Freelance Writer Today, Published Author Tomorrow

Posted on June 28, 2012 by Rachel M

It used to be that if you wanted to see your name in print, you had to shop around to publishers and face a lot of rejection. And even if a publisher did pick up your book, you ended up with a pitiful amount in royalties. Luckily, for freelance writers there is now a better way.

EBook publishing not only gets you published, it also allows you to test out your book without investing any money. Another bonus: you get to keep up to 70% of the royalties.

The two main platforms available today for eBook publishing are Kindle and iBookstore. Both are free to publish to; however, they don’t make it easy on you. Each platform works in a different way. EBook publishing is not like traditional book publishing. Just because your text starts on a new page on your Word document does not mean it will start on a new page on the eReader. Here are the guidelines to publish your own eBook on Kindle and iBookstore.

When you publish your own book you do not have a professional editor to review it. For that reason, you need to make sure that your book is perfect before you start formatting it. If you get over-zealous and start the formatting before you are sure your book is error-free, you will end up having to correct every change on both documents. Once you are sure your book is the next bestseller, separate it into two different documents.

First, publish your eBook to Kindle — the most popular eBook reading platform. Your book will be published within 48 hours. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Amazon.com and scroll to the bottom of a page. You will see a link that says “Independently Publish with Us.” Follow the prompts for publishing the Kindle book. Continue to follow the prompts to enter your book’s information.
  2. Upload the image for your cover using a program such as Microsoft Publisher to create a cover from scratch. Go for something that is eye-catching and easy to read. Save your file as a .jpeg so that it loads successfully.

Meet this formatting criteria before you upload your document:

  • Use page breaks to signal a new page in your book. Without them, your text will just run continuously, including new chapters.
  • Insert a hyperlinked table of contents at the beginning of your book. This is the key to a successful eBook.
  • Insert bookmarks on your document for the cover, where you want the book to open up to for readers, and the table of contents. Use “cover, start, and TOC” as the appropriate tags so that the eReader recognizes them. These tags allow the reader to easily navigate through your book.
  • You must save the file as an HTML document (web page, filtered) for it to be transferred correctly. When you do this, any pictures that you have will be put into a separate folder.
  • If your book contains pictures, zip them together the HTML file and the picture folder before you upload it to Amazon. If you do not do this, all of your pictures will be gone.

If you have followed these formatting rules, you should be able to upload your document with no issues. Always preview your eBook before you submit it. Continue to follow the prompts, choosing your price point and royalty option. Within 48 hours, your eBook will be available for sale.

The iBookstore is another popular place for readers to purchase books. Many different websites offer eBook publishing to the iBookstore. Lulu.com is one that offers competitive royalty options and is relatively easy to use.

Follow these iBookstore formatting steps.

  1. When publishing through this platform, page breaks are not recognized. The only way that a new page is recognized is with the heading styles that you use. Apply Heading Styles 1 and 2 to all of your chapters and subheadings. That way, they will each restart on a new page.
  2. You need not add tags or a hyperlinked table of contents. The platform automatically creates a table of contents for you using your headings.
  3. You can save the document in the .doc format and the software on Lulu.com will transfer it to the ePub format. You do not need to worry about your pictures disappearing.
  4. Continue to follow the prompts, uploading your cover image and choosing your pricing options. It is vital that you write a good description and add key words that will make your eBook easy to find for potential readers. Once everything is completed, you can expect to see your book show up in the iBookstore within eight weeks.

Now that you have successfully published your eBook, take a moment to celebrate. You are a published author! However, in order to be a successful published author, your work is not even close to over. You need to get out there and market your book. Schedule book signings, create a Facebook page, and contact local television stations and newspapers. You may be surprised who you end up hearing back from.

Rachel M is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.


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