Now that you know how to publish on Amazon, it’s time to learn how to publish on E-Sentral.
In our last post, we talked briefly about self-publishing strategies between KU (Amazon-exclusive) and Wide (primarily for the International market)—so what better way to put that into practice than to figure out how E-Sentral, the biggest e-book retailer in Malaysia, works?
We figured this also would be the best time to walk you through how to publish on E-Sentral since we’re in the midst of uploading A Still, Small Voice.
What is E-sentral?
E-Sentral is the largest e-book repository in Southeast Asia, founded by our very own Malaysians in 2011! Granted, the main market seems to be Malay and Indonesian books, including school books. Still, it doesn’t hurt to test it out since even the big international e-book distributors/aggregators tout that “we distribute to E-Sentral!” (Be proud of Malaysia, kan?)
It has 3 main bases: Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. The platform itself offers a “studio” for you to craft your ebooks, but since we’re already using Scrivener to create our epubs, we didn’t take up the extra option.
Several things to note about publishing on E-Sentral before we walk you through the (very) simple steps:
- It doesn’t have great category options for fiction, unlike Amazon or Smashwords.
- It only sells books in epub format—no PDF, no html—and uses DRM so it can only be read on their dedicated e-reader (which you can download for free). This basically means you’re publishing into a closed market. That’s alright since they don’t require exclusive rights.
- It only accepts payment via debit or credit card—and only Malaysian cards at that, at least on the Malaysian portal. We’re assuming the Singaporean and Indonesian portals will accept credit cards from their respective countries.
- It has its own e-library system, similar to Overdrive.
What you need to publish on E-Sentral:
- Epub file
- Cover file
How to publish on E-Sentral
Publishing on E-Sentral is actually really, really easy. You probably don’t even need this step-by-step guide, but it’s here just in case you want to have a look before deciding if you’d like to create a publisher account. They’ve also just upgraded their interface so everything looks pretty snazzy right now!
Basic book details
1. Fill in the title of your book.
2. Fill in your author name.
3. Fill in your selling price in RM. The system will use this price to set prices in other currencies. If you don’t like the price they’ve converted it to (or you want to price differently in different markets) you can manually change it. You’ll note here that most of the currencies offered are for Southeast Asian countries. (Currency not shown in print screen: Vietnam Dong.)
4. Enter your e-ISBN. Unlike other publishing platforms, E-Sentral does not offer free ISBNs. Instead, you have to obtain your own ISBN from Perpustakaan Negara Malaysia.
5. Fill in your book synopsis/blurb.
6. Stare at the categories and laugh. Pick what best fits your book. As mentioned earlier, there aren’t many categories for fiction, unless you’re writing in “major” categories like Romance or Chick-Lit… or maybe Children.
7. Next you can choose a release date. If you don’t choose one, it will release once it’s been processed.
8. We don’t really know why they have “Language” and “Content type”, which seem to refer to the same thing, but as you can tell, E-Sentral does BM and Mandarin, which aren’t always options in, say, Amazon. We’re also not sure why “Music” is a content type, but ok.
9. The “Tag” option works, as far as we can tell, like what Amazon’s “keyword” section. Enter in all the words you’d like related to your book here. In this case, we figured it’s a great place to note that A Still, Small Voice is a short story, fairy tale, and fantasy.
10. Imprint is the “who’s publishing this” section, so we put Teaspoon Publishing in this space. If you don’t have a publishing house or if you’re self-publishing it under your own name, you can leave it blank.
Library Purchase Programme
You’ll actually need to sign an extra agreement to participate in this programme, so don’t worry if it doesn’t appear on your upload page! It’s not set to appear unless you’ve already subscribed to the library programme. This works something like Overdrive, where if you subscribe to it, the library can purchase a copy of your book to lend to their patrons. As you can see, you can set a special price for libraries, whether higher or lower than your normal selling price.
Uploading your books
The final step is to upload your epub file and your cover file. It’s a drag and drop function, so that’s fairly easy.
Several things to note about uploading:
- Although the upload e-book box says it accepts files up to 100 MB, it often hangs if the file is more than 2MB. So try to get the smallest sized file possible!
- If this doesn’t work, try using the bulk upload option.
- All the other platforms I’ve seen will provide an automatic preview file (usually 10% – 20% of the ebook). E-Sentral doesn’t. If you want to provide a preview (or Look Inside as Amazon puts it), you’ll have to create a separate epub with the exact amount of content that you want your potential readers to see.
Once you click submit, it will tell you that your submission has been uploaded, or it will give you a warning if there’s anything missing or wrong.
If you’re the kin cheong type, you can check on the status under the “submission status” tab.
That’s basically it!
We’re pretty sure you have two questions now:
- How do I create an epub?
- How do I get an e-ISBN?
We’ll cover that soon!