If you are an expert on anything, have a unique approach to a problem, or if you have strange or unique life experiences to share, you can make money writing eBooks. Self-publishing used to get a bad rap. It was considered the last resort of the desperate author who couldn’t get published any other way. But thanks to the Internet and eReaders, self-publishing is now a viable way for people to make money selling their own work.
Before you start pounding out your magnum opus, though, be aware that this is not an easy way to make money. It’s not a get rich quick scheme. There is a lot of information out there and if you’re going to profit, you’ll have to offer something that no one else offers or you’ll have to have such a compelling tale that people won’t be able to resist. This takes time and dedication. You won’t be able to write a salable eBook in a couple of days. If you want to pursue eBooks, here’s how to get started.
Write something people want to read: Before you can sell your book, you have to write something people want to read. It will have to provide different information or have a different take from what’s currently on the market. With so much free information and so many free novels out there, your work is going to have to be special enough to get people to pay for it. Take the time to come up with a stellar idea.
Write it well: Your book needs to be well written if you want it to sell. If you don’t know basic grammar, take a refresher course. Proofread your work for errors, both factual and grammatical. Revise it until it shines. Make sure everything makes sense and is structured in a readable way. Give it to a few people to read before you publish so they can help you isolate errors and inconsistencies.
Research your market: Who will want to read this book? “Everyone” is not the right answer. Every book has a specific market and you need to keep them uppermost in your mind as your write. Are your would-be readers teens or adults? Mostly males or females? Professionals or homemakers? Are they into sports or crafts? Narrow down your most likely audience and write something they will love.
Export it to a .PDF: .PDF is the standard for eBooks, unless you’re going to get into specialized DRM protected formats that can be sold only at certain retailers. If you’re just starting out, though, stick with .PDF since it’s universal. You don’t want to deter readers with an unconventional format. Conversion is pretty easy. You can buy .PDF creation software if you need it for under $50. If you have a Mac, you can simply print your document to .PDF format.
Sell your book: When you’re ready to sell your book, you have several options. You can sell it on your own website or blog, or you can approach websites that your readers frequent and ask if they’ll put a link to your book on their site. There are also online bookstores that will sell self-published content. Some must judge it to be worthy and others will sell anything. Either way, they’ll take a commission. Amazon.com is also now allowing writers to sell their eBooks through them. Get creative and find new outlets for your work.
Get the word out: In step three you identified your market. This comes in handy, now. Since you know who will buy the book, it’s easier to get their attention. Where do your readers hang out, both online and in real life? What groups do they belong to? What magazines or newsletters do they read? What websites do they use most? When you know where your readers are, it’s much easier to get the word out about your book. You’ll be able to target your advertising efforts to the places where you’re most likely to score sales.
If you’re very lucky, your book will generate enough buzz to attract the interest of major print publishers. But even if you don’t make it that far, you can still generate a decent residual income from your work. Savvy marketing skills will help, but the most important thing you need is a great book.