How to Successfully Start a Profitable Ebook Business from Home
Ebooks are one of the most popular forms of content on the web today. They’ve been around for years, but selling ebooks is growing as more people discover that they can read books on their phones and tablets as well as easily make money.
Ebooks are easy to share with other people, and they’re also easy to distribute through digital platforms like Amazon and iTunes.
This means that anyone with an internet connection and basic writing supplies can write an ebook in their spare time and sell it online without needing special training or equipment—you just need a computer.
Selling ebooks online takes a little work upfront, but you can go from no income to a self-published business making money hand over fist in no time.
What is an Ebook?
An ebook is a digital copy of a book. It’s basically an electronic version of the paper book. It can be read on any device with a screen (computers, phones, etc.).
Ebooks are usually cheaper than physical books because they’re not printed on paper or bound into a cover. They’re just files that cost less to produce.
This isn’t Agatha Christie! These are simple books based on helping people with everyday problems.
They also don’t have to be shipped around, so there’s no shipping costs involved resulting in higher ebook sales than traditional publishing. On top of that, printing an electronic book only takes seconds compared to the time it takes for a physical book to be printed and shipped out.
Physical books have their advantages, though:
- They have sturdy covers and pages made from real materials
- They give you that “new book” smell
- They look nice when you hold them
- They look fantastic on your shelf.
All that is well and good but starting a self-published or ebook enterprise is far easier than building a publishing company for physical books.
Why Ebooks Over Physical Books?
The ebook industry is growing. More and more people are buying ebooks over physical books because they’re cheaper to produce and distribute and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
Ebooks can be updated frequently and can be sold in multiple formats.
Ebooks don’t require a physical store, either. This isn’t a eulogy for physical work. Books will always have a place in our society.
But it is way easier when you don’t need a warehouse to keep your inventory safe or an employee to manage it all for you. You can begin making money with nothing more than a laptop to write on, an idea to build upon, and a platform for selling ebooks online.
Where to Get Ebook Ideas
There are many ways that you can come up with ebook ideas. The goal is to find a topic with a lot of interest with obvious problems that need solutions. Children’s books and non-fiction are two of the most popular options.
Some great places to get started when you want to create and sell an ebook would be:
You are looking for those unique topics of conversation with a decent following. This could be anything from baking bread with organic materials to tying the lures in fly fishing.
Once you have identified your niche, you must solve a problem important to your target market. The best way to do this is by understanding your audience’s pain points and what they need.
If you can’t understand their problems or motivations, then how will you know how to help them? You don’t want to confuse yourself by trying too many different things simultaneously. Instead, focus on solving one problem at a time and build upon it with each new ebook you write and sell.
What Format of Ebook to Use
When it comes to ebooks, you have some main formats to choose from: PDF, EPUB, and MOBI.
PDF – This is the most widely used format for ebooks, and for a good reason. The PDF file is compatible with most devices, searchable (so your readers can easily find what they’re looking for), easy to read on tablets and smartphones, easy to print out at home or in a library or office—and it can be shared quickly as well. Most private users sell ebooks in PDF format.
EPUB – EPUB is a file format developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) for the distribution of electronic books. It is based on HTML and XML, and it can be read on devices like the iPhone or iPad, but also PCs and Macs. EPUB 3 is part of the ePub 3 standard used for enhanced EPUB editions.
MOBI – MOBI is a format for ebooks. It’s an open format and can be used to make ebooks from any source file. If you’re using Word or Scrivener, some plugins will convert your work into .mobi files so that it can be used in the Kindle app or on a real Kindle device.
If all of that sounds overwhelming, I recommend hiring a freelancer to do your formatting.
How to Write an Ebook
Now that you have decided to sell ebooks, you probably should learn how to actually write an ebook. Try these basic steps for writing your ebook masterpiece.
1 - Find your niche
You can start by choosing a topic that matches your audience’s needs. The first step is determining who the people who need this information and what they want to learn. You must be specific and realistic to find a good topic.
For example, if you have an audience of 20-something women who work in an office, it wouldn’t make sense for you to write about how dogs can help their owners lose weight or how certain foods can help them eat better while at work.
Some topics might be easy for you but difficult for others. Therefore, choose something that’s easy to research and write about.
2 - Create an ebook outline
Outline each chapter of your ebook. This will help you to break down each chapter as you write, and it will also help you to see the big picture. If it’s not already done, this is an excellent time to hire an editor or proofreader for feedback on your content and structure.
A simple structure for your ebook should include:
- Author Details
- Table of Contents
- Number of Chapters based on topics
3 - Write like you are the target audience
Writing a book takes time and effort. Therefore, it’s important that you don’t just write one chapter after another.
Instead, break each chapter into sections. The best way to do this is through a mind map. A mind map is simply a diagram that represents your thoughts and ideas on a subject or project.
- Write down all the subtopics related to the main topic of your book at the center of the page.
- Under each subtopic, write down several related thoughts and ideas as you think about how this could be broken down further (this will help give clarity and direction when writing).
- Draw lines connecting each idea with another one next door/above/below etc., until everything has been linked.
4 - Design & Layout
Once you have your content, it’s time to design your ebook. This is an essential step because your book will be judged by its cover—literally and figuratively. If you want people to take a second look at what you’re offering, then pay attention to the details of how you present it.
You can hire a professional designer through websites such as Fiverr or Upwork, but the best way is to find someone who has experience with designing ebooks from scratch and ask them for help with yours.
5 - Choose a Color Theme
If you want your ebook to be read, it’s important that it’s easy on the eyes. So, use colors that are easy to read. This means avoiding bright yellow text on a black background or other combinations that can cause eye strain or fatigue when reading for long periods.
6 - Use Pictures & Diagrams
A well-designed ebook will incorporate visuals to make it more interesting. As a result, it will be easier for customers to read and understand.
Use images to break up the text. This is a great way to add variety and interest to your writing, which will help keep your reader engaged.
7 - Don't Forget Stats
Quotes and statistics are great ways to make your ebook more interesting. Not only do they give some structure to your content, but they also help break up long paragraphs of text and help you keep your reader engaged.
You can use quotes from yourself, other authors, or even TV shows/movies. It’s important that you make sure that the source is credible before using it (e.g., not just saying “wisdom from my dad”).
8 - Always Have a CTA
You’ve done the hard work of writing your ebook. Now it’s time to get people reading it. Calls-to-action (CTAs) are a vital part of any good sales page. A CTA encourages readers to take action by telling them what to do next. For example: “Download My Free Guide” or “Pickup My Course.”
As with most things in life, you can go too far with CTAs too. It’s important not to overuse them or abuse their power of persuasion. Otherwise, people will simply ignore your calls to action altogether (and rightly so). Again, view the ebook as if you were the person buying it and not the author.
9 - Convert the Ebook
The next step is to convert your ebook into a PDF. You can do this easily with one of the many online conversion tools available, or you can use a PDF converter program that comes with your word processor. If you don’t have either of these things, you can use Google Docs.
10 - Create a Landing Page
Your ebook landing page is the page where you direct people who are interested in your ebook. It should be an entire page where your readers can sign up for your email list and then get access to your ebook.
11 - Promote & Sell Your Ebook
Steps to Building Your Ebook Business
Alright, now that you have gone through the process of writing your ebook, it is time to sell that beauty using your website, marketing, and business infrastructure to make money.
Yes, this can be confusing, and honestly, all you really need to begin is a clean website that is SEO optimized and works on a mobile device. However, I’m going to include all the ebook business bells and whistles to ensure you get the most out of your potential store sales.
1 - Plan your Ebook Store
Now that you have an excellent idea for your ebook business, it’s time to plan.
As this is your first ebook, I recommend starting with a single book in one niche. This will allow you to focus on one thing at a time and get comfortable with the process before moving on to another niche or multiple books.
You need to:
- Decide on your platform: Amazon, iTunes, personal website, etc.
- Define your target audience
- Figure out your startup and routine expenses
- Create a business name, like an ebook store brand to sell under
2 - Create an LLC
The next step is to form a legal entity. This is a business structure that will be held accountable for your debts and taxes, as well as make it easier for you to get loans in the future. It will also help separate your personal assets from those of the company so that if something happens, it won’t affect your personal finances.
An LLC is a limited liability company and the easiest to get started and run. You only need to consider an S-Corp if you are profiting over $60,000. The goal is to lower your tax obligations, so you have greater pre-tax wealth from your digital book business.
3 - Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
You need to open a business bank account and apply for a credit card to purchase the necessary items for your ebook business. This will allow you to separate your personal finances from your new company’s finances, which is essential when starting up any business.
4 - Create an Author or Publishing Brand
If you’re going to become a successful ebook creator, you need to know how to define your brand. This is the image that others will see when they look at your work. It should represent what you are selling, who created it, and why they should buy it.
You can express all this in one or two words, like “creative,” or “reliable,” or “cheap.”
Make sure your brand says something about what you are selling and how it will benefit people if they buy from you instead of someone else.
5 - Build an Ebook Website
After you’ve written your ebook and it’s ready for sale, you’ll want to create a website. A website is an essential tool for any business, both online and offline. It gives your customers a place where they can learn more about what it is that you do and why they should buy from you instead of someone else. Make sure your website is mobile-ready.
6 - Secure Social Media Profiles
In the modern day, social media is a popular tool for ebook businesses to connect with their audience. If you are going to start an ebook business, then you must have social media profiles for your company.
Facebook and Twitter are two of the most popular platforms for online users. These websites help boost brand awareness and also serve as an effective way to communicate with customers.
I suggest Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest. If you are overwhelmed by any of these, stick to only one and build your selling platform from there first.
7 - Create an Email Sign Up
If you want to make money, then you need to have an email list.
Email marketing is more effective than social media and other types of advertising because it allows you to directly target your customers with exactly what they want and when they want it.
Start with Mailchimp. Spend time learning everything you can about how Mailchimp can help you make money and create email marketing campaigns.
8 - Post Your Ebooks
Post your ebooks to your website, social media, and free ebook sites. Posting on paid sites can be expensive. If you want to start with the best bang for your buck, consider posting to free ebook sites first – then move on to more costly paid sites later if you have the budget available.
9 - Market Your Ebooks
Marketing is the most crucial part of building an ebook business. It’s how you get your product out there, and it can be done in many different ways.
You can use social media and email, or paid advertising on platforms like Facebook or Google Ads. You should have several marketing strategies in place so that no matter what happens, you’ll still be able to reach your audience.
Don’t forget free offers with one or two chapters in exchange for email addresses or marketing to your friends and family when you are just starting out and need to grow your reviews and book readers.
No matter what – have a fantastic ebook cover!
10 - Focus on SEO
SEO is a tricky thing. Not only do you have to know what keywords are appropriate for your site and content, but you also need to use those keywords in all the right places. You don’t want people searching for “digital marketing strategy” to find your page about digital security instead.
I have seen wildly successful ebooks online that are only 5,000-7,000 words. Alex Fasulo, who is a phenomenal freelancer, started out with only a 7,500 ebook to build an audience.
However, plenty of online authors enjoy writing 30,000-word romance or science fiction novels for their ebooks. It is entirely up to you.
The important part is writing an ebook that makes selling way easier. The more sales you have, the stronger your ebook business.
Wrapping it Up
Writing ebooks is a terrific way to earn money from home. You can make ebooks on any topic you like and sell them online. You can also use your writing skills to help others write their own ebook and sell it for them.
No matter how you decide to get started, be easy on yourself. This is not an overnight business. You need to put in the time before you start making a lot of money. Focus on quality, free offers, and attracting readers with engaging cover designs, and your sales will grow organically. Good luck!