Authors in the past didn’t spend most of their time writing. They spent it worrying how to get their works published or making the rounds of publishing houses hoping to get a buy-in from a publisher. Authors may not be clacking away at typewriter keys anymore a la Hemingway, but the process of getting a pick-up from a publisher is still an arduous process. Fortunately, Online ePublishing offers a different path. In this blog Let’s explore What is Online E-Publishing? how its an Ultimate Guide.
What it is
Online ePublishing refers to publishing any content on the internet. As the reader will no doubt remark, “but that’s almost everything!” That’s quite true.
All content is created digitally these days, from news articles to crossword puzzles. Editing, and various WIP (work in progress) files for archival and printing are digital. The only difference is whether the digital file gets converted into one format to be printed, or into another format to get posted online. Here “online” means all “over the internet” delivered content. This covers text content from formatted eBooks (with and without illustrations, embedded sounds, videos, or other “augmented” content), online articles on websites, “short” news on apps, etc. It also covers other types of media, including audio, video, simulations, and interactive content. This article will focus on eBooks, from creation to promotion & sales. However, the same principles can be applied to other media as well.
- Writing the Manuscript: The first step in online ePublishing is creating an eBook. Most authors use popular (and increasingly capable) word processors like Scrivener, Vellum, Atticus etc. or even just MS Word and Google Docs.
- Formatting: This refers to choosing the appropriate font, style, line spacing etc. so the reader has a great reading experience. The author/publisher must decide which types of digital screens to optimize for- will this content be read on a Kindle? Or is is meant to be read on your website? Are most of your readers used to computer screens, or mobile phone screens? In addition to choosing the right layout and font, the publisher must also think about how to optimize images for the target screens. Many authors now incorporate this step into the manuscript writing.
Choosing the right file format:
Based on the content and the target device, the publisher must now use a file format like EPUB, MOBI, and PDF. As a general rule ePub is the most obvious choice: it is open source, accepted by all publishers, and reflowable i.e. adjusts automatically to whatever type of screen is used. However, PDF may be a better choice if the content is graphics/illustrations heavy, or if the author needs the content formatting to not change across platforms. MOBI, an Amazon-specific format has been discontinued since the end of 20221. Once the author decides on the format, software tools like Calibre, Adobe InDesign, Scrivener or even Kindle Create can convert the manuscript file into the appropriate format.
These days authors can self-publish easily on a number of platforms connected to their own marketplaces. The most popular, for obvious reasons, is Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. Other good platforms which are both easy to use and have sufficient traffic include Barnes & Noble Press, and Smashwords. As easy as the platforms are, it is still up to the author to ensure the book is properly categorized and includes the proper “metadata” to attract readers.The author must ensure that the book is appropriately categorized and has the proper metadata to attract readers.
For new authors who are unfamiliar with the term, “Metadata” refers to information about your book that makes it easy to categorize and find, such as title, author name and bio, publishing date and publisher name, description, ISBN, etc. This metadata has to be edited in two places: the retailer’s website, if publishing through a retailer like Barnes & Noble, and the publishing platform. If the eBook is published through the Kindle Direct Publishing platform and is to be listed only on Kindle, Metadata editing can be done directly on the KDP platform.
Protecting an eBook from piracy and copyright infringement is crucial. DRM technology can prevent unauthorized copying, sharing, and distribution of eBooks. In addition it may be worthwhile to register a copyright with the USPTO.
Promotion & Sales
Promoting an eBook Promoting an eBook is crucial to its success. The eBook’s promotion should be optimized with an omni-channel approach including SEO, for search engines, social media, and email marketing. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great tools for promoting an eBook. Targeted ads and social media campaigns are also great tools to reach desired audiences, but one needs to be pretty astute about keeping track of the ROI of the money put into every channel.
Monetizing an eBook Monetizing an eBook is an important consideration for authors and publishers. One option is to set a price for the eBook and sell it through various channels. This is a good option for wide reach; however it does require engagement, negotiation and contracting with individual platforms. This can be a good option for experienced, well known authors or those who have the right contacts, but it is next to impossible for a new author. A new author may choose to publish exclusively on KDP, which is home to over 60% of online published titles. This way the book starts getting traction right away. Another option is to offer the eBook for free and monetize it through advertising or affiliate marketing.
There are many steps from getting the idea for an eBook to selling it and avoiding piracy. DIY is one way to go, but between eBook creation, Digital Marketing, and DRM novice authors can get quite overwhelmed. It can therefore be a very good option to engage an ePublishing services company like Manipal Digital, which can hand-hold authors through the entire process, or even offer a turnkey approach where the author only needs to submit the manuscript, and leave the rest to the service provider. That said, creating and publishing an eBook has never been easier. So if you’ve always thought about writing. We say go for it! And if you feel you could use a little help, reach out to us!