How to publish an eBook

Here’s an outline of the steps most people will have to go through to publish an eBook on Amazon and Smashwords:

  1. Write it
  2. Rewrite it as many times as necessary
  3. Check it for the usual plot problems, pacing, info-dumps, etc. Go to step 2 until you get it right.
  4. Check for punctuation, spelling (especially sound-alike words), dialog tags (eliminate those that aren’t necessary), passive sentences, weak words, etc.
  5. Find some beta readers who will read it for “fun” (don’t have to be professionals). Go back to step #2 until you get it right (do we see a pattern here?)
  6. Add front and back matter.
  7. Find a good professional “story” editor and submit your ms.
  8. While you’re waiting, get a good cover
  9. Find a good copy editor and submit your ms.
  10. Reformat your ms for production (not necessary if I do the copy edit)
  11. Create and send ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies) to people for reviews
  12. Decide on a marketing strategy if you haven’t already
  13. Figure out a price
  14. Create ad copy
  15. Create a keyword list.
  16. Create it on Amazon
  17. Create it on Smashwords if you want to.
  18. Tell everyone.
  19. Market, market, market
  20. Collect royalties and live like a king (if you have a good outside income :-D).
  21. Start your next book.

Market, rinse, repeat. Set aside some regular time for marketing. The amount will depend upon your schedule and the other things you have to do in your life (like earn a living).

2 thoughts on “How to publish an eBook

  1. Know that with over 300,000 books published each year, the likelihood of making a living as a writer is akin to winning the lottery. Most people are addicted to the internet, social media and a plethora of other distractions, and just don’t read fiction, especially, as much as they once did. You write because you have to, but the game has changed and so with it most writers will no longer be able to make a living at it. The reality is that there is more supply than demand that not even marketing can solve unless demand in large numbers want to read it.

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    • Ah. A ray of sunshine. Why the long face, Mark? The chances of making a living as an author has always been lousy. It’s just that until now, the publishing industry controlled the gate. Some people (granted, VERY few) who got tired of pounding on the doors of the NY Houses have done fairly well by self-publishing (and now the publishers are courting them — too late).

      Yes, the reality is that, if you’re lucky (and good) you may make enough extra income to go out for dinner once in a while. But the number who “break the bank” is still a miniscule few. For every “Fifty Shades of Porn” there are a million “wanna be’s”.

      In addition to the new titles that come out every year, you’ve got all those existing titles to compete against too.

      The lesson: DON’T USE “LIFE AND DEATH” MONEY TO PUBLISH. Treat it as a hobby and don’t exceed your budget. If you can’t afford editing out of “fun money”, then do the best you can with volunteers and such. Same for cover art. It’s nothing for a new book to have $1000 in expenses (cover and editing) before the first sale and quite common for the book to fail to recover $900 of that. over its lifetime.

      Don’t give up your dream, but dream with your eyes open.

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