Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Ebook Publishing Checklist - California State Writers, Sacramento
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.


Introducing the official SlideShare app

Stunning, full-screen experience for iPhone and Android

Text the download link to your phone

Standard text messaging rates apply

Ebook Publishing Checklist - California State Writers, Sacramento


Published on

Learn how to prepare, publish and distribute an ebook to leading ebook retailers Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. This presentation outlines a simple ebook publishing checklist to help writers …

Learn how to prepare, publish and distribute an ebook to leading ebook retailers Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. This presentation outlines a simple ebook publishing checklist to help writers publish and distribute a book at little to no cost. Presented by Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, at the July 21, 2012 meeting at the California State Writers, Sacramento branch.

Published in: Education, Technology, Business

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

No notes for slide


  • 1.  
  • 2. My Backstory
  • 3. Is Big Publishing Broken?
    • Books judged on perceived commercial potential
    • Readers shut out
    • Publishers unable to take a risk on every author
  • 4. My Answer:
    • Ebook publishing and distribution platform
      • Authors decide what’s published
      • FREE ebook publishing
      • Distribution to major ebook retailers
      • Authors earn 85% of profit
  • 5. How Smashwords Works
    • UPLOAD
      • Upload a Microsoft Word file, formatted to our Style Guide
      • Free conversion to 9 ebook formats
      • Ready for immediate sale online
      • Distribution to major retailers
    • GET PAID
      • Author receives 85% of net = 60% list from major retailers
  • 6. Indie ebooks published at Smashwords 140 6,000 28,800 92,000 +
  • 8. Ebooks as a percentage of US wholesale trade market Source: Association of American Publishers,
  • 9. Why ebooks are hot
    • Screens offer better reading experience than paper
      • Changeable font size A A A A
      • Portable and compact
      • Screens will get better/faster/cheaper
    • Ebooks offer better consumer experience
      • Lower price than print
      • Convenient sampling and purchasing
      • Huge selection
  • 10. Ebooks Enable Democratized Publishing and Distribution
    • Free publishing tools empower authors
      • Free printing press in the cloud
      • Distribution to all major online bookstores
  • 11. Indies Can Out-Publish Big Publishers
    • Asymmetric competition
      • field tilted in indie’s favor
    • Smaller indie authors
      • democratized distribution
      • instant access to global market
      • lower expenses
      • never go out of print
      • earn more per book
  • 12. Indie ebook economics favor indies
    • Higher royalties than traditional
      • Earn 60-80% list price for indie ebooks vs. 5-17% from traditional publishers
    • Lower priced ebooks earn more per copy than traditionally pubbed print
        • Earn more on a $.99 ebook ($.60) than a traditional author earns on an $8 mass market paperback ( <$.40 )
        • Lower price = reach more readers = more sales at higher profits per sale
    MMP=Mass market paperback, aka “pocket book” in some countries
  • 13. Planning your move to ebooks
  • 14. Checklist for Publishing an Ebook
    • Finish the book
    • Format the book prior to conversion
    • Prepare cover image
    • Ebook conversion to multiple formats
    • Pricing
    • ISBNs
    • Copyright
    • Choose distribution methods, upload
    • Marketing *
  • 15. Finish Your Book
    • Ebook publishing tools make publishing fast, free, easy, but…
      • These tools don’t make it easy to write a great book
        • You’re the publisher, act like one
          • Edit, edit, edit, revise, revise, revise
          • Involve beta readers (then revise again)
          • Hire professional editor if necessary
  • 16. Ebook Formatting
  • 17. Formatting is the process of preparing your book for conversion to an ebook
  • 18. Formatting for Smashwords Over 140,000 Downloads!
  • 19. Formatting Secrets
    • Forget (some of) what you know
      • Don’t try to make e- look like p-
        • Ebooks consumed differently than print
        • Less = more with ebooks
        • Liberate text from complex formatting and layout
        • Separate images from the text
        • Design for reflowability , small screens
  • 20. Ebook devices (and customers) shape shift text
    • Example of Smashwords novel, All Good Things Die in L.A. by Anhoni Patel
      • iPhone, using the Stanza reader. User-selected options: Font: Verdana; Background pattern: Stone carving; text color: Dark Violet; Font size: larger than normal
  • 21. Cover Image
  • 22. Create Your Ebook Cover
    • Covers are important
      • First impression
      • Covers are both marketing and content
        • Marketing: Draw reader in
        • Content: Adds to enjoyment of book
      • Should look
        • engaging, matched to target audience
        • professional
        • good as thumbnail
        • good as B&W, greyscale
  • 23. DIY Cover, or Hire Professional?
    • Many high-quality free graphics programs
      • Gimp
    • Unless you’re an expert graphic designer or cover designer, it’s usually best to hire
      • Email [email_address] for low cost cover designers and formatters
  • 24. Don’t be Lazy
  • 25. Don’t be Dim Le Peuple de L’Etat de New York Contre Dominique Strauss-Khan
  • 26. Most of us design poor covers
  • 27. So I Hired a Pro for $45.00 Send email to: [email_address] for “Mark’s List”
  • 28. Conversion
  • 29. Conversion = Turning your manuscript into an ebook file readable on multiple ebook reading devices
  • 30. E-reading Devices
  • 31. Ebook Conversion Options
    • Conversion Options
      • Automated (Smashwords, Amazon)
      • Direct from book layout software (save as PDF, EPUB)
      • DIY conversion tools (Calibre, Sigil: Google ‘ebook conversion tools’)
      • Hire ebook formatter/ designer/coder (Complex books)
  • 32. Pricing
  • 33. Pricing
    • Determine objective
      • Platform building, revenues, or both?
    • Think like a fisherman
      • Blended strategy of chum and hooks
    • Non-fiction supports higher prices than fiction
    • Price is not sole determining factor
  • 34. Considerations Beyond Price
  • 35. Considerations Beyond Price
    • Length
    • Reader passion
    • Author platform
    • Earn reader trust at each step?
    • Marketing that builds urgency
    • Series or not
    • Perceived value
    More info, Google: Pricing Strategies for Ebooks (Interview with Mark Coker)
  • 36. ISBN
  • 37. What’s an ISBN?
    • What it is:
      • Unique digital identifier
      • A 13-digit number
      • Helps supply chain communicate about book
      • Required for distribution to Apple, Sony, Kobo
    • What it is NOT:
      • Does not connote ownership or copyright
      • Does not imply “professional” or “real”
      • Not a common discovery method
  • 38. Where to Obtain an ISBN
    • Go to
      • Expensive unless you purchase blocks of 10+
      • Lists you as “publisher” in Books in Print
    • Go to Smashwords
      • FREE ISBNs
      • $9.95 (not recommended), lists you as “publisher”
  • 39. Copyright
  • 40. Copyright Simplified
    • By publishing something you created, you have copyright
      • Copyright entitles you to an exclusive bundle of rights
    • The notation of © is optional
    • For best legal protection, go to and register copyright online
    • Learn more at the Copyright Clearance Center at
  • 41. Distribution to Retailers
  • 42. Ebook retailers want indie ebooks Mobile apps
  • 43. Does Marketing Matter?
  • 44. Focus on Discoverability (making your book findable)
    • Availability (distribution) precursor to discovery
    • MobileRead survey
      • See analysis at Smashwords Blog: How Ebook Buyers Discover Ebooks
      • Multiple touch points
        • 29% rely on recommendations from online communities/message boards
        • 18% search for favorite authors
        • Nearly 50% use some method of “random” discovery
  • 45.  
  • 46. The Plan Forward
  • 47. You are the future of publishing
  • 48. You are your own gatekeeper
  • 49. YOU decide when your manuscript graduates to PUBLISHED BOOK
  • 50. Support ALL your retailers Diversify your exposure
  • 51. Take risks, experiment
  • 52. Think Globally
  • 53. Within a Few Years, the Market for Your Books Outside the US will Dwarf the US Market Already, ~50% of Smashwords Apple iBookstore Sales are Outside the US
  • 54. You Have the Tools to Reach a Worldwide Market Today
  • 55. Final Thoughts
    • Power of publishing is shifting to authors
      • You and your readers determine your success
      • Opportunity to reach readers with your words has never been greater
    • Go serve your readers!
  • 56. Ebook Publishing Resources
    • Smashwords Style Guide (how to format an ebook)
    • Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (how to market any book)
    • Mark’s List – Low cost formatters, cover designers [email_address]
  • 57. Thank you for listening! Q&A Connect with me: Web: Blog: Twitter: @markcoker Facebook: HuffPo: Email: [email_address]