Beginner’s Guide to Publishing Your First Ebook

Beginner's guide to publishing your first eBook. From manuscript to market, we cover every step of the eBook creation process.

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you already have a manuscript or a book idea in mind. What you’re probably wondering is what other commitments you need to make before becoming an ebook author. In the current era, self-publishing is easier than ever, making the most challenging aspect of becoming an established author the task of deciding on a topic to write about.

Perhaps you’re considering writing an ebook about mastering Windows 11, understanding photography, sketching or design ideas. Alternatively, you might want to tailor your content to a specific audience, such as web designers, developers, or photographers. Regardless of the topic, writing and publishing an ebook involves several crucial steps that you cannot avoid.

In this post, we’ll briefly explore these important aspects, ranging from cover design to deciding on the format in which to publish your book. If you have previously published an ebook and have additional tips to share, we would greatly appreciate your input.

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1. Front Matter

The front matter of a book serves as an introductory and informational section, providing essential details about the book and its author.

Title Page: In print publishing, the title page typically includes the title of the book, the author’s name, the place and year of publication, the publisher’s name, and occasionally, illustrations.

Copyright Page: This page carries information about the copyright notice, the edition of the book (if there are multiple versions), the ISBN, and the illustrator’s name (if applicable). Sometimes, the title page and copyright page are merged into one.

Introduction: The introduction offers an overview of the book’s topic. In print publishing, this section can be further divided into several subsections, each serving a unique purpose:

  • Dedication Page: This page showcases the author’s wish to dedicate the book to loved ones, often expressed through a few lines, a poem, or prose.

  • Preface Page: Authored by the writer, the preface explains how the idea for the book was conceived.

  • Foreword: This is a written introduction typically crafted by someone other than the author, who is somehow related to the author, the topic, or the version of the book.

  • Acknowledgements: This section allows the author to express gratitude to informers, editors, publishers, friends, and family who have assisted in the writing process. In novels, this section is sometimes placed at the end of the book.

For ebooks, there’s no requirement to include all of the above; you can choose to include only the pages that you deem suitable for your book.

ebook front

Table Of Contents: This page lists all your chapters along with their corresponding page numbers, serving as a roadmap for your book. A significant advantage with ebooks is the ability to hyperlink chapters. This feature allows users to navigate directly to the corresponding page by tapping or clicking on the chapter link.

2. Back (End) Matter

The back matter of a book, also known as the end matter, can vary depending on the type of book you are writing. In the case of fiction, this section often includes an Epilogue. An Epilogue serves as an additional chapter that ties up any loose ends in the story.

For non-fiction books, an Afterword is typically included in the back matter. The Afterword can be thought of as an extended conclusion section, providing further commentary or reflections on the subject matter.

Regardless of the type of book, all ebooks should include a Bibliography or Reference section. This section lists all the books or other content that were cited or used as references in the writing of the book. The details provided for each reference – including the author, title, publisher, year of publication, and web URL – should be sufficient to guide readers to the listed reference. This ensures that readers can further explore the sources that informed your work.

3. Body Matters

The body of the book is a crucial part that most authors generally don’t struggle with. If they do, they might need to reconsider their decision to publish a book. The key to a successful body is to start with a plan, a topic, an issue, or a general plot.

Breaking Down Content: Writing a book is a significant endeavor for both the author and the reader. To make the process more manageable and the content more digestible, it’s essential to divide your book into sections, commonly known as chapters. This division not only helps you organize your thoughts and ideas but also makes it easier for readers to keep track of their progress in the book.

Inclusion of Images: In many eBooks, images and illustrations play a vital role, often as important as the written content. When creating your eBook, ensure you use high-quality images. While the difference might not be noticeable on screen, high-quality images are crucial if a reader decides to print your eBook. They ensure the printed version of your book is in excellent condition. However, before including any images, make sure to resolve any copyright issues and obtain necessary permissions.

Writing Deadlines: The time it takes to write a book varies greatly among authors. Some can produce a book per year, while others might take a decade just to perfect the characters. Unless you’re working with a publisher who imposes deadlines, you have the freedom to work at your own pace. Remember, the quality of your work is more important than the speed of completion.

writing deadline
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4. Editing And Proofreading

The importance of editing and proofreading cannot be overstated, and it warrants a separate section due to the frequency with which many authors overlook it. Authors can easily produce paragraphs and pages of content, but in the process, they often miss spelling errors, missing hyphens, inconsistencies in writing and formatting, broken hyperlinks, and incorrectly captioned images.

Such errors disrupt the reading process, and readers accustomed to edited work from print publishers will likely have a low tolerance for these mistakes. More importantly, these errors will surface in ebook reviews provided by these readers, influencing the perceptions of potential readers who may be deciding whether or not to give your book a chance.

Editing comes in varying degrees, from light to substantive. The key is to find an editor who respects your work and doesn’t insist on having the final say. If you’re fortunate, you might find an editor who can provide constructive criticism to help you further improve your book.

At the very least, enlist the help of a friend to read through your book. Remember, anyone can proofread.

5. Cover Design & Title

One of the biggest challenges budding authors face when they choose the self-publishing route is the lack of a dedicated marketing team. Without the right connections to help publicize the book, discoverability becomes a significant issue. As a new author, you need all the assistance you can get to promote your book effectively.

If you have a budget for it, consider hiring a freelance cover designer. They can create a striking and attractive cover design that will catch the eye of potential readers. The process of determining the right cover design for your book involves many factors. For instance, illustrating colorful and amazing-looking book covers for children, including those catered for the iPad, requires a lot of work.

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If you prefer to design the cover yourself, there’s a wealth of tips and advice available online. You can find tools, tutorials, and Photoshop actions to help speed up the cover design process.

The title of your book is also crucial. Unless you’re a well-known author, most readers searching for a new book to accompany them on their flight won’t pay much attention to your name. However, a good cover combined with a catchy title that includes the right keywords might just catch their attention.

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6. eBook Format

Print publishing involves transforming raw manuscripts – whether handwritten or typed – into a physical printed book. However, when it comes to eBooks, the final format of your eBook significantly influences its accessibility.

Choosing to export your eBook to a PDF format is often the safest route. Most web browsers can open a PDF file without the need for third-party applications, and this format allows you to publish your eBook across multiple platforms. However, one drawback of the PDF format is that the text remains static, requiring frequent zooming for optimal reading, depending on the screen size you are using.

An alternative to consider is the EPUB format. This format allows the text to reflow, adapting to your device’s screen size for a more comfortable reading experience. If you are familiar with XHTML, you can produce an eBook in EPUB format. But don’t worry if you’re not – there are plenty of software options available that can convert content from various formats like PDF, MOBI, LIT, LRF, DOC, and HTML into EPUB.

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This flexibility means that you can use Microsoft Word or Open Office to create your work, then convert it to EPUB when it’s finished. Alternatively, you can use free software like Sigil, which allows you to write your book directly in EPUB format, even if you’re not familiar with XHTML. This approach gives you more control over your content and makes last-minute changes easier to manage.

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7. Getting Your Book Out There

The landscape of online publishing is constantly evolving. Now, more than ever, it’s easier to make your book accessible to a wide range of readers. You might consider collaborating with an online publisher such as, or you could explore one of the many services available for selling digital products. However, it’s important to note that these platforms will take a percentage of your book sales in exchange for featuring your eBook in their online store.

reading ebook

Alternatively, you could create a dedicated website for your book, following the example of numerous authors who have chosen this route. If the costs incurred in creating your eBook are not too high, you might even consider offering your book for free. This could serve as a strategy to drive more traffic to your blog.

Once you’ve established your reputation as an author, you can begin to set prices for your subsequent books. Remember, the key is to make your work as accessible as possible to your potential readers.