How To Become An ebook SuperstarA growing number of ambitious authors are turning to self-publishing. But how do they translate their aspirations into success?

The right strategy for your e-book includes not only the writing, the title, the selection of genre, but also the pricing, the proper formatting and proper marketing of your e-book.

E-book Publishing Considerations

  • What is the easiest and most cost-efficient way to produce an e-book? 
  • Where will it be distributed? 
  • What percentage of the retail price do you get?

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
If you think you are going to sell a lot of books, you should upload your book file directly to the Kindle Direct Publishing Program instead of using a middleman or an e-book aggregator that takes a percentage of the profits. 

Get A Great Cover–You will need a great cover and unless you have the skills to create a professional cover, you should hire someone who does great covers that look good in a small thumbnail size, which is how they will be seen online. Keep in mind that book covers sell books, so spend the money and do it right.

Free Software Tools for eBook Formatting–Although you can format your e-book from a Word file using free software tools such as Mobipocket eBook Creator or Calibre. Mobipocket Creator, you can also have it formatted by a professional for a reasonable fee. If you want to try to do it yourself, the free software tools allow you to create an e-book with a table of contents and convert it into Amazon's proprietary e-book format, AZW (MOBI, the file output by the program, is the same as AZW). You can start with a Word file, which then gets converted to HTML, then MOBI. (Check out the Mobipocket eBook Creator guide at the company's Web site).

If you pay someone to do the formatting for you, the cost may be as much as a few hundred dollars, although you might be able to find someone on the lower end of the fee range. 

Smashwords' founder Mark Coker maintains "Mark's List" of low-cost e-book formatters and cover designers with pricing starting at about $50. You can get the list via instant autoresponder by e-mailing list@smashwords.com.

Smashwords  Makes It Easy But You Pay A Percentage to Them–Amazon offers a 70 percent royalty rate for authors, but check the rules they have about this. Apple offers the same royality for its iPhone/iPad app developers and authors who sell e-books via its iBookstore store. Although you can upload your e-book directly to the iBookstore, you have to fill out an application and it may not be easy or quick to go through this so that is why authors often use an "aggregator" like Smashwords or Lulu to get into the iBookstore.  

Don't Forget the iBookstore–The iPad supports most of the leading e-book stores (Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook, Kobo). But with the increasing proliferation of iPads and iPhones, getting into the iBookstore is becoming more important.

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