Self-Publishing Profits: How to Sell Instantly Downloadable Ebooks from Your Own Website

If you’re a regular reader of this site, you know that I’ve been writing and selling ebooks online – from my own website — since 2002 (I’ve erroneously said 2004 for years, so forgive this if you run across this date in further readings). However, they weren’t always instant digital downloads.

Until 2008 (I think), you used to have to pay, then wait for me to send the ebook to you via email. Even though I promised a 24-hour turnaround time, this hurt sales.

How do I know?

Because when I started offering ebooks as instant digital downloads, sales went from maybe a few per month, to a few per week. Nowadays, it’s rare that I go a day without making an ebook sale.

The Self-Publishing Process: It Can Seem Like the Wild, Wild West

I’ve been at this so long that I forget that self-publishing can seem like the wild, wild west in that many are rushing into it, but there’s so much undiscovered territory. Amazon has made it more mainstream, but but there are a lot of writers who are new to the self-publishing process, which brings me to the question that inspired this post.

An author of two ebooks emailed me; she wrote:

I’m curious as to the technical process of selling ebooks like yours. I’m getting ready to launch two and I have no idea how to instant PDF download process works or how these are embedded on your site. Can you provide any tips or a starting point for me? I want to sell my own on my website but I’m not sure how to do the entire purchase and pay process. 

Thanks as always for your help!

Following is my detailed answer.

The System I Use to Sell Ebooks Instantly from My Website

I use e-Junkie.com. What is e-Junkie? It’s a copy-paste hosted shopping cart and digital delivery service to sell anything, anywhere, INSTANTLY – and easily.”

How to Sell Ebooks as Instant Downloads from Your Own Website

In answer to this reader’s specific query as to how the purchase and pay process works, it’s really easy.

Once you sign up with a downloadable service provider like e-Junkie, you literally paste some HTML code into your site, which will be your “Buy Now”; “Add to Cart”; etc. buttons. e-Junkie generates this code for you when you upload each product, so all you have to do is cut and paste it to your site.

FYI, I literally “wrote the book” on How to Sell Ebooks Online via e-Junkie because their interface can be a little funky to maneuver. But, once you know what you’re doing, you can literally upload a title in a few minutes.

As an example of an “Add to Cart” button, the HTML code for the “Add to Cart” button on the How to Sell Ebooks Online via e-Junkie ebook page looks like this:

<a href=”https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?i=IW-27&amp;c=cart&amp;cl=23447″><img title=”x-click-but22″ alt=”x-click-but22″ src=”https://inkwelleditorial.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/x-click-but22.gif” width=”87″ height=”23″ /></a>

Don’t let the coding scare you. It’s literally cut and paste (generated by e-Junkie).

Selling Digital Downloads: A Few Points about e-Junkie

It’s hosted on their site: This is good because you don’t have to worry about bandwidth and all of the back-end technical stuff if you hosted it yourself. Some ebook sellers may disagree with me on this, but I’m not very technical, so I like this.

Sell from two sites: When you sign up with e-Junkie, you in essence create a store on their site. For example, here’s InkwellEditorial.com’s “store” on e-Junkie.com. So that’s one. But, InkwellEditorial.com also has its own store, of course. So that’s two.

Sometimes people find InkwellEditorial.com’s ebooks on our site; other times they may land on it in our e-Junkie shop. So, being able to have two “storefronts” is a positive. As an aside, it’s great if you don’t have a website of your own yet. You can just sell via your e-Junkie shop.

Now, back to setting up two stores …

Some of the pages from the InkwellEditorial.com shop may link out to a page in the Inkwell Editorial e-Junkie shop, but that’s fine. I usually create the same product page for InkwellEditorial.com as I do for e-Junkie anyway.

For example, here’s the page on InkwellEditorial.com for the How to Write an Ebook in 3 Days ebook. Now, here it is in the e-Junkie shop.

See, it’s the same info – just on two different sites.

Fee: You can start for as little as $5 per month as of this update. I now pay $27 per month, but have something like 70 ebooks in my store on e-Junkie. Here’s how much it costs per month to sell ebooks online using e-Junkie.

Synched with PayPal: You can link your PayPal account to your e-Junkie account (or whichever online payment processor you use), which is where your funds will go when a buyer makes an ebook purchase.

Instructions to Buyers: When you’re going through the set-up process on e-Junkie for each ebook you want to sell, there’ll be places to input, for example, instructions on how to contact you (the ebook seller) if there are problems.

To keep this simple, I keep a file with this info in it and just cut/paste it into the appropriate place as I’m uploading each ebook. In fact, I have a file on my computer labeled Ebook Admin Files. I keep all info related to uploading products in this file.

As it’s a repetitive process for the most part once you start self-publishing your own ebooks, it streamlines things – which is a life (and time) saver, especially if you start to really get into writing and selling a lot of ebooks like I do.

What Takes the Most Amount of Time When Uploading an Ebook to E-Junkie

FYI, I hand-code all product pages – for InkwellEditorial.com and e-Junkie — using basic HTML. And, this is what takes up the most time when uploading a product.

Ebook Selling Tip on What Buyers Like the Most

This is your sales page (landing page) though, so it’s worth it to get the message right. Usually, my sales pages are excerpts from my ebooks, which often contain the Table of Contents. I’ve found this to be one of the things ebook buyers like the most because it gives them a very detailed overview of what they’re going to be purchasing.

How Buyers Get the Ebooks Once You Sign up with a Digital Download Service Provider

Once the buyer completes the sale after clicking on a “Buy Now”; or “Add to Cart” button, then they are immediately sent an email which contains a link to the ebook they bought. All the buyer has to do is click on that link to download and save the ebook(s) to their computer.

You can read all the info you want on how to do this, but you really have to kind of go through the process with a digital service provider like e-Junkie to learn how to start selling ebooks online as instant downloads; but it’s not complicated at all once you get the hang of it.

Self-Publishing Resources: 5 Digital Download Service Providers for Ebook Sellers

FYI, there are tons of these types of companies; e-Junkie just happens to be the one I use and am familiar with. I googled “digital download service providers” and following are some that popped up:




DLGuard.com; and


Again, I have no experience with any of these other companies; just providing some places for you to start your research in case you’re looking.

Selling Ebooks Online: Conclusion

Choosing which digital download service provider to go with is critical to your success as a self-publisher simply because it’s no longer an option – in my opinion – to NOT offer instant downloads. Ebook buyers expect to receive their info immediately and if you don’t offer instant downloads, they will most likely go surfing to find an ebook seller who does.

So choose wisely, ie taking into consideration things like cost, ease of set-up and operation, technical assistance and of course, what your self-publishing goals are. You want a digital download service provider who can grow with you AND one you’re sure will be around for the long haul.

Share Your Insight on Selling Digital Downloadable Products

Do you use a digital download service provider to sell ebooks online? Why/why not? Which one? Can you provide feedback on the service provider you use, or provide further insight into how to choose one? Please do so in the comments section below.

I hope this insight has helped and good luck, whatever your self-publishing aspirations are.

Note: This post was first published in 2013. It was updated in 2016.


P.S.: On a personal note, several have inquired about my time here in Jamaica, so here’s an update …

I have about a little over a week left here in paradise, and although I’ve been working way more than I want to, I’m enjoying it immensely. The weather’s been gorgeous — only a few days of rain since I’ve been here (almost 3 weeks). I went snorkeling this past weekend and had lobster grilled fresh from the sea right on the beach. I feel blessed, and hope you do too. 🙂

ejunkie-coverP.P.S.: Even though I published my first ebook in 2002, sales sucked until I signed up with a digital download service provider.

What happened then?

I went from logging a few sales a month, to a few per week. Now, I sell ebooks almost every day.

Learn how to sell ebooks online using e-Junkie as your digital download service provider.

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    1. I love, love, love e-junkie, too. Have been using them successfully since 2008. Have yet to try ClickBank. Thanks for sharing.

    2. I used to always sell my ebooks via ClickBank. But they kept giving refunds without my permission and for stupid reasons. One reason a customer gave was “I forgot to download the ebook.” So I opened an account with E-Junkie and started moving my ebooks across to their site.

      The thing I liked about E-Junkie is they don’t get involved in refunds and leave it up to you.

      Anyway, I got to the point where I only had one ebook left with ClickBank when someone tried to scam me.

      He bought two of my ebooks from E-Junkie and one from ClickBank and then put in disputes with PayPal saying all the download links were faulty.

      I rang PayPal and stopped the dispute with my E-Junkie books because PayPal don’t get involved with digital purchases and the “customer” had lied and said they were physical products in order to start the dispute. (Publisher Note: This changed in 2015. PayPal now offers refunds for disputes involving digital goods).

      He had also used different email addresses for the different purchases, but all from the same IP address and all the emails had the same (badly written) content.

      Anyway, long story short, I refused to refund him the money for two of my ebooks but naturally, ClickBank issued a refund immediately despite my protests that the customer had lied about faulty links, had lied to PayPal saying the products were physical and was also trying the same scam with me on E-Junkie with different names and email addresses.

      They replied that disputes hurt their reputation so as soon as a PayPal dispute is started they will always refund immediately. (Nice to know if I ever want a free ebook from ClickBank).

      After that, the scam artist started pestering me with emails asking for the rest of his money back. I told him I knew he was one person pretending he was 3 so he stopped doing it and apologised but I still wouldn’t give him any refunds.

      I did email the ebooks to him directly at first but he still protested that the links didn’t work. I told him there were no links and that he had the ebooks, but he still didn’t get it (or pretended he didn’t).

      The upshot of it all is that thank goodness I changed to E-Junkie otherwise this scam artist would have gotten away with 3 of my ebooks instead of just one.

      Needless to say, I no longer have any ebooks selling on ClickBank.

      I wrote a kind of online diary about it all and uploaded it to http://www.writeaholics.net/articles/2013/joe-joe-john.html if anyone is interested in reading the whole story.

      And after it all, I have to say, I heart E-Junkie.

      • Totally agree with everything you said Ruth. I have only one ebook on Clickbank, and I’ve hesitated — for two years — on uploading more to the site b/c of the exact reasons you’ve outlined here.

        Thanks for sharing your experiences.

        P.S.: As always, give my best to “Divine Dean.” 🙂