Want to publish an eBook? Here's all you need to know and what you can expect.
Writing a novel or short story can be daunting but satisfying, but when you're finally finished you will then have to decide how to put it out in the world. One very easy way to publish your work is to make it an eBook. It's environmentally friendly, won't cost you anything and can put a huge smile on your face the first time a stranger buys a copy.
Before you jump into this relatively new medium, there are many things to consider like formatting rules, proper proofreading techniques, making a book cover and so on. This guide for new eBook publishers will show you everything you need to know for getting your work published on sites like Amazon.com and even the Apple iBookstore.
Know Your Readers
One part of publishing is figuring out who your intended audience may be and gearing everything from the cover design to your marketing ideas toward pulling in that demographic. It's called "knowing your reader." With eBooks, there is a whole different meaning to "knowing your readers" because the Kindle isn't the only e-reader on the market. In fact, there are several different models available. While the Kindle might be the most popular, you could potentially miss out on sales if you don't make your eBook available for the other readers out there.
There is not one universal kind of eBook format, so for each device you'll have to format differently. Even converting from Word or Acrobat takes a bit of extra formatting since eBook files are something new and require special consideration. Personally, I think this is an unnecessary bit of work, but that's how the format currently works. Go ahead and create your main work in a standard, printable format, but be ready to make multiple copies of your main file to fit eBook standards for each publisher.
As a writer, one of the dumbest things you can do is publish something without proofreading it. If you're selling something riddled with errors, it'll hurt your reputation tremendously. If you're trying to get the attention of an agent or publisher, nothing will send your manuscript to the trash can quicker than poor spelling and grammar. With modern word processors and such heated competition from other writers that can actually spell and know their basic grammar rules, there simply is no excuse for your work to have any kind of errors.
Book Cover Design
Unless you are a big name author that everyone recognizes, the cover design of your book is more important than the content within. People do judge books by their cover, and if you are just getting started then you need to have a cover that grabs people's attention and makes them want to learn more. You have to be careful about everything from font sizes to what images you use, plus make sure it looks good in print, and that's just the beginning.
Formatting your eBook will require software of some kind, and having the right word processor can also save you a lot of trouble with misspelled words and some grammar fumbles. You'll also need graphics software for designing your own book cover or doing image manipulation, unless you pay someone to make you a cover. You may also want to build a website based around promoting your book, and you'll likely need some software for creating the site. Here are some reviews and information on both free and paid programs that will help you in publishing your next work.
Writing the book is the first step. Figuring out how to get it published comes next. After that, the real work begins when you have to promote it. You'll find out soon enough who your real friends are when it comes to who buys and who doesn't, and you can only count on so many friends and family members. This is why you need to learn how to properly use social networking and other means to get the word out about your eBook and maybe some of that marketing will turn into sales.
If you've published your own eBook, what was your experience like? We'd love to hear from you, especially if you have anything to add that wasn't covered here, like what software you used and which formats seemed easiest to work with. Use the comment section below to tell us all about it, but please don't spam!