Thursday, July 12, 2012

Preparing to Publish My First e-book

The trend in becoming an author these days appears to be leaning increasingly toward online publishing. As a writer myself, I can certainly see why. Avoiding the hassle of trying to find an agent or publisher – a process that can be both costly and time consuming to writers – being able to publish what you want and when you want, and possibly being able to reap higher residual income due to not having to pay an agent or publishing house are quite attractive features to online publishing.

Publishing e-books can also be a great way to open up a few more passive income streams for those within an industry that already often finds income at a premium. And while I’m not saying that publishing my first e-book was easy – it still took plenty of work to read, re-read, re-write, and go through the preparation and uploading process to get it up on the internet and looking good – having it up and on the internet through Kindle Direct Publishing on has certainly been a rewarding experience, as well as a great learning process.

Familiarizing Myself with e-books
When I first started hearing more and more about e-book publishing, I decided it was time to take the trend seriously and learn more about it. I had read several newspaper and online articles regarding individuals, who like myself, had little success with agents and publishing houses, and had instead turned their attention to online publishing options with great success.

While I had no grandiose visions of becoming an instant millionaire by publishing an e-book or two, with several completed manuscripts just sitting around the house collecting dust, I figured it might at least be a way to get some of my work out there, while earning a few bucks in the process.

I therefore took some time to start finding out more about the online publishing process. I watched some instructional videos online, starting reading more articles by those who had been through the process, visited the Kindle Direct Publishing site, and began developing a path and timeline for rehashing some of my previous works and giving the online publishing route a shot.

Getting Ready
To be perfectly honest, I think that I could probably read my own work 100 times and change it every time.

Proofing, polishing, changing, re-reading, and adjusting can be an even lengthier process than actually writing an e-book in the first place. Once I’d gotten things reasonably squared away on this side of my work, I then had to develop the cover art and write the descriptive overview for the book (much like the inside jacket cover of a hardcopy book).

Starting the Process
Once I had everything pretty much set to go, the actual process of getting the book put on Kindle Direct was relatively easy…minus the formatting aspect.

See, I thought that since I didn’t use any pictures or graphics in my book, I wouldn’t have any formatting issues. Wrong!

I had paragraph indentation issues throughout my manuscript, a few spacing issues, and some other formatting glitches here that I had to work out. The indenting issues took the most time to work through, but with Kindle Direct’s preview screen, I could upload my manuscript, take a look at it, see if my changes were having the desired effect, and re-modify if necessary.

The final step in the uploading/formatting/previewing process was a final flip through of my complete manuscript – page by page – on the preview screen to ensure that it looked okay before finalizing the copy for the world to see.

Setting a Sales Price
I had mixed feelings about setting a sales price for my book. After the hundreds of hours I’d poured into the work, I personally felt it worthy of a reasonable price. However, being a no-name author who was looking for exposure and hoping to build readership with his first few works, I was realistic.

Pricing a personal project like this e-book can be a difficult balancing act. I had heard through the grapevine that setting a lower price would likely attract more sales, but in so doing, I would be cutting my residual price per book. I was initially thinking of $1.99 per copy, but that would only garner me about 70 cents profit per copy sold. Going a bit higher – at $2.99 – would bump that residual price up to about $2 per copy sold.

I felt that it was worth this risk to go for the $2.99 price, since I still thought it a pretty good deal (especially considering all the work that went into the project) for the reader, yet didn’t leave me earning just pennies per copy sold.


  1. I agree with you; every literary medium is moving towards a digitized, online format. The real impediments to this trend are not technological but cultural and structural. Great information regarding the process of writing and publishing an e-book. Good luck with your e-book...many happy sales....

  2. I've got to say, your name looks AWESOME in print! Congrats and look forward to reading it

  3. Thanks for the well wishes, guys. I really appreciate it. I can't tell you how gratifying it is to finally see one of my books in print.