Do you want to try to publish an e-book? The best way I have found is to use Smashwords.com. This is a great and free site, that converts your MS Word file into an ebook for distribution. You get to select the many formats that it will be printed in, as well as the languages, the distribution houses (such as B&N, Sony, iApple, etc) you set your own prices, and you get most of the profit! Its a win/win. Smashwords gives you a free ISBN, which is one of the scary items of publishing that makes people shy away from trying. You can still buy your own, then upload it to Smashwords, but why? Amazon and B&N on the other hand will provide you with their own numbers, that are very similar, and are still recognized throughout the digital world.
The site's founder has many free ebooks that will help you to not only format and create a book, but gives you tips on increasing your sales through marketing, as well as assisting other authors on the site.
There are two downsides to Smashwords that I have seen thus far:
The formatting to upload it to Smashwords can be so incredibly frustrating the first time. It literally took me a week with hours of throwing my laptop around the room. Guess what? The site's owner realizes how frustrating it can be. So not only did he write a 50 some odd page ebook to guide you through it, but he offers a list of proven formatters who are willing to do the work for a fee. The first time, I seriously considered doing this. Then I realized that this was not a one time thing, and prices varied from $25 to $100 just to format it. They are no smarter than I am, so I insisted on figuring it out myself.
If you have any questions on formatting, please feel free to write me. I know your frustration!
LIMITED AMAZON DISTRIBUTION
You need to have sold more than 2,000 copies to get the best distribution. Therefore, I suggest that you also publish separately on Amazon. YES, you can!!! Because you keep 100% of the rights to your creation! You can upload directly to Nook Press also, but it is uneccessary. Otherwise, your ebook may be listed twice on B&N--which is confusing if you set the book at different prices. Because you earn a higher royalty on Smashwords, you can choose to place your book higher on Amazon and B&N....it is still your book, at your price!
Another great thing about Smashwords is that as you review the work of other authors, you are building links and marketing your own work. Authors helping authors--great concept. Smashwords allows you to generate coupons, choose future publications dates as opposed to immediate publishing, and even allows you to enter emails of friends to send them coupons to receive your book as a gift!
This is not to be confused with Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing Select Program which offers higher royalties, but to which you must agree to provide your book exclusively on Amazon for the first 90 days. You still keep the rights to your book, you just agree to limit the distribution in the beginning. I would recommend this for a new book, because it appears that removing your book from previous sites can cause an exclusivity violation---- as some sites are taking up to 90 days to remove them.
With The Select option, you have the ability to promote your works for free, either permanently, or for a limited time. Your book may also be included in email promotions sent out to readers. Another interesting tidbit, many of the "promote your ebook here" type of sites require that your ebook be available for free on Amazon--- but to do that you must be a member of AKDP Select--- and to do that, you must be willing to only sell on Amazon for the first three months!
The down side to AKDP Select? That you can only promote Kindle products for the first 90 days, after that you can use a service such as Smashwords that will format it into PDF, Kindle, Nook, Sony, Text, and most other formats.
Currently, I have my books on Smashwords and Amazon Direct Publishing. I get a lower royalty rate with the KDP rather than the Select, however, I was able to market more formats to test the waters and see which format sells better. As it stands, I have sold twice as many ebooks through Smashwords as I have on Barnes/Noble and Amazon, so to me, it has been worth it.
Amazon has a great forum for authors and readers to meet, ask questions, and promote their books. It's totally free, and you are permitted to join regardless of whether you partake of AKDP or AKDP Select.
Regardless of whether on Smashwords, Amazon, B&N, or Wattpad (or any others), a great way to market your work is to give a free chapter or scene away. Turn your book into a few different short stories, and at the end, promote the entire book.
Research, research, research!!! There are companies charging hundreds of dollars for the same thing you can do for free!!! So why pay? Take the time to put into your work, and research. If you do not understand something, there is google, and there are others online to help.