Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, are an experienced writer or a complete novice, you can make money by writing an ebook!
This popularity in e-readers has opened up a whole new range of opportunities to writers who thought their dream of getting a book published would never come to fruition. The emergence of electronic self-publishing has enabled anyone to publish an e-book to a potential audience of millions, worldwide!
For years, a whiff of failure hovered around the self-published author. Rejections from publishers would leave writers having to pay someone to publish their work, and after a lot of effort the results tended to look cheap.
The ebook reader, such as the Kindle, has revolutionised the publishing world, empowering and enriching writers in the process.
There are now an estimated 700,000 authors e-publishing worldwide. At the Kindle UK store alone, there are around 650,000 titles for sale with another one million free titles available for download.
Find out how easy it is to publish your own ebook online. What do you need to know? What does it involve? And how much money can you make?
Starting An eBook
The process of publishing an ebook may be relatively simple, but actually writing your ebook is definitely not!
The big problem with e-publishing is that the vast majority of books that are being self-published are terrible! They are poorly written, woefully edited, badly formatted, etc. Many people rush to get their work published online, but this is the problem. A badly written book isn’t going to sell, no matter how cheap it is!
You can compare writing an ebook to running a marathon. Anyone that finishes a marathon deserves credit, it’s hard work after all. But just because you have run a marathon, doesn’t mean you should be running in the London Olympics!
Very few writers see any success from their first book, often it’s their forth or fifth that is good enough.
Before you start, it’s worth thinking about the type of book you want to write. Are you writing a fiction or non-fiction book? If it’s a non-fiction book, what niche are you writing for? Tutorials and guides work well because people can learn from them. If you are writing a fiction novel, what genre are you focusing on? Crime thrillers, fantasy, paranormal romance and chick-lit tend to sell well. These are the general types of ebooks that sell well, maybe because the fans of these types of books tend to read more than the average reader.
As with all writing, it’s worth reading other peoples books. Look at the top 20 best selling titles and download the ones that look most similar to your book. You will be able to see what works and what doesn’t, helping you to improve your own writing.
Consider the length of your ebook. Many of the top selling books tend to be short, quick reads that people can read on the commute to work.
Once you have written your book, make sure you proof read it for any mistakes. It could be wise to pay a professional editor to vet your work before you publish anything. There is nothing worse than reading something with poor spelling and grammar! Especially when you have paid for it!!!
When you are happy with your ebook, it’s time to think about the all-important cover design!
Judge A Book By It’s Cover
“Never judge a book by it’s cover”, right? Well actually, NO! A good cover is one of the most important aspects for an ebook’s success. Books are displayed online with an image thumbnail of the cover design, so it’s important that you use a good one.
Use a simple, striking image that tells the reader what your book is about (easier said than done, I know). If you are good at graphic design/photography, then by all means give it a go yourself, but generally it may be better to find a professional to design one for you. Having a professionally designed ebook cover could get your book noticed more and help sell it!
Uploading An eBook
Before you upload your e-book, you need to write a description, which Amazon says can be anything between 30 and 4,000 characters (not words!). This is your chance to really sell your work, so write a compelling blurb, without giving away any of its secrets/plot twists. A good idea would be to include a sample, perhaps the first couple of paragraphs, along with the e-book length, e.g. 90,000 words.
The next step is to get your e-book out there for people to read. Amazon has a great video and step-by-step guide to uploading your work, which is very simple. It’s also a good idea to check out smashwords.com, a platform that allows you to distribute your e-book to the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, the Sony Reader Store and the Diesel eBook store.
There are two royalty rates offered by Amazon;
- 70% of the cover price if the book is priced between £1.49 and £6.99
- 35% for titles priced at 75p.
So, try to keep your price as low as possible! The cheaper the book is, the more it will sell. Amazon lets you sell for as little as $0.99 in the US and £0.75 in the UK. For a first time writer, that’s probably the best price to go for. It’s hard for a first time writer to sell a book for more than £1.
Creating A Brand
Once you’ve uploaded your book by clicking the Save and Publish button, you will have to wait around 24 hours before your book is listed in the online store. What takes considerably longer is getting your book noticed!
It’s a good idea to promote your book on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook & Google+, together with specialist sites like Kindleboards.com and Goodreads.com. If you haven’t done so already, create your own website and promote your ebook.
You need to define your target audience of niche readers, who are going to be the people most likely to buy your book. You could post a series of short blog posts for your target audience, helping to promote your book and raise your profile online. The idea is to attract readers to your website, where you can engage them on an individual level until they finally begin to correspond by Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Making Money With Your eBook
So, you have written a great ebook, it has a great cover design, you have priced it at the right level, and you have been marketing and publicising it online, but what are the chances of it making any money?
Well that depends on how well you have done the previous things. There are writers that have made hundreds of thousands in a matter of months, some even more! It all depends on the quality of your ebook. If people like it, they will tell others about it and things could spiral from there.