This is the fourth and final installment of the continuing blog, How to Write Your Own Ebook, Start to Finish. You may want to re-read the first three (or read them first if you have not already done so) in order to gain some context about what follows.
Writing a book is a process containing a number of steps you take along the way towards producing a valuable final product, your awesome book! I have already covered the first six steps:
1. Personal affirmation (discussed in blog 2)
2. Research (discussed in blog 2)
3. Writing (discussed in blog 2)
4. Second Draft (discussed in blog 3)
5. Friendly Readings (discussed in blog 3)
6. Editing (discussed in blog 3)
7. Book Cover
8. Publishing Company
9. Internet Identity (website, twitter, facebook)
10. Upload your book
If you have contracted a professional editor to edit your book, you can continue with step 7 of the process while editing is occurring. If you self-edited like I did, you naturally have to wait until you have finished editing before you can proceed with the next step.
See why I recommend you use a professional editor? It shaves a ton of time off the entire book-publishing process. And the more quickly you get your book to market the sooner you will be making sales on your book!
Is the cover adorning your book all that important? Absolutely! Stop a minute and picture in your mind the last time you visited your local book store (or went online at Amazon). As you were perusing the aisles containing hundreds and hundreds of books, what was the number one thing that grabbed your attention? Is it not that attractive, colorful book cover that causes a book to stand out from the rest?
With over a million books that will be published this year, your book will need to transcend the others. An eye-catching book cover is one of the things that helps your book rise above the others.
While you are spending those hours and hours writing your book, be thinking about your book cover. Let it crank in the back your mind. By the time you are ready to execute this step in the process, you should have a pretty good idea about how you want the book cover to look like. For me, I wanted an exciting and action-filled Civil War battle scene to grace the cover of my book.
So I investigated various artists whose specialty is Civil War scenes. And I believe the painting I selected conveys my story beautifully. Be aware that unless your book cover image is in the public domain, you will have to purchase licensing rights from the owner. For me, the cost was well worth it!
Now I certainly recommend that you employ a professional graphics artist to create your book cover, because there is more to a cover than just an image. Where is the best place to put your title? How big should it be? What font? What about your author name? Do you want to include a headline? There are a hundred things to consider. My advice? Hire a professional graphics artist with book cover experience. They are not that expensive, and in my mind well worth the cost.
At the end of the day you will have a book cover that looks as good as or better than book covers from traditionally published book.
I would be remiss if I did not briefly mention that the second-most important thing that attracts a reader to a book is the title of the book. Just like the book cover, what to call your book should be percolating in the back of your mind while you are writing your book.
Let me reiterate the point I made in my first blog. As an author, you are an entrepreneur. You are in business. And your business is a writing and publishing business. It’s easiest to just start out as a sole proprietor. Check with the laws of your own state, but normally you don’t have to do anything to become a sole proprietor.
Setting up your own publishing company is not a requirement for being a self-published author. But do you want your book to look as professional as possible? Do you want it to match the standards set forth by the traditional publishing companies? If your answer is yes, then I recommend you set up your own publishing company.
Of course, you can have an existing publishing company publish your book. For me, I feel that this is an expense you can avoid by forming your own publishing company. Again, check with the laws in your own state, but in the state where I live in, all I had to do was acquire a trademark for the name of my publishing company. As discussed above, take some time to consider your name. It’s all part of conveying the image of professionalism to your potential readers.
Once you establish your publishing company, your company can then purchase a set of ISBN’s. An ISBN is a number that uniquely identifies your title. You find it on the publishing page of a book. Acquiring ISBN’s is easy. Your publishing company will need to set up an account at the official ISBN site, located at http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/index.asp. Once your publishing company has procured some ISBN’s you can assign one of them to your book.
It’s an exciting time! You are almost ready to publish your book!
Conceptually, this step in the process establishes your presence on the internet. And your internet presence will become the Marketing arm of your company. And yes, you will be marketing your book once it is published. Don’t think that this is any different than what a traditionally published author does.
All authors have to market their written works of art, because NO ONE ELSE IS GOING TO DO IT. The nice thing about today’s technology, the majority of your marketing can be done over the internet from the comfort of your home.
This is a more technical subject. Dozens and dozens of entities exist on the internet where you can establish a presence. I will briefly touch on what I think are the two most important ones.
WEBSITE: You will need an author website, or blogsite, that potential readers can access. That site will show your book cover with a link to your book page (for example on Amazon) where the reader can buy your book. You can write interesting blogs that attract potential readers to your site. I use WordPress.com to host my site.
Putting together a website can seem daunting, and it is. But it’s getting better and easier for the non-technical person to create one. I found WordPress relatively easy, but then again as a software engineer I have a leg up on others without a technical background.
TWITTER: To the new user, Twitter can seem quite daunting. I know it was for me. But I am learning how to use it and having some success using Twitter to create book sales. Conceptually, you are using Twitter to build a following for your book. With that following you will be able to broadcast enticing headlines about your book that draw potential readers to your website (or book site).
And I believe that the secret to being a successful “tweeter” is that you help others as much as you help yourself. I found that by helping others you help yourself even more! Believe me, I am no expert. But there are lots of books out there that help you understand how to effectively use this important marketing tool.
I will wrap up this section by sharing some material I have used to learn about establishing your internet identity.
• Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (free) http://www.amazon.com/Smashwords-Book-Marketing-Guide-ebook/dp/B004XR57PE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344702220&sr=8-1&keywords=smashwords+book+marketing+guide
• Inbound Marketing http://www.amazon.com/Inbound-Marketing-Google-Social-ebook/dp/B002RTINGU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1344702409&sr=1-1&keywords=inbound+marketing
Upload Your Book
To be honest, I struggled getting this step done. I assume you will be using Amazon and Smashwords to publish your eBook. I know about Amazon and I will shortly within a month have experience publishing with Smashwords as well.
Let me start with the easy part. You will need to set up a publisher’s account at Amazon. Access the following link to set up your account. https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin
Once you have established a publisher account, Amazon does a good job of stepping you through the process of uploading your book. For me, the difficulty came when you actually upload your Word document onto Amazon. Amazon runs your document through a special program that reformats the book so it can be read on a Kindle or other device containing the Kindle app.
If your Word document is not formatted just right, then the resulting Kindle book may look funny. This happened to me and I had to retry several times before I got the Kindle book to look just the way I wanted it to.
I am just painting broad brushstrokes here. There is so much you need to know about uploading your book to Amazon. Fortunately there is a big Kindle community out there that you can access from your Amazon publisher’s account. I was able to search and find answers to my problems.
But now comes the most exciting time in the entire book writing process! With sweaty fingers and shortness of breath, you hover the mouse over the Publish button, close your eyes, say a prayer and then click that button.
Within a few hours, your book will be on Amazon! You will probably be the book’s first buyer, but what a joy reading your awesome book on your Kindle!
In Conclusion …
I am no expert when it comes writing an eBook and becoming a published author. But I do know what I did, and I have shared my own personal journey with you. I hope that I have accomplished a couple of things with this series of blogs.
First, I hope I have inspired you to write that great book you have always wanted to write. Second, I hope that some of the veil of mystery about writing your own eBook has been lifted from your eyes. It’s a lot of work, but if you are like me, you will enjoy the work because it is something you have always wanted to do.
Doesn’t really sound like work, does it? And the steps to becoming a self-published author, while time-consuming, are not that difficult.
And you can do it!
I have honestly just scratched the surface about the subject of writing your own eBook. If you have any questions, I would be more than happy to help you in any way I can. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, Fredda Jones and TexasUnited.com, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to your website.
Richard Small is the author of Confederate Star Rises, an alternate historical fiction novel, where a change to a single event in history alters the outcome of the American Civil War.
Visit Richard’s author website at RichardSmallAuthor.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.