These are the steps I took to publish my first eBook.
1. I wrote a book less than 60 pages in Microsoft Word
- I typed it in 12 point Times New Roman, and didn’t use any fancy fonts – only bolds and italics. Note: when you convert your file you are likely to lose any fonts. That’s because today support across all devices for various fonts is inconsistent. There's no way to guarantee that a page in Times New Roman actually appears in that font on a reader's screen.
- I didn’t create my own table of contents in Word
- I didn’t number my pages. Note: most ebooks do not have page numbers because eReaders allow readers to re-size the text. It’s called making the text “reflowable".
- I made sure each one of my chapters was titled then I separated all my chapters into different Word doc (not docx) files
2. I decided on a title and had a friend do the cover art.
3. I chose eBookBurn to convert my Word doc into the two ebook publishing formats, epub and mobi
- I created an account and uploaded my cover art file. Note: to be sure it displayed correctly in Kindle, make sure it’s sized to 600x800. I’ve seen sites that say 600X900 but I found that size didn’t work for a Kindle.
- Then I uploaded each chapter file I created to eBookBurn and added the chapter title in their title field box (this helps them automatically create a table of contents for you)
- Note: I did NOT copy and paste my doc from Word – as they advise against. Word has all sorts of hidden formatting issues and this can cause problems.
- I then went through each chapter on eBookBurn to make sure their WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor captured everything in the uploading. I found one chapter where some of my text was mysteriously cut off. So I just deleted that chapter and uploaded it again and the issue resolved.
- Next I went through each chapter that I had inserted an illustration or image and deleted the image that came through in the editor. Then I went to Imgur.com and created an account. I uploaded my images to that account. I copied the html link to those images (simply click on the image you uploaded to Imgur and copy the link under “direct link”) and using the eBookBurn image uploaded in the editor of each chapter, I pasted the link. This displayed my image and let me see if I liked the proportions (any images in your text should be less than 600X800 in size for optimal viewing – I used mainly 400X400).
- After one more review I generated my ebook on the site for $19. It presented two buttons to download the epub and mobi formats. I just downloaded and saved them to my computer.
4. I purchased an ISBN. To sell direct iTunes requires an ISBN, but you can sell through Amazon and Barnes & Noble without one.
5. I went to the Amazon website and downloaded the Kindle previewer. I imported my mobi file to the previewer and checked it out. That’s when I caught an issue with tables. One of my chapters had a table in it. On the previewer I was also sure to pick all the different Kindle versions and see how my mobi file looked in each one.
I was glad I did this before going straight to publishing because I could see where things went wonky and fix it before publishing it. I then went back into eBookBurn and the chapter with the table and ended up deleting the table. I just rewrote the information in another format. I chose this because it was the fastest and easiest solution. You can insert tables using eBookBurn’s editor, but I saw that the tables still came out funky when I previewed the book. (Yes – this meant I ended up generating my ebook three times!)
6. I created an account on Amazon’s Kindle publishing platform KDP.
- I entered my title, description of my book, an author bio, keywords for searches and selected categories for my book.
- I uploaded the mobi file of my book
- I chose to price my ebook $2.99 and the 70% royalty rate
- After I hit submit, the ebook went on sale in 24 hours
7. I created an account on Barnes & Noble’s Nook publishing platform PubIt.
- I entered my title, description of my book, an author’s bio, keywords for searches and selected categories for my book (up to 5)
- I uploaded my ebook and priced it at $2.99; there are no royalty choices
- I previewed my ebook in the Nook previewer
- Once I set the ebook for sale, it hit the store in 24 hours
8. I applied to sell my ebook on iTunes. Note: you will have to have a separate iTunes Apple Connect account for selling ebooks. It took about two weeks to hear back that I was approved. Once I was approved I had to download iTunes Producer – which only works on a Mac. The Producer is Apple’s own software that you upload your epub file to iTunes through. It took another two weeks before my ebook was live in the iTunes store.
9. About two days after I published on Amazon I received an email from Amazon with a link to create an author page on Amazon. So I set that up.
10. Finally, I emailed all my friends, sent out a newsletter from my blog, wrote a blog post, tweeted about it, and posted about it on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Voilá! My first ebook was published. It took about three hours to do everything outside of writing the ebook. Now you can do the same.