The process of publishing your ebook can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. This handy how-to guide will help you work through it easily, and show you what to expect.
Most writers suffer from a creative breakdown at some point or another, and many would-be authors are derailed entirely by these problems. Life intrudes on writing time, or distractions make the project drag out, sapping the energy and drive of the writer. Without a plan, writing starts to take a backseat to things that are more urgent, or easier to accomplish. The writer’s mind begins to seek out time-sinks, making excuses as to why they aren’t writing.
The key to preventing this from happening to your writing is having a plan. Not every writer’s plan will be the same, just as not every writer feeds on words in the same way, but every successful writer will have a plan. In a very broad sense, this plan will have four key parts: ideas, focus, goals, and a schedule.
There is a form of punctuation called the semicolon. (It’s the one that looks like a comma with a period stacked on top of it.) In my time as a copyeditor I’ve slashed out more semicolons than I care to count, usually due to overuse or misuse. I prefer to think of the semicolon as a supercomma. It helps me to remember the proper usage of the beast.
So what is it?
Simply Written was created with authors in mind. It’s a tool. It’s a creation aid that provides the author with clean, beautiful files that can be published as ebooks.
The publishing process, on the other hand, is complicated.
The subject of DRM (Digital Rights Management) is a hugely controversial one. Supporters are avid that it protects the writer (and the publisher or retailer) from people stealing their content. Those against DRM say that it merely inconveniences users, and provides publishers a way to punish usage they disagree with.
In 2011, Bowker (the agency responsible for assigning ISBN codes to all the books in the US) reported that approximately 43% of the books printed for the year were listed as being self-published. They also noted a rise in the listing of ebooks that are self-published, but because not all outlets require an ISBN (and Bowker only counts the ISBNs) the number was likely much higher than they recorded. It’s estimated that in 2008, ebooks accounted for 1% of all published books, but by 2014 that ratio rose to nearly 35%.
Why the sudden increase in self-publishing? In past years an author would write their masterpiece, then search out an agent; or cold contact a publishing house, praying to get someone to notice their work and want to buy it from them. A very small percentage of authors ever made it past the submission stage. Rejection letters would pile up over the years while waiting on a publisher to take notice.
Most likely, if you’re a writer you’re already familiar with what an ISBN actually is. It stands for International Standard Book Number, and is the way books are commercially set apart from each other. The book number is unique for every book, and for every version of a book, like a literary fingerprint. It allows a book to be identified both in catalogs and bookstores, be they physical or digital.
Most people know that a book needs an ISBN, but what they may not understand is that each format of the book needs a separate number. A hardback is different from a paperback, which is different from an epub, which is different from a mobi. An ISBN will reveal exactly what you’re getting, as opposed to other versions available.
If you have a publishing company, they will most likely take care of the process of assigning ISBNs to your work, but a self-published author needs to do that themselves. It’s not a difficult process, but it is an important one.
You’ve heard the terms. You know they’re electronic books. But what is an epub or mobi file?
Officially the term “epub” is short for “electronic publication” and is a free and open ebook format used by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). It is able to be read by most ereaders, including all Apple products, Android devices, Nook, Kobo, Sony and Windows. The only devices that currently don’t read epub files are Amazon Kindle devices.
The “mobi” format was created by a small company for the Mobipocket reader, but was purchased by Amazon. It is nearly identical to the native azw format that Amazon uses, and is used almost exclusively by the Kindle, although some readers have apps that can be installed to read them.
What does that mean for a writer? Or even a reader (both human and digital)? Well let’s explain a little more about what makes up an epub or mobi file as opposed to, say, a text file.
Welcome to the world of digital publishing.
Whether you’re a writer, a publisher, or just curious about the process of digital book making, you’ve come to the right place. This blog has been created as a companion to the Simply Written service, to provide information and insight into the industry of eBooks and digital publication.