In the digital era where the popularity of ebooks and audio books is souring, ebook publishing is becoming more viable and attractive to writers and authors.

At the start of 2015, OverDrive announced that circulation of ebooks, audiobooks and other digital media increased 33% in 2014 to 137 million checkouts. It’s obvious that more and more of us are moving away from the humble traditional printed books to the more dynamic, easily available and quicker to consume ebook.

And with this shift in reader habits, comes the opportunity for writers and authors to embrace ebooks and manage their own publishing process. It can be a little confusing – especially if you’re a new author – so we’ve compiled a list of things to consider once you’ve finished writing that last chapter in your latest online best seller.

When you set on self publishing your ebook, you need to remember that it’s about balance. Your ebook needs to look professional and engage the audience before they’ve even started reading it. Because self publishing is largely a DIY project, you will no doubt have a budget to work to, but a little help from professionals could well enhance your ebook bringing about more sales and revenue.

We’ve included ideas in the checklist to help you go about finding support if you’re not too sure where to look.

Ebook editing

When it comes to self publishing, hiring a professional copy editor is, simply, a must. A copy editor will not only proofread and edit your work but also help you establish the weak points within the story or to enhance a promising character or plot line. Consider these three benefits of working with a copy writer:

  1. A copy editor will provide an outsider’s perspective and expertise
  2. A copy editor doesn’t usually have an emotional attachment to your writing so they can provide a fresh pair of eyes to review your work
  3. A copy editor saves you time

Working with a copy editor is one thing, but finding a reputable one is another. You can search LinkedIn and view recommendations; you can go to associations such as The Society of Editors; or you can post jobs to sites like Elance, Service Seeking or VA Placements.

(Before I move onto the rest of this article, you might want to also take a look at these tips for what NOT to do when editing your writing).

Proofreading and formatting your ebook

A proofreader differs from a copy editor in that they ensure your book is grammatically correct. They don’t usually focus on plot, character, content or flow, but rather ensure that everything is accurate within your ebook.

Proofreaders are also perfect for ensuring the format of your ebook aligns to the requirements of your online publisher. Whether you’re publishing to CreateSpace through Amazon, Smashwords or Lulu, each platform will have different formatting and uploading requirements. Use your proofreader to ensure your ebook meets these requirements.

Or, if you’re inclined to manage this process yourself, follow one of the tips I talked about in an earlier article where I outlined tools that ebook self publishers just should be using. One of those tools Scrivener, which helps writers to manage their writing, researching, formatting and project managing tasks altogether. It allows you to do a bunch of neat things, one being that you can export your ebook to Kindle or ePub format which can be viewed in iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices.

It isn’t free but there is a trial period so you can see if it’s the right tool for you, particularly if simple Microsoft Word won’t suffice.

Designing your ebook covers

If you’re not a graphic designer by trade, then you really, honestly, should ensure you hire someone to design your front and back covers. No one is going to purchase your book if it doesn’t look professional! We know that self publishing may be about saving you money, but being frugal with your ebook’s cover can only harm you. Make sure to include a front page, which will include the title page, copyright page and dedication to give your ebook a nice and professional finish.

You can find the world’s best graphic designers, ebook cover artists and other aspiring photoshoppers on Fiverr where you can purchase their gigs starting from $5.

If you’ve got your ebook story but you’re unsure on how to come up with a title, check out this article I wrote to (hopefully) give you some inspiration.

Ebook publishing

I touched on the publishing process a little earlier and the most important thing here to remember is that each platform had different formatting requirements that you need to consider before uploading your work.

The other interesting thing about these platforms is that they all have different rates and charges for before, during and after you publish your ebook.

Do your research before hand and think about whether you might want to publish your book physically at some point and what your distribution channels may be – this is where you may incur more costs down the line.

To help get your research started, here’s an article comparing the top ten ebook publisher companies from 2015.

Marketing your ebook online

This part of the checklist may require an additional article because the marketing of your ebook is a very important step in your self publishing journey.

I’ve shared three simple ways you can get your ebook noticed quickly online and I stand by these activities. They take time and dedication but when built into a marketing plan can work wonders to get your ebook noticed and purchased.

If this part of your ebook publishing strategy seems daunting to you then I suggest outsourcing this step to a professional. Consider going to VA Placements to seek an Australian-based virtual assistant or again, you can try Elance and work to a tighter budget.

At the end of the day, it’s about the journey not the destination

And it will be a journey because as all good projects go, they take time and tenacity and sometimes you find yourself making headway and other times you find yourself procrastinating and cleaning your desk for the majority of the day.

Your journey to publishing your own ebook will be your own, but in a nutshell you will find your milestones will be:

  • Completing your manuscript – definitely celebrate with at least a happy dance when this milestone is reached!
  • Publishing your ebook online – oh my goodness, there’s a link and everything that you can send to family and friends!
  • Marketing your ebook – okay it’s time to go beyond into the unknown realms of the internet and actually get sales!

It will be a journey but it will be yours and it will be great. And at the end of it, you will be a published author. Well done!

Shout out to already published authors

How did you get published – the old fashioned way or the DIY way? Do you have any lessons you’d like to share?


Storm from Virtual Storm is a writer who likes to write by the rules. Finding and fixing errors makes her quite happy. So does chocolate, red wine and a good romcom. She also quite likes playing team sports. It brings out the best in her bossy nature. Read up on her here.


Proofreading costs