Friday, May 12, 2017

The self-publisher's bible

Now in its eighth edition, Notjohn's Guide to E-Book Formatting has been expanded with a chapter on how to format a print edition of your book. (And just to prove how easy that is, here's the paperback from CreateSpace.)

I became an Amazon e-publisher eight years ago, uploading a few Word docs to what was then called the Digital Text Platform. I soon changed to Html, the markup language used to build web pages. (All e-books are web pages at heart.) Then I discovered the wonders of the free and excellent Sigil software, which builds an "epub" of the sort used by Amazon's rivals in the e-book industry. It is by all measures the best way to format your e-book, creating a single file that can be uploaded to any retailer.

I outline the process in ten steps, with screenshots of my progress along the way. It's simple enough that anyone should be able to follow it, but as a fallback I also provide Plan B -- the Ultimate Basic Template that you can adapt to your own book. (And also a Plan C, in case you're still not convinced.) The Guide is intended to be used in connection with this blog.

On the US store, the "Matchbook" price of the Kindle edition is zero, meaning that if you purchase the paperback, you can get the ebook free. But you might want to hold that opportunity in reserve. I update the e-book once a year (and sometimes more often); that's a whole lot more difficult with print. I'll be happy to answer questions about the process. Just use the Comment window. -- NJ

6 comments:

  1. Hello and thank you for your Blog. No matter what I do with my cover, from uploading one I created elsewhere to creating a different one on the KDP site using their "Cover Creator," I always get the message that my DPI is not 300. Any suggestions would be helpful. Almost ready to pay for help. Many hours spent... Thank you.

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    1. Dpi doesn't have anything to do with ebooks, so you must be trying to publish a paperback. You're in luck! Regard that message as telling you to abandon KDP Print and instead use the much superior CreateSpace platform. CS is also an Amazon company, with the difference that it works.

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  2. Hi! I have a question. Does your book explain how to... embed fonts for Kindle? I know that embedding fonts is very, very dificult... but not imposible. Do you explain how to do it in your book? Sorry for my grammar mistakes, english is not my language; I can read it... but I can't write in english very well. Thank you very much.

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    1. No, I don't go into that at all, and I advise against it. 1) You must have the right to use the font, which may entail paying a fee. 2) You must know how to do it. 3) You risk annoying readers who prefer a different font. And 4) Amazon may rip out the fonts anyhow. So why bother?

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  3. Hello, I write Christian book - non fiction. I have many book on Amazon, etc but they are not selling. How can I contact you for mentoring and useful advice?

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    1. I struggle with that myself! Here's a useful blog post on promoting your book: https://insights.bookbub.com/marketing-a-new-book-tactics-authors-publishers-love

      And one on getting the most out of your Amazon store listing: https://www.writtenwordmedia.com/2017/03/07/sell-more-books-on-amazon/

      And a somewhat biased look at the whole process of self-publishing (you can ignore the BookBaby promotions): https://www.bookbaby.com/pages/pdf/5-Steps-To-Self-Publishing.pdf


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