A friend asked me about the basics of ebook publishing. I offered to pull together some resources, and I thought you might be interested in the answer, too. An ebook is one way to spread your ideas online. You can make them free or put them up for sale.
The term ebook can mean any electronically published info. Length can be short, with just a few pages, or as long as a regular printed book, or even longer. The format can be any electronic format. Some ebooks are published just as a standard website or a blog. Most are in PDF. Some are set up in special formats for readers, like the Kindle or iPad.
To get yourself going, start with these basics.
- Marketing expert Seth Godin explains why you should write an ebook.
- Adobe is an acknowledged leader in ebook software. They have an excellent resource page: Create eBooks.
- Publishing eBooks: Kindle, iPad, Nook, Kobo? from Gizmodo tells you about getting your document ready for the various eReaders.
For US residents, your publication is automatically copyrighted as soon as you publish it. If you want to, include a copyright notice. That’s the “(c) 2010 by Your Name.” Any extra wording is up to you.
If it’s a free ebook, why not make it easy to share? Use a Creative Commons license, and people can tell how you intend it to be shared. Stop by Creative Commons Choose a License page to get started.
My friend specifically asked about those pretty “looks just a like a real book” graphics you see on some pages advertising ebooks. I personally don’t use ’em. I just use a flat graphic taken from my cover design. If you are good with any graphics software, you can make your own. If not, you can purchase specially-designed software to do just that, or work with a graphic designer. For a simple task like this, you might look at crowdSPRING or fiverr.
Step by Step Basics
Here’s the easy step by step instructions at the most basic level.
- Get a word processor that saves in PDF. Google Docs (free), Microsoft Word (not free) and Open Office (free) work fine.
- Write something worth sharing or selling.
- Print or save in PDF.
- It’s now officially an ebook.
- One easy option is e-junkie, an unfortunate name for a good service. There is a monthly fee, but they will host your file and manage downloads for you. It works well with PayPal to collect payments.
- I use PayPal to collect payments for my ebook, then direct customers to a special secret blog post where they can download the ebook. The file itself is in a folder on my web host. Low tech, but it works for my one paid booklet.
- Small business ideas for small towns ebook (free)
- Shop Local Campaigns for Small Towns (paid)
- Social Media for Tourism Links and Resources (free)
What questions or resources do you have about ebooks?
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.