Publish Your Own E-Book

  • The Era of E-Books

    Digital publishing is heating up. Last week, Verizon (Stock Quote: VZ) and AT&T (Stock Quote: T) announced they will begin selling Apple’s (Stock Quote: AAPL) iPad in stores Oct. 28. And according to the American Association of Publishers, e-book sales comprised 9.03% of consumer book sales in August, while enjoying a 193% increase in sales compared to last year. Meanwhile, adult hardcover sales continue to slide. “People are reading more than ever before and that’s intriguing to a writer,” says Jason Boog, the managing editor of eBook Newser, a blog covering the e-book industry. “Book deals are not as big as they used to be, and it’s harder for publishers to take a risk on somebody new. That’s going to increase the number of people getting shut out,” and the e-book market will grow in response. “There’s going to be a lot more buying of digital books, especially of digital books,” adds Boog. With an ever-growing array of self-publishing services to choose from, there’s never been a better time for authors to publish their own e-book. Photo Credit: ceslava.com
    Why Self-Publish?
  • Why Self-Publish?

    Much of the stigma surrounding self-publishing has faded, says Boog. And for some authors, the advantages of self-publishing can far outweigh the credibility and prestige that come with landing a book deal. “Once you decide to go to a publisher, they’re really the ones who own your content,” explains Sally Shields, a radio personality and the self-published author of The Daughter-In-Law Rules. “If you want to make changes, edit, or make any updates, it’s very difficult, and if you’re a speaker and you’d like to sell copies of your book, you’ll have to purchase them from the publishing house, which would cost a lot more to do than if you were in control.” Self-publishing is also great for publicity, Shields notes. “If you’re a first-time author, it’s great to publish yourself because you build a following, or platform, and you have even more leverage.” Photo Credit: Logan Ingalls
    Third Party E-Publishing Platforms
  • Third Party E-Publishing Platforms

    The selection of e-publishing platforms keeps growing, and most offer easy, all-in-one packages that cover all aspects of publishing e-books, from converting the manuscript files to e-book formats used by Kindles and iPads to readying the e-book for distribution at major online retailers like Amazon.com. These platforms receive commissions at the point of sale, so do your research to find a comfortable price. Here are a few good e-book publishing platforms: Lulu: Lulu offers free ISBNs, a variety of formats and optional copy protection (DRM), alongside a host of other fun add-ons. Smashwords: For indie authors, Smashwords is tops. It publishes e-books in a variety of formats, plus it does it all for free. PubIt!: Barnes & Noble's recently launched platform goes head to head with Amazon by offering writers a bigger chunk of the profits and an easier way to get their masterpiece out to the masses. Remember, you don’t have to publish your e-book with a third-party platform. But if you prefer to go your own way, remember to convert your manuscript (check out ebookarchitects for more information), purchase an ISBN, and arrange distribution at e-bookstores like Amazon and Apple. Photo Credit: SashaW
    Getting Started
  • Getting Started

    “You only need two things: passion for your topic and desire to help other people,” Shields says. But knowing your audience won’t hurt either, advises Kelly Kingman, the founder of Sticky Ebooks, a consulting service that helps authors with e-books. “That determines everything, specifically with regards to production and distribution. Really get a feel for what your audience is looking for and how can connect with them best.” Photo Credit: hashir
    Get Focused
  • Get Focused

    When writing, says Kingman, be very specific. “A lot of first-time authors want to include everything they know, especially with non-fiction,” she says. “But you want to be very specific because we’re inundated with information and you can be clearer, and more compelling, the more focused you are in your message.” Photo Credit: David Rebber's Hammer Photography
    Get Feedback
  • Get Feedback

    During the publishing process, “don’t do it alone,” says Kingman. “Get feedback on all of your work to get opinions about what’s working and what’s not.” Shields agrees: “Ask what people like or dislike about it, and sit down and see what grabs people the most.” Photo Credit: Criterion
    Call the Professionals
  • Call the Professionals

    Don’t make the all-too-common mistake of rushing the process without having a professional eyeball your work. “Definitely have it professionally edited,” advises Shields. And don’t be afraid to pony up to have a professional create your cover design, either. To start your search, Shields recommends visiting guru.com or elance.com – two sites that serve as online directories for creative and publishing professionals. As the publishing industry continues to contract, says Boog, the eBook newser editor, “it’s never been easier to find a freelance editor than now.” Photo Credit: Very Quiet
    Write a Great Title
  • Write a Great Title

    Before you hit send, take a long, hard look at your e-book’s title. “Spend a lot of time on your title,” Kingman warns, as it will make or break the sale. “A one- or two-word title is catchy,” adds Shields. “Go for a short title, long subtitle. A title should be confusing, a little bit intriguing, and the subtitle should explain exactly what you mean.” Photo Credit: Ageless North Shore
    Promote Your E-Book
  • Promote Your E-Book

    Don’t underestimate the power of self-promotion. Shields suggests e-book authors look up key words on Google.com/AdWords then search for relevant blogs to contact. “Approach the top bloggers, tell them you have a book, and ask if they want to do a Q&A,” she advises. Be prepared to give away some of your e-books for free, which will help build buzz among readers. Also build a social network to ensure the word gets out and you have a strong audience. You can also consider getting media trained, Shields says. “I went from being completely rambling and losing the attention of my audience and host to being able to speak in soundbytes,” she says. “I went from being hung up on to being able to be booked Fox national television.” Check out Shield’s website for some more helpful tips. Photo Credit: Nic's Events
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