I know nothing about creating an ebook. Where do I start?

This is still a common question. Any time we’re embracing something completely new to us, the steepness of the learning curve is overwhelming. Sometimes we don’t even know what questions to ask. Sometimes taking a stab at an answer helps draw out more refined questions.

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1008267 by gerard97 http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1008267If you’re totally completely helplessly lost about this “ebook” thing, I’ll try to answer the question “Where do I start?” as long as we agree that it’s akin to asking “I’d like to learn to play music; where do I start?” Far too vague to have a real answer, but enough to start hacking through the underbrush to some better questions.

Not necessarily in any kind of order:

1. Write well. This is not as easy as anyone thinks, if anyone thinks it’s easy. But you can do it if you work at it.
2. Get a good editor to look at it, even just to give feedback. Better to spend the money to have them edit it, but at least get feedback from professional eyes.
3. Have a good cover. Digital covers are way different from print, because it needs to be eye-catching at a small size. Learn a bit about designing covers for the web. As with #2, if you take the risk of DIY here, get someone who knows what they’re doing to at least give you some feedback.
4. For digital, you’ll want to publish on Kindle and Smashwords. Follow Smashwords’ guide and get into their Premium catalog, and you’ll be everywhere else. Except Kindle. They only publish big sellers to Kindle, so do that yourself. Not difficult if your formatting is simple. Get fancy and it can be a bear.
5. Consider print via CreateSpace. Once you’ve gotten this far, why shut out folks who don’t buy digital? (like me)
6. Plan to market it yourself, as others have already said. Nobody else is going to sell your book. Have a blog and website where folks can read a bit about it. At the very least, don’t be completely invisible because, y’know, that makes you hard to find.
7. Know who you’re writing for, and why you’re writing. If your plan is to make money, find another way. If you want to share what you know or believe, the message that spreads, wins.

2 thoughts on “I know nothing about creating an ebook. Where do I start?

    1. Kobo seems to be the new 3rd choice, for those who don’t want either Kindle or Nook.

      Smashwords distributes their Premium catalog to Kobo, so I usually aim to get in and let them spread it far and wide.

      Thanks for stopping by, Elisabeth. (Our little one’s middle name is Elisabeth with an ess. Fun to have the initials EZ.)

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