Riding Bitch

The daily musings of a writer.

Creating a Career out of Ebooks


For all you writers considering self-publishing, today’s Industry Friday post comes via a seminar originally given by best-selling author James Scott Bell, www.jamesscottbell.com. I’ve embellished it a little by adding links to the companies and sites that James mentioned, as well as some related articles. Feel free to add to the discussion in the comment section, especially if you have experience with any of the services listed below.

Step One – Write the best book you can

It goes without saying but never hurts to repeat – quality drives sales more than anything else. Write because you’re compelled. It’s also good to do both fiction and non-fiction.

Step Two – Prepare the book for publication

First is editing, which compromises developmental feedback (content), copy writing (consistency), line by line proofreading (accuracy). This is possibly the largest investment of your time, money and energy, other than writing the book itself.

Next is cover design. Study other books of the same genre for ideas, and never put “by so-and-so” on the cover. The cover should include only the title, your name, and an image if desired.

Next is the book description or cover copy, which might include a brief author bio and picture. If you do a little research, the internet has much information on how to write good cover copy. Again, it helps to reference other books in your genre that you like.

The last stage is uploading. You will have to decide whether you want single channel distribution (which offers the most return on your book) or multiple channel distribution (which requires higher fees and/or royalty splits).

Some single channel distributors:

Kindle – https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin

PubIt! – http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/pubit_app/bn?t=pi_reg_home

Kobo – http://www.kobobooks.com/companyinfo/authorsnpublishers.html

Apple – http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5071

Createspace – https://www.createspace.com/

Multiple channel distributors:

Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/about/how_to_publish_on_smashwords

Bookbaby – http://www.bookbaby.com/

This article offers an in-depth comparison of the Smashwords and Bookbaby services: http://selfpublishingadvice.org/blog/bookbaby-or-smashwords-best/

Step Three – Develop a Marketing Plan

Once the book is available, how will people know about it?

– Word of mouth – the best and most effective promotion is informing everyone you know about your book, those people telling their friends, and so on. Be an author people like to read!

– Your blog – though keep in mind it might annoy your readers to bombard them with pleas to read your book.

– Book review sites – get your book reviewed on other sites as much as possible, then use excerpts from the good reviews in your other promotion. Ignore the bad reviews, unless you don’t get any good ones.

– Email list for newsletters – http://www.mailchimp.com offers free email campaigns if you have less than 2,000 people on your list.

– Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and your own website – which you must have, if only as a brochure.

– Google AdWords – pay only when p.eople click on your ad, not to display ad.

– Amazon author page – https://authorcentral.amazon.com

Step Four – Work Your Plan

Step Five – Repeat Plan for the Rest of Your Life

For more info, check out this recent article by Peter Osnos of The Atlantic on the challenges of self-publishing (the comments are just as informative): http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/09/the-cruel-paradox-of-self-publishing/261912/#

And this humorous blog by Julie Gerstenblatt on Huffington Post about self-publishing (she just started it on 12/12/12!) : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/julie-gerstenblatt/self-publishing_b_2272491.html

“Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.” – Ray Bradbury

“Control your own destiny or someone else will.” – Jack Welch

Happy creating!

Author: nivaladiva

Freelance writer and independent filmmaker.

6 thoughts on “Creating a Career out of Ebooks

  1. Very interesting post. As I’ll be more than likely self publishing my latest novel as an E-book. 🙂

  2. A useful post! Although I’d say don’t wait to think about marketing your book until it’s available. But I can imagine that for your first (e)book it probably happens in that order. Second time around you’re more prepared for what you need to do!

  3. It’s going to be ending of mine day, except before finish I am reading this great post to increase
    my knowledge.

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