Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Create an eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing, Publishing and Selling Your eBook

How do I write an eBook?

A question a lot of would-be authors ask everyday. Actually sitting down thinking of a subject or even thinking about writing a work of fiction seems really hard to a lot of people.

Why There's No Catch to Writing a Book
Anyone can write a book, there is no financial or physical resources required to do so. If you're looking to publish your book, that's a different matter altogether. Books have been written in all kinds of strange places from prison cells to trains.

Do I Need to be Good at English Language to Write a Book?

It doesn't matter how bad your grammar or spelling may be, you're in good company. You'd be joined by the likes of Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, the list goes on. If you really want to get serious, it requires thought, work and a whole lot of effort.

Getting Started

If you're wondering how to get started in your publishing career its no surprise that we live in a digital age, so many free resources are already at your fingertips. Companies such as Amazon provide a ready-made platform with software to process and bring your books to life. There's no need to look for a publishing house you can send your manuscript straight to print without worrying about where to get the financial help to do so.

Again it takes time and effort to make your book legible and relate able to your audience. Are you the kind of writer that's only in it for the fame and wealth.There's no magic wand that can be waved to make sure your book is a bestseller. Once you've written your book you have to spend the time promoting your book and get word out that you're an author, making sure people know who you are, otherwise all of your hard work is dead in the water.

These days you don't have to be a great writer to sell books. That can clearly be seen by Amazons list of bestsellers.

What You Need to Know Before You Publish Your eBook

Before you publish your eBook you need to know about the services on offer and a little bit about the history of self-publishing.

The services below will publish and distribute your eBook files, but require you to do all of the preparation and uploading of your files.
  • Draft2Digital - Cost $0. Distribution to everyone else. 
  • Amazon KDP - Cost $0. eBook distribution in Amazon. 
  • IngramSpark - Cost $49. Distribution everywhere but Amazon. 
  • CreateSpace - Cost $0. Print Distribution to Amazon. 
  • BookBaby - Cost eBook conversion and distribution $199. 
A Bit of History

In the old days of self-publishing a substantial amount of money was required to invest with a so-called "vanity" press.

By the late 90's this all changed with the arrival of POD (print-on-demand) allowing books to be printed one at a time. These companies offered low-cost self-publishing to all. Their costs were low because the only expense incurred was that of book creation. These companies (iUniverse, Xlibris and Author House) (were merged and became Author Solutions) authors would sell only a few dozen copies at best.

Developments Since 2007

With the rise of eBooks traditional publishing has been transformed. US book sales comprise of 30-35% of eBook sales. Online retailers sell 60% of US book sales (both print and digital), principally through Amazon. You can sell your eBook to the world without a third party helping you.

If you're publishing and selling your eBook yourself POD publishers are no longer relevant to your self-publishing success.

In today's online retail distribution you get the same retail distribution as you would with a traditional publishing house. Through the above mentioned services. Most of which is free. With every copy sold the retailer takes a cut, the same applies to a distributor, they take their cut to.

Ask yourself these three questions before you publish:
  1. How will you reach your readers online? 
  2. Is your book illustrated? 
  3. Is colour required? 
There may be significant challenges when you create and distribute through various channels.

What do your readers prefer, digital or print?

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit your half-way to succeeding online. If you already have a platform as an established blogger it will stand you in good stead in the long run. Don't expect immediate sales, instead sales snowballing gradually over time.

Understanding E-Publishing Services

The most important thing to understand about e-publishing retailers is that they're not publishers. They take no responsibility for your work quality, or any rights to your work. Here are three aspects of major services:

1 No technical expertise required - You're given free automated tools to convert and upload your files. Along with free tutorials and guides to make sure your files are formatted properly.

2 Non-exclusive and at-will - You have the option to edit or remove your files at any time. Allowing you to change the cover, price and description. You can use other services to sell through on your own website.

3 No upfront fee - It's rare to pay an upfront fee. With a distributor such a BookBaby you earn 100% net and pay $199 for conversion and retail distribution.

Again by using these services you don't forfeit any rights to your work.

The Two Essential Groups of E-Publishing Services
Most e-publishing services fall into one of these categories:

Single Channel Distribution - These services which are also distributors will distribute your work through one channel or device. Offering no assistance in preparing your files, accepting a wide range of file types. Some examples: KDP and Nook Press.

Multiple Channel Distribution - These services act as a middleman and push your work out to multiple distributors and retailers. You deal with only one service, most well-known of these are Draft2Digital, Pronoun, BookBaby and Smaswords.

Great Reasons Why You Should Have an Author Platform

Not every writer likes the idea of a personal brand, that's understandable. Especially if you don't like talking about yourself or your achievements.

Branding doesn't have to be daunting or scary. After all you're showcasing your own stories and expertise, and building trust with your audience.

Strengthening your author brand is a key element to your success in today's marketplace. Once you've built it, it's yours and no one can take that away from you.

Why You Need to Invest in Your Brand

You can see the contrast between time spent building a brand, and an author that hasn't bothered to invest in the necessary resources for developing their own personal online presence.  Think of it like this, your brand is like your business card, and along with your book(s), your brand helps to build your credibility and open doors to future projects.  If you're in it for the long haul, you need to commit to a branding strategy as soon as your first book is published.

Standing Out From the Crowd is Pivotal

You need to spend time and energy on your brand, in order for you to "stand from the crowd", finding a niche for yourself. Separating yourself and helping you to stand out making you different from any other author out there.  You are your biggest competition. You won't need to worry about your rivals, you can use that energy to build your brand instead.  You have total control over your branding, so you don't need to be worried about how you'll be perceived in the market.

Ask yourself is your brand compatible and true to you?

You Can Take Charge of Your Own Branding with Social Media

In the current digital age you can take charge of your branding though social media, using a myriad of tools. Proactively maintaining, building and protecting your own brand name in the public eye by credibly investing the time.  If you can spend the time you have the opportunity to build a following. Focusing your effort with a plan and assigned time you can become an expert in your industry.

Gain some inspiration by setting yourself some goals (solving problems, making your family proud).

Branding Demonstrates Your Market Value

Building and investing time in your brand gives you the opportunity to gain more clout with online reviews, publishing and writing other books and building your business.  Both your book and brand can be the portal to other entrepreneurial pursuits including revenue streams, services and book.  Take advantage of your brand and discover how you can broaden your horizons. Help your audience understand who you are through your brand so they can make an informed buying decision.

Along with your following you'll discover an audience interested in what you have to say, and in buying from you. Enhancing your brand for publishers and agents.

Is it worth it?

All of the effort, time and money spent will be well worth it. No one can take that away from you. You'll gain trust and new relationship's through your brand. Done properly, you'll gain as much out of it as you put into it.

Pricing Your eBook

If you're a fairly new author like me, pricing your eBook can be a challenge.

To be honest with you it's difficult to know what to charge, whether you should go cheaper or more expensive, there are many thoughts on both sides on pricing your eBook. Especially when you've spent all of that time and effort creating your eBook. So here are some important points to ponder when you price your eBook:

Most new eBook authors and independent novelists start their price point at $2.99. It's often argued as being really cheap and devaluing to the work put in. So your competition will most likely be around that price range or lower. So the more well-known and trusted you are the higher price you can charge.

Amazon Kindle book sales are huge these days, accounting for at least 60-70% of all eBook sales in the US. Having an Amazon author page is helpful for sales because this may be the only page your reader will look at before buying your book. If you have reviews they also help towards the sale of your eBook, watched closely by all those in the business for visibility and sales.

If you charge $2.99 or over Amazon offer you a 70% commission on all sales of your eBooks. Anything below that and the commission falls to a measly 35%. Which is why so many authors switch their price between 99 cents and $2.99. This helps maximise profit at the low price point. Pushing them onto bestsellers lists.

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