Indie authors are privileged to live during a time when it’s easier than ever to self-publish their eBooks. There are several self-publishing options.

While self-publishing was considered an inferior way to publish eBooks only a few years ago, today it continues to gain respect and grow. With the increase of e-readers such Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, and others there’s never been a better time to self-publish eBooks.

Advantages of Self-publishing an eBook

Minimal production costs are one of the biggest perks to eBook self-publishing. Another advantage is the short amount of it time it takes. Authors can obtain a world-wide audience in only 24 hours or less. Authors also have more control over their content and graphics.

What Are eBooks and Indie Authors

EBooks are books in a digital format that can be read on reading devices including iPhones, iPads and e-readers such as Amazon Kindles, Barnes & Noble Nooks, Sony Readers, Kobo eReaders and others. You can also read eBooks on your computer and print them out as hard copy books.

Authors who self-publish their eBooks are also known as “indie authors” or independent writers.

Self-publishing with Amazon Kindle

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is a free publishing site offering a 70 percent royalty option for books priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Books priced lower than $2.99 receive a 35 percent royalty rate. KDP has more traffic than others, although its rates are lower than Smashwords, which distributes to multiple buyers.

Besides Amazon Kindle e-Readers, books published on KDP are made available for sale on the iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android phones, PCs and Macs. Documents may be submitted to KDP in digital formats including Microsoft Word, html, text and other formats. This site has considerably more traffic than the other self-publishing sites, although its rates are lower than Smashwords, which distributes to more book retailers. It also offers an active community message board with professionals who are quick with answers for newbies to e-publishing.

Smashwords Publishing for Indie eBook Authors

Smashwords distributes to several eBook publishers, including Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Diesel and others. One of the best perks is the free guide that Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, provides. It’s lengthy, but don’t be intimated by the amount of pages. Much of the material is repetitive and it’s full of clear-cut graphics and diagrams, explaining details on subjects such as creating a table of contents and how to insert images.

Documents are loaded onto the publishing platform for the Smashword’s “Meatgrinder” so they can be converted into the various formats. They need to be in the Microsoft Word .doc file because this is the most common word processor for authors.

Because Smashwords makes your eBook available for so many distributors, the format limits paragraph breaks to only two hard returns; using the tab key and space bar to create indented paragraphs is not allowed.

Payments can be made through Paypal, which is another advantage. Royalty rates are 85 percent for books sold directly on their site, but are 60 percent for books sold through their channels. Smashwords also has a forum where authors can ask questions and get acquainted with other e-publishers.

Barnes & Noble Pubit

Barnes & Noble makes it easy to self-publish an eBook with their pubit site. It’s similar to Amazon’s KDP, taking about 24 hours or less to publish a book and be available for purchase. Epubit is only for authors residing in the United States. Royalty rates, which are somewhat lower, are 65 percent of the sale price for books priced from $2.99 to $9.99. However, the rate is 40 percent for books priced lower than $2.99 or higher than $9.99. The lowest an author can price an eBook is $.99, while the highest is $199.99.

Although you can easily hire someone to format your book for whatever site you choose for self-publishing, it’s better to learn how to do it yourself. It’s really not hard, but just takes time in learning the ropes and requirements of each publishing site. Also, don’t settle on just one publisher, but have your book published on as many self-publishing platforms as possible. Trying all of them out is the only way you’ll know which one works best for you. Even better your books will have more exposure for sales.