How to Publish an Ebook

The e-book market is rapidly growing year over year, most books are published in ebook format.

If you have a good story or are an expert in a certain field, it may be a good idea to create your own ebook.  What are the necessary steps when publishing an ebook?

  1. Write the content. It needs to be either an interesting story or some kind of useful information readers are willing to buy (or give away for free). Make sure wording meets basic quality requirements.  You may want to hire an editor to fine-tune your book after you've written the rough draft.

  2. Create a catchy title for your ebook.

  3. Design the cover. A good cover is important as it will promote the book. A high-quality (300 dpi) image will be needed. You can make it yourself, but a designer will create a professional cover for your book. Be aware that the cover will be the thumbnail image on the seller's website, very small details will not be visible.

  4. When you're finished writing, you need to decide whether you sell it yourself or involve an ebook-seller. If you sell it yourself, you will need a website where the book can be downloaded from. In this case you will get all the money paid by the buyers. In this case it is advisable to set up an automated PayPal button on your site that directs buyers to a download page.

    If a company is involved, it will take a commission, but may generate higher sales volumes.

  5. Choose a renowned book seller (optional). There are numerous companies on this market, the market leader is Amazon. It may also be useful to upload the ebook to the Barnes & Noble's website or to the Apple iBookstore. You can also join an online ebook publishing and distribution platform such as Smashwords. These companies are called ebook aggregators, and they provide a wide range of services for authors. They not only sell ebooks on their own websites, but also distribute them to the major e-book sellers. Smashwords even distributes ebooks to libraries. Aggregators also track sales over the different platforms. allows you to sell your ebook while also getting affiliates to help sell your book for you as well.  While you will need to pay a percentage of sales to your affiliates, they can help generate many more sales for your ebook. makes ebooks available for PCs, iPads, and other portable devices. Most of ebooks there are free to download, but they also sell them.

  6. Put the book into an ebook-friendly format. In case you sell the ebook on your own website, a simple PDF format may be enough. You can convert the book to PDF using your word processor (Microsoft Word or OpenOffice Writer). Book sellers have their own formats and rules on formatting. These rules include their requirements for illustrations, indentation, bullet points, etc. You can find these rules on their websites, but you can also hire a pro to format the ebook. Some ebook publishers convert your Word document to the required format themselves.This format is mostly ePub. After conversion, you can download the ePub file to check. You can open the file with AdobeDigitalEditions.

    It is advisable to upload the ebook to Amazon's publishing platform. In this case the required format is AZW. You can use free software tools for conversion, for example Mobipocket eBook Creator or Calibre. Mobipocket Creator will save the file with MOBI extension, that is the same as AZW.

    If you want to upload your ebook to AppleiBooks, you need to have a Mac. Otherwise you will need services of an aggregator.

    Smashwords' Meatgrinder tool converts the Word document in just almost every possible format.

    If you hire somebody to format the book and design its cover, you will need to pay at least $50.

  7. Get an ISBN (optional). The International Standard Book Number is a unique identifier assigned to every book. ISBN is mandatory for all printed matter, but it is optional for ebooks. Most ebook sellers do not require them, but Apple does. If you want an ISBN for your ebook, you have two options. The official source for ISBN in the US is Bowker. A single ISBN costs $125.00. If you plan several ebooks, you can buy 10 ISBNs for $250.00. If you use services of an aggregator like Smashwords, you usually do not have to pay for the number. In this case, you will be tied to its service.

  8. Define the price. Generally, prices of ebooks are $9.99 or less. Many publishers keep the price between $2.99 and $5.99 in order to attract readers. Some book sellers require that the ebook is not sold cheaper somewhere else, therefore you will need to use the same price everywhere. You will get a royalty from the seller. For example, Amazon gives 70 % royalty for ebooks priced between$2.99and$9.99,otherwise,therate is 35 %. See: Terms of Amazon.

    Apple offers the same royalty rate for authors. If you want to upload your ebook to the iBookstore, you have to fill out an application. This is not easy, that is why many authors use the services of an Apple-approved aggregator. iPad supports the leading e-book stores such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Aggregators take a cut of the royalties, this is about 10 % of the list price.

  9. Upload the ebook. If the seller gives you access rights to your product page, maintain it regularly. Utilize the tools the seller provides for authors. Amazon's Author Central gives you useful tips. A helpful tip: put the ebook into many categories.

    You can join Amazon’s KDPSelect program. Then you can only sell your ebook through this program for 90 days, but you will get a share of Amazon’s Lending Library fund.

  10. You can protect your ebook with DRM (Digital Rights Management). This locks the ebook to the reader’s account and does not allow sharing it with other readers. Usually, if you choose the DRM option, you cannot modify it later on.

  11. Do not forget about promotion. You have to create awareness, otherwise not many people will buy the ebook. The cheapest way for this is social media, but it is better to create your own website for the ebook. You can promote your ebook through paid ads as well and also have affiliates promote and sell your ebook.

  12. If your ebook is sold, the seller will transfer the money to your account. Most sellers pay within 60 to 90 days.

  13. If revisions are needed, you can edit your ebook any time.

Publishing an ebook is not very complicated, especially if you use an aggregator. More important is to have an idea that will attract many readers. Good luck with your ebook!



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