This is a guest post by Vincent H. Clarke

With the e-book market experiencing growth like never before, self-publishing has now become a very real and even preferred choice among many authors. Despite the misgivings of some, self-publishing is a way to gain readership that only requires you to polish a few skills to execute correctly.

Although e-book publishing is a fairly simple process, many publishing companies have made it into a complicated author’s nightmare. So, to help you through your next e-book release, here are three of the best options for self-publishing an e-book quickly and easily.

But first, let’s check off a few steps. There are quite a few e-book creation and editing software programs available for writing, but I’d suggest you keep it fairly simple. Write everything in a simple word processor for example, and save it in at least two or more secure locations. After completing your e-book, it’s then time to work a little on the design. Personally I use Adobe InDesign CS6.

Make sure you’ve created a nice cover and have given the internal pages some touch-ups as well. Add some aesthetics in the font, headers, footers, and between sections. Remember to add images where appropriate, and don’t forget the copyright information. To make your own graphics you can either take up learning Photoshop, (which is actually not terribly difficult to do), or hire a designer for cheap from sites like Fiverr and deviantART. Once you have your e-book written and looking great, it’s time to get it out to the public.

Distribute on USB drives

USB drives have become extremely popular in the last couple of years. These small, portable multi-storage devices make it very easy to carry your files anywhere. Whether it’s at the office, at home, or even the local Starbucks. And unlike cloud storage solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive, you won’t need an internet connection to open up and view the contents on a flash drive.

This is the perfect medium for an e-book: smaller and lighter than a regular hardcover, yet less restricted than an online storage site. Marketing companies have already taken advantage of this, using flash drives regularly as their most valued promotional items. According to a survey done by the British Promotional Merchandise Association, 45 percent of people surveyed said they would rather receive a USB drive more than any other type of promotional merchandise.

You can purchase wholesale flash drives for a bargain and even have your book title and author info printed right on them. That’s extra exposure for your e-book every time someone plugs in your USB drive into their laptop or tablet computer.

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing

Amazon’s very popular e-book publishing platform remains one of the easiest and most highly regarded ways to get your e-book out to the public by yourself. You’ll need to be very careful though. Many companies offer to serve as the middle man between you and Amazon in exchange for a cut of the profits. Their claim is that the Amazon publishing process is very difficult and not worth doing yourself. Not only is this not true, but choosing to work with an e-book aggregator will prove to be the much more difficult task.

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing currently offers a 70 percent royalty rate for e-book authors, with some terms and conditions as with any self-publishing company. This is the same royalty rate that Apple offers authors who sell e-books through its iBooks store. What makes Amazon stand out above the rest is that it offers some very lucrative extra incentives to authors who sell their e-book exclusively on Amazon. This is called the KDP Select program, and it comes with some very cool perks.

If you decide to make your e-book exclusive to the Kindle Store for a minimum of 90 days, the product would be eligible to be included in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and you can earn a share of the fund based on how frequently the book is borrowed. You’ll also have access to an exclusive set of marketing tools available to Amazon KDP Select contributors only. For example, you’ll have the option to offer enrolled e-books for free to Kindle readers for up to 5 days every 90 days. You can sign up for a single e-book or your entire published library.

Basically the Kindle Owners Lending Library allows Amazon Prime members to rent your e-book for free. This can end up working for you on multiple levels. For one, you’ll be exposed to Amazon’s large and loyal consumer base. Kindle as of now is the leader in e-book sales and readership, with over two thirds of the entire e-book market share. In addition, even though people are not paying to download your book with KDP Select, you’re still technically getting paid directly by Amazon.

iBooks Author

This exclusive software program from Apple allows you to build multi-touch interactive e-books that you can then publish and sell on the Apple iBooks store. With the popularity of the iPhone and iPod Touch, along with the iPad dominating the tablet market, this is a great way to get your e-book out to a very large consumer base.

iBooks Author is currently a free software download for Mac users, and working with it is as easy as creating a PowerPoint presentation. While it may offer fewer features than Adobe InDesign, it certainly wins points for its straight-to-publish process. Once you’re finished designing your e-book, all you have to do is create an iBooks Author account and upload your newest work to the iBooks store and iTunes U.

Probably the biggest flaw with Apple’s e-book publishing process lies with a simple requirement: All e-books on the iBooks store must have an ISBN number. This would be nothing particularly new, except that Apple makes you purchase your own ISBN number, which for a single e-book can cost around $125. Sure you can find ISBN numbers for a lot less than that, but it’s still a hefty, unexpected price.

That said, with its large tablet reader base and free iBooks authorship program for editing and designing your e-book, I’d give Apple’s iBooks Author program a second look. After all, a $125 investment might seem small compared to the potential to make thousands on Apple’s vast and popular e-book platform.

VHClarkeAbout this post’s author:

Vincent H. Clarke is an inbound marketing analyst and freelance blogger. As someone who works in marketing, he enjoys learning and blogging about SEO and freelance writing. You can follow Vincent on Twitter at @_VHClarke.

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