I have watched the growth in eBooks with interest. As something of a ‘pioneer’ during the Web 1.0 bad old days, I love how it is so much easier today to format them and then distribute them around the world. I use Smashwords.com to handle that end now. I gave up doing it all myself a few months ago and haven’t looked back. They distribute to Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Sony, Kobo and iTunes/iBooks for me. They take the money and act as an aggregator which, if you are not in the USA, makes life so much simpler. I still sell hardcopies and some eBook editions via Lulu.com, but not like before. I have streamlined the offerings in my author spotlight down. I sell far more eBooks than hard copy but then I am not trying very hard to push the paper.
Although so many web sites are telling you how easy it is to write and sell your eBook, is it really that simple? Compared to the ‘traditional’ route of finding a literary agent and then a publisher and so on, yes it is. For those who write rubbish, or what an agent or publisher might consider not commercially viable, it is a godsend. But is it really ‘easy’? Define what you consider difficult and we might have a better idea but overall I would say it is a lot easier than it once was but it is not easy to be any good at this.
You need to first of all write a book worth reading. Then it needs to be formatted properly, then offered for sale and of course, promoted to help people find it and buy it. There are many web sites offering instruction in how to be a better writer. Some of them are genuine and have the writer’s best interests at heart while others are making a buck from the desire of many to make their living as writers. Formatting a book for .mobi or .epub is not complicated but there are some definite rules to obey. Smashwords.com offer a superb free guide to how to do this and if you take the time to get the education they offer, you will learn a lot you can use everyday as well as when formatting eBooks. Once it is out there for the public to find and buy, the real hard work begins. Stay tuned for more on that end of the easy eBook exercise!