If you've finished writing an exciting thriller, gripping romance, or brilliant work of non-fiction, share your work with the world by publishing an eBook. In recent years, self-publishing authors such as Amanda Hocking have made millions selling e-books directly to fans. Even if you are new to self-publishing, all you have to do is decide where you would like to sell the e-book, prepare it for publication online, and market it. With a little work, you will be able to generate income and grow your fan base quickly.
Part 1 of 3: Prepare the e-book for sale
Step 1. Format the e-book to publish it online
If you have written the book using a word processing program, you will need to convert it to e-book formats. First, convert the document into a PDF. You can sell the book in PDF format, but you will have more options if you convert the PDF into MOBI and EPUB formats as well. Do it for free using online conversion tools.
- Convert PDF into MOBI and EPUB files with this tool:
- Use free programs such as Caliber or Zinepal if you want to modify the book in its new format before publishing it.
- Buy programs such as Scrivener for US $ 45 or Pressbooks for US $ 99 if you want to access advanced formatting features.
Step 2. Optimize the e-book cover for previews
On most e-book platforms, the seller allows potential customers to view or even download the first 10% of the e-book for free. Think about which pages will be included in this preview and maximize their content, so that people will want to read the rest of your book!
- If you have a very long table of contents, consider shortening it.
- Try to include a substantial portion of the introduction or first chapter in the preview.
- If possible, leave the reader with a suspenseful moment at the end of the preview!
Step 3. Design an eye-catching cover for the e-book
Contrary to popular belief, most people will judge the book by its cover. So make sure it stands out with high-quality images and easy-to-read text.
- Make a cover yourself with free software such as Canva Free Online Book Cover Maker or Adobe Spark's Book Cover Maker.
- You can also hire a freelance artist who specializes in designing e-book covers on websites such as Fiverr, oDesk, or 99designs.
Step 4. Price the e-book competitively
The vast majority of self-published e-books sell for between $ 0.99 and $ 9.99. Look in e-book stores to see the price of self-published e-books that are similar to yours. Match these prices, or if you're just starting out, consider offering your book at a lower price until readership grows.
- Beginning authors typically price the e-book between $ 0.99 and $ 2.99 American. Some new authors even offer the book for free and then raise the price at a later date.
- The more established and self-published authors can raise the price of fiction novels up to 9.99 USD. Highly popular non-fiction books may sell for higher prices but rarely exceed US $ 59.
Part 2 of 3: Deciding where to sell the ebook
Step 1. Gain exposure on the biggest retail sites
The vast majority of e-books are sold on third-party websites such as Amazon's Kindle store and Barnes & Noble e-bookstore. Consider opening a free account on one or both platforms to maximize e-book exposure.
- Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) offers resources to help you publish to MOBI with them. Once published, the e-book will be available to the public within 24 to 48 hours. KDP keeps a percentage of the rights, usually 30% of each book sold:
- Barnes & Noble's Nook Press offers similar resources and a similar payment process. Although Nook's books use the EPUB format and are only available to readers in the United Kingdom and the United States.
- Only post to the Kindle Store if your audience is outside the UK and US. To ensure the largest possible readership in the United States and the United Kingdom, please publish them on both platforms.
Step 2. Maximize sales by selling the book to smaller retailers
There are more and more e-book retailers online. Unlike traditional publishers, you can feel free to sell with as many retailers as you like. Consider selling with: Apple, Sony, Kobo, OverDrive, and Scribd.
- All of these retailers use EPUB formats with the exception of Apple iBooks, which use a modified program that you can convert to for free:
- If you are concerned about coordinating sales across multiple retail sites, you can pay to use an e-book distribution service such as Draft2Digital or Smashwords. These services post to multiple sites for you and shell out your royalties, but charge an additional 10% of the profit.
Step 3. Sell directly from your own website
If you don't have one yet, create your own website, so you can sell directly to customers. The website will not be the only way to sell your ebook, but it is a wonderful way to make it available to fans who want to buy directly from you, and you can use it as a platform to connect with readers.
- Set up a payment system for the website by browsing merchant services on platforms such as PayPal, WePay, or Payoneer.
- You can buy services such as Gumroad and Selz which will help you create and run your own e-book store.
- Create a function on your website to collect email addresses from your guests.
- Be sure to include the link to your website on the cover of your e-book, so that anyone viewing the book on a retail site can find your personal website.
Part 3 of 3: Marketing the eBook
Step 1. Survey existing fans to find out your target market
You may already have an idea about who you're writing for: young adults, hiking enthusiasts, or thrill seekers. But you can always learn more about them and how to connect with them through social media. If you have a following on a social media site or have built an email list of website visitors, create an online survey or email individual fans to learn more about them.
Ask them what types of social media sites they regularly use and what types of magazines, blogs, or message boards they visit. This information will help you reach existing fans, as well as attract new readers with similar interests
Step 2. Improve your online presence by creating or updating online profiles
Create or update profiles on sites that promote authors, such as GoodReads and Amazon Author Central. Create a blog to discuss e-book related topics and update it at least every two weeks. Update or create profiles on as many social media sites as you can effectively handle.
Consider creating a profile or increasing your activity on: Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, as well as Meetup groups and other online groups related to the interests of your fans
Step 3. Use social media to increase interest in your topic
Authors who market their work are most effective when they do so indirectly. You will not want to simply advertise that your book is on sale for US $ 2.99. Instead, increase interest in the topic by promoting your topic and your expertise on as many online platforms as possible.
- Answer questions on sites such as Quora or Yahoo Answers to demonstrate your expertise. Link to your website whenever you offer advice on message boards. This strategy works especially well if you are writing nonfiction.
- Place links on social media to news stories that pertain to your topic. If you write about technology, post an article about a new product. Even if you write fiction, post stories about real people who are facing similar problems as your characters.
Step 4. Encourage people to take a look at your book
Share copies of the book with bloggers who write on similar topics. If your career is just getting started, you can even contact local book clubs and offer to attend a meeting so that members can speak with the author. If all goes well, tell everyone who reads the book that they can leave a review on any website that sells the book.
- Develop a relationship with a blogger by offering to review their work, co-write a post, or even have lunch or coffee if they live in the same area.
- When sharing your work with bloggers, just say you'd love to hear their feedback and send them links that they can follow to review your ebook.
- If you go to a book club, have cards with your name on it. On the back write, "Did you love my book?" And it lists the websites where they can leave the reviews.
Step 5. Build a fan base with interactive giveaways and contests
Social media offers incredible opportunities to interact with readers. Authors can post contests for fans, such as drawing a favorite character or dressing up as one, and posting the drawing on social media. Then you can award a prize to the winner. Alternatively, consider running giveaways where fans who post to the site or share one of your posts are randomly chosen to receive a prize.
- Give away gift cards for more e-books, a new e-book reader, or e-book reading accessories.
- You can also give away prizes that relate to your topic and that appeal to your fan base. You can poll some die-hard fans ahead of time to find out which awards they prefer.
Step 6. Adapt the e-book and marketing strategies as you learn more
With an e-book, ideas are never followed to the letter. If it doesn't sell initially, you can talk to readers to learn why and make reviews. There is nothing wrong with publishing a new edition. Similarly, experiment with new marketing strategies or adapt existing ones to maximize sales.
- Research as many self-published e-books as you can to get ideas.
- Subscribe to popular self-published author blogs.