How to Self-Publish: eBooks and Kindle

Most of my discussion so far has been regarding paperback books. However, it’s pretty simple to also offer eBooks, and a great way to increase your readership, as well as give more value to your customer.

Converting files to eBook

It’s not hard to use a converter like Calibre and convert your existing PDF to ePub, and offer it as a file on your own site.  Calibre is free and simple to use.  It’s just a few mouse clicks to do most conversions.

However, Lulu.com and Kindle Direct Publishing also offer ways of doing that, as do many of the other self publishing sites.

CreateSpace makes it especially easy to offer an eBook of your work. At the end of your publishing process, they will ask if you want them to convert your existing work to Kindle. Then they send you over to Kindle Direct Publishing, where you can set your prices and territories. You have to wait about a day for review on those as well but it’s not a big deal. There is no fee for that either.

You can even offer a package where someone can get an ebook version of your book, either cheaply or for free, when they buy a print copy.

Kindle Select

When you tell them to bring your book over to Kindle, I highly recommend taking a copy of your book and converting it to .doc. That makes a much better looking product and the Kindle software has an easier time converting. LibreOffice does that easily, it’s just a matter of hitting “save as” and selecting “.doc” in the file dropdown.

You will also be offered to join Kindle Select. I usually do this as it offers some great benefits. It lets you run promotions for your book at no cost to you, lets you take a bigger cut of the profits, and gives you more sales options. The only tradeoff is you are agreeing to only sell your eBook on Kindle while you are a member of Kindle Select, but it’s a limited term in case you change your mind later. I’ve never regretted it.

Kindle Select also makes your book free to people who have Amazon Prime. You’re still paid when they read it – you are paid a proportion of the profits, which usually works out to be about a half a cent per page. It’s great to be able to say to your buyers “check out my book for free if you already have the Kindle subscription.”

If you end up using CreateSpace, your paperback and Kindle versions will show up on the same Amazon listing and that makes it really easy for customers to pick what they want.  It also means that if a person reviews your paperback version, that review will be visible on the Kindle version, and vice versa.

eBook covers

The only other note about eBooks as opposed to print books, is the cover is a little different. You only need the front half of the cover. I generally go into Gimp, use rectangle select to isolate the part I want, hit “crop to image,” save that new file, then boom. Done.

Some people do the Kindle or eBook version first, then set up a paperback later, some do the other way around.  Either way is fine.  Kindle Direct Publishing is starting a feature where they convert your Kindle boosk to paperback without you having to use CreateSpace, but that option is currently very new and I haven’t used it yet.

3 thoughts on “How to Self-Publish: eBooks and Kindle

Join the Conversation.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s