Write and Sell Ebooks Online: 6 Reasons It’s Easier Than Ever to Make a Real Living as a Self-Publisher

I write and sell ebooks online for a living. This year, over half of my income came from e-products (e-classes and ebooks) I created. I published my first ebook in 2002. To date, I’ve written and self-published 18, and plan to almost triple that number within the next year. And, anyone who wants to can do the same thing.

Update: June 2017

Since this post was first published in December of 2010, I’ve self-published almost 100 fiction and non-fiction ebooks. In December 2015, I was given a publishing contract by a trade publisher to write a book on freelancing. So now, I’m a traditionally published author also.

And what got the attention of the editor who offered me this contract? All of the books I’d self-published (and this blog too). FYI, my fiction titles (romance novellas) can be found on my fiction writing website. For all of my non-fiction titles, go here. Why/how can you publish so much, so easily?

The Changes in E-Publishing: Why It’s a Good Thing

Because what I call the “eSelf-Publishing” world has advanced a lot since I first entered it in 2002.

One of the biggest changes to come along in a long time in the publishing industry has been the explosion of the popularity of e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle, Apple’s iPad and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, to name a few. These mobile reading devices have made reading on the go more popular than ever. And, this is only the beginning of this phenomenon.

Furthermore, there are more places to distribute self-published ebooks than ever.

What E-Readers Means for Those Who Want to Write and Sell Ebooks Online

In short, opportunity, opportunity, opportunity! One of the things I attribute my success as an SEO writer to is the ability to spot – and capitalize on – trends.

I made money within the first week of entering this niche in freelance writing, and have become a go-to source for info on SEO copywriting. All of this happened because I was an early adopter. I spotted the trend, then took action to capitalize on it.

Well, I believe that’s where we are now with self-publishing. For those who are ambitious and hardworking enough, starting an online business writing and selling ebooks online can be one of the most lucrative enterprises of the 21st century.

Need more convincing? Read on.

6 Reasons Now Is the Perfect Year to Write & Self-Publish Your Own Line of Ebooks

The following changes highlight why there are more reasons than ever to write ebooks and self-publish them if it’s something you’ve been wanting to do.

write-and-sell-ebooksI. Ebooks Outselling Hardcovers: In July 2010, online bookseller Amazon.com reported sales of ebooks for its proprietary Kindle outnumbered sales of hardcover books for the first time ever during the second quarter of 2010, saying it sold 140 e-books for every 100 hardcover books, including hardcovers for which there was no digital edition. [Source: Wikipedia.com]

II. Ebooks Getting Their Own Bestseller List: In an acknowledgment of the growing sales and influence of digital publishing, The New York Times said on Wednesday that it would publish e-book best-seller lists in fiction and nonfiction beginning early next year. [Source: Times Will Rank E-Book Best Sellers, 11/10/2010]

III. Exploding Sales: U.S. consumers are projected to spend $1 billion in e-books this year (2011), with sales surpassing $3 billion by 2015. [Source: “The New York Times” to Launch Bestseller Lists for E-Books, Mashable.com] And, ebook sales continue to grow to this day.

IV. Free to Publish: When I first looked into publishing my ebooks on Amazon back in 2007, having an ISBN number was a requirement. The cost to get one was somewhere in the $125-$150 range I believe. I put it on my “to do” list, but of course never got around to it.

Now, it’s absolutely free to publish an ebook on Amazon. No ISBN number is required. This means no upfront expenses required to publish to a worldwide audience.

How cool is that?!

V. No Need for Traditional Publishers: Not only is it difficult to get picked up by a traditional publisher, they take the bulk of the profits . . . and as the author, you’re still responsible for doing most of the promotion (eg, book signings, trade shows, radio interviews, etc.).

How the Money Shakes Out with Traditional/Mainstream Publishers

In traditional publishing, an author gets around 17% of a book’s cover price – yes that little (some even less). Usually, publishers get in the neighborhood of half and distributors get another 25-30%. So, it leaves you, the writer/author, with very little.

And you still do the bulk of the work . . . and you wrote the darn thing!

Not that publishers don’t work for their money. But you have to sell a helluva lot more books when you sign with a mainstream publisher than if you self-publish.

One of My Best-Selling Ebooks

One of my best-selling ebooks sells for $39.95 $49.95 (it has sold for as much as $74.95. I use mostly free forms of advertising (blogging), and pay just $15 $27 a month to e-Junkie.com, my digital download service provider (that’s for all of my ebooks). These are my “production costs.”

That’s it.

I keep all of the profits, which means that I don’t have to sell that many copies to make a very good living . . . which brings me to my last point.

VI. You Can Make  a Helluva Lot of Money Selling Ebooks: As I said in the beginning of this article, this year, more than 50% of my income came from ebook sales. And, that is consistently rising as I write with this in mind and put out more titles (I have 32 titles planned for release next year).

When this is coupled with distributing via more outlets, eg, Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, etc., I’m more excited than ever to be a self-published author; especially an “ebook” self-published author.

What I hope you take from all of this is that if you want to write and sell ebooks online for a living, now has never been a better time to take the plunge!

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