Joanna Penn's Step-by-Step Guide to E-Book Publishing

by | Apr 18, 2011

It seems like everywhere I look these days, people are talking about e-books. Have you noticed that too?

Just this week I ran an article on my blog about how e-books sold more copies in February than any other trade book format. That’s impressive!

It was only a few weeks ago that I was in a conversation with another publisher about getting into the ebook market. This publisher said they thought there was no rush, since e-books wouldn’t really take off for years.

How wrong can you be?

Right now, authors like Joe Konrath, Amanda Hocking, Zoe Winters and many others like them are selling hundreds—and thousands—of e-books every month.

Not only that, but my inbox is filling up with questions from authors who want to get the e-book rights back from the companies that published their print books in the past.

Put it all together and you can see that this is a move that no authors want to miss out on.

The e-Readers Are Moving Off the Shelves

Millions of avid book readers are buying e-book devices like the Kindle, the Nook and the iPad. And you know what else is interesting?

People who own e-book readers buy a lot more books than they ever bought in print. E-books are creating a whole new world of readers who will buy even more books than ever before.

It’s pretty easy to see why, too. E-books are cheaper to buy than print books, and much more convenient.

Say you’re sitting at home and you see an article in today’s paper about a great new book that solves a problem you’ve been worrying about. Maybe your kid is applying to colleges, and here’s a new book on getting financing to pay for college.

What do you do next? Make a note to pick it up the next time you’re at the bookstore (if it’s still in business, of course)? Put it on a “wish list”? Head to the garage and jump in your car to go buy it?

Not e-book readers. They’ll just grab their Kindle or Nook or whichever reader they like, log in, purchase and download the book without leaving the couch. In a minute or two, they’ve got the book and are already reading it.

Are you beginning to see how this is going to CHANGE EVERYTHING?

What You Have to Do

There must be a catch, right? Sure, and here it is:

Your book has to be available as an e-book, or you are completely locked out of this scenario.

Unfortunately, this is what has stopped lots of authors—traditionally published and self-published—from taking advantage of the growing interest in e-books.

Let’s face it, most authors don’t know what an e-book is, or how to deal with the world of being an e-book publisher. It all seems really complicated, difficult and time-consuming, so they do what we all do when we’re confused: nothing. After all, if you do nothing, you can’t screw up, right?

Wrong. Doing nothing right now is exactly the wrong move for most self-publishers.

Of course the problem is that most people are busy already. Even though you only have to convert your book to e-book formats and upload it to get selling, figuring out HOW to do it looks like it will take a lot of time.

But now there’s a new way to get your book into e-book retailers the smart way.

It was put together by my friend Joanna Penn, who writes The Creative Penn blog, and who is the author of three self-published books.

Many people know Joanna for her terrific articles, interviews and instruction on writing, publishing and marketing books. She has over 13,000 followers on Twitter, so you know Joanna can provide great content on these subjects.

Joanna has just come out with the e-book module of her terrific Author 2.0 training program. This is now a stand-along course that shows you step-by-step how to get into e-book publishing.

Lots of courses tell you “it’s like having a guide helping you along” but Joanna’s course actually carries through on that promise.

For instance, I was just watching one of the videos that’s part of the course. It shows you how to upload and set up your book on the Kindle Direct Publishing website.

In the video, Joanna guides you, field by field through the forms you have to fill out, and shows you the reports and other tools Kindle makes available for authors.

“Wow,” is what I thought while I was watching it. “I wish I had this video when I was trying to figure this stuff out myself.”

Lots of Ways to Learn Here

But there’s much more than that in Joanna’s course. Take a look at what she’s put together for you:

  1. Two videos where she goes through all you need to know about e-books. (Also available in mp3 audio format along with the slides.)
  2. A PDF e-book on all the material covered in the videos with hyperlinks to useful sources.
  3. Screen capture video of how to publish on the Amazon Kindle, including account screens.
  4. Screen capture video of how to publish on Smashwords, including account screens.
  5. Audio interview with Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, plus a transcript.
  6. Action steps so you know how to proceed next.
  7. And Joanna is available for any questions she hasn’t covered elsewhere.

This whole package is almost a master-class in getting your e-books done, uploaded and on sale quickly and easily.

The cost for this cost is a surprisingly affordable $39.95. Joanna has done all the hard work, and put together a package that makes it super easy to learn to do this yourself.

I can tell you from my experience over the last couple of months, the time alone it would take to work all this out is worth far more than the $39.95 Joanna is charging for this course.

If you want to see your book in the Kindle store and available for Nook owners, this training will get you up to speed fast. That’s worth a lot. After all, how many sales are you missing by not having your book for sale now?

Click over to Joanna’s site now and check this out. You won’t be sorry you did.

Get Started Today - Button Orange

P. S. Don’t put it off, you know what happens when you do that, right? Click the button and use this opportunity to get started on publishing your e-book today.

This is an affiliate post for Joanna Penn’s E-Book instruction. I recommend it. Photo by daz smith

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Albert

    Joel thanks for the great article. I’m looking forward to taking Joanna’s course. I’m new to the writing world andv doing as much homework as possible to learn the different aspects of this industry. If you have any further books, courses or coaches you could suggest I would greatly appreciate it.

    Albert Babani

    • Joel Friedlander

      Albert, no problem. There’s a great program coming up I’ll be writing about later this week, so watch for that because I’ll also have a discount code for readers of my blog.

  2. Mareike Adam

    Thank you for the article, Joanna! I’d like to mention XinXii as a platform, which enables any author to upload and sell his eBook in real-time and w/o costs: As XinXii is leading in Europe, it might be interesting to American authors as an additional sales channel.

  3. Joseph P

    Very nice of you for your favorable comments on Joanna’s latest work. Both of you are terrific.

  4. Marc-Andre Renaud

    Another great article Joel.

    As undeniable as the numbers may be regarding volume of sales, do you think it would be worthwhile for the next generation of e-book formats or just dive in a.s.ap.?

    My chief concern is that, as a book designer, most ereaders and ebook file formats simply ignore all the hard design work that was invested into making the print version readable and appealling by giving the file their own spin. Stanza is particularly bad for this. Publishing to the ebook format, again from the designer’s point of view rather than the author’s point of view, not only requires one to redo all the layout and design of the book, but simplifying the design anew is like doing your whole layout in Word or producing a cover graphic in MS Paint. Granted, one can reach a much wider audience but is all the extra design work worth it just to reach a new possible market where file formats are still in flux?

    • Joel Friedlander


      I feel your pain. No, really. As a long-time book designer I’m a bit dismayed (and have written about it here often) that what we accept as an e-book is so far from the books that we have gotten used to since childhood. Many of the e-books look atrocious to me, as a designer, while some do a really fine job of creating a good reading experience despite the limitations of the readers.

      However, most people are in the book business to sell books, and therefore it’s smart publishing to sell the books your market wants to buy. If they want beautiful and graphics-intensive books, they are not buying ePub books anyway. But why deny potential customers the opportunity to buy your content simply because the format cannot compare to the print package?

      • Marc-Andre Renaud

        All I can do is nod in agree Joel. Most of ebook formats look atrocious to me as well. As flawed as the pdf format may be, at least it preserves all your design work.

        As it stands, even if it’s quite true that most people are in the business to sell books, there are 2 major problem that I’m still trying to solve for clients when it comes to making the most of this new opportunity. Firstly, development costs. Designing a hardcopy book takes time and effort that practically gets nullified when publishing ebooks since, as we’ve briefly covered, most designs get butchered by ereaders. Getting a book to look tolerably good means more design, tailored to each ebook format. This being said, I’m just starting to look into ebook tools but inDesign’s output is less than stellar even though it’s great for layout and design. Secondly, security. How robust is the DRM for ebooks?

        So what’s everyone’s experience with getting clients to sign the dotted for the extra design fees? Do you fold the extra design time into your service and fee structure from the get-go or is it a supplemental design tast and fee?

        Also, how do you address your clients’ concerns regarding ebook DRM? What is your ebook format of choice?

  5. Carol Costello

    Once more, my publishing world is larger after reading your blog. Joanna Penn’s work will, I am sure, add years to my life. You are the quinoa superfood of bloggers!

    • Joel Friedlander

      Carol, once more, you’ve knocked me sideways with your masterful metaphors. Quinoa indeed!



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