Despite the fact that you’ve been told ebooks are simple and inexpensive to produce, you may still be scratching your head and wondering how to produce and publish one after you’ve written it. And the fact that an ebook is digital may cause you some concern if you’re a technophobe (which many writers are). Kristen Eckstein, The Ultimate Book Coach, today explains the steps to publishing an ebook—and only one looks any different from producing a pbook! NA
Congratulations, your book is written! It takes a lot of dedication and work to get to this point, and your fun author journey is not over. In fact, it’s just beginning! What do you do once you pen the final word of your manuscript? When your last brilliant thought (for this book, anyway) is finally set free to live its life and spread your legacy to readers everywhere?
The first thing to realize is, your legacy isn’t ready to be spread—yet. Every professional writer, and smart aspiring authors, knows a book is not ready for the general public until several more blocks have been laid in the publishing foundation.
Step 1: Edit
You’ve read it before so I won’t go into detail here, but at the very least get one other set of eyeballs to read your work. Traditional publishers use four different editors on every single book they publish, so if you want to reach readers who have been trained to read quality material, you need to invest in a professional editor.
Step 2: Cover Design
The key to catching a prospective buyer’s eye—especially in an Amazon search—is a professional cover. Most authors have no business designing their own covers, yet do so anyway and wonder why they can’t sell any copies past their immediate family and friends. One major factor in lack of sales is poor cover design. (Read Dan Poynter’s study of how cover design directly impacting sales.) The keys to a quality cover design that sells are a catchy, easily read title, imagery that enhances what the eBook is about (not a stock photo that has nothing to do with the contents) and a professional layout. Combine those elements, and you’ll have a winning cover design every time.
Step 3: Programming
After you have the final cover design nailed down and posted on Facebook (Don’t deny it, I know you’re itching to do that!) comes the most difficult part of the eBook creation process: programming. Ebooks are nothing but a zipped file full of XHTML and HTML code. Unfortunately, most of the “meatgrinder” instant Kindle book systems on the market insert junk code that messes up the formatting of the book. One of the worst reputations you can get as a published author is a book that’s unreadable.
Customers are happy to offer a negative review, and no matter how good your content or writing is, they’ll still give it a low-star rating if it contains formatting errors. Some common errors include paragraphs running together, spacing in the middle of words, words attached to previous or following words, even entire chapters centered, bolded and italicized.
Too many authors get so excited about the Kindle Craze they jump on the Kindle bandwagon without paying attention to this one crucial detail. Want to protect your online reputation from going downhill fast? Do yourself a favor and find a quality eBook programmer to clean up those messy XHTML files and hand you a clean EPUB or MOBI file.
Step 4: Reviews
Good reviews make or break eBook sales. You can gift your eBook in a secure PDF (secure means protection against copying, pasting and changing the file) to friends, relatives and colleagues before your cover is finished. You can also choose to purchase gift copies of your eBook on Amazon after it’s available for Kindle. Either way, make sure you’re sending out copies of your book to credible reviewers.
Step 5: Launch! And Promote. And Promote Some More.
Let me tell you a dirty little publishing industry secret. Depending on what categories you list your Kindle book in, you can make it to the #1 Best Sellers slot with as few as 17 eBook sales in one day. You read that right! Using a Best Seller Launch strategy works for many authors to continue best seller status and watch more sales come through.
Simply choose a date after your eBook is available on Kindle and ask all your friends, family, colleagues, and Facebook friends to promote your eBook on that day. This is word-of-mouth marketing at its best. If your eBook is a good quality read, has a great cover and contains minimal (if any) formatting errors, all those initial sales will boost positive reviews that will help your book rank higher in overall sales.
Note that promotion should not stop after your initial launch. If you choose to distribute your book through Kindle Select, you have advanced marketing strategies at your disposal such as free offer days. Do everything you can to promote your new eBook, and when you write your next one you’ll already have a fan base in place to purchase it. Each eBook stretches your influence farther, allowing you to reach more people with your legacy. Now get started!
About the Author
Kristen Eckstein, the Ultimate Book Coach, is a sought-after independent publishing expert, two time best-selling author and award-winning international speaker. Her reputation is to create books that bring you business through Ghost Publishing, a term she coined to define her exclusive done-for-you independent publishing program, “I am Published!” She has been in the publishing industry since 2003, run a traditional publishing company, vanity publishing house, and started her own independent publishing house with a traditional arm. To date she has started over 44 publishing companies and published over 122 books and eBooks, 13 of those her own.