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Free eBook Publishing Guide – Part 1 – Why Publish an eBook?

ebook defined

Although it has been around for over twenty years, no one has yet come up with a stable definition of the word ‘eBook’. However, some typical features can be discerned:

  • The item is distributed as a single file (which is why encyclopedias on CD are not considered eBooks) and can be opened as a data file in an application, rather than launched as an executable (.exe) file.
  • The article is complete and complete, that is, it is not a chapter/episode/series or an unfinished work-in-progress.
  • The element is familiar to readers because it follows most or all of the standard book conventions (for example, contains a table of contents, preface, index, etc., and is between 25,000 and 400,000 words long) .

The advantages of an eBook

In addition to the financial advantages for the author (which I’ll cover later), e-books have a number of intrinsic benefits compared to the traditional print book:

  • Readers can search the text to quickly find key information, especially when reading it a second time.
  • Readers can adjust the font and font size to make the book easier to read (increasingly vital for an aging population!)
  • Readers who are blind or have low vision may make greater use of text-to-speech software (“screen readers”).
  • E-books can be read in low light or complete darkness using the backlight features of PC or mobile devices
  • Distribution costs are extremely low, and eBook authors and publishers can respond quickly to any errata or addenda, with more frequent incremental edits.
  • E-books are green. Many hundreds can be stored on a single device and paper usage (via printing) is minimized or avoided altogether
  • E-books without DRM protection can be easily copied and instantly backed up

The advantages for the author

When writing a traditional print book, the odds are against the author making a decent living from their work. Ebooks, by contrast, offer a true return on investment for the author:

  • You can’t be rejected! A traditional book may be rejected 50 or 60 times by different publishers and agents before it is finally accepted, or it may never even find a home! Many authors paper their walls with rejection letters. You won’t have to!
  • You do not have to wait! For the traditional book, it can take up to two years for the publisher to bring its book to market (managing as it does a huge and inefficient supply chain of printers, shippers, wholesalers, distributors, marketers, and booksellers). An eBook cannot take more than 10 weeks!
  • You can earn much more money! To illustrate this, imagine a traditionally published book with a list price of £20. The Distributor and the buying public share a 50% trade discount between them (£10 in this case) and the Publisher gets £9; leaving the author with a 10% royalty on the discounted “net” price (£1). For a trade paperback this could be less (perhaps 70 pence). For an eBook equivalent to £20, you could earn 14 times more on each copy (£14)! More on this later in the guide.
  • You receive your money sooner and with fewer surprises! In a traditional book, an author would typically get his share of it up to 120 days after the actual sale, with 20% of his cash held as insurance against unsold books. With eBooks, it ranges from immediate receipt to 90 days, with no holding back.
  • The practical advantages; E-books can be easily changed or updated, without the need for new print runs and discarded old editions. They never need to run out and can cross genres or use unusual formulas without upsetting an interfering editor! Finally, you retain all rights to the title and the deals will be non-exclusive (so you can sell through other publishers).


I hope I’ve convinced you that the e-book option is worth investigating, especially for the new author. You can avoid publisher rejection letters, get to market 12 times faster, and earn 14 times more revenue per book than with the traditional publishing model.

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