Chapter 4: Getting Your Book to Market Part 2
Perhaps the most important tool, though, is Amazon's Search Inside The Book, which is wonderful both for search engines and potential buyers - not to mention you, since it often translates into more sales.
None of this happens automatically. You need to enrol in the programme by registering and signing an agreement at www.amazon.com/SITB. On acceptance, you'll be given an account at Seller Central.
After signing in at http://sellercentral.amazon.com, go to Search Inside The Book. Read the guidelines very closely; if you don't follow them, you'll either find delays, or your book won't upload.
Once you're sure you satisfy them all, uploading is simple, as your book is already in a .pdf format. Upload it, and you're done, although it might take a little while before it appears on your page. Once it's there you have a page that's attractive and completely professional, which will entice buyers. Because the entire text can be "spidered" by the search engines, its rankings should also increase.
For Mobile DevicesYou've taken care of making your book available for PCs and Macs. Since you've gone to the trouble of preparing a version for handhelds, you need to get that out there, too. That's done through Mobipocket.
You're back to registering again, this time at www.ebookbase.com. Once you've gone through the procedure, you'll be directed to another site, where you log in with the password you've established. From here you can upload your book. Click on Add An eBook and simply upload your file (make sure it's the .prc, not the .pdf).
With that done, you'll be moved to another screen where you put in metadata (the file you uploaded will already have the metadata you put in it). Much of it is obvious, but add a review, a short one, in the appropriate box.
Your book will be in My Publications, within the My Documents folder on the site. The next thing to do is upload your book cover. Go to File Information, then, if you browse, you'll find your cover art (remember that you used a much smaller image for this). The last things you'll need to do before clicking Submit is set the pricing, and make sure you don't have any territory restrictions. After you hit Submit, your book is now on Mobipocket, and available for mobile devices on Amazon.
Other DistributorsLightning Source isn't the only distributor, and it doesn't serve all the markets. There are others you can use, and you can let several handle your book. One you should certainly try, however, is Content Reserve, which serves a number of major retailers, including W.H. Smith, making it very much worth the time you'll spend filling in yet another registration. Go to their site (www.contentreserve.com) and click Application, followed by Publisher Application Form.
Once again, this is relatively straightforward. Be warned, though, that unlike Lightning Source, Content Reserve is selective in whom they accept, and tend to steer away from self-publishers. So don't feel too disheartened if they turn you down.
Royalty PublishersE-Book royalty publishers make your book available, but charge you a commission on each copy sold. In real terms, the effect is no different from a distributor. One of the biggest publishers is Lulu (www.lulu.com).
As ever, you'll need to register for a new account. From there it's thankfully simple. Log in, then select Start A New Project, followed by eBook. To make everything easier, they use a guide to see you through the process.
First, bring up the E-Book Data tab, and fill out the form, with the book description (including all appropriate keywords), publisher, and other details, then simply click Upload File From PC, selecting your file.
You'll upload the cover artwork separately, after which make sure you hit Save And Generate Cover.
That brings you to the money part, where you set the price (it's in U.S. dollars). After that, the Complete Publish button will finish everything off neatly. It's probably the easiest of all the distributors you'll deal with (apart from yourself, of course!). As a last step, under My Account, ensure your home address is listed correctly, so you can receive payment - you can choose to receive via Paypal if you desire.
You can work through others, such as iUniverse (www.iuniverse.com), who will shepherd the entire project through for you, converting your files and taking care of distribution on Amazon and other retailers. You pay an upfront free, which can be as high as £500, for their services, and in return you receive a royalty on books sold, whether e-books or POD copies. If that seems attractive, fine, but you're paying for work you could easily do yourself.
eBayA market you might not have considered for your book is eBay. Open a merchant account and sell it for a set price (not for bidding). It's actually an excellent forum for sales, as people who go there are looking to buy, and if they see something they want at a reasonable price, they'll spend the money. eBay fees are low, and the returns might surprise you. Certainly you have nothing to lose by trying it, and it becomes another weapon in your sales arsenal.
At this point you've done a great deal to make your book as readily available as possible. It's out there, and you can breathe a long sigh of relief. Some people will find it and buy it. But is that good enough? Not really. Now you have to make people aware of its existence and publicise your book.