The Ultimate 10-Step Guide: How to Make Money Selling eBooks Online

by Naomi Jun 24, 2021

You never held your creative best back when putting the next word on a text editor. Your final chapter always had the same zeal as the first one. And your top intent with your content was always to help your readers out. So, don’t you ever wish for your skill and love of writing to help you gain the recognition and financial stability you always deserved?  

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But there was always something that spoiled your tireless efforts of making your eBook the next bestseller. But guess what? Today is the day that all your eBook-related troubles come to an end. 

Today, we’ll be answering some important eBooks related questions, such as: 

  • What is the market size for eBooks? 
  • How to search for the right content to write an eBook about? 
  • How to attract the maximum audience attention? And, above all, 
  • How to make your eBook one of the bestsellers and make more money selling it? 

    So, let’s get the ball rolling. 

How Big is the eBook Market? 

Statista’s report on eBooks (worldwide) has some interesting revelations. It reads that: 

  •  Revenue (from eBooks) is projected to reach US$15,635m in 2021. 
  •  The expected annual growth rate (CAGR 2021-2025) will be 3.18%, and 
  •  The user penetration will be 13.6% (in 2021), and it is expected to hit 14.9% (by 2025). 

Mordor Intelligence report titled “EBOOK MARKET - GROWTH, TRENDS, COVID-19 IMPACT, AND FORECASTS (2021 - 2026)” states that the global eBook market was valued at 18.13 billion in 2020, and for the forecast period (2021-2026): 

  • It is expected to reach USD 23.12 billion by 2026, with a CAGR of 4.9% 
  • Registering a CAGR of 4.9% alone is home to over 6 million Kindle eBooks
There are several such reports, each one showing and expecting such growth figures through their own parameters and for different periods. But one thing is common in all of them, stupendous growth. And why not? The eBook genre ranges from online storybooks to market studies. In short, anything the users wish to read and could get benefitted from. 

Benefits of Writing an eBook 
benefits of writing an ebook

If you've been an eBook writer for some time now, then you won’t be needing this section to inform you of the amazing benefits that this job has to offer. But we have to look after a huge and diverse base of readers who might be just starting out in this domain, and visit us for their daily dose of information. 

  • Helps you establish your presence, or authority, in the market 
  • Could prove to be a perpetual source of passive income 
  • Help you reach the geographies that you might never with a physical book 
  • Could be a great source of traffic to your website 
  • Could be published over multiple platforms, in turn giving you comparatively better reach than traditional publishing methods 
  • Could be distributed for free to generate leads for your forthcoming projects 
  • Could be updated with time, meaning you can easily provide your readers with updated facts, figures, and stories. 
  • Price could be changed as per the market’s orientation.

And Now, Your 10-Step Guide to Make Money Selling eBooks Online 

1.Write on Topics that Sell 

write on the topics that sells the most

Here is fact that some writers have a hard time digesting. You might be the best utopian-sci-fi-erotic thriller word weaver out there, but you may still end up with no readers in the digital world. Reason? Not every writer can alter the reading habits of book lovers.

But that shouldn't be the reason for you to give up writing. You should pull up your socks and stand tall for this challenge. eBook publishing platforms provide help when it comes to searching for the bestselling titles, categories, genres, etc., to write books on.

Let’s take Amazon, one of the largest eBooks selling platforms, for example. The bestselling competitive category on Amazon Kindle is Romance, followed by literature fiction, mystery, suspense, etc. On the Kindle store, the categories’ list looks like this:   
Kindle eBooks -> Romance -> Contemporary

Self-help books, mystery novels, health and diet, books like Da Vinci Code sell well too. Books related to college and school education often do well, but they’re limited by their scope. So, make sure to go through all the categories before settle down on your laptop to write your next ebook. 

2. Use the Right eBook Writing Software from the Start 

use the best softwares for editing your ebook

Using a simple notepad text editing application to write your eBook is like starting a science experiment with an utter disregard for safety, accuracy, precision, and record keeping. You end repeating the same mistakes time and again without taking note of what you did wrong the last time.

There is writing, editing, formatting, adding images, page setup for margin and layout, keeping track of previous versions, and then viewing it all after every other week to see how your work to date looks at the moment. And, you come to realize it the hard when if you don’t use the right software for the job.

One way to go about this is knowing what formatting requirements your publishing platforms ask for and then setting up your word editor accordingly.

The other option is to use eBook creation tools such as InDesign by AdobeKindle Create by Amazon, or Calibre, which give you all the advanced eBook writing options well in advance. 

3. Earmark the Right eBook Publishing Platforms

earmark the best publishing softwares for ebook

What’s the point of earmarking publishing platforms before you start writing your bestselling eBook of dreams? Simple. That way you'd know about the bestselling categories, keywords, royalty structures, publishing guidelines, etc., before taking any big steps that you might regret by the end of your book.

Like, say, you've decided to write an erotic thriller, managed to spend 6 months for the research, another 4 months for writing, only to come across something like this on the day of publishing: Amazon is Sending Erotic Novel Authors to the 'No-Rank Dungeon'.

This may or may not be true, as the Internet is home to many things that sound like a conspiracy. But you can’t take your chances with something that you've dedicated a good of your life to. Knowing your publishing platforms well in advance could be the key for you to writing an eBook and getting paid for it. 

4. Become Part of Book Lover Communities 

keep engaged with ebook communityBook lovers are everywhere. They’re on Facebook, Reddit, Quora, Tumblr, and they have their own websites too. Social media platforms created solely for these book lovers are the places where you’ll find people talking about different books and book genres all the time. The best part is they’re from around the globe.

So, wouldn’t it be wonderful if people using these platforms knew that you’re into writing eBooks and publishing them online? You can become part of such groups and see for yourself what kind of idea they’re open to reading about.

GoodreadsLibraryThingBookBub are some examples of social media platforms for book lovers. Some you may join for free, while some follow the gated model, wherein you've to pay an amount to become their member. 

5. Give Your eBooks for Free 

give your ebooks for free

Big companies and newly opened shops do it often. And the Karate dojo around your corner is probably doing it too. Putting your products in the market for free is your best bet to lure in the right customers. And if a book influencer picks up the bait, you're in for a happy ride.

Build yourself a website and upload a PDF of your best chapters, and make it for free download. Ask your friends to try and share them for your sake. Ask the groupies on the social media platforms for book lovers that we talked about above to give your book a go.

Some people might do it for your sake, and some might do it for the freebie stuff, but you've to give them the taste of your writing before you ask them for their money. 

6. Get into Affiliate Programs for eBooks

start affiliating for products

Affiliates are website owners that put your product's purchase link on their website, promote it using their content, and when their visitors make a purchase using that link, they get paid a part of that purchase as commission. In simple words, affiliates advise people to buy your products and get paid in return.

There is an affiliate network for everything. Just type “affiliate networks for book” in your Google search bar, hit enter, and you will get the idea. 

7. Promote Your eBook Using Social Media 

promote your ebooks using social media

If you’re not a fan of sharing the spoils of your hard work, then you should probably stick with social media promotion. Spread the word about your book using the images, versions of the book cover, quotes, situations, and themes explored in the book to evoke curiosity among the people on your social media network.

If possible, get in touch with social media influencers. They too might ask for money, but the best part is a single Twitter or Instagram push from their handle could help you bring traffic to both your product’s page and your personal page too. So that’s brand-building done along with book promotion. 

8. Give Interviews or Start Your Own Podcast 

start your own podcast

This is again about getting in touch with influential social media influencers, but this is far more multi-dimensional than getting a retweet or putting an affiliate link on their website.

When you get yourself interviewed by some influential, say, YouTubers, you give more personality to your presence.

Now you’re more than just an author who is about to publish an XYZ title. You get to talk about a cause, your thought process, likes, and dislikes, which makes you likable among the people who might have the same likes and dislikes as yours.

Even the most famous authors take this route, as it helps them capture newer audiences. At the end of your Podcast/Interview session, you can have a rapid-fire question-answer round too. It’s fun, it puts you in a spot that your listeners might find interesting, and elevates the curiosity of your potential reader base if you manage to spill some beans about your past or future endeavors. 

  1. Work on the Next Part of Your eBook

work on the next series for your ebookThe best part about working on a series is that it guarantees to bring in at least those readers back who felt good after reading your last book.

The second-best part is that there is hope, even if it’s a small one, that those who only read and liked part 2 might go for your part 1.

And you've known the characters and plots for too long now, so the time taken to write this one might not be that long. Movie studios do this all the time. They keep milking their popular series till it finally bombs at the box office. 

  1. Lastly, Have a Website of Your Own 

It’s just your first book. Or maybe the second one. But having a website of your own shouldn’t look “a little too much” to you. And if it does, then maybe you were on the wrong track all this while. Websites bring credibility to your name.

If a potential reader is planning to buy your eBook online, then the first thing he or she might do is to search for your name on the internet.

Now you won’t risk leaving that in the hands of some third-party publisher. They might write something, which could influence your readers in the wrong way. Worse, what if nothing comes up when your potential buyer enters your name in their browser and hits enter? You can’t risk that either. So, GET A WEBSITE!

Writing and selling your eBook online is, to put it gently, never easy. You might go months without a single sale before a random book lover stumbles upon your hard work, which was being overshadowed by the famous titles till now. But having a plan, even if it’s a long and tedious one, and sticking to it will help in the long run.

Know your audience, your publishing platforms, reach out to your audience using the right social media strategy, and have a solid online presence for yourself with an amazing-looking website, and your eBook will be on its path to get the fame that it has always deserved.