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Publish eBooks; Options for Writing & Marketing

Updated on July 16, 2012

Amazon's Write Good or Die

The Beauty of eBooks

If you are relatively new to e-publishing, this information will help you get started with the basics of writing and publishing ebooks. There are so many different choices choices, and so much to learn.

eBooks are considered to be the fastest growing part of publishing. Sales have increased around 50% steadily for the past five years. The world is gravitating towards eBooks as costs for electronic storage and delivery continue to decrease, while the costs of printing and shipping continue to increase.

The selling points of eBooks are that they offer instant gratification, and they do not take up extra space.

LuLu

I personally found that Lulu was the easiest site to use when publishing my first ebook. They accepted PDF, or HTML , or RTF, and many others. They also provide generic book covers which are not recommended if you really want to sell your book, but it helps when you are simply trying to get the first one out there. Lulu.com


Kindle, Amazon

Self publishing your content to the Kindle Store is not as easy as it is on LuLu, but still relatively simple. With Amazon's Digital Text Platform. Amazon will convert your file to Kindle format and offer it for sale. Kindle has a reputation for launching some unknown eBook writers into earning six figure incomes which can make this site even more attractive.

If you already have a buying or selling account at Amazon, you can log in with your e-mail address and password. You'll be asked to agree to the terms and conditions of Amazon's digital books program. Be sure to click the "My Account" tab on the DTP dashboard. That is how you will receive royalties. Also, click "Add or Edit Account," and add your bank account number. You will also need to provide your fill name and tax identification number so the income can be reported to the IRS.

Amazon pays Kindle authors a royalty of 35% of retail, the list price you set for your eBook.

Format for the Kindle; Before uploading your writing to Amazon, save the document in HTML format. most of your formatting, such as bold and italicized letters, should be preserved. Certain things, however, might not translate, such as tables or grids of information. So you may want to replace your tables with some plain text or, if possible, replace this content with images. I believe it said PDF would be okay, and when I tried to use it, the file was rejected. That is why I say this site is a little more complicated than LuLu. I tried over and over, and changed my formatting several times. It eventually worked and I guess it was a learning experience. Here is some of what you will encounter when publishing on Kindle that cause confusion for new publishers.

  • ISBN. Amazon does not require an ISBN for your Kindle book. If an existing paper book edition of your book is available on Amazon, you should enter its ISBN here. This will help Amazon migrate your customer reviews for your paper edition to your Kindle edition's page. An ISBN is basically a Barcode like what you see on paper books. (Lulu prompts you to set one up as you go along) There are many sites where you can get an ISBN, such as, ISBN Generator.
  • Description. This is a brief explanation of your book. Think of it as the back cover of a paperback or inside flap of a hardcover. Be as descriptive as possible. This is your few seconds to turn them off or turn them on.
  • Pub Date. Only if the same content has been published previously outside Amazon's DYP, enter its original publication date. Otherwise Amazon will automatically enter the date when it finishes processing your eBook.
  • Categories. you can select from up to five categories and subcategories to help shoppers find your book.

Smashwords/BookLocker

Smashwords.com is a service for publishing eBooks. Self-published eBooks are sold on its Web site, and made available on Kindle, iPhone and other places.

After opening a Smashwords account and uploading your content, your book will be converted into several formats and offered as a downlaod to users of iPads and other devices such as the Sony Reader and Kindle. The company takes a 15% commission on each sale. If you are offering a free eBook, there is no charge for the use of Smashwords.

BookLocker.com is a full-service option for eBook authors. This is a serious company that screens manuscripts. Poorly written books, or those without any commercial appeal will, without a doubt, be rejected. There is no listing fee,and BookLocker can also make your book available as a paperback.

Mobipocket

Amazon's Mobipocket is an eBook retailer and wholesaler, affiliate of Amazon.com. It provides free software. One noteworthy aspect of Mibipocket is that is provides an alternate way into Amazon's Kindle Store. Titles you upload to Mobipocket will appear in the Kindle Store automatically.

To convert your books to the Mobipocet format, you can download a free copy of the necessary software, Mobipocet Creator, Publisher edition. MobiPocket

Google Book Search

Your greatest ally in the information business is the Google search engine. It has universal popularity and influence on Internet traffic. Most people who buy eBooks find them by using Google search engine.

A Web site is not even necessary to benefit from Google. If you allow the search engine to show exerpts from your book, Goolge generates free advertising and sales. Google Book Search, at Books.google.com, allows users to search through texts. Along with your book, Google will display a link to your Web site, (if you have one) and links to retailers who are selling your book.

Safeguards are built into Google Book Search, similar to Amazon, and Barns and Noble sites that allow you to view a few pages before making a purchase, shoppers can view several low resolution pages and images.

You may also profit from Google Book Search even if none buys your book. The way this works is that Goolge runs small advertisements from its AdWords network in the page margins, and splits the ad revenue with publishers. Each time someone clicks on an ad displayed with your book, you will make a few cents.

To submit your book to Google Book Search, you must own the rights.


Format

  • Adobe Reader. Readable on most computers, Web browers, and several portable devices. PDF's are perhaps the most popular format for eBooks and documents publsihed online.
  • HTML. The code used for most Web spages is also popular eBook format, and many elements of it are used in the Kindle, Mobipocket, and EPUB formats.
  • EPUB. is an extension of the popular EML format designed to to operate with different brands of swftware and hardware. EPUB is gaining oppularity with many publishers who favor an "open," nonproprietary format. It's promoted by an industry group, the International Digital Publishing Forum. Widespread adoption of this format would enable publishers to produce and send single file through distribution for each book, intead of remormatting each book for different formats.

There are a variety of free software and services for formatting your books, and helping with designing an eBook cover.

Book cover pro , Virtual Cover Creator


Cover Factory , eCoverSuiteElite

Marketing

Some sites, such as LuLu, will help with marketing, and as a new writer it is wise to use this help to your advantage, however, it won't take long before you realize that you can sell your books better than anyone else can. Many very successful eBooks have been sold directly from a Web site or a blog using Clickbank, and by driving traffic to those blogs by writing hubzz here at Hubpages and including a link to their blog. A site such as this one commands a tremendous stream of traffic.

Some of the best ways of marketing eBooks is to build your brand.

The power of your front cover....

Remember that your choice of colors, fonts, photos or illustration style can become foundational elements of your visual brand. The message in your title and subtitle can differentiate you and drive home your promise, which is your brand.

Did you know that book distributors only carry books' front covers to sell books? Also keep in mind that bookstore browsers spend about eight seconds looking at a front cover and 15 seconds on the back cover before making a buying decision. That is the potential of a powerful brand!

Help on Ebooks from Amazon

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great info; I have eight books on Kindle now and although it's slow going they are increasing, so I'm optimistic.

      Nine more hubs to go my friend. Great job!.

    • Skarlet profile image
      Author

      Skarlet 4 years ago from California

      Thank you billybuc,

      Last I checked you had only 5 more to go. And congrats on the Kindle books! That is great!

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      I have so much I'd like to write about my family; however, they might stop speaking to me.

    • Skarlet profile image
      Author

      Skarlet 4 years ago from California

      @ Haha. You will have to change the names to protect the not so innocent.

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

      I've got one ebook on blurb.com but have had little time to promote it except on our websites -- seems the interest is there I just haven't pursued it from my end. Super informative Hub - thanks! Best/Sis

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