A few years ago, sources began to report ebook sales were on the decline—painting the picture this industry had peaked. Many cited reports from the Association of American Publishers, which analyzes data from 1,200 of the largest publishers.
Which means it only told the story of traditional publishing.
Before you write off the ebook industry as one in trouble, consider this: According to Observer, it appears these sales declined “because traditional publishers have been losing market share to indie authors who publish directly through online platforms.”
In fact, many authors are making money with ebooks online by working outside the traditional publishing structure. The fact is, there are fewer barriers to entry than ever before. Anyone with an engaging idea and a dollop of marketing savvy, plus the discipline to write and edit a book has a chance to earn their “piece of the pie.”
Here’s how to approach this process.
You may already know what you want to write about based upon your interests, skillset or career. Or, you may be searching for the perfect subject for your upcoming ebook. Either way, conducting research is a crucial first step. It will help you learn what’s out there—and what isn’t, yet. Diligent research will help you gauge demand within a certain niche so you can be sure you’re creating a product people actually want to consume.
Move from the general to the specific. Your first idea will likely be broad: “Healthy eating,” “digital marketing,” “historical romance,” “self-help,” “science fiction.” Explore other ebooks within the same genre or subject matter. Continue to narrow your angle of approach. How can you contribute something new to the conversation? What’s working for similar titles selling well? The key is figuring out what readers really want and need in their lives.
During the researching stages, you’ll also be able to determine questions online users have surrounding certain topics and genres. This will help you structure your ebook while ensuring it offers genuine value to readers. It’s immensely helpful to create an outline based on your research that will guide you through the writing process.
Writing Your Ebook
You may be writing a book for digital consumption, but there’s no substitute for old-fashioned elbow grease. Thankfully, you’ll have your research to guide you along the way.
Above all, make sure you understand your audience so you can write directly to them.
Selling Your Ebook
Congratulations on writing a book. Now it’s time to put it out into the world. It’s best to take a multifaceted approach to monetizing your ebook. Utilizing existing marketplaces is a great way to get exposure. But it pays to know how to sell ebooks on your own website using a platform like Shopify, too. This option allows you to set up a fully functional ebook store without needing to build it from scratch. Plus, establishing your own web store will help you control the look, feel and branding.
Wondering how much to charge for your ebook? Here are a few factors to consider, courtesy of the Alliance of Independent Authors:
- Genre standards
- Your ebook’s length
- The price of other comparable ebooks
- Whether or not it’s the first in a series
And, of course, you may need to try a few strategies before you find what works for you.
Marketing will help people discover your book. Use your website to convince people to subscribe to email updates. Offer relevant influencers a free copy in exchange for an honest review or blurb. Create shorter form content to hook online users, then plug your book as a deeper exploration into said topic.
Making money with ebooks online is entirely possible. All you need is a plan, the willpower to write a book, a solid sales platform and the right mix of marketing.