Knowing a little about ebook publishing

ebook-vs-libros by melenita2012, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  melenita2012 

You know that saying about never volunteering for anything? Well, I wish I’d listen to that a little more. It would have saved me having to prepare to talk to my writer’s group on a subject I thought I knew more about than I actually did.

It started with me talking authoritatively in the group about ebook publishing. This was easy to do as when I’m comfortable, I can turn on the talk and make myself sound clever. I was in a confident mood that night and I suggested to give a talk to the group. I’ve published on Amazon and Smashwords so know the gig. It’s not difficult. Giving a talk on the subject would be child’s play.

OK. Rob, you should learn to keep your mouth shut.

Ebook publishing isn’t simple. Preparing a talk on the subject made me look at what it means in a wider context. The kind of things you need to do before you even have a publishable manuscript. And there are lots. It’s not something you can comprehensively cover in half an hour.

You need to think about:

  • editing
  • cover
  • pricing
  • whether it’s part of a series
  • what platforms
And that’s just using pithy bullet points to cover whole arenas of thought.
I self-published on Amazon and learnt loads from doing it. That was over a year ago, and some of those lessons are still sinking in. What I wanted to get across in the talk was that ebook publishing isn’t just having a manuscript and clicking that upload button. That is one step in a process that will take you from an aspiring author to being the CEO of your author business.
Once you click Upload, your work is there for the world to see and that’s when most authors realise they don’t have a business plan.
Publishing isn’t the end of your author journey: it’s only the start.
For far better advice on the subject of running your author business, check out Joanna Penn’s recent work Business for Authors. It’s a fantastic read and I wish she’d written it a year earlier so I could have benefited from it.