Thursday, 28 March 2013

Guest post - epublishing is easy!

I have a guest post for you today, from Sally Jenkins, on how easy it is to self publish an ebook on Kindle or Smashwords. Very timely for me - I am currently working on a little book I want to epublish soon, watch this space! So I'll be following up every link in this post; you can be sure of that. Sally makes it sound easy, and I hope it turns out that way. If anyone's got any further tips on epublishing, do add them in the comments below. I know many fellow writers who've epublished their pocket novels or short story anthologies. It's a good way of getting work out there! 

E-Publishing - It’s Easier than You Think!

Self-publishing used to be prohibitively expensive for most writers. The advent of the e-book has changed all that. It’s now possible to make your book available to a worldwide audience with absolutely no financial outlay.
But many of us are still shying away from this opportunity, assuming we lack the necessary technological skills to make it all happen. Recently I took the bull by the horns and had a go - it wasn’t as difficult as I thought! Here are a few pointers for those of you who may want to try e-publishing too:


Everything you need to know is in the Smashwords Style Guide, which can be downloaded for free.
Don’t be put off by the length of the Guide - much of it is background information or covers advanced techniques such as including images in a book. The only skills you need are a basic knowledge of Word.
The Guide specifically describes how to format a book that will be sold via Smashwords and doesn’t mention the Kindle but the same formatting rules work for both platforms. The Guide doesn’t include detailed instructions for recent editions of Word but if you get stuck just pop your question into Google to find a solution.

The Cover

I think this is the most difficult part and, without doubt, the best covers are produced by professionals. However, I didn’t want to spend money that I might not be able to recoup. I selected a free image from those available at (make sure you read the terms and conditions and include a credit for the photographer at the front of your book).
There are many software packages available for manipulating images and adding lettering for the book title and author name. I used GIMP, which is free to down load - if you get stuck with it, pop your question into Google. Keep it simple with clear lettering that is legible when the cover is reduced to thumbnail size
on Amazon.

Uploading to Amazon

Sign into your existing Amazon account (that you use to make purchases) and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Click on ‘Self-Publish with Us’. The process that follows is no more difficult than putting something for sale on EBay. At any point you can ‘Save as Draft’ - so you don’t have to publish until you’re ready.
Make sure you use the ‘Preview Your Book’ facility to check how your book will look on the Kindle.


This is the really tough bit! It’s easy to sell a certain number of copies to friends and family but it’s difficult to keep that initial momentum going. Encourage people to leave reviews if they’ve enjoyed your book and to click the ‘Like’ icon on the book’s Amazon page.

Set up an Amazon Author page and link back to your own website or blog so that readers can find out more about you. Finally, I’ve been told, and read, several times that the best way to sell more e-books is to write and publish more e-books, especially a series of books or novellas that will keep the reader coming back for more from their favourite character.

Good Luck!

Details of Sally’s e-books can be found at
Sally blogs about writing and related topics at


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Sally and Womag for hosting. I'm currently preparing (with help from my wonderful partner) for publication of my novel on Kindle. I'm wondering if anyone out there has already done this by using Kindle Prime where readers actually get your book for free but the author gets about two dollars for every Kindle download. It seems like a good move in terms of payment.

JO said...

A really useful post, thank you. I can also recomment Catherine Howard's book 'Self-Printing" - she's very bossy, but takes you through the process one step at a time.

Wendy's Writing said...

Thank you for this information, Sally. I might well get round to it one day.

sallyjenkins said...

Anonymous - I think Kindle Prime is tied in with KDP Select. A scheme whereby Amazon Prime members can borrow one book a month for free (& the author gets paid, as you say) and you can also offer the book for free for 5 days in every 90.

Anonymous said...

Re: Kindle Prime - Thanks, Sally. I'm still teetering on the edge of more trying for an agent or e-publishing. Thanks for your help. Well done on your own book launch! Good luck with the sales too.

Nan Sheppard said...

I had no idea it was so easy!! Thank you, I have been thinking of doing this.

Colette McCormick said...

Great post. Thanks