The Basics of DIY E-Book Publishing

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:

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Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. From 2001–2010 she worked at Writer's Digest, where she ultimately became publisher; more recently, she was an editor at the Virginia Quarterly Review, where she led digital strategy. Jane currently teaches writing and publishing at the University of Virginia and is a columnist for Publishers Weekly. The Great Courses just 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.
Posted in E-Books.


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