Want to learn how to publish an eBook? On Amazon, you can self publish eBooks for free and reach millions of readers. In this post, we'll share 8 top tips on how to sell eBooks on Amazon and make money in 2019.
E-books and audiobooks are a fantastic way to create an educational experience for your followers. With eBooks and audiobooks, you have the opportunity to provide in-depth training, guidance, and education to your customers.
You can really dive deep into a topic you’ve only delivered in smaller bites of blog posts, podcasts or courses and create passive income in the process. Your published content will establish you as a thought leader and even generate leads for your business. And the truth is, it’s never been easier to create and sell your eBook!
According to Penguin Random House, 22% of books purchased are eBooks, and a whopping 42% of all book purchases were made online.
But you may be wondering, isn't publishing a book really expensive? What is the Amazon self publishing cost?
Amazon offers two avenues for self-publishing your digital products: the Kindle Direct Publishing as well as the audiobook marketplace Audible. Both are free.
So, are you ready to publish your eBook and make money this 2019?
Here are 8 must-follow tips to self-publish your e-book through Amazon and create passive income...
Although you may have precise knowledge in a field, you may want to rethink writing on a topic that is too specific. After all, books on specialty subjects may not be searched for and purchased as often through Kindle.
In order to set yourself up for success to reach the largest audience possible, make sure you’re writing content in a broad enough niche. Finding a way to generalize your content to apply to more people will help your downloads and therefore your income in the long-term.
A good way to measure whether the niche is broad enough is to search a similar title on Kindle and check its ranking on the Amazon Best Sellers list. This little number will tell you where the book ranks in sales.
As a good rule of thumb, if the book ranks under #10,000 in the hundreds of thousands of books available on Amazon, it means there’s good potential traffic on the subject for you to capitalize on.
A good practice when planning your self-publishing strategy is to research keywords surrounding your topic. There are tools such as Moz Explorer, Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs and more that will offer you lists of keywords and phrases around your topic that generate the most search traffic on the web.
Setting these keywords in your product description, product keywords and tags will help your digital content rank higher. The higher your product ranks, the more likely it is not only to be downloaded but to get into the hands of those people who are actively looking for it.
Remember: happy customers who gained something useful from reading your content will be the best marketing evangelists you can get. They’re far more likely to leave positive reviews and recommend your book to friends, family or colleagues who have a similar need!
Before you can get to countless downloads, higher rankings and happy customers, you’ll need to reel them in. To do this, you need to perfect your book marketing strategy.
Almost everyone has heard the phrase, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” The reason this saying is so popular is because that’s exactly what people do:
People judge books by their covers!
As potential readers or listeners scroll through the lists of offerings, looking for their next read, the first thing to catch their eye is the cover. Bland, boring, blank or worse, obviously amateur covers will tell those scrollers that the contents of the book are probably similar. On the other hand, if your cover is bright, colorful and interesting it will catch the eye and hopefully, inspire click through!
If you had to make just one marketing decision about your digital product, make it investing in a graphic designer to design a quality cover.
Where do you find a good designer? 99designs is a great place to start looking. You can browse portfolios to find a particular designer you like and work directly with them, or you can even start a contest and have multiple designers submit their designs before choosing which book cover you want to go with.
As we mentioned above, the first thing that catches a reader’s eye is the cover. The second thing the eye will gravitate to is your title.
You’ll really want to spend a little extra time making sure your title and subtitle are catchy, engaging and give some hint as to what your book is about. If you’ve ever worked in dynamic sales and marketing or mounted your own email campaigns you’re probably already familiar with this concept. After all, a catchy and engaging email subject line often determines whether your email is opened, or sent to the recycling bin.
Like that email subject line, your title will make or break whether the potential reader clicks to find out more about your content. Even if you have the best cover art in the world, a title that falls flat is far more likely to be skipped over than one that interests the reader.
To craft a title that appeals to potential readers, keep it short, sweet and interesting. If the title needs a bit more specification, you can elaborate on the topic of the book a bit more in the subtitle. Don’t use long, complicated words if you can help it!
If you’re unsure whether your title or subject line is engaging enough, test it out on a sample set. Rather than using your Aunt Midge or your best friend Larry, ask colleagues or influencers who won’t be afraid to hurt your feelings. Test out a few titles and subtitles, tweak them after receiving feedback and then test again. It’s better to spend a lot of time testing and tweaking your title than spending time wondering why no one is downloading your material.
Sometimes, sellers are often so excited to finally list their product on Amazon that they don’t spend the time on the book description that they should. They might think that a stellar title and a gorgeous book cover might generate sales all by themselves- and that’s entirely possible. However, a quality book description will seal the deal for consumers who are on the fence!
Think of it this way: your book cover is the hook that draws the browser in. The title helps sell the deal, that this content might be something that could benefit them by teaching them something new or interesting. The book description will confirm that and ultimately close the sale, or convince the reader they should pass.
By the time potential purchasers reach the book description, they’re halfway sold on your book. Invest a little extra time in telling readers why your content is just the thing to teach, answer or address their want, and they’ll download in a snap.
Here's an example Amazon eBook description from Seth Godin's This Is Marketing:
When you publish an ebook on Kindle, you have the option of setting your price.
The first price you should set for your content?
I know that sounds counter-intuitive since you are trying to make money, but hear us out...
Listing your book as free for at least five days will boost its presence on Kindle and move it up the Amazon Best Sellers list.
Although you won’t make a profit off a free book, you’ll capture a wider audience, be able to market to groups and sites devoted to free e-books and get more exposure than if you started out with a selling price.
Not to mention, you can collect positive reviews of your book quickly while everyone’s flocking to download a freebie.
After a week or so, a quick scan of Kindle will show you that many first-time authors have books listed at $2.99 or above. At the price point of $2.99, you’ll finally see some profit from a sale after royalties, albeit a little one.
$2.99 is a magic number for your content. It’s a low enough number to still entice new readers while affording you profit. When you set this price, your number of downloads will drop from the numbers when your content was free, but you’ve set up a rate that will afford you a lot of downloads and a passive income.
(Note: Pricing strategy predominantly applies to selling e-books on Kindle, since Audible and each of the retailers–like iTunes, etc.–independently price your audiobook.)
As we mentioned above, there are hundreds of groups and sites that regularly publish lists of free eBooks from around the web. As soon as your book is published, send an email to notify these sites that your brand new eBook has been listed for free. Every site that lists a link to your eBook generates more potential downloads and a wider audience.
In addition, consider promoting your book on Facebook or to relevant blogs or groups that revolve around the topic you wrote about. Boosting the traffic and buzz around your book early on will keep its momentum strong and open you up to wider audiences to continue building passive income. If you decide to write a follow-up book, you can market to these same circles upon its release. If they liked your content the first time around, they’re likely to read your new works as well.
Finally, consider leveraging industry connections to help your content gain more exposure. Ask blog owners and websites that discuss similar topics if they would consider posting an excerpt of your ebook or a short write-up about your audiobook.
So you’ve published an ebook, and now you’ve got your eye on an audiobook. This is the next step for publishing digital content, as you cannot publish an audiobook without an e-book!
The process for publishing an audiobook is a bit more complex, as you will need to hire a producer to narrate your audiobook. This is where our final tip comes into play:
Do not narrate your own ebook.
Even if you have the most wonderful voice in the world, you should absolutely contract a professional voice actor or actress to narrate your audiobook.
Using a professional voice over artist will allow the reading of your book to have a natural rhythm. Professionals are also trained against long pauses, awkward lilts, turns of phrases, or filling space with ummm.
Don’t believe us? Listen to an audiobook that uses a professional voice-over artist. Then record yourself reading the same piece, or one of your own. The difference in a trained actor or actress narrating your piece versus you fumbling over your words will amaze you. Furthermore, it’ll impact your listeners.
Audiobooks are meant to be narrated smoothly, lyrically, and allow the reader to immerse themselves in the content and hear what it is saying while visualizing the content in their minds. Listening to starts stops, and fumbling will likely take them out of the moment and make it difficult to concentrate.
Now you know how to publish an eBook on Amazon for free and make money. That wasn't so hard, was it?
The main takeaway is this:
When planning to list digital products on Amazon like ebooks or audiobooks, it’s just as important to research titles, keywords and pricing strategies as it is with researching for your blog content.
Spending a little extra time to perfect titles, subtitles and descriptions could make the difference between a steady stream of income and one that dries up before it even begins.
So to get started, go do some keyword research using one or more of the tools we mentioned in tips #1 and #2. Then when marketing your e-book or audiobook, it is absolutely critical that is looks or sounds professional.
Follow these tips, and you'll be well on your way to making money with your first self published e-book!
Brandon Stapper is the Chief Executive Officer of Nonstop Signs & Graphics. At 20 years old, with no formal education and only a few hundred dollars, Stapper turned a $400 custom decal machine in a garage into a printing powerhouse. Nonstop Signs & Graphics has made the Forbes Fastest Growing Companies Award 4 years in a row and services 10,000 clients yearly. The San-Diego based printing company still makes custom decals, but they’ve expanded their offering to all manner of printing from signs and displays to specialty items like car wraps and vinyl appliques.
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