eBook publishing can appear to be complex, even black magic, that only the most tech-savvy prople would attempt. However, getting your eBook published is actually more straightforward then you might think.
The key is to get your book out to as many online sellers as possible (why leave any stone unturned?) and in as many different formats as possible.
The most popular e-reading device is the Amazon Kindle, followed closely by Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch (iBook), Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Sony Reader, and Kobo:
The most common format is ePub (iPad, Nook, Kobo) followed closely by MOBI (Kindle), LRF (Sony) and PDF (most devices accept PDF documents).
- Amazon: Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is Amazon’s e-book publishing platform, which pays 70% royalties to authors for books priced between $2.99 and $9.99 (outside this range, the rate drops to 35%). Stay away from KDP Select; even though this adds your book to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library scheme, you are forced to make your book exclusive to the Kindle Store for at least 90 days. The Kindle supports Portable Document Format (PDF), Amazon’s proprietary Kindle Format (AZW), and Mobipocket (MOBI); you can convert your eBook from Word format using free software tools such as Mobipocket eBook Creator or Calibre.
- Apple: Apple’s iBookstore for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch accepts the industry standard ePub format for digital publications as well as PDF. Apple requires you have an ISBN number for your eBook if you are charging for it (free books are easier to get on the iBookstore).
- Barnes & Noble: Barnes & Noble’s PubIt platform also accepts the ePub digital publishing format as well as PDF for their Nook reader. They have set the royalty rate for authors at 65% of the sale price for titles priced between $2.99 and $9.99 (outside this range, the rate drops to 40%). B&N has set 99 cents as the lowest allowable price and $199.99 as the highest. You will need to have a US bank account to publish to B&N.
- Sony: Sony also require that your eBook has an ISBN. The Sony Reader supports both ePub and PDF formats. You can’t publish direct to Sony, unfortunately – you must go through an aggregator like Smashwords or Author Solutions, which means that your royalties drop to 60%.
- Kobo: Kobo Writing Life allows authors to publish their eBooks in ePub format. You will need to get an ISBN number for your eBook. You will receive 70% royalties for eBooks priced between $1.99 to $12.99 – outside that range, the royalties drop to 45%.
- Aggregators: Another choice is to use an “aggregator”, which is a company that takes care of converting your book into the correct format for the respective devices and pushing the eBook out to one or more of the above distributors (for a small fee, of course). Look at companies like Smashwords (arguably one of the best), Lulu, eBookIt, Bookbaby, Booktango, amongst others. Smashwords have their own online book store, and will also push your book out to Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, the Diesel eBook Store and a few smaller stores (they don’t push to Amazon yet). They pay 60% of the sale price to the author, keeping 10% for themselves.
There are a small number of dominant online eBook distributors, and with a little dedication you should be able to publish your eBook to them all.