Self Publishing on the Ipad

Apple’s distribution system for the Ipad (and Ipod), is a free application called iBooks. Once installed, iBooks allows you to buy, download and store your ebooks. Individual writers are not able to directly upload titles. Instead, Apple has appointed a number of Apple-approved iBookstore aggregators. One of these is Smashwords and uploading your book to their site is simple. Here’s how:

REGISTER: Sign up for a Smashwords account. Choose a ‘member name’ that corresponds with the pen name or publisher name you will be using. Choose this carefully, as you cannot change it later.

FORMAT: Study and implement the Smashwords Style Guide so you can learn how to format your ebook. Your book must be uploaded to Smashwords as a Microsoft Word .doc file.

COVER IMAGE: You will need a quality book cover image (JPEG file), and it must be a vertical rectangle shape and at least 600 pixels tall. The cover cannot be a grey scale image and it cannot contain hyperlinks or website addresses. 

PRICE, ATTACH & UPLOAD: Once you have formatted your book to the Style Guide, click the Publish link at the top of any page. Carefully fill out the required information. Apple prices ebooks in 99 cent increments, so it’s a good idea to do the same.

CONVERSION: After you click the publish button, your browser will pause as it uploads your information to the conversion service. At the end of the conversion you may see messages, suggesting formatting problems. Once your book has been converted you will receive email confirmation.

CHECK FOR INSTRUCTIONS: Check your Dashboard. Under the ‘Premium Status’ column, it should say ‘Pending review’ or ‘Accepted.’ It usually takes a week or less for Smashwords to manually approve your title for the Premium Catalog. If it says ‘Requires Modification,’ click the link for instructions, where you’ll find messages from our reviewers.

UPLOAD NEW VERSION (IF REQUIRED): If you were asked to revise your book, when you’ve finished the revisions return to your Dashboard and click ‘Upload new version.’

VALIDATE YOUR EPUB: Once your ebook conversion completes, it’ll output your book in multiple formats, including EPUB.  Apple requires that your EPUB file pass the EPUBCHECK validator.  Here’s how you can check:  Go to your book page, download the complete EPUB, then upload it to a free validator, such as http://threepress.org/document/epub-validate.  Most books pass 100%.  If your book fails, it’s usually caused by easy to fix problems such as poorly formed hyperlinks. Once you’ve fixed your book, return to your Dashboard and click ‘upload new version.’

ASSIGN AN ISBN: Apple requires your book have an ISBN. Go to the ISBN Manager page to assign one to your book. Your ebook ISBN must be different than the print book ISBN..

OPT-IN TO APPLE CATALOG: Go to your Dashboard and click on the Channel Manager link where you must manually opt-in to the Smashwords-Apple distribution channel for each book. You will be asked to carefully review and agree to special terms, required by Apple, in order for them to list your book in the iBookstore.

WAIT: After your book is accepted to the Premium Catalog, and you’ve assigned your ISBN and have opted in to the Apple channel, then you must wait for Smashwords to distribute your book to Apple. It will usually appear in the iPad iBookstore within a day or two of shipping.

PROMOTE YOUR BOOK: Download the free Smashwords Book Marketing Guide for an extensive list of free book marketing ideas.

GET PAID: For all sales, you’ll earn 60% of the retail price. Smashwords pays quarterly on all monies received on your behalf by the end of each quarter.

Tips For Selling Books On The Kindle & Ipad

  • Think about selling from the buyer’s perspective. As the author of an ebook, spend some time figuring out how readers will find out about your book or come across it among the thousands of books in the Apple and Kindle store. Then once they have found it, you must also ensure that they feel compelled enough to want to buy it.
  • Hang out where readers of Kindle and Ipad books hang out. Spend time promoting your book on the internet, where your readers are hanging out. Join reader sites like GoodReads and subscribe to blogs and groups that cater to Kindle owners like KindleBoards, Kindle Forum, Kindlechat, or Kindle Nation Daily. Sign up to these sites and participate in the conversations. Your customized signature, with links back to your author website and or blog, and pictures of your book covers linked to your Amazon product page, act a bit like a business card. The more times a potential reader sees your name and book titles, the more likely they will type those details in when they are looking for new books to download.
  • Your cover design, interior design and formatting are the most crucial elements to success. If you are going to shell out any money this is where to spend it. There are lots of freelancers out there with reasonable rates.
  • Make sure your book is completely ready before you start to promote. Your product description needs to be well-written, your excerpt must be available, and you should have at least 4-5 reviews written by professional reviewers. There are more and more websites, blogs, and enewsletters that are willing to review ebooks. Most professional reviewers will then put their reviews on Amazon.
  • Make your pricing competitive. Go to the specific categories in which your book will show up and look at the prices of your competitors. If you aren’t a big name, $2.99-3.99 is probably the safest price point for genre fiction.
  • Don’t make your big promotional push prematurely. Banners on Kindle sites, promotional packages and paying for ads can cause a temporary bump in sales, but only if everything else is in place.
  • Use Amazon’s browsing capabilities effectively. Make sure your book appears in the right categories on Amazon, so potential readers find what they’re looking for.

Hope all this helps in your quest to sell more books!

Love & Light

The Word Queen xx

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