The Basics of DIY E-Book Publishing


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Writer's Digest May/June 2011

In the latest issue of Writer’s Digest to hit the newsstands (May/June 2012), you’ll find my feature article on “The Basics of DIY E-Book Publishing.”

Here’s a brief excerpt where I discuss what you need to consider before you e-publish:

Even though e-books are skyrocketing in adoption, ask these questions before you begin:

• Do your readers prefer print or digital?

• If you don’t know what your readers prefer, is it common for authors in your genre to release e-books only? Do e-publishers exist in your genre?

• Is your book highly illustrated? Does it require color? If so, you may want to avoid e-publishing since such works pose significant challenges for an independent author.

• Do you know how to reach your readers online? People who buy e-books will probably find out about your work online.

An author who is primed to succeed at digital publishing has an entrepreneurial spirit and is comfortable being online. Ideally, you should already have an online presence and an established website. You also need to be in it for the long haul; sales usually snowball over time, rather than occurring within the first months of release.

The article discusses:

  • How e-publishing services work
  • The two key categories of e-publishing services
  • The basics of converting and formatting your work, the major formats you need to know, and the tools for converting/formatting
  • Considerations for designing an e-book cover
  • How to maximize your sales
  • What to do about traditionally published work
  • Agents who offer e-publishing services
  • Resources for remaining up-to-date on the industry

You can get the issue at major newsstands, or by purchasing the PDF online from the Writer’s Digest Shop.

If you’d like to read my past (free) articles on this topic: