Search for "healthcare design" in Kindle edition in books on Amazon and 86 titles come up. But only 17 of them have anything to do with healthcare design. Do a similar search in the "Architecture" category on eBooks and only two titles come up.
Is there an opportunity here? Yes.
While many of these books were released by big name publishing houses, you don't need a publisher these days to produce an eBook. You just need great content, a good copyeditor, and someone with design skills.
Do People Still Read Books?
If you're thinking that people don't read books anymore, think again. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in March and April, seven in 10 Americans (72%) read a book within the past year. Twenty-seven percent read an eBook.
Many organizations and individuals publish content as PDFs and call them eBooks. And some of them are easily read on a computer or mobile device. But a true eBook is in a format that reads like a book (i.e., turning pages) and can be read on a tablet or smart phone.
Intrigued? Here, in a nutshell, is how you can publish an eBook:
1. Start with Great Content
You can write something from scratch, but you don't have to. Reports, papers, thesis, and blog posts all make for great eBook content. Or, ask colleagues to write short essays/opinion pieces on specific topics and do a compilation book. If it's mostly text, suggest keeping it short -- around 15,000 words in an eBook (sizes vary by device and settings).
2. Work with a Copyeditor
Once you've completed compiling and writing your manuscript (don't worry about formatting at this point), hire a copyeditor to read it for grammar, style, punctuation, clarity, etc. This is an essential step that will save you time and money during the eBook formatting stage.
3. Prepare Your Manuscript
After vetting your manuscript, format it as a Word.doc with headers, page breaks, etc. Use a non-copyrighted font and keep the design simple. Design a visually appealing cover using a graphic design program and save as a jpeg. If you don't have sophisticated enough design skills to do this, find someone who does.
Also, complicated diagrams and large photos don't work so well in eBooks. If you feel your topic needs illustration, consider publishing it as a soft- or hardcover book instead.
3. Have it Formatted for eBooks
eBooks require special formats -- .MOBI for Kindle, .ePub on Kindle for iPad or Nook, and iBooks for iPad. If you have someone techy on your staff, he or she might be able to figure out how do it, but I suggest using a service such as Booknook.biz. They are fast and inexpensive and provide many detailed instructions on exactly what to do and don't do in preparing your manuscript for formatting.
If you do use Booknook.biz, it's extremely important that you provide them with a super-clean manuscript, because once it's formatted, they charge for changes.
4. Post and Promote
Easiest place to post your eBook is on Amazon. You'll need to create an author account that's connected to a bank account. But you can also easily post to Barnes and Noble and sites like eBooks. Getting them on iTunes is much trickier because it needs to be in iBooks format and has to be submitted for approval.
As always, writing and publishing the eBook is only 20% of the work. The rest is promotion. Get colleagues to write reviews about your eBook and post them on Amazon. Then, send out email announcements, share on social media, print up postcards to hand out to people at conferences, etc. Repeat these things periodically.
Of course, there are many details that I've left out, but hopefully you have a better idea of what it takes to publish your own eBook. Finally, don't expect to make a ton of money from an eBook on healthcare design, but rather look at it as another way to share meaningful content with others in the industry and enhance your reputation/brand.
Bonus: Love the title of this self-published eBook! Check it out on Amazon: Healthcare Design and Other Oxymorons by Nick Devenney.
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