FIRSTeBook Questions & Answers


Q: What is the minimum amount of words I need to submit for appraisal?
A:  The first 3000-3500 words of your manuscript plus a short synopsis of around 200 words.

Q: Can I send you my first few thousand words in rough format (unedited)
A: Yes

Q: My book has already been printed in paperback by another publisher. Can I still send my
 manuscript to you for digital publishing?
A: This all depends what rights you have granted to the publisher who published your book in literary or book form. We would need to examine your contract with said publisher

Q: When I send you the first few thousands words do I also need to send you my cover ideas.
A:  No. That will only be relevant at a later date if we decide to accept your manuscript.

Q: How do I submit my manuscript to FIRSTeBook?
A: Visit our “Submitting Your Work to FIRSTeBook” area and read through the instructions. We've tried to include as much information as we can so that authors like yourself who might not yet be familiar with eBooks can learn about the system. You can look over our guidelines for submitting materials. If you still have any other questions, just drop an email to us at :  submissions[  ]

Q: Can I upload Word or PowerPoint documents instead of a PDF?
A: Yes

Q: I have written some poems and would like to get them published. What do I do?
A: Just send us a few samples of your poems and let us know the total amount of poems which will be in your book and also if there are any photos or illustrations in your book of poems.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of pages I can upload?
A: No

Q: If I send a sample of my writing, will someone review it for publication?
A: No. We only accept samples of your writing if you have a finished manuscript ready to be published. We specialize in publishing your book in digital format.. We are generally not the people to ask about the quality of writing, editing, or proofreading. Authors should pursue that kind of help from other sources, and return to FIRSTeBook once your book is ready for digital publication.

Q: Is there a minimum number of pages I can upload?
A: There is no minimum number of pages that you can upload.

Q: If FIRSTeBook decide they want my total manuscript based on the few thousand words I had sent them previously does that mean that there is a binding contract.
A: No. If we decide we want to see your total manuscript based on your first few thousand words does not mean there is a binding contract. The first few thousand words is basically to give us an idea on your style of writing and if we think your book fits in with us.

Q: My book is made up of just photo’s and a little text, what is your initial requirement.
A: If your book is not fiction or an autobiography then just send us ten or twelve photos and a general description and details of what your book is about.

Q: If I write an autobiography, who is answerable for any errors, disputes or use of real names in said biography.
A: The author. For autobiographies FIRSTeBook are not accountable for any libel or use of real names, or actions of people in said book.

Q: Do I need to send my manuscript to you via an agent.
A: No. Just send it direct to us. We prefer to work direct with the author. No agents.

Q: Will you accept do-it-your-self or self help books.
A: Yes.

Q: Will you accept magazines for digital publication.
A: Yes, but there may be a cost involved here due to the revamping of the size of magazine to fit into the various eReaders. Please contact us on such questions first before you send in manuscript or part there of when regarding magazines.

Q: Do you accept all types of manuscripts,
A: Yes

Q: Can I send you a hardcopy by post to you?
A: No. We only accept copies of your manuscript as an attachment on-line in either word or PDF format

Q: Can I send a manuscript in a foreign language?
A: At the moment no, but please contact FIRSTeBook regarding this, as we may be of service in helping you with your foreign language manuscript elsewhere.


Q: At what time would I have a binding contract?
A: After you (the Author) and FIRSTeBook  (The Publisher) have signed the agreement. 

Q: If and when I did receive a binding contract, is there a deadline for signing?
A: The deadline is two weeks. However, if for some reason you cannot decide within two weeks and you would like a little longer, then you would have to inform us via email stating this fact. If FIRSTeBook has not heard from you in any way within the stipulated two weeks then we assume that you are not interested anymore. We will then delete all your details from our files and databases.

Q: When my contract ends, do my books automatically go off  market or do I have to sign a new contract?
A: If you want to continue to sell your book (s), then you would have to sign a new contract with either FIRSTeBook or another digital publisher.
Q: Can I break my contract?.
A: Yes, but you would have to give us three months notice and a full detailed explanation as to why you wanted to end your contract.

Q: If my book is not selling as expected, what then?.
A: If we have sold less than 100 copies of your digital book in the first year of your contract, then you may terminate your contract within the first year. You can do this after giving us a minimum of 30 days notice in writing before the end of the first year of your four year agreement.
Example: If you sign a four year contract on May 20th, 2011 binding you to FIRSTeBook until May 20th, 2015, you may break the contract on 20th,  of April 2012 if your sales are less than 100 books in that first year. 
Q: Can I have one contract for multiple books?
A: No. For each book, you have to have a separate contract.
Q: What happens to my contract if I die before it ends?
A: For any such occurrences like an injury from which you cannot communicate, or death, we need to be informed immediately. We can continue to fulfill your contract with your next of kin for the remainder of the contract period. However, we can also terminate your contract if requested by your next of kin. If your contract is terminated on request we then pay you any outstanding royalties and close out your account and agreement with FIRSTeBook and take your book out of the market place.


Q: How often do I get paid royalties?
A: At the end of every quarter of calendar year. For instance. If your book goes on sale on February 15th, 2011, you will receive your first royalties at the end of March 2011, if your sales have reached a minimum threshold of $50. If not then the next payment will be end of June and so on.

Q: How will royalties be paid?
A: Either by check or bank transfer to a bank of your choice or by pay-pal.

Q: Is there any reporting available on sales and royalties?
A: Yes, there is a comprehensive reporting feature, which will give you access to. This is where you can log in to our website and view all your sale and royalty details for you book whenever you wish. This is strictly personal and will only give you access to your book.

Q: Can I have my royalties paid to someone else other than myself?
A: No. All royalties have to be paid to author.

Q: What share of my royalties do I receive for my book?
A:  This is dependent on which platform is used and which format it is downloaded. The digital books sold via FIRSTeBook will generate a different royalty than what would be generated if sold via Amazon site for the Kindle reader  or Barnes & Noble for the Nook reader. Bare in mind that there are also deductions of Credit or Debit Card Charges, which vary according to the type of card and issuing bank, and deduction of VAT (The Customs and Excise consider E-book downloads to be a service, not a sale of a book.)

Q: How are royalties calculated?
A: We first look at your list price. We then look at the size of the file for your manuscript download. The cost of downloading is $0.375 per 1mb. Example: If you listed you book at $8.99 on a manuscript file size of 0.400mb you would receive $3.12 per book on Royalties. Calculation  Cost of download is $0.375 x 0.400mb = $0.06.
List price of $8.99 – $0.06) = $8.93 and 35% of $8.93 = $3.12.
(for more detailed information please look at our FIRSTeBook Pricing page.


Q: What does a Digital Publisher do?
A: We take a regular PDF or word text document and convert it into a fully functional, interactive page turning publication for you to use online.

Q: What is a digital publication?
A: A digital publication is an online version of a normal printed publication. The way it is presented remains unchanged onscreen, so rather than scrolling down a PDF, you simply turn the pages, just as if you were holding it in your hand!

Q: Will you feature my eBook on any key web pages?
A: Most eBooks are randomly chosen to be featured around the FIRSTeBook site. If your eBook is about a certain subject that you feel is currently a hot topic, let us know and we can try to feature it.

Q: Do I require an ISBN number for my digital publication?
A: Yes.

Q: Can you publish my manuscript so that it can be read by MAC users?
A: Yes

Q: Do you promote eBooks individually?
A: Yes. As your publisher we do our best to promote our website as a whole. Targeted marketing for each niche audience can also be done by you. eBooks sell the best when their author or publisher is actively promoting them. We are always developing ways to market all of the eBooks at FIRSTeBook as a whole, but all authors should promote their eBooks as much as they can.

Q: What if I live in a country other than the United States or England?
A: You are welcome to publish your book with FIRSTeBook. Just be aware that all sales are made in US dollars, or U.K. pounds, and all commission payments and royalties are made in U.S. dollars or U.K. pounds.
Q: Which eBook format sells the best?
A: This is a very difficult question to answer as the amount of new eReaders coming out on the market change each day. Right at this moment we believe that KINDLE is nr one in the U.K, where the NOOK format is nr one in the U.S.

Q: If you publish  my eBook, am I required to sell it on the FIRSTeBook?
A: Yes. If you have had your manuscript published with FIRSTeBook  it will be automatically sold at as well as all the other major internet stores worldwide

Q: Will I need any special software to view a publication online?
A: No, the publications can be viewed on any internet browser, you just need adobe flash player which is a free automatic download (99% of browsers will already have this installed). If you want to view or read your publication anywhere else, but online you will need to purchase an eReader.

Q: Can I search for certain text/items within the publication once I download it to my pc.?
A: Yes, there is a search facility within the main toolbar which allows you to look up specific text within the publication. It will also tell you which pages it has found it on!

Q: What if I don’t have a PDF version of the document I want to upload?
A: It’s not the end of the world; we can take Word or PowerPoint documents also and convert them into the digital publication for you.

Q: What's the difference between all these eBook formats?
A: Each eBook format has its own features, qualities, and advantages. Different formats are made to be used on different types of computers or handheld devices. Read through our eReaders section on our site for more details on formats and eReaders.

Q: How long will the digital publication remain on sale?
A: For the length of your contract with

Q: If I publish with FIRSTeBook,  can I sell it on other websites as well?
A: No. If you have a contract with us we will be responsible for all sales world wide of your book. FIRSTeBook operates with an exclusive agreement.

Q: Can you give me a list of other eBook publishers?
A: No

Q: What counts as "erotic romance"?
A: We leave it up to the writer to decide this, there is no objective definition of ‘erotic romance’  provided.

Q: Which eBook format should I use?
A: The most important things to consider are whether your book has lots of pictures, charts, or graphs, if you'd like to use any special typesetting, and if you'd like your eBook to be compatible with handheld devices, such as Pocket PCs and Palms.

Q: Where can I see my publication on sale?
A: The publication is hosted across over 20,000 servers worldwide which enables your publication to be found on all the well known internet stores worldwide. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, W,H.Smith to name but a few.

Q: What if I want to amend a document after it has been digitally published?
A: Please contact us at as quickly as possible.

Q: Can anyone view the publication?
A: Yes. All they require is a link to the internet.

Q: Can FIRSTeBook also produce a paperback edition of my book if requested?
A: At this time we are specializing in eBooks, however, if you require some paperback copies of your book for book signings, or for some friends and promotion purposes we will provide to you at a cost.  This is not part of our contract agreement for digitally publishing your book. For paperback copies there will be a fee required to cover printing and distribution etc.

Q: Can FIRSTeBook also publish paperback copies for the mass market if so desired?
A: Yes, However again there would be a cost involved. This is an area we would discuss and advise you along the way. We believe that if we could not manage to sell at least 1,000 copies of your digital book within a year that it would not be financial wise to go ahead and produce said book in literary form, but we are always open for discussion.

Q: What is an ISBN number and why do I need one?
A: ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number, and is usually shown both inside the book on the reverse of the title page (known as the Title Verso page) and in the form of a bar code on the back cover. It is simply used as a means by which the retail trade can identify the book and any variation thereof. Any book made available for sale via the book trade is required to have one. Each version of the book, paperback, hardback, large print, e-book, etc. will have a different ISBN. So it could be said that ISBN is slightly misleading, as it doesn’t apply to the book’s title, but the form in which it is manufactured. A more accurate name might perhaps be ISPN where the P stands for product.  In 2007, to conform with modern bar code standards the book trade fell into line with the rest of the retail world and changed from a 10 digit ISBN to a 13 digit one often referred to as an EAN (European Article Number). All 13 digit numbers now start with 978 which simply means it is a book. It is a mathematical formula with the last number being a check digit. The other numbers contain information about the publisher and of course the individual number allocated to that product version.

Q: How do I obtain an ISBN?
A: FIRSTeBook supply individual ISBN as part of their packages.

Q: Who owns the copyright to my book and how do I establish it?
A: Unless you have plagiarised somebody else’s work, or have signed it away to a third party, copyright is automatically yours. The problem is proving it.  The simplest way to do this is to put a copy of your work in a well sealed envelope and post it back to yourself or a trusted third party, such as your legal advisor. Should a dispute occur you go to court and hand the judge the sealed envelope with the date stamp on it. Once however you book is legally registered with a well known copyright company for which you pay a small fee, your copyright is then safe and can be requested at any time there is a dispute. Unless you sign an agreement to the contrary, using a self-publishing or author service company should not effect your copyright and you should be able to stop publishing through them at anytime. If you publish with FIRSTeBook then we would copyright protect your manuscript for you.

Q: Who owns the copyright to the artwork for my cover?
A: The simple answer is, unless you have an agreement to the contrary, the artist/illustrator does. You only have the right to use it in conjunction with the direct sale of your book, i.e. on the cover, or maybe a poster or flyer about it. Also the agreement may be with the author services company, so check if you can take the artwork with you if you change publishers. Just because you paid to have the artwork done, it does not automatically give you the right to use it for any other purpose. Printing T-shirts of your book cover and then selling them via E-bay without prior permission, is almost undoubtedly a breach of copyright. That is the law of the land, not a greedy artist or publishing company trying to hang on to ‘your’ cover design.

Q: Should I try and format my book and cover myself?
A: The simple answer is yes if you have the skills and knowledge, and no if you don’t. Use FIRSTeBook to do it for you. If you are familiar with MS Word and how to alter page layouts then you can probably lay out the text. Study other books to get a feel of how to do it. There are many pitfalls and quite a few tricks that only the most proficient formatter will know that you may not be familiar with. If for example you don’t know about ‘embedding fonts’ or ‘text compression’, or how to eliminate ‘widows’ and ‘orphans’, you are probably best leaving it to the experts. Covers however are a completely different story. Unless you are familiar with industry standard graphics packages such as PhotoShop, Indesign Quark X-press, you are best employing the services of the professionals. A cover design is very important to the look and feel of a book is definitely worth spending money on. It is after all your shop window. Books can live or die by their covers.

Q: How do I Protect my Author's Rights
A: Regarding protecting authors rights, we are often asked how we stop work being downloaded and then simply passed around the Internet. Firstly in our experience we have don't have any evidence that this happens to any great extent, and if it does then it is only amongst small groups. We take the attitude that it is no worse than buying a hard copy of a novel which is subsequently read by several members of the same circle of family and friends. We have tried encryption software but visitors were often reluctant to download and install the software to their computers. Once we dropped that idea sales quadrupled over night. So for the moment we have settled on a simpler approach. But we do constantly monitor the situation and notice that very few e-books sold from any Internet site are actually sold any differently. Its easier to flash a credit card for a few bucks than search the Internet for a free copy, it simply isn't worth the hassle! We do however password protect the Acrobat files which stops coping and pasting, or altering of the text. Unless the author specifically requests otherwise, we do allow them be printed by purchasers on a normal home or office printer to read off-line.

Q: What is the difference between "eBook Conversion" and "eBook Sale?
A: eBookconversion is for authors who have a manuscript and would like it converted into one of the standard eBook formats. eBook Sales is for authors and publishers who have a completed eBook that's ready for sale.

Q: I already have my book in eBook format. Do I still need to pay for an eBook Conversion?
A: If you have an eBook that is one of the formats that we sell, there isn't any need for us to convert it, so you can go ahead and submit it. Besides, FIRSTeBook do not ask payment for conversion. Take a look at the guidelines.

Q: If I publish with FIRSTeBook , will you promote it for me?
A: Yes. We do our best to promote the website as a whole. Targeted marketing for each niche market can be done by us as your publisher.

Q: How do I update my email & mailing address with FIRSTeBook?
A: Just simply drop us an email at submissions[  ] with any changes with either your email address, mailing address, or bank details. We will then update your file within our FIRSTeBook database immediately.








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About FIRSTeBook:- FIRSTeBook is a world class provider of innovative online digital publishing solutions for ebooks, helping authors companies and individuals all over the world benefit from the growth in online epublishing and ebooks.  With offices in London and Amsterdam, FIRSTeBook offers advanced professional publishing services at, the ebook library and author resource marketplace that also allows publishers to promote, share and sell their publications and other digital content with the world.   ||   Join FIRSTeBook   ||   ePublish Your Book   ||