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The Basics of E-publishing

Updated on September 16, 2009

E-publishing--or electronic publishing--has grown substantially over the years. According to The International Digital Publishing Forum, US e-book sales for the second quarter of 2009 were $37 million compared to the second quarter sales of 2008 at $11 million. That is a 26 million dollar increase in 12 months!

It’s no secret the e-publishing business is booming. With the many advantages of e-publishing like instant download, faster production, and low prices, one can see why e-books has become so popular. With the addition of digital book readers like Amazon’s Kindle, I can only see the future sales rising.

There are many advantages for the author as well, faster turnarounds, higher royalties, tolerance of shorter works, and more opportunity for the unknown author, just to name a few. With that said, e-publishing is a big part of the future of publishing. Now, how can you make the most out of your e-publishing experience?

First, have your book finished and properly edited.

Some writers try to get their manuscript published with just a book proposal--an unfinished manuscript with a detailed synopsis of the complete story. Some writer’s are fortunate to get a contract this way, but if you are new to the publishing biz, I advise against it. Especially if this is your first manuscript because writing a proposal can be as difficult as writing a novel. It's better to win with a finished book before trying to get signed with a proposal. Finish the story and have it perfectly edited before you think about contacting a publisher.

Second, do your research.

Some of the most popular e-publishers, like Ellora’s Cave, publish erotic romance or erotica, which is probably the most popular genre in e-publishing at this time. However, some e-publishers publish in several different genres and categories ranging from Science Fiction to Christian books. Some may only publish novella length manuscripts (10k to 30k words) and some may only consider novel length works (60k+ words). Your job is to research the different e-publishers that publish your book’s genre and length. To find out this information look at the publisher's submission guidelines.

Third, follow the submission guidelines exactly.

If your manuscript is completed and flawless, you are ready to submit. You must follow the submission guidelines exactly. Many would-be authors skip important requests from the publisher regarding their manuscript and the result is an automatic rejection. The editors at a publishing house have their hands full of submissions. It helps make things easier on them and you when you follow their guidelines.

It also says a lot about your professionalism. Following these simple guidelines shows how cooperative you are and gives the editor a sense of whom they would be working with. Would you have an issue with a partner that was too lazy to read and follow your simple rules? That gives the impression that they are difficult to work with.

Most of the guidelines are simple formatting guidelines. For example, the manuscript must be double-spaced, with 12-point Arial font and page breaks before each chapter. Simple, huh?

In addition, a good thing about e-publishing is that you send your manuscript and other correspondence through email. This is quick, easy, and you save on paper and postage.

Other Quick Tips

- Address your cover/query letter to the correct editor. Make sure you spell the name correctly too. Because that can cost you your chance. Remember, professionalism.

- Wait the allotted time for a response, which can vary from 6 weeks to 12 weeks, give or take a couple weeks. If the weeks come and go without a response, send a follow up email. Never call or send several emails demanding a yes or no.

- Don’t take a rejection personally. You may get a form rejection letter that simply states, “Sorry, we will not offer a contract at this time.” On the other hand, you might receive a personalized letter detailing why they decided to pass. Use this to learn and improve.

- If you get a, “Yes. We absolutely love it,” congrats. Now get ready to work extra hard on revising and marketing your book. You will be asked to look over and sign the contract. Then they’ll assign an editor who will work with you to finalize your book. This all takes time and hard work, but it will all pay off.

This has been a brief overview of the e-publishing business. I wish you the best.

For more info from Leslie Lee Sanders on writing and publishing:

So You Want to be a Writer: What Not to Do

Things to Know Before Starting Your Novel

Want Others to Take You Seriously as a Writer: This is a Must

Leslie Lee Sanders


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    • suziecat7 profile image


      11 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I'm glad I found you. You have some very interesting Hubs. I've got an idea for an e-book but am still lost at how to get started. Learning all the time. Thanks.

    • Leslie L. Sanders profile imageAUTHOR

      Leslie Lee Sanders 

      11 years ago from Queen Creek, Arizona

      Publishing your OWN ebook? Impressive, indeed. Maybe I should write a hub about that, huh? Maybe next time. Thanks for commenting!

    • mroricle1973 profile image


      11 years ago from Virginia Beach

      I am in the process of writing a ebook. It's not novel length. Maybe 5k words at best... i am using ebook software to publish it. I am also going to use some of the ideas you mention as well...

    • Leslie L. Sanders profile imageAUTHOR

      Leslie Lee Sanders 

      11 years ago from Queen Creek, Arizona

      Thanks, I try. I haven't considered working as a writing consultant or editor but I think my skills (at this time) are enough to be a good critique partner. (But I'm modest) Ultimately, though, I would love to be an editor amongst other things.

      And yes, especially is a word. LOL.

      Thanks for the comment. I love feedback.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Another great Hub Leslie, have you ever considered working as a consultant to writers, kind of like an editor? Think it over, I think it could be an untapped market especially on a site like this. Next question; is "especially" even a word? Keep up the good work.


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