How to Create an E-book
With the increased popularity of electronic devices, such as the Kindle, Nook and the iPad, e-books are more popular than ever. This presents a great opportunity for you as a writer to publish your own e-books. Whether you write e-books and self-publish them or plan to ghost write for companies, there’s great potential for fiction, how-to books, and other creative writing endeavors.
How do you write an e-book?
The great thing about creating an e-book is that there isn’t a set of standard rules to follow for length, style, format, or for getting published and so even a novice can quickly publish one and start earning from it. You can publish an e-book in any format you desire. It can be a robust and full-color book or can be a simple text-only Microsoft Word document. It can be in any genre and it can be written in first, second, or third person. It can also be pretty much any length you like. There are many e-books available that are a mere 30 pages long (or less) and you can set any price you like.
While there are no hard and fast rules, here are some things to keep in mind when writing an e-book:
Consistency in your format lends itself to readability. Carefully plan your format so you can be consistent throughout. You may even consider printing out your final version to see what it would look like if it were in hard copy. Seeing it in a different format will help you discover errors and emissions. And if you sell your e-book through a website as a PDF file, some of your customers may prefer to print their e-book once they buy it.
Different venues for publishing your e-book (like Amazon’s Kindle) allow you to submit it in various different formats. Be sure to read the rules before deciding on a format for your e-book. Amazon and Barnes and Noble are currently accepting submissions in several or all of the following formats and also offer a converter to turn your files into a file usable on their devices:
Word (.doc, or .docx)
Plain Text (.txt)
MobiPocket (.mobi, or .prc)
Zipped HTML (.zip)
Adobe PDF (.pdf,)
Image: iStockPhoto – Franck Boston
Something you’ll want to consider when e-book writing is the fact that because people tend to read them on electronic devices, ease of readability is important. A long single block of text in a tiny font will be hard on the eyes whereas shorter paragraphs, plenty of white space, a larger font and a simple font will make your e-book’s content easier to read (and therefore more enjoyable) for the reader. A clickable table of contents is also something you should consider so the book can be easily referenced for those who buy it.
Quality is job one in any piece of written work – particularly if you expect people to pay to read it. Not only do you want to carefully proofread the book before you sell it but you’ll want to look at it from the perspective of the potential buyer. Truthfully ask yourself, “What’s in this for your reader?” Not only will answering that question help you ensure you complete a high-quality electronic book but knowing the answers to that question can help you market and promote the book as well.
Browse Amazon and Barnes and Noble to see what prices books similar to yours are currently selling for. Don’t be discouraged by 99 cent per book pricing: there are many out there that have sold thousands of copies that way.
If you’re planning on selling your e-book as a PDF file through your website for example, do a few online searches first for books with the same or similar topics to see how your book compares and what your competition is selling their books for.
How to get started
Consider buying a few e-books yourself to help you figure out how others have written about your topic or similar topics and how they’ve formatted their e-book and how many pages they’re including in their books. You may be surprised at what you find.
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