How to Publish an E-Book: Resources for Authors


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E-Book Publishing 101

About the only thing that remains constant in e-book publishing is that it changes—everything from the services to marketing strategies. Here, I’ve attempted to round-up all the good resources I know of related to (1) how to publish an e-book, (2) finding the right e-publishing services, and (3) staying on top of changes in the industry.

I update this list periodically, and welcome suggestions on new resources to include. (Last update: July 9, 2014)

Excellent Book-Length Guides

Getting Started & Principles

Sales, Marketing, and Promotion

Reviews & Review Sites

Creating & Formatting E-Books (Technical Stuff)

Tools for Creating Enhanced, Multimedia, or Full-Color E-Books

Major E-Book Retailers

Note: for reviews and insight into all of these retailers and more, read the reviews at The Independent Publishing Magazine by Mick Rooney

Major E-Book Distributors & Services

Note: for reviews and insight into all of these retailers and more, read the reviews at The Independent Publishing Magazine by Mick Rooney

  • Smashwords. Authors often use Amazon KDP, then add Smashwords to hit all the other retailers.
  • BookBaby. Similar to Smashwords, but they offer a variety of reasonably priced packages and services. If you pay for a premium package upfront, you’ll receive 100% of net sales. You can also use the service for free if you give BookBaby 15% of net sales, similar to Smashwords.
  • eBookPartnership. Compare with above two services and see which fits your needs best.
  • There are other major e-book distributors available if you work with your agent or have a minimum number of titles, such as Argo Navis and INscribe Digital.

Authors Who Blog About E-Book Publishing

News & Trends About E-Book Publishing

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How to Self-Publish Your E-Book
Get the 101 on platforms, principles, and trends

In this 90-minute online class, you'll learn:

•  What services are available to distribute your e-book, plus what you can expect from these services, and how they turn a profit
•  The technical skill required and how/when to use a professional to help you convert your work into different formats
•  3 essential factors that impact your e-book sales
•  How to appropriately price your work
•  Critical strategies for marketing and promoting your e-books

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  • http://twitter.com/hwrightwriter Heather Wright

    Excellent list of resources! Thanks, Jane.

  • Lisa Cohen

    Thanks for the nod! And a great roundup of resources.

  • Emma @ Your Doctor’s Wife

    Fantastic resource list! Thank you!

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  • http://twitter.com/MGisu82 Michael Greer

    Thanks! Your resources list saves me a bunch of time. I’m teaching an online grad course called Publishing Inside Out and was looking for just such a set of current links re ebooks and related content. Fabulous!

  • http://www.youngaspiringwriter.blogspot.com/ Chihuahua Zero

    I’m saving this resource list for future reference. Plus, I’m sharing it to my audience.

  • BookDesigner

    Uh! Quite resourceful. I will definitely take my time to evaluate each and see whats really suitable for me. Couldn’t have asked for more. Thanks, Jane.

  • Lee J Tyler

    As always, thanks to you, the tools are at hand. I put a link to this permalink under my resources page. Thanks for everything. So wish I could join the class, but I will send out word.

  • Marie at Rural Living Media

    Jane, this is an absolutely awesome collection of resources! We will be sharing this link and posting it to our indy author bulletin board. Thank you!!

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  • http://twitter.com/gentlehawk nabel skyblue

    Wow Jane, U r a life saver..As an upcoming author you just made my life easier.

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  • California Greek Girl

    Jane, this couldn’t happen at a better time…I greatly appreciate the time and effort you spent in developing this terrific piece…

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  • http://twitter.com/WilsonWJr74 Wilson Williams Jr

    Jane, I found this resource to be amazing and therefore shared it with the readers of my blog. Job well done!

    http://onceuponasketch.com/?p=4148

    -Wilson
    OnceUponASketch.com

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  • Alan Stransman

    This post is encylopedic. Thanks, jane.

  • Welkyn

    Excellent resource. I do have new wordpress blog for sharing my knowledge on ePublishing. Please take a look at it when you people find some time. http://welkynsolutions.wordpress.com

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  • Vaughn

    What a nice thing for you to do to help us newbies out! Thank you

  • VS Drakkan

    that’s an understatement. I only wish I had found this at the beginning of my journey, and not in the final stretch. . .

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  • Salma iftikhar

    I want my published book to be converted into an e.book

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  • http://lorrainemariereguly.wordpress.com/ Lorraine Marie Reguly

    I just found this post and love it. It was exactly what I needed. I would like to publish an ebook, and am trying to figure out if I will be selling it or giving it away for free on my blog…

    Hopefully I will be able to find some answers here!

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  • TheWallOfBooks

    Excellent post! Thank you! It’s very useful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003716632920 Jason Vowles

    Best collection of resources ever. Like 1am, hunting google and I find this. Wow. Perfect.

  • http://independent.academia.edu/McCormickIan Ian McCormick

    Great to find so many resources on one page. lots of good tips. In my view, it’s probaly best to use Kindle DP or Smashwords for ebooks
    and CreateSpace for print copy. Clearly it’s very expensive to publish
    if you pay for all the professional services. The compensation is that
    your royalty will be 20% to 85%, rather than 3%-12%. But remember that
    most specialist or self-published books sell fewer than 200 copies. None the less you should aim for quality and work hard!

  • GGinPA

    You might want to add David Carnoy (Cnet) to your list of bloggers: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-18438_7-20010547-82/how-to-self-publish-an-ebook/

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  • Alan.K

    This is a great list of resources! The only one i would add is this (you do have to give an email address, but that’s the world we live in): http://tidyurl.com/ebookmillionaire

  • A Patrick Andes

    Jane:

    Thanks so much for this awesome compendium! I have benefited greatly from other postings of yours as well. I do have one question, however. I absolutely MUST get an editor for my historical fiction novel but am also unemployed. I have heard from others about Movable Type Management/Rogue Pricing, which offers editing for a small take of the profits (which seems wholly fair to me) though I would be open to other similar entities. I don’t find much here in this list addressing editors and outfits such as MTM, unless I am overlooking something.

    My novel is around 260,000 words, literary, and also contains numerous ergodic passages as well as nearly a dozen full-color images. Putting this together by myself in a format that is adaptable to multi-channel distribution is obviously daunting, and while I definitely want to publish it as an ebook I need some of these more pseudo-publisher services. Any sources/recommendations?

    I would be most grateful for any advice you have.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.janefriedman.com/ Jane Friedman

    As far as I know, even outfits like Rogue Reader have a submissions/acceptance process; you can’t offer a profit share and expect to be assisted for free without them reviewing the work and deciding it’s something they want to invest time into. (However, if you can provide a link to a page that explains otherwise, I’d definitely like to see it.)

    If you don’t want to pay anything for editing, your best bet is to get involved in online writing communities where writers serve as each others beta readers. Wattpad, Authonomy, and BookCountry are some of the most active and popular communities.

    Good luck.

  • A Patrick Andes

    Thank you, Jane, for such a prompt reply. And, well, if that’s true about Rogue (as it seems it might be), then, with the kind of work I’ve written, that puts me back to Square One. My reasoning was taken from an article by a Writer’s Digest article I saw from June of this year by Brian Klems entitled “How Can the Average Writer Make Money Self-publishing Ebooks.” The link is:

    http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/how-can-the-average-writer-make-money-self-publishing-e-books

    He said this re: Rogue Reader/MTM:

    “• Rogue Pricing. Jason Allen Ashlock is president of Movable Type Management, a literary agency that launched the e-book assisted publishing imprint The Rogue Reader in October 2012.

    Rogue Reader authors might have the best of both worlds. They’re self-published, and yet MTM gives them the kind of editorial, promotional and managerial support an author might expect from a traditional publisher—for a cut of the profits, of course. (Rogue Reader authors receive from MTM a 70 percent cut of a retailer’s split, which Ashlock says typically works out to 50–60 percent of each book’s list price.)”

    The word “Rogue” in their name to me (along with “self-published” in the article excerpt quoted) implied a model outside traditional publishing, but I guess I did not parse all this correctly. The language in the excerpt states editorship FOR a cut of the profits, not “in addition to” an editing fee. Still, they are an agency. Under “Contact” on their website they have a link for sending “submissions” so you may be right. Also, at least for now, they seem to concentrate solely on crime/thriller fiction, so I’m out altogether. Thank you for the other suggestions and I can certainly look at those.

  • http://www.janefriedman.com/ Jane Friedman

    Indeed, it’s pretty confusing out there. Rogue Reader is a new model of publishing, what I generally call partnership publishing. You don’t pay to get published, nor do they pay you an advance. It’s a profit-share model, and they invest in things like editing, design, etc. But like a traditional publisher, you still have to get your work accepted, and their selectivity, from what I hear, is on the same level as trying to gain acceptance by an agent or Big Five house.

  • A Patrick Andes

    OK, thanks again, Jane. Maybe not what I wanted to hear, but certainly what I NEEDED to hear. I had overlooked the brief mention I saw of beta readers somewhere thinking I wouldn’t need it, but I guess I need to give that a more in-depth look.

  • Reg

    Hi Jane, I saw you a couple years ago at your e-publishing presentation in Portland, Oregon. I wonder if you could address the image issue in ebooks? I see Vook listed as a good option. I plan to publish a guide ebook to food and it requires many images, maps and icons. Will including many images be a drawback for distributing my guide on Amazon, etc? Can BookBaby handle heavy image use, or is Vook the best bet?

    Thanks so much for all your insights!

    R

  • http://www.janefriedman.com/ Jane Friedman

    Hi Reg,

    If you only have 1 ebook in the works (with heavy images in full color), I would recommend iBooks Author, assuming you’re a Mac user.

    If you don’t use Mac (or if distribution to non-Apple devices is important to you), then try Tablo.io. (As a final option: AerBook Maker.)

    Images do pose a challenge for distributing to non-Mac ebook reading devices, but you should be able to make some impact by using the Tablo.io platform.

  • Jon Moore

    In the
    Creating & Formatting E-Books (Technical Stuff), please add Jutoh, a WYSIWYG design/editing program that builds your ebook. You can try it out for free or buy one of two versions. The $39 version is fine unless you need to have complete control over the HTML an CSS coding. Can be found here: jutoh.com. The graphic user interface is a lot like OpenOffice and Word, allowing great flexibility in design of your ebook.

  • http://www.janefriedman.com/ Jane Friedman

    Thanks, will do.

  • martinluther25

    There are many writers write eBook but they have not idea about publishing eBook. The information related publishing eBook will help all authors who need detail about eBook publishing.

  • John Benny

    Great blog, this is very useful tips for Ebook publishing, actually motivating and very much convincing post! Thanks for sharing this commendable content.
    online magazine subscriptions

  • samrex

    Wonderful list, thank you! Bookmarked.

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  • Roger Waibel

    I’m developing my first eBook and I’m 95% there. I intend to give this away free, never make a dime from the eBook itself but use it for lead generation. Are there legal considerations, a disclaimer, or anything else I need to include in the text before I make it available?

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  • http://yasminselenabutt.wordpress.com/ Yasmin Selena Butt

    Even just skimming this I can see this is going to be an invaluable piece for newbies and experienced authors alike, Jane. Thanks for the time you’ve taken to compile this piece x

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  • Geoff Hughes

    Thank you Jane, for this great resource list. Very comprehensive.

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  • Lindsay Buroker

    Thanks for including me on your resource list, Jane. I liked your podcast interview with Joanna Penn. :)

  • http://www.janefriedman.com/ Jane Friedman

    Thank you!

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  • Denis Smith

    Great resources. Thanks. But why is it taking me forever to publish my ebook? Is it only me?

  • Gee

    I am just in the process of getting my book editing, and now thinking about my next steps in terms of publishing! Awesome list to kick start my research :)

  • Martin Crosbie

    Thanks for including my guidebook and website, Jane. That was very nice of you.

  • http://www.janefriedman.com/ Jane Friedman

    Very happy to—I’m only sorry it took me so long to become aware of your excellent resources! :)