Ebook publishing represents one of the hottest publishing options available today. More people read ebooks than other types of books, and many writers and bloggers dream of becoming Amazon Kindle bestsellers. Digital publishing is, indeed, a fairly easy, inexpensive and quick way to produce a book, and it’s an even more interesting option for authors blogging books.
What is an Ebook?
An “ebook,” which “electronic book,” is a book-length publication in digital form. Like any other book, it can contain text, images, or both, and produced using computers as well as published with a computer process, and readable on computers or other electronic devices, such as a Kindle, Nook, iPad, or even a Smartphone. An ebook could be the equivalent of a conventional printed book or exist without a printed equivalent.
Don’t confuse a digital book, which is the same as an ebook, with a digitally printed book. The two are not alike in any way.
Your Ebook Publishing Options
Today, you can find a variety of companies to help you produce an ebook. Some operate like author services companies, while others simply provide a conversion process and distribution. Some may only offer conversion. Others may provide both ebook and print book services. Amazon’s Kindle, only distributes to Amazon, while Smashwords.com, distributes to most ebook companies (with the exception of Amazon). Bookbaby.com offers distribution to most ebook companies and offers print book services as well. You can even find companies that convert print books to ebooks and ebooks to print books.
That means you, as a blogger and aspiring author, must read the contracts and services offered from each company extremely carefully. You must know what you want and need. And you must know your budget.
Ebook Publishing Requires Conversion
To produce an ebook from your blogged book, your manuscript, which you created in a word-processing program, needs to be converted into the correct format. You likely need a mobi file or an epub file, although some ebook publishers take Word documents. If you’ve had a print book professionally designed, your design gets lost in most cases during conversion unless you find a company, like Bookbaby.com, that can convert the files and retain the design. If that design is important to your book, paying the extra money for the service becomes worthwhile rather than going the free route with companies like Smashwords or Amazon, which only take a percentage of sales.
Ebooks allow for live links, interactive applications and much more. However, most ebooks are just a simple flow of copy without much design. That said, with an ebook you must have a fabulous cover, since this helps sell your book—as it does in all cases. Yet, many ebook catalogs have just tiny thumbnails of the covers; that’s why your ebook cover is so essential.
Blogged Book Special Options
Since the first draft of your book resides on your blog, you actually have some special ebook publishing options. You can install Anthologize on your blog, which is a free plugin. This allows you to create a manuscript from chosen blog posts. You then can convert that manuscript into a variety of different formats, including epub and RTF, both of which can be used for Kindle conversion.
Or you can create an account with FastPencil.com and import posts there. This system allows you to actually design your book using it’s free design templates. It then converts your book into an ebook for you (for a fee). You also can print your ebook using POD technology, if you desire.
Of course, if your blogged book manuscript was created in MS Word, you can upload it to Smashwords or to Kindle if it has been formatted correctly. I suggest you take a look at Mark Coker’s formatting guide and get someone to actually go through your manuscript to check your formatting.
If you know of other ways to go directly from your own blog to an ebook, please let me know! I’m collecting information for the next edition of How to Blog a Book.
Image credit: daniilantiq / 123RF Stock Photo