Publishing your first ebook – preparation

The earlier posts reflected what I was doing, how I was doing, and how frustrated I was getting with the whole process. But now my ebook is published and is available from here and here. However, the journey was not quite as easy as I thought it would be, so I am going to concentrate the contents of the following few blogs on the process I followed, and the issues that I experienced along the way.

The process will be covered in several posts, and as I continue to market my book, I will share the process to the best of my ability.

In my earlier posts, I was looking at the process of creating the social networking background that might ultimately help to market my book. The value at this stage in the amount of work required is debatable – because you need a lot of followers on Twitter or Facebook to make a difference. However, if you want to create links within your book to lead people to your site and establish followers, then you need to at least get some of these in place.

I created a website, plusTwitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages. I did have some problems with Facebook (I hate their user interface) – because I had created a page that was about Rachel Abbott – one that people can like, but not one where you share friends. Of course, to set up a page like this, you first have to have a personal page. So I set up both, and I constantly get confused. One of the pages allows me to have friends, one doesn’t. But then I discovered that there are some interesting groups on Facebook that I could join. But I can only join from my personal page, not from my professional page (for want of a better description). This means that effectively you have to make some decisions. Do you keep two pages and update them both, or do you settle for just one? If you settle for one, you need to decide how you are going to use it – as a place to just display your professional information, or a page from which you can share with others, make contacts and join groups. I have decided for now to keep both pages going – but we’ll see!

The one thing that must be clear is that if you are going to make the most of the channels available to you, a lot of work is required over and above the writing of your book. Unless you are a famous author with an established following, publishing your masterpiece is going to be very frustrating at times, and just when you think you are ready to start on your second novel, you are spending all day and every day marketing your first one.

So – now you’ve got the bare bones of some social networking sites set up (and you can come back to perfect them later), you now need to get your book into shape.

Whether you are publishing for just the Kindle, or for other book formats too, you will see that many channels (such as Amazon) will take your Word document and create the relevant format from this. I am sure you have seen many very bad examples of formatting on the Kindle and other devices, and the truth is that going straight from Word to Kindle is not as predictable as you might like.

I had decided that I was going to publish for the Kindle, but I was also going to make my book available for the Nook, the iPad and other devices. I wanted the formatting to be perfect, and I followed an excellent series of articles on the web by Guido Henkel. But although he makes it sound very straightforward, I did have a few problems, and in the next blog I will go through these in some detail.

But your formatting will be critical to the overall look of your book – and having spent so long writing it, it should be worth the extra couple of days to get it looking right. Much of this depends on your knowledge of both Word and HTML – because whatever they say about the quality of the conversion, unless you put in a bit of extra work, there is no doubt at all that you will have some issues.

So the next blog will be entitled Publishing your first ebook – formatting, and I hope it is useful.

Please feel free to share your experiences on this blog – and we’ll get into the nitty gritty of editing on the next post.