Publishing an Ebook?

30th September, 2023

6 min read

Publishing an Ebook?

Publishing an Ebook?

Written by:

Megan Lockwood-Jones

Publishing an ebook?

Since the first Kindle e-reading device was launched, ebooks have become the reading method of choice for frequent travellers, commuters and those who simply don't have space on their shelves for all the books they want to read. Publishers and authors alike have seen the benefits of making their books available in digital format, and this is definitely the case for self-published authors. In fact, the majority of authors who publish a printed book with Troubador will have an ebook version created alongside it.

What are the benefits of an ebook?

  1. On the go – the most widely known benefit of an ebook is that readers can carry around their entire library on one device, whether that be a dedicated e-reader or their smartphone/tablet.
  2. Alter the font and font size – For the majority of ebooks, readers can alter the font and font size of the ebook to suit their reading preferences. This leads on to the next benefit: 
  3. Accessibility – Ebooks are great for people with different reading requirements. You can increase the font size if you need the text to be larger and you can change the text and background colours to suit your preferences. Some devices have screen reading abilities which means the device can read the text to you (this is great for those who have difficulties with their sight) and we are also able to provide alt-text to images within ebooks which means that those using devices that are reading the text to them will have a description of the image read out to them, making ebooks very inclusive. 
  4. Cheaper to produce and to buy – As there are no printing costs involved, the cost to produce an ebook tends to be cheaper than a printed book (sometimes it's even free!) which is also a reason why ebooks are cheaper for readers to purchase. 
  5. Available internationally – the majority of ebook retailers distribute ebooks internationally allowing you to reach a wider audience, which can be more difficult to achieve with a printed book.

So why are ebooks a popular choice for first-time indie authors?

As an ebook is an easy and comparatively cheap way of getting your work out there, some first-time authors choose to create an ebook only at first to test the water before going ahead with a print version. It gives authors the opportunity to see how well their work will be received, and makes it simple to reach a worldwide audience, something that isn’t as straightforward for a physical book. Whilst some authors may decide to publish an ebook only at first, there are good reasons to publish an ebook at the same time as a printed book. A couple of the main benefits are that any marketing carried out can benefit all formats and also that you're appealing to a wider audience than if you only publish one format. Authors have often worried that an ebook being available for cheaper than a printed book would encourage readers to simply buy the ebook instead but readers tend to have a preferred format which they rarely stray away from so by having multiple formats available you're reaching a much wider audience.

How do I go about creating and distributing an ebook?

As ebooks increased in popularity, so did platforms enabling authors to create their own ebooks and have it published within minutes. This could seem like a cost-effective and simple way to publish, but the reality for authors using online converters is often that their work is created for use on one retailer only (for example, an ebook created using Amazon KDP's conversion tool can be sold through Amazon only). There are also no quality assurance processes in place to pick up on any formatting errors so you'd be responsible for making sure that it's formatted correctly for use on multiple devices with various screen sizes and at various settings (fonts, font sizes etc.), something that can be difficult to do if you have no experience doing so. A dedicated ebook team, however, will style and format your ebook so that it is compatible with all ebook retailers and devices.

There are also many stylistic features of ebooks that need to be taken into account when adapting them for a digital reading experience, such as spacing around headings, indentations, image size, image positioning and more. At Troubador, our digital department carries out complex ebook conversions every day and is experienced in knowing which features of a printed book will translate well to digital, and which features may need to be adapted. The result is an ebook created to the latest industry standard, and compatible with all major e-retailers.

So with the huge number of ebooks available for sale, how do you make yours stand out from the crowd?

We offer ebook conversion and distribution services aimed at creating a high-quality product and making it available for sale across all major ebook retailers. With some retailers like Amazon making it so easy for authors to publish their work directly with them, you may wonder why an author would pay for a publishing company to handle the distribution for them – but take note: while Amazon is still the most popular ebook retailer, there are many other major retailers out there that sell huge quantities. Readers are now reading books on various Android devices and mobile phones meaning that publishing solely through Amazon can cut out a huge chunk of your potential market. We distribute our ebooks through Amazon, Apple, Google Play, Kobo and Barnes & Noble US as well as through library suppliers and subscription services, making sure everyone – no matter what their e-reading device – can read our titles. We’ve built up strong relationships with these retailers over the years, and they will regularly contact us with news of upcoming promotions and ask us to submit our titles for inclusion.

Once your ebook is live and available for sale, how do we make sure that potential readers know it exists? One of the most important tools for making your ebook as visible as possible with online retailers is ensuring the selection of the strongest categories and keywords that you can. We select categories that we feel most accurately suit your ebook, and some retailers will also allow us to choose keywords to categorise your ebook further – particularly useful if you're struggling to find a suitable category for a more niche title. We select categories and keywords every day and know which combinations will prove the most effective when it comes to selling copies. Choosing the wrong categories could be the difference between a potential reader discovering your ebook or not.

Since distributing free review copies of an ebook isn't as straightforward as it is for printed books (we ensure our ebooks are 'DRM' protected, meaning that the content cannot be shared/edited if downloaded through a retailer), NetGalley is a popular way for reviewers to get their hands on a free protected copy. NetGalley is a leading review site, used and trusted by many, from huge commercial publishers to indie authors, to encourage reviews of their titles. Bloggers, teachers, librarians, media professionals and industry experts are frequent reviewers, making NetGalley a great way to gain exposure for a title and even generate reviews in advance of the publication date. We meet with NetGalley staff and retailer merchandisers at events such as the London Book Fair and are always kept up to date with the latest promotions and marketing opportunities. There are many other ebook marketing tools out there that our authors can take advantage of which our digital team are happy to discuss with authors.

Our ebook services are flexible and are designed to cater for authors with different aims for publishing. Whether you're just looking to have your ebook created or want our worldwide distribution services, ebook cover design, ebook-specific marketing or all of the above, we can help you produce a product that we're both proud of. Find out more here, or contact us at digit[email protected] if you'd like a quote for our ebook services.