How to Make Money Selling eBooks Online
By: Rita Cunha | December 22, 2020
So you want to write and publish a book and get paid. You have come to the right place. Nowadays, you don’t need a publishing house to share your words with the rest of the world. You can sell your first ebook all by yourself from the comfort of your own home—and even get a passive income out of it.
This article dives deep into what you need to do to make money with ebooks, and perhaps even get yours to bestseller status. We will go into how royalties work and how you can break into the self-publishing market.
Can You Make Money Selling Ebooks?
Ebook sales have been going up over the past few years. In 2020, almost a quarter of all books sold in the United States were ebooks. That means authors have been getting a lot of money for their digital products.
How Much Money Can You Make with Ebooks?
According to The Guardian, self-published authors make $3,400 per year on average with their books. Of course, that figure includes both authors who haven’t done very well in terms of sales and those who have risen to the top of the best-sellers list. However, one thing is certain: authors keep making royalties on books sold long after they were published.
What Self-Published eBooks Sell Best?
The best-selling categories of self-published books are romance, science fiction, and fantasy. If you can craft a compelling and breath-taking story, there is a good chance your books will sell.
5 Reasons You Should Start Selling eBooks
If you are still on the fence about selling ebooks as a way to make money online, these five reasons will surely convince you to take the plunge.
1. It’s Easy to Get Into a Reader’s Hands
When you sell ebooks, there is no printing to be done, no inventory to be taken, and no shipping to worry about. When a reader wants to buy your book, they can just pay for it and download a copy instantly. What could be easier than that? If the logistics of handling a stock of physical books intimidate you, ebooks are likely to be more your style.
2. The Publishing Costs Are Low
Because of all that, publishing an ebook costs next to nothing. Besides the time and effort you put in, there are no bills to pay. That means you can share your words and work with the world without having to jump through any financial hoops.
3. You Get More Money from Each Sale
When you sell ebooks, you get to keep most of the profits. Although publishing platforms take a small cut, you will still get paid much more than if you were to sell physical books through a traditional publisher. That means more money in your pocket.
4. You Have Control Over the Entire Process
Whereas traditional publishers are known to be quite selective of what they release, self-publishing gives you a lot more freedom. You can write about whatever you want, however you want, and still become a published author.
5. It’s a Low-Risk Move
The risks of having your ebook not sell well when you self-publish are very low. The costs of getting started are so low, you won’t be liable to pay any printers, editors, or marketers. If you were to self-publish print books that end up failing, you would still have to pay for the labor of all the people who worked on the book. Ebooks are much more forgiving in this aspect.
Best Places to Sell Your eBooks
Your chances of making money by selling your ebook are much higher when you use a publishing platform. They handle the distribution and payment collection part for you. Moreover, they already have a well-established base of readers to recommend your book to.
1. On Your Own Website
If you have a popular blog or website, you can create a page to display and sell your digital products. Set up a payment channel for your readers to purchase your book and automate the ebook delivery process. There are already WordPress plugins to help you get this part figured out.
Selling ebooks on Amazon is probably the most popular route for self-published authors. Their Kindle Direct Publishing program (KDP) allows you to upload your book and have it show up on both the Amazon and Kindle store. This is particularly interesting because there are millions of loyal Kindle ebook readers out there.
Moreover, Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program (KU) can take your ebook sales to the next level. When you sign up, your works become available for free to readers subscribed to KU. Don’t worry, you will still get paid for every page readers turn on your book, literally. It is a really nice way of shoring up a passive income.
3. Barnes & Noble Press
Barnes & Noble, the book retail giant, has also joined the ebook publishing world. When you upload your book to their program, readers will have access to it through the Nook store. And since there are already millions of Nook readers, this could be a great way of tapping into a profitable market.
SmashWords is another popular self-publishing service. It will distribute your titles to Apple’s iBooks users, as well as to Nook readers. While it’s not as well-known as Amazon, it’s still worth looking into.
How to Get Started Writing and Selling eBooks in 8 Steps
“But what about the publishing process?” you ask. Well, it’s not as complicated as you might assume it to be. Let’s break it down.
1. Pick a Topic You Know a Lot About
First, you need to choose a topic you genuinely like and know a lot about. For starters, it will make your job of writing the book easier. Secondly, your confidence in the subject matter will shine through the writing and give you credibility as an author who knows what they’re doing.
2. Be Thorough with Your Research
No matter what type of book you are authoring, you need to make sure you know what you’re writing about. If it’s a non-fiction book, make sure you have your facts straight and that you’re citing the right sources.
3. Start Writing (But Don’t Freak Out)
Now comes the hard part: actually writing the book. Don’t be intimidated by a blank piece of paper. Make an outline for your book, brainstorm when you hit a wall, and take your time.
4. Hire a Proofreader (Or Wing It)
Once everything is written, you need to go over the text and ensure everything is written well. If you can’t (or don’t want to) do it yourself, you can hire a proofreading expert on platforms like Fiverr or Upwork at a budget-friendly rate.
5. Handle Formatting Professionally
Your brain dump may look good on Microsoft Word, but it needs to be formatted into .epub or .mobi. Those are the most common formats for ebook readers. You can hire a freelancer to do this or look for tutorials online and use free formatting software to cut costs.
6. Design a Stunning, Eye-Catching Cover
The saying goes “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but we all do, right? Having a beautiful, professional-looking cover can really boost your sales.
7. Publish Your eBook on Your Chosen Platform
Once you settle on which publishing platform to use (you don’t have to just use one), it’s time to get your work uploaded. Write a compelling blurb, file it under the relevant categories, set the pricing, and done! (Pro tip: price your ebook between $2 and $10).
8. Market Your Book
The key to making money with ebooks is to have a good marketing strategy. You don’t have to just give away free ebooks to get publicity. Here are some ways to start selling ebooks faster.
Run a Promo on Your New Book
You can run a promo on the first days of your ebook being up. Let people download a copy for free and watch as your ebook climbs the bestselling list.
Reach Out to Bloggers and Influencers
Another thing you could do is ask a blogger to promote your book in exchange for a free copy. If they like it, they can share it with their followers. Reaching out to influencers is actually something traditional publishers do too, and it works!
Include a Link to Buy on Your Mailing List
If you already have a mailing list with subscribers, don’t forget to advertise your new book on there! And then, if you become a successful ebook author and your work sells well, you can always announce a follow-up book.
Join the Kindle Unlimited Program
Lastly, think about adding your ebook to the Kindle Unlimited program. It lets readers already loyal to the Kindle store read your work for free, while still getting you paid. If they like it, there is a great chance they will be there to buy your next ebook, too.
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