Today I will tell you how to earn money for online by downloading eBooks. An ebook is a true form of passive income because after its written and published, you sit back and let the money come in. That doesn’t mean it’s easy but if mastered one ebook can make you money for years to come.
We’ll be discussing two ways of creating passive income with eBooks, the first being Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), and the second being creating your own website to sell your eBooks.
- Location: Anywhere 🌎
- Income Potential: Medium/High
- Difficulty: Medium
Is Making Ebooks For Me?
Anyone can self-publish an ebook, but does that mean everyone should?
If you’re interested in making money with ebooks, it requires a lot of initial and ongoing effort. Some of the tasks you should expect to do are:
- Researching profitable topics and niches
- Learning lots of Amazon nuances like their algorithm, keyword research, category rankings etc
- Lots of time writing and editing to make sure it’s good
- Takes time to build your reviews and ranking to get consistent sales
- Hiring ghost writer and team (optional) – this still requires effort to hire correctly and lots of time will be spent communicating back and forth
- And much more
Any business that is worthwhile takes lots of effort. Ebooks is the same but if you’re willing to put in the time and do these things it can be worth it financially.
Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing)
Amazon KDP allows authors to self-publish their books and get distribution to a massive audience. You simply write the eBook and get it published FOR FREE, and it goes to kindle stores.
The main benefit is Amazon has millions of people browsing their website every single day. You can take advantage of that traffic if you can create good keywords, reviews and know what people want to read.Pros Amazon KDPCons Amazon KDP
- Free self publishing
- Amazon takes about 30% of your sales
- Amazon takes care of all technical stuff like delivery, sales, website, etc
- Amazon wants exclusivity. Your ebook can only be sold on Amazon
- Huge customer base on Amazon
- Pricing on Kindle is up to Amazon
- Edit your eBook anytime
- Lots of competition on Amazon
KDP vs. KDP Select
- KDP offers non-exclusive publishing, so you’ll still be able to sell your ebook on your own website or elsewhere online.
- KDP Select requires exclusivity to Amazon in exchange for having your ebook listed on Kindle Unlimited. You won’t be allowed to offer your ebook anywhere else online (though of course you can still do marketing)
Visit Just Publishing Advice’s article for a more detailed breakdown on the differences.
Your Own Website
An alternative way to sell ebooks is by selling them on your own website. This article will focus on Amazon KDP but here are some reasons you may or may not consider doing this instead:Pros of Your Own WebsiteCons of Your Own Website
- Full control and not under Amazon’s rules
- You have to generate all traffic and leads
- Can set premium prices if you have a good sales funnel and marketing
- More time investment to set things up
- You keep 100% of the income
- More financial investment (marketing costs, domain, web hosting)
- More personalized experience with your audience
- Harder to build trust with customer
If you are good at driving traffic from social media or other sources then selling on your own website might be a better option. It can also be an option to write your book(s) on Amazon first then move it to your own website later.
How to Choose a Topic
Most of your money is not made when you are writing the book, it’s actually made when you’re picking the topic. The topic you choose will affect whether you have passive income for 5 months or for 5 years so it’s very important. Here are the main variables to help you create a book that sells for many years:
- Make a book that will stay relevant for years (evergreen content)
- Need a good Amazon ranking (research keywords, get reviews, etc)
- Pick a topic people are buying (research paid best sellers and rankings)
- Need to create a quality book
1. Pick Evergreen Topics
To have a book that sells for many years you need to understand a simple concept called evergreen content.
Evergreen content is content that will always be relevant and doesn’t get old. Examples of evergreen content include:
- How to lose weight
- How to start a website
- How to incorporate a business
It is content that at any time – today, next year, 5 years from now – people will be looking for. These topics will always be in demand.
If your book is evergreen you can write it once and forget about it or update it less frequently. If it’s not evergreen you will have to keep updating it or continuously create more books.
2. Build Your Ranking on Amazon
A high amazon ranking means more traffic which means more sales. Most of this is determined by keywords, number of positive reviews, total downloads, learning the algorithm and so on.
It takes time to build these numbers up and it’s not done over night. The good news is that once you start climbing the ranks in a profitable category, it turns into a totally passive income. And the higher up the ranks you go the harder it will be for competitors to pass you.
- MerchantWords is a tool for Amazon sellers to conduct keyword research. Simply type in your planned keyword and MerchantWords will tell you its estimated monthly search volume.
3. Find A Profitable Topic
Of course you must find a topic that is profitable and one that people will pay for. You should definitely do this before you write your book.
Your keywords are the key to unlocking your niche and topic. They describe the topic for you. So to find a profitable topic, pay attention to your keywords. The most valuable keyword is the one with a high ranking but lower competition.
Here are some good resources to find a book topic that will sell:
- 50 most profitable niches for Amazon books
- YouTube: How to find profitable topics in Kindle publishing
How To Make The Ebook
Option 1: Writing Yourself
Jerry Jenkins, a 21-time New York Times bestseller and author of more than 190 books, has the best guide on how to write a book. Here’s the short version:
- Dedicate a space for writing
- Form a writing habit by scheduling your time
- Give yourself a deadline and do everything you can to stick to it
- Do your research and keep it nearby
For the full guide: How to Write a Book: Everything You Need to Know in 20 Steps
Writing the book yourself has some benefits worth pointing out:
- You save on expenses
- Direct control over the writing quality
- There’s no back-and-forth communication with a ghostwriter
Option 2: Hiring a Ghostwriter
A ghostwriter is someone that writes your eBook for you and still lets you put your name on it.
Hiring one is a common solution for those who want to write a book, but don’t have the time or skill. There are many different places to hire a ghostwriter online. A common option is Upwork.
For a detailed guide on how to hire a ghostwriter: How a Ghostwriter Can Help Your Small Business
Hiring a ghostwriter offers some benefits over writing yourself, including:
- A guarantee that your book will be written from start to finish
- Typically faster to complete
However, bear in mind that finding the right ghostwriter takes time. You need to plan everything in advance and stay in contact with them.
For more information: Should You Hire a Ghostwriter to Write Your Book?
What Makes a Good Book?
A good ebook has 10 important ingredients:
- An eye-catching cover
- Visual hierarchy (not only on your cover, but throughout the book)
- Keep your design and branding consistent
- Use customized graphics to illustrate your ebook as appropriate
- Add external hyperlinks to important sources, related ebooks, or anything else relevant to your content
- Don’t be afraid of white space – a minimalist design has better impact than an overcrowded page
- Make good use of color
- Add a Tweet button to catchphrase sentences so readers can share what excites them about your ebook
- If you’ve created any relevant resources, add a download link
- Be as unique as you possible can
Obviously, it’s very important your cover attracts readers.
You can make your own cover using Canva, which offers free templates and images. If you’re not design savvy, hire someone to do it for you. Both Upwork and Fiverr can be used to find high quality designers.
Formatting Your Ebook
Amazon KDP has an eBook Manuscript Formatting Guide you should follow for the best results. It includes information on line spacing, font size, and how to use Kindle Create for images and adding a content page.
How to Sell and Marketing Tips
To maximize your ebook’s potential earnings, keep these tips in mind:
- Research keywords and use them in your title, description, and metadata
- Put your ebook into the right Amazon category
- Invest time in optimizing your listing
- Boost your ranking by sharing links on giveaway sites
- Promote your ebook on website platforms that have messaging systems
- Reach out to course curators on Udemy and ask if they’d be interested in sharing a free copy of your ebook as part of their related course
- Message people on your Insider’s List (friends, family, colleagues, etc) and offer a free copy in exchange for a review
- Reach out to blogs you subscribe to and ask if they’d be willing to add a mention in the “P.S.” section of their next email
- Share links to your ebook on relevant Facebook groups and Twitter handles
- If you have an email “vacation responder” set up, change it to promote your ebook
- When running a free promotion, thank the people who download your ebook via your social media (others will want a shout out too)
- Create an “early access” hype before you publish
- Reach out to the people you’ve quoted and featured in your ebook. Letting them know can sometimes result in their promoting your ebook to their audiences too
- Create ancillary content – blog posts, social media posts, YouTube videos, etc
For more info (plus some templates):
- #1 on Amazon: An Ebook Marketing Guide for Self Publishers
- Digital Marketing 101 for Ebooks
- eBook Creation Courses on Udemy
Ready to get started? Here’s a quick summary of everything you need to know, with some links to help every step of the way:
- MerchantWords for Amazon keyword research
- KindleRanker for niche and topic research
- The Amazon Best Sellers List for niche and topic research
- The Beginner’s Guide to Evergreen Content to make sure your topic will stay popular for longer
- How to Write a Book: Everything You Need to Know in 20 Steps
- 10 Things You Need to Do to Make an Awesome Ebook
- Scrivener, the Freedom app, and WriteRoom will help to eliminate online distractions and make writing easier for you
- How to Hire a Ghostwriter for Your First Book if you find that writing the book yourself isn’t working out
- How to Become a Copy Editor for making sure the writing is error-free
- Top eBook Creation Courses Online by Udemy for step by step guides on writing, formating, and marketing
- WritingForums.org for writing help, workshops, advice, and mentorship
FORMATING AND DESIGN:
- Book Cover Design Mastery for book cover design ideas
- Canva to create your cover and illustrations
- eBook Manuscript Formatting Guide for Amazon’s ebook formatting requirements
- Publish Your Book for Amazon’s guide on ebook publishing
- How I’ve Optimized My Amazon Kindle Books for Better Rankings and Sales Using KDP Rocket
- #1 on Amazon: An Ebook Marketing Guide for Self Publishers for step by step instructions plus useful marketing templates
- Digital Marketing 101 for Ebooks for more marketing tips
The Bottom Line
Use this information to get started and keep researching. Most importantly, make sure you have researched a topic that will sell and create something that solves a problem. In this way, you will know well how to earn money for online with eBooks