Sunday, May 10, 2015

Can You Get Rich Writing eBooks?

How to Publish an eBook

My eBook For Sale on Amazon
My eBook For Sale on Amazon
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher
It is quite easy to publish an eBook.  Anyone can publish an eBook for free in a few hours.  The hard part is writing the material which can take months depending on the length of your book and how familiar you are with the subject.  You need to format the book correctly for publication as an eBook.  Here is an article that takes you through the details of how to publish an eBook.  

How Much Can You Make Publishing eBooks?

I have published two eBooks so far.  I see a lot of very short eBooks for sale, but my books are full length books at around 140 pages.  They provide a lot of information and value.

Both of my books are well-written (I say so anyway) and both are published on Amazon Kindle, Google Play, Apple iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and other booksellers.  I have used several free websites to announce my eBooks to promote them.  Both have received 5-star reviews on Amazon and elsewhere.

So, am I rich yet?

After I published my first eBook priced at $3.99, I was disappointed with the sales that it generated.  It has sold some copies, but not as many as I was expecting.  This is not really surprising- there are lots of eBooks out there, and Dr. Penny Pincher is still emerging as a leading author in the field of saving money.

Anyway, I decided to find out how much of a factor price is for eBook sales.  I decided to offer my second eBook for free.

How to Publish an eBook Listed as Free on Amazon

Let's Try Publishing a FREE eBook!

It actually took some work to get my book listed for free on Amazon.  I set it up to sell for free on Barnes and Noble, Free, and some other sites first.  Then I used the form on the book page at Amazon to report a lower price.  After a few months, Amazon changed the price to free.

Price made a huge difference in sales- in fact, I "sold" over 1,000 copies of my free eBook on Amazon in a single day!  My free eBook climbed the sales rank and was close to breaking into the top 100 best sellers on Amazon at one point.  Considering how many free eBooks are for sale, I though it was pretty good to rank so well- I think my best sales rank was around #120 or so.

My book priced at $3.99 has not sold nearly that well.  However, even if my free book were selling for $3.99, I wouldn't be rich from book sales.  My experience is that it is tough to sell eBooks.  There is so much competition and people are pretty selective about what they will buy.

I have seen videos on YouTube claiming that you can make $10,000 or $20,000 per month selling eBooks on Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon.  Based on my experience, I don't believe it.  Unless you are a famous author or get really lucky, I don't see how you could make that kind of income selling eBooks.

Some of the advice is to choose a niche and publish lots and lots of eBooks in that area.  I don't see that working out.  I found that even though lots of people "bought" my free eBook, that did not really translate into many extra sales of my $3.99 eBook.  I think publishing lots of eBooks that don't make much still adds up to not much...

There are some benefits to publishing an eBook, even if it doesn't sell very well.  It adds some credibility for the author- you can say you have published a book in your field which carries some weight with most people.  It can also generate interest in your blog or website.  If people see your book for sale and don't want to pay to buy it, they might check out your blog or website to see what they can read there for free.

One downside of publishing a free eBook is, of course, that it resulted in pretty much no revenue.  When I launched my free eBook, I was thinking that readers of the free book would buy the $3.99 eBook and/or visit my blog after reading the book.  Either of these actions would generate revenue for me, but I have not seen a big bump even though lots of people are "buying" the free eBook.

Is Writing an eBook Worth It?

Overall, I would say that writing eBooks took a lot more time than writing material for my blogs and has resulted in less revenue.  But I enjoy being a book author and am glad I took the time to write in the longer format of a book.  When someone reads your eBook, they spend quite a bit of time with you- a lot more than a minute or two looking at a blog post- and you have a much better chance to make a lasting impression.

I am still deciding about whether to publish a third eBook.  I do think that publishing multiple eBooks would increase sales.  Having several books out there makes it easier to get discovered by readers who are searching for books.

There is a big potential to make money from eBooks if you can get enough sales.  I think it will be hard for me to resist trying again.  If I can make about $3 per book and I could sell thousands, that adds up to real money pretty fast.

Improving Sales for My Next eBook

For my next book, I may spend some time looking at the competition before I choose a topic and write the book.  I think there are a lot of books out there on "ways to save money" and this topic is pretty well covered on the Internet too.  For my next book, I will try to find a topic with less competition.

Also, I may try a shorter eBook- I see that the some eBooks that seem to have a lot of sales based on their sales rank are pretty short.  I think there are a lot of readers that don't want to spend more than an hour or so reading an eBook.  Also, it will be easier to write a shorter book, so that sounds good to me.

Finally, I may actually spend a few dollars to get a book cover design.  I made the book covers for my first two books myself, and they are not very professional looking.  People do judge a book by its cover, so this is an easy thing to improve.

So my next experiment in eBook publishing will likely be a shorter book with a nice book cover in a topic that has less competition.  Check back to see how this works out...

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  1. I am honestly new in the industry. I have finished 2 books and contacted several publishers to help me. Some offered me to offer it on Kindle, but I am still not sure. If I will opt for such offer, I have seen some companies that offer ebook conversion services. What's your take on this?

    1. For the two books that I have published, I have gone the self-publishing route. I published on Smashwords for distribution to Apple and many other retailers and I also published my books on Amazon Kindle myself. In general, I would be careful spending money on services when publishing your books. You can publish a book for free. Best of luck to you.


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