E-book publishing is emerging as its own home industry. Many fiction and nonfiction writers are taking to the virtual airwaves to publish their own books and distributing them through various online book retail outlets. But they are overlooking the best way to take their writing careers to the next level and establish themselves as online media moguls.
Why is E-book Publishing a Great Business to be in?
Technological innovation has an uncanny way of driving demand. Today, nearly everyone you know has a smartphone or a tablet, and many people have multiple devices. They may have a smartphone and a Kindle they use for travel then a Nook or another electronic reading device they use at home.
E-book publishers in the fiction and nonfiction realm alike are popping up all over the Web. Here are a few digital-only publishers that have opened their doors in the last few years:
- Curiosity Quills - Publishes e-books in several fiction genres.
- Lanternfish - Publishes fiction and nonfiction e-books
- Garden Gnome Publications - Publishes a digital-only Biblical Legends Anthology Series.
- Cybereditions - Specializes in academic e-books and publishes its titles as print-on-demand print books.
There are hundreds more e-book publishers online with more popping up all the time. One reason for this is because the barriers to entry are much lower than they are for starting a small print book publishing company. The production costs for e-books is much less than those for publishing print books, and it’s often much cheaper to promote them, as well.
What You Need To Start Publishing E-books
It’s much simpler than you think. The first step is to establish your new publishing company as a business. That will require choosing a structure and filing the necessary paperwork in your state or country to establish your company as a bona fide business.
Next, you’ll need a website. You cannot operate as a digital-only publishing company if you do not have a face and a storefront. Your website is the home office for your e-book publishing enterprise. Make sure it is attractive, functional, and easy to navigate.
You’ll also need the necessary software for turning documents into e-books.
In most cases, you can take simple Word documents and convert them into Kindle books and other formats they can be read on most e-readers. Amazon allows you to upload your Word document directly into its publishing platform. So do Kobo and Barnes & Noble, both publishers of e-books in the ePub format. Smashwords will allow you to upload a Word document and will convert that document into every major e-book format then distribute it to all the appropriate e-book retailers online.
Finally, you need writers. You can’t publish e-books unless you have e-books to publish. So how do you find writers willing to let you publish their e-books?
Finding Writers: Where to Get Submissions for Your E-book Publishing Company
This might be the easiest part of the process. It seems as if everyone wants to be a published author these days.
Your first step is to determine the types of books you want to publish. Do you want to specialize in fiction, or nonfiction? Maybe you want to only publish family histories. You will find it much easier, and probably more profitable, to narrow down your niche rather than try to be all things to all writers and readers.
You’ll also need to determine how much you’ll pay your writers. You can offer a flat rate, such as $100 for your manuscript, a per-word writing fee, or a percentage of profits as royalties. Typically, 50% of royalties for life is recommended since e-book publishers often do not pay advances. The better you pay your writers the more likely you will receive high quality manuscripts.
As a publisher, you should do everything in your power to attract the best writers with the best manuscripts within your publishing specialty. That means you should advertise.
Craigslist is a good place to advertise for free, but you’ll often receive low quality manuscripts or inexperienced writers hoping for their big break. Your best bet is to make a list of niche online magazines and blogs in the same publishing niche that you want to be in and approach the publishers to request a write up on your new business. You might also hire a writer or public relations specialist to assist you in writing articles that can be published online and link back to your website in a bio. Social media is another medium for getting free publicity for your new e-book publishing company.
Hold Your Head Up: E-book Publishing is not Easy
I’m not suggesting that running an e-book publishing company is easy. There are risks and pitfalls. However, e-book publishing is growing up as a viable business model and will soon rival that of traditional publishing. If you get in now, you’ll be on the ground floor of a new technological opportunity that is proving to be a profitable and rewarding business niche.