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I get very frustrated whenever I’m looking for legitimate ways to generate additional streams of income, and I come across those horrid get-rich-quick sales pages. You know the ones – where the author can’t seem to decide on a single font size, and every other word is in bold. All you have to do is sign up for their amazing program, or buy their astonishing sales kit, and you too can be earning many thousands of dollars each month. In my quest to write, sell and make money selling eBooks, I’ve waded through mountains of these scams, and I’m here to tell you that it is possible to make money from selling eBooks, but that success does not come overnight and not without a lot of hard work. In this article I’d like to offer a guide (a free one…imagine that!) that you can use to sell your eBooks.
The first step is obviously writing an eBook. Don’t concern yourself too much with copyright. Thanks to the Digital Millenium Act of 1998, anything you generate and publish online is already legally copyrighted under your author name. However, it is true that enforcing that copyright could be somewhat difficult unless you do hold proof of copyright, so if you’re very concerned about someone stealing your work, then submit the claim electronically and pay the fee.
If it sets your mind at ease, it’s well worth the cost. If you’re wondering what format you should write your eBook in, here at MakeUseOf, authors provided a number of excellent tools that can help you generate that first eBook. Saikat wrote about the PHP script converter at EbookHood to convert your eBook into iPod readable format. You’ve also probably read about the cool MyEbook eBook publishing platform, or my favorite one, Zinepal, which creates your PDF eBook in a format that most common readers can display. Another very good option is converting your Word document to PDF format, as Aibek described in his article on doPDF. Once you have your eBook in a format that you can sell, you’re ready to move on into marketing and selling your eBook.
Make Money Selling eBooks Online Just Like Any Other Product
I’ve mentioned some of my own eBay history in my past articles on the auction site, and while my personal experiences as an eBay PowerSeller were not very easy, I do know that any product which you have an unlimited supply of and a high demand for do very well there.
With that said, the eBooks that aren’t very in demand really don’t do well at all. The key, when you choose what topics to write about, is to choose eBook topics in the same way you would choose an online article topic – based on the demand for that topic and the availability of it throughout the net. The smartest thing to do when you go with eBay is to set up a seller store and post your eBooks in a permanent listing for a regular fee. Another fantastic marketplace for eBooks is Craigslist.
This surprises many people, but the truth is that Craigslist has become a very large marketplace with a huge audience. Just like on eBay, if you’re writing on a topic that’s in demand, you’ll get interested buyers.
Reaching the eBook Audience
The very best way to achieve the highest sales for your eBook is to take advantage of those eBook directories that accept submissions from authors. While most major eBook sellers like Amazon or Barnes & Nobles only accept submissions from major book publishers, many of the smaller online firms will accept direct submissions from writers. Jack recently wrote a great article on how to publish your eBook in print using LuLu’s awesome publication service, but LuLu also offers eBook authors a fantastic resource to sell your book in electronic format as well.
Now, selling an eBook on LuLu is not free. The right to publish comes at a price tag that’s currently about $1.49. For me, that’s about the price of a cup of coffee, and considering the fact that LuLu takes care of integrating DRM copy protection and already has a huge audience for your book – it’s well worth it. If your book sells, LuLu takes only a $2.50 cut while you get $10 in revenue. I’m very impressed with LuLu’s rates and service and would recommend them to any potential author. However, if you really only want to use a service that’s absolutely free, there is another excellent option known as TradeBit.
At TradeBit, you can upload your eBooks where the TradeBit community can find it and buy it. For hosting and selling your eBook for you, TradeBit charges absolutely nothing upfront, and when it sells you get 75% of the revenue. Again, this is a very fair deal considering that TradeBit absorbs the costs for hosting, promoting and selling your eBook on their site and with their existing traffic.
Host Your Own eBooks and Take 100% of the Profit
There is, of course, always the self-hosting option. In this case, you would set up a blog or a website and provide your own eBooks for download through a payment system like Paypal and just offer your books in a simple format just like you would sell Amazon books on your own blog.
The advantage to selling your own eBooks on your blog or website is that you set your own price and collect 100% of the profits. The disadvantage is that you’re starting at ground zero in attracting an audience and potential buyers. Over time, you’ll have a good traffic, a strong reputation, and a steady revenue stream – but getting there will take a bit longer if you opt for the self-hosting approach. The best option might be to start with one of the eBook sales sites in order to get people hooked on the eBooks that you write, and then switch to the self-hosted option once people recognize your name as a premium eBook author.
Do you author your own eBooks? What approach or technique do you take to sell your books? Share your insight and advice in the comments section below.