One method of making money from a side hustle that has stood the test of time is writing a book. With the internet, you can create digital books or e-books that can be sold directly to customers without the need to ship a product.
Anyone that has never written a book before will likely be unsure of how to get started. I’ve been writing e-books for about 13 years now, so I have a ton of tips to share with you to help you write your first. I’m even going to give you some strategies on how to publish and sell your book.
I want to begin by talking about general ways to make money from an e-book that you write. Books can be for a wide variety of different purposes. You may want to write a novel to sell. This could be published as a physical book and/or as a digital e-book. Amazon can be used to sell any books you write, especially novels.
Maybe you want to teach something to others. If your knowledge is worth paying for, educational training guides can be very profitable. Many of these e-books are best sold to a private audience that you build with an existing business, such as a website blog or YouTube channel.
E-books can also be created with the intention to give them away for free. This strategy is more of a long game. Instead of trying to make money immediately with your book, you’re using it as a tool to get you leads for potential future sales.
One reason can be to use as a marketing or brand recognition tool. By simply giving away a book, you could drive traffic to a website that is referenced in your writing. You can also give away e-books to help build an audience, such as an email newsletter list. Write a book and offer it for free to anyone that joins your newsletter. This gives you access to contact your audience instantly in the future to keep them informed about new content you’ve published and/or to attempt to sell something to them.
Chapter & Topic Outlining
Once you know what kind of book you want to write and how you’ll use it to make money, you can start planning it. Some people will simply dive right into writing their book, but this can actually result in a rather unorganized disaster that is hard to understand when reading.
Whenever you’re trying to write a large amount of content, the biggest thing you need to stay focused on is organization. By breaking up your writing into meaningful chunks and organizing those chunks with labels, you make it much easier for your readers to understand. This can also be beneficial for you in numerous ways, such as ensuring that you don’t miss important topics.
Start by making a list of the topics you want to cover. If necessary, break up topics into sub-topics for additional clarification. Once you have a list of topics, try to organize them into a meaningful order. You can then go back through the list and create additional bullet points for each to mention key things you want to cover for each topic.
This topic outline can then become the basis for your entire book. Use it to organize chapters and sub-topics within each chapter. Educational book can benefit from sub-topic titles throughout each chapter, while a novel would focus on simply writing about each sub-topic without labeling them to the reader.
E-Book Creation Software
When you’re ready to begin writing your e-book, you need special software that allows you to do it. Ultimately, the PDF format is generally the best file type to use to publish an e-book. PDF is an Adobe Acrobat file type, but this software can be costly to buy.
Luckily, you don’t need to actually buy Adobe Acrobat to write and publish PDF e-books though. OpenOffice is a free, open source version of Microsoft Office. The word processor in Open Office can be used to write you book without spending a penny – just design your chapters within the word processor program.
Open Office saves files in its own file format or as a Microsoft Word file. However, when your book is finished, you can easily export the book to a PDF file format with Open Office. This PDF file is then used to publish or it’s the file you deliver to a customer after they purchase your book on your own website.
Publish Your E-Book
Amazon is one of the easiest places to self-publish your own e-book these days. Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is the site you use to upload your PDF file, set your book details including the price, and then sit back while Amazon tries to sell it for you.
You can also utilize another Amazon service called CreateSpace to actually publish a physical softcover or hardcover book to sell. It basically works the same way as KDP. You just upload your PDF file and this is used to print the books you sell on demand. They will even send one to you as a proof to check.
These books can then be sold directly on Amazon without any upfront investment from you. The books are printed after each sale and shipped for you – they just keep a cut of each sale for this service. They also offer an option to buy books and have them shipped to you for a lower cost per book. This would allow you to sell and ship your own books, for example through your own website.
If you will only self-publish and sell your books and/or e-books on Amazon, you need be informed about how promotion works on their end. The more sales your book has on their site, the better exposure you’ll receive from them. This creates a snowball effect bringing you even more sales and even higher placement.
The problem is that getting your initial sales can sometimes be difficult. When you have your own audience, such as an email newsletter or social media following, you can direct them to purchase your book directly on Amazon to boost your sales stats. By self-promoting your own book, you’ll gain a big advantage over other sellers and be much more likely to be a top seller on Amazon that receives additional traffic and sales from them.
Private E-Book Sales
Besides self-publishing with Amazon, the other common method to sell and distribute e-books is simply through your own website. With a system like WordPress and WooCommerce, you can set up a page on your website for a digital product sale. When a customer visits one of these product listings on your site and purchases your book, you receive an instant payment from them, and they get instant access to download the e-book.
This is often the ideal way to try to sell most training courses that are e-book based. When the book topic is highly relevant and of interest to the audience of your website, it can be an ideal match for them and a great source of revenue for you.
Your own website can also be a useful place to build an email newsletter by giving away a free e-book. Although I’m not currently doing this on this particular website at the time of this writing, you will end up seeing this strategy used directly on this site in the near future. I’ve personally built newsletters with tens of thousands of subscribers using this method, and then used those newsletters to generate six figures in annual sales from single websites. It simply works and it’s a really powerful strategy for both you and your site visitors. You can get to advertise to them, and they get really useful content for free.