How to self-publish your ebooks?

October 2016

Professionals can independently manage the process of creating and distributing e-books and books. How to break down this process? What are the tools available?

What is self-publishing?

Self-publishing is the process of creating, formatting , publishing and distributing e- books (and possibly the paper version) by the author.

The Benefits:

Reduce the cost related to the publishing of an ebook/book:
  • design
  • manufacturing
  • promotion
  • distribution/marketing of an electronic or paper work.

Getting started with self-publishing

The persons and entities concerned are:
  • Independent authors.
  • Experts in a technical field (marketing).
  • Bloggers seeking to diversify their sources of income.
  • Companies in all sectors seeking to publish a magazine, brochure , etc. .

Distribution: Free or Paid ?

It is important to choose a suitable distribution model and thus opt between the paid or free distribution of the ebook.

This choice depends mainly on:
  • The contents of the book: is the content good enough (specific/quality/unique) to be marketed?
  • The reputation of the author : authority on the web and social networks, large audience (website/blog).
  • Its goal: bringing awareness and help readers to generate revenue.
  • Its target : is there a demand for this type of content?
  • The time available, due to operational constraints: choice of distribution platform, management of payment modules and inventory .

Both models are compatible : in the context of a paid distribution, it is wise to publish excerpts from a free digital book on a blog, for example.
In the case of free distribution: add the appropriate license for the reuse/distribution of the content.

The different steps involved in the design process

The different steps:
  • Market research (if you intend to sell your book)
  • The format: text/illustrations
  • Verification of compliance with copyright, if third party contents are being used.
  • Writing, proofreading , content validation
  • Layout and the hoice of desktop publishing tools : if the formatting is intended for printing , check the technical specifications required by the online provider (e.g file format) . Do not forget to include links to facilitate navigation in the final PDF document.
  • Printing, proofreading.
  • Copyrighting.
  • Choosing a distribution platform.

Communicate about your ebook:
  • Create a Twitter account/Facebook page dedicated to the book, several months before the completion of the project.
  • Regularly publish excerpts from the document.

Desktop Publishing Software: some free tools


Inkscape is a free vector graphics editing software, making use of the Scalable Vector Graphics file format .
  • It is an alternative to professional softwares such as CorelDraw and Illustrator.
  • Inkscape allows you to create different graphic elements such as icons, logos, charts, etc. .
  • It allows you to import images to Postscript, EPS , JPEG , PNG and TIFF formats.
  • It includes different filters/effects.


Scribus is an open source software distributed under GPL license and is available on Linux/UNIX , Windows and MacOSX.
  • It is an alternative to the InDesign software (create layouts).
  • It allows you to create newspapers, brochures and any document requiring implementation of a specific form (inserting illustrations, tables,..etc).


Gimp is an open source image processing software (alternative to Photoshop), available on Windows, Linux and Mac OS .
  • It includes a wide variety of image editing tools.
  • It offers over 150 effects and filters classified by type .
  • It provides various tools of transformation, selection and creation of layers.
  • It works with different file formats (jpeg, gif, bmp, png, etc. . ).

Distribute or sell your ebooks

Among the platforms to distribute digital books :

Related :

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