How To Publish An Ebook

How To Publish An EbookSo you want to self publish an ebook? Where to start, where to start. Digital publishing has become all the rage and is rapidly evolving into a huge independent publishing movement. In leau of the massive demand to know more about how to get your ebook published and sold, I decided to offer a few tips on how to get started and share some of the best ebook publishing platforms available today.

Here’s what you’ll need to know before you self publish:

1. The Book Must Be Well Written

Just like all the books out there sitting on the shelves of bookstores…you know, the ones that have been picked up by traditional publishers, your ebook has to be good. It must be well written, well formatted, and the ideas contained within, be it fiction or non fiction, must flow together nicely. It must be easily consumable content, not just some old rehashed spun content that nobody can make heads or tails of.

You can publish all the ebooks you want, but if they are not high quality, readers will leave bad reviews, and eventually, no one will buy your ebook.

2. It Must Be Pleasing To The Eye

Ya’ know the old saying, “you can’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, reality check…people do it all the time. Think back to when you last walked into a bookstore. What kind of book covers immediately caught your eye? Books that had plain jane covers with no eccentric colors or personality? Or book covers that practically screamed out at you to pick them up. You can also use your book cover to brand yourself.  Need I say more?

3. Competitive Pricing

You should price your ebook cheap. According to Smashwords’ Pricing Guide  indie authors who price their ebooks between $2.99 – $5.99 yield the most profit. Even though you will probably get more downloads if you price your book at .99 cents, the sweet spot for profit is between $2.99 and $5.99. It is important to note that if you are self publishing your ebook on Amazon, the 70% royalty only applies to books that are priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Anything less than $2.99 or higher than $9.99 is 35% royalty.

4. Avoid Any Platform That Doesn’t Let You Set Your Own Price

Ideally, you should be able to sell your book for whatever price you like. It’s best to maintain total control over every aspect of your self publishing process, pricing is no exception.

5. Have A Marketing Plan

Day 7 of my Kindle Bootcamp Course talks all about how to promote your book, both on and off Amazon. You can check out the ebook promotion article here. Between Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Press Releases, your own author website, and guest blogging opportunities, there are plenty of ways to get the word out about your book!

Ok, so now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk a little about where you can get your ebook published. The most important things to consider when deciding where to publish your ebook are:

1. The Ease Of Use

Is the publishing platform easy to use and understand? Are there in depth and clear instructions on how to upload your book? What if you have to modify your book, is it easy to make changes without interrupting the availability of your book?

2. Where and How Will Your Books Be Sold?

When you publish on Amazon, your book will only be sold on Amazon. When you publish on Smashwords, your ebook will be distributed to all the major online ebook outlets, such as Barnes n Nobles, Apple iBook, Sony Kobo, etc.

3. What Royalty Percentage Will Be Yours?

You certainly don’t want the ebook publisher taking all your royalties. This is, obviously, one of the most important aspects of choosing a publisher.

There are many different avenues to choose from self publishing your ebook. Below, I will go over the most popular choices. I personally, at this time, only have experience with publishing on Amazon Kindle, but in the future I plan on branching out onto some of these other platforms.

1. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing

KDP is Amazon’s ebook publishing platform and if this is a good choice if you want to sell directly to your reader and don’t want to mess around with an aggregator that distributes your books for you. Amazon is a beast when it comes to the publishing market share, so even though there are other outlets out there, publishing your ebook on Amazon will get lots of eyeballs on your work.

Amazon also helps market and promote your book too, as they suggest books to readers who have bought other similar books. If you are new to digital self publishing, I recommend starting out on Amazon. It’s easy to use and you have a lot of control over your book’s listing.

2. Smashwords

Smashwords is one of the largest distributors of ebooks on the web. When you upload your book to Smashwords, they convert your book file into just about every file necessary for distribution to all the major ebook sellers, including Barnes N Nobles, Apple iBooks, Sony, Kobo, etc. Smashwords offers a free guide on formatting your ebook, and it’s surprisingly easy to get everything ready and uploaded.

Smashwords is one of the first ebook distributors on the web, so they really know what they are doing and you can feel comfortable trusting your ebook with them.

3. Bookbaby

Bookbaby is a lot like Smashwords, as they are also an ebook publisher and distributor. However, the one thing that sets them apart from Smashwords, and other publishing platforms, is the way they handle their fees. Instead of taking a cut of author royalties, Bookbaby charges an upfront fee for different level publishing packages. You can sell your ebook for iPad, Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader, and you keep 100% of the royalties.

Bookbaby is a good option for authors who would like a little more ‘hand holding’. They assist you with many things you normally would be left on your own to get done like great customer service, design services , and an author accounting dashboard where you can analyze and track all your book sales.

4. Barnes N Noble PubIt

Barnes N Noble is a lot like Amazon’s KDP platform, but they do differ in their royalty structure. With BnN, the royalty rate for self published authors is 65% if you price your book between $2.99 and $9.99. (Amazon gives 70%) If you price your book below $2.99 or higher than $9.99, the royalty rate drops to 40%, whereas Amazon’s rate comes in slightly lower at 35%.

5. iBooks Author

Apple has always been the pioneer in anything that required high quality graphics, and  iBooks Author is no exception. iBooks Author allows you to create graphically rich books and ebooks. If you are a children’s author, and your books have a lot of illustrations, iBooks Author is a good publishing platform to explore. iBooks Author allows you to build multitouch, interactive, graphically rich ebooks that you can upload and sell in the iBookstore. Your books would then be viewable on the iBooks 2 App for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

You have many more options than just the ones I listed above for publishing your ebook. Take careful consideration to perform your due diligence before deciding on any one platform. There are different benefits to using each one of them.

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