How to create an e-book

This past November my wife took on the challenge of “winning NaNoWrimo“. The challenge? Write a 50,000 word novel entirely in just that month. Complete the challenge, and you are one of the many (insanely courageous) winners. After she completed the project (Word document) we were both curious what God might want her to do with the book.

She’s had four books published (by a “real” publisher). This was her first shot at fiction, so it’s a pretty safe and humble move not to think it’s ready for the press. But it was definitely ready for an impressive community that follows her blog, and readers of her books that she has been personally in touch with. Our first thought was to make it an e-book. There’s lots of buzz going on in the past year or so about the Amazon Kindle – and the near launch of the Apple iPad. There are also readers that are interested in just downloading a PDF document and reading it on their computer.

I looked into the process of creating a book for Amazon’s Kindle (Digital Text Platform), and while it’s not difficult, you only receive 35% of the proceeds of the price you choose to list the book for. I was close to submitting the book through to Amazon when Marla let me know that she knows quite a few people that take their own PDF documents and transfer them over to the Kindle.

Now knowing that was possible, I was able to find a service called PayLoadz that lets you upload media (documents, etc.) into an account and you only pay a monthly fee based on the number of items you sell. Here’s how the process works:

  • Create an account on PayLoadz and connect it with your PayPal account. Your first $50 of sales is free. The next level would be $100 of sales, which requires a $5 monthly payment. After reaching that level it looks like PayLoadz is only keeping just over 50 cents of each $8 purchase.
  • Create your first product (enter simple book details, upload PDF document and a product cover image you create)
  • PayLoadz produces a purchase link you can share with your readers via your website, blog, email, etc.
  • Money is deposited directly into your PayPal following a purchase
  • Each consumer receives a unique and encrypted link to download the document immediately via email

By doing this, you’re avoiding handing 65% of your profit over to Amazon while readers are still able to read your book on a Kindle. Marla also chose to launch a WordPress site over at WorldsApartProject.com, where she will be sharing the actual book for free via frequent blog posts (with the option to buy it for $8 and not wait to read it over 10+ months).

  1. I would encourage you to put the book up at a variety of locations. Often people purchase at a single location. According to a presentation I heard last week there are at least 21 major ebook distribution points right now. Amazon is the largest (and they have a 70% author option that is going into place soon.)

    I would also encourage looking into http://www.smashwords.com/about They give 85%.

    If you do a good job with the conversion then there is little extra work submitting to different stores. Smashwords has a good document on how to format.

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