How to Make Money Selling Ebooks In 5 Steps
Having the gift of writing is a great blessing, and it can be a great way to make money as well. If you have a wealth of knowledge to share with readers, or if you have been working on a novel or memoir but are unsure how to get your content across, then writing and selling ebooks could be a great option for you.
According to GateKeeper Press, the number of self-published books in 2018 increased by 40%, with a total of 1.68 million books. This could be due to the fact that self-published publications pay roughly three times as much in royalties as the traditionally published books. Moreover, royalty payments to authors start in 90 days for self-published books, in contrast to the six months waiting period for traditionally published books.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about how to write an ebook and make money, starting with writing, creating, publishing, and marketing an ebook, to selling it on various platforms.
Why Should You Sell Ebooks?
Although some people prefer print books to their digital counterparts, the ebooks revenue in the United States in 2021 alone was $1.1 billion. This makes ebook self-publishing a great–and scalable–way to earn passive income.
Ebooks can also attract potential leads to your business, which makes them a great lead magnet. This is mainly because of the value you offer through your ebooks, which should be more than what’s already available online for free. They also help position you as an expert on the topic you’ve written about.
There are various platforms that offer affordable and straightforward services for publishing ebooks. As a matter of fact, if you already have the content of your ebook ready, you could publish and start selling it online right now. However, for long-term, sustainable financial benefits, you have to put in some work, which we are going to guide you through with the following 5 steps.
Step #1: Research
It is critical to plan ahead if you want to become an ebook author. This pre-step will assist you in determining whether your idea is worthwhile. If you found out that it isn’t, then you can move on to the next viable option. In fact, many published authors were able to develop brilliant ideas during the research process.
Target The Right Audience
Consider who would be interested in your book’s content, where they live, what they do for a living, their age, gender, preferences, etc. Your brand (which includes things like your book cover, writing style, font size, title metadata, and other features) can help you establish who your core audience is and attract particular people.
Therefore, you should use these elements of your brand to track down your audience. You are more likely to convert them into dedicated readers if you speak directly to them.
Jump on Trending Topics
You can become a bestselling author if you choose the correct ebook category–the one in which you’ll be able to sell more copies per day than the current best-selling book. That may appear to be a tough task, but it is not; you only need to do some good online research on “trending topics”.
There are over 10,000 different book and ebook categories to pick from. So to make sure you can make money selling ebooks, it is important to place them within the most trendy category that fits the genre of your book.
Develop Your Niche
The most essential reason to have a “niche” is that it makes it easy to position yourself as an expert on the topic of your book. You may know a lot about a few things but only a little about thousands more. Focus on the things you know well and be specific.
You might be able to write an entire book about a certain topic but chances are, there are already hundreds of well-researched and well-written books on the same topic. Being specific will help you bring something new to the table that your readers find value in.
Step #2: Ebook Content (Writing and Artwork)
Creating an ebook follows the typical writing and design processes of creating a traditional book; you do the research, come up with an outline, connect the dots, write, rewrite, rewrite again, let your content sit for a couple of days, revisit with fresh eyes, refine, and then you are good to go.
An ebook might be as short as 12 pages or as long as a thousand-page novel. The rules are not set in stone, so you can start by searching books in your category to assess the length of your book by comparing it to similar, successful counterparts.
To make money selling ebooks, there are a few certain ebook features you should consider, and we’re going to tackle them together.
You can use an ebook creator to include multimedia content such as images, interactive infographics, audio, and video in your ebook; this will increase your readers’ engagement with the content. You can also include external links to offer additional information or redirect the reader to anywhere you want.
Editing and Proof-Reading
There are many ways that you can go about editing your book. A budget-friendly way would be to hire an editor to only look at the first few chapters of your ebook. Many of the issues identified by the editor will most likely occur throughout the ebook, and if you know what to look for, you can correct them yourself.
However, If you decided to edit/proofread on your own, try printing it and reading it out loud. You can also try playing around with the fonts and styles, and go through the whole manuscript multiple times.
This is the point where the marketing of your ebook begins, as the appearance of your ebook can have an impact on sales. To grab your readers with your ebook cover, it must have an attractive visual design. A great design can make a major difference in how your buyers feel about your book when they read it, and you want them to think that every component of it is outstanding. If you aren’t sure how to design an ebook cover, consider hiring a graphic designer. And always remember, you must spend money to make money.
Step #3: Pricing
Because of lower prices, better readability, and how easy it is to carry it around, most people now prefer to read ebooks over print books. That’s why ebooks have a major advantage in this area; the cost of creating an ebook is much less than print books as it is essentially digital. Yet still, you must make smart and sustainable pricing decisions in order to make a profit selling your ebook.
Account for Costs
An excellent place to start is by assessing how much you paid to bring your ebook to life. For instance, calculate the expenses of hiring an editor or a designer and the royalties you’re supposed to get from selling the book. Then see how many ebooks you’ll need to sell at various pricing points to recoup your costs.
Compare to Other Books within the Same Genre
Research what other authors are charging for ebooks similar to yours. This will give you a sense of what the market is willing to accept. For example, if similar ebooks sell for $5, offering yours at $20 is almost certainly a losing venture.
However, if you’re confident that your ebook provides more value than others in your niche (which should be your goal), you might be able to justify charging higher than other ebooks. Still, you should keep it within a reasonable range.
Step #4: Selling
The most difficult parts of the process have passed. All you have to do now is get your ebook out there where others can see it, and below are some of the ways in which you can do that.
Digital Publishing Platforms
One of the easiest ways to sell your ebook is through famous digital publishing platforms, such as Amazon, Google Play, or Apple Books. These platforms usually don’t charge anything for publishing, but they take a percentage of every sale done through them. You then receive your earnings, known as royalties, which go up to 70% of each sale on most known platforms.
It’s often recommended for authors to have their own website where they can connect with their readers, provide them with valuable content, and send them regular updates. If you already have your own website or plan on creating one, then you can easily sell your ebook on it, and here are a few options on how you can do that:
- Providing a PayPal link: Upload the ebook directly to your website and provide your reader with a PayPal link to complete the purchase process or allow them access to your ebooks.
- Adding a payment gateway to your websites: Add an ecommerce plugin–such as Stripe–which adds e-commerce functionality to your site. Your readers will then be able to use different payment options to get access to your ebooks.
- Using Kotobee WordPress plugin: If you have a WordPress website, you can use Kotobee Author to create your ebooks, then easily sell access to your ebook clouds or libraries on your website using Kotobee’s WordPress plugin.
If you prefer to sell your ebook on an already established ecommerce website for digital products–where it can get a lot of traffic–, then you might want to consider creating a seller’s account on Payhip, PayLoadz, Selz, or BigCommerce. These websites give you the tools to sell anywhere, market your ebooks, and gain the necessary insights that help you grow your ebook sales.
Branded Kotobee Library
You can use any ebook creation software, such as Kotobee Author, to create your ebooks, then you can sell them on your own branded library app using Kotobee Library and get 100% royalties! This library provides you with the convenience of selling ebooks in different ways, including selling directly through Kotobee or by using Shopify, WooCommerce, or Memberful integrations.
Step #5: Promotion
Although promotion is usually the final step across most industries, you should really start marketing your ebook before it is published on any platform, as you want your book to hit the bestseller charts the minute it is published, and here’s how to go about this.
Try to get recognized by your target audience, as people usually buy books written by authors they know and recognize. To start, you can create a blog, social media accounts, or a profile on Amazon Author Central–or the platform of your choice. You can then begin promoting yourself as an author and discussing your “upcoming ebook” before it’s launched. You should also get more people to subscribe to your newsletter and start putting the word out.
Creating a post-launch promotion campaign is key as it will determine whether your ebook will continue to sell or get forgotten. To avoid low sales, you have to keep the word about your ebook out there. Below are our top post-launch recommendations and methods for giving your ebook the best chance of sustainable success.
Social Media Campaigns (Free and Paid Ads)
To sustain longer-term profits, you have to keep promoting it on different social media platforms. Organic posts can work well on their own. However, to guarantee more sales, you should also consider paid ads.
According to some recent studies, 75% of Generation Z and 48% of Millennials responded to paid social media ads in 2021; that’s why using these ads can give your book a great boost.
Get your readers to write reviews about your book! Asking for reviews is the greatest way to get them. You can include a request in the conclusion of your ebook. You can also provide a link to the review page on the publishing platform you’re using; many people don’t know where to go to leave a review, so including a link can be helpful.
Don’t forget about your existing network. Your email subscribers have previously demonstrated interest in your content, and if this new ebook continues to give solutions to problems they need help with, you’ll have another chance to keep them engaged.
Publishing an ebook is much less popular than printed books, yet the financial benefits are more sustainable. In order to make money selling ebooks, you should start by doing adequate research and determining your market.
If you are already a writer, creating quality content should not be a problem, but always remember that marketing is key to secure sales. Pre-launch promotion, as well as post-launch promotion, will position you in the market and guarantee future sales.
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Merilyn FonteMay 10, 2023
Thank you so much, very informative. My special daughter and I have finished The Creation Story eWorkbook for children, parents, & teachers. However, Philippine residents, our homeland, are not included in the list of Amazon customers as seller but can be as a buyer. Is this true? Thank you for your prompt response!
KotobeeMay 30, 2023
Hi Merilyn! We’re glad you found the article informative.
Amazon does have a list of countries that are eligible to register as sellers, and according to this list, The Philippines is not among the eligible countries, which means that residents of The Philippines cannot register as sellers on Amazon.
However, there are some possible ways to overcome this limitation, such as using a third-party service provider that can help with registration, fulfillment, and payment.
I hope this helps! If you have any further questions or need additional assistance, please let us know. 🙂