Thursday, January 28, 2016

Make Money: Write an Ebook

Good morning,

Today we'll be discussing how to make money by creating and selling an ebook via Amazon.

What is Amazon and how do they sell books?

Amazon, or Amazon Inc. is an American electronic commerce site that specializes in selling and shipping goods. In addition to their core business, they also have an eBook store where they sell books that have been written for the sale in electronic format to electronic reading devices such as Kindle (Amazon's best selling e-reader device). These eBooks can be bought or sold through the Amazon book store by people such as you or me with little to no effort. This is the key reason that Amazon has been so successful and why so many people love to use their business to sell their own books or eBooks.

How to make money with it:

Before you can ever think to publish a book and make money off of it, you'll need to make sure to have a good solid product first. This means you'll need to write a book, short story, or produce anything in writing that you believe others may want to read. This above all is the most important part.

With that being said, the key ingredients for a successful eBook are very basic but can easily be missed by someone who is stressing making money off of something rather than slowing down and enjoying the process and then making the money off of it. The first ingredient to a great eBook is content. The content in your book needs to be good - this means your characters must be solid, your grammar must be correct (or as close to it to fool most people), and it must above all keep readers hooked with a compelling story. We all grow up as kids either reading something in class, having our parents read to us, or doing reading on our own volition. Simply remember back to when you were younger and had a much smaller attention span. What caught your interest long enough to read without having to be forced to do it? Could you emulate the same style and would you enjoy trying to produce something along the same lines? That's a great place to start when you are thinking about what you may produce.

The next step is to make sure that your book is formatted correctly. There is nothing more irritating than when you buy a book through an eBook retailer and it won't open or it is all jumbled when you read it. Not only will this upset those who buy your book but it may stop people from ever buying your book in the first place as most people download samples first before actually purchasing the final copy. You have two options here. You can either pay someone a fee to do the formatting for you (fees can vary depending on who you find to do it) or you can simply learn to do it yourself. I myself tend to gravitate towards doing it myself. Formatting rules are simple when it comes to an eBook. If you've written your book on a word processing program such as Word, or Google's free word processor, you'll already have a good start. In order for it to be formatted correctly, you will need to make sure that the cardinal rules are followed.

1) Do not hit tab on your keyboard to indent your paragraphs. Use the ruler on the top to choose the length of your indent. E Books do not understand the tab command and therefore it will not format correctly. Pull the ruler out to how far you want it and it will then automatically tab out to where you need your paragraphs to start without you actually having to hit tab.

2) Justify your writing project. Set the alignment of your product to justified so that it shows how all books are typically read.

3) Use page breaks instead of hitting enter, enter, enter to get to your next page. Again, eBooks do not understand this coding. Anytime you look to start a new page of your book where you want the reader to move to the next chapter or next section, use a page break. This can be done at the top of the word processor that you use. Typically it is found under "insert" and then "page break".

If all of these rules are followed, your eBook should at least be 90% formatted and should be good enough to fool just about 99% of the e-readers that are on the market. That was pretty easy, right? You'd be amazed how much people will spend on formatting their eBooks when it really is that easy to have an e-reader understand how your book should read. Once you've done all the above, save your project under the format "HTML". It will then convert it to a format that you'll use to upload your book to the main site later.

**note: I made up the statistics above but you get the point

The next step is to make sure that you have a cover for your book. There are tons of sites out there, including Amazon that offer cover creators. This is where I would say that money can be well spent if you decide you want to get someone else to do a part of your book for you. There really can't be enough said when I stress that a good cover can make or break your book sales. Anyone who has spent anytime looking through a book store can tell you that the biggest reason they picked up a book was because they saw a cover that caught their eye.

A great site that can be used for creating covers is because of the ease of use and the great starting templates that they offer. They have a great section of free to use templates and then you can purchase further backgrounds/photos for them if the basics don't cover what you're looking for in your eBook cover. That should get you started in the right direction.

Now that you've got a book written and a cover created, you've got your product. The question then becomes who to actually publish your book with. For many authors, the question is quickly answered - Amazon. Amazon has by far the largest following of eBook readers of any other eBook publishing site. They also offer an extended program that is known as KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) that makes the process even easier as they will market your book for you. Simply go to Amazon and sign in with your normal Amazon account. After that, they will walk you through the easy to use process to pubish your eBook with them. You can choose to either market your own book but add it to Amazon's library and therefore keep your rights to publish it elsewhere as well or you can agree to make your book part of their KDP program. When you enroll your book through KDP, you agree that your book will be sold nowhere else but Amazon for the length that you agree to the contract with KDP and Amazon. The benefit to KDP is that they will market your book for you and therefore you may get more exposure. The downside is that the price of your book through KDP then ends up only yielding you whatever Amazon is currently paying to authors as part of the KDP program rather than based on what price you set your book as. This doesn't mean that you can't have others buy your book at your own price. KDP sells books to members of Amazon's Unlimited plan where readers can take out a certain number of books for their flat price per month instead of paying the full purchase price. This still equates to a good amount of cash flow to you for your book (a little over $1/download usually) but the people who are part of Unlimited will not have to purchase it for your preset price of whatever you choose.

The other option that a lot of people use is to upload their book via Smashwords. Smashwords is another large seller of eBooks but they work as a larger distributor that works with other companies to sell your book so it's not limited to just one website or distributor. Smashwords does not play well with Amazon however so you won't have your book sold through Amazon unless you publish through both by not choosing Amazon's KDP option. Both are great options and they give you their own benefits but it will ultimately be up to you to decide which you would like to go with.

If you follow all of the steps I've set above, you can successfully and easily post your own eBook for the world to see and start making some extra capital for you to invest or do whatever with. I would however like to leave you with a few extra notes about how to be successful with your eBook.

Extra tips:

  • Price your eBook fairly - if you wrote a short essay and didn't spend much time with it, don't price it too high. You likely won't get very many sales and the ones you do get will likely lead to bad reviews which can't be erased on most eBook sites. 
  • Share your eBook all over social media. Social media is the grand master of exposure that you likely won't pay anything for unless you want to pay them to do it for you. Remember, many small parts are better working than one large part that can shut the whole business down if it fails. 
  • Write what you write based on passion rather than money. Once the book is done and written, then focus on the monetary side of it. 

Now it's your turn:

Have you ever written an eBook? What were your successes or failures with it? Did it generate a little working capital for you or did it flop?

Thanks for reading,


No comments:

Post a Comment