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Thursday, October 13, 2011

How to Make an Ebook: Step 4 - Creating the Smashwords Edition

If you've followed the formatting instructions in Step 1 as you created the book file, or you have formatted a file to fit those specifications, and you have followed the formatting for a print book at the beginning of Step 3, you are almost ready to put your book up for sale. The first place we will focus on is Smashwords.

Smashwords has what is called the "meatgrinder." It is a program which takes a Word document, and produces several types of ebooks. Then, they are put on sale at the Smashwords site. But that isn't the main reason I suggest putting your ebook there. The real benefit is the third party channels they deliver your ebook to in the format they need. Currently as of this writing, that includes Amazon (yet to be activated), Barnes and Noble, Apple, Diesel, Kobo, Sony, and Scrollmotion, with new ones signing on all the time. That being the case, I suggest you put up your book at Amazon and Barnes and Nobles yourself because you'll get a higher amount of the profit, and you can format your book more effectively than the meatgrinder might, though they are improving that all the time. And you'll get reports and payments much quicker.

But so far my sales on Smashword's partners amount to almost as much as I make on Amazon. By putting it here, along with putting it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, which I'll show you how to do in succeeding chapters, you're ebook will get wide availability with minimal efforts on your part.

What You Will Need

You'll need your word processing program, Writer or Word. If you are using Writer, you will need to add an extension. In Writer, click on "Tools" in the menu and select "Extension Manager." In the window that pops open, there will be a text link in the bottom left-hand corner that says, "Get more extensions online" right above the "Help" button. Once the website opens, do a search (on the left-hand side bar) for "Alt Search". After running that search, you should see a selection toward the top of the page which says, "Alternative dialog Find & Replace for Writer." Click on that link, and then click on the "Get Download" button. You can either save it your hard drive and run it from there, or have Open Office open it up in Writer. It will install in Writer. You may need to close Writer and open it back up. You should see an additional entry in "Tools" and "Add Ons..." which has the Alt. and a non-English language (don't worry, the tool itself is in English) as well as an entry in the "Edit" menu under the normal "Find & Replace" that says "Alt. Find & Replace."

You will also need to set up an account at Smashwords if you don't already have one. To do so, go to and on the top row of links that starts with "Home," on the far right of that you will see a link for "Join," assuming no one is currently logged into it.

Follow the instructions for setting up your account, being sure to record your user name and password. It is a good idea to go ahead and create a folder in your browser's bookmarks/favorites for "Book Publishing" and save this link to that folder for easy access.

Before You Start

Before you put anything up for sale, you'll first need to create two blurbs for your book. A blurb should accomplish two basic tasks. One, it should give the reader who is considering the book a decent idea what it is about, what type of genre they are to expect, what the basic driving force behind the story is. Or in the case of non-fiction, what benefits they can expect to get from reading your book and what qualifies you to deliver those benefits. Two, it should provide a good hook, that is, statements or questions that cause the reader to becoming interested in what the book is about. And to do that effectively means knowing your target audience. Keep them in mind when writing the blurbs. Ask yourself the question, "What would they want to know or be of interest to them?" No blurb is going to hook everyone, but you want to make sure it has the best chance of hooking the readers most likely to enjoy or need what your book offers.

It is important that you spend a good amount of time writing the blurb, testing it on a few people if necessary, and above all, make sure it doesn't have any spelling mistakes, typos, or bad grammar. If a reader sees a mistake in a blurb, they are likely to assume the whole book is full of the same and move onto the next consideration. Your blurb will either hook a reader into wanting to know more about the story, or it will turn them away. So spend time doing the best job here as possible.

Smashwords has two size of blurbs, as different sites that they upload to require different character counts. The short one needs to be no longer than 400 characters including spaces, and the long one no more than 4000 characters including spaces. You can type these in a new document, and use the word count function to see the number of characters they contain. If you have both in there, mark the one you are wanting to test and to to "Tools" and "Word Count" in either program. Note how many characters the marked section contains including spaces.

Also, a few tips. Don't include any hyperlinks, all caps, or crazy formatting. You want the reader to focus on what you are saying, not that they are being "yelled" at (all caps generally equate to yelling for most people) or distracted by the text. Likewise, most sites will eradicate any links, leaving you with a gaping hole in your blurb causing it to not make sense and/or disturb the flow of thought.

An example of a fiction book is my published book, Mind Game. Here is the short blurb:

Mind Game, the Real Virtual Game. So promises the mysterious company when Jeremy receives his wish for Christmas. The game delivers a reality so real, Jeremy and his friend Mickey are sucked into a fight to the death in a distant galaxy. Jeremy and Mickey fight to escape a dictator's trap and save thousands from the same fate.

And here is the long blurb:

Mind Game, the Real Virtual Game

So promises the mysterious company when Jeremy receives his wish for Christmas. The game delivers a reality so real, Jeremy and his friend Mickey are sucked into a fight to the death in a distant galaxy. Along with the mysterious Natalie and his troubled kid sister Bridget, Jeremy and Mickey fight to escape a dictator's trap and save thousands from the same fate.

Where does virtual reality end and reality begin? It's all in the mind.

What do you get from these blurbs? One, that it is a space opera style story, and involves virtual reality. Two, that it is a trap and involves defeating a dictator in another galaxy. So there is your basic driving conflict. And the opening sentence is designed to cause the reader to think this may have a bit more of a twist than many stories about virtual reality by throwing in that it is the "Real Virtual Game." What does that mean? And the last sentence in the longer blurb plays upon that more, but indicating that reality and virtual reality are going to be difficult to distinguish. For anyone who likes space opera and virtual reality stories, these blurbs should generate enough interest to look into the book further.

Another consideration before you head off to upload your book is price, what you will charge for the book. This is a hot topic among indie publishers. Some opt for the $0.99 price point because people are more willing to take a chance at that price than they are higher up. If it is a bad book, they've only wasted a dollar and some time. The more they had to pay for the book, the angrier they'll be if they don't like it. And the thought is they will sell enough to make plenty of money, whereas a higher price point may not sell as many and make less.

Others will argue for the higher price, around $9.99 or higher. In part because more traditional publishers sell that high, and so it is assumed readers will be willing to pay that much for your ebook. You'll definitely make a pretty penny at those prices when you do sell one, but not only will you not sell as many, you're likely to have reviewers on sites like Amazon complain about the high ebook price. Go visit some other similarly priced ebooks on the site to see the reactions. If that bothers you, you might want to take that into consideration.

The key fact to be aware of is that Amazon's pricing structure doesn't allow you to get the 70% profit on your ebook below $2.99. So you have to price it at least that high. Otherwise, you'll get 35%. On a $0.99 sale, that amounts to $0.35. The profit you'll get at $2.99 will around $2.09. That means for every book you sell at $2.99, you'd have to sell 6 books at $0.99 to make the same amount of money. And if you sell for a higher amount, that goes up exponentially. For instance, a lot of indies sell at $4.99. That results in a $3.49 profit. To make that much selling at $0.99, you'd need to crank out 10 sales of the book.

It is for those reasons I would recommend setting the price at a minimum of $2.99, but not much higher than $5.99. In that range appears to be what most indie authors find is the sweet spot. Much higher than that, and you may not sell enough, losing sales. Lower than that, you are "leaving money on the table" because you're book isn't earning enough. But you will find a lot of opinions on this, and in the end this is your decision.

That said, here are a couple of other considerations when setting price. One, keep in mind that you will need to "earn out" any expenses you've incurred before you are making a profit. If you paid a cover artist $100.00, and each sale will earn you $2.00, that means you'll have to sell 50 books before you are making a profit. If you increase that to the $3.49 above, then you have to sell 29 books to earn it back. At $0.35 profit per book, that will take 286 books before you'll see a profit. So you'll want to keep total expenses incurred in mind in setting your profit margin which can also include factors such as hiring an editor, cover designer, formatting help, etc. Obviously, the more you spend, the more books you'll have to sell to earn that back. How much profit you make on each book will determine how many books you need to sell to earn that back.

Two, new authors make the mistake of treating pricing of books like they are selling widgets. If Company A makes a widget that goes into an engine, and Company B makes an identical part, price and quality are about the only factors that play into a buyer's decision. If they perceive the quality to be nearly equal, or hard to determine, they will naturally go for the lower priced item.

However, for an author, there is no other book like yours. No one can sell a book that reads like yours, that would be considered a copyright violation and you could sue them for all they're worth. What makes people buy your book isn't as much price as it is perception of quality. A quality story, quality writing, quality characters, quality formatting and craftsmanship. If they like what you're writing, guess what? You're the only source for them to get your story. They'll be willing to pay a much higher price to get your story rather than $0.99 for someone else who they don't know.

So early on, yes, you may need to keep prices lower (within reason as mentioned above) to make it more likely that someone will try out a new author. As you gain a following however, and people are raving about your books and wanting more, waiting for the next book to arrive, you'll be able to charge more and people will be glad to pay it. The fact that the traditional publishing houses can list ebooks as much as their paperbacks, and still get them on the bestseller's list is a testament to this. If people want it, they will pay for it. The trick is to get them to want it. As an author, you are not competing with another author as much as you are competing for the reader's attention. Get his or her attention and interest, and you'll have a sale and price will only factor into it if there is a perception of low quality. In which case, they are more likely to not buy at all than to lose the dollar.

The next consideration to nail down before you upload your book is the category listing. This may seem an easy decision at first. But it can pay to do a little investigation, because if your book will fit into more than one sub-category, it can be more visible in categories that don't have as many listings. Therefore, I recommend going to and when the site opens on your browser, click on the drop down box in the search bar to show a search on "Books." Don't enter anything into the search field, but click on the search button.

When the page comes up, you'll notice on the left side a section for "Categories" with each of the main categories Amazon uses listed, including how many books are listed in that category. Click on one like "Science Fiction and Fantasy" and you'll see a breakdown of its sub-categories with the number of books in each one. Keep drilling down, researching your possible options in the categories most likely to fit your book and have the lowest number of books in them. Amazon will let you pick two of these for each book when you upload your Kindle book. Once you've figured out the categories you'll use, write them down and save them for later. A good place to put them is in your blurb file, so they will be together when you are ready to upload a book to one of the sites.

Another factor to think about is DRM. It stands for Digital Rights Management. Smashwords doesn't use it, but Amazon, and Barnes and Nobel do. So while we're thinking of such issues, now is a good time to bring it up.

DRM is a method of preventing piracy of ebooks. It accomplishes this by making it much harder to make a copy of an ebook so it can't be so easily shared. While this has a positive effect on preventing piracy of ebooks, a concern among many authors, it also makes it harder for a user to make a backup copy of the file or move it to a new device than the one they downloaded it onto. From the reader's perspective, applying DRM to your book lessens its value since when they change ereaders they won't be able to move your book to their new device.

When given the choice, I elect not to have DRM applied to my books. First, the problem with piracy is restricted to a small section of your readership, and if anything, those free books out there can end up exposing others to your writing and cause them to buy more of your work. And the majority of readers are going to want to buy the book, because they know if everyone found pirated books, authors would have to stop writing and find other work to make a living with.

I should also note that this is not to minimize or justify piracy of ebooks. Despite the rationalizations used by some, it is stealing. Copyright means who has the right legally to make copies, and copying an ebook is making a copy of a book. If you don't hold the copyright to a book, or have the permission of the copyright holder to do so, you are breaking the law by making a copy of an ebook, and are subject to prosecution if caught. A library, for instance, buys a book and lets others check them out to read, but it doesn't make copies of the book to hand out for people to keep or even loan out. If someone sells a used book, they are not making a copy of it, keeping the original and selling the copy. There is only one copy and they no longer have it once sold. Legally, price or how many people are allowed to read a book has no bearing on whether one is breaking a law or not. Only if you make a copy of a book are you breaking copyright law, and examples of people selling and not giving the author money, or libraries lending book, or a used book seller selling a book have no bearing on or release someone from criminal prosecution.

That said, the number of people you'll offend if you use DRM, those who do pay money to buy your book, are not worth losing sales to to prevent piracy. You'll lose more money having DRM on your book than what might get pirated. Consequently, I recommend not applying DRM to your books. But again, that is your call. It is your book. Maybe piracy is a bigger problem for you if you are popular enough to warrant the ebook pirate's attention. But it is a decision you'll need to make as you start uploading your books to Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Preparing the Smashwords Document

Most of the work for preparing the document has been done in the print-book file you created earlier. There is only a few things you need to do in order to upload to Smashwords. Not only so the upload will get processed by Smashwords in good shape, but also so your book will qualify for the "Premium Status." Once your book gets processed, it automatically goes up for sale on Smashword's site and several other minor sites they have control over. However, to get it to the bigger publishers like Apple and Sony, it has to pass the stricter Premium Status restrictions, which can take a few days to a month depending on their workload. The following items will ensure that approval goes smoothly.

You'll want to add the Smashword specific information to the title page. Open the print version of your file in the word processor you are using. Directly under the copyright notice for the author, add one of the following three versions:

Smashwords Edition

Published at Smashwords

Published by <insert publishing company> at Smashwords

Now let's save the file with a new name. Click on "File" in the menu, then select "Save as." In the window, change the "-Print" part of the name to something along the lines of "-Smashwords" or if you like it shorter, "-SW". So our example title we've been using would have been "With My Last Breath-Print.odt" would now be saved as "With My Last Breath-SW.odt".

Next, add the cover at the very front of the book. Press "Ctrl-Home" to go to the top of the file. Note, the first page in your book should be your title page with the Smashwords notice on it. The only thing they allow to be before that is the cover. Any other intros, table of contents, author bios, will likely result in being rejected from Premium Status. As discussed previously, put as much of that toward the end of your story instead of the beginning.

Now that you are at the top of the file, press "Ctrl-Enter" and then "Ctrl-Home" again. This will create a new page before the title page and put you at the top of it. Click "Insert" in the menu, then hover over "Picture" and select "From File" in the sub-menu that pops out on either Writer or Word. Select the 600 pixel jpeg cover image you created in step 2 and click the OK button. Click on the picture and hit the center button on the tool bar to center it on the page. Click "File" and "Save" to save what you just did.

The last change you need to make is to take out any page breaks and insure there is no more than three blank lines in the document. Anything more than four blank lines will cause the file to fail the Professional Status requirements. If you've previously formatted your book as we have instructed in step 1, this will be relatively simple. At worst, it means visually scanning through your book and manually deleting blank lines. But if you've used our methods in step 1, you should have no more than one blank line between the end of a chapter and the heading for the next one.

First, we'll remove the page breaks. In Writer, press F11, and ensure the first icon is pressed that has a paragraph symbol in it. Select "Heading 2." or whichever heading you used for your chapter headings, and right-click it, and select "Modify." Click on the "Text Flow" tab and uncheck the box labeled "Insert" under the "Breaks" section. Click the OK button and close the window. All page breaks before each chapter heading will be removed.

In Word, you'll click on "Format" in the menu, and then "Styles and Formatting" in the drop-down menu. Right-click on "Heading 2," or whatever heading style you are using for the chapter headings, and select "Modify." When the window pops open, click on the "Format" button, and choose "Paragraph" from the options. When that window opens, click on the "Line and Page Breaks" tab and uncheck "Page break before." Click OK, and OK again. The page breaks before each chapter heading will be removed.

Now save your work before proceeding to the next step.

Next, we'll insert blank lines before each chapter heading. In Writer, this is where the extension "Alt. Search" comes into play. Writer's natural search function is limited in that when it comes to searches on styles, it only allows you to replace one style with another. What we want to accomplish here is to insert three blank lines before each chapter heading, which can't be done with Writer's native search and replace function. But can be done with the extension.

In Writer, click on "Edit" in the menu and select "Alt. Find & Replace." A search/replace window will pop open. In the bottom-left corner is a section labeled "Options," and the last choice there is "Regular Expressions." Check that box. Then with the cursor in the "Search for" field, you'll see three drop-down menus above that field. Click the arrow for the "Properties" drop-down box and select "Paragraph Styles" from the list it presents. From the list it brings up, select the "Heading 2" style. When you double-click that selection, you should see the following in the "Search for" box:

[:::ParaStyleName=Heading 2::]

If you do not see that exact text (first time I did it, "Heading 2" was not in there), you can manually type in any corrections. Now click in the "Replace" box and type in the following:


Once done, click the "Replace all" button, and it will run, inserting three blank lines before each chapter heading. Note, the larger the document, the longer this takes to run. Let it finish before moving on.

In Word, the function is built in. Press Ctrl-H, or alternately click "Edit" in the menu and select "Replace." In the window that opens, place your cursor in the "Find what" field. Click the "More" button on the bottom-left. Then click the "Format" button. Select "Style" from that list and a window will pop open listing the various styles. Scan down until you see "Heading 2." Select it and click the "OK" button. Under the "Find what" field, you'll now see text saying "Format: Style: Heading 2."

Then place your cursor in the "Replace with" field. Enter the following text into that field:


Click the "Replace All" button, and Word will insert three blank lines before each chapter heading.

Now that we have insured there are at least three lines between the end of each chapter and the chapter heading of the next, we need to standardize the whole file to insure there are only three lines. How many all depends on what you did as you were typing the document. Did you put in one blank line at the end of each chapter? Then we now have four blank lines. Did you mix and match the number of blank lines? Or forget to put in a line one time, or put in more than one at another? To pass Smashword's Professional Status requirements, we can have no more than four blank lines in the whole document. We're going to keep on the safe side and insure there are no more than three.

In Writer, click "Edit" in the menu and select "Alt. Find and Replace." In the window that opens, make sure the "Regular Expressions" box is checked in the bottom-left corner, and the cursor is in the "Search for" field. Enter the following text to search for eight blank lines:


Place your cursor in the "Replace with" field and enter the following to replace that with three blank lines:


Click on the "Replace All" button and Writer will replace any series of eight blank lines with three. Eight? Don't you mean seven since that is the number in the brackets? No, it is an oddity of Writer's regular expressions and the Alt. Search & Replace function. It finds one more than what you enter in the brackets. Now repeat that process, except change the 7 in the brackets to 6, so that you are searching for seven blank lines in a row. Make sure you descend on the line count to get consistent results. Don't jump from searching on five lines to search on seven, for instance.

Continue that process until the last search you do is on four blank lines by entering a 3 in the brackets. Once this process is done, you should have replaced any series of blank lines from eight to four with three blank lines. Scan through the document to double check the formatting, ensuring your desired results is actually what happened.

And if you are aware of areas in your document that may have more than eight blank lines, either increase your line search starting out or manually adjust those few spots. Also, if you ever entered a series of hard line breaks by pressing on Shift-Enter at any time, this procedure may not catch them all. You'll have to scan through your document and manually change them. But you would have to intentionally press Shift-Enter, and there is rarely a reason you'll need to do so in most documents.

In Word, the procedure is similar, but a little more straightforward. Press "Ctrl-H" or alternately click "Edit" in the menu and select "Replace." In the window that pops up, enter the following text in the "Find what" box:


That's eight "^p" entries in a row. Place your cursor in the "Replace with" box and type the following:


Then click the "Replace All" button and Word will replace all instances of eight blank lines in a row with three. Then remove one of the "^p" entries in the "Find what" box to search on seven blank lines, and click the "Replace All" button again. Do this until the last search on four blank lines. Then scan through your document and test some places to make sure it did what you expected it to do or find areas where you'll need to manually adjust the number.

Now save your work to update your file once satisfied it looks good. If you've used Word to create your book, you are ready to move onto uploading your book to Smashwords. If you've been using Writer, there is one last step. You need to save a copy of your document into the Word DOC format, as that is the only one that Smashwords accepts.

Click on "File" in the menu and select "Save as." In the window that pops open, click on the drop-down box labeled "Save as type" and select "Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP (.doc) (*.doc)." Then click the "Save" button after ensuring it will go in the same directory as your original file.

Uploading To Smashwords

The process for uploading to Smashwords is pretty straightforward. If you've done all the work listed at the beginning of this chapter, it will mostly be filling in the fields with the desired information, and uploading your document and cover file to them.

Go to the Smashwords site: Log in to your account. We are assuming you've already set up your profile to have a professional-looking, third-person author biography entered. Once logged in, you'll see across the top, directly under the Smashwords logo, a series of links. Click on the link labeled "Publish." This will bring you to the page where you will enter your information and upload your files.

Enter your title. Copy and paste your short and long descriptions of your book we created earlier into the appropriate fields. If the language of your book is something other than English, use the drop-down box to change that. If your book contains contents inappropriate for children under 18, make sure to select the option that your book contains adult content. The next section allows you to set your price, let the readers determine how much they want to pay for it, or you can make it free. Select the appropriate choice and enter a price if you are setting one.

The next field ask you for sampling, This determines how much of your book will be available for sampling by customers. It defaults to 20%, but Smashwords recommends up to 50%. You'll have to decide how much, keeping in mind front matter, so they can read at least three chapters would be my suggestion. If you're not sure how much that is, open your document and find the page count at the end of three chapters, and divide that by the total page count. So if chapter 3 ends on page 35, and the book has 225 pages, you'd divide 35 by 225 and come up with 0.16 if rounded to two digits after the decimal, which equates to 16%. So leaving it at 20% in that case would give them at least the three chapters.

Next, enter the categories that you selected. Then enter the tags which relate to your book that people might do searches on. So if you enter a tag "space opera" on a space story, anyone searching for space opera would pull up your book. Enter as many of them as you think apply to your book. You will want to give it some thought.

The next section allows you to specify what types of ebooks you want to make available. I usually leave them all selected, but if your book simply wouldn't work as a text file, like if you have several graphics, you might want to uncheck that to avoid unhappy customers.

The next two areas allow you to upload your cover and document file. Follow the instructions. Once you've done that successfully, and all is in good order, click the "Publish" button, and Smashwords will put it into the queue to be processed, and tell you how many other documents are in front of it. Once it is done, it will send you an email telling you it is up and for sale on Smashword's site. Or if you have nothing better to do, you can watch it progress through the queue until the meatgrinder starts processing it.

Once it is done, you'll want to do two more task in Smashwords. First, go to your dashboard if you are not already there by clicking on "Dashboard" in the top links mentioned earlier. If you don't plan on putting up the book on your own Amazon, and Barnes and Noble accounts, you can skip this step. But I would highly recommend doing the Amazon account yourself. In part because of the writing of this book, Smashwords and Amazon haven't yet set up the process and methods. But more to the point, you'll get a bigger part of the money for each sale and you'll get sales information immediately and paid monthly compared to quarterly through Smashwords. But if you are not too concerned about the small fee Smashwords will take and would rather have the convenience of having only one central sales place, then skip this step.

Click the "Distribution Channel Manager" link on the left pane of the web page. Scroll down the page that appears until you find the book you just processed. Click the "Opt Out" choices for both Amazon, and Barnes and Noble unless you don't intend to set up an account at one of them. Make sure all the other options have "Opt In" selected. Once done, click the "Submit Changes" button at the very bottom of the page. Return to your dashboard.

Second, click the "ISBN Manager" link on the left. Toward the bottom of that page is a list of your books and whether they have any ISBNs assigned to them or not. If not, you'll see a link on the far right of the book where you can assign one. Click on that link and it will take you to a page to select what you want to do. You can either elect to take Smashword's free ISBN, buy your own from Smashwords, or if you already have ISBNs you've bought elsewhere, enter yours there. The only real advantage to having your own is that you as a publishing company will show up on retail websites that Smashwords distributes to as the publisher, whereas the free one will show Smashwords as the publisher. Note, this does not make Smashwords the publisher. You are. And you can put your own publishing company name in the book, per the info on the title page earlier in this chapter. All an ISBN does is identify your book as unique. You are not losing your rights by having Smashwords show up on sites like Apple as the publisher.

For those reasons, I would recommend using Smashwords' free one, unless you are actually running a publishing company with several authors, and your account is set up as a publisher instead of an author. In that case, "branding" across all sites and authors might be more of a concern. Otherwise, don't worry about it. Just select the free one unless you just want the prestige of having a "publisher" show up on sites it distributes to instead of Smashwords.

Once that is done, you wait for the Smashwords staff to get to your book and authorize it as being put on the Professional Status. You should get an email when this happens. When it happens will depend on their workload. It has been known to take as long as a month. I think my first one took even longer due to some initial issues. But usually it happens as quick as within a week or two. If you've used the methods and procedures I've set up here in this book, it should pass the Professional requirements with no problems. But if it does, follow their instructions to fix whatever problems it found. Also, the meatgrinder will let you know if it noticed any problems that might prevent it from meeting the Professional Status requirements. Once it is marked as having Professional Status, the book will be shipped to the various distribution channels you saw in the Distribution Channel Manager per their schedule.

You can monitor the sales of books through the distribution channels with the link on the left side of the dashboard labeled "Sales and Payment History." If you see a change in the amount listed on the "Account Balance" right above that link, it would indicate that some new activity has occurred that would show up under that link. Keep in mind, most of the retailers report and pay on a quarterly basis. So it may take several months before you find out what sales you actually made in a particular month. If that worries you, don't fret it. It is much faster than traditional publishers pay their authors, which happens on a six-month cycle at a minimum, if the publisher and/or agents remain on schedule.

Congratulations! You've put a book up for sale. Now it's time to create the files you'll use to not only sell at your own e-store, if you've set that up, but also to upload to Amazon and Barnes and Noble, which we'll explore in the next two steps.

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