Have you written a book that you would like to publish or make available to the general public in e-book or electronic book format? This manual will guide you through the process of preparing a manuscript for e-book publication, formatting the manuscript, and how to follow up properly once your e-book is finished. Regardless of whether you are a recognized author interested in publishing your previous work electronically, or if you are an author seeking to self-publish your first book, this information will be very useful to you. Read below to get started.
Method 1 of 4: Choose your way forward
Step 1. Self-publish
If you want to take advantage of your book sales profits, maintain creative control, or participate in alternative copyright structures, then self-publishing your e-book is the right option for you.
- This trail is much more difficult than it sounds. Well, you will be the one in charge of editing and promoting your book, and even interact with the sellers. While it will allow you more control, it will definitely be a lot more work.
- Creative Commons licenses are useful for all those who choose to self-publish. This license will give you a legal basis with which to protect and defend your work, giving you the freedom to choose how rigorous the control you have over it will be.
Step 2. Choose an established publisher
You may not want to deal with the bundle of publishing an e-book on your own, as you may not have the time to design, format, edit, and market your e-book. Don't worry, there is nothing wrong with it. If self-publishing seems too difficult or complicated for you, you can go to an established publisher to produce and sell your e-book.
- Keep in mind that a publisher will take a larger cut or commission for the sales of your book, and most of the time they will also have some control over the content and copyright of your book.
- Established or traditional publishers are generally reluctant to publish new writers. If you wish, you can get a literary agent to help you find the best publisher for you and defend the quality of your work. A good agent will also help you get the best possible deal with the publisher.
Method 2 of 4: Before you post
Step 1. Edit your book
Editing is one of the most important aspects for publishing your book. A poorly edited book will be unappealing to readers, critics, and even publishers who might be interested in publishing it physically. A good edition gives your book a very professional appearance, making it more pleasant to read.
- Correct any spelling or grammar mistakes. Errors of this type can make text unreadable. Use a processor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs to find and correct basic spelling and grammar mistakes. Either way, these programs will never replace the human eye. Most of the time these programs only detect the problem when the word or grammar structure does not exist. For example, if your error has to do with accents (more / more) it is likely that the computer will escape it, and the same thing usually happens with structure errors.
- Read your book thoroughly. Read it cover to cover. This will help you identify spelling or grammatical errors, but it will also help you understand the meaning of the different chapters in the book and the impact of the book as a whole. Identify which scenes do not fit one another, or which characters suddenly change in personality from one chapter to another, or noticeable changes in style and writing. Since most writers take considerable time to finish a work, and rarely write it out of the blue, it is common to find parts of the story that don't quite fit together.
- Read it out loud. Once you've thoroughly finished reading your text from beginning to end, one of the best ways to edit it is by reading it out loud. This will allow you to almost automatically correct incomplete or incorrect words, spelling or grammar mistakes. It can also alert you to meaningless or unnatural dialogue.
Step 2. Have someone else read it
Get a fellow writer to read your book thoroughly from cover to cover. He / she will read it from the point of view of a writer, and will look for weaknesses or deficiencies in the structure of your story, your characters or your vocabulary. This usually works best when it comes to someone neutral who you hardly know beyond the literary environment, or a fairly objective friend.
Make sure that whoever reads your book is a regular reader of the genre. Only someone who is used to reading books of the same genre will appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of your story, helping you determine if your book has been written correctly to impact and connect with that type of audience
Step 3. Hire an editor
If you don't have the skills or resources to edit your book on your own, hire an editor. There are a large number of freelance or independent publishers. Choose a reputable publisher. If you're looking to save yourself some money, you can try placing an "Editor Wanted" ad on your university campus. The students of careers related to the position, could be interested and take the job opportunity and the money that you offer them, without this being a guarantee of quality.
Step 4. Use an e-book indexing service
If you don't want to deal with the task of editing and publishing your e-book, you can hire the services of an e-book indexer, who will do the work for you. In any case, you must be careful, because, in addition to being expensive, there is a great risk that someone else will take advantage of your work. Use the services of reliable companies, and do not sign any contract that is not convincing and profitable.
Step 5. Choose the ideal device for your e-book
Before you start to format your e-book, you must decide on which devices you would like to display and sell your e-book. To increase your audience, you can choose to be accessible for all devices and e-readers, or you can choose to be accessible to only one type of device and obtain benefits and profits from this exclusivity, such as those offered by Amazon.
Step 6. Choose your dealer
Once you have chosen the ideal device or devices for your e-book, you must choose who will be your distributor. Where or through what site do you want to sell your book? If you choose well, you can put your book up for sale on sites like Barnes and Noble, Amazon or Google Pay. You can also put it up for sale on slightly less known sites, or create an Internet site dedicated exclusively to the promotion and sale of your e-book.
- If you decide to sell your book through your own website, you will get the biggest cut of the sales, but you will lose the opportunity to reach a much larger audience, and access to the marketing tools offered by distributors.
- Remember, certain distributors offer various compensations for being exclusive with them. Research what they are so you can make a better decision.
- Kindle Direct Publishing: Amazon's distribution service.
- Smashwords: This service puts your book on sale in most online bookstores, with the exception of Kindle.
- Nook Press: Barnes and Noble's distribution service.
- Lulu: The remarkable thing about this service is that it distributes your e-book to the Apple Store, which others don't.
Method 3 of 4: Format
Step 1. Understand how electronic readers or e-readers work
It is important that you understand how e-readers work and how your text will be displayed on the screen. Once you understand this, you will know what your e-book should look like after formatting.
- To get an idea of what e-books look like, get or borrow an e-reader. Take a look at several e-books and see how the user can interact with them.
- It is important to consider that in e-boooks there are no pages as we know them in a traditional book. Electronic books are designed so that the text flows without cuts, even giving us the option of adjusting the size or font according to the needs of the user or reader. To give a correct format to your e-book, you must forget about "the pages".
Step 2. Learn to use HTML
E-readers work by converting the text in your book to HTML, the same language used to create web pages. HTML is, in essence, a formatting language, as it tells the computer how the text and images in a document should appear, regardless of the device or screen size on which it is displayed. In order to format your e-book correctly and thus display correctly on all devices, you will need to learn some basic HTML skills. Specifically, you will have to learn the use of tags (specific words placed between angle quotes,) which are correlated with the format found in the different word processors.
- Tags are commonly presented in pairs: one opening and one closing. The opening tag will have a word in brackets, and the closing tag will have the same word preceded by a slash, /. The content between the labels will be the text you want to give the type of format indicated by the labels. In other words, the text of a sentence that you want to display in italics or italics must be "trapped" between tags for italic formatting.
- Some characters do not translate well into HTML format, especially if they are part of the automated formatting of processors such as Word, so in this case, you will have to change them or write them directly in HTML format to make them appear well on the screen. These characters include quotation marks, apostrophes, and ellipsis. Use the search engine of the processor to replace them, or use the specific code in HTML. For example, to ensure that the ellipsis are displayed correctly on any device, replace them with the code "& hellip".
Step 3. Know the labels
In order to properly format your text, there are basic tags that you should know. There are, of course, countless tags in HTML code, but we present the most relevant when formatting your e-book:
- text will result in bold text.
- text will result in italic text.
will convert the text to a paragraph.
- Another important tag within the HTML code, is the tag for images, which works in a different way than the previous ones. To do this, you must include the address of the image, the name of that image on your computer. You should also include a simple description of the image, usually a word, such as: "cover", so that the program knows the purpose of the image. The tag for images in HTML code is as follows:
Step 4. Choose the size of the text
As we mentioned before, the size of the font in the text in an e-book is at the user's disposal, since he can make it smaller or larger as it suits him. This means that the size of the fonts cannot be used as they are presented in the processors. Instead, you should use the text measurement system according to the HTML code. The basic unit of measure for font size is known as "ëm".
- The 1em size will be the basic size, 2em would be the next largest measurement and so on. Labeling your text in this way will allow your text to be resized relatively, so that when the reader changes the font size, your text maintains a proportional format and remains readable.
- The size of the indents (the white space that indicates the beginning of a paragraph) will be indicated in the same way. So they can be any size you want.
- The "ëm" can also be used in middle numbers (for example: 1.5, 2.5, etc.). Use it if you are not happy with how it looks when using whole numbers.
Step 5. Create an HTML page
Once you have finished giving the desired format to your book, you will need to create a real file in HTML code, in which you can insert the text of your work. This page should contain all the necessary HTML tags to give your e-book a good format. Those tags include,, and so on. To find out in depth about how to create a page in HTML, click here here.
Your HTML page should include a style section. This will help you to give a more elegant and consistent format to your e-book. You can search online and read about it
Step 6. EPUB and MOBI formats
The easiest software to use in order to create an e-book in these formats is "Caliber". Although it is free, be sure to download it from a reliable source.
- Start by opening the program. Click on "Add books", and choose the HTML file that you just created.
- Highlight your book in the list and press "Edit metadata." This will allow you to change the author's name (Surname, Name), product description, synopsis (Comments), and you can also add a cover to your book, an ISBN number, publisher information, and so on. Make sure to save all this information by pressing "OK".
- Now select "Convert Books". Select the format you want for your e-book from the list. Take into account that the EPUB and MOBI formats are suitable for the vast majority of electronic readers currently on the market.
- Later you may want to work on the Index. If you have used the template included in this manual, this will be really easy for you. There are of course other ways to format an Index, use the one you think is most convenient for you. If you have followed the template, go to the field labeled "Level 1 Index" and enter the following code: // h: p [test (@class, "chapter", "i")]
- When you're done with the Index, go to "Epub Appearance." On the left side toolbar, look for the "Preserve Cover Size" box and make sure it is checked.
- Click "OK", let the program do its work, and when it finishes you can save your e-book. Congratulations, you are done!
Step 7. Format your e-book from Microsoft Word
There are certain e-book publishing services that work from a simple Word file. Among them, Smashwords is the most common. To give your e-book a proper format from a file in Word, you will have to undo the auto-format feature, and manually set all the spaces between lines, indents, and so on. This ensures that your work is displayed correctly once it is converted to HTML code.
Method 4 of 4: After Publishing
Step 1. Set a good price
If an e-book is very expensive, it is likely that you will not sell as many copies as you intend. On the other hand, if it is very cheap your earnings will be minimal. A good price, let's say halfway, that is, neither very expensive nor very cheap, would be around US $ 2.99.
Step 2. Promote your book
Promoting your book is crucial if you are looking to take advantage or benefit from it. The Internet is a huge market in which many writers are taking advantage of the ease with which one can publish a book. If you want to get noticed, you will have to do a lot of promotional work for your book.
- Use social networks, blogs and other media. Find a popular blog that reviews books of the same genre as yours, and let them rate your work. Spread the word about publishing your book on networks like Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. And most importantly, interact with your customers and fans, encourage them to spread the word.
- Advertise your book. You can advertise your book, even beyond the site you have chosen for its distribution. Use an advertising service or contact dedicated websites or blogs. Make sure that the site you use to promote your book is aimed at the correct audience for your e-book.
- That your book has a great cover. That saying "Don't judge a book by its cover" has its reason for being. People do judge books by their cover. So that the sale of your book is easier, then try to make the cover of your book look attractive and professional. You can do it yourself, if you have the necessary experience and tools in terms of graphic design. Or, you can hire someone. Many sites offer this service for a certain price.
- Pick a good title. Nobody wants to read a book whose title sounds boring. Make the title of your book sound exciting that it grabs attention and piques people's curiosity. Don't forget that the title of your book should match the story in it. The public will not be at all happy if under the title of "The best desserts", you sell them a detective novel.
- Find your audience. Selling your book will be easier if you find what is known as a niche market. Research what is popular and what is not. Create something unique and attractive for your niche, and it will sell without a hitch.
- Beware of people who want to take advantage of you. There are many fake and fraudulent companies that, if you are careless, will take away your money or the rights to your work. Thoroughly research each company you are planning to work with before giving them anything.
- Don't create high expectations around this. The publishing world is a competitive world in which someone rarely becomes famous overnight. Even if your book is the next "great novel," it won't sell if people don't hear about it, or luck isn't on your side. Remember that many authors today considered "classics" were not recognized in life. However, you shouldn't let this get you down. Make the world know about the writer in you.