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You might not be a best-selling romance novelist.
And you might not have the writing chops to become an award-winning copywriter.
But even if you were either of those two things, there’s no guarantee you’d rake in six figures – or even make a decent living.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t still make six figures writing.
In fact, there are several ways to pull in six figures writing.
But since the title of this article is called “How to Make Extra Money Writing and Selling eBooks,” we might as well focus on that, right?
So, I’m going to teach you my process for writing and selling multiple eBooks every month and making a passive income doing it.
There’s a method you can use – that I’ve used time and again to produce high-quality eBooks.
And the best part is that you don’t even have to be a writer to do this.
That’s right. No skills needed whatsoever.
As long as you have the funds to pay someone to do the writing for you.
But if you do have the writing chops to pull something like this off, you could start writing your first eBook today and start promoting it immediately so that when your book is finally released, you can make a quick windfall.
The first step to doing this is to choose a niche (or a few).
Do Some Research & Choose a Few Niches
I know popular advice says to choose a niche for literally everything. And that’s somewhat right in this case. Instead of one niche, I’m happy to report that you don’t have to settle on just one.
Pick a few of your favorite topics and write out a list you think you might want to write about, but first, do some research. You need to make sure that whatever topics you’re considering writing about are profitable. That way, you can avoid doing weeks of work writing and researching content for your eBook only to turn around and be disappointed when the book doesn’t sell because either the market’s oversaturated or the niche isn’t profitable enough.
Some bloggers recommend writing either fiction books or nonfiction books. I don’t see why we have to choose. I write both. I write fiction short stories and I write short, informational eBooks (some of which I use for lead magnets).
If you’re aiming to make the most money writing fiction, you’ll do well with one of these top 10 selling categories on Amazon:
- Romance > Contemporary
- Literature & Fiction > Contemporary Fiction > Women
- Romance > New Adult & College
- Literature & Fiction > Contemporary Fiction > Romance
- Literature & Fiction > Women > Romance
- Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Coming of Age
- Romance > Mystery & Suspense > Suspense
- Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Paranormal & Urban
- Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Erotica
- Literature & Fiction > Women > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Women Sleuths
If you’re looking to make the most money writing non-fiction, you’ll do well with one of these top 10 selling categories on Amazon:
- Biographies & Memoirs
- Religion & Spirituality
- Health, Fitness & Dieting
- Politics & Social Sciences
- Cook Books, Food & Wine
- Business & Money
- Parenting & Relationships
- Education & Teaching
- Crafts, Hobbies & Home
Come Up with a Few Pen Names
You don’t want to write all of your eBooks using the same name because people will start to look at you either like you’re a true Jack or Jill of all trades or like you haven’t got the slightest clue what you’re talking about. Either way, that’s bad for business. Which means, it’s better that no one knows you’re cranking out page after page, book after book and selling all of your amazing information at a fair and decent price.
Instead, let them think you’re 25 different people.
It sounds insane, but it’s better that way. Better for business. Better for you.
Choose a Platform or Two
If you’re going to turn this into a full-time thing, which would be a great source of passive income, choose a platform to publish your work on.
My personal favorite two are Smashwords and Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Program. I like Smashwords because you can publish your book on their platform and it’ll be distributed to multiple eReader stores, including:
- Apple iBooks
- Amazon Kindle
- Barnes & Noble
- Library Direct
Look over the terms and agreements for each of these sites or research some of your own self-publishing sites if you want and decide on one or two self-publishing platforms.
Designing Your eBook
Back in the early days of self-publishing, you might’ve been able to get away with poorly designed eBooks or eBooks with no design at all. But it’s been more than a decade since self-publishing has made it easier for authors to make their voices heard and put a mark on the world, however small.
So there’s really no excuse for poor design.
Get an eBook template if you must, but make sure it’s a quality one. Or hire a graphic designer on Fivver to make your first cover. If you’ve got a bit of an eye for design, find a template to use as a canvas and fool around with the different design elements until you find what you like.
I personally use Canva for my eBooks and my eBook covers. Canva makes it pretty easy for anyone to create stunning designs in just minutes.
Whatever you do, just don’t ignore the design.
Writing & Formatting Your First eBook
If you’ve never written an eBook before, it can help to look at some templates so you know what yours should look like. Depending on whether you’re going the fiction or the non-fiction route, there’s a specific format you’ll have to follow no matter which platform you use.
If you go with Smashwords, you’ll have to download the Smashwords Style Guide and read it over so you can prepare your manuscript appropriately. This is an important step because if you don’t follow the guidelines correctly, you won’t be able to get your book into the premium catalogs (i.e., Apple iBooks store, Kindle Book Store, etc.). Your book will only be available on Smashwords.
If you go with Kindle Direct Publishing, you’ll have to download a software program that allows you to upload your eBook and format it according to Amazon’s standards for approval. It’s a pretty straightforward process, but there are plenty of tutorials to help you if you get stuck.
It can help to create an outline of the book while you’re writing it so you can stay on track when you’re working on it and a table of contents once you’re through writing it so that your readers know where to find important information.
Make sure to use plenty of subheadings throughout your book. Don’t put your readers through the headache of trying to make it through long, endless chapters. And remember, your eBook doesn’t have to be as long as a traditional book would be, especially if you’re considering writing informational eBooks. Twenty-five to thirty-five pages is enough for a short, informational eBook.
Proofreading Your eBook
Once you’ve done all heavy lifting and your book is finally done (design and all), it’s time to do the proofreading. Proofreading entails going over every word of your book to ensure it all not only makes sense, but that’s it’s grammatical. An error here or there is bearable, but you really don’t want your book to be riddled with typos and errors with grammar.
If you don’t have the funds to hire a professional editor or proofreader, you can always use Grammarly. It’s a completely free tool you can install into your web browser that corrects your grammar and spelling as you type. The free version is great, but if you really need help with your writing, I’d suggest upgrading to Grammarly’s Premium version.
Check out my complete and honest review of Grammarly before you make a decision.
If you haven’t already at this point, you can start marketing your book.
Pricing Your eBook
This is something a lot of first-time authors struggle with and the best advice I can give you is to look at what others are doing. Price your eBook anywhere between $0.99 and $9.99, depending on length, royalties you’ll receive, and genre.
Obviously a 200-page, informational eBook on simple, life-saving medical knowledge would be more expensive than a 150-page short erotic fiction story.
This is the system I use to price my eBooks based on page length:
- $0.99 – Under 3K words
- $2.99 – 3k-15K words
- $3.99 – 15K to 35K words
- $4.99 – 35K to 50K words
- $5.99 – 50K to 70K words
- $6.99 – 70K to 90K words
- $7.99 – 90K to 110K words
- $8.99 -110K to 130K words
- $9.99 – 130K to 150K words
I got this from a site I can’t seem to find at the moment (if you figure it out, let me know so I can credit the author). This is based on average prices for romance eBooks.
Non-fiction book prices might be a bit more or less, depending on the topic and the other factors we talked about.
Marketing Your eBook
Marketing your book well ahead of time is highly recommended. You want to get the word out about it before it’s released so you’re not scrambling for sales on release day. There are more than a few ways to go about marketing your book, but let’s look at five ways you can do it (most for free).
1. Offer a Free Sample of Your Book
One of the best ways for people to get acquainted with you as a new author is for them to get a sample of what they’d be spending their money on. Offering a percentage of your book for free is easy on Smashwords. All you have to do is go to the settings for your book and adjust the percentage.
Make your first few pages compelling and give your readers a reason to want to know more about the topic. Make it interesting, thought-provoking, engaging. Hook the reader right away and leave them salivating for more so that they feel compelled to buy.
Another way to approach this is through content locking, which essentially means you’d give away a sample of your book as a blog post online, but don’t allow readers full access unless they pay for the rest. Then, promote the post like you would any other blog post to the right audience and you’ve got another way to entice readers to buy the full version of your book.
2. Run Sales Regularly
Running sales regularly can help boost sales. Just think about how much more people spend when they know there’s a sale on something. Sometimes it makes them stock up, rack up, or just go on a full-blown shopping spree. Consider what holidays or special events are coming up and use that as an opportunity to drum up some business. For instance, there’s:
- Black Friday
- Cyber Monday
- Valentine’s Day
- St. Patrick’s Day
- President’s Day
- Labor Day
- Veteran’s Day
- New Year’s Eve/Day
- Memorial Day
Use these holidays to run sales that help bring in more money and subsequently, more exposure for the book.
3. Donate a Portion of Your Proceeds to Charity
A great way to make money and give back at the same time, letting your potential readers know that you’re donating a portion of your proceeds to people in need right now gives your audience a great incentive to purchase from you. It’s the same tactic used by companies like Toms (the shoes, not the toothpaste).
Think about what charities you want to support and consider making a donation every time someone purchases a book.
It’d make more sense if the topic of your book was tied in with the type of charity you’re donating to. For example, if your book is about things we can do to save the environment, you could donate to an organization like The Conservation Fund or Earthjustice.
4. Cross Promote with Other Authors
If you have a decent social media following, you might be able to get other authors to promote you in their books or on their social media pages. That means more exposure than you might be able to get on your own. If you don’t have a large following, you can still offer something else in exchange for promotion, such as money or a mention in an article or blog post you might be writing.
Or your fellow author might want you to help them promote their work in another way. It never hurts to ask. So start looking for authors you might want to help you promote your book.
Look at things like their personal branding, how many followers they have, which platforms they have those followings on, and in what ways they’d be able to promote you.
Make sure you get in writing exactly what’s expected of each party. While a formal contract isn’t required, you don’t want to risk losing your money and then not being able to prove anything if something should happen (like, say, for instance, the author fails to follow through on his or her promise to promote your book).
5. Hire an Influencer
If you’ve got the money for it, consider hiring an influencer to promote your book on their platform for more exposure.
Think about the kind of audience your book is for and about what kind of influencer would be best to promote your book. You should share a similar audience with the influencer you choose, otherwise, you might not get as many sales as you expect.
You could opt to go through a company that matches you up with an influencer. Learn how to get influencers to promote your brand and how much it would actually cost to hire an influencer in 2020 because it could be a great way to get the word out about your book.
Did I forget anything?
Got any tips I should add to the list?
Let me know in the comments and as always, feel free to share this if you found it helpful.