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Emails Like These

It's emails like this one from a reader of my ebook, 20 Things I've Learned as an Entrepreneur, that make my day and inspire me to do more.

Alicia,

Thank you so much for your work. I am a new entrepreneur, and I am working on following your guidelines religiously!

I am 24 years old, I spent my first year working in Pharmaceuticals and absolutely hated the day to day Robotic self that I was becoming. I took it upon myself at the end of 2012 to change this and to live my life in the present, and not in the future (I always said one day I'll own a business, one day I'll do this, one day I will etc. etc.). I decided to start off in a way that will teach me the background of business, so I decided to franchise a home health agency in Philadelphia. WHAT A SHELL SHOCK!!! Customer service, thinking on your feet, working with a whole different breed of employees, and finally keeping a positive outlook on the business. I have to tell you, I beat myself up everyday for about 6 months and did not grow at all. I was in such a self hate kind of mode, and I was not learning anything at all! I decided to become a student of business again, and take on all of the problems head on so that I could fall on my face 300 times, and ensure that I was to pick myself up 301 times. The last 6 months have been unbelievable. Anyways, I picked up your book last night, and it reminded me of all of the values that I needed to keep to. I can happily say, I was practicing 15/20 of these already! But I now have a list of your 20 Things That You Have Learned about my desk, so I can keep learning and know that it is all part of the ride! I also truly loved when you stated, "No one is without fear, if they're an entrepreneur they feel it regularly". This made me ease up a bit, it is hard being a 24 year old working all of the time always thinking of a big sale, or if someone is going to miss a shift and you'll lose a client at 11 pm on a Saturday night (while your friends are out without a care in the world!).

I just wanted to thank you and say what a pleasure it was to read 20 Things I've Learned As an Entrepreneur. In my quest for as much knowledge as possible, this will definitely be a monthly read.

Best Regards,

K B

Are Book Covers a Thing of the Past?

I love books. How they feel, how they smell, and how they look. It's easy to think that digital books or ebooks (what do you call them?) spell the end of the tangible pleasure of a book. To some extent that's true, but where digital excels is visual, so why does the look of a book have to suffer? It doesn't. Cover art is very much alive. I'm happy to see it memorialized by some great blogs and Pinterest boards. What's your favorite book cover?

More eBook Learnings

My first ebook, Create iPhone Apps That Rock: A Guide for Non-Technical People was released in the last quarter of last year and has done surprisingly well. Frankly, I haven't done much marketing beyond emailing my friends that I published it, so I'm happy that it is selling at all. It has been interesting to see, however, which online retailer generates the most sales for me.

Right now Apple's iBookstore is the clear winner. I wasn't sure the trouble of going through their approval process for a publishing account would be worth it, but it was. Now, this may be due to the subject of the book, but I have a new ebook out on the subject of entrepreneurship: 20 Things I've Learned as an Entrepreneur and I'll let you know if this changes which retailer drives the most sales.

Here's the sales breakdown for my first ebook:

Barnes & Noble = 5% of sales Amazon = 20% of sales iBookstore (Apple) = 75% of sales

 

 

Ten Steps to Publish an eBook

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.