Book Club February 12, 2020

Anyone that has published an e-book? What tools or resources would you recommend?

Bhumi @bhumi

For editing, self publishing and for marketing the book.

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    @indieorbust or @arvidkahl might have some valuable insights.

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      Thanks! :)

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        Actually, I am still working on that part, but I use Scrivener and will likely publish it through Gumroad.

        I would actually suggest you ask @PascalPrecht as he released his REBASE eBook recently.

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          Hi @arvidkahl - thanks for sharing! I look forward to reading your Feedback Panda story.

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          Hey @Earth256

          I think I even remember you from one of my threads.
          I personally prefer it to keep the content as accessible and easily editable as possible. That's why I stick to plain text file and markdown syntax (for headlines and images).

          Question is, how to turn this markdown text to something ereaders understand?

          pandoc is a tool that lets you generate .epub files from markdown. You can then you Amazon's kindlegen tool to make a .mobi out of the epub.

          I'll publish an article about my entire writing + publishing process soon.

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            Hi @PascalPrecht! Yes I remember you and talking about writing and ebook vs blog posts and all :)

            I like your idea of keeping the content accessible with a markdown text file. pandoc seems very handy. Thanks for mentioning that.

            I will now focus on actually writing stuff people want to read :)

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    If you have a Mac, get to format/publish your books. You can even write within the program. It perfectly formats books for ALL platforms. You can even publish/format the inside of a paperback with this.

    Vellum automatically creates files specific for each platform so that you get zero errors when uploading. (Errors are a huge time-suck).

    You can hire someone to do your cover, or use a template from

    Join a very active writers forum where everything about publishing is discussed:,60.0.html


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      Good to know, thanks for the recommendations!

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    I'd also like to expand the discussion to design. I'm willing to release v1 of my own book with just a basic Apple Pages template exported to PDF, but has anyone worked with a designer?

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    The first step is acquiring an audience. Do you have one already? If not, you should have a plan to create one. Build a following on Twitter, get people to subscribe to your mailing list, etc.

    Another option is publishing the book for free on a website and then selling the PDF/MOBI/EPUB offerings. This has worked well for me. The content helps drives search traffic to your website and you'll start noticing others linking to your website. Eventually you can start selling other products in addition to the book, like screencasts and/or other training products.

    For more details on this method, see

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      Thanks for the thoughts and describing the strategy that has worked for you! And thanks for that link, I know the story of the infamous Rails Tutorial of course, have never seen that video though.

      Yes and true about an audience. Working on both in parallel :)

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    For writing and organizing your work, you can use
    It's exporting to pdf and soon to epub.


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    e-book specifically? Or you also want to do print?

    I use Reedsy for writing. A lot of people use Scrivener.

    You can export directly to Kindle, epub, mobi, pdf from Reedsy (probably can from Scrivener too).

    On Reedsy (a marketplace), you can find editors, cover designers, etc.

    To publish on Amazon (85% of my sales, 70-80% for most authors) you can use KDP (Amazon) or Ingram Sparks. I believe they're the top 2 options.

    This guide really covers the process of distributing your ebook well:

    @robfitz recently wrote a guide to help define/validate/market books. It's a good read. I'm sure he could hook you up.

    Hope this helps!

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      These are all good suggestions and I do mostly the same.

      I write and get feedback in GDocs, use a whole mess of tools for page layout (Vellum/Scrivener/Kindle Create/Word templates), hire proofreaders and other freelance helpers via Reedsy, and that's about it. The cover is just a PDF/image, so you can make that however.

      In general, the actual "tasks" of publishing are all fairly easy, well-tooled, and well-explained. The trick is in writing something which people actually want to read ;). Good luck!

      [Edit: Oh, and Gumroad is also worth a mention if you just want to sell a PDF directly through your own blog/list/etc]

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        @robfitz Hi! good to know that publishing tasks are well-tooled and easy enough. I will then allocate majority of my time to the actual writing and getting feedback!

        Btw, have read The Mom Test and thank you for that! It articulated what I intuitively felt about not sharing what you're building or even that you're building something when talking to potential users. Just talk to them about their lives and listen.

        Just subscribed to your newsletter :) so look forward to learning more from you!

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      So far e-book only. I gave Reedsy a try today and started writing today. Thanks for the recommendation. That article was also good to get a lay of land in ebook distribution.

      Thanks for sharing, that was certainty helpful!