From Manuscript to Published: 8 Steps to Publishing Your eBook

The Kindle Reader (A Young Girl Seated), after Renoir
Image by Mike Licht (CC BY 2.0)
by Corina Koch MacLeod

Have you noticed? It’s getting easier for authors to publish ebooks on their own. 

In a context where publishing experts continue to insist that you need to hire a professional for everything from formatting to cover design, is DIY even possible? 
Yes it is. Book distributors like Amazon, Smashwords and Lulu are trying their best to make the process of getting a manuscript from a word processing program to an ebook as simple as possible.

In fact, Amazon has most recently attempted to demystify cover design for authors, with their new cover creator. That’s right: distributors are creating free tools with authors in mind and it’s in their best interest to continue to do so.

If you’re self-publishing, you’ll be most successful if you model your steps after the tried-and-true steps used in the book publishing industry. Here’s how the ebook production process generally works:
  1. Write your manuscript in your word processing software. 
  2. Edit your work or hire someone to edit it for you.
  3. Clean up your manuscript in your word processing software by getting rid of any “typewriter formatting.”
  4. Upload your manuscript to your chosen distributor using their online conversion software, ensuring that you’re following their formatting guidelines (Smashwords, Amazon, Lulu). This is important because every distributor’s conversion software has its quirks. Remember, you can take the easy road: if a distributor allows you to upload a doc file, do that, unless you’re a tech wizard and know how to hand code an ebook (then do that).
  5. Proofread the converted ebook file and make any changes in your word processing document. You can also hire a professional proofreader for this step. Upload your corrected manuscript.
  6. Create a cover. Consider checking out Amazon’s new cover creator, so you know what’s involved in designing a cover, or if designing is not your forté, hire someone to do it for you. 
  7. Fill out your metadata so readers can find your book, and write a book description that will compel them to read it.
  8. Click on publish (and throw a party).
Over the next month or two, I’ll unpack these steps for you. For now, click on the links in each step to get a sense of what each step entails. Sure, publishing a book is a learning curvebut you just wrote a book. That’s a huge accomplishment. If you can write a book, you can publish one.

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One thought on “From Manuscript to Published: 8 Steps to Publishing Your eBook

  1. Good advice – all sounds so easy … My hard copy books arrive this week from self publisher – Ywnwab! and will go into e book in October – Then maybe another e book later in the year Alexander of Allrighters

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