On transit to work last week, I happened to share a seat with a senior secondary school girl who was on her way to school. When we started discussing, I learnt she was an SSS3 student of HoneyLand Academy, Ipaja. She was in art class and I saw she was very brilliant for a girl of her age. She was not timid and she flowed well in the conversation.
She told me one of her hobbies was reading and writing and her best subjects were English Language and Literature-in-English. She had written so many short stories and she hoped that one day she would publish them into a book. When we parted, I thought about all she had said about her write ups. Of course, she had a special talent, but only if she could keep that creative spirit alive and wouldn’t be discouraged just like me who gave up writing due to inability to find a publisher.
Being a person with penchant for writing, I had written creative stuffs in my secondary school days; poems, plays novels. I found solace in writing and I had piles of notebooks filled up with different stories which made me have high hopes that one day I would have my published work everywhere for everyone to read. As I grew up, I suddenly realized that writing too many wonderful stories wasn’t the problem. The major challenge was getting published.
In my university days, my friend Ebuka and I would write to different publishing houses, begging to be published, and they would ask us to submit the first three chapters of our works (both in soft copy and in print) and afterwards, nothing would be heard from them. This disappointment went on with different publishing firms until whatever writing spirit we had in us died a natural death. While I may not be too sure about my friend, I was discouraged to continue writing. I gave it all up.
Now you will agree with me that writing a good piece is not as hard as finding a publisher these days. Why? The publishers are too busy chasing established writers and do not care about emerging ones. This was the reality I faced and many writers today are almost giving up writing, discouraged by the challenge of getting published.
In 2014, about four years after my graduation from the university, I came across a piece of information that changed everything for me and that is what I intend to share with my little writer friend and every other writer to benefit from. An Igbo adage goes that one who is rejected does not reject himself. The publishers may not have your time, probably because they think your book would never make a good sale, and while you may not have the money required to have your book come out in print, you can get your work published at zero cost.
How? Keep reading to find out.
Finding a publisher had been a nightmare for us back then but the good news today is that technology has changed the face of everything, including the art of publishing and many burgeoning writers are making headway without the help of the publisher. Today, the debate regarding ‘whether a writer needs a publisher or not’ is over.
You may or may not have heard of the word ‘Indie authors’. An independent author is one who is truly independent; one who can get his book across the world without the help of the publisher. Today the easiest and better way to have your work out there is to publish an eBook. And you will ask, what is an eBook?
Simply put, an eBook is an electronic book.
According to Wikipedia, “It is a book publication made available in digital form…readable on computers and other electronic devices.”
From this definition we can see that there is no need for printing your book on paper, especially if you can’t afford the high cost involved. Finding a publisher is no longer compulsory because you can be your own publisher. This is energy and time saved.
Why should you consider publishing an eBook?
• It saves you headache and time (of running after publishers)
• It is cost effective. You do not need to pay the huge amount required for printing.
• You can sell to anyone anywhere in the world. You are not selling a physical book and with the help of the internet, the barrier of distance is defeated.
• You can sell your book at your own price, under your own conditions.
• Your book can be more affordable since it cost you almost nothing to publish.
• Your book can be read in different formats (PDF, mobi, epub, docs, text etc) and on different devices such as desktop computers, laptops, phones, tablets etc.
• You have control over when and how readers can get your book.
How to publish an eBook
1. Write a great book
Writers like Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Shakespeare etc, were not great because they wrote books, but writing great books made them great. Despite how easy it is to publish an eBook today, you do not have any excuse to write a book that is not worth reading. You can publish an eBook and not sell a copy if your work is not worth anybody’s hard-earned money.
Whether you’re writing a fiction or non-fiction, ensure that you do your homework well, and give it your best. Ask yourself, would you buy that book if it was written by another person? Not matter how long it takes, make sure your book is at its best before contemplating self-publishing. And if you ask me, one can write an eBook and not make any sale. Junks are everywhere on net, but who really cares about junks? No body.
2. Check for errors
Writers whose books are ridden with errors will not be taken seriously and information from such books can only be treated as crap. It can’t be taken seriously. One way to ensure that you assert your authority in a particular field is to ensure that your work is void of errors. Like I said before, you need to do your homework well. There would be typos and grammatical errors so we recommend you subject your work to thorough screening by an editor, but that shouldn’t be a problem. We can help you with that.
3. Design a great cover
Now that the content of your book is ready, it is imperative, that you match that great work with a stunning cover design. The first impression people will get about your book is from the look of its cover and with millions of eBooks floating everywhere on the internet, you will need a great cover design to standout from the crowd. Unless you are a graphic designer, I strongly recommend that you outsource it to a professional graphic designer. Before people can get to know about that rich content in your book, there will be need for a compelling cover design to attract them. And again, if you have written a great book, we can give it a matching cover design.
4. Start marketing.
When it comes to marketing your book, you can choose to sell directly to customers or pay an eBook agent a little commission to help you sell your book. However, it is most effective to use both methods.
Note that the most popular file format in which eBooks are read is PDF. After typing, formatting and editing your work in MS Word or in any other word processor, save it as PDF and your eBook is ready to be shared. Did I not tell you? You can do it all by yourself.
All you need to sell your book is to introduce it to your target audience, those who need the information you have written down. If your book is educational, then you know you should target students. If it is about health, you know your target audience should be people who are about 50 years of age and above.
To register more sales you may consider giving away the first few chapters of your book free, after which they would be required to pay to have the full text. You may also give out a book as a freebie and later suggest that your readers get a paid one. All other market strategies that can work in sales of any goods and services also apply here.
There are also eBook agents who will offer to sell for you and in return take a little commission on very sale recorded. Once your work is ready, you will have to upload it unto their site in Doc. or PDF format. These agents will pick it up from there and generate your book in different file formats for different devices. They will also ship your book to various eBook stores online and return an agreed percentage to you as royalties.
How do I track sales?
On these sites, a dashboard will be created for you and from there you can keep track of how many copies of your book are sold. Below, I have listed some of the top free online eBook agents that are ever ready to help you get your masterpiece across the world.
Every obstacle can be conquered with the right information. With the information in this article, I have published two of my books and they are selling in different online stores across the world.
Information contained here is not only relevant to aspiring and unpublished writers. Accomplished writers who already have their books in print can do well to get an eBook version of their printed books and reach a global audience other than those within their immediate environment. Contact us to find out how we can help you get started.
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There is no more excuse for failure. Now go and publish an eBook.
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