Guide How to create your own e-books with OpenOffice / LibreOffice

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WordPress with WooCommerce lets you sell downloadable products.

A less labor-intensive approach is to use an e-commerce service that simplifies selling online like Shopify or Volusion. Many of them charge a monthly fee, which could wipe out your income if you sell just a few books a month. One possibility is Wix with an add-on app for selling downloads, Gumroad and e-Junkie are also worth looking at. If you use e-commerce hosting, should you use your own domain? If the service gives you that option, you could use the domain store.

You have a reputation as a good writer, but the host has a reputation as a sales channel. Being your own distributor has its headaches. A lot of writers prefer to sell through an ebook distributor, accepting a smaller fraction of the sales income in exchange for having to do less.

The distributor will convert files to needed formats, take care of sales, manage downloads, and pay you the agreed percentage of the gross sales income. It will let you create coupon codes and special sales. If people buy a book similar to yours, your book may come up as a recommendation. These services are typical. Not every distributor provides the same services. Payment details vary.

Remember: A distributor is not a publisher. It takes no responsibility for the content of your book. It will publish anything that meets its minimal standards, such as being properly formatted and complying with the law. You still carry a lot of responsibility. Not necessarily. Books sold in bookstores and libraries need an ISBN for tracking. Your distributor may provide you with an ISBN as a service. They get very inexpensive in bulk, so the distributor can get it a lot cheaper than you can. It provides a common point of reference for all sellers and may even give your listing a search engine boost.

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In fact, some sites that sell books require it. Should you think about crowdfunding your book? Very possibly. It gives you advance publicity and helps to gauge the level of interest. If your campaign succeeds, you get money to make your book a better one.

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Each of them has its own approach. Flexible funding lets you proceed whether you meet your goal or not. To run a successful campaign, you need to engage your community. You need the support of your core following to contribute money and spread the word. Premiums are a big part of the campaign.

All contributors over a low threshold should get a free copy of the book. Higher-level premiums can include acknowledgment in the book and on your website, personalized thank-you cards, and printed copies. A generous donor took her up on it, and she delivered on her promise! Writers have achieved great success with crowdfunding, and you can too if you do it right.

At a minimum, you need a skilled proofreader. If possible, get the services of a copy editor. Even if your sales expectations are modest, a good cover will pay for itself in a short time. Your blog might include guest contributions, comments, quotations, and images incorporated from other sites. You need to ask them. They might be thrilled.

If they say no, respect their choice. You can include short quotations as Fair Use, but extensive quoting requires permission. Setting the right price for your book is important.


Giving away the book is sometimes the right option. This approach works only if you have a really strong community presence, but it simplifies a lot. Some distributors will let buyers choose their own price, from zero to whatever they want to pay. The usual strategy, though, is to set a price and be generous with discount codes.

This means setting the price high enough to discount. Make these business decisions before starting your book. For most authors, an e-book distributor is the best way to go. The distributor handles a lot of the complexities. The question is which one is best for you. Most distributors use the EPUB format, which many reader applications support. It lets people view books on many different devices, adapting the formatting to the screen size.

For flexibility and wide distribution, Smashwords is a good choice. It not only sells books directly but makes them available through many other channels. Its arrangement with OverDrive may let you get your book into libraries.

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The percentage through other channels is lower. Payment is by PayPal or check.

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There are some restrictions, however. You have three choices when setting your price: make it free, let the buyers choose their own price, or set a specific price. Remember that you can change the price at any time and make discount codes available. The most conspicuous feature of Lulu is that it offers authors lots of help. If you prefer, however, you can submit your own EPUB file. You can also purchase marketing services. It makes a big difference whether you opt only for direct distribution from Lulu or distribution to other channels.

If you choose network distribution, the arrangement is similar to a traditional writer-publisher deal. Your payments are royalties in the legal sense. You still own the copyright, however. After distribution fees and third-party charges, your cut can be rather small. Going directly through Amazon gives you access to a huge market. Kindle Direct Publishing lets you publish ebooks with very little fuss. You can also distribute them in hardcopy form.

Top 10 Best Free eBook Creator Software for Windows

Turnaround time is just a couple of days or less. A lot of people search for books directly on Amazon, so being on KDP can really help your sales. Amazon distributes only to Kindle users. If you want to publish through KDP Select , which gives you more distribution options, you need to give Amazon exclusive rights. You need to choose one rate for all distribution forms of your book. Like Lulu, BookBaby is very service-focused. Services come with a money-back guarantee, provided you cancel before publication. You have to be the creator of all the content, or else to have documentation of permission.

Language support is limited to half a dozen European languages including English , but you can submit a book in other languages if you prepare your own EPUB file. You can set up a page for your book on Store. These are just four of the many distributors in the business. New ones keep turning up. Whether you go with a well-known one or take a chance on a startup, do your research and make sure what it offers is right for you. How do you turn it from a stack of articles into a work with some unity?

If your blog is very topical, using chronological order is fine. Create your file in an accepted format, and follow all the rules about styles, fonts, and formatting. That will be a huge help in getting your book accepted on the first try. This is your production format, not the delivery format which readers will see. Use style sheets if your format supports them.