Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Five Steps for Creating and Bringing an E-book to Market

Have you written a book you would like to sell as an electronic download? E-books are becoming more popular since they can be taken on trips and read on an electronic reader such as the ones made by Sony or on Amazon’s Kindle reader. The iPhone also has this capability. Here are a few things to think about when you author an e-book.

1. Creating a PDF

When I decided to sell my e-book titled Book Marketing in the Digital Age Online Promotion Made Easy through an affiliate program, I started checking around for places that provide an affiliate service. Beginning with friends who might have done this before, I asked for input about what is needed to create an e-book. The answers I got ranged from “get a professional graphic designer to lay it out” to “just convert a Word doc to a PDF using one of those free online sites.” I choose a middle path and created the e-book in a Word doc and then used Adobe Acrobat to embed the characters and distill the file into a stable format that could be downloaded or emailed. You can set a password that unlocks the PDF, but you will probably be spending a lot of time re-sending the password to customers who lose it.

With that much solved, I still needed to cover a few more bases.


ISBN is an acronym for International Standard Book Number. This is a unique number that identifies a book and allows it to be cataloged for international distribution. Without this 10- or 13-digit code, a book cannot be referenced in databases used by bookstores. However, an e-book is not a printed book and is not available in traditional bookstores to begin with. So, while it may be useful and preferred, having an ISBN is not always necessary for distributing an e-book. Some online retailers mandate that e-books they sell have an ISBN, so be sure to check the outlets you plan to sell through to see if they require it.

3. Add Copyright

You may know that the little c inside the circle © is a way to protect your intellectual property. An additional protection comes from applying for a copyright from the US Copyright Office. It costs $45 and can be done online. Copyrighting your e-book won’t keep people from stealing the content, but it will prove that you have legal rights to the contents.

4. Protection From Piracy

Either by forwarding it an email, selling a computer that has the file saved, or passing along a burned CD, people will more than likely share your e-book illegally. While it is considered piracy to give away or resell downloaded property, there is really no way to keep people from sharing an e-book with others. You can hire an attorney if you find someone is doing this, but I doubt it would be worth the money to prosecute. The best way around that is to make your e-book a marketing tool, so when it is shared, you are actually reaching another customer who sees what else you have to offer in your e-book. This could result in their coming to your site and purchasing a legal copy of another product you have for sale, so the old adage “if you can’t beat them, join them” is applicable in this instance.

5. Choose An Affiliate

Next, decide which affiliate service to use if you want other people to sell your book for you. You keep a percentage of the purchase price, and give a portion to your sales team or affiliates. Therefore, affiliate programs need to have a way to track sales and distribute commissions to the sellers. They also need to be transacted on secure and reliable site on the Internet because if there’s money to be made, someone is out there trying to find a way to steal it. For that reason, I asked my Twitter friends for recommendations., and were the top responses. The features and fees vary on each of these from $39 to $99 per month. Some keep a percentage of commissions and have only a one-time activation fee, so check each one carefully to make sure you understand what you get for the money.

No matter where you sell your e-book online, you're going to have to do a lot of marketing to get people to buy it. That just happens to be the topic of the e-book I released in October 2008. Book Marketing in the Digital Age Online Promotion Made Easy is available at

Yvonne Perry, is the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services—a team of highly qualified writers and editors with many years of experience in writing for articles, books, ad copy, media releases, PR kits, Web text, biographical sketches, and newsletters. Editing, proofreading, book review, and book evaluation services offered individually and as packages. Find us online at

Follow WITS on Twitter:

If you liked this article, please share it on, StumbleUpon or Digg. I’d appreciate it.

Bookmark and Share

No comments: