Smile. You can publish your own eBook — here’s how.
When it comes to writing, the Internet is a double edged sword. On one hand, anyone who wants to can publish their work if they have the right blogging tools. This means there is close to zero criteria for new writing thrust into the world, and infinite opportunities for people to express and share thoughts in a creative way.
The other edge is that with infinite opportunities comes the infinite likelihood that every other average Joe will think they have important things to say, making it difficult to find the gems amidst a sea of humdrum bloggers. It also means, for writers, it is more difficult to be taken seriously and monetize prose.
Filtering through the noise online can be hard, and traditional publication as an alternative is especially difficult. This is where the extremely viable option of eBook publication comes into play.
Why self-publish an eBook?
eBooks are constantly growing in popularity as an extremely portable and convenient way to read content, whether for pleasure, research, work, or education. Studies by Pew Internet Libraries in 2012 showed that one out of five American adults had read an eBook in the past year, with numbers increasing rapidly, especially in gift-giving seasons.
These studies show that the readership is there, already, and the platform is used in high frequency. When you take this into account alongside the fact that self-publication is easier and cheaper than print publication, you may just have your answer.
How to do it? Here are some simplified steps to eBook publication:
1. The first step is to write the book. Perhaps you have a collection of essays already, or a manuscript you thought might never see the light of day. You don’t want to publish just anything, so make sure it’s something you care about, and that you have a unique product or perspective to offer to potential readers.
2. Editing and formatting. It’s in your best interest to get as much help as you can in this area – making sure your content is error-free and properly formatted will be crucial to your success. You can either do it yourself, with the help of friends or colleagues, or hire professionals to make sure it’s right.
3. Preview & Publish. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has an “Ultimate Guide” to ebook publishing – they state that after you’ve previewed your finished book, you should set up accounts with publishers. You’ll need your banking information, your manuscript, a unique ISBN number, a book description, and cover image in JPEG format.
4. Lastly, you should promote your book to make money off of it.
TheExecutivesGuild.org provides a couple useful tips for promotion after your eBook is published, such as establishing social media presence for your writing, providing free giveaway options to family and friends, and getting your work reviewed by a professional author or blogger for publicity.
In the end, you’ll at least have the satisfaction of having a published book to call your own. At most, you’ll be earning enough to quit your day job, and buy a limousine — well, maybe not the limousine — but then again, you’ll never know until you try.
Originally published on 10/3/2013. Ebook cover photos courtesy of Aitor Calera (Left) via Flickr and Jean Guillaume Le Roux (Right) via Wikimedia, modified by Curiousmatic.