Publishing an Ebook

Warning: this post includes a plug to buy my books.

It was very hard for me to maintain my drive for writing fiction while I spent five days a week writing software user guides. Truthfully, I did lose my focus for many years. A death in the family also sent me into a spiral of inaction.

Oh, I continued to meet with friends occasionally to spend time writing, researching, editing. But, it took an unexpected and unwelcome event to turn my focus around.

I was laid off work. Whoa! After the shock wore off, and I waited (and waited, waited some more) for resume responses, I returned to writing fiction; Sci-Fi/Fantasy fiction, to be exact. I love it – but it most certainly doesn’t pay the mortgage – or even buy kibble for the dogs.

I published two books via Kindle Direct Publishing. It’s the easy way out to get a book published – but unless you know your way around advertising and search key words, you’re lucky your book displays in the search results or that a few friends buy the book.

I’m learning some hard lessons about epublishing – and I’m just beginning to correct my mistakes.

An author needs to:

My book links are listed below, and I invite you to at least try a free sample and let me know what you think.

If you like, please buy!

ShadowRise

The Ghylba Stone

 

eBooks and ISBNs

I’m checking into the available options for book ID numbers when publishing digitally. Publishers of eBooks are almost as different as there are numbers of said publishers available on the Web.

Both Kindle Direct Publishing and Nook Press assign proprietary (recognized as meaningful only to them) identification numbers to each book published through their services in order to track sales. This process may be appealing to authors just getting started who don’t have the knowledge or the time to investigate or who just want to see what appeal their book might have – no real money is lost.

If you have an ISBN (International Standard Book Number), you can add it to the rest of your book’s information and it will be included with the proprietary number. If I understand correctly, oftentimes that ISBN number can only be identified with that electronic version of your book. If you choose to publish a print version of your book, or, republish through a different digital publisher, you must get a separate ISBN.

In contrast, a publisher like Smashwords provides the ISBN for you, free of charge. This publisher also distributes eBooks to several third party channels, such as Apple iBooks, kobo, blio, Barnes & Noble, and more – but not to Amazon. As the publisher, Smashwords still has some control over your book, as all other print or digital publisher do.

That ISBN has been sort of a status symbol, “Yes, I’ve been published. Here’s the ISBN number, look it up.” And many people do research books using the ISBN number – that’s what it’s for, especially if your book is published globally.

There is an excellent blog post at the Tools of Change for Publishing Web site on this subject, interviewing the product manager at Bowker, the official U.S. distributor of ISBNs. The post is a year old, but you should read it.

If you want a little more control over your eBook distribution, you can purchase your own ISBN from Bowker – even self-publish. It’s a little daunting, though, to realize that a single ISBN number costs $125.00. You can buy 10 numbers for $295.00 – the better deal at less than $30 a number, to be sure, but still quite a chunk of change for most of us. Do I use the free ISBN from Smashword or take more ownership of my book?

I don’t know yet, but the clock is ticking on that deadline.

You have to make your own informed choice.

 

Digitalizing Your Book for ePublishing

That’s my next project for a book that was published several years ago and is now out of print. The copyright has reverted back to me and I plan to take advantage (I hope) of the eBook industry. I no longer have a digital copy of this book – over 500 pages long – so I’ve decided to find someone to do that for me. Just doing a Google search pulls up so many options it’ll take you days to research all sites.

However, if you are working with a digital copy, the best option is probably the free publishing through Kindle Direct Publishing and Nook Press, which also offer print and lending library services, as well as access to a community of authors and experts. This is my plan for my recent and current projects. You can’t beat the price – and the opportunities,

Many other companies specialize in scanning printed book pages, either bound or unbound, using OCR (optical character recognition), and converting soft copies into eBook format compatible to most retailers, even creating audio books or actually publishing the eBook. In fact, there are so many options out there, I’m still doing my internet homework. I’m also checking out available resource materials and the option to speak to someone in person to ask direct questions.

Some companies also create proofs and then send those proofs back to you. You can do additional edits and send the book back for modification and then converting into the eBook format, even providing cover art – for additional costs. Many companies will distribute the final eBook to global retailers – for additional costs. Claims exist for anything from 85% to 100% sales compensation to authors.

Do your research and compare costs, compensation, copyright, and distribution channels, review contracts, if any, and make a list of what you can afford, as well as your preferences and priorities. Don’t commit to more than you can afford! Find the company that best fits your needs.

Then, take a chance (and keep your day job). We can only hope we sell more than a handful of books!