How to self-publish an ebook
Here are the fundamental stages and my personal procedure for self-publishing an ebook for your reference. When you do anything for the first time, it could seem difficult, but with practice, every ability becomes simpler.
After you’ve written a handful of novels, publishing almost ever requires any time at all. No matter what kind of publication you do, writing and marketing take up the most time.
Several things must be in place before you click “Publish,” so be sure they are before you do.
You do really need a good book! Here is my list of editors if you need one. A professional editor may assist with this, and I am a big proponent of investing time and money in this phase to get a high-quality outcome.
a compelling heading for readers. Use titles for non-fiction publications that include the keywords that readers are genuinely looking for. For instance, I altered the title of my first book from Career Change to Career Change since that is what people were really looking for.
By entering keywords into the Amazon search field and checking the drop-down menu, you can learn more about this. The most common searches are shown by the keyword phrases there. For fiction, it’s more harder since it’s more about connecting with your genre and conveying the feel of your work.
As I discovered when I changed the names of my first three books, changing the title is possible but challenging.
A fantastic cover. Take some time to browse Amazon’s best-selling books in the category you choose. Create a stunning book cover by using screen printing and working with a book cover designer.
The list is below.
This stage is essential since your book cover is a crucial component of your book promotion. Later, you may alter your cover, as many of us do.
Before you self-publish an existing work, be sure you have the rights if you have contracts for your books and/or have been published in the past. You have the right to do as you like if you’re a new author or self-publishing and you haven’t signed any contracts.
Any or all of the following methods may be used for publishing. There are no limitations, and you may sell on many platforms all around the world. (woohoo!)
The sales description you write. We are all working to get better at this art. The reader should be persuaded to download a sample or make a purchase.
Examining 10–15 of the best-selling books in your category might help you get in the mood to write a solid sales description since it involves many different elements.
- Make copies of each sales description.
- What interests you? What resonates?
- What phrases do they employ?
- Inspire your own from them.
This article will assist fiction writers with their sales descriptions. Alternatively, consider Libbie Hawker’s Gotta Read It: How to Sell Your Fiction in 5 Easy Steps. For non-fiction, it’s considerably simpler.
You must provide evidence that you will provide the reader with an answer or resolve their issue. You may also show them what’s inside by including your table of contents.
Layout for your ebook
Don’t let the technicalities deter you; you need to have an ePub file for the other platforms and a mobi file for Kindle. The format of an ebook may be chosen from a variety of alternatives.
Use the auto-formatting features of the different websites, such as Smashwords and Draft2Digital, to upload Word documents. Since you cannot change the formatting, this is essentially just useful for plain text.
Compose it yourself using Scrivener. I create my files in this manner so that I may test them on my devices before uploading. The compile feature of the incredible writing program Scrivener, which costs about $45 and is used by many writers (including myself), is only one of its many features.
Additionally, I highly suggest the excellent Learn Scrivener Fast video training course, which also offers formatting tutorials.
Pay a qualified formatter. There are several experts for matters available right now, and some of them provide print formatting with the ebook. The list is below. Additionally, you may utilize the Alliance of Independent Authors Partner member database or ask other authors for suggestions.
I am aware that some individuals prefer not to tinker with ebook files. I understand how you feel; but, if you publish often, I strongly advise you to try Scrivener. If you do this over the long haul, you’ll save a ton of cash.
Release your ebook.
Once again, there are many possibilities:
Go straight to the merchants. Direct publishing to retailers, all of which are free, is an excellent choice for the best royalty rates, control, speed of revisions, and increased metadata. I utilize Kobo Writing Life, iTunes Connect, and Amazon KDP for Kindle and iBooks, respectively.
Use a content aggregator like BookBaby, Draft2Digital, or Smashwords. To distribute to all of the shops, utilize one of these websites, which will reduce the number of platforms you need to keep an eye on and update.
They are also applicable to other shops. Along with the sites mentioned above, I also utilize Smashwords and Draft2Digital for my novels, utilizing the former for Overdrive and library systems and the latter for Tolino (a German ebook shop) and NOOK. I used to use NookPress, but it kept breaking, so I switched to D2D.
You must: Pick your categories before publishing. You may locate these genres and their subgenres on online book shops, such as Romance > Historical or Thriller > Conspiracy. When you self-publish, you assign them to your book, and the decisions you make will be crucial for discoverability.
Picking the right ones for your book requires some thought. Consider how consumers use smartphones or online book shops to make purchases. They will typically go further into the subcategory they like reading. For instance, I enjoy browsing both action-adventure and thrillers, and when it comes to non-fiction, I constantly look for the newest books in entrepreneurship and business.
These are categories, and they are pretty detailed. On most online retailers, you can select to apply two or three categories to your book, but if you publish directly on Apple, you may apply a lot more.
Simply log in to the shop where you want to publish and go through the categories in the dropdown menu to view your alternatives. Check out this interview with Nick Stephenson for additional information about categories.
Pick your keyword phrases.
These are words or phrases that you might use to describe your book as well as search terms that readers could use. For instance, I utilized the keyword term “career transition” both as the title of my book and as a keyword.
For my novel, a keyword phrase might be “supernatural thriller series.” Another tool that will make it easier for people to find your book in shops is the use of keywords. They may help you get entry into more specific browsing categories on Amazon as well as assist you rank for certain search queries.
So, for instance, my novels are ranked in the category of Conspiracy Thriller, which cannot be selected through the category field but only through the use of the keyword term “conspiracy thriller.” You may locate suitable search phrases by using the drop-down menu on the Amazon search bar, as was described in the title section above. Check out this article for additional information about keywords.
Select the regions you want to publish in. You may simply choose ALL if you’re self-publishing and haven’t agreed to a contract for any rights. Even if part of your rights has been sold, you may still publish independently in other countries.
For instance, a lot of writers with success in the US and Canada might self-publish in the UK and other countries. It’s crucial to consider this since publishing in as many of these locations as possible can increase your circulation and help you earn a livelihood from your work.
Decide on a price. The greatest suggestion is not to get too agitated over price when you just have a few books since there are numerous arguments on both sides. Your primary goal should be attracting new readers, which can include offering books for free or at a low cost to encourage readers to take a chance on a new author.
Once you’ve published a few books, you may set your prices at different levels. For instance, I have free books, full-length fiction priced at $4.99, and novellas priced at $2.99.
My non-fiction books cost between $4.99 and $9.99, and I have several box sets that cost between $6.99 and $12.99. On Amazon, prices beyond $9.99 are not advised since the royalty rate reduces; however, for Apple and Kobo, you may charge more and still get the best royalty rate. There, readers are often more used to making larger purchases.
A few additional pertinent details:
A Series field is now widely used by platforms to group books together. To ensure that the books are appropriately connected together, be sure to spell the series in the same way across all of them. This is essential if the algorithms are to suggest the novels as a series. And why not write a series if you’re not already?
Some retailers also enable pre-orders; Amazon does so up to 10 days in advance, Apple up to a year, and Kobo for a number of months. If you’re writing a series and you know there will be other novels, this is helpful.
Rather of waiting until launch week and then attempting to grab everyone’s attention, you may drive sales over a longer period of time.
What’s the money process?
Depending on the retailer, the area, and if you’re a member of Amazon’s special KDP Select program, the 10% royalty varies. If you’re debating whether to opt-in, consider my exclusivity’s benefits and drawbacks below.
As a self-published author, the range is often between 35 and 70 percent of the net price that you establish. I will earn royalties from sales in March around the end of May since payment is typically made 60 days after the month of sale.
Some shops use quarterly payments while others use PayPal. I can predict my cash flow by seeing information on my sales from all the major shops at any moment.
1.6 A print book’s self-publishing process
You want a paper book, of course. You want to be able to take it in your palm and claim ownership. And it’s wonderful to desire that.
You want to be able to reach a portion of readers who still solely read print books since many people still do this.
Having a print book available for purchase online may still be successful, as The Bookseller announced in March 2015 that online print sales had surpassed in-store print sales.
A physical copy is also useful for marketing, freebies, and speeches; without one, some people may not see you as a “genuine” author. Perhaps silly, but surprisingly typical.
It’s useful for price comparisons as well. If an ebook is available alongside a physical book on an Amazon book sales page, you will notice a “saving.” The buyer then thinks the ebook’s cost is reasonable. So owning a paper book only for price comparisons is an acceptable justification. For my short novellas, I even publish them for this reason.
What printing choices are available?
Print books may be published in one of two ways:
You submit your cover and inside files to a print-on-demand (POD) service provider. One copy of a book is produced and sent to the buyer when one is requested. There is no advance payment for print copies. no stock holdings.
No post offices are open. Just the after-sale profit is yours. For the majority of individuals, I strongly suggest going with this choice since there is very little risk involved and you can purchase a few copies for freebies, promotion, and ego boosts. I’m pleased doing what I’m doing right now.
a limited print run
This approach entails collaborating with a publisher or merely a printer to produce a certain quantity of copies prior to distribution or consumer purchase. These will need upfront payment before you sell them, resulting in a cash investment that might be rather large.
This choice is only advised if you have a distribution strategy in place, such as selling books from the back of the room as a speaker, or if you are promised sales. I once tried a short run, and I lost money, and the books ended up in the trash.
If you decide to do this, please be cautious and do your math. Remember to account for shipping when planning a limited print run as books are bulky and this may add significantly to the cost.
Before you publish, you must have a book cover and an inside that has been prepared. Decide on the print book’s size before creating the files yourself or hiring a professional formatter to do it for you. My list of book cover designers, many of whom also perform formatting, is provided below.
Your choices for internal formatting include:
Make use of the POD businesses’ free templates. Simply download the templates in the size you choose, then fill them out.
Use Joel Friedlander’s TheBookDesigner.com’s cost-effective and very professional Book Design Templates for inside files.
Pay a qualified formatter. Here is a list of the formatters I’ve used and heard good things about. Additionally, you may look them up online or get suggestions from other independent writers.
Recommendable POD providers
There are two primary print-on-demand solutions, both of which come highly recommended by numerous writers.
This is a print-on-demand business owned by Amazon. It offers an easy “wizard” approach, templates that can be downloaded, and online assistance as you go. Following the upload of your files, you will be provided the cost of the book, to which you may later add the desired profit. Before accepting it for sale in the shop, you may then confirm it online or acquire a copy to make sure it’s okay.
The publication is free. You simply have to pay for the proof copy; after that, you get compensated for each sale. Your book will be accessible at online retailers all around the globe if you choose the expanded distribution option; I even discovered some of mine in Sweden! One quick tip:
If you often buy books from Amazon, you may receive free delivery if you have Amazon Prime.
IngramSpark: Spark is a better choice than Createspace if you want your books to be offered in real bookstores.
Although you’ll still need to persuade the bookshops to order the titles, Ingram-sourced titles are more likely to be stocked by retailers.
Depending on how you use your books, there are be small setup fees and additional fees.
If you intend to sell in shops, the most important thing to keep in mind is to account for discounts and returns, which might negatively affect profitability. A lot of independent publishers utilize Createspace for Amazon and IngramSpark for wider distribution to retailers. Here is a piece from the Alliance of Independent Authors that explains how to combine the two services.
The love of print is widespread among writers. I personally decide to just utilize Createspace. Although I like having print books, my business model does not heavily rely on bookshop sales. How print fits into your concept of success must be determined.
Many independent authors believe that ISBNs are crucial, and it is true that they are if you wish to sell your works in real bookshops. They are necessary for the tracking of books by retail ordering systems. However, you may earn a career as a writer without ISBNs.
I personally don’t use them, and I’ve never come across any proof that indies can earn more money by having an ISBN. You don’t need them for audiobooks or ebooks.
I just utilize free Createspace ISBNs for print books.
This has no effect on the book’s copyright. Createspace is shown as the publisher in some system data, but as we’ve just mentioned, who shops by publisher anyhow?
You must once again use your own judgment. What role do ISBNs have in your idea of success?
What is the financial structure of print on demand?
You decide how much money you want to earn for each book, and you can always check online sales figures. The end of the month after the month of the sale is when you will get paid, either by direct deposit or cheque (depending on your region).