How to Self-Publish Your eBook in 5 Easy Steps

This digital era we live in can get overwhelming. It seems nearly everything takes place online now; from conversations to classes to — you guessed it! — reading books. 

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Believe it or not, eBooks were invented before the internet. The first eBook was created in 1971 by Michael S. Hart. By the early 80’s, eBooks were being distributed via CDs. Sales were meager as there was a lack of variety. 

That is, until the launch of Amazon Kindle in 2017. The ease of access and expanded variety in titles paid off, to say the least, as Amazon saw a huge boost in sales. In fact, in 2013 alone Amazon reported $3.9 billion in eBook sales. 

While there has been a slight decrease in eBook sales since 2011, they’ve overall stayed steady and things are looking up again. The percent of readers who use eBooks is currently at 10.5% and rising, expected to reach 11.8% by 2022.

People are no doubt attracted to the ease of access, mobility, and overall convenience of eBooks, a desire that doesn’t appear to be disappearing anytime soon. 

By neglecting to release your self-published book as an eBook, you could be missing out on a good amount of potential readers and sales.

Uploading your book as an eBook can be much less daunting when broken into palatable steps. Here are the 5 easy steps to take to make your self-published book available as an eBook to expand your audience and boost sales.

Step 1: Formatting

When it comes to formatting your eBook, prioritize readability. That means keeping it simple by sticking to standard fonts (Arial or Verdana) and sizes (11 or 12pt). 

Put yourself in the shoes of a reader scanning the book to decide if they’d like to dive in. Keep your headers visually consistent, and your paragraphs short

Simplicity for the sake of readability doesn’t mean your eBook has to be boring. Spice things up with eye-catching imagery. You can use your own images, or find free public domain images on sites like Unsplash.  

Doing a bit of research can save you some time, as many word processing programs have handy tricks to help ease the process. For example, Microsoft Word comes with built-in headings that you can customize while ensuring they stay consistent. They’ll even appear on the table of contents when you’re finished. 

Apple Pages has customizable eBook templates that save you the hassle of remembering important details like page numbers, paragraph appearance, and more. 

Step 2: Design a Cover

While we’re often told to never judge a book by its cover, it’s a fact that many of us do. Having a well-designed book cover can attract a wandering eye that may have skimmed over it otherwise. 

Here are some important considerations when picking your eBook cover design:

  • Your cover should accurately display the genre and “personality” of the book, as well as attractively display any rewards or reviews you’ve received. 
  • You’ll want the typography of the cover to be completely legible, simple, and appealing. 
  • You should also have a compelling visual that displays the mood of the book without revealing any vital details. 
  • Do some research on other books from your genre that are selling successfully and take note of some design elements you may have overlooked otherwise. Is the font large or small? What kind of color schemes stand out?

Once you’ve determined a color palette, font, and image, it’s time to play with the layout of the cover, as well as the design elements and how they’re pieced together in an eye-catching way. 

You can do this with most design programs like Photoshop

If you need some professional guidance, don’t hesitate to contact us for our book cover design services. Our professional designers know exactly what it takes to have your book cover stand out, along with a knack for ensuring the design suits the content.

Step 3: Convert Your Document to the Proper Format

Most publishing platforms require your eBook to be in an EPUB or .mobi format, which will probably require you to do a file conversion. 

Converting your eBook into both formats now will save you a headache later and prepare you to publish your eBook on multiple platforms. 

Some sites like Amazon Kindle will convert your document to an EPUB or .mobi for you. The challenge is that if you convert within Amazon’s platform, your converted file can only be distributed on their site. 

Draft2Digital provides writers with a conversion tool that allows you to convert your document to the proper format, and use it with other platforms and distributors. 

Step 4: Publish Your eBook

Before publishing your eBook, you’ll need to choose the right platforms to do it from. 

Make no mistake, there are a lot of eBook publishing platforms out there — and in our opinion, not all of them are worth your efforts. 

When choosing a platform, you’ll want to do your research on these important criteria:

  • Who will own the rights to your eBook
  • If there’s a contract that doesn’t allow you to leave the platform
  • The pricing method and what percent of royalties they take
  • Service options
  • Whether you’ll be able to use other platforms as well

Try to offer your book through as many major online retailers as possible in order to not miss out on their expansive audiences. The 5 largest eBook retailers to date are:

Once you’ve chosen the platforms you’d like to use for publishing, do one last run through your eBook. Check for things like formatting consistency, readability, and that it’s the correct file type. From there, follow the unique instructions on each platform for uploading your file. 

Step 5: Promote Your eBook

If a self-published author doesn’t promote their eBook, does the public know it’s there? Just like a tree falling in a forest, probably not. 

Make sure you have the following promotional elements to help push eBook sales:

  • An author site updated with the news of your eBook release and direct links to purchase it. Your website should have a clean image that makes it easy to read and navigate and include community building opportunities like a blog.  Add a blog update and a landing page to help draw attention to your newly released eBook. 
  • An email campaign letting people know about the release. Social media can have algorithms that exclude you from people’s feeds. Email is an effective way to ensure readers get your message. Plan an engaging email campaign to highlight the release of your eBook.
  • Set up and promote an author’s page on Goodreads. With over 20 million members, Goodreads is hard to overlook. And you shouldn’t! An author page helps you connect to readers by sharing your works as well as works you appreciate, and gives you an opportunity to leverage your eBook through votes on Listopia, ad campaigns, and more. 
  • A social media campaign. Get an idea of your target reader and imagine the ways they use social media. Consider things like Twitter chats to discuss a hot topic related to your book, posting a picture of the attractive cover on Facebook, or special contests to win downloads. Get creative with it!

We wish you the best of luck in your eBook publishing journey. Feeling overwhelmed? We can help! Upload your file to our site and we can help with both interior layout and cover design »

Adam user

President & CEO,
Steuben Press

Adam Ellis has worked in the book industry since 2002, when he was first exposed to the wonderful world of Self Publishing. Over the years he has worked with thousands of authors and helped to produce, print and publish countless books.

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