Tuesday, April 29, 2014

step-by-step: how to sell an e-book

See that picture above? That makes me want to run around my house singing "Happy" by Pharrell Williams.

Why? Because I've just spent the last four months of my life trying to figure out how to turn a book I helped write into an e-book for sale online. It was so confusing, I thought my brain might explode. I would work on it for a few weeks, have a million questions I couldn't figure out and have to put it off for a while out of sheer frustration and then go back to it later. I'll admit, I procrastinated a bit just out of dread.

My sister asked me the ultimate obvious question today, "Did you Google how to do that?"
Why no...that never occurred to me!

Of course I did! That's the first thing I did. I Googled, "how to make an e-book for sale" and 10,000 answers came up.
So I proceeded to watch videos on YouTube, read way more info than I ever wanted to know and ask someone who has done this numerous times (they stopped returning my calls). By trial and error, I finally just figured it out on my own, which is how I have learned everything, literally everything, in business for the last 20+ years!

The ironic thing is....it's not all that difficult. I just needed someone I could trust to tell me step-by-step what to do!

I'm going to do that for you!
The key here is....this is for a book you've already written and you know looks great. You will need a book that's been spell-checked, grammar checked, formatted with a table of contents, chapters, etc. and has a killer cover image. I can't help you if you don't - that's a whole 'nother blog post. I knew our book looked great because I have a printed version we've been selling that I had printed at Instant Publisher.

So here we go. Let's start with this...there are two primary e-book options - a Kindle and a Nook. The Kindle file is .mobi and the Nook is .epub. There are other options out there like an iBook but these two will be enough for me, for now.

Step 1: Pay someone reputable to turn your manuscript into the correct version for Nook and Kindle. I paid someone who did it wrong and then I found LiberWriter and the angels sang! Ahhhhhhhh!!! $60 and a few hours later and I had a Kindle and a Nook version.

Step 2: Download the "Kindle for PC" and "Nook for PC" software to your computer (or get the iPad app) so you can see how the e-books look after you download them from LiberWriter. Mine came out great!!

Step 3: You will hear that every book needs an ISBN number. That is not true! It is not mandatory and is actually not required to sell as a Kindle or Nook version but if you move to other distribution, like the iBookstore and some others, you will have to have one. To get an ISBN number, you pay $125 to Bowker Identifier Services for a single ISBN number. (You only need a bar code for books in print so don't worry about that.) I would skip this step if I had it to do over because right now I'm just putting it on Kindle and Nook.

Step 4: So now you have your formatted e-book, your (optional) ISBN number and you're ready to put it online. First, go to Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDR). You will feel overwhelmed and scared that you're doing it wrong but just click on the "Get Started" link and go step by step. You'll upload the .mobi file that you downloaded from LiberWriter. You're going to need to put your social security number in as your tax ID and you're going to need to enter a bank account where they can send your payment. If you're confused at all, call KDR.

If you make the price of your book between $2.99 and $9.99 (we went with $9.99) then you can get 70% royalties. Your book will be reviewed to make sure you own it and they'll let you know when it's up for sale and you'll get a check in the mail monthly for your commission.

Step 5: Now that you've successfully put it on Kindle, go to Nook Press, a division of Barnes and Noble and walk through all the same steps which are all similar to what you just did in Kindle. This time, you'll upload the .epub file. It took me about one hour to do this part because I was feeling confident by now and the questions were all the same except I liked that the Nook store let me enter more info, like our website and a pic of the author, etc.

Step 6: When you're all done, you will get an e-mail from KDR and also from Nook Press letting you know that your book is for sale. Now go on social media, tell the world and start making money!

Now was that so hard? No! It wasn't!!! It wasn't four months hard but uncertainty and fear kept me from moving forward and I hope that won't be the case for anyone who reads this post. I'm so happy that my Pastor's e-book is finally up for sale right here on Amazon (will be soon in paperback there too). We worked on this book for about four years and I have one more thing to do and I'm done with it. So happy.

In case you're wondering, I will be putting all my newly gained knowledge to use for myself soon. I'm planning this year to write the first of many scrapbooking e-books. I have realized all of this education was worth it because it will benefit me so much in the long run personally and for my work at the church. I'm now in the process of compiling a second book for my Pastors.

I hope someone can benefit from this post. Let me know if you have any questions!! I'll be happy to help!


Unknown said...

Oh Thanks so much for writing this!! I have been writing a paper craft projects book for... forever but dreading this stage. Will press on to finish!!

TracieClaiborne said...

Yay! Please e-mail me if I can help you at all. I believe once we learn something, we should help others who need to know what to do! tracieclaiborne@hotmail.com