Leigh Tate wrote:Hi Anthony. Quite a few of us are self-published here on Permies. eBooks are a pretty easy way to break into publishing, with a variety of resources to get you started. There is a learning curve, of course, especially along the lines of formatting, with a number of file choices: mobi, epub, and PDF are the most common, although there are others.
I publish eBooks through Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords, so I can tell you a bit about those two. I upload my book files in .doc format and the cover file as a .jpeg, and they convert the files for me. Each has their own file requirements, which you can find on their websites. It's also possible to create your own epub files.
I use KDP to distribute on Amazon, and Smashwords for all other venues except Permies Digital Market. For Permies, I convert my book files to PDFs and upload them here myself. KDP's software is a little more forgiving of formatting issues, and you can preview your files before you publish (a nice plus), but they only convert to mobi for Kindle. Smashwords converts your files to a variety of formats and has a broad distribution network (Barnes & Noble, Apple, iTunes, Scribd., etc., even Amazon). But they also have more stringent rules for creating an acceptable file, i.e., one that can be converted to a variety of formats. For Amazon, I use KDP, which also has a broad distribution network, but it all boils down to getting the best royalties. Plus, I'm not a fan of monopolies, so I like publishing through different companies.
One reason I chose these companies is that I can publish with no cost to myself, unless I choose to hire out services (which I don't). Ingram Spark is another popular choice for authors, and they do publish epub, but it costs about $25 per file to upload each time (meaning if you have to make corrections and upload a new file, you have to pay the file fee each time.) They do have the broadest distribution network, and if you sign up for their newsletter, you'll find specials for new book uploads.
Besides self-learning, the other challenge will be self-promoting. When you do your own publishing, it falls on you to promote your books and build your audience. If you do your own eBook file creation, it will fall on you to contact wherever you want to sell your books and upload them yourself. The other option, is to sell through your own website.
You're right in that you won't make a lot of money, but self-publishing can be a very rewarding way to share your knowledge and experience. Plus it's a great outlet if you have a creative writing streak.
Anthony Copeland wrote:That was a very detailed response thank you. Have you been able to grow this income over time? I know this isn’t a get rich quick thing but what are your thoughts about slowly growing this over time into a pseudo passive income stream? I would be curious since you have written so many. Do some books fall off or are all relatively consistent.
Jane Mulberry wrote:What you're intending sounds good! Go for it!
Having the experience you do will be a real help. Also, that's a great selling point - you have insight about the practical aspects of your topics and real-life experience. A LOT of the cheaper non-fiction ebooks are junk books thrown together by someone whose sole experience is an hour Googling the topic then copy-pasting. So you already have something that lifts your book above the herd. (Yeah, deliberate bad pun, there!) That's something you can emphasise in your bio (which appears on your author page and on the book product page) and in each book's description.
Doing a series is also a great idea. Amazon loves prolific authors and rewards them with more visibility.
We don't have time for this. We've gotta save the moon! Or check this out:
the permaculture bootcamp in winter (plus half-assed holidays)https://permies.com/t/149839/permaculture-projects/permaculture-bootcamp-winter-assed-holidays