Publish an Ebook

If you are making a print book, it’s relatively easy to make an ebook. Ebooks offer an additional sales avenue to readers, and allow a great deal of flexibility in terms of pricing and distribution. They are a great tool to use in marketing, and can offer opportunities beyond the print book, so don’t skip this important step.

Some authors choose just to get an ebook done. That’s a viable option, but it’s not much of a shortcut. You still have to put the work into editing and cover design, because that’s still how you’re going to sell your book.

Some authors confuse PDFs with ebooks, but though both can be viewed on computer screens, tablets and mobile devices, they are very different. A PDF is a static document that cannot be changed, and it is not considered a true ebook. A true ebook is a coded file that can be read in multiple formats, offers options such as text size and color, has reflowable text and a live table of contents.

You can create an ebook from a Word or InDesign file, but it’s helpful to understand the basics. Beware of programs that promise to convert with a push of a button. In this case, it’s best (and usually relatively inexpensive) to work with someone who understands the HTML coding that will make your ebook look good and work well. Like print books, you want to produce a professional product.

There are two basic types of ebook files. Amazon Kindle uses proprietary software and requires a .mobi file; Most other sites, including Barnes and Noble Nook, use an .epub file.

You can sell your ebook online through many different avenues. Kindle Direct Publishing and Barnes and Noble Nook Publishing are author friendly sites. For both, you’ll create and account, upload a cover image, fill in data about your book, and submit your book file.

You can also sell ebooks from your own website, or through Smashwords, which is a large distributor of ebooks.

Ebook royalties run between 35 and 65 percent, depending on the price. For Kindle and Nook, pricing your ebook between 2.99 and 9.99 yields the highest royalty. Some sales programs allow you to discount your book or offer it for free during limited periods, and its worth exploring these marketing options once your book is available.