In this final part of our definitive guide to publishing your long-form journalism yourself as an e-book, learn how to deal with pesky issues such as DRM and tax.
So your e-book is beautifully formatted and converted to all of the appropriate formats. You have set up accounts with the major e-book publishers. Now it needs to be published on the various digital publishing platforms. This is the final step in sending your ebook out into the world.
Step 3 in publishing an e-book: Publishing live
Although the boasts are from 12 hours, it can take from days to weeks for your title to appear in Amazon lists, the iBooks store and the Nook store.
Kindle Direct Publishing and Nook took up to four or more days in my experience but can take longer. iBooks was well over a week.
You can keep track of the publishing process on each.
For those who are publishing as an e-book a title that is already for sale on Amazon, both titles will be automatically linked.
Kindle Direct Publishing
You will be led to the Bookshelf section.
Under ‘Your Book’ enter the title, description, contributors (i.e. number of authors) and language in which it was written. Optional fields include the ISBN, the series or edition number if the book is not a standalone, the publisher name and publication date.
Next, verify that you hold the publishing rights.
Upload the book cover. Kindle cover requirements are a minimum of 625 pixels on the shortest side and 1000 pixels on the longest side but for best quality it now recommends 1563 pixels on the shortest side and 2500 pixels on the longest side. The minimum length demanded by iBooks now is 1400 pixels so prepare by getting a bigger cover size commissioned by your graphic designer.
You have a choice between not enabling digital rights management (DRM), which would stop others freely distributing your Kindle book file, or enabling it. Enabling digital rights management is for those authors who want to encourage sharing of their work without payment. Read more about DRM here. You are warned that you cannot change from enabling to not enabling once you have finalized your upload.
You then upload your book file and preview it with the various options available for download on the page [or see previewer links under e-book converters in part one].
The next section involves the rights and pricing of your book.
You can select worldwide rights, if you have them, or individual territories if you don’t.
Choose a price point between either US$2.99 and US$9.99 for the 70% royalty option if you are to be paid in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, India, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Brazil, and a few other jurisdictions, or you’ll need the 35% royalty for those residing everyone else and sales in those countries. There are explanations for these options on the page.
NOTE: For comparison purposes, the Australian Society of Authors recommends a digital-only royalty of up to 85% of the list price when negotiating with publishers.
It recommends between 35% and 50% of net receipts for combined print and e-book deals. This is in contrast with its advice in 2010 to negotiate between 25% and 35% for electronic rights in a print + e-book deal. It shows how this area of publishing continues to evolve.
Finally, decide whether you want to allow the book to be loaned, then save and publish!
PUBIT! for the Nook
However, forget it if you have never lived or banked in the United States. If you don’t have a US credit card, or a US bank account or a US tax ID that are all tied to a US address you cannot participate on this platform. (This is in case your returns outnumber purchases and you wind up with a negative balance in a payment cycle).
The process here is largely the same as for Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing so follow the prompts.
You will need your social security or employee identification number and US bank account details for your coming profits. B&N pay once your royalties hit $10 but not until 60 days after the end of the month it which it was earned.
Apple for iBooks
[caption id="attachment_2164" align="alignnone" width="320"] iTunes Connect application for any content distribution in the iTunes store. This includes books. Most self-publishing authors would want a paid, rather than free account. You need to apply via an
Log on with your Apple ID (with its valid credit card attached) and three modules will appear that help prepare your publication.
Go first to the Contracts, Tax and Banking module. It all looks rather daunting – and I found it was. This is one of the fiddly parts.
Fill in the details identifying a bank account and an email account and most importantly a valid US Tax ID (or EIN – see Part 2 of this guide if you are publishing from outside the US).
I nearly went cross-eyed trying to work out which of the complicated IRS forms is necessary when publishing an iBook without a US Tax ID. The page that iTunes Connect links to is only applicable to online applications for EINs by US residents which isn’t much help for the millions who don’t live there.
So I Googled the question and found the information above about the necessity of an EIN if you live outside the US and don’t want to pay withholding tax. On January 1, 2013, the IRS issued its most recent update on how to get a US tax ID abroad.
I suggest you check if there is more up-to-date information before you start this process. Once your tax ID has been verified you will get an account activation email and you must accept the contract.
Don’t worry about the Manage Users module if you are an individual e-book publisher. It’s for companies with other employees.
Confirm your email address and download iTunes Producer for the upload of your book.
Enter details including your ISBN (don’t include the dashes), language, title, sub-title, publication date, print length in pages (if you have it) and general category. Upload your book description from where you have kept it on your computer.
Next, add authors and other contributors. You can also add related products such as a print book.
Each country you wish to sell in must be laboriously ticked individually and the price at which you wish to sell set in each jurisdiction. There are 49 countries listed. It defaults to DRM-free at the bottom of the page so if you don’t want to share your work for free, you need to un-tick the box.
Tip: When you click on ‘digital only’ the price will automatically convert into the different currencies based on the US dollar rather than you having to type them all in yourself.
Upload the epub file.
Upload the cover.
Next come error messages if there are any – things you forgot to fill out or did so wrongly.
Note: If you don’t have the large specifications Apple requires for your cover it simply will not load. If you have trouble, check your width and height of the cover art with the specifications demanded by Apple. I had that problem and had to ask the designer for the larger size before the cover would load properly.
Click ‘Deliver’. It will take a minute or two to authenticate your upload to the iBooks store. Then a big, green tick should appear – always a heartening sign.
Just click out of the page in the knowledge your magnificent tome has been successfully uploaded.
Give it 10 minutes or so. Log back into your iTunes Connect account and click on “manage your books” and you will see your new book in the window. Once the dot next to it turns from yellow to green your baby is born and live in the iBookstore.
This is a necessity and a whole different job in addition to writing and publishing. It’s just as hard too. Marketing e-books takes up acres of cyberspace and is the subject of myriad books. Happy travels.