A Cheap and Easy Guide to Self-Publishing eBooks by Tom Hua - HTML preview

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Chapter One

Chapter One:

What is an eBook and Why Should I Publish One?

Let me begin with a story...

In December of 1999, as stories of the New Millennium where hitting the newspapers, I was thinking of a way to make my New Year and New Millennium memorable.

What I really wanted to do is find a way to earn money very quickly through writing. I already had an eBook version of my first paper bound book, How To Hypnotize Yourself Without Losing Your Mind, which would account for 5 or 10 eBook sales each month. I am only counting sales from my website.

I studied the statistical report of all of my webpages and found that one page consistently had an enormous amount of visitor traffic each month. The page title was How to Hypnotize Other People.

How to Hypnotize Other People, was a page that included free information that assists people hypnotizing each other. I found that page had nearly three times as many web visitors than the page hosting my information on self-hypnosis. An alarm went off in my head! Why don't I create and publish an eBook that will teach basic instruction in How to Hypnotize Other People?

On December 10, 1999 I did just that and I have never looked back! From December 10 through January 9, or one full month of displaying the eBook on my website, I sold over 100 copies of the new eBook. At a price of $10.00 per eBook I earned $1000.00 in royalties. I kept almost all of it because by selling a book in eBook format, I only had the cost of the credit card processing. This was a small percentage of the total sales.

The first quarter of selling this eBook is now over and sales keep going up and up. Now I have seven new eBooks and I am going to keep adding more.

You can too! As you read this book you will learn how to sell your eBooks to the world. You will learn how to publish your brilliance and have readers respond within an hour. You will learn how to market your eBooks without spending any money.

I love the Internet because I find I always have two choices marketing products. I can pay for marketing or I can market for free. Since I advertise my books and eBooks without spending any money, this is the world I am most familiar with. You will first learn how to sell your eBooks from other organizations' websites and then also sell the eBooks from your own. This book includes a detailed marketing plan and winning strategies that will soon have you earning book royalties.

This is a perfect way to start a profitable part time business because all of the contacts you make are by e-mail. You will process orders at convenient times.

You are not making personal sales calls to bookstores or libraries. You do not have to conform to their schedules and their whims.

You can earn money and keep your regular job. I will warn you that you may end up quitting your regular job or profession as you gain expertise in publishing and selling your eBooks.

It is great fun!

What is an eBook?

An eBook or electronic book, or virtual book or digital book is simply a digital text file or group of files that when put together can be read on computers or dedicated eBook reading devices.

eBooks  may  include  text,  sound,  photographs,  illustrations  and  video.  eBooks  may contain "hot links" that allow the reader immediate access to web sites referred in the text.

eBooks can be published in a variety of ways:

1. eBooks can be published as digital files that are downloaded and read on laptop or desktop computers. This is the primary type of eBook media discussed in this book.

2. eBooks can be created as digital files that are downloaded and read on palm-top or handheld computers.

3. eBooks can be published as digital files that are downloaded and read on dedicated eBook reader devices such as the Rocketbook eBook Reader or Softbook eBook Reader or the Everybook eBook Reader.

4. eBooks can be digital files that are copied onto floppy disks or a CD-ROMs.

By the time you are read this book, other forms of electronic books may have already appeared. I will keep you up-to-date with eBook updates when you register this book.

Give Me Examples of eBooks

Examples of an eBook would be a 400-page novel, complete with any illustrations or photographs.

An eBook could also be a training manual. A Reiki eBook is one of the best selling eBooks and sells for $20.00 a copy.

An eBook is a 5 page specialized report that focuses on solving a specific problem. eBooks can be short stories. Instead of buying a collection of short stories by an author you are unfamiliar with, you can now purchase one or two short stories at a time for only a couple of bucks each!

eBooks may be multimedia CD-ROMs with sound, video and text just like all the new encyclopedias that are published today.

Many authors in the main stream are now publishing their books as eBooks. Stephen King and Oprah publish eBooks Why don't you?

Advantages of Purchasing and Reading eBooks The eBook serves customers in the following ways:

1. The international customer who does not want to wait a month or longer for the information can now have it shortly after credit card payment is made.

2. The college student who has limited funds for purchasing books can access a computer and  can  quickly  download,  print  and  read  information  at  a  very  low  cost.  eBooks generally save the student at least 20% of traditional books.

3. The travelling executive who doesn't want to carry around heavy books in her luggage but wants access to reading a variety of topics can pack a light load.

4. Conservationists love reading this way. eBooks save not only trees in the process, but the associated inks and chemicals as well as oil production in moving those trees to the mills and books into traditional bookstores.

5.  Many  people  want  privacy.  There  are  eBooks  available  that  focus  on  religious, personal hygiene or sexual topics that can be easily downloaded and read without the reader going to a store and bringing an embarrassing title to the attention of the bookstore clerk.

6. Some readers love to use their computers. Even a slower speed, cheaper computer can hold  thousands  of  books  on  the  hard  disk.  Since  there  are  many  titles  that  can  be downloaded for free, many readers can now have a library that competes with their local library.

7. People that have poor eyesight now have the ability of changing the size and shape of all the characters they view on the computer screen. They are not fixed into one font size like a typical paper book.

Once you start publishing your own eBooks you will be more apt to download and purchase them for yourself.

Don't you agree?

What do I write about?

What do you write about? What are your interests in life? What do you do for a living? What lessons in life did you learn that would have value to your fellow man? What are readers interested in reading about?

Take some time and write down answers to these questions. Remember that an eBook can be only 5 pages long or it can be 400 pages long. Whether you are finding solutions to problems, writing a great short story or even a complete novel, you will find a market for that eBook if you follow the easy steps presented in this book.

You can always change content and edit your book. This means that you can keep adding and changing to meet your readers' needs. It is impossible to do that in a cost-effective way when you march down to your local bookstore and buy a printed and bound version. You will earn money as you perfect your eBook products and become a better writer. Did you ever think you would get a lifetime scholarship or grant to write books?

Let's get some of that scholarship or grant money right now!

This is truly a Cheap and Easy Guide to Self-publishing eBooks. This book is laid out in such a way that each exercise builds upon the previous one. Begin at Chapter One and read the chapters in order. This is why you will be able to publish your first work to the world in just a few minutes after reading this book. You may have your first eBook published even before you are halfway through the book.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Self-publishing eBooks) 1Q. Do I need to copyright my work?

1A. Yes, you should copyright your work. In the United States, where I live, copyright law automatically protects any document you create. The reason you file papers with the U.S Copyright Office is so that the U.S. government has a record of when, where and by whom this specific document was created.

2Q. Where do I go to copyright my work?

2A. Once you have completed your eBook, you can obtain the copyright forms from the United States Copyright Office on the Library of Congress Website. A "Cheap and Easy" way to getting the job done is by going to the United States Copyright Office located at:


3Q. What is an ISBN number and do I need one?

3A. The ISBN number is a number that you will need for each binding of your eBook. For the two eBooks and marketing plans that I am including in this book, you can get by without  an  ISBN  number.  However,  in  order  to  present  your  eBook  to  traditional bookstores that will be selling eBooks, you will need an ISBN number. I will advise you how to get ISBN numbers later in the book. You can let your sales from publishing with the two basic publishing plans I offer pay for the cost of obtaining ISBN numbers.

Here is the address of RR Bowker, the company that issues the ISBN numbers. When applying for a number, always remember that even if you have just one book to publish, you will need many additional numbers.

For example, if you publish your book on a CD-ROM you will need a number. If you publish your eBook as a digital file to download off the Internet, you will need another ISBN number.

If you decide to publish the same book in printed form you need another number. You must have separate ISBN numbers for hardbound, softcover, trade paperback, audio books, and any other potential binding you can think of. You will need at least five ISBN numbers for every eBook you publish.

In order to make the eBook strategy work for you; consider publishing a series of three to five new books.

If you publish at least three versions or bindings on each book you will need at least 15 ISBN numbers to assign.

Read the specifications and directions at:


4Q. How do I keep someone from stealing my eBook and passing it out to everyone for free?

4A. If a person wants to steal your material, what prevents him from buying your bound version from a local bookstore, ripping the pages out of the book, scanning the pages into his computer, and selling your brilliance? Theft can happen, but if you are making more money than you can spend and becoming very popular, maybe it will actually be a good thing for you in the final tally. After all, just recently Stephen King the great American author gave out free copies of his newest eBook over the Internet. Over 400000 people responded and overloaded the network servers of major Internet booksellers. Even if a few free copies were pirated, don't you think Stephen King benefited by the publicity associated with those kinds of sales figures?

5Q. Can I publish an eBook and then publish a bound version of the same book?

5A. Yes, you can! In fact you may find you have a much better product to sell as you receive  feedback  from  people  that  have  spent  money  on  your  eBook  and  basically perform a job of editing for you at the same time. Your success in publishing in this fashion will give you new insights and new markets to explore using traditional print publishers. Make sure you study each eBook-publishing contract. Some publishers will want exclusive rights to publish your work in electronic format. Some publishers will even ask for exclusive print rights. When you see the word "exclusive" in a contract, run away. Just because print publishers may have a handle on the print world, they may have no clue on how to reach the book buyers of the electronic world.

Electronic book publishers have no lock on the Internet buying market either. The eBook publishing business changes daily. You need to keep up with what is going on. You need to educate yourself and stay ahead of the curve. You can accomplish this feat by selling your eBooks through many different eBook sellers.

6Q. Can I include pictures or video in my eBooks?

6A. Yes, you can. However, it may be best to offer text only eBooks with links that take the reader to the Internet to view full color illustrations and video. If you keep the file size small by including just a few pictures, it will be easier to deliver to your buyers' e- mail. Generally you want to keep the file size under one megabyte so you can deliver your eBooks easily over the Internet. Hyperlinks also add to the size of the document. For example I have a 186-page eBook that is all text. The file size is 200k. When created hyperlinks and bookmarks from the table of contents to the chapter headings, the size of the document grew to 640k.

If you want to e-publish and want tons of graphics, links, sound and video then you need to purchase a CD Re-Writer. Good ones cost around $300.

Many CD-ROMs hold 600 megabytes of information. Reference books and mailing lists are published on CD-ROM.

7Q. How much money can I earn selling my eBooks?

7A. That is a hard question to answer. There is no guarantee that you will sell anything. However, if you use the techniques outlined in this book, your chances of earning book royalties are fantastic!

You will be more profitable at selling eBooks than many other Internet products.

Why?  Because  of  the  instant  gratification  and  privacy  it  offers  the  reader  and  the wonderful value inherent associated with books.

8Q. How long does it take me to get my finished eBook uploaded and actually have it selling on the Internet?

8A. With some servers it may take a week or two, with other's including your own, it may take 15 minutes!

Yes, in 15 minutes you will start showing off your book to the entire world! 9Q. What subjects are hot right now?

9A. The best selling subjects right now seem to be how to, romance, erotica, health, and non-fiction.

Go  to  barnesandnoble.com  and  borders.com  and  look  at  the  book  titles  they  are marketing. This will give you a good idea of what is hot and what is not.

10Q. How can I sell my eBooks in traditional bookstores?

10A.  Both  Barnes  &  Noble  and  Borders  are  planning  to  sell  eBooks  out  of  their traditional stores. Amazon.com will be selling eBooks by the time this book is in printed form.

By the time mainstream book publishing gets involved selling eBooks, your popularity and sales figures may get the attention of store managers when the time comes to include eBooks in their business plans. Now, many independent storeowners sell eBooks in the form of floppy disks and CD-ROMs.

At this very moment, two of the major traditional book wholesalers, Ingram and Baker & Taylor  are  considering  offering  eBooks  to  their  customers.  Their  customers  include traditional bookstores and libraries.

11Q. Where Can I find eBooks?

11A. The cheap and easy way to get familiar with eBooks is to locate and read the many free eBooks located on-line. The largest resource is a website called Project Gutenberg, located at:


There you will find around 10,000 free eBooks. These will be easy to read because they are formatted in straight ASCII text, just like all of your e-mail messages. This way they can be easily downloaded on 99% of the computers in existence.

You will find eBooks that are in "public domain." This means that anyone can distribute these eBooks without worrying about violating copyright.

Another great source of free eBooks and book samplers is called the Rocket Library. It is located at:


You will be able to download and read these books in the new Rocketbook eBook format and you can contribute to the Rocketbook Library.

Since many eBook-publishing houses distribute their own free eBooks to the Rocketbook Library, your free eBook may get the attention of eBook publishers.

12Q. Where Can I purchase new eBooks?

12A. Here are some wonderful places to purchase eBooks.

1stbooks Library:


The Booklocker:






Rocket Edition Books by NuvoMedia available at Barnes & Noble and Powells.com:



Softbook Editions by the Softbook Press:




The NetLibrary:


To get a more complete and up to date list, go to major search engine directories like Yahoo, altavista, excite, etc, and search on the words, "eBooks" or "electronic books."

Are you excited? The list gets bigger every day. Good luck! Your first eBook will soon be listed and sold by many of the above eBook sellers!


There are many places located on the Internet to publish and sell your eBooks. At least once a week perform a search on the search directory Yahoo at:


Search on the words, "eBooks" "ebooks" and "eBook publishers" The results will give you additional markets to sell your eBooks and give you many ideas on effective ways to market them.

You also learned how to get a copyright for your works and where to apply for an ISBN number.