sister is gone, she must depend on the last person she wants to spend more time with. He wants to win a heart, she wants to keep hers, but can these two realize they're meant for each other before the Jacobite rebellion pulls them apart?


  1. Thank you, Angela. It's great to be introduced to resources I didn't even know existed. I'm sure to check your website and titles.

  2. I read an article previously about Pronoun. On the surface, it sounds amazing. McMillian makes it free to authors. They don't take a cut (other than the PayPal fees). The 30% you're giving up goes to the retailer. How long will McMillian do this for no fee? Your guess is as good as mine but I imagine it won't be as long as we might wish.

    I'd also like to point out, if an Indie moves books from direct at Amazon to Pronoun, there are a few things gained (like the ability to stay at 70% for any price under $9.99) but there are also things lost - like reviews. You'd be starting all over again with reviews. If you have more than one or two, that's something you have to consider.

    1. I have recently switched all my books from Amazon to Pronoun (and I LOVE Pronoun). On their "Support" page, there's a section about Amazon reviews saying they usually "carry over" automatically, but you can also write down your books former ASIN and contact Amazon if the reviews don't transfer in a few days. Another thing I absolutely love about Pronoun is their incredible customer service!

    2. Sorry, Anne, that's wrong
      Pronoun explains on their website in detail how to NOT lose your reviews. Check out their Q&A

  3. Ron B. Saunders3/27/2017 12:52 PM

    Thanks for this helpful review. As a newbie indie, it's wonderful to have veterans provide guidance. Pardon my ignorance, but does Pronoun only distribute ebooks? This article and the Pronoun home page don't explicitly reference print distribution, so I assume one would go elsewhere for print (?).