Cheat Sheet

Publishing E-Books For Dummies

Writing an e-book is a huge achievement — and one that you deserve to be proud of — but it’s only the first step. You also need to publish your e-book, to convert it from a manuscript on your computer to an attractively laid-out e-book file that’s easy and enjoyable to read. And after you publish your e-book, you need to market it — after all, if no one knows that your e-book exists, no one can buy it.

Marketing Your E-Book

Though some authors shy away from the task of marketing, many eventually consider it an enjoyable and rewarding part of being a writer. You can promote your e-book in many ways:

  • Craft a powerful sales page. Create a sales page on your own website — a popular technique for niche nonfiction e-books. If you sell your e-book via Amazon and other online stores, your e-book will have, within each store, a sales page that's designed to sell your e-book. Include a blurb that hooks readers, briefly highlight your credentials, and provide excerpts from good reviews.

  • Reach out to book bloggers. Many enthusiastic readers run blogs where they review books — often including e-books and works of independent authors (rather than authors promoted by large publishing chains). Sending review copies of your e-book to suitable book bloggers can build lots of online buzz.

  • Build an audience on your blog or e-mail list (or both). Creating your own blog or e-mail list gives you full control over the material you publish. You can produce any type of material, from short pieces of text to podcasts, videos, or free e-books. By encouraging readers to subscribe to your blog or e-mail list, you can easily reach them whenever you have information to share.

  • Use Twitter and Facebook to engage with readers and fellow writers. Social sites such as Twitter and Facebook are useful ways to network with other writers and to engage in casual conversations with readers. As you build a following on these sites, you can direct those people to your e-book — and to your blog or e-mail list.

  • Use Goodreads and Shelfari to promote your e-book among interested readers. Whereas Twitter and Facebook are both large, well-known sites, Goodreads is designed specifically for readers. You can start a reader account at any time and then upgrade to an author account when it's time (or nearly time) to publish your e-book. Goodreads gives you lots of tools, such as groups and giveaways, to help promote your e-book.

    Shelfari, which is similar to Goodreads and run by Amazon, integrates with the Amazon.com site to add extra information about your e-book for Kindle readers.

Online Tools for Publishing Your E-Book

Plenty of sites have tools to help you become a self-publishing author. Here are some sites that you may want to use during the e-book publishing process:

  • BookBaby: One of many sites that provide services for self-publishing authors, BookBaby converts your manuscript to the appropriate formats and distributes it to online stores. You pay a flat fee.

  • iStockPhoto: You can choose from a large selection of stock photography to use on the cover of your e-book.

  • Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP): Publish your e-book directly to the Kindle using this somewhat user-friendly interface.

  • Smashwords: Distribute your e-book to major online stores and sell it via the Smashwords site. Rather than pay an upfront fee, you pay a percentage of your royalties.

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