Who knew you could read a book on your PDA or smartphone? I certainly didn’t until a few days ago. Being a self-published author, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to sell my books. Kindle is all the rage right now, but there are also other viable (and cheaper) options. MobiPocket.com has a free reader and publisher that can be downloaded to your PC and PDA. A publisher can very easily create a free account and then upload (publish) their book to be sold for those who wish to download and read books on their phone. I personally could not imagine wanting to read on such a small screen, but then I couldn’t have imagined playing games on mine before doing exactly that. All that’s needed to create an account is bank information or PayPal account for payments and a valid email address, since you must activate through a provided link.
How do you get started on MobiPocket? Well, visit their download area and download their eBook creator. When installing it, make sure not to change the setting for which version of the software to install. You must use the Publisher version in order to be able to upload your books to the site. Once the eBook creator is installed, double click on the MobiPocket Creator icon. Assuming that you need to convert your existing file, you will click one of the options beneath “Import from Existing File.” You can import from an html, Word, text or PDF document. You’ll be taken to the next screen where you need to browse your computer for the appropriate file. Leave the rest of the settings at default and select “Import.”
Once the file is imported, you are taken to another screen where you enter the information for your book. You can skip Cover Image for now. If you want a table of contacts, you can add that, but I don’t use it so won’t be covered in this article. Skip over Book Settings and click on Metadata. Fill in as much on book as you can. Make sure to note that author’s last name must come first! Upload cover image and make sure to type in a price near the bottom. Any area where it’s suggested you leave empty, leave empty. Once done entering everything, don’t forget to click “Update” to save. That’s very important, since it will be erased if you leave that screen without saving.
You’re now ready to create the eBook. Click on Build at the top and select “Build e-Book.” Make sure the encryption option is set to “Content Encryption with DRM”! Select “Build.” Once that’s done you’ll be given the option to publish directly from the software with your account and password. You must then visit the site to activate the book. Once you do that, your book is instantly available for purchase. Also any time you make changes to your eBook and then upload it again, you will need to activate it again for changes to take effect.
The added benefit of this is that MobiPocket can distribute your book to Amazon’s Kindle store to give it more exposure. If you don’t want to wait for them to distribute your eBook (since I have no idea how long that would take), you can upload them yourself through your Amazon account using their Digital Text Platform.
I personally prefer Amazon’s online software, since it’s easier and you can view what the file will look like on the Kindle. If the formatting is off, you can easily fix the file and then re-upload. I recommend only using a Word document and put page breaks after every chapter to make the file neater on the Kindle. Also get rid of most of the information preceding the start of the book, so your reader doesn’t have to click numerous times before they can start reading.
From your account in the platform, go to My Shelf and click “Add New Item.” There are three areas that must be filled out and saved before you can “Publish.” Fill in all the areas on the product page, even those that aren’t required. The more information the better. Be sure to upload the cover image as well.
The next section is where you upload and preview your book. Browse your computer to your document, which will then be converted to the format compatible with the Kindle. Once it’s done, be sure to preview it for at least a few pages. When it looks good, go to the last section, where you input the price. You must put at least $1.00.
Once all three sections are filled out and saved, hit “Publish.” It will take a few hours before your eBook will appear on the Kindle store. You will be given a link that says it’s live, but that doesn’t mean that it is. You might even be taken to a link that doesn’t exist. Don’t despair, it will eventually cycle through, and the link will work. It just might take awhile.
Please note that if you decide to use MobiPocket, do not submit your books through Amazon’s DTP or your books could be duplicated on the site. Amazon is a simpler way to submit and is best to use if you have no intention of using MobiPocket. It only takes about a week for submissions through MobiPocket to network to Amazon, so it might be worth the wait due to the higher exposure for your work.
There you have it! Two great new ways of selling your book online!