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How to self publish a book via the eBook market to tell your life story

Feb 23, 2012, 11:11 a.m.

The question of "Why publish a book?" has a pretty simple answer: Because you don't get to retirement age without having a few stories to tell.

Whether you're publishing an eBook on your whole life story, covering just a particularly funny or exciting period in your life or sharing some advice mixed with some personal anecdotes, the song remains the same. These three steps to free eBook publishing are the same no matter what you're writing.

Format Your eBook for PDF and eReaders

If you don't have Microsoft Office or something similar on your computer, you can download a free PDF program like PDF Converter. Read through the PDF version and make sure that everything was converted accurately. You may wish to design a cover for your eBook (or ask an artistically inclined friend or relative to do so).

You'll want to make sure that people with Kindles and iPads can read your book as well, so format your book for these devices by downloading ePub Converter or similar.

Set Up an eStore

There are a lot of options available for starting an eStore. There are services like ClickBank that will automatically allow users to download your eBook upon payment. You can also look into options such as print on demand. Print on demand services like Cafe Press allow users to have a book printed and sent to them in the mail. This is a much cheaper alternative to traditional self-publishing which often left authors with hundreds of copies of the book that they weren't sure of how to sell.

Start Blogging

There are a lot of ways to get the word out, but it all starts with a blog. A blog on the same subject as your eBook is a good way to attract the right audience, and as a bonus, many blogging websites offer options such as premium content for people who have bought the eBook. This offers incentive for people to buy and stay tuned for the sequel.

When blogging, it's a good idea to update on a regular schedule. Too many updates can become overwhelming and leave readers unsure of how to keep up. Too few will have them wondering where the heck you are and losing interest. A weekly or twice-a-week schedule seems to work for most bloggers, updating on the same day around the same time each week.

And of course, your blog is going to need an "about" page and a "Buy the eBook" button somewhere at the top of the page.

Can the Self Publish eBook Market Really Make You Money?

It's true that books don't sell like they used to, but non-fiction remains strong. As long as you keep realistic expectations about your sales, you shouldn't be disappointed, and in fact, you may be pleasantly surprised to find your eBook selling a few hundred copies, which might not sound like much, but at $5, $10 each with no overhead, it really does add up.

The professional eBook publisher's mantra is actually, "Appeal to desperate buyers." People who will spend $10 on an eBook without thinking about it are people with a toothache that they need to get rid of immediately or people who need to keep their marriage together and have tried everything.

If you're not into this kind of crass marketing and appealing to desperate readers, you probably won't be able to pay the rent every month with your eBook sales, but taking a few friends out for lunch on the earnings of your eBook can be immensely rewarding as well.

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