How to publish your own ebook

If BoomerCafé is all about active baby boomer lifestyles, and changing baby boomer lives, here’s a good example of both: contributor Lorie Eber’s entry into the world of publishing. ePublishing. And she’s sharing what she’s learned.

We boomers like to express ourselves. We’re all convinced, rightfully or not, that we have valuable insights to share. As soon as I started my boomer blogging, I was showered with this advice: “You ought to write a book.” It sounded tempting.

Dr. Lorie Eber

Dr. Lorie Eber

The next thing I knew, I’d published my first eBook. For those of you wanting to express yourselves in the e-format, here are some tips culled from my perspective as a first-timer.

  • You Don’t Need an eReader to read eBooks: There’s a Kindle download that will allow you to put a Kindle eBook reader on your computer as well as other electronic platforms. Here’s a good explanation: “How to Read Kindle eBooks Without a Kindle.”
  • Educate Yourself Before You Dive In: Writing an eBook is all about learning Amazon’s rules and they have more rules than most courts-of-law. Pay attention to formatting. Don’t wing it. Amazon has a good free eBook on this: “Building Your Book for Kindle.” Also, go to the Kindle store and sample some free books. Denise Wakeman offers an excellent, detailed “Webinar” for $57, covering the basics of eBook publishing.
  • It’s Not as Easy as Just Compiling Your Blog Posts: Your readers will want more! You need to add some value. Create links to pdf files with tips and additional resources. You’ll also need to add an introduction, some pictures to jazz things up (don’t steal them from Google images or Amazon will ding you), a bio, and transitions between chapters. Then you’ll have to convert your Word file into HTML format before you upload it to Kindle Direct Publishing.
  • Spend Time on the Cover and Title: An eye-catching picture and intriguing title will help you sell books. Your title should contain keywords prospective readers would search to find your book. Keep in mind that the book cover will be thumbnail-sized in the eKindle library. Choose a relatively short title. My title, “Aging Beats The Alternative and a Sense of Humor Helps,” is good on search terms, but too long to read on the thumbnail version of the cover. Unless you’re proficient with Photoshop, use a Website service to help you format your cover. I used My Ecover Maker. It cost me $4.95. There are many other competitors.
  • Don’t Freak Out if Amazon “Blocks” Your Book: I thought I had successfully used my well-honed legal skills and complied with the multitude of Amazon rules. But, my eBook got stuck in purgatory. Amazon sent me a cryptic message about copyright issues. I determined that because my blogs had appeared on other blog sites, like BoomerCafé, the Amazon Kindle software program decided I may have plagiarized the material. To get out of the doghouse, I had to send Amazon a list of every site that had published my blogs.
  • Don’t Think You’ll Get Rich: My eBook lists for $2.99 and Amazon keeps 30% of that. Think of it as exposure.

Now you should have an easier go than I did!

Editor’s note: a related article from BBC News online – The costs and benefits of publishing your own books.

Lorie Eber, JD, is a Gerontologist and Certified Personal Trainer, who teaches Gerontology at Coastline Community College. She is also a boomer blogger, published author and a Keynote Speaker on Healthy Living, Healthy Aging and Elder Care issues. Lorie’s inspiration is her 94 year-old dad, who suffers from vascular dementia. Visit her website: Lorie’s first eBook: “Boomers: Aging Beats the Alternative and a Sense of Humor Helps.”

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