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How to self publish eBooks

April 8, 2013
Join the Ebook publishing era

Join the Ebook publishing era

Let there be no doubt – an information revolution is underway. If you read eBooks, you’re part of the innovation upheaval as an acquirer of online information and knowledge.

And, if you’re reading this to gain information about self publishing, it’s likely that you already are, or are about to be, an active disseminator of information yourself.

The word “revolution” is not hyperbole.

eBooks are disruptive technology on an unprecedented scale. The term “disruptive technology” was first used by Harvard Professor Clayton M. Christensen to describe an innovation so powerful, so unexpected, and so irresistible, that previously established technologies are displaced or obliterated.

The definition fits.

In just four years, eBooks have carved a significant niche in the publishing and reading worlds, and there is no doubt that the digital share of market, eBooks vis-à-vis print books, will continue to gain ground. And contrary to some opinions, the publishing industry expects profits to grow because of eBooks despite lower prices.

A March 2013 study by Bowker Market Research reports: “The rise in eBook reading in the U.S. and U.K. over the last three years has been a key driver in the market share gains of e-retailers…. In the U.S., e-retailers accounted for 44% of book purchases by volume in 2012, up from 25% in 2010….E-retailers market share increases come at the expense of chain booksellers in the U.S., where their market share has dropped from 32% to 19% of volume.

“It is clear that the eBook format has really come of age in the U.S.,” said Jo Henry, director of Bowker Market Research….eBooks’ market share has seen steady growth since January 2009, with steep rises after each Christmas.”

In the U.K., the eBook share of the market reached a peak of 13% in July 2012, at the height of the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon.

News Corp., adds more to the story: “…as our digital products continue to account for more of our business, we expect to benefit from increased profit contribution and improved working capital dynamics due to diminishing physical plant requirements, inventory and returns related to our print business as well as faster payments for e-books.”

A tangible example comes from Publisher’s Weekly, as stated in its latest financial statement: “In the year [2012], e-book revenue accounted for over 20% of the company’s worldwide sales and represented over 25% of sales for the U.S. group. In the U.S., Fifty Shades sold over 15 million digital copies, while the Fifty Shades Trilogy Bundle sold over 850,000 e-books.”

The annual Bookstats Report from the Association of American Publishers (AAP), which collects data from 1,977 publishers, said in its July 2012 report that eBooks outsold hardcovers for the first time, representing $282.3 million in sales, up 28.1%.

That revenue number will easily top $300 million in the next report due out this summer. 

To be sure, it’s a tough go for most eBook authors and some are frustrated to the point of quitting, given that it is so difficult to get noticed and to build sales. About this, I wish to make two very important points:

  1. you’re into this burgeoning juggernaut early; that’s to your advantage IF you stick with it, and
  2. you can take this to the bank: The eBook revolution will continue, and build, going forward, so the digital size of the pie is going to grow; be there in five more years to share in it.

Why do I believe the movement is onward and upward?

Because eBooks have so many advantages working in their favor: speed to produce, flexibility to change, no dead inventory, no printing and shipping costs, able to use color photos, live Internet links to articles, videos, etc. to create a multi-media experience for readers, 1,000+ books in one device, and the list goes on.

I’ve published and worked as senior editor to publish dozens of print books, and I never thought I’d see such a rapid transition, but I’m a believer in the benefits and wisdom of digital books. There’s no going back, though the transition will slow because early adopters are already in, and some book readers are going to take more time to come on board.

If you aren’t in it already, just be prepared to find that self-publishing is hard work if you want sales. Since eBooks can be created and uploaded virtually for no cost, there’s a lot of competition vying for eyeballs. You’re lucky if your knowledge and expertise is in a small niche market where you book subject matter can be easily differentiated and where there isn’t a lot of competitor authors. I’m lucky with my critical thinking books, not a terribly overpopulated area, though the potential readership is also small. But, it’s much, much easier to get ranked, and found, in nonfiction than in fiction where prospective readers rarely key in search words and terms.

The big challenge is not writing your book, it’s getting it seen. I can pretty much guarantee that if you don’t figure out how to market your books well enough to put your cover and synopsis before thousands of eyeballs, and then distinguish them from the rest of a large and growing pack, that they will sit undiscovered in cyberspace forever.

Fortunately, there are specific tasks that you can do—about a hundred of them—to help ensure that more people see your cover and sales pitch so they are then motivated to click the buy button. Although we’re in a very crowded field with a million other authors, the Internet and eBook technology at least give us some control over our literary destinies. That’s what is so disruptive about all this.

For very little investment, other than hard work and determination, authors can be purveyors of information, not pushers of paper and battlers of publishing bureaucracies.

This is a huge change. At long last, with thought and planning, your hard work can pay off in direct ways.

Find the eBook on Kobo $4.99:

How to self publish with Kobo Writing Life

Available now in PDF form at Scribd: $4.99: Follow the link: //

Steve Bareham has a new eBook titled How to self publish eBooks with Kobo Writing Life ready for download April 11/13 for $4.99.

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