Friday, December 21, 2018

11 Steps to Self-Publish an eBook

Blog post updated 11/08/2019.

Finding the time to write a book, can be really difficult, and the ongoing task of building relationships with other bloggers, writing guest posts, responding to every comment that comes your way, can be quite a handful. So even thinking about writing a book can seem pretty insane. In your mind you you know how beneficial your book would be to you and your business.

Before you think about writing your book here are 6 great reasons why you should self-publish your own book:

1. You Can Follow Your Own Program

Sending in letters to agents and discovering you're not what they're looking for, can be really disheartening.  But this is only the beginning of the process, it can be as long two or three years before your manuscript may ever be accepted.  This isn't even a guarantee to any kind of a book deal.

It took J.K. Rowling 12 tries before she got taken seriously by a publisher.  With Kindle Direct Publishing and other self-publishing platforms, you get published straight away, and you can see your work in print within a matter of days.

2. You Have Complete Control of Your Work

Being signed up to a publishing house means signing away the rights to your book, along with many changes you may not want to your manuscript.  When you take on the job of editing the book yourself, or passing it to a professional editor you have full control, and a better idea of the outcome of your manuscript.  You also have the choice to choose your own book cover, title and price, and where its distributed.

3. Higher Paid Royalties

If you're with a publishing house, 85% of your royalties are taken, then your agent gets a cut of 15%, and that's before you get your share.

Even if you sold a million copies of your book, you'd still only receive about $40,000, not that much when you could be getting a cool 60% of the royalties.

4. The Time to Self-Publish is Now

Did you know that one in every three books sold on Amazon is self-published?  With such a huge platform as Amazon your books have a better chance of making you some real money. 

If you've written a really good book, there's no reason why it won't take off. 

5. Marketing is in Your Own Hands

You don't need a publishing house to market your book.  In the age of social media, the world's your oyster, and social media is your billboard.

6. All You Need is a Little Self-Belief

If you're really serious about becoming an author just do it.

The Meat and Potatoes of it All

At the end of the day you need to sit down and think about how you're going to write, edit and market your book.  Sounds a bit daunting, but with the right help, it can be done.

So how do you do it?

Follow this 11-step guide to write and self-publish your Ebook:

Step One - The Idea

Without an idea your book is dead in the water, your first step is to start making notes about ideas you may already have, and start writing them down.

Pick a Topic

Research is your friend, so take the time to read as many books, magazines, and articles on your chosen subject. The Internet has a wealth of information for you to tap into. If you're already passionate about something even better.

Writing Preparation

Buy a notebook, something you can carry around with you while you're out and about. Ideas can come at some pretty weird times during the day, having a notebook on-hand is a life saver.

Start writing an outline, this will put your thoughts in order. It may be helpful to jot down your chapter headings, you can always rearrange them in the correct order later on.

Keep all distractions to a minimum, mobile phones, Ipad's etc things with social media that will pull you away from your task and will cost you time. Switch them off. You'll be amazed what a couple of hours without distraction can do for your writing.

Once you start typing out your book, remember to create a new file, and save as you go along, this will save you any frustration if you do end up losing your work. 

Step Two - Notify Your Readers

Tell your followers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and on your blog that your writing an eBook. Inform them of when you'll have it finished. Send your readers a newsletter when you anticipate your publishing date to be, this will help build a sense of excitement about the upcoming release, and get a buzz going.

Step Three - The Writing Part

Write from your target audiences perspective, this will help people to connect with you on deeper level. Make writing a good habit, use and develop it. This is your opportunity to pass your own insight into the things you're most excited about.

Every writer's worst nightmare is writer's block, this often happens when your writing, and you haven't a single idea about what it is you're writing about. Try writing it in bite sized chunks.

Write in draft form, keep it simple, don't format your document until the end, when your book is close to completion. Editing can be left until last, your main aim is to have a draft copy of your book, you'll have plenty of time later to make it pretty later.

Save your document throughout  its creation, and make an extra copy to put on a memory stick. This will pay off in the end, and will ensure you don't lose the manuscript you've created.

Pick a good date to finish it by and mark it on your calendar. This should all coincide with your newsletter.

Step Four - Edit and Name Your Book

At this point a small celebration is in order, you've written your draft, done your research and the end is in sight.

This is where proofreading comes in, read it over and over in your head, and out loud to make sure its sounds clear and puts your point across.  If you feel you might miss anything, you could try printing it out on paper, and running over it the old fashioned way.

Check your grammar and spelling, don't leave it up to the spellchecker. Make it your best work but also bare in mind it'll never be perfect. You have a date in your diary to keep, so stick to it and get it done.

The Perfect Title

Wait until the end to pick a title, this allows you to see the whole book in its entirety. Your book may have taken a different pathway to what you imagined. Had you chosen a title at the beginning it may no longer fit with what you've written now.

Step Five - Formatting Your Book

There are plenty of word processing programmes to use.  Your book will be read on a variety of devices including, mobile phones, Nooks, PCs, Kindles, laptops and tablets. The page and font size will vary to the original document so keep it simple and clean.

Step Six - Preparation

Don't use:

  • Page numbers (some devices allocate page numbers based on the preference of the owner, eBook files don't have a universal page number).
  • Advertising and promotion - Don't promote other competitors if your publishing with other websites. Use your website/blog, Facebook to promote yourself .
  • Headers and footers.
  • Background images and colour's along with borders aren't recommended. Text will look feint on a grey scale e reading device .
  • Drop caps at the beginning of each chapter.
  • Different colour text.
  • Multi columns, stick to a single column layout .
  • Text boxes - If a large font size is being used, the text box may run onto the next page.

Your page size is irrelevant - letter or A4 is fine. Use standard settings for your margins.

Step Seven - Formatting Your Manuscript

Don't use:

  • Multiple spaces or tabs.
  • Double paragraph breaks.
  • Separate sections and sub-sections with a central break.
  • Separate chapters with a page break, don't use multiple returns to move to the next page.
  • Fancy styling, with fonts and text.
  • Choose Arial, Georgia and Times New Roman for the main body of text.
  • 10, 11 or 12 pt is great for the main body of text.
  • Use block text.
  • Use single line spacing.
  • Use bold, italics and ALL CAPS to make things stand out.

Step Eight - Add Images and Front and Back Matter

Images can be used but take into account the following:

  • Some e-readers don't display colour, but only display grey scale.
  • Insert images into your manuscript as separate files (GIF, TIFF, PDF, PNG and JPG) are all fine to use.
  • Don't float images left or right of text. Keep them in their own line instead.

Your Book Cover

You can pay someone else to create one for you or you can create your own, this is all down to money. Keep it simple, I can't stress this enough. Amazon provide an e-book cover maker for you. With this you can create your own without the harassment of looking for free images online.

Further down the line you can always pay for someone else to do it for you, when you've got some money in your pocket, and your book is selling.

About the Author and Author's Note

This gives you the opportunity to write about yourself and promote yourself in the process.

Step Nine - Add Links

Providing the Internet connection is on these links will work automatically on an e reader device, so make sure your website and social networks get a mention.

Use hyperlinking and bookmarking to link your content page to each chapter.

Step Ten - Pricing Your eBook

There are various schools of thought on how much you should charge your audience for buying your e-book. Many authors go down the cheap route of $0.99.

If you start selling at $2.99 you get 70% royalties, and will show your audience that you mean business. Plenty of authors sell there e-books for more than this because it shows they have a well-written e-book.

Step Eleven - Distribution and Marketing Your Ebook

I recommend selling through the main contendor's online which are Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, and Kobo.

Create a page with your books on it, or connect to your Amazon author page, to let your readers know what you've written.

Tell the world! Send emails, tweet about it, ask for retweets, tell your friends. Try writing a press release.

Let me know if this article has been helpful, or if you have any questions.
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