More and more writers are choosing to publish their own works as E-Books through the big, online selling platforms – but just what do you need to do to make your book globally available and as professional a product as you can manage? The following seven steps will make the whole thing much, much easier.
1. ISBNs & ASINs
The International Standard Book Number is the strange number, under a barcode on the back of a paperback or hardback book. E-Books need ISBNs too, but not a barcode. However, if you only want your book to be for sale on Amazon, then you don’t need an ISBN as Amazon will assign an Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN). But, and here’s where it gets a little convoluted, you can also assign your own ISBN to an Amazon version. Whilst ISBNs are not mandatory and do not provide copyright on a work, it does uniquely identify the work and is used internationally across the book trade and library sector. So if you want to be professional, use an ISBN.
2. Briefing a Cover Designer
You can, if you are a professional artist, design your own cover. If you are not, then don’t. It’s that simple. You write books and stories. You do not paint artwork of any type, so just don’t. Learn to accept the fact that you need to pay someone to design a professional, book specific, genre specific cover for your E-Book. Don’t be tempted to use any of the online E-Book “cover creators” as they use stock layouts and stock photos and stock font. They look amateurish at best and yes, it does matter as much and in every way for an E-Book as it does for a paperback or hardcover. So learn about pixel size and dots per inch and look good and hard at other covers in your genre and then brief a cover designer.
3. Format your Interior
If you are using Microsoft Word then learn how to use it effectively and harness the power of Word Styles to format the interior of your book properly and efficiently. Word works. Yes, there are lots of other programs out there that you can buy and use to write your book, but as Word is the most widely used word processor, it is likely you already have it on your computer. So use it and save yourself money. It doesn’t take long to learn to master the more advanced properties of Word. Google and Youtube are your friends.
4. Use Calibre to Convert
Calibre is a conversion tool that will take your Word document in either .doc or .docx format and convert it into an E-Pub and a MOBI format, as well as a host of other output formats. It is quick, efficient and effective. The software is very comprehensive and powerful, packed full with features but for conversion purposes you really only need to know the absolute basics, and they can be learnt quickly. Using Calibre gives you total control over your conversion process.
5. Get a Kindle Direct Publishing Account on Amazon
Amazon’s Kindle store is by far the biggest seller of E-Books in the world. So if you want to be taken seriously as an independently published author, you need to be selling your books on there. The good news is the interface is relatively easy to navigate and although there are some tricky bits in and around the US Tax Interview, it is mostly straightforward. So, register on Amazon’s KDP and manage your Kindle books within there. Also find out about their Select program and see if it is for you.
6. Get an Aggregator Account
You can also try and register accounts with all the other major online sales platforms, like Apple’s iBooks and Kobo and Nook but it quickly becomes extremely time-consuming and their interfaces are nowhere near as straightforward as Amazon’s KDP (of course, that’s only my opinion) but I think I am fairly tech-savvy and iBooks completely flummoxed me. So, use an aggregator service that will distribute your book to these and a whole host of other online stores. I choose to use Draft2Digital as I find their interface, reports and payment systems are superb.
7. Explore Marketing Opportunities
You are now a published author!! But no one knows about you or your book, so you will need to explore the marketing opportunities that are out there. Who can you pay to advertise with, who can you use to promote your book? How can you entice people to read it with free giveaways and free editions? The biggest promotor of E-Books is, by far, BookBub but there are lots of others that are cheaper to advertise with (but with less reach) and easier to get accepted by. So you will need to explore.
8. Bonus 8th Step
All of the steps above are explored in great detail in an extensive online training course delivered by Amazon Best-Selling, independently published author, Ian Andrew. The course covers all you need to know within each of the seven steps, from teaching how to setup an Amazon KDP account through to how to get a BookBub deal. Comprehensive and delivered in small, bite-size chunks of training it is now available for only $149 Aus Dollars (approximately 90 Pounds or 120 US dollars).
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