Do you own an iPad? Kindle? Are you reading books on your Droid or iPhone? Perhaps you’re reading the classics on your laptop, taking advantage of www.gutenberg.org. If you’re an author who also an eBook consumer, I ask you…are you publishing electronically? First, I’m a huge fan of having as much distribution for your work and part of that is offering your book in as many different formats as possible. That includes, print, eBooks and audio to name a few. If you haven’t yet taken the plunge to convert your print edition to an eBook, let today be the day you expand your reach and increase your audience base.
1. Start with a professionally edited and formatted file. When your book goes through the conversion process, it’s essentially taking your content and converting it to code, that will ultimately be manipulated, and viewed on an eReader like an iPad. The best eBooks are those that read well (yes, editing is critical no matter what format it’s in) and have been formatted by a professional. It will make your final eBook file the best it can be
2. Use a professional to convert your book to an ePub file. Have you seen the commercials that provide a disclaimer that says, “Don’t try this at home?” The same thing applies to converting your book to an ePub file (eBook). You must be tech savvy and it’s worth spending the money to have a professional do it for you. You also want a company that tests on all the latest devices. Do you really want to spend hours learning how to make your own ePub and then have to buy a dozen eReaders to test it? Leave it to the professionals.
3. Keep your expectations in check. An ePub file will never be perfect. It is a bunch of code that can be manipulated on a variety of different devices, so it will look different from one device to the next. It is not supposed to look exactly like a printed book, so get over it. People read eBooks for the content. Make sure your content is solid.
4. Distribution. You must have your book in all of the major distribution channels, so don’t convert your file and assume you’ll just sell it from your website. Again, let the professionals handle this for you.
5. Pricing your eBook. Here is a critical piece to the eBook selling puzzle. Pricing your eBook to compete with your competition. Do your research. Most eBooks sell well between, $3.99-$9.99. Look at other eBooks in your genre and price accordingly. Yes, there are the 99 cent eBook success stories, but price it higher. You can always go lower or run a short-term promotion to offer a discount.
5. Marketing. Nothing sells without marketing and promotion, so get out there and promote your eBook alongside your print book. Let your potential readers know you’re a modern day author and you’re hip to the eBook publishing scene. Use your social media to drive traffic to your eBook and go ahead and ask for the sale. You’ll be reaching another demographic and reader audience you’re not reaching with print.
6. eBooks only. In some cases it makes sense for an author to start off by going electronic vs. print. Of course, I almost always recommend both options, it gives you more exposure and distribution options, but I digress. If you’re writing on a topic that is very popular and you don’t have the marketing budget to compete with more well-known titles, eBooks are a great option. If you’re launching a series of books and trying to define your niche market, using an eBook for market research may make better sense than jumping right into print. Just don’t forget that there are many readers out there who still love print and won’t even touch an eBook, so be careful in going eBook only.
So how do you make it BIG as an eBook author? The secret lies in having great content that is marketed and available to your ideal audience. I know, it’s not rocket science, but that really is the formula.
To read more about how successful an eBook author can be, check out this Forbes.com article.
Sherrie Wilkolaski is a public relations and marketing expert for independent authors and traditional publishers. Her unique balance of real-world experience as a best-selling author and her insider knowledge into the mechanics of the publishing process has allowed her to help thousands of authors successfully translate their creations into published works of art. Her boutique publishing house style draws authors to her—it’s the measurable results in book sales that keep them loyal. A former Director of Publishing Services at Lulu and Director of radio show, “The Publishing Insiders.” Currently, she is a columnist for the Raleigh Examiner and frequent featured blogger on Shewrites.com. She is a consultant and publishing services broker for a variety of small to mid-sized publishers, including Infinity Publishing. She is the author of best-selling book, “How to Start a Wedding Planning Business” and the “Cookies and Cocktails” series. Her third, yet to be titled, book is coming out in the in 2012. www.authorpublishingservices.com