One of my quarantine goals is to finish and publish my first e-book, and I’m proud to say I finally completed the first draft! I’ve been working on it for several months now. It’s a 20-chapter guide for converting a vehicle into a motor home. A few years ago, I bought a short bus on Craigslist and then had it converted into a motor home complete with electricity and plumbing, and now I’d like to share my wisdom with others. I’ve got the draft done, but there’s still a lot more work to do. Here’s a step-by-step guide for writing, publishing, and promoting an e-book that I adapted from other guides.
Step 1: Revise and Finalize Content
I’ve completed the first draft meaning each chapter is finished. However, I still need to go through and fine tune the content and check it one more time for typos and errors. This is one project I want to take very seriously. I also need to add pictures and make sure I’ve properly cited everything.
Step 2: Edit and Gather Feedback
I want the content to be good and since I’m in several groups dedicated to skoolies and converted vehicles, I’m going to offer the guide for free in exchange for feedback. This is, after all, my first attempt at writing a guide for converting a vehicle and I know there are people out there who could help me finalize the content.
Step 3: Format the Final Draft
The e-book must be properly formatted before it can be published. There are three basic types including reflowable, fixed-layout, and PDF format. PDF is what I’m most familiar with, so initially I was going to use it after I finalized the content and the photos. However, after reading an article about mistakes to avoid in the formatting process, I would be better off having multiple formats especially for Kindle readers. Fortunately, there’s a great guide that covers all the different formatting types.
Step 4: Choose a Publisher
This step has me a little hung up because there are so many options and it’s a little confusing. Of course, one of the biggest is Amazon, but there are many other options, too. First, I have to decide between a retailer and an aggregator. Retailers sell books through their own store such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. whereas aggregators will sell and distribute the book to their partner retailers. Here’s a list of publishing companies that I can consider, but a more comprehensive list is here.
1. Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is one of the most popular options with the added bonus of enrolling in KDP Select if the owner is willing to allow Amazon exclusive distribution for the first 90 days. Authors get paid between 35 – 70% royalities of the book’s price and will require the .MOBI format.
2. CreateSpace is another Amazon platform for print books and creates availability in both print and digital forms. I haven’t considered putting my book in print form yet.
3. iBooks is the second biggest retailer after Amazon and offers a 70% royalty rate.
4. IngramSpark is a service for self-publishers and also distributes e-books to all the top retailers listed above. They charge a 53% commission and a $49 set-up fee.
5. Lulu, the oldest online publishing company, distributes both digital and print books. They retail through their bookstore and to others including all the major ones listed above. They offer free publishing and distribution services, but also offer editing and design options for purchase.
Currently, I’m leaning toward KDP because they dominate about 80% of the e-book market, but if I decide to put the book in print form I can opt for either CreateSpace or Lulu as an aggregator.
Step 5: Set a Price
I’m not real sure how to price my e-book either. I worked hard on it, but I also don’t want it to be overpriced. One method is to look at the pricing of similar books. There aren’t many guides to converting a vehicle out there, but the few I found were priced between $15 to $30 dollars. Mine will probably be quite a bit cheaper, but I still haven’t decided on a price. I’ll probably ask some people their opinion when I finish step 2 of this process.
Step 6: Publish and Promote!
After I finish all steps above with the finalizing, formatting, and pricing, I can finally publish and promote my e-book. My plan for promoting is through my blog and also through YouTube tutorial videos. I documented the entire process of converting my bus, and now all I need are some quality videos to share. That is going to be a whole new process as I’ll have to learn how to properly create and edit videos!
Wish me luck!!