How to Publish an Ebook: Resources for Authors

E-Book Publishing 101

About the only thing that remains constant in ebook 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) learning to publish an ebook, (2) finding the right e-publishing services, and (3) staying on top of changes in the industry.

Excellent Book-Length Guides

Getting Started & Principles

Producing a Solid Product

Sales, Marketing, and Promotion

Getting Reviews

Tools for Creating & Formatting Ebooks

  • Scrivener: this writing software is not free, but it can export EPUB files
  • Calibre: free formatting and conversion software for ebooks
  • StreetLib: free web-based tool that can also handle distribution and sales if you want
  • Jutoh: free software for creating ebooks, paid version available with more functionality
  • PressBooks: free formatting tool (up until a point), WordPress-based
  • Apple Pages (can export EPUB files)
  • Vellum: easy-to-use software for Mac users only to produce EPUB files
  • Here’s a list of educational resources and tools if you want to learn about ebook formatting and development.

Tools for Creating Enhanced, Multimedia, or Full-Color Ebooks

Major Ebook Retailers

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

  • Amazon. Sells 60-80% of all ebooks, more for some authors and titles.
  • Apple iBookstore. Widely considered the No. 2 ebook retailer in U.S.
  • Barnes & Noble Nook Press. Considered No. 3 ebook retailer in U.S.
  • Kobo. Gaining ground, international presence. Important for the Canadian market.

Major Ebook 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. The largest ebook distributor of self-published titles that’s been around the longest and has the widest reach.
  • Draft2Digital. Similar to Smashwords, but smaller and more customer-service focused
  • Pronoun. An ebook distributor that reaches the key players: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Apple, and Google. They also offer data-based marketing insights and a variety of tools to help you better sell. You pay nothing upfront yet still earn 100% of net sales.
  • BookBaby. You pay for a publishing package upfront (which includes ebook formatting), then you receive 100% of net sales.

To Find Freelance Help

Usually a referral is best; ask successful authors in your genre who they recommend. Otherwise, here are a few options:

Authors Who Blog About Ebook Publishing

News & Trends About Ebook Publishing

Posted in E-Books and tagged , , , .
Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (2017).

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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121 Comments on "How to Publish an Ebook: Resources for Authors"

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How to Publish an Ebook: Resources for Authors ...

[…] A round-up of the best resources and tools for how to publish an ebook.  […]

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
Emma @ Your Doctor's Wife

Fantastic resource list! Thank you!

How to Publish an E-Book: Resources for Authors...

[…] A round-up of the best resources and tools for how to publish an ebook.  […]

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!

Chihuahua Zero

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


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
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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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
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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Wilson Williams Jr

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



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Alan Stransman

This post is encylopedic. Thanks, jane.

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. . .


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.


[…] How to Publish an E-Book: Resources for Authors […]


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

Salma iftikhar

I want my published book to be converted into an

[…] I have followed Jane Friedman since she was the editor of Writer’s Digest. She then went to teaching in Cincinnati and also for Writer’s Digest University as well as lecturing  out at writing seminars, starting her own blog in the process. A few years ago she was called up to the Virginia Quarterly Review though somehow she still writes for her website and teaches at Writer’s Digest webinars and conferences. Recently, she has compiled a Self-Publishing toolbox, of sorts, with everything a person could possibly hope for in one nifty package. This is basically a book itself, though she… Read more »

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

Jason Vowles

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

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!


You might want to add David Carnoy (Cnet) to your list of bloggers:


[…] A round-up of the best resources and tools for how to publish an ebook.  […]


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):

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… Read more »

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!


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: The graphic user interface is a lot like OpenOffice and Word, allowing great flexibility in design of your ebook.


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.
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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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