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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I got tired of finding really ugly blank free ebook covers to use, so I made a few of my own to share with everyone. Feel free to use them. http://www.dazzlindonna.com/blog/?s=free+ebook+covers
Becky McCray says
Thanks for sharing that resource, Donna.
Paul Merrill says
All I know is that reading a PDF on my iPod Touch is a hassle. The reader is fine (app: GoodReader) – but actually getting the file on the iPod is a major hassle.
No iPad yet for me – that may be the solution.
Becky McCray says
Paul, to get PDFs on my iPod Touch I upload them to my Evernote account. Then when I sync Everynote (which is super easy), the PDFs sync, too. I’m sure other people use different techniques.
Becky McCray says
If you’re ready to look into publishing on the various e-book reader platforms, Cnet has a good guide, How to self-publish an e-book.