How do you publish an e-book and why would you do it?

Those were the questions I was asked by my agent.  I told her about the e-book and my concerns about having a script out for acceptance to publishers.

She had no concerns about any conflict of interest, but was perplexed about the advantages of self-publishing an e-book and selling it on Amazon versus having it in printed form.  To be fair, it is far easier for me to self-publish a printed book than probably most.  A company that specializes in printing self-published books is just across the bridge from me, not ten miles away.  I could physically be there to check every step of the process if I wanted to.

So why an e-book then?  The short answer is costs.  It costs so much less to build an e-book than it is to build a physical one.  To create a paper bound book you have to write the book, format it to the pages in the way you want it presented, pick out the type of paper it will be printed on, decide if you can afford to have it printed in hard cover or soft, consider the cost of ink if your book has prints or pictures (as this one will), and then have to figure out how to get the book stores to carry it as well as put it up on Amazon for sale.  Creating an e-book is much simpler.  Write the book, create a cover, save it as a PDF, and then put it on Amazon.

I picked Amazon just because they are the most known online shopping source.  With the largest reach of people it makes sense to go with them.  Some would argue that they’ve done quite well making their own web page for their e-book and marketing it themselves.  I have no argument with that.  If that’s the way you feel is best for you, I say go for it!  I just want to write the book and get it out there.  I don’t want to be stuck working on broken codes or accidental inputs of web design when I can have smart, accomplished people doing all that for me.  Besides, Amazon makes it simple as can be.  They even have a page showing you how to do it.  I found all this in a two minute search.

If you want to make your e-book available to more than just Kindle, I’m sure there are site to help.  (I’d also bet that you’ll still be able to sell those formats on Amazon as well.)

With this knowledge I am even more excited about creating an e-book.  But I am now enjoying the fact that I’ll be doing an experiment that will help out my fellow writers and give substantive feedback on e-publishing and sales to my agent.  That makes it more fun.

4 thoughts on “How do you publish an e-book and why would you do it?

  1. If you have an agent, why are you self-publishing? Shouldn’t he or she have a market for your work? I’m asking because most writers I know who self-publish do so because they can’t get an agent on board. Perhaps we have a misconception about what agents can be expected to do for us.

    • Two reasons:

      One. It’s an experiment. I want to see if I get a greater percentage by self publishing this than having it published. (Not really a fair comparison given one’s a novel and the other a how two tip book.)

      The other reason is the size. This is going to be a really small book. Almost a pamphlet in a way. It’s going to have roughly twenty pages of plant fact sheets, but the whys and wheres are going to take up maybe fifteen pages tops. I can’t see any publisher wanting to sell a book so small.

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