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Help Center
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How To Publish An Ebook: From Manuscript to Bestseller

Written by: Krystle Wong

Sep 01, 2023

How To Publish An Ebook

Whether you’re a seasoned wordsmith or a rookie wordslinger, creating an ebook and publishing it online allows you to share your stories, knowledge and creativity with people from every corner of the globe.

However, the process of taking an ebook from the initial idea to becoming a bestseller can be intricate and demanding. It requires a blend of creativity, technical know-how, marketing savvy and unwavering determination. In this article, you’ll not only learn how to publish your work but also discover the strategies and techniques to increase your chances of becoming a best-selling author. 

But first things first, do you have your ebook ready to publish? If you’ve yet to put the finishing touches on your manuscript, fret not! Venngage’s collection of ebook templates can help simplify the ebook design process, making it more accessible for authors like you to create visually compelling and engaging ebooks that resonate with readers.


Click to jump ahead:

16 Steps to self-publish an ebook

The digital age has revolutionized the way we share and consume content. With the rise of ebooks and online platforms, self-publishing has become a viable and rewarding option for aspiring authors. 

If this is your first time publishing an ebook, don’t worry. I’ll walk you through the ebook publishing process:

1. Finalize your ebook

Creating a well-structured ebook is the foundation of your self-publishing journey. Take the time to brainstorm, research and write your content. Once you have your draft, go through multiple rounds of editing to ensure the text is error-free and flows smoothly. A clear and cohesive structure will keep readers engaged and satisfied.

If you’ve yet to finalize your ebook design, here’s an article on my top pick for ebook examples to help you get inspired. Venngage provides a wide range of professionally designed ebook templates. Choose from various layouts, color schemes and styles that suit your ebook’s genre and content and customize it with ease to match your branding and vision.

2. Design a captivating cover

Your ebook’s cover is its first impression — a visually appealing cover can make your ebook stand out in the crowded ebook market and attract potential readers to explore further.

To save cost, you can always customize one of Venngage’s selection of ebook cover templates to craft a cover that resonates with your book’s theme and genre. Simply pick a desired template and start customizing with the user-friendly drag-and-drop editor. 

Look like a designer without being one with polished illustrations and multi-purpose free icons to elevate your designs. You can also pick from thousands of high-quality and engaging stock photography options with our free Unsplash integration to stand out. 

Black Illustration Ebook Cover

3. Select the right publishing platform

Choosing the right publishing platform is pivotal to your ebook’s success. Ebook publishing platforms like Amazon KDP, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble Press, Kobo Writing Life, Apple Books Store, Lulu Press, Draft2Digital and Google Books offer various distribution channels and royalty structures.

Some platforms might provide higher royalties for certain price ranges or distribution channels. Consider how these rates align with your financial goals. You can also read reviews, forums and testimonials from other authors to understand their experiences with different platform’s user interface, customer support and overall reliability to decide which publishing platform suits your needs.

4. Understand publishing platform guidelines

Regardless of which publishing platform you’re going for, each platform has its formatting requirements, file formats and policies. Take time to understand these guidelines to ensure your ebook meets the standards and is approved for distribution.

5. Format your ebook

Formatting is more than just aesthetics; it affects the reading experience. Ensure your ebook files adhere to the formatting requirements of your selected platforms and is readable on various devices. 

Use appropriate fonts, line spacing and page breaks and keep a consistent and professional format to enhance the overall quality of your ebook. If your ebook contains data-driven content,  incorporating infographics can enhance the visual appeal and effectiveness of your ebook. 

Venngage offers easy-to-use infographic templates, helping you present data, statistics, or complex information in a visually engaging way. You can also customize your ebook design with a variety of text and typography options to create visually appealing headers, subheadings, and body text. You can experiment with fonts and text styles to find the perfect look for your ebook.

SEO Beginner Guide eBook Template

6. Set up metadata and keywords

Optimize your ebook’s metadata by selecting a compelling title, subtitle, genre category and author name. Choose relevant keywords to improve discoverability in online searches.

To set up metadata and keywords for your ebook, start by choosing a compelling title and subtitle that accurately represents your content. Craft a concise and engaging description that highlights your ebook’s main elements and emotions. Selecting appropriate genres and categories can also help readers find your ebook easily. 

Research relevant keywords, including both general terms and specific phrases to enhance search visibility. Then, integrate these keywords naturally into your metadata and description to improve discoverability and attract the right audience.

7. Write a compelling book description

Craft a description that highlights the unique selling points to help sell your ebook online. Address the reader’s potential benefits and emotions they might experience while reading. Keep it concise and compelling to encourage potential buyers to click the “Buy” button.

8. Set an appropriate price and royalty options

Begin by researching the pricing of ebooks in your genre. Look at both traditionally published and self-published ebooks to understand the price range to strike a balance between competitiveness and profitability.

Different publishing platforms offer varying royalty rates, typically ranging from 35% to 70% of the ebook’s list price. Consider these rates when choosing where to publish. Some platforms might have higher rates but come with exclusivity requirements, while others offer lower rates but allow wider distribution.

9. Be prepared for rejection

Rejections are part of the self-publishing process and not all platforms may accept your ebook on the first try. If your ebook is rejected, don’t be disheartened. Use feedback to make necessary improvements and resubmit. Flexibility and a willingness to adapt are key to success.

10. Launching your ebook 

Now to the moment you’ve been waiting for — launching your ebook or interactive ebook! To launch your ebook successfully, choose a specific launch date for maximum impact and plan your marketing efforts around it. 

Build anticipation by promoting your ebook launch across your online platforms, including social media, email lists and author websites. Engage with your audience, share teasers and create a buzz to ensure a strong and memorable launch for your ebook.

You can also craft engaging content that highlights the unique aspects of your ebook. Share behind-the-scenes glimpses of your writing process, cover design, or research journey to connect with your audience on a personal level. Browse our gallery of social media templates for more inspiration. 

11. Handling distribution

Decide whether you want to enroll your ebook exclusively on one platform or make it available across multiple platforms. Exclusive distribution might offer benefits such as increased visibility and promotional opportunities, while wide distribution can reach a broader audience.

12. Promote your ebook

Create a marketing plan that encompasses various channels, including social media, guest blog posts, podcasts and collaborations with other authors. Engage with your audience and build a community around your ebook’s theme.

Looking for creative ways to reach a wider audience? Consider these 12 marketing strategies to promote your ebook and maximize your ebook sales

5 Must Read Social Media Books Pinterest Post

13. Gather reviews

Positive reviews act as social proof and can influence potential readers’ purchasing decisions. Encourage readers to leave reviews after they’ve read your ebook and don’t forget to respond graciously to feedback, whether positive or constructive.

14. Monitor sales and reader engagement

Regularly track your ebook’s sales and engagement data to identify trends and patterns. Use this information to adjust your marketing strategies and tailor your content to meet your readers’ preferences.

15. Update and revise your ebook as needed

Reader feedback and sales data are invaluable. Use it to make necessary updates and improvements to your ebook. Keeping your content relevant and up-to-date will encourage repeat purchases and attract new readers.

16.  Explore opportunities for print-on-demand versions

Finally, consider expanding your reach by offering print-on-demand versions of your ebook. This option allows readers who prefer physical copies to enjoy your work. Services like CreateSpace or IngramSpark can help you create high-quality physical books without the need for large upfront investments. Here is a list of the best print on demand companies you can use to print your e-book.

How to self-publish your ebook on Amazon KDP

Amazon KDP

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is one of the most popular platforms for self-publishing ebooks, providing a wide reach and powerful tools for authors. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to self publish an ebook on Amazon Kindle Store:

1. Create an Amazon account: If you don’t already have one, sign up for an Amazon account. This account will be used to access the ebook platform.

2. Prepare your ebook: Make sure your ebook is fully edited, formatted and ready for publication. Save it in a compatible format, such as MOBI or ePub.

3. Sign in to KDP: Visit the Kindle Direct Publishing website and sign in using your Amazon account credentials.

4. Click on “Create Kindle eBook”: On the KDP dashboard, click the “Create Kindle eBook” button to start the publishing process.

5. Enter book details: Fill in essential book details, including the title, subtitle, author name and language. Add a compelling description that entices readers to learn more about your ebook.

6. Choose applicable categories: Select appropriate categories and keywords that accurately represent your ebook’s genre and content. This helps readers discover your ebook when browsing Amazon’s categories.

7. Upload your ebook file: Upload ebook manuscript to KDP. Make sure to preview your ebook using Amazon’s online previewer to ensure the formatting appears as intended.

8. Set pricing and royalties: Determine your ebook’s list price and select the royalty option that best suits your goals. KDP offers both 35% and 70% royalty options, which depend on factors like ebook price and distribution.

9. Enable DRM (optional): Decide whether to enable Digital Rights Management (DRM) on your ebook. DRM adds a layer of protection to your ebook file, but it can also limit some reader experiences.

10. Preview your ebook: Before finalizing, use KDP’s preview tools to review your ebook’s appearance on different devices. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure a seamless reading experience.

11. Choose Kindle Select (optional): KDP Select is a program that offers promotional opportunities in exchange for ebook exclusivity. Decide whether you want to enroll your ebook in this program, keeping in mind the exclusivity period.

12. Publish your ebook: Once you’re satisfied with your book details, pricing and preview, click the “Publish Your Kindle eBook” button to make your ebook live on Amazon.

13. Promote your ebook: After publishing, leverage KDP’s marketing tools and strategies to promote your ebook. Consider running Kindle Countdown Deals, free promotions or utilizing Amazon Advertising to boost visibility.

14. Monitor sales and engagement: Use KDP’s sales reports and dashboard to monitor your ebook’s performance. Keep track of sales, royalties and reader engagement data to inform future decisions.

Publishing your ebook on Amazon KDP opens doors to a vast audience of potential readers. With careful attention to detail and effective marketing strategies, you can make the most of this platform to share your work with the world.

Self-publishing v.s traditional publishing ebooks

The decision between self-publishing your own ebook versus traditional publishing depends on your goals, preferences and the specific nature of your project. Each option has its own advantages and considerations. Here’s a comparison to help you decide:



Source: Unsplash

Self-publishing has emerged as a viable and empowering option for authors looking to share their work with readers. Here are some key benefits and considerations of a self-published ebook:


Control: Complete control over the content, cover design, formatting, pricing and distribution of your ebook.

Speed: Self-publishing allows for quicker release, as you’re not subject to the lengthy traditional publishing process.

Royalties: Generally, self-published authors receive a higher percentage of royalties compared to traditional publishing.

Flexibility: You can experiment with pricing, promotions and marketing strategies more freely.

Global Reach: Your ebook can be available internationally through various online platforms.


Marketing: You’re responsible for your ebook’s marketing and promotion, which may require time and effort.

Initial Investment: You may need to invest in editing, cover design and other services upfront.

Credibility: Some readers and industry professionals might perceive self-published books as having lower quality, although this perception is changing.

Distribution: While your ebook can be available globally, getting shelf space in physical bookstores is challenging.

Traditional publishing

Traditional publishing

Source: Unsplash

While self-publishing has gained popularity, traditional publishing still holds distinct advantages for authors considering the best route for their ebooks. Here are some things to consider when evaluating traditional publishing:


Validation and credibility: Traditional publishing can provide validation and a sense of credibility, as your work has passed through a selection process.

Editorial support: You typically receive professional editing, proofreading and cover design from the publisher.

Marketing support: Publishers often have dedicated marketing teams to promote your ebook.

Distribution: Traditional publishers have established distribution networks, making it easier to get physical copies into bookstores.

Advance payment: You might receive an advance payment against future royalties, providing financial support.


Loss of control: You’ll have less control over aspects like cover design, pricing and release schedule.

Longer timeline: The traditional publishing process is longer due to manuscript review, editing and production phases.

Royalties: Traditional publishers typically offer lower royalty percentages than self-publishing platforms.

Submission and acceptance: Not all manuscripts get accepted by traditional publishers, and rejection can be disheartening.

Less flexibility: You might have limited say in changes or edits made to your work by the publisher.

Self-publishing v.s traditional publishing

Ultimately, the choice depends on your priorities. If you value creative control, quick release and higher royalties, self-publishing might be better. If you seek validation, professional support, and wider distribution, traditional publishing could be a more suitable option.

Some authors choose hybrid approaches, such as using self-publishing for certain works and traditional publishing for others. Whichever path you choose, thorough research, understanding your goals and weighing the pros and cons will help you make an informed decision.

How to track ebook sales and performance

After publishing your ebook, tracking sales and performance is essential to understanding its impact and making informed decisions. Here are effective ways to monitor your ebook’s progress:

Sales reporting from publishing platforms

Most publishing platforms offer detailed sales reports, providing crucial data on copies sold, earned royalties and geographical distribution. Regularly review these reports to spot sales trends and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Google Analytics for your website

If you have a dedicated website or landing page for your ebook, integrating Google Analytics can yield valuable insights. Analyze traffic sources, visitor behavior, conversion rates and more to optimize your website’s effectiveness.

Amazon Author Central Dashboard (for Amazon authors)

Utilize Amazon Author Central to access a comprehensive dashboard with insights into your ebook’s performance on Amazon. Monitor sales data, customer reviews and category rankings to stay informed and make informed decisions.

Social media monitoring

Stay attuned to social media platforms for discussions, shares and mentions related to your ebook. Engagement metrics such as likes, comments and shares can provide insight into how your ebook is resonating with readers.

Feedback and reviews

Monitor reviews on platforms like Amazon and Goodreads to gauge reader reactions. Reviews offer feedback on your ebook’s content and positive reviews contribute to increased visibility and credibility.

Email campaign analytics

If you’ve utilized email marketing to promote your ebook, assess the performance of your email campaigns. Examine open rates, click-through rates and conversion rates to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

7 Design tips to create a killer ebook cover

In the crowded digital marketplace, a standout cover helps your ebook catch the eye among numerous other options. A well-designed cover grabs attention and creates a positive first impression, encouraging readers to explore your ebook further.

Here are seven essential design tips to help you craft a killer ebook cover:

1. Visualize the concept

Visualize the core concept of your ebook and encapsulate it through imagery that reflects its main themes or ideas. The cover should offer a sneak peek into the content, intriguing readers and sparking their curiosity.

2. Simplicity wins

Opt for a clean and uncluttered design that emphasizes the essence of your ebook. Simplicity ensures that your message is conveyed clearly, even in a crowded digital landscape.

Cream Pink Green Pastel Food Ebook Cover

3. Bold typography

Use bold and easily readable fonts for the title and author’s name. Experiment with font combinations that enhance the cover’s overall visual appeal while maintaining legibility.

4. Color harmony

Select a color palette that resonates with your ebook’s subject matter and evokes the intended emotions. Harmonious colors not only enhance the visual appeal but also contribute to the cover’s impact.

Black Simple Romance Story Ebook Cover

5. Focus on contrast

Create a strong contrast between text and background to ensure that the title and key details stand out. High contrast enhances readability, making your cover more engaging at first glance.

6. Imagery relevance

Opt for visuals that directly relate to your ebook’s content. Avoid generic or unrelated images that could mislead potential readers. The imagery should be a visual representation of what your ebook offers.

Black Adventure Story Ebook Cover

7. Test at different sizes

Ensure that your design remains visually striking and legible when scaled down to thumbnail size. With many readers encountering your cover in a reduced format, this step guarantees that the cover’s impact is maintained across various platforms.

Yet to have your ebook cover design ready? Design one with Venngage’s ebook cover maker today. 

How to protect your ebook from piracy?

In the digital age, safeguarding your ebook from piracy is a vital concern. Implementing proactive measures can help you preserve your creative work and earnings. Here are ten strategies to consider:

Digital Rights Management (DRM)

Utilize DRM tools that limit unauthorized actions like copying, printing, or sharing of your ebook. Employing encryption and access controls discourages casual piracy and protects your content.


Add visible or invisible watermarks to your ebook. This not only deters piracy but also serves as a traceable identifier, discouraging readers from sharing files.

Limited free content

Offer a sample portion of your ebook for free. This entices readers with a legal option and reduces their motivation to seek pirated copies.

Secure distribution channels

Choose reputable platforms for selling and distributing your ebook. Established platforms often have built-in anti-piracy mechanisms, safeguarding your content.

Encrypted files

Distribute your ebook in formats that support encryption, such as PDFs with password protection. This provides an additional layer of security and makes it more challenging for unauthorized users to share your content.


Consider offering your ebook exclusively through a single platform, at least for a limited time. This can make it more difficult for pirates to find your content across multiple channels and helps you maintain control over distribution.

Leverage social proof

Encourage readers to purchase your ebook from reputable sources by showcasing reviews, endorsements, or awards. This builds trust and makes readers more likely to choose legal options over pirated copies.

Terms of use agreement

Include clear terms of use within your ebook, specifying that it is for personal use only and not to be shared or distributed. Clear guidelines can deter potential pirates.

Educate your audience

Include a page in your ebook explaining the importance of supporting authors by purchasing legal copies. Some readers may be unaware of the impact of piracy and education can deter them from seeking pirated content.

Legal action (as a last resort)

If piracy becomes widespread and significantly affects your earnings, you may consider taking legal action against major infringers. Consult with legal experts before pursuing this route to ensure it’s the right course of action.

By implementing these strategies, you can significantly reduce the risk of piracy and protect your ebook’s content and revenue streams. While it may not be possible to eliminate piracy entirely, these measures help deter unauthorized sharing and support the sustainability of your work as an author.

FAQs on how to publish an ebook

How much does it cost to publish an ebook

The cost of publishing an ebook can vary widely. Self-publishing an ebook can be done for free if you handle all aspects yourself, but it may involve expenses for editing, cover design,and marketing. Traditional publishing typically doesn’t require upfront costs but involves sharing royalties with the publisher.

How can I publish my ebook for free?

You can publish your ebook for free by using a self-publishing platform like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Smashwords or Draft2Digital. These self-publishing platforms don’t charge fees for ebook publishing and they offer a range of tools to assist with formatting and cover design.

Can I publish an ebook myself?

Yes, you can publish an ebook yourself through self-publishing platforms, bypassing the need for a traditional publisher. Self-publishing allows you to retain creative control and a larger share of royalties.

How do you get paid for ebooks?

You get paid for ebooks through royalty payments from the platforms where you publish. The amount you receive per sale depends on factors like the ebook’s price, distribution and the platform’s royalty structure. Payments are typically made on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Do I need to copyright my ebook before publishing?

In many countries, your ebook is automatically protected by copyright as soon as you create it. However, registering your ebook with your country’s copyright office provides additional legal protections and may be necessary if you want to take legal action against copyright infringement.

What formats are commonly used for ebooks?

Commonly used formats for ebooks include ePub, MOBI and PDF. ePub is widely used for most e-readers, MOBI is the ebook format used for Amazon Kindle devices and PDFs are versatile but may have formatting issues on smaller screens. The choice of format often depends on the distribution platform and mobile or tablet devices.

Can I update my ebook after publishing it?

Yes, you can update your ebook after publishing. Most self-publishing platforms allow you to make revisions and upload new versions. This is useful for fixing errors, updating content or responding to reader feedback.

How long does it take to publish an ebook?

The time it takes to publish an ebook can vary widely, depending on factors like the complexity of the book, the editing process, cover design and platform submission. In general, it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks.

Can I publish my eBook in multiple languages?

Yes, you can publish your ebook in multiple languages to reach a broader audience. Translate the content or hire a translator if needed and ensure the cover and metadata are localized for each language.

Furthermore, for more organized translation processes, consider familiarizing yourself with the TMS (Translation Management System), which streamlines translation workflows, efficiently manages multilingual versions, and ensures consistency across all translated content.

Can I publish my ebook on multiple platforms?

Yes, you can publish your ebook on multiple platforms simultaneously. This strategy, known as wide distribution, allows you to reach a broader audience by making your ebook available on various online retailers.

How to launch an ebook

For a successful ebook launch, choose a specific release date, promote it through your online platforms and social media, consider running promotions or discounts and engage with your audience to build excitement and anticipation for your ebook’s release.

Do I need an ISBN for my eBook?

No, you do not need an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) for your ebook, especially if you’re publishing exclusively in digital formats through platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or Apple Books. 

These platforms typically provide their own unique identification numbers. However, if you plan to distribute your ebook in print or through multiple channels, you may consider obtaining an ISBN for tracking and cataloging purposes.

Publishing your ebook for maximum impact

There you have it —  from nurturing your manuscript to navigating the ins and outs of formatting, distribution and marketing your ebook, I hope this guide has given you valuable insights on the best ways to publish an ebook. 

As I wrap up this extensive guide on how to publish an ebook, remember that your journey is just beginning. The path from manuscript to bestseller may have been demystified, but its course is uniquely yours to navigate. 

With the help of Venngage, your ebook isn’t just a collection of words on digital pages; it’s an immersive experience that engages, informs and resonates with your target audience. The blend of compelling content and visually striking design is a recipe for success in the digital publishing realm.

Becoming a bestseller may be challenging, but it’s also full of opportunities for growth and making your mark in the literary world. Your story, knowledge, and creativity deserve to be shared. So, let your creativity flow and tell your story, I’m certain that your ebook will achieve great things! 

About Krystle Wong

Everyday writer and a weekend baker, Krystle is a content marketer and brand strategist with experience in media, tech and SaaS.