Patricia Capracotta 53 articles

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Publishing Your Ebook Online (Without Using Amazon)

Just for a moment, let us suppose that Amazon's self-publishing platform doesn't exist. I know, crazy, right? Humor me for five minutes though. Amazon may very well be the largest online distributor of ebooks and digital content, but they're certainly not the only game in town.

Before we talk about some of the other options available to you as an online self-publisher, there are a few things that will apply no matter where you decide to publish your book. The first being that it has to be good.

This encompasses every detail from well written and edited, to providing a compelling story, and everything in between. Your job as an author is to make sure that you are writing the best possible book you can write, that you are either editing that book yourself or you are having someone else edit it, and that the story you are telling is an interesting one. Don't trust your family or friends. Give your book to a stranger – preferably one who is interested in your genre at least – and let them be brutally honest with you. Then go back and use some of their suggestions to rewrite your work.

In the words of William Knowlton Zinsser “the secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components.” And while Mr. Zinsser is most known for his book for non-fiction writers, I believe the same theory can apply for every writer. You can just as easily have clean, well-written fiction, as non-fiction.

Another aspect that you need to be aware of before going forward with any self-publishing company is that you have control over the cover design, marketing, and pricing of your ebook. There are plenty of horror-stories from authors who published their books online with companies where they had little to no control of their options, or worse, lost control of their rights to their own work. Don't be a victim. Do the research and make sure you're getting the best deal for YOU personally. Remember that just because something worked for someone else, doesn't necessarily mean it will work for you. Pay attention to your own genre, more importantly your audience, and choose your online publisher with care.

When considering pricing your ebook, remember that the most sales are made between the figures of $2.99 and $5.99. Since we are not discussing Amazon in this article, we're not going mention all of their royalty percentages, but know that the price range of $2.99 to $9.99 offers their largest royalty percentage of 70% for that reason. Regardless of the royalty percentage however, if you want to offer your book for free, for $.99, or for more, you should have the option to do so.

Consider carefully any restrictions on your rights to your ebook. Some online publishers have an exclusivity policy that prohibits you from attempting to sell your book elsewhere during a specific period of time. If you're not a brand new author and already have a few people who enjoy reading your books, they may not like to be told where they can and cannot purchase them.

This brings us to your cover art. I do not consider it an exaggeration to say that other than your title, your cover art may very well be the most important piece of marketing you can do for your ebook. Realize that your potential readers will look at your title and cover art and decide almost in the same breath whether they want more information or to purchase your book. If you can manage it, this is the area (other than editing!) where it would be wise to spend a bit of money getting the best cover artwork you can.

While we're on the topic of title, you must use yours to convey the basic idea of your book. And for heaven's sake choose the right genre for your work. There is nothing more annoying than thinking you're downloading a historic novel only to have it be modern-day erotic fiction.

So who are some of the other online self-publishing platforms? I'm giving you a list of them below, but I'll be writing another article going into much greater detail about things like their exclusivity policies (if any), royalties, and any hidden costs or fees, as well as how each platform works and what to expect from each of these self-publishing websites.

In the meantime, feel free to check-out a few, or all, of these on your own and leave me a comment with your thoughts.

Smashwords

Bookbaby

Lulu

iBooks Author

Booktango

Nook Press

2 comments
  • Admin and Amethyst Creek like this
  • Patricia Plake
    Patricia Plake I have recently started to snoop around to find out about publishing. The biggest problem, besides having to become a "marketer" is the cash outlay. I think that most new writers are not aware of the work involved AFTER their book is written. I ...  more
    November 17, 2014 - 2 like this
  • Patricia Capracotta
    Patricia Capracotta I think that's a great point for discussion Patricia, because I believe there has to be not only free ways, but also less time consuming ones, to get that job done. I'll do a bit of research and see what I can find for free, inexpensive, and fast marketin...  more
    November 17, 2014 - 1 likes this