Let's create our first eBook

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans
Author and references

If we have a book in the drawer, it is the right time to take it out. Here are the best writing software to create our first book and become good authors:

Pages: (Mac App Store) exports to the standard ePub format, which allows you to create books that work for the iBookStore and many other popular eBook services.

Microsoft Word: is the tool of choice for the publishing industry and is the recommended option for publishing on services like Smashwords.

Scrivener: is a program highly praised by professional writers and is the writing equivalent of a Swiss Army knife, with particularly good eBook export options.

iBooks Author (Mac App Store) designed to create books for the Apple store, iBook Author is an easy-to-use program that guarantees great results. The book can only be sold through Apple.

If we publish to several stores or plan to do so, it is advisable to keep the manuscript as simple as possible, using the formatting styles in moderation. For example Smashwords (it's one of the easiest ways to view our book on major platforms, including iBookStore) is very accurate on what is accepted, it just asks for a Word, Pages or HTML document with a couple of styles. Among the shops to choose from to sell our work, Amazon should not be overlooked. It is certainly one of the few that with its Kindle Store sells independent books while the other sites keep them only in the catalog. If, on the other hand, you want to sell on the iBookStore, you have to subscribe to the Paid Books Account, via iTunes Connect. To do this, you need to provide US tax details, an aspect that many other stores leave pending, while Apple wants it now and unlike other services it expects us to provide a code. ISBN for our book.

ISBNs are sold in blocks of ten and cost around € 121. If our book is bought through theiBookStore we will get 60 percent of the price, if instead we go directly to Apple without going through Smashwords we will have 70 percent but we will have to get the ISBN.

Amazon has two royalties: 35 percent and 70 percent. To qualify for the higher fare the price must be between € 0,86 and € 9,70. The Kindle Store is very price sensitive: with € 0,99 per book we will earn fewer suns per single copy, but we will sell much more than putting it for € 1,99 or more. 

One of the advantages of eBooks is that we can experiment with the price, which is to try to sell at the 70 percent rate and see how the price goes or drop. Another option is to sell the book for free. In the short term it will help the book to appear, for example to distribute a certain number of free copies in a short promotional period, after which it will be possible to set a rate.

If we are using Smashwords to sell for free we just have to change the price, on Amazon we have to join the program KDP Select which plans to make the book exclusive to Kindle for 90 days and therefore not be able to take advantage of sales on the iBooks Store and other platforms.

EBooks are not the answer to everything, some e-ink readers are unable to reproduce photographs and some people dislike reading books on the computer screen. If we decide to sell the books ourselves by buying a number and then distributing them from our site or in person, there are sites that offer print-on-demand service, but printing prices may be substantial. For example a photo album on Blurb.com it could cost us € 16,95 for 20 pages up to € 84,95 for larger sizes. Prices fall, of course, for orders of ten pieces or more, but if, instead, we let others handle the sales, print on demand Lulu.com it could suit our needs. Prices are not bad € 7,64 for a 100-page softcover book.

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