I was am cleaning out my room when I found some old books in the back of my closet just collecting dust. I wanted to make a quick buck and make more space in my room, so I sold them. Two birds with one stone, as you say.
But then I thought to myself I can sell even more books by creating an ebook, right? But, how do you make money from ebooks?
You make money selling ebooks by first striving to produce a high quality e-book, not to stress and try to finish it quickly. A book that is poorly written, full of errors and incorrectly formatted will not make any money or be attractive to readers.
To be successful, you need to produce the best e-book quality you can, and that means investing a lot of time in writing, proofreading and reworking your work. But before you start creating content, you need to decide what you want to write.
It is not enough to choose only fiction or non-fiction. If you want to write a short story, novel or book, you have to focus on one genre. The best-selling topics are crime thrillers, kiosk literature, paranormal romance and fantasy.
Are you more interested in non-fiction? You need to decide on a niche to work in. Guides and tutorials tend to be the most profitable in the e-book world.
Once you have decided exactly what you want to write, it is a good idea to read on to see what successful e-book writers do to get their work sold.
Try to read the 20 best-selling books in your genre or niche.
You do not want to steal their ideas, of course, but you can get a feel for how to write in a way that appeals to readers and format your e-book by reading the works of top authors. Another important thing to keep in mind when writing an e-book is the length.
You will quickly see that the best-selling electronic books tend to be short. Strive for something that a person can read in one to two hours or less. If the book needs to be longer, you can divide it into several books.
Once you have a draft that you are happy with, you may want to hire a proofreader or editor to review your work and improve it. Then you will be ready to move on to the next step.
One important thing to remember when writing is that your first e-book may not be a resounding success. Many writers do not succeed until they write their fourth or fifth book. Have realistic expectations from the beginning to avoid being discouraged.
My 7 Best Tips When Creating An Ebook
1. Try new genres and niches
The book industry seems oversaturated, but that is partly an illusion.
There are still undiscovered areas with demand for genres that have been neglected, that are not trendy right now or that have simply not been written yet.
Here it is important to remember that the major traditional publishers do not conduct market research to find out what readers would like to read – instead, they publish more of what sold best last year.
When e-books broke through in the US around 2010, it was only in genres that the media did not cover: fantasy, romance and eroticism.
It turned out, among other things, that there was a demand for werewolf romance in the multi-billion class, something that the established publishers had completely missed.
This is where keywords come in.
When it’s possible to search for exactly anything and refine the sorting with keywords – galactic empires, historical peasant romance or Japanese ghost mysteries – the reader is no longer limited to buying what the biggest publishers want to buy this season.
This is an open goal for the indie publisher who can discover new genres and subgenres.
Write and publish a book you want to read yourself but cannot find, if you lack a certain type of story, it is not impossible for others to do the same.
Always add keywords when uploading your ebook to the distributor.
Not having to compete with major publishers in your subgenre is just a bonus.
2. See if there is demand
By publishing a shorter book first, you can see if it sells before you spend time writing a more comprehensive version or investing in a more expensive print edition.
Are people curious about ‘Chicken farm in the garden’, ‘Travel tips in Bali’, erotic short stories or the adventure series ‘The last space pirates 1’?
If you also combine shorter books with blogging, you can eventually build your readership while writing.
When the longer book is finished, your blog readers will find out right away.
3. Get books out fast
As a small and niche indie publisher, you can get your book on the market much faster than a large publisher.
A large publisher would still have meetings about whether the book should be published.
The same goes for world news, trends and snacks. Short or long, write the book for those who want to know more directly and be the first to know.
This is a huge competitive advantage, use it!
4. Become an expert
Do you have a hobby or a special interest?
Do you know far more than ordinary mortals about something special, such as well digging, curtain hanging or budgerigar breeding?
Are you people asking when they are wondering about building rules, ancient monuments or dance band classics?
Write and publish books in your area of expertise. Take advantage of all the fun you have learned and the knowledge you possess.
Write instruction books, idol portraits, local history and fact books.
You do not have to write large, bound encyclopedias in full color and hope for a publishing contract. An ebook can be the equivalent of an old-fashioned cheap printed booklet.
Do not forget that in the world of ebooks, color costs nothing extra, add photos and illustrations, link to good websites with more information – and to your own of course.
Non-fiction books have the advantage that readers themselves look for them.
Give your ebooks good descriptive titles and subheadings. Use apt keywords. Make it easy for readers to find your books.
5. Write series and serials
Convert the format of the TV series to book form.
Write exciting series. A book in the series can be anything from the classic kiosk cover length (about 50k words) to shorter as long as the book contains everything that readers expect per episode.
Readers of sites like Wattpad or Fanfiction are used to cliffhangers and waiting for the next episode.
Audiobook listeners as well. In China, the serials of different authors are subscribed to chapter by chapter. If you can keep a regular production schedule, loyal readers will pick up the next part as soon as it is released.
Publish chapter ebook after chapter ebook so the story is available at online retailers.
Make sure all your books include the ability to opt out of your mailing list so your readers will find out when the next scheduled episode is released.
When the story is finished, you collect it into an ebook, a printed book in POD and an audiobook.
And, after season three, you release a long collective trilogy with extra material.
Just a video I found where she talks about what to expect when writing an ebook, check it out:
6. Do not price dump, but make the book irresistible
This does not mean that you should give away your ebook for free, just that you should think smart about pricing and set a price that invites impulse purchases.
Ebooks are cheap to make and even when the price is just below the pocket, an indie publisher earns more per ebook than per standard pocket – more per ebook than both publishers and publishers who share the royalty.
Make sure to always be just as good, but a little cheaper than the biggest publishers.
You often hear how difficult it is to reach the book market, but there are more ways to go. Use the natural benefits of the ebook format for indie publishers like you.
Try new genres. Publish books quickly.
See if there is demand. Think about how the serial format may suit you. Publish books readers are looking for themselves.
Put a competitive price on the ebook that no major publisher can match.
7. Compete with price
The big publishers are afraid that e-books will cannibalize their printed books and therefore set relatively high prices.
The problem with this strategy is that they leave the flank open to award-winning indie publishers. Because if large publishers have economies of scale when it comes to printing physical books, anyone can produce cheap ebooks.
When the reader can choose between content-equivalent ebooks where some cost half as much, most people prefer to buy two at a lower price.
This is exactly the opposite of how the market for the printed book works.
The advantage of the large publishers has always been that they have been able to produce printed mass editions at a much lower cost than the competitors.
They have reached their dominant position by always being able to sell their paper books cheaper than a smaller publisher with smaller editions.
The more readers who migrate to digital formats such as ebooks, the more the major publishers lose their dominant position.
This is the main reason why the largest American publishers have lost half of the ebook market in 7 years.
It’s worth repeating to really understand the extent of how explosive this is: An indie publisher can always produce an ebook at a lower cost than a large publisher and can always sell it at a lower price.
Why you should publish your own e-book
- No investment is required to publish and distribute an e-book.
- You can benefit from e-books in several contexts.
- You can sell the e-books and make money directly, you can remove it for free to market you and your website and you can also use the book as bait, for example if people subscribe to your newsletter they get an e-book for free.
- E-books are even easier to produce than regular books.
- You write the book and create the file once, then the file can be sold over and over again.
- You have no costs for printing and binding your books.
- You have no distribution costs such as shipping, warehousing and department stores.
- You own all rights to your e-book.
- You can sell the rights to your e-book. It is easy to update and correct an e-book.
- With modern reading tablets, many people today prefer to read books digitally.
- Customers can start reading your book as soon as they pay and do not have to wait for the book to be delivered.
- Your costs are the same whether you sell one or a million books – the profit is unlimited.
Tips on how to get started:
1. Cover design
Readers often choose books largely based on the cover, especially in the electronic book world.
People will see a small picture of the cover when they shop so you want to make sure you have a cover design that is eye-catching and appealing.
To get the best possible cover, look for a simple, yet powerful image that relates to the theme of your book.
You might be able to design one yourself, but often it’s best to hire a graphic designer to do the work for you. You can find one easy on Fiverr.
2. Upload the book
Once you have written your e-book, you need to write a description of it that will make people want to read it.
Write a short paragraph or two that catches the eye and arouses curiosity.
You may want to include a short excerpt from the book, and you should also tell the reader how many words there are so that they have a good idea of what they are paying for.
If you have your own website that covers the same topic as the e-book, this is perfect, as you own your own platform through which you can easily sell your product.
The advantages of this option are that you have significantly more control over the sales process, the royalty amount, ie. how much you earn etc.
If you do not have a blog, even if it is easy to fix (read here how you can start and get traffic to your first blog), then you can upload and sell your e-book through other websites such as.
- Amazon kindlestore
The disadvantages of selling on other websites like the ones mentioned above are that, they usually take a fairly large percentage of sales, on the other hand, your book reaches a much larger audience with such already established pages.
3. Set a price
It will be up to you to determine the price of your e-book.
To determine how much to charge, you can take a look at what the best-selling books in your niche or category cost.
You want your book to be similar in price or cheaper than the others. Keep in mind that the store will take a share of the money the customer pays for the book.
Each site and service has its own royalty system, so read on a bit before you upload to find out how much the deal will take when you sell an e-book.
4. Promote your e-book
It usually takes 24 to 48 hours for your e-book to become available on an online store. Don’t expect orders to just start coming in after that though.
You need to market your e-book to sell copies and get it noticed.
Some of the best ways to launch an e-book include:
- Your own website
- WordPress blogs
- Bulletin boards and Reedit groups
- Social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Google+
- Specialty sites such as Goodreads.com and Kindleboards.com
The most important thing to keep in mind when marketing your e-book is your target audience. Ask yourself:
- Where would they most likely hear about my e-book?
- What can I do to get them interested in reading?
- Who will most likely read my e-book?
- Why would they want to read my book instead of another?
Here is an example.
Let’s say you wrote an e-book on Mexican cooking. You would not just want to say that your target audience was someone who wanted to cook Mexican food.
Think intensely about who would buy an e-book about Mexican food – it would probably be a young adult or housewife who likes cooking and wants to try new recipes.
They may want to choose your book because their family is Mexican and it is filled with recipes that are authentic.
Pinterest is a popular place for people to search for recipes so you may want to create different types of pins that would point to your website or to your ebook page.
Studies show that there are about 700,000 authors who write e-books around the world, and websites have hundreds of thousands of books available.
For example, there are more than 650,000 electronic non-fiction and fiction books sold in the Kindle UK store, and another 1 million titles are available as free e-book downloads.
If you’ve always wanted to be a published writer, then your time is now. Not saying it’s easy of course, but definitly possible with some fearsome dedication that I know you have.
Also, check out this video where she talks about tax on digital products, a.k.a ebooks: