There’s a ton of material online about how to publish an ebook and I’ve been rummaging through it for ages. Some of it’s quite confusing but if I can understand it, anyone can. I’ll publish my first ebook (a fairy tale) soon and that, I’m sure, will be my best learning experience.
Meanwhile, I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned so far and try to get across my main point, which is that everyone should be doing this. I’d also love to talk to anyone who wants to do do an ebook and needs a friendly voice to talk them through the options (something I would have really valued over the last year). What I don’t discuss is the tricky subject of how to write a book but this article looks at writer’s block, the main reason for not doing it.
Five reasons to publish an ebook
- It’s easy: If you can’t get publishers to give you the time of day (I know the feeling) this is an easy way to get your books out there. All you need is a manuscript, a blurb and a cover. Apart from publicity, the one tricky phase is typesetting but this is getting easier and a new e-book distributor – draft2digital.com — have a programme which makes it easy for anyone to do it. Kindle have also introduced a new programme for typesetting your own book.
- You’ve got nothing to lose: I have an inner voice telling me that my next book will fail. It’s held me back for years but when I accepted that I’m not going to get rich and famous, I was able to tackle the ebook challenge and now I’m about to publish my first one, and that will be followed by many more. Even if nobody buys a copy I can list it on my CV and this blog. If you’re not convinced, think about this question: would you rather your manuscript (or academic paper) sits on a shelf for the rest of your life or gets published?
- They’re great for families, students and organisations: there are some great stories in my family and I’m sure there are in yours too. Why don’t we write them down? I suspect it’s because our celebrity culture tells us it must be a bestseller or it’s a nothing. I’ve come to realise that, for family books, my family is my audience. As for organisations, why not turn your specialist reports into ebooks? And students — just organise your essays into themes, whack them into order and Bob’s your uncle (I wish I’d done that rather than chucking them all out).
- You can go global: the most exciting thing about ebooks is that you can get instant global distribution. People in Peking, Penang and Pennsylvania can download your ebook. Smashword is particularly useful for having signed up e-book distributors in other countries, like Flipkart in India. Rather than bitch and moan about Amazon’s attempted take over of world markets, why not take advantage and jump on the bandwagon? In fact, you can be like me and do both.
- You can actually earn money: the secret to selling ebooks has little to do with social networks (non-celebrity authors confirm that their online ‘friends’ don’t buy their books and it makes sense as they’re not real friends after all). It’s all about niche and categories within the actual platform (e.g. Amazon). If you publish a novel or a poetry book you’re competing against millions of others and it may vanish without trace. But if you publish an ebook about fishing on the River Ythan you might find that you’re one of a select few who have an e-book on that issue (actually there are probably loads as the Ythan is a great Scottish salmon river and fishing is a subject that seems to generate millions of words).
If you’re wondering about publishing your tome in ebook form and would like some friendly advice just get in touch with me at wolfemurray [at] gmail.com or call me on 0747 138 1973 (a UK number). I’m keen to write books for other people as well as from my rich imagination..
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This was really informative. Thank you.
This tempts me to make an Ebook. However, would this mean that the material you publish cannot be published elsewhere?
Not at all. It’s perfectly fine to publish first on a blog and then in a book. Some people post their chapters online and then publish it all as a book. I wrote a series of long articles from Nepal last year and plan to publish them all as an ebook.
In fact, texts have always been published in various formats and markets; think of paperbacks, hardbacks, serialisation (when a magazine publishes a series of extracts), and foreign rights (i.e. in other countries).
The only rule here is that you mention where it was first published, and don’t pretend it’s new content.