Basic E-Book Creation Tutorial

  • 09/10/2012 3:27 PM
    Message # 1068907

    One of my publishers provided me with the following basic tutorial on creating an E-book at a publishing site. The guidance is general because the creation instructions at the various publishing sites are very dynamic. I have not vetted or tried out any of this myself, as I have publishers who do that for me. But perhaps this will help you get started. Discussion here on any of this is welcome.

    E-book Self-Publishing 101

    PART 1


    If you want to self-publish your book electronically in print or e-book form you will need to have:

    - good computer skills,

    - Word, (if you want to publish direct to the Apple ibook store you will need a


    - access to a good Internet connection.

    Where can I publish and sell my book?

    You can self-publish and sell your print or e-book at most major online retailers.


    You can publish in print in various ways.

    ·                     You can go the path of using a local printer to do a print run of several hundred books. This is generally the cheapest per copy price but requires expenditure up front.

    ·                     You can make use of Print On Demand (or POD) services that will print as few as one copy at a time for you.

    Well-known POD packaging services include:

    1.                  CreateSpace - paperback only - https://www.createspace.com/

    2.                  Lulu - paperback, hardcover, spiral bound - http://www.lulu.com/

    Books published through these POD services may be made available for sale in the online stores of Amazon, B&N, The Book Depository, and others.


    E-book publishing can be simpler or more complicated than print publishing depending on how many distributors you want to be with and what formats you want to make available.

    If you just want to have your book for sale through Amazon, it’s pretty easy to publish electronically.

    Major e-book distributors you can sell directly with include:

    1.      Amazon https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin

    2.      Barnes & Noble http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/pubit_app/bn?t=pi_reg_home

    3.      Smashwords - http://www.smashwords.com/ they on load to Apple, KOBO, B&N and various other distributors.

    Other e-book distribution service providers

    4.      Lulu - http://www.lulu.com/

    5.      Bookbaby - http://www.bookbaby.com/ this is a pay for service that will do the work of putting your book up on all major e-book retailers for you.

    First Steps

    Print books

    Your book’s interior - the contents, story, text.

    Go immediately and study the information provided on the Print on Demand sites.

    CreateSpace has interior format templates you can download and create your book interior in.

    Your book’s cover

    CreateSpace provide templates for you to use if you wish to create your own cover in Photoshop or Indesign. They also have an on screen cover maker you can use to create your print book cover. You can even upload your own photos into this designer.

    If you do not have access to software such as Photoshop, or a lot of experience using it, there are many reasonably priced cover making services out there. Covers can be had for as little as $40, but may cost a great deal more depending on your requirements.


    Your books interior - the contents, story, text.

    (Lulu provide a service to convert a print book you have made with them into an e-book.)

    Go immediately and read the Smashwords Style Guide http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52. Much of this information on setting up your manuscript applies to all distributors BUT not all of it. You will also need to go to the Kindle Publishing Guide http://www.amazon.com/Publish-Amazon-Kindle-Publishing-ebook/dp/B004LX069M/ref=pd_sim_sbs_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&m=A24IB90LPZJ0BS and the Help forums to publish on Amazon, and the Pubit publishing FAQ http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/pubit_app/bn?t=support to publish on B&N (or you can go to B&N via Smashwords and avoid having to check this one out).

    When you have digested these you can do the tweaking in Word to format your manuscript correctly.

    Note that these guides change regularly and once your manuscript is complete you will need to go back and see if any of the requirements in these guides have changed. Amazon’s requirements for Kindle publication have changed frequently in major ways, as do Smashwords.

    These notes do not cover the next things you will need to do before your manuscript is ready to be published, such as:

    ·         getting your manuscript edited and proofed and

    ·         having the book designed for layout

    ·         having a cover made for your book.

    ·         Getting an ISBN number.

    ·         Preparing a blurb and data sheet

    Your manuscript must be edited well and proofread. There are many pay-for-publishing service providers who will do these things for you, at a cost, as will many professionals you can find locally or via the internet and on forums at publishing and writing sites.

    Your book’s cover

    Your cover must be appealing and the right size. And again, as with a print book, to make it yourself. you will need software such as Photoshop or indesign to make one that is competitive in the marketplace.

    If you do not have access to the necessary software, or a lot of experience using it, there are many reasonably priced cover-making services out there. Professionally designed covers can be had for a reasonable price, but the cost will vary a great deal depending on your requirements, such as changes or original art work.

    Permissions to use photo images for book covers can be purchased from such photo services as 123rf (http://www.123rf.com/) or Dreamstime (http://www.dreamstime.com).

    Cover designers


    ·         Killercovers are a professional e-cover making company http://killercovers.com/

    ·         If you are publishing with Smashwords - If you can't create your own cover, send an email to list@smashwords.com for a referral to a low cost cover designer.

    ·         http://damonza.com/ another professional ecover maker.

    ·         http://streetlightgraphics.com/

    Print and e-book covers

    ·         http://damonza.com/

    ·         http://streetlightgraphics.com/

    Book Trailers - if you want these to help promote your book

    ·         http://productions.jillett.com/book-trailer.php

    ·         http://damonza.com/

    There are two ways to self-publish the “free” DIY way and the “pay for extra services” way.


    The following are major e-book distributors you can self-publish your e-books with directly who will not charge a listing fee but who will only pay you a % of the sale value in royalties.:-

    1. https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin - Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform.
    2. https://www.smashwords.com/  Smashwords - acceptance of your book into their premium catalogue will get you onto Apple, Barnes & Noble, KOBO, Diesel, Sony and to Baker.
    3. http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/pubit_app/bn?t=pi_reg_home  Pub-it - Barnes and Nobles self-publishing platform (only open to Americans).


    Smashwords is a simple way to self-publish, the Smashwords Style Guide https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52 will show you how to set up your manuscript correctly ready to upload to them. They have FAQ pages and other resources to help you. You upload a Microsoft Word file to them for the book interior, so it’s easy. You will also need a cover made up as a JPG picture file. You will need Photoshop or some other photo software that allows you to add text to a picture to make a book cover to upload or to pay for a cover to be made.

    Smashwords can provide free ISBN numbers. They pay royalties by check in the United States or via Paypal.

    KDP Amazon

    They have a huge amount of help information you can start to access from the log in page https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin . They now also have a video tutorial to guide you through the publishing process. There are also many other videos on You Tube that will help you on things such as creating acceptable covers, as well as a huge amount of written information in the Help Topics.

    You do not need an ISBN number to publish on Amazon Kindle. Amazon pays royalties monthly by check.

    B&N Pubit

    Only available to U.S. residents http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/pubit_app/bn?t=support

    Pub it support and resource page has an extensive list of topics. Takes Microsoft word files, does not need an ISBN number, limit to what fonts you can use in formatting.

    Pay For

    There are many organizations and individuals who will provide you with paid-for services to help you get your book ready for publication in print or e-book. They can usually also help you to get a cover made, create formats, and may even upload them to distributors for you.

    Book baby http://www.bookbaby.com/ will do conversion and uploads for e-books.

    Amazon’s CreateSpace paid services https://www.createspace.com/pub/services.home.do?tab=PUBLISHING will do anything you could think of for your book in print.


    Last modified: 09/10/2012 6:35 PM | Anonymous
  • 09/10/2012 5:14 PM
    Reply # 1068963 on 1068907
    Thanks for posting this, Gary. 
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