Preparing your ebook for publication

There are a number of very specific elements that you need to consider when you are preparing your ebook for publication. It’s not just about writing a good book, editing it and formatting it. At each stage of publishing your ebook, you will be asked for information and it certainly helps to have it all ready before you start. It will dramatically save time – particularly if you keep everything in one place on your computer.

Here’s what I would suggest.

  1. Create a folder on your computer called Publishing Materials. Everything you create now (or most of it) can go in this folder.
  2. Get your cover designed professionally. There are lots of services available on the web, and some of them will let you submit your information and then let a whole crowd of designers pitch for your work. You choose which one you like (and which price you like). Or if you aim to publish through Smashwords, you can email and ask them to recommend people to you. The thing to note, though, is that you may need your cover in a range of different formats. For I had to create an image that was 612 x 792 which is a height to width ratio of just under 1.3. For Kindle, the recommended size is a height to width ratio of 1.6 so I have an image of 1200 x 1920 (although everybody else’s covers look fatter than this). And I have another one which is 800 x 1200 – a height to width ratio of 1.5 – for other sites. You either need to choose one size (probably the 1.5 ratio) or you need to have the ability to trim your cover if required.
  3. You need a photograph of yourself – because once you have published your book, you are going to want to create an Author Page wherever you publish. On you need to visit Author Central. You can also find Author Central for here  – but you actually have to have a book on their site before you can do this. However, if you have your photo ready, it makes life a lot easier.
  4. Then you need an author biography. You might want to put this in your book, on your website if you have one, or any number of social networking sites that you might become involved in – so have this prepared and ready to go.
  5. Of course, you need your ‘blurb’ – the descriptive sales pitch for your book – the words that would normally go on the back cover. But you may need several versions. I have had to write a long version, a short version, and a 25 word version.
  6. I mentioned social networking sites above. So do you need to get involved, or don’t you? I have read in the last couple of weeks of indie authors who spend as much as ten hours a day, seven days a week simply networking to try to build interest and sales in their ebooks. One guy admits that he has been doing this for a year, and has now had enough (but he did sell 150,000 ebooks – so that’s pretty impressive stuff). Whether you decide to get actively involved or not, if you think you may do then you need to publish your Twitter name, your Facebook page, your web page or anything else that you might want to get involved in. And this would normally go at the back of your book, in the About the Author section. This gives people an opportunity to link to you and find out more. So if you haven’t already done it, sign up for Twitter, get a Facebook page, and register a name for a website or blog. These can then go into your About the Author pages as links. There will be more information about using Twitter later in this blog.
  7. All books – including ebooks – have front and back matter. The front matter would normally be a title page and a copyright page. Before producing your copyright page, there are a couple of things you need to consider. Do you want to get an ISBN for your book? If you are publishing with Amazon, it’s not necessary as they will issue you with their own number. But you can organise one yourself if you want to. I chose not to, mainly because I live in Italy – and anything that requires going through some Italian bureaucracy is best avoided. If you publish with Smashwords or Lulu they will give you a free ISBN. You may want to consider registering your book with a copyright service. It doesn’t cost much, and I was advised by an author friend to do it. The resulting copyright page is included at the bottom of this post. At the back of the book, you would normally include your About the Author section, and any Acknowledgements. These tend to go at the back so that they don’t use up valuable space in the free ten percent that Amazon readers can download. If your readers want to check out your book, they don’t want five of the twenty pages they may get to be full of stuff they are not that interested in.
  8. When you finally publish your book, you are going to want to let people know – as many people as you possibly can. So get ready. Put together an email list of anybody that you think might be interested in your book, including those who you might want to ask very specifically to buy it (I’m sure your family will oblige!). Get your list together – I created a distribution list in Outlook – and be ready to fire off that email.

Now everything is ready, and when you have finalised the formatting – the subject of another post (which I keep putting off, because it’s the most difficult one to write) – you will know that everything is in place, and all ready for you to publish.

Here’s the copy of my copyright page :

Only the Innocent

Copyright:  Rachel Abbott 2011.

The moral right of the author has been asserted.
All characters and events in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
All Rights Reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the author.

This work is registered with the UK Copyright Service

Find out more about the author and any future books on