There are a few ways you can go about how to publish your book on iTunes. In order to bootstrap it and do it yourself, you need to have access to a handy piece of software called iTunes Producer, which allows you to enter all the required information to upload your book to the iTunes store and validate it for compatibility. I have good news, but unfortunately, I also have some bad news.
The good news? The iTunes Producer program is free to download once you create a free iTunes Connect account.
The bad news? This software only runs on the Mac’s operating system (OSX). Meaning that Windows users are out of luck, as there appears to be no iTunes Producer for Windows will be made for the foreseeable future. But… there are ways to get around that, as I’ll show you below and a ninja way to get iTunes Producer on your Windows PC.
The easiest way to bypass this? Borrow a friend’s iMac for a couple of hours, jump on the Internet and upload your e-book. If this is not an option, things get tricky, expensive, or both. Here are your options:
Go to an Aggregator
This is the option that Apple recommends. If you hire a publisher, called an aggregator, they’ll take care of uploading your book and deal with simple issues that may come up. In addition, they can also provide a host of services, including marketing and converting your book to fit other formats (such as Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s KoboBooks). BookBaby and Smashwords are two popular aggregators.
Pros: They’re experts, so the process will be fairly hands-off on your end.
Cons: Can be relatively expensive. Not only that, they may also take a cut of your book sales, further eating into your profits. Remember, Apple already takes 30% of the amount of each sale.
Verdict: If you’re using Book Creator, no need to buy expensive conversion services to upload to iTunes. For Kindle publishing and other bookstores, that’s another story. I’ll tell you how I bootstrapped it over that bridge when I get there.
Hire Someone to Upload for You on Fiverr
At Fiverr, there are a host of services available at only $5 a pop. There, you can hire a Fiverrer? to upload your book to iTunes.
Pros: Cheap. At $5USD per upload, this is an option if you’re cash-strapped.
Cons: You’ll have to give your iTunes Connect account info to the contractor to do this. And here’s where I slammed on the brakes with this idea. You have to enter a lot of personal data – banking and tax information – into your iTunes Connect account to set it up. And all of it will be easily accessible once someone logs in to that account. While you may actually be perfectly safe, the risk of making my personal information to a stranger is not worth the cheap fee, at least to me.
Verdict: How safe do you feel handing over your confidential information to a random stranger?
Go to the Cloud
This is the service I almost went with. For a fee, you can rent space on Mac in Cloud and use a virtual Mac. If you’ve ever used a service like GoToMyPC or similar, this is what Mac in the Cloud is like. Once you rent your Mac, you can log in to your iTunes Connect account and download and install iTunes Producer – it often is already pre-installed for you. Pretty nifty, as long as you have a fairly fast Internet connection. Services start at $12 a week (3 hours a day – one day free trial), or you can buy 30 hours of prepaid time at $30.
Pros: This is an option if all you’ll be doing is uploading your book. The process to upload and fill out the required information is fairly fast, provided your book doesn’t throw validation errors back at you (no problem if you’re using Book Creator). Much cheaper than going through a publisher. The cool thing is you can even access your Mac from an iPad, as long as you have an RDP app (search RDP on iTunes).
Cons: You need a good internet connection and a credit card/ check card.
Verdict: Haven’t used the service, but sounds like a great option.
Run iTunes Producer from Windows
I know I said that running iTunes Producer from Windows was not possible and that is technically true. What you can do is run a Virtual Machine inside Windows that allows you to run OSX – and more importantly, OSX software. While this was fairly complicated a few years ago, nowadays creating a “Hackintosh” – a non-Apple computer that runs Apple’s OSX – is not the big deal it once was. See more here from Lifehacker.
Basically, you can either partition your machine’s hard drive to make room to install OSX, or go the easier route and attempt to launch OSX virtually, right from inside Windows, using Virtual Machine software – I use the free VMWare Player (follow link to download).
Pros: You’ll be able to install iTunes Producer on your virtual Mac and upload your e-book right to iTunes without the need to split royalties with a publisher, rent a virtual Mac, or give up your iTunes Connect username and password to a stranger.
Cons: A Virtual Mac can be complicated to set up if you don’t have the right hardware. You’ll need a computer that has a hardware setup similar to the Mac you’re trying to emulate – at least the CPU, which is the most important part. Also, know that Apple frowns on people doing that and says it violates their Terms of Service – basically, they’d rather you buy one of their computers. *shrug*
In my case, my computer has an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU that did not support hardware virtualization, which limited my laptop to running an older version of OSX, Snow Leopard. If you have a newer computer, you may be able to run newer versions of OSX.
Another problem you may run into – I did – is that the latest versions of iTunes Producer will not run on older Macs. So even if you thought of scooping up a cheap iMac on eBay to install iTunes Producer, you may feel like an iDiot when Producer refuses to install. What you can do is install an older version of iTunes Producer (2.8 was the latest I could get to work – 2.9 is the latest as of this writing).
Apple doesn’t make older versions of iTunes Producer easy to find on their website, since they’ve removed all references to any version below 2.9. But you can still download them. Check here for download links to old versions of iTunes Producer, which this guy figured out how to download from Apple and generously decided to share with the world.
And there you have it. You can still bootstrap your book into iTunes without having a Mac.
By the way, you can now download Location360° right from iTunes! Check out my free inaugural travel mag and if you like it, would love for you to leave a good rating on iTunes!
Do you have a book on iTunes? Thinking of uploading one?
Share what you’re working on below!