Today, I continue to answer questions sent in by readers. This one is about writing and selling ebooks online. This reader wrote:
I love your site and am intrigued by the thought of selling ebooks and making money – do you mention anywhere on your site or in any ebooks the income to Profit %ratio – and do ebooks need to be published or anything similar ? i am not familiar with it but thought id ask before i buy your book.
Also, in the write a e-book in 3 days – do you mention and discuss on ideas on what to write on and niche ideas ?
would absolutely love if you could give me an idea of what i would be getting myself into if i was to wrote (dont know how i’d write about anything) and selling ebooks and if its worthwhile- costs involved after ebook is made ?? Do i put it on a sales – one page – sort of website? or get it distributed? Please kindly advise me, there are many people advising on these things but i thought id ask if you would be able to personally advise me briefly then it would be amazing and much appreciated.
My Answers to These Ebook Publishing Questions
Let’s take this reader’s questions one by one, ie (Note: the following advice applies to non-fiction, how-to ebooks, the genre I publish in. Fiction is a whole other ball of wax!):
I give a breakdown of a year’s worth of my ebook sales in Selling Ebooks Online: How I Published 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year – And You Can Too! (IW-38).
How Much Can You Expect to Earn Selling Ebooks Online
One thing I can tell from my numbers (which is about 14 months’ worth now) is that sales slowly increase over time. As I’ve said many times before, selling ebooks online is not a way to get rich quick (or even slow for that matter).
How much you earn depends on a multitude of factors, eg, the niche in which you write, the competition, your ebook cover, how well the ebook is written . . . and last but not least, the marketing effort you put in. Sales build gradually and tend to be directly related to how much marketing you do.
Now while you will hear success stories of authors selling thousands of copies and making tens of thousands of dollars a month, the reality is that it just doesn’t happen like that for most self-publishers. You have to put the marketing elbow grease in – and even then some titles will still not sell that well (I do cover in the three day ebook how to avoid this to a great degree).
One thing to keep in mind is that what may not be selling today may be a hot seller tomorrow. And, as ebooks are forever, this is what makes it such a great way to make a living – in my opinion. Profits are evergreen, and it costs literally nothing to self-publish an ebook.
Get 4 Ebooks on Self-Publishing for One Low Price!
2. RE [Is writing and] selling ebooks worthwhile and the “costs involved after ebook made?”
My ebooks are written and self-published for pennies. I spend money on ebook covers, but that’s about it. So in direct answer to the question about income-to-profit ratio, the answer is 100%; as in, you get practically a 100% return on your “investment” because the only thing you really invest is time.
As for is it worthwhile, only you can judge that. Everyone’s needs are different. Again, if you’re looking for a way to make money online quick, then writing and publishing ebooks is definitely not the way to go. Sure, you could get lucky and earn millions with just a few titles like self-publisher John Locke or Amanda Hocking.
But for most ebook authors, it’s a gradual build. And that’s exactly why I like this way of making money online. Most of the time, my sales increase every month (I’ve had several months where they held steady or I earned less). And, as we’re just at the beginning of this publishing revolution, I know that if I keep writing and keep publishing, in a few years I’ll be exactly where I want to be income wise.
3. Do ebooks need to be published or anything similar?
I’m not sure what this reader was trying to get at in this question, but I think she means do ebooks need to be published in hard cover and/or published by a “traditional” publisher.
The answer to both is no.
Where to Sell Your Ebooks Online
You can simply write your ebook and convert it to: (i) a pdf file and sell it on sites like Clickbank and/or from your own site; or (ii) convert it using proprietary software from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. to sell on these sites. You can also get physical copies of your ebook made to order via outlets like CreateSpace. I haven’t used CreateSpace, but a friend of mine has and she loves it. She said it was easy.
The thing about self-publishing is, you truly are in control. Right now, I sell my ebooks on Amazon and via this site; I also have one that I sell through Clickbank. Via all of these outlets, I can update my titles, change the prices, pull them from circulation, etc. In short, I completely control everything about all of my ebooks.
4. In the write an e-book in 3 days – do you mention and discuss on ideas on what to write on and niche ideas?
I don’t tell you what to write on, as most ebook writers have an idea about what they want to write about. I do tell you how to research your ideas to see if they will be profitable. Once you start doing this, you’ll generate new ideas.
Want to Write an Ebook? How to Determine What to Write
Start with a list of your interests, skills and hobbies. Then, do the research as I outline it in the 3-day ebook to see if it will be profitable. Then, go from there.
As an aside, this should be the least of your worries as an ebook author. There are gazillions of ideas; all you have to do is fine tune yours and start writing.
5. Do I put it on a sales – one page – sort of website? Or, get it distributed?
Where and how you sell your ebook depends on a number of factors. In chapter 5 of the 3-day ebook, I talk about these and the differences between landing pages, blogs, minisites, websites, etc. If you already have a website that’s related to the subject matter of your ebook, that would be the most logical place to start selling it.
As for distribution, as I already mentioned, I sell my ebooks from this site, as well as Amazon and Clickbank. Starting next month, I will also be self-publishing ebooks on Barnes and Noble).
Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: Conclusions
It’s not a get rich quick scheme: If you’re looking for way to make money online quick, ebook writing is not the way to go. Self-publishing is a business and you have to treat it like that (and be patient with it) to earn money.
The perfect virtual business: If you enjoy writing, and like having control over your income, ebook publishing is an ideal career. The more you publish, the more you can earn – again, over time.
Costs $0 to start: I’ve been writing ebooks and selling them online since 2004. Back then, I didn’t even do covers. Now, I spend a few dollars to create professional-looking ebook covers – and that’s about it. In short, you can get started for $0 – really!
Self-publish and sell ebooks worldwide: Via sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble, you can write and sell ebooks online to customers all over the world. Amazon actually breaks it down by countries for you. So far on Amazon I’ve sold to customers in the U.S., the UK, Denmark and Spain.
From this site (via PayPal), customers have literally come from all over – from Argentina, to India, to Ireland and beyond.
Complete control: As a self-published ebook author, you retain complete control over every aspect of your titles – from pricing, to cover art, to distribution.
Cutting edge of a revolution: If you write and sell ebooks online, you’re at the beginning of a revolution. And the sooner you get in the self-publishing game, the sooner you can start making money.
I hope this first-hand info on ebook publishing helps you to decide if writing and selling ebooks online is for you.
P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.
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