How to Sell Fiction eBooks

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Convert your fiction book to an ebook and sell it.
Convert your fiction book to an ebook and sell it. (Image: Open book isolated on white image by robootb from Fotolia.com)

The Internet is changing the way we do a lot of things. It’s changing the way we share information, connect with one another, purchase music and movies, watch TV, and how we read books, among other things. With the creation of portable electronic reading devices like the Kindle and the iPad (which features an app for the iBook Store), the convenience of buying and reading ebooks is growing. This convenience also makes it easier, if you’re a writer, to self-publish your own work. Selling fiction ebooks online is simple and doesn’t require a lot of up front expense.

Research the ebook retailers who carry fiction ebooks. Go to their websites to see which formats they support (such as PDF, Kindle, Microsoft Reader, and so forth). Also try to find the site’s “publishers” page. Many ebook retailers use this page to outline their protocols for uploading new ebooks to their database.

Convert a copy of your fiction book to your chosen ebook format(s). There are services available which, sometimes for a fee, will convert your book to these formats for you. But learning how to do this yourself is not complicated. To convert to PDF, you need to purchase Adobe Creator (the free PDF converters you can download online do not have the feature flexibility needed to create a PDF document which will meet the standards set by some ebook retailers and distributors). To create an ebook in .lit format, you need to download a copy of “Microsoft Reader Content Software Development Kit.” The kit is available for free download. To convert to Kindle, create a copy of your book in HTML format; then upload this version of your book to Amazon’s “Digital Text Platform.” When you upload your book to the platform it will automatically be converted to the Kindle format.

Sign up for an account with an ebook distributor such as “Lightening Source.” While some ebook retails, like Amazon, allow publishers to upload their books to the retailer’s database directly; other retailers get their content exclusively from ebook distributors. Some ebook distributors charge a fee, but the cost is generally nominal.

Upload your fiction ebook to your select ebook retailers' or ebook distributors' databases. Once the book is approved and becomes live it will appear for sale on ebook retail websites.

Promote your ebook. It’s not enough to simply publish your fiction ebook. If you want the book to sell you have to promote it. Create an author’s or publisher’s website which promotes your projects. Invest in online ads. Use social networking sites to promote your books. Send out email sales letters. Be creative. The goal is to make people aware that your fiction ebook exists, and excite interest in it. Ebooks are a relatively new medium for books, which suggests that the door is wide open for innovative ways of marketing and promoting this type of product.

Tips & Warnings

  • Google has their own ebook retailer platform called Google Edition. You can submit your fiction ebook to this platform by signing up for the “Google’s Books Partner Program.” Upload a copy of your book to Google’s database in PDF format. Then activate your book for sale in Google Editions through your Google Book Partner Program account.
  • To get your ebook into the iBook store you need to go through the “Smashwords” or “Lulu” ebook distributor.

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