Should you publish your first book as an ebook or as a paperback?

This is a question that I’m always surprised to get, even though something like this lands in my inbox literally every week: Should you publish your first book as an ebook or as a paperback?

I’ll get to the answer quickly.

You should publish both an ebook and a paperback.

Once you have a finished, edited manuscript and a cover, it is very little extra effort to publish both an ebook and a paperback. Here’s what you do:

1. Go to your cover designer and ask for an ebook cover image file and a paperback cover PDF file. You’ll need to let the designer know your book’s dimensions and what text you’d like on the back cover. For a nonfiction book, 6×9 is standard. While you’re at it, ask for a 3D image of your book standing upright, which you’ll use for marketing during your book launch.

2. Hire a formatter and ask for the manuscript to be formatted for both ebook and paperback. You’ll need to let the formatter know the book’s dimensions. Again, 6×9 for nonfiction. The formatter will deliver a MOBI or ePub for the ebook and a PDF for the paperback.

3. Set up an Amazon KDP account here: and upload your ebook cover file and your MOBI or ePub files. Then, upload your PDF cover file and your PDF text file. (Yes, Amazon KDP now handles BOTH ebook and paperback files!)

4. Viola! You have officially published an ebook and a paperback book!

Benefits of doing both

You will look so much more professional when you publish both versions of your book. If you only publish an ebook, people will know immediately that it’s a self-published book and will not take your book as seriously. If you publish both, though, most people will not even bother to think about whether it’s self-published or traditionally published (especially if your cover design is quality).

You can print copies to take with you to live events. Every time I speak at a small group or a large group, I order a box of paperback books to bring with me and hand them out for free. Best advertising in the business, I can promise you that.

You can sell wholesale copies to a local store. Show up with a box of 50 books and see if they’ll stock your book. Why not?

You increase your own confidence and buy-in as an author when you hold the paperback copy of your book in your hands. Even if that’s the only reason to print a paperback version, it’s worth the minimal extra effort and money! And, really, the extra effort and money is negligible, anyway, so do it—print an ebook and a paperback book.

A few things to figure out, once you have your files ready to upload…

It's true. I gave you the simple version of how to self-publish an ebook and paperback… because I want you to feel empowered to DO it!

And there are a few things you can figure out, once you have your files ready to upload, like:

  1. How to choose categories your book will be placed into when you upload into Amazon's bookstore. (Ninja tip: if you email KDP support, your ebook can be placed into TEN categories, instead of just the standard two!)
  2. How to choose the seven keywords that Amazon's algorithm will use to search for your book and show to potential readers.
  3. How to write a book description that sells the book well AND serves as keyword juice for making your book easy to find in the Amazon bookstore.

Well, I could keep going, but I just decided to put all of our best practices for self-publishing authors in a neat, downloadable blueprint for you! Ready for you, right here:

>> Click here to get our FREE “Publishing Success Blueprint” <<