Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ve probably heard about the opportunity to make money selling ebooks online. In my opinion, selling ebooks on your blog is the easiest and quickest way to make an extra money – even if you are not a writer!
Once written, the profit margins are essentially 100%. There is little to no overhead, and once you do the work, you can reap the rewards for years afterwards.
Writing ebooks is a great way to get free traffic to your blog as well, and even build a brand directly through Amazon.
But before publishing your first ebook, you will want to think about the branding aspect and how you can get more traffic to your own blog using these types of books.
But before you think too hard, you’ll be happy to know that we are saving you time by putting together this post to walk you through the process every step of the way. This post is created to help you create an ebook, from start to finish, that makes you the money you want.
Here is a simple outline of what we’ll cover below:
Let’s jump right in.
Before we get too deep into the weeds, let’s walk through a few of the most basic ebook concepts. If you’re already familiar with the concepts below, just skip to the next section.
What Is An eBook?
As quoted from Wikipedia:
An electronic book (variously, e-book, eBook, digital book) is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices. Sometimes the equivalent of a conventional printed book, e-books can also be born digital.
In the case of a blogger looking to create and sell an ebook, we can define this as a digital product that takes time to create, but once created, it is an asset that can be sold on the blog, to the blogger’s existing audience.
Remember, this is not just a book, it is a money-making asset that will continue to provide value to both you, and your audience, for years to come.
Who Should Make An eBook?
Ebooks will not work with all the niches; it works only with some of the niches. If your blog is about news, an eBook will not work with it, since your blog concentrates on providing everything new for your readers. What will you give when they don’t want to hear old news?
Having said that, for whom will it work?
An eBook will work best for tutorials and guide sites, as the main use of e-books is to give people information.
You can now measure where your blog falls between these 2 measures, and see if an eBook will work with your niche or not.
Why Make An eBook?
There are many reasons why you can make an eBook, and these reasons depend on how you decide to publish it. Whether you are creating it for money or for free, it has a great benefit to you.
As an example to show the power of the eBook for making money, Darren Rowse and his eBook, Portraits E-book, earned him $72,000 in E-Book launch week, and to this day he still earns a lot of money from this eBook.
He had made more than just an eBook, so can you imagine how much he earns every month automatically?
If you publish it and people must pay for it to get it, then basically your main purpose is to make a good sum of money, as with the example shown by Darren Rowse.
If you publish it for free, you can ask for an email address in order to give it to them. This brings you more and more loyal subscribers; as you know, the power is in the list. So, this will generate you an automatic income after they subscribe and you will be an authority.
I create and sell digital products on almost every blog I start. They are a great way to not only make money by selling, but also establish credibility. I have also written a physical book for one website I operate, Gigworker.com. It will be available on Amazon this fall.
Now, after we have shown the basics of making an ebook comes one of the most important steps. This step is researching your audience market.
Importance Of Researching Your Niche
The reason that performing research for your ebook is so important is so that your work doesn’t go in vain.
What do I mean?
Let’s say you made an ebook, and in it you show the solution of a problem. What will you gain if not many people face this problem you are addressing, or the people who face it can find the solution easily?
Then, no one will download your ebook, and you will have done all that work for nothing. You have to research your market to know who they are and what they want.
How To Conduct This Research
Here is a simple step-by-step guide to have the right information to write on.
Doing research for an ebook is nearly identical to the research that you should conduct when starting a new blog. You can either write a book that falls in line with the research you’ve done before starting your blog, or you can do your own keyword research for this book to create a new topic that your audience is already searching for.
1. Define your audience:
You should define your audience and this can happen by asking the following question:
- Who is my target audience? (Their gender, their age, their location, etc.) Be as specific as you can.
- What do they like?
- What will they learn?
- What am I offering them for their time?
- How can I make this eBook build a relationship with my readers? Can they fall in love with it? Does it have a good story? Am I motivating or inspiring them with ideas and examples? What is the main purpose?
And the best tool that will help you know your audience is Google Analytics. Use it to know available demographic details, such as gender and location. This will help you a lot.
2. Be a part of your community:
If you already have readers on your blog, you can gather a lot of information from them.
If you don’t have readers yet, go to the blogs that have that same audience that you want to connect with. Join the community and take part in their discussions. Try to be helpful.
3. Discover their problems:
After you become a part of your community, try to find the problem they have most. After you find that problem, go and write about it.
Find the problems they have and try to give them the best solution ever for that problem. Or, you can write about a desire that they want.
Now after you have learned about your audience (who they are, their age, and other things mentioned above), start to write your ebook. Keep in mind the information that you have gathered before.
Like I said before, this step will really help you a lot to provide a great eBook that everyone wants to read.
With this research, you are on track to create the best ebook out there. It may take you some time to do this research and spend some time with your audience. Spend that time. This step will make or break the success of your ebook campaign.
After we have shared some information about ebooks and how to research your market audience, it’s time to start the writing process.
In this process, you will start to write and write about the idea that you have, keeping in mind the research that you had done as in the previous post.
Before we start, this really bears repeating: Quality is more important than quantity!
Now let’s see the steps to create a great eBook.
1. Choose The Title
Before you write even a single word, think about the title. It’s important that you take some time to think about it, because it can make or break your eBook.
With a magnetic title, the reader may choose to see the product or not. So, really spend some time thinking about it.
The best eBook that has all the amazing headlines used widely by pro bloggers is Headline Hacks. It’s written by Jon Morrow, the owner of Boost Blog Traffic. He is also an associate editor of Copyblogger, so you must check this eBook for the best title for your book.
However, I also want you to use your creativity to come up with an original title.
I will give a few of the amazing titles that will make you want to read the rest of the ebook.
From the examples:
- Headline Hacks
- 31 Days to Build a Better Blog
- How to Create Compelling Content that Attracts Readers and Search Engines
- Engagement From Scratch
- And many others….
So, before you start, choose a compelling title so that when you write, you don’t go out of the main theme.
If you feel stuck and can’t come up with a title for your book, go through the same process that you did when naming your blog. We have some simple tips that will help you work through writers’ block in our How To Choose A Blog Name guide.
2. Create An Outline
By outlining, I mean make a simple table of contents on paper, and put the main points that you want to cover.
If you’re a visual learner like myself, this step will help you greatly. Writing down the structure of the book allows you to zoom out and think “big picture”.
It’s easy to get stuck in the writing phase, and this will help you jump around if you need to.
Take your time in making this outline, no problem; this is very important, as this will let you cover all the important things about your eBook idea.
3. Start Writing
Now before you write anything about your idea, it would be better to write something about yourself. This step is optional, as this will give a good touch to your authority.
After you have outlined your idea, it’s time to write the eBook. Start to cover all the points in your new worksheet. Don’t care about grammar for now; just write and write. After you finish writing, start to edit your eBook from the beginning.
When writing, try not to spend too much time on each sentence. Get the material out of your head, then go back at a later date and perfect it.
It’s better if you leave the document for 2-3 days, maybe more—then edit it.
The most powerful thing you can do as a writer is to simply write. Even if you feel like your quality is poor, just keep going. Persistence helps you stay out of a rut and avoid moving your book to the back burner.
When I wrote my first book, I wrote 500 words every morning before I did anything else. This kept me focused, and before I knew it, my book was complete.
But before you write, keep the following points in mind:
Love what you write in order to create great content:
Yes this is really an important point. If you are bored while you are writing, you will try to finish the eBook as fast as possible and publish it ASAP.
By this way, you will gain bad reviews and everything you did will go in vain, and you will lose all the benefit of your efforts. Worse, when you try to create a new eBook, no one will download it.
If your first impression is bad, there are no second chances. So, love what you do in order to create killer content the first time around.
Try to show an idea that you have benefited from:
For example, if you write an article about how to bring 10,000 subscribers—and you don’t have even half that number—when people know this, they will not download your eBook.
Another example would be writing a book called, “How to Get Page Rank #5 in the Next Update” and your blog doesn’t even have a ranking of #2. Of course you will lose your authority, and you will not make money or even bring traffic.
These two points are really important to consider before you even write the content. Don’t concentrate on making money only; you will make some small amount but you will have negative reviews, which mean no sale ever for this eBook.
Once you have your material, it is time to turn that into a book that is actually readable. This is the step that you take your document and make it visually and aesthetically appealing.
Why A Well-Designed Ebook Is Critical To Success
The cover design of an eBook is the first impression of what is inside.
I can’t tell you how many times I have disregarded a book simply because of the design of the cover. In my head, I thought to myself that if the cover was bad, the content would be bad too. I am not alone in thinking this.
I believe that a professional looking cover will help someone download or purchase an ebook, but what about the content? How much does the look and feel of the ebook content contribute to it’s success?
To get a better understanding of this, I checked the 40+ ebooks which I have saved on my computer (all web development related). A few of the books had top notch professional designs, which had obviously been worked on by a designer; the SitePoint books for example are very impressive.
However, the majority of the ebooks were of a similar standard to mine i.e. they did not have a lot of bells or whistles but the content could still be easily read.
Many of these ebooks were released by top bloggers with tens of thousands of subscribers whilst some will set you back a few dollars, which doesn’t imply that a basic ebook design will hinder success too much. Though can I objectively compare my ebook to others?
Some questions to get your creative juices flowing:
- Is the size and type of font the most important factor in making an ebook readable?
- Does a good ebook need image backgrounds, css style boxes etc?
- Does a paid ebook need to be professional designed? Or would you be happy to purchase an ebook with a basic style if it had the content you desired?
Additionally, there are four other points that I’d like to emphasize when designing your eBook:
1. Care about the layout:
After you finish your eBook, check its layout. Will people want to finish reading the eBook or not? You should see whether you liked it or not, so that other people like it the same way. Try to imagine looking at your eBook the same way your audience will.
2. Use images inside the eBook:
Try to use images inside your eBook, since people don’t like to read only words. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. So try to put a good number of images in your eBook, but don’t put too many.
3. Summarize your eBook at the last (important):
After you have finished writing your eBook try to summarize everything that you have covered in the eBook in a small number of words. This will give it a professional look.
4. Fonts and colors:
Use different fonts, maybe 2 or 3. Also, use a black font as your main color, but you can change the color of your headlines and some other important phrases.
Developing Your eBook
Here are the steps for developing the eBook and making it ready for publishing:
1. Create a 3D cover for the eBook:
The aim of this process is to get more customers, and a 3D cover will really do it. It will make your eBook as a brand all over the Internet.
Search on the Internet about any famous eBook or a famous author; you will see that all the eBooks have a cover for it. This cover may be simple, but there is a cover.
There are many 3D cover generators; some are free and some have a premium service. You could also hire a designer; it’s a simple step and will not cost a lot.
2. Export the eBook in PDF format:
You’re probably asking: why PDF?
It’s simply because PDF is recognized by both PCs and Macs. Plus, exporting an eBook in a PDF format gives a better result in the layout. (There are also many other benefits of the PDF format, but for simplicity’s sake, I won’t really go into them here.)
Also, it is not easy to edit an eBook in PDF format. However, if an eBook is originally in .DOC format, then it can be easily edited.
To save an eBook as a PDF in Word:
Go to File >> Export As PDF or File >>Print >>Save as PDF, it differs from windows 7 to Xp.
After that you will have the settings window. Choose the zoom level; there are no default settings for it, but I use 100-120%, and it is different from one eBook to another. Alternatively, you could also convert the .DOC format to .PDF format using the following site: Doc2Pdf
Now we have finished developing our e-book. It’s time to publish.
If you don’t have any design skills, it’s best to hire a designer. Your cover is the first thing that people will see when browsing through books on their kindle devices. And yes, people do judge books by their cover!
I have found 3 really good cover designers on oDesk, so I suggest you post a project there to get the best possible designs. You can usually get a cover made for around $50.
This is the stage in the eBook process where you will actually bring your book to life.
Publish To Give eBook Away
A lot of people publish their eBooks for free because of the following reasons:
- It will bring more subscribers, which means money forever.
- It may go viral all over the Internet, which means new people enter your blog, which means more traffic forever.
Maybe there are other reasons, but these are the most important and common reasons. So, now I think you’re interested in publishing your next eBook for free, so continue reading to know how to publish it for free and gain the most from it.
To publish the eBook for free, we need an email delivery system so that we have the emails of the people who download the eBook, and they can be loyal readers for your blog forever. How to set up this email delivery?
The best service on the whole Internet and the one that is used by most of the popular bloggers, is Aweber.
The best thing about it is that it offers a trial for only one dollar, then $19 for 500 subscribers, and you pay more when the subscribers increase. But remember: you will make more than what you pay. Many great bloggers make over $1,000 for every email sent.
After you get an account on Aweber, go to your dashboard and set up your list (see an example in the following image):
After you have finished setting up your Aweber account, you now should go to the following steps to make a download page for the eBook.
Make a download page for the eBook, this page will be the one where the user will be redirected after he confirms his registration, and this page will have a download link for the eBook.
Bingo! You have now finished setting up the email delivery system, and you can add it to your blog.
To get more subscribers; make a landing page that will focus on making the user subscribe to get the eBook. I won’t go into it too much, but Premise is found as the best plugin to design a good landing page easily. Or, you can hire a web designer to make it for you.
Now that we have finished the part about publishing the eBook for free, let’s now go to the part of publishing the eBook for more money.
Publish To Sell Ebook
Many people will sell their eBook and the only reason for that is to get more money, possibly forever.
Before we do anything, we must determine the price.
How to determine the price of your eBook?
The price will totally depend on the amount of effort that you spend on it and the quality of this eBook.
To increase sales, you can offer the eBook at a lower price for a week or for the first 10 buyers, so that you will get vouches that will increase your sales dramatically.
How to let people download it directly after purchasing your eBook?
People don’t want to pay the money and THEN have to contact you so that you give them the eBook. This will decrease your sales a lot.
So, upload it to an auto-pay site. There are two sites I will recommend for you and they are e-junkie and Amazon.
You pay $5 every month for unlimited sales, and you can offer an affiliate program with it. That’s why I like it. There are also promo codes. Google it, and this will give you a great discount. Some codes will even give you a free trial, so search for the codes first on Google.
Now we have finished setting up the eBook to be sold. You can also make a download page as discussed above.
You will need a landing page for this eBook. This page should contain the following, in order:
- Introduction to your eBook and what is it about.
- Why people should buy your eBook. (Benefits)
- Provide some proof that shows that your method works.
- Provide some testimonials. This will encourage people to buy your eBook.
- Provide the e-junkie code here after you have shown the benefits of your product.
And as I said above, you will need Premise to design your landing page easily. Or, simply hire a designer.
2. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
KDP is the back-end where you will uploading your books. The signup process is free and pretty simple. Go to kdp.amazon.com and click “Sign Up”.
That will take you through the process of setting up your KDP Account. You will need input your information such as name, address, SSN/EIN, etc. After you are signed up, make sure to go in and add your bank account information to the all the amazon sites (.com, .co.uk, etc) so you get paid via direct deposit instead of waiting for a check to be sent to you.
Upload Your Book
So you have your cover, and your content. Now it’s time to upload your book to the kindle marketplace. You will need to write a description for your book. Your description is important because this is where you can sell your book – think of the description as your sales page. Always provide the features and benefits of purchasing your book.
Keep your cover and your content separate – you will be uploading these as separate files. Login to your KDP account and click “Add Book”. That will take you to the page where you insert your title, author name, choose your categories, upload your book and cover as well as write your description.
The next page will be the pricing page. I always suggest starting your book at $0.99 to get some initial sales and to lower your cost to “gift” the book to people for reviews.
Enroll in KDP Select Program
When you are uploading your book, you have the option to enroll the book in what Amazon calls the “KDP Select” program. I highly suggest you take advantage of this program. KDP Select will allow you promote your book for free up to 5 days every 90 days. So you can set your book to “free” and people will be able to download your book for free.
You will want to take advantage of this because Amazon has a specific algorithm that suggests book to their users. So the more free downloads you get, the more your book will be suggested to other readers who have bought similar books.
Once you have a fully developed digital product, you’ll want to get it out to your audience, and as many people on the internet as you can.
eBook marketing is a powerful way to build your personal brand, optin list and even some income (if you do your job right!)
Therefore many bloggers write eBooks in an effort to come up with alternative and self-serving blog monetization method.
However writing an eBook is only first part of the task, arguably the easiest one.
What happens next?
It is time to start preparing your ebook launch… yay! Is there anything more exciting or nerve wracking? The excitement of what could be on the horizon for you. Will the book sell well? Will people like it? Could this be the beginning of something incredible for you?
All of these questions are probably filling your head, and you have every reason to be giddy by the prospect.
But don’t let that giddiness stop you from taking advantage of the moment. There is a lot to consider when preparing for a book to launch. You can improve your visibility, which is turn will improve sales and hype, weeks before your book hits shelves (or ebook databases).
Here are some tips for your pre-launch, which are just as important as the launch itself.
Be prepared for disappointment
It is sad but true: first time authors are rarely given a leg up. Sure, you hear about these writers who publish a novel and explode onto the scene. But they were writing well before that point and already had a foot in the door. Their publishers, whom they had gained before hand, took care of a lot of the work in the PR category.
Besides, the landscape of publishing has changed a lot, thanks to the Internet. If you are publishing digitally, don’t expect a sudden rush of fame and recognition. That has to be worked diligently towards.
Set realistic goals
This goes along with the above tip. When you are preparing to launch, you should have a clear set of goals in mind.
What do you want to accomplish? What are you hoping for, in terms of readership? Profits? Eventual payoff in the long term?
Keep your goals manageable and small (especially if this is your first ebook), and then build on those successes later.
This will keep you from getting discouraged and will motivate you to keep moving forward.
After all, the Internet has given everyone an ability to become a published author, so it is not easy to stand out. It will take a lot of time, work and possibly investments.
Create a powerful landing page
This is crucial. Everything else you do to market your eBook needs to start and end here. You need an ultimate resource talking about you, your book and which problems it solves.
The page needs to be compelling enough for your future readers to optin to receive a free chapter (or to buy/download the book right away).
It is a good idea to get the page ranked in Google for it to become a traffic sources of its own. For that, you will need to identify keywords and optimize its copy.
Use Text Optimizer to build your landing page copy. Text Optimizer is the semantic analysis and search intent optimization tool helping you write content that matches Google (or Bing) users’ expectations. It’s also a great way to optimize your content for it to rank higher in Google:
Get hype started early
The earlier buzz begins to build for your book, the better. Whether you are a blogger launching an ebook, or an author publishing a novel, you want people talking about it.
A couple of months is a good starting point, but a couple of weeks can make a lot of difference, as well. Use social media platforms.
- Share with Facebook followers little excerpts.
- Brand a hashtag. Hold a tweetchat.
- Have giveaways so a few people can get free, advanced copies of the book.
- Share a free chapter.
- Set up an email newsletter to build a community of your loyal readers
- Ask for people to share your updates, and remind them regularly about the coming book.
Get your readers excited.
Remember that gaining readers is more important than profits
This is especially true for first time writers. If your book is good, it will sell. But in the beginning, it is a lot more important to get your work out there and build an audience first.
For example, 1000vultures was a Reddit user who began a long term story on the subreddit NoSleep. He gained a large following and buzz continued to build about his story.
One day, he announced that he would be selling a more complete version in novel format on Amazon, under the name Dan Auberbach. His novel, Penpal, has become quite popular and exists in a physical format.
But he gained his readers before he ever made a profit. That is why so many Amazon ebook writers will allow their works to be lended out as part of the Prime library, or sell for $0.99
Focus on building community and your optin list (while keeping GDPR regulations in mind) rather than getting rich overnight.
Take advantage of connections
Do you know some other bloggers or social media influencers? Start cashing in those favors, because they are going to be important to getting the word out about your work.
Ask bloggers to read and review the book ahead of its release. Offer to write blog posts and include information about the book in your byline. Ask pages to promote it on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.
Even better, if you have the skills or resources to create sharable content, you will see even better results.
A perfect example of this can be seen in this Guide to Google Analytics, which is presented in a unique infographic form.
Look at the type of industry you are in, and then compile a ton of stats and create a unique infographic of your own.
Do something quirky
When Random House was promoting the book Zone One by Colson Whitehead, they began to post Twitter updates featuring the hashtag #RHZombies that had to do with the undead.
This quirky little bit of promotion was popular, and led to thousands of favorites and retweets.
Likewise, don’t try to get published. You can start selling your ebook without ever publishing it. There’s no need to follow a traditional route. You can come up with your own!
Think outside the box, and you will be more memorable, and successful.
Have you ever tried to write an (e)book? Do you have you got a tip or two for an ebook pre-launch? Let us know in the comments!