Fiction author Jennifer Powers writes short stories, and her work has appeared in the literary journals McGuffin and Folio. In spite of her previous successes with those journals, she decided to publish her next three stories in e-book format with Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
“It only takes about a day to get started,” Powers explained. “Within the next 24 hours, your story is available.”
Like many other authors, Powers is turning to the more democratic world of e-publishing as a way of sharing her work with the world. Follow these seven steps to publish your own creation in e-book format.
Step One: Create Your Content
Whether you want to publish a novel, a memoir or a how-to book, you must start by creating the work that you want to publish. You can create your book in Microsoft Word, as a PDF file or in open-source ePub format.
Step Two: Edit What You’ve Written
No one will edit what you upload to Amazon.com, so you will have to make sure that your work contains flawless grammar, spelling and punctuation. You will also have to pay attention to the format of your publication to make sure that it will be easy to read on a Kindle or other e-book reader.
Step Three: Design the Cover
Create a cover design for your e-book, making sure that you don’t use copyrighted images without obtaining permission from the original artist. The uploaded cover, according to Tony Bradley of PCWorld, should be a .tif or .jpg file that is 500 pixels on its longest side. The image should be 1280 pixels to avoid a grainy reproduction.
Step Four: Choose Your Venue
Step Five: Upload Your Book
Kindle Direct Publishing, for example, will ask you to enter a title and a short synopsis of your book. Then, you will upload the content of your book and preview what it will look like on a Kindle screen.
Step Six: Decide on Rights and Price Point
By default, most e-publishing programs publish internationally unless you restrict access to certain territories or countries. Each publisher also offers different royalty plans. Amazon sets royalties at either 35 percent or 70 percent, and each plan comes with different requirements. For instance, books published at the 35 percent level can be priced at 99 cents, while books published at the 70 percent level must be sold for $2.99 or more.
Step Seven: Market Your Work
Without a publishing house’s marketing department, you will have to market your work on your own. To accomplish this, you can set up a reading or a signing at a local independent bookstore or a local author event. Utilize social media to promote your work, and feature links to your e-book on your website and in your e-mail signature.
For authors like Jennifer Powers, e-publishing provides an opportunity to bypass the gatekeepers at publishing houses and to place well-crafted works in front of an audience. “Why not do whatever it takes to get yourself out there?” said Powers. “You never know who may be reading your work.”