Follow our steps to create and sell eBooks. Get tips on cover design, graphic design, costs and tips on saving money when creating eBooks. And information on who the top suppliers are for tools and services for eBook creation and selling.
TIP: To get ideas about what’s available and what’s not, visit the top ebook sellers. Do some keyword research to understand what words and terms people are searching for. That will help you determine the potential demand for the type of eBook you want to offer.
An ebook is a document that has been made into a PDF (Portable Document File) that essentially “locks” the information and graphics so they can’t be altered. A PDF also allows anyone to download and read your ebook including Windows and Mac users. A PDF also compresses the file size dramatically making it faster to download. PDFs are also safe to download.
You can create an ebook in any popular software program like Microsoft Word, Publisher, or PowerPoint. You’ll need to have Adobe Acrobat Full Version installed on your computer. The free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader will not create PDF eBooks.
Use a template. A template is essentially a shell that has been professionally designed. You add your text, logo and photos and images in the places you are allowed to on the template. There are thousands of templates to choose from: Some are free and other companies sell templates you can buy.
Know this: You don’t need a specific ebook template. You can use a template for a report and pamphlet. You’ll want to format your ebook into one of the common book sizes: 6 inches x 9 inches or 5 1/2 inches by 8 1/2 inches.
Top eBook Publishing Services
Amazon has a Kindle Direct Publishing that lets you self-publish e-books and sell them in their online Kindle store. Amazon has tutorials for how to format and upload your ebook to make sure it will be compatible with the Kindle, Amazon’s e-reader. You need an account to use the service, but you can use your existing Amazon.com account if you already buy things from the site. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Help page has the information you need to get started, including an explanation of the royalties you can earn and Amazon’s share of the profits.
Barnes and Noble has its own publishing platform called Barnes and Noble Press that can be used to upload and distribute e-books in its Nook online bookstore. The Press site accepts files in the ePub format, but it also has tools that convert Microsoft Word, RTF files, HTML documents and plain-text files into ePub. It doesn’t cost anything to use Press, but Barnes and Noble will take a percentage of your book’s list price in exchange for using their service to sell it. The Press Support page has information on prices, percentages and using the service.
Another alternative is to use an e-book distribution service like Smashwords can help you get your work out to a variety of online bookstores, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple’s iBookstore and the Sony Reader store.
Or, design the ebook yourself
If you have Microsoft Word, they have templates for pamphlets in the software.
Adobe has an entire area of their website dedicated to explaining how to create ebooks using Adobe Digital Editions software.
Formatting your ebook
Set margins between .5 inch and 1 inch on all sides. Check what the page breaks look like and adjust if needed. Add a header and footer. It’s smart to include your name and website address along with copyright information on every page.
Get several people to look at the ebook to check for typos and to ensure everything is perfect. You may want to print some examples of your ebook on a color office printer so you can see what it will look like and proof that instead of trying to do that on your computer. You’ll see and catch more errors by doing this.
Convert to a PDF
You can do this with Adobe’s software or use a self-publishing service. They’ll do this for free but they’ll add their branding and other information to your ebook.
Distribute your ebook
- Post it as a link from your website and blog
- Send it as an attachment via email to customers, prospects and the media
- There are many sites that sell ebooks including Amazon.com, Google and Apple
If you want to offer printed versions of your ebook
Your options are:
Print on your office printer
- If you’re not printing very many, a good way to save money is to invest in a high quality color office printer and use that for printing ebooks, pamphlets, booklets, tri-fold brochures and other sales-related materials.
- If your ebook has black and white text for the inside pages (like a book), then you can print those quickly and inexpensively on an office laser printer and use a color printer for just the cover. Or, choose colored paper to print the cover on.
If you’re printing thousands of ebooks, you’ll want to have that done by a commercial printer.