Whether you’ve always dreamed about becoming a fiction writer or if you want to share your knowledge through nonfiction, the time has never been better to make those dreams come true by writing ebooks. With platforms like Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks—as well as the power to sell directly to potential readers through social media, your email list and website—you can build your own publishing business.
Some Reasons to Consider Writing and Selling eBooks
- If you have a blog, writing an ebook about an area your readers are interested in can help you build authority. You can literally say you wrote the book on it! And that can lead to an increase in the number of people who follow you and who pay attention to what you have to say.
- They can be a way to earn passive income. Once you write an ebook, it lives on and on and on—and can be sold over and over and over. But keep in mind that books rarely sell themselves. As a self-publisher, you’ll be responsible for getting word out about your book (or books)—and this in an ongoing process. It’s not one and done.
- You can call yourself an author. I didn’t realize how much this would mean to me until I published my first ebook in 2015. It hit me how amazing it was when I was updating my bio for a couple of my social media platforms. AND—when I mentioned to people that I had written a book and it was for sale on Amazon—they thought it was the coolest thing EVER!
Quick Start Advice for Self-Publishing
- Know that it’s going to take work. There’s a lot of noise in the marketplace about how “easy” it is to make thousands of dollars (and MORE!) by writing ebooks. Maybe it was several years ago when self-publishing was just beginning to get some attention—but that’s not the case anymore. Yes, you can make a very good living writing ebooks. But it takes work—REAL work. And it also takes time, focus, dedication and skill. If you understand that at the beginning, then you won’t be disappointed when your bank account doesn’t fill up overnight once you publish your first book. This can help make the path to becoming a successful author much more enjoyable.
- Be prepared to write multiple books. Unless you’re writing an ebook as a lead magnet to get people to join your email list or to contact you about your business or as a way to kick start a speaking career, you need to plan on writing more than one book in order to make a significant revenue as a writer. This is the case regardless of whether you write fiction or non-fiction or both. Often, first books don’t get the attention they might deserve—and don’t produce the revenue the author hopes for.
- Be sure you’re writing books in genres that sell. No matter how crazy you might be about a particular topic, if you’re one of 50 people in the world who are into it—you’re probably not going to make much, if any, money from a book about that topic. Do your research and find out what kind of books people are buying. That’s the case whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction books.
- Create a writing habit. There are a LOT of people who say they want to write a book. But there are far fewer who actually start the process—much less complete it. You HAVE to make writing a priority in your daily routine. Even if that means you write 250 words a day—which is only a couple of paragraphs—you’re still making progress. After all, 250 words a day for 60 days is 15,000 words. That’s a really decent length for a narrowly-focused non-fiction book. For me, it helps to put “Work on Book” on my calendar and have a reminder pop up on my computer. I treat it just like I would a meeting with a client.
- Pay someone to design your book cover. I know there are software and web-based programs out there that enable pretty much anyone to be a designer. But it takes talent and skill to be a really good designer—and that’s what you need when it comes to creating a cover for your book. People really do judge a book by its cover. Think about your own buying habits and how you make decisions about what books you purchase on Amazon or at a brick-and-mortar bookstore. My advice? Pay someone who knows how to design attractive and effective book covers. I’ve had very good luck finding great help on Upwork.
- Publish both digital and print versions. Amazon makes it SUPER easy to publish both digital AND print versions of your book. They provide a service called CreateSpace that offers on-demand publishing. I don’t have a lot of people purchasing print copies of my books—but it looks good in the Amazon listing when you can offer both versions.
- Include an offer in your book that’s focused on growing your email list. At the front of your book, consider including a free offer as a gift for those who purchase your book. To get it, all they have to do is provide their email address—which helps you build your email list. That way, the next time you have a book or offering to sell, you can let these folks know about it. And, since they’ve bought from you before, they’ll be more likely to buy from you again if they like what you’re doing. (Yet another reason to write a QUALITY book!) The giveaway can be fairly simple—while also providing value. For example, it could be a checklist or a short quiz or a 15-minute coaching call.
- Promote. Promote. One thing I learned the hard way after publishing my first book is that you always have to be promoting it. You have to get the word out through social media, blogging, email campaigns and other marketing tactics so that people will be aware of your book and how it can make a difference in their lives. If you don’t promote your book on an ongoing basis, you’ll be surprised how quickly sales drop off.