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Self-publishing e-books: How to get started

Johanna Ambrosio | March 26, 2014
It's not difficult to put out your own e-publication, but there are several decisions to sort through first.

Confused? That's not surprising. It's a very confusing marketplace — with no established "best practices" available. E-sellers want writers to stay true to them — Amazon wants you only on Kindle, Apple on iTunes, etc. — while aggregators, who mostly make a living by taking a cut of your sales, want you on as many e-seller sites as possible. Do a lot of research before you commit; one good resource is 10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to Any E-Publishing Service by Jane Friedman.

In short, a large bottle of aspirin and an even larger calculator — or perhaps the other way 'round — will come in very handy as you're making some of these decisions.

And don't forget marketing
Beyond that, part of the deal with self-publishing (in electronic or any format) is to be prepared to market your own book. You'll get some help from the aggregators or booksellers, but you can't depend on them alone to get the word out.

For example, my co-author and I will be creating packets (which are essentially press kits) pitching local media, and figuring out a general plan for how to do that — while keeping faithful to our day jobs, of course. We're also going to request help from the 50-plus people we interviewed for the book, asking them to get the book mentioned on their personal and/or professional websites. And, of course, social media will become our new BFF.

Self-publishing can be an exciting time, with all sorts of possibilities — and some confusion as well. But when you've gotten through all the decisions and your book is finally finished and available, then the journey may become interesting in ways you haven't even begun to consider.


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