Introduction to Ebook Publishing


Published on

This presentation provides an introduction to ebook publishing for self-published authors. The presentation provides background on four trends shaping the future of publishing, and then follows with a step-by-step checklist of how to publish, distribute, market and sell an ebook. This presentation was given at the Crested Butte Writers Conference June 21, 2013. The presentation that follows, also here on Slideshare, is The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success. The Secrets presentation builds on this presentation, and provides detailed advice on how to reach more readers by identifying the best practices of the most commercially successful ebook authors.

Published in: Education, Technology, Business
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

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

No notes for slide

Introduction to Ebook Publishing

  1. 1. An Introduction to Ebook PublishingJune 21, 2013Mark CokerFounder, SmashwordsTwitter: @markcoker
  2. 2. My Backstory
  3. 3. Publishers Said “No”• Despite great efforts of ouragent, every major NYpublisher said NO (TWICE!)
  4. 4. I evaluated our options1.The rational option Accept failure, assume fetal positionand cry1. The irrational option Believe in ourselves Mortgage the house and try to fix theproblem
  5. 5. My Answer: Smashwords• * FREE * eBook Publishing Platform Free ebook printing press Distribution to major ebook retailers andlibraries Free learning materials help writersbecome professional publishers
  6. 6. 050,000100,000150,000200,000250,0002008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013Ebooks published at Smashwords1406,00028,80092,000191,000230,000June 2013
  7. 7. How Smashwords Works• UPLOAD• Word .doc or .epub• Instant, free ebook conversion• Instantly for sale• DISTRIBUTE• Distribution to retailers andlibraries• GET PAID• Author earns 60-80% list
  9. 9. TREND ONE:Reading Moving to Screens
  10. 10. Screens are the new paper
  11. 11. Ebooks as a percentage of USwholesale trade marketSource: Association of American Publishers, 2012 Smashwords estimate0510152025302002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012
  12. 12. The market share slide underestimatestrue impact of ebooksThe previous slide is based on dollar sales. Sinceebooks are priced significantly lower than printbooks, the unit volume percentage (or,percentage of words read in the ebook format) ismuch higher.Within the next year, it’s likely that more bookwords will be read on screens than on paper.Follow the eyeballs. If your entire list isn’talready in ebook format, do it now!Follow the eyeballs.
  13. 13. Ebooks to overtake printPrint booksEbooksUnitsDollarsPrint booksEbooks
  14. 14. Why ebooks are hot• Screens offer better reading experience thanpaper•Changeable font size A B C D• Ebooks offer better consumption experience• Lower cost than print• Convenient sampling and purchasing• Huge selection
  15. 15. TREND TWODemocratization of Publishing
  16. 16. In the Past, Publishers ControlledEverything• They controlled the …• printing press• distribution• knowledge to professionally publish
  17. 17. Today, Authors Have Free Accessto the Tools• Authors have …• FREE ebook printing press• Democratized ebook distribution• Unfettered access to the knowledge ofprofessional publishing best practices
  18. 18. Publishers losing their monopoly• Writers no longer need publishers topublish, distribute and sell• Writers asking two questions:1. “What can a publisher do for me that I can’tdo for myself?”2. “Will a publisher actually harm my ability toreach readers?”
  19. 19. TREND THREESelf-published authors hitting allthe bestseller lists
  20. 20. Indies are hitting the bestsellerlists• Self-published ebooks scaling all thebestseller lists• Retailers giving indies seat at merchandisingtable
  21. 21. PredictionWithin 3 years, most NY Timesbestselling ebooks will be from self-published authors- June 21, 2013 by Mark Coker
  22. 22. Advantages of Indie Authorship• Indie ebook author advantages• faster time to market• creative control• lower expenses• better distribution to global market• immortal ebooks never go out of print• lower prices to consumers• earn more per book
  23. 23. QUADRUPLE +
  24. 24. Indie Ebook Authors Earn HigherPercentage of List Price• Indies earn more at lower prices• At $2.99, indies earn ~$2.00. Traditional authorwould have to price over $10 to earn $2.00• Lower price = reach more readers = more sales athigher profits per sale• Traditionally published ebook authors atdisadvantage with high prices, low royalties60-80% 12-17%Indie Traditional
  25. 25. TREND FOURThe Previous Stigma of Self-Publishing is Disappearing
  26. 26. Self publishing was once seen as the option oflast resort for writers.Now it’s increasingly viewed as the option of firstchoice.Successful indies are setting the example, andinspiring the next generation of authors.As the previous stigma of self-publishingdisappears, there’s rising stigma attached totraditional publishers.
  27. 27. Stigmas to reverseAspireTraditionalAspireIndieToday?AspireIndieAspireTraditional5 yrs ago Future?
  28. 28. Let’s learn how to publish and distributean ebook!
  29. 29. Checklist for Publishing an Ebook Finish a super-awesome book Format the book prior to conversion Prepare cover image Prepare the metadata Ebook conversion to multiple formats Pricing ISBNs Copyright Distribution to retailers, libraries Piracy Marketing
  30. 30. Finish Your Super-Awesome Book• Ebook publishing tools makepublishing fast, free and easy …• … but they don’t make it easy to writea great book• You (the author) are the publisher• Edit, revise, edit, revise• Involve beta readers (then revise again)• Hire professional editor if necessary
  31. 31. Ebook Formatting
  32. 32. Formatting is the layout and designprocess to prepare your book forpublication
  33. 33. Formatting for Smashwords250,000+downloads!
  34. 34. Formatting Secrets• Forget (some of) what you know• Don’t try to make e- look like p-• Ebooks consumed differently than print• Design for reflowability, small screens• Less = more with ebooks
  35. 35. Reflowability: Ebook devices(and customers) shape shift text• Example of Smashwords novel, All GoodThings Die in L.A. by Anhoni Patel• User-selected options: Font: Verdana;Background pattern: Stone carving; textcolor: Dark Violet; Font size: larger thannormal
  36. 36. Cover Image
  37. 37. Create Your Ebook Cover• Covers are important• First impression• Covers are both marketing and content• Make it: engaging, matched to target audience professional good as thumbnail good as B&W, greyscale
  38. 38. DIY Cover, or Hire Professional?• Unless you’re an expert graphicdesigner or cover designer, it’s best tohire• Email for low costcover designers and formatters• It’s inexpensive: $50-$150 (Mark’s list) orunder $300 elsewhere (still cheap!)
  39. 39. Most of us design terrible coversAs an experiment, I tried to create a cover. Itwas an embarrassment!
  40. 40. So I Hired a Pro for $45.00Send email to:list@smashwords.comfor “Mark’s List”
  41. 41. Metadata
  42. 42. Metadata is information aboutyour book• Metadata enables• Discovery• Sales reporting• Author payments• Some metadata you or your publisherwill create• Some is auto-generated
  43. 43. Metadata = Data About YourBook• Auto-generated post-publication:• Publication date• Reviews• Sales rank• People who bought X bought Y• People who viewed X viewed Y• Sales data• You Determine:• Book title• Contributors• Book description• Tags• Category• Price• Cover image• ISBN• Language• Formats
  44. 44. Ebook Conversion
  45. 45. Conversion = Turning your formattedmanuscript into an ebook file readable onmultiple ebook reading devices
  46. 46. E-reading Devices
  47. 47. Ebook Conversion OptionsConversion Options1. Automated(Smashwords, Amazon)2. DIY conversion tools(Calibre, Sigil, Adobe InDesign)3. Hire ebook formatter/designer/coder(Complex books)
  48. 48. Pricing
  49. 49. Pricing• Determine objective• Platform building, sales, or both?• If you publish multiple books, covermultiple price points to capture themost readers• FREE, $.99, $2.99, $3.99, $4.99+• Non-fiction supports higher prices thanfiction
  50. 50. ISBN
  51. 51. What’s an ISBN?• What it is:• Unique digital identifier• A 13-digit number• Helps supply chain communicate aboutbook• Required for Smashwords distribution toApple, Sony, Kobo• What it is NOT:• Does not connote ownership or copyright• Does not imply “professional” or “real”• Not a common discovery method
  52. 52. Where to Obtain an ISBN• Go to• Expensive unless you purchase blocks of10+• Lists you as “publisher” in Books in Print• Go to Smashwords• FREE ISBNs
  53. 53. Copyright
  54. 54. Copyright Simplified• By publishing something you created,you have copyright• Copyright entitles you to an exclusivebundle of rights• The notation of © is optional• For best legal protection, go and register copyrightonline• Learn more at the Copyright ClearanceCenter at
  55. 55. Distribution to retailers
  56. 56. Ebook retailers want indieebooks
  57. 57. Diversify your portfolio of retailers, avoidexclusivity, think globally
  58. 58. Two options for getting your bookon a retailer’s virtual shelves1. Use a Distributor (such as Smashwords)• Upload one file, distribute to many retailers• Time-savings, consolidated payments and taxreporting1. Direct to Retailers• Format for each specific retailer• Upload to, and manage each retailer separately• Sony, Diesel, Libraries require distributor
  59. 59. Piracy
  60. 60. Everything you need to knowabout piracy• Don’t worry about piracy• Obscurity is your biggest risk• Black hat pirates who steal your bookwouldn’t have purchased it anyway• Most piracy is accidental – it’senthusiastic fans marketing your bookfor you
  61. 61. Irrational fear of piracy leadsleads to obscurity• The only reliable method of piracyprevention is to NEVER PUBLISH• Anti-piracy measures such as DRM onlylimit availability, accessibility andenjoyment• Combat piracy by making your bookeasier to purchase than steal• Low, fair price• Broad distribution
  62. 62. Marketing
  63. 63. Traditional marketing isn’t asimportant as you think it is• Marketing is a catalyst, not fuel• Your book is your best marketing• Reader word of mouth determines your success• Viral catalysts amplify word of mouth• Build permanence• Focus on discoverability and platformbuilding
  64. 64. The Plan Forward
  65. 65. The Publishing Industry is in Flux. Thesechanges will…Benefit Indie AuthorsDisadvantage Traditionally PublishedAuthors
  66. 66. YOU are the future of publishing
  67. 67. YOU have a right to publish
  68. 68. YOU are your own gatekeeperYOU decide when your manuscriptgraduates to published book
  69. 69. Honor your readersGive them great books(and do it faster with lower prices)
  70. 70. The task before you is not easy, yet…
  71. 71. The Opportunity to Reach ReadersHas Never Been Greater
  72. 72. Free Ebook Publishing Resources• NEW! Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (bestpractices of successful authors)• Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (how to market anybook)• Smashwords Style Guide (how to format an ebook)
  73. 73. Don’t miss Part II of thispresentation: The Secrets to EbookPublishing SuccessLearn the best practices of thebestselling indie ebook authors.View it now on Slideshare:
  74. 74. Thank you for considering thefuture!Q&AConnect with Mark Coker and Smashwords:Web: www.smashwords.comBlog: blog.smashwords.comLinkedIn: @markcoker