Self-Guide to Ebook Publishing – Practical Steps for Success!
There are seven practical steps to accomplishing a successful ebook publishing project:
1. Choosing The Right Ebook Self-Publishing Program:
Choosing the right ebook publishing program for your work is a critical first step. Fortunately for self-published authors, times have changed dramatically over the last few years. Online self-publishers have paved the way for authors who want to produce a competitive product even if it means a printed format is not offered for sale or a previous title is made available for the first time in digital format. The following three programs are the ones I currently use for self-publishing my ebooks.
Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing is the biggest, most popular and best known of all the self-publishing online services for digital ebooks. There is no way around these facts. They sell thousands of ebooks every month. They rule the marketplace for digital ebooks. You need to have a presence on Amazon if you want to be successful.
With Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program you not only reach the largest ebook market distributor, but the biggest selling e-reader device, the Kindle, which uses the Mobi format.
Barnes & Noble Press (Formerly Nook Press)
I also recommend Barnes & Noble Press (formerly Nook Press), which uses the Epub format. They also are very easy to use and easy to set up your ebook for publishing. I publish on B&N Press to offer Epub formats for Nook device users.
After using several online self-publishing services such as BookTango, Google, Kobo and others, I decided to simplify my life and use Smashwords for many of my ebooks. The primary reasons for this were to offer Epub and other formats for my ebooks and to reach more distribution channels including Libraries.
2. Picking An Ebook Format:
An important step is learning the differences between ebook formats and which format is needed for various digital e-readers. There are many formats, but you don’t need to save your work in every format to self-publish online. For example, Amazon Kindle uses a unique proprietary Mobi format that is based on the Mobipocket standard. This format is not compatible with other e-readers on the market such as the Barnes & Noble Nook series.
Barnes & Noble Press competes with Kindle Direct Publishing and the Amazon Kindle Store. Barnes & Noble Press uses the Epub format, which is an open standard for ebooks created by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). The Epub format allows e-readers to change the text sizes for a better reading experience and allows the text to flow or fit the e-reader screen sizes as needed. One of the advantages of the Epub format is the ebook can be read on many different e-reader devices and can be accessed over the Internet and read on demand.
Smashwords offers the following seven ebook formats for most e-readers:
ISBN stands for "International Standard Book Number". It is a unique identifier for books, ebooks and other media. Each title, edition or different format that is published and made separately available should be identified by a unique ISBN.
Amazon assigns its own tracking number and allows you to use your own ISBN numbers for ebooks if you wish. Barnes & Noble Press also does not need ISBN numbers to self-publish your ebooks, but you can assign your own ISBN numbers as well. Smashwords will assign its own ISBN numbers for tracking purposes so you do not have to purchase any.
Not using ISBN numbers may limit the number of distribution channels or publishing houses that would be willing to offer your ebook for sale since many online book sellers in the U.S. require ISBN identification for tracking, selling and payment purposes.
The best approach is to purchase your own ISBN numbers from an approved agent of The International ISBN Agency based in the U.K. that coordinates all ISBN numbers. One such agency in the U.S. that can provide ISBN numbers is a company called Publisher Services, a division of Bar Code Graphics, Inc. For a reasonable price, they will provide a single ISBN number and an electronic barcode that can be used with any format.
Don’t forget to submit a form to copyright your work with the government. I used the Electronic Copyright Office (ECO) System to protect my novels once they are published.
4. Creating Ebook Covers:
Another important aspect to any ebook project is creating a professional ebook cover for your novel. Cover images are required for most self-publishing programs. Again, there are many online companies and publishing houses willing to provide this type of service for a fee. However, unless you are a professional cover designer and design your own cover page, I recommend you purchase professional designer covers for your ebooks if you want to compete successfully in this marketplace. There are many digital ebook cover designers and the price is usually around a 100 dollars. The one I use is called Kerman Covers Designer. I recommend you find someone like Kerman to design your cover page.
5. Setting Up A Royalty Payment Process:
In order to sell your digital work online, you will need to set up a secure royalty payment process. Again, there are many solutions available on the market depending on how you intend to sell your work and receive payments. Fortunately, working with Amazon KDP, Barnes & Noble Press or Smashwords makes the process easier. Amazon KDP and Barnes & Noble Press require you to set up an Electronic Royalty Payment Account with your bank information. Smashwords sends Royalty payments automatically to PayPal. The main advantages of these programs are the payment security they provide, the ease of account setup, faster payment of royalties and customer support.
6. Using An E-reader For Testing Purposes:
The three online self-publishing services mentioned in this article all accept MS Word Documents for submission. Once uploaded, they will reformat the document to work on their digital devices. However, some writers like to submit their books in specific e-reader formats such as Epub, Mobi, PDF or other format.
In this case, you need to download an e-reader application to your PC to test Epub, Mobi or Adobe PDF formats before submitting them to Amazon, Barnes & Noble Press, Smashwords or other online publisher. You want to view the ebook and correct any issues before submission. I recommend Calibre E-book Management System with their E-book Viewer that can read or convert most common types of documents such as Epub, Mobi, PDF, MS Word and other formats. You can also download Adobe Digital Editions to read PDF or Epub ebooks. Both downloads are free. I also recommend you add a Table of Contents to your ebook to make searching and reading chapters easier for your readers.
As a side note, you can also read ebooks on your PC. Amazon provides Kindle for PC. Barnes & Noble Press provides NOOK for PC. Smashwords provides an Online Reader. The list goes on.
As I have mentioned earlier, there are many e-readers on the market and each requires compatible ebook formats for reading purposes. The biggest selling e-reader on the market today is the Amazon Kindle, which accounts for nearly 70% market share. For this reason alone, it behooves you to make you ebook compatible with this product. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to submit and publish your ebook for the Amazon Kindle Store in a matter of days. They are extremely efficient and provide excellent technical support.
Another popular e-reader device is the Barnes & Noble Nook. This device is compatible with the Epub format and other formats, but not the Kindle format.
7. Promoting Your Ebook:
There is no easy method in promoting a new ebook in today’s market place. It will require time, effort and money; and it is necessary since there are so many ebook titles available for sale. The good news is with the proliferation of e-book readers and digital content, the tide has turned for digital publishing. Amazon.com recently reported that they are selling more digital books than printed copies for the first time in history.
Unfortunately, I have found that neither Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Barnes & Noble Press, nor Smashwords offer complete marketing or promotion services to drive ebook sales. This requires much more effort than any self-publishing service can provide alone.
In the meantime, I recommend you find the best online channels to distribute a Press Release that reaches your target market and doesn’t cost a lot of money. It is also important to drive ebook sales using your own website, author membership groups and social media sites. Fortunately, setting up a personal website is easy to do and you can add URL links to any of the programs, online book stores, ebook publishing houses, companies, application programs, e-reader devices and agencies mentioned in this article. After all, it is up to the author to champion their work no matter how the work is published.
It has been three years since I last published this article. Since that time I have learned some valuable lessons on how to be successful at promoting and selling ebooks. Read my latest article, Key Lessons Learned On How To Become A Successful Indie Author. You will learn valuable lessons to help sell more ebooks. I wish you further success as an Indie Author.
I can be reached on my website via this link: Don Viecelli
Author: Don Viecelli
Revision 2 dated February 2018.
Other Indie Articles:
Key Lessons Learned On How To Become A Successful Indie Author!
10 Reasons Why You Should Become An Indie Author!
Several years ago I wrote two articles about ebook self-publishing online. I had decided to take my first two Print On Demand paperback books and self-publish them online. I felt I could do better than POD and save money. This was in 2010 and the digital ebook revolution was just starting. I haven't looked back since.
Recently, I decided to update my first two articles and write a third detailing what I have learned over the past two years on how to become a more successful Indie Author. I turned this into a Key Lessons Learned article. I think all three articles will help self-publish writers become more successful Indie Authors.
I don't define "success" as becoming rich. Very few Indie Authors have achieved bestselling status. I define success more simply as a self-published Indie Author who uses the right self-publishing tools and promotional methods to continually sell more ebooks each year. This is a hard won achievement, which I have learned by trial and error and with the help of other Indie Authors.
To make this experience public, I plan to introduce all three articles, two updated and a brand new article about self-publishing ebooks on my Blog Website. I hope the articles prove helpful to all Indie Writers who want to become more successful Indie Authors, especially those who are just beginning.
My first article is titled Self-Guide to Ebook Publishing – Practical Steps for Success! It was first published online in 2015. I have completely updated it to reflect my latest experiences in self-publishing. Post any comments you may have as this blog continues. I will reply to relevant comments or questions.
The Writers of SciFi group is encouraging Team Members to participate in Author Interviews, which will be promoted in the WoSF Newsletters, in Blogs and in other social media activities. The first Author Interview will be included in the next WoSF Newsletter mailing this month. These Interviews will help introduce WoSF Authors to their growing audience and allow readers to get to know these talented writers better. You will be able to follow up with each Author with your own questions if you wish. WoSF encourages you to do this.
As for myself, I have filled out the Interview Questions and included them on my website at the following link: https://www.donviecelli.com/author-interview.html
I hope this material answers your questions why I enjoy writing science fiction.
I've accomplished two goals I set for myself this year. One, I needed more good book reviews to verify that readers like my work as an author . To accomplish this I chose to give away thousands of my books for free. This generated over twenty positive reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I really do appreciate this. As an Indie Author it encourages me to continue to write, so thank you.
Two, I am selling more books than before. It is still a small number each month, but it is improving now that I have learned which promotions work best. It is true that one of the best way to sell books for Indie writers is to develop a mailing list. By giving away free books on BookFunnel, I now have a Newsletter List of over 2000 Subscribers. I try not to abuse it.
Finally, my participation in the Writers of SciFi Team made possible by BooksGoSocial has allowed me to find other writers in the same boat as I and share what we have learned together. I am now turning my focus to finding promotions for the Team that help sell more books, not give them away free. As our Team grows and learns, we will be even more successful in 2018.
With that, I wish everyone Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
It's been awhile since I updated this Blog from my website. Usually, I update my Blog on Goodreads, but since they post on the same Amazon Author Central Page, I guess I will update my most recent activities here.
I have built my Sci-Fi Newsletter email list to over 1981 Subscribers on MailChimp since April. This is an amazing achievement since I had less than 95 Subs before then, mostly family and friends. I participated with my Writers of SciFi Team Members for most of these Subscribers, then continued to build the list using free book bundle giveaways. I have given away over 3900 books to do this. I wish more of my books would have been sales, but I lacked the number of Amazon Reviews you need to make headway in this very competitive marketplace now. So I am using free book sites such as BookFunnel and now Instafreebie to build name recognition. It seems to be working and I have received several new book reviews for my latest stories, which I greatly appreciate.
One of my books, The Guardians - Book 1, has been selected to be part of two BundleRabbit Box Sets for sale; More Than Human, and Death Before Defeat. Sales are slow, but picking up. I plan to participate in more Box Sets in the future.
One of my series, The Guardians Series, The Complete Collection, is beginning to take off. Each Book in the Series has received 5 Star Ratings on Goodreads. This Series is only available on Smashwords at 25% off selling price. Each book is available on Amazon.
I have started writing Book 2 in the Nanomachine Wars series. The first book is just starting to generate 5 Star Reviews on Amazon. I am encouraged and hope to follow up with Book 2 with even more Space Opera action.
Keep your eye out for my next BookFunnel Free Bundle Promo called Sci-Fi Book Fest to run November 20 - 30th featuring at least 36 action-packed Sci-Fi stories from some great Indie Authors. Some of my Writers of SciFi Team members are participating in this Promo.
Keep reading Sci-Fi and check out my Sci-Fi Only Book Reviews on Goodreads to find a story I know you will like.
It's been a very busy couple of months in July and August. I have been participating in BookFunnel Free Giveaway Book Bundles that have generated over 1300 email contacts for our Writers of SciFi Newsletters. The Promos have been outstanding and the free books downloaded by readers has helped push my book sales to record numbers. I am still waiting for more book reviews to come in that should help increase sales even more if the reviews are positive. I have already received 5 Star Ratings from Goodread members for all three of my books in The Guardians Series, which I really do appreciate. I believe the Series is one of the most entertaining and exciting Space Operas/MSF on the market today. I am hoping readers like my UTOPIAS Series just as much. My latest novel, Nanomachine War - Book 1, is doing well, but I have not seen any book reviews yet. Keep you eyes open for my next Sci-Fi Space Opera Book Bundle Promo opening September 1 - 10th. For all Writers of SciFi fans, the next Newsletter will be out soon. Please, post those reviews for the stories you like.
Twenty-one (21) Sci-Fi Free Giveaways available from an outstanding group of Sci-Fi Authors. Selection includes exciting Short Stories, thrilling Novellas and complete action-packed Books. All stories are Free with the only requirement some selections require sign up to an Author's Email List for future Newsletters and announcements. You may unsubscribe at any time. BookFunnel downloads are available in Mobi and Epub formats with user friendly download instructions and Help Support.
Go to: https://books.bookfunnel.com/scifigiveaway
Just released Nanomachine War - Book 1, First Starship Encounter Press Release from PR Underground. The book is available at Amazon, Nook and Smashwords at a reduced price of 99 cents (75% off) for a limited time only. Read the PR at http://www.prunderground.com/author-don-viecelli-releases-nanomachine-war-book-1-first-starship-encounter-2/0097161/
I just published Nanomachine War - Book 1 for Pre-Orders at a special reduced price of 99 cents. This offer will be good until June 26 unless I decide to release sooner. The final selling price will be higher, so order now. This new book is a Military Science Fiction novel set in the near future. Read the description and you will see it is about first contact with aliens and what they bring with them that could destroy all of mankind. I plan to write two more books in the series if all goes well. Let me know if anyone wants a Free ARC copy for writing Reviews before I release the book in June. Contact me by email for a free ARC copy.
Well, my last attempt at finding a Literary Agent for The Guardians Series failed. No interest at all for my MSF Space Opera series. I guess I will just keep promoting it to readers and keep all the royalties for myself.
I write science fiction stories. I hope you like them.