A Step-By-Step Guide
Telling Exactly How to Self And/Or Independently Publish Your Book
On Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Wouldn’t it be wonderful it that statement were really true and it was just as easy as that to make all our dreams of fame and fortune a reality? Well…I’m here to tell you that in some ways it really is true…and the reason I know that for a fact, is that I recently did it myself when I self-published my sweet, comedy or errors style, old-fashioned Regency Romance novel entitled A Very Merry Chase which I wrote 35 years ago–and it didn’t cost me a single solitary dime to do it.
“How?” You ask sceptically.
“Easy.” I reply with a smile, and instead of charging for this information, or charging you to do it for you, I’m going to tell you how to do it yourself.
First you write a book.
It doesn’t need to be a novel, it can be fiction, a self help book, a how-to book or even the story of your life. You just need to write it and own the rights to it. (And yes, you can also do this by rewriting books in the public domain to make them uniquely your own.)
Now if you need some help editing you can purchase the WhiteSmoke Editor to catch things like misspelled words, grammatical errors, split infinitives and those other things that a publishing house or paid editor would catch. I used it, and I mostly loved it; but I strongly caution you–it is just a tool. Do not let it tell you how to write your book, or cause you to edit your book to the point where your book loses it’s unique voice–you don’t want to end up with something that reads like a computer wrote it!
The rest follows in a simple step by step pattern, using free online tools and resources.
Second you translate your book into HTML.
If you don’t know HTML, you can translate a Microsoft Word or Free OpenSource Open Office document into an HTML file with a touch of a button. Keep your HTML very simple. There are special program tips at Amazon for the Kindle and at Barnes and Noble for the Nook but basically if you just keep your HTML very simple the same HTML file will work as the basis for both finished product formats.
Third you prepare your cover image.
This step can be a little more complicated, especially if you do not have any artistic talent; but it also can be managed simply enough if you are willing to put some time and effort into it. You can do a simple cover with just words. Again check Amazon and Barnes and Noble for specific image formatting sizes and requirements.
Fourth you prepare you cover blurb.
This is where you put your best foot forward. This is the text that you hope will catch the search engine’s attention so people will find your book. This is the text that you hope will catch people’s attention so they will buy your book. Short and snappy is the key here. Use relevant keywords and always, always leave them wanting more.
At this time you will also want to come up with your list of relevant keywords, and also write a brief author’s bio.
Fifth you prepare your book for publication.
Important Note: Amazon is by far the simplest one to do. I strongly recommend that you put your book on Amazon and work out the bugs before attempting to load your book on Barnes and Noble.
Amazon: Amazon is by far the simplest one to do. You put all of your HTML files and images into a zip file and then upload it to Amazon, preview it their previewer, fill in a few blanks with information and then hit the publish button.
Price your book at $2.99 or higher so you can get 70% commission. If you are an unknown author and price it too high and you will not make any sales. On the other hand, if you price it below $2.99 on Amazon, you will only make 30% commission.
Barnes and Noble: Barnes and Noble uses the epub format, which sounds deceptively simple when it is referred to as simple a .zip file with an .epub extension! Believe me it’s not that simple for beginners. I’ve been working on the Internet for well over 15 years now and I got so frustrated I nearly gave up! But since my mother says I have an overabundance of bulldog tenacity, I finally figured out a workaround.
Download Sigil. Open your HTML file in Sigil and use its Meta and Contents Editor to build your edit files. Then save it as an .epub file. Now comes the really tricky part. You must edit your .epub archive without breaking it. I use 7-zip. Then you go into your OEBPS folder and edit your contents file to only include the meta information requested by Barnes and Noble. Then save your edited contents file and upload it to Barnes and Noble and preview it in their previewer. If it doesn’t work, then you probably have a problem in either your html or your contents file, and you will need to patiently use a lot of trial and error, tinkering, uploads and previewing to locate the problem and fix it.
Now, let me state for the record…. I will not fix your ebook for you for free. Nor will I just take a quick look and tell you what it wrong. Please understand, I’m not trying to be mean here; I had to give up my online business because I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and most of the time I’m too darned tired to do my own work. However, if you cannot figure out how to do it yourself, my son will do it for the following rates (payable 50% in advance) via PayPal.
$100.00 to translate your .doc or .otd file into a basic html for you. (No text editing included.)
$100.00 to make a simple, colorful cover image for you.
$150.00 to translate your finished .html file into an epub for you.
$500.00 for the complete package for publication. (No text editing included.).
Sixth you prepare you promote your book.
Promoting your book will probably be the most difficult part of all; but the good news is, unless you are already a traditionally published best-selling author, you would have to do all of your own promotion anyway. That’s right, an agent–if you can get one–will try to sell your book to a publishing house for you. The traditional publishing house will publish it and get it into bookstores and online venues for you–but unless you are already a bestselling author–from that point forward your are pretty much all on your own.
Which brings us to the Fame and Fortune part of the equation. I would be lying if I tried to sell you that you were definitely going to become either Famous or Wealthy from Self and/or Independently publishing your book. Chances are excellent that you will become neither; but don’t let that discourage you because it has happened to others and it can happen to you…just as easily as if you were to become traditionally published. In fact, self-publishing online can, and has for others, led to a traditional publishing contract. So fame and fortune can be within your grasp. It the end, it all depends on
A: How good is your book.
B: How well have you promoted it.
And so the topic of my next post will be…How to promote your self-published book online.Smiles and Good Fortune,
Teresa Thomas Bohannon
Self and/or Independently Published Author Of
A Very Merry Chase
Available From Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Complimentary Promotional Package for A Very Merry Chase Available Here
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent.
– W. Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915