Thursday, May 23, 2013

Another Guide

I found How to Publish Your Own E-Book by Nik Rawlinson, published by Magbook, on the tabloid shelf at my local market's checkout line, which was probably why it caught my eye. That and waiting to pay for my groceries is always a little boring, so I picked it up, flipped through it and decided to fork out a rather pricey $14.99 to take it home for further study.

The author is a UK journalist, btw, and brings that sort of no-nonsense tone to the book, which for me made it an easy read. He devotes the first twenty pages of the magazine to convincing the reader why digital self-publishing is the best option, and they're quite effective. There are a few slams against traditional publishing but it's nothing you haven't already heard. Chapter Two addresses writing your book, but only very lightly and not at all in practical terms; this is only section that I found to be basically useless. That said, this is really a book to teach you how to self-publish, not how to write.

Chapter Three is where Mr. Rawlinson earns his cover price by detailing how to create and format your e-book using Sigil, Scrivener, InDesign, QuarkXPress, and iBooks Author. He also looks at working with Kindle Format 8 and how to test Kindle and ePub documents to see how they're going to look. I haven't used any of these programs, so I can't comment on the quality of the info, but there are plenty of screenshots and instructions, and they appear to be what someone would need to get through the basic process involved with each. My only reservation is how long this info will be useful, especially as the e-publishing world continues to evolve. According to the author it has been updated to reflect changes in these programs and services through December 2012, so unless there are radical/unexpected changes ahead in the near future it might be a good reference resource for another year or two.

Chapters Four and Five, Selling Your E-book and After Publication, return to the lighter/theoretical format of earlier chapters, although they contain some solid advice. Since I'm not personally interested in going the indie publishing route, the fact that I found two resources, Sigil and, still made it worth the cover price.

I wouldn't call this a complete guide, or a must-have manual for anyone considering digital self-publication, but it contains enough info to get you started down the indie path. I couldn't find it for sale at any US online booksellers but it is available through Amazon's UK site here in Kindle format. Combine this guide with your own research and online legwork, go cautiously, and you just may be able to self-publish your own e-book, too.


  1. Something a bit odd about a book about how to publish an ebook being found in a supermarket. Nonetheless, seems like a worthwhile read.

  2. I read somewhere that 25% of all print novels sold are bought at markets and drug stores -- maybe they're trying to get a piece of the e-book market now, too. :)


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