The social web is entirely changing the way that authors are publishing and readers are reading books. But all of this change is creating an overwhelming decision for writers who are looking to create and publish ebooks. There are innumerable software programs and apps available that authors can choose from. It can be overwhelming to figure out which software is the best.
Here are some considerations for writers who are just beginning their research into the best services to fit their needs.
Price – all too often price is the deciding factor in any purchase. The cost of some of the available ebook software can run high, but if you’ve figured out how many copies of your book will sell, the price may be agreeable. However, for aspiring or first time writers, cost may be prohibitive; in this case, look for a free solution – there are lots of them out there.
Learning curve – a lot of the older software available demands that the author is quite technically savvy. As new software and apps are developed, the process is made easier and becomes more streamlined. Even if the author is comfortable with HTML, maybe they feel that the time they could spend formatting the book could be better spent editing and working on PR. When publishing boils down to a one-person process, every minute is precious
Customizable – how much control do you want over the design of the book? Some software have fairly stringent templates that you must stick to. Others let you design your own cover page, use unconventional layout design, etc. Do you want to include other media like audio, video and images? Each platform offers different functionality so it’s a good idea to run through a checklist of what you need and what each one offers.
Publication channels – does the software or app you’re using offer a database of other ebooks that their users have created? Is it popular? Do they promote new books through social media, press releases or other channels? If it’s important to you, look for software or apps that have a vibrant online presence and following.
Compatibility – depending on the platform or software you’re using, you may or may not be able to publish your books everywhere you like. Some will only produce your work in an Epub format. Others offer a range, including EPub, iBook, or others that are compatible with online sellers. Deciding on a marketing plan for your book first is a good way to gauge what formats you’ll need to have available. Generally, the more widely available your book is the more publicity and sales you’ll receive.
Recommendations from writing communities – try joining any of the numerous writers’ and publishers’ forums and communities. There are writers of all backgrounds, genres and experiences there who can answer your questions and offer useful tips. These sites usually have a handful of good moderators who will monitor the sites’ activities and make sure that the information being presented is fair and unbiased. They’ll often have a page of tried-and-true resources that you know you can trust. Just don’t forget to do your due diligence!