Wednesday Wing brings you useful tips to help with ALL things Books
Today Editor Alison Williams joins us to talk about Publishing an e-book
Publishing an eBook
There’s absolutely no doubt that self-publishing has opened the doors to many new authors and many are tempted by the idea that they can write a book, upload it to Amazon and wait for the money to roll in. But of course it isn’t as simple as that. Aside from the issues around quality, you also need to prepare your manuscript for publishing.
There are freelancers and companies that will do this for you, but of course they will charge you. So, although formatting can be quite a tricky business, it is worth learning how to do this as once you have the skills you will then be able to format and self-publish in future without incurring any costs (aside of course from other aspects like editing and cover design). It can be time consuming, but it is certainly possible. If you are only publishing a kindle version, then formatting is far simpler than publishing a paperback copy.
Rather than providing a step-by-step, once size fits all guide here, I thought it would be more useful to cover the basics and provide links to more detailed information – the process can feel overwhelming, and, if you’re anything like me, it can be better to find things out as you go along, dealing with one step at a time, rather than trying to learn everything at once.
Having said that, I have included some pretty detailed information about your cover illustration, as this was the most difficult part for me to get my head around when I published!
You will first need to have a cover designed. Once you have a cover illustration, then uploading is relatively straightforward. As long as your designer sends you the illustration in the correct format then it should be a case of simply uploading the file. If you’re using Amazon KDP, ask your illustrator to provide a file that is:
- A jpeg
- Has a height/width ratio of 1:6 so a minimum of 625 pixels on the shortest side and 1000 pixels on the longest side (although KDP recommends 2500 pixels on the longest side). If you decide to publish through Smashwords as well as KDP then the recommended file size is 1600 pixels wide by 2400 pixels tall – these dimensions work for KDP too so you can use the same image for both platforms.
- The image must be less than 50MB and should have 72 dots per inch (dpi)
Tell the illustrator that Amazon uses RGB (Red, Green, Blue or True Color). The image must be saved without using colour separation.
If the illustrator bears all this in mind, and supplies the correctly formatted image, then it should simply be a case of uploading the cover. Most book cover designers will be aware of what is required to upload a cover successfully, so it shouldn’t be a problem to get an image to simply upload.
You can upload your manuscript directly as a Word document, as a PDF, HTML or TXT, although some cause more problems than others. You can find more advice here.
Once you have uploaded your file, there is an online previewer that makes it very easy to see if there are any issues with the formatting. You can go through the previewer, noting where there are errors to sort out, go back to your original document to correct them, and then upload again. Keep doing this until you are sure your manuscript is correct.
There is plenty of advice on the KDP website. It does quite a good job of walking you through each stage, and if you get stuck then there is a good forum where you can find lots of answers.
If you choose to use Smashwords, they have information on formatting your document ready to upload including a step by step guide. Again, it can take time and some aspects are fiddly, but I used their guide and I managed – and I know it’s a cliché but if I can do it then really anyone can. You should be able to use the same cover image as with KDP. You can find lots of information about Smashwords here. Please note – other free to publish platforms are available!
Alison blogs here http://alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com/
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