Self-publishing an eBook may seem like a daunting task to authors, who would just prefer to focus on their writing. However, it is not as difficult as you might think. The self-publishing route has many advantages, and at some point in your writing career, you would definitely consider self-publishing an eBook. The following guide provides you with 10 steps to self-publishing your first eBook.
1. Build Your Platform
With self-published eBooks, you don’t have a publisher and/or editor to critique and improve your eBook. Also, you don’t get the promotional and marketing backing of publishers. So, this is the time for you to build a reader base who will be prepared to purchase a copy of your eBook when you publish it, and perhaps initially be the beta-readers for your eBook.
One of the best ways to do this is through starting a good blog. Websites, social media and writers groups are also effective ways of increasing your visibility as an author, and getting some valuable feedback on your eBook before you release it into the world. Before you have finished your eBook, or maybe before you even start your eBook, it might be a good idea to start a blog or a website, and steadily build an audience through your interesting and regular posts.
2. Complete Your eBook
Now that you know a few people are interested and waiting to read your eBook, go ahead and complete it! Use your blog audience as a sounding board for some plot ideas or story elements you want to use in your eBook. Send a few chapters to some trusted friends for their critical feedback. Use these inputs to improve the eBook as far as possible.
3. Editing, Proofing
With the best of intentions, your friends may not be as effective in critiquing your book as an experienced professional editor who is obsessively looking for errors. It is important at this stage to hire a good editor for proofreading and also substantive editing if required. So, if anything in your storyline, plot, dialogue or flow seems off, the editor can spot it and correct it, or point it out to you. A well-edited and carefully proofread eBook is essential, so that readers don’t think that your eBook looks self-published!
4. Cover Design
An often underestimated element of the self-publishing process- a good cover is very important to attract readers to your eBook, among the thousands of other books in that category. As it happens, most people do judge a eBook by its cover in these busy times. So, invest in a good cover designer, or if you are on a tight budget, try one of the pre-made cover options available through many design sites. The cover should fit with the theme and story of your eBook, and seem intriguing. It should also look good in a thumbnail size format for viewing in the e-bookstores.
5. Decide on Self-Publishing Platform(s)
At this point, the bulk of the work is behind you. Now, it’s time to choose where you would like to sell your eBook. There are many self-publishing platforms and e-book distribution channels available these days. You can’t go wrong with the leading ones like Amazon KDP, Smashwords, among others. However, do your research, and decide on which one(s) would work well for you. Consider factors like royalty rates, payment schedules, exclusivity vs. multi-channel sales, audience reach, eBook or print-on-demand or both, etc. in making your decision.
6. Final Formatting
Depending on which self-publishing platform you choose, your manuscript (likely as a .doc file) will need to be formatted as per the site’s guidelines, to ensure that the conversion to eBook format does not result in any weird formatting issues. Most of these platforms have simple-to-follow user guides that can make this formatting step easy. It should typically take you just a few hours to complete this. However, it is highly recommended that you take a look at this point earlier in the writing stage, so that while you are writing/editing your eBook, you can incorporate the formatting guidelines too.
7. Assemble All the ‘Metadata’
After your eBook is formatted, polished and ready to hit the bookshelves, there is one more step that is required. Register yourself and create an account at the self-publishing platform(s) of your choice, and gather all the metadata for your book. ‘Metadata’ is the information that identifies your eBook, such as ISBN, author details, copyright information, blurb, author bio, short description, etc. All these details will have to be entered in the self-publishing site, before you can upload your eBook.
8. Upload the eBook
Now you can upload your eBook on the self-publishing site, by following the site instructions. This is a simple step at most of the leading eBook sites. After your eBook is uploaded, it will be converted into the eBook version suitable for that site, or into several versions for different retailers, depending on your selection. This process may take a few hours. Once the conversion is complete, you can preview your eBook, and make sure that the formatting is okay, and do one last proofing if required. Once you are satisfied, go ahead and set a price, and availability across different regions, and any other information required by different platforms. And that’s it! Your eBook is now published- although it might take 24-48 hours before it is seen on the bookshelves by readers.
9. Marketing and Promotion
Now you need to email your readers (through your blog or website) that your eBook is launched or being launched on a certain date. Include a sneak preview of the eBook, with the cover image, on your blog, website, social media sites and any other channels you prefer. Getting the initial set of favorable reviews and sale numbers is very important for your eBook. So don’t hesitate to call, email, or hunt down all family, friends, neighbors and distant relatives, and let them know your eBook is ready to be read and reviewed by them. Readers are more likely to pick up a eBook by a new author if there are a lot of good reviews and initial sales.
10. Track Sales, Collect Feedback, and Make Any Improvements Needed
After the eBook is released, you should monitor the sales performance of your eBook through the self-publishing platforms’ tracking tools. This is important so that you can experiment with prices, free promotions, and other tools to try and boost your sales. The initial momentum is key to maintaining good sales, as your book will climb up the best-selling charts using both reviews and initial sale numbers. Once it is up on the charts, it is guaranteed good visibility to readers, which will hopefully translate to more copies being sold.
Image credit: yoppy on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CS_Rajan.jpg [/author_image] [author_info]CS Rajan is a freelance writer who loves to write on various topics, and is currently working on her first novel. [/author_info] [/author]