Write eBooks: Strange Ways to Make Money

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.

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6 Responses to Write eBooks: Strange Ways to Make Money

  1. Nirmala says:

    Another great resource for self-publishing an ebook is smashwords.com. You upload your finished book to them just once and then they distribute it to several online ebook stores including Barnes and Noble and Apple’s iBooks. Mark Coker and the crew at Smashwords are great to work with and they are doing a lot to make independent self-publishing a success.

  2. 20 and Engaged says:

    I have at least 5 ebook ideas that I want to get out and sell by the end of the year. I’m hoping that I sell a decent amount and impress people with the knowledge I have on the subjects. Hoping to make a decent living off of them.

  3. Jeff says:

    We have 12 ebooks currently on the market in 3 different market niches – by far the best advice is your point #1 – make sure you are writing about something people want to read. Our target is always informational – where we help people answer a pressing question or meet a strong desire they have. Miss the mark on guaging market interest, and your ebook will not sell, no matter how well written it is or how much marketing you do.

  4. I actually just started an online bookstore on my website just for 99-cent ebooks (only one so far, but I have two novels as ebooks as well). if you have a unique skill, ebooks are definitely a great way to sell mini “How-To” guides. I plan to publish one on improving a newbie’s chances of publication.

  5. Dan says:

    You might mention that anyone can use LibreOffice (free) to save in the PDF format as well. It could also help someone as a free alternative to MS Office.

  6. Bill says:

    Great article. I have been thinking about getting in ebooks, but at this stage I’m not sure I have enough to write about. I could certainly collate some of the articles in my blog into the one resource, but I’m worried I will just be repeating previous content. Hopefully in the future I will have the right topic, and I will use this page to help me along. Thanks!

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