You can self-publish and sell your ebook to people worldwide, thanks to today’s digital tools. You don’t have to wait for an editor, agent, or publisher to say yes to your ideas. You have the power to write, edit, design, and promote your book however you want.
The $15 Billion Ebook Industry
Selling ebooks has become a major online industry. According to Statista, global ebook sales are projected to reach $15.7 billion in 2021. That’s not all. Multiple authors like Chris Fox (science fiction and fantasy) and Joanna Penn (thrillers and non-fiction) regularly earn six figures from their selling ebooks. If you want to earn a living as an ebook author, you need to know where you can sell your ebook. Fortunately, there are multiple options available to authors today.
Where You Can Sell Your Ebook Online
As an ebook author, you have multiple choices about where to sell your books today. Each option has its pros and cons. Read about which platform has to offer so you can make an intelligent decision as an author. In some cases, you might decide to “go wide” which means selling your ebook on multiple platforms rather than selling exclusively on a single platform.
- Pros: Amazon is tough to beat in terms of reach and traffic source. According to Publishing Perspectives, Amazon accounts for three-quarters of ebook sales. In addition, Amazon offers an online advertising tool so you can promote your books to people browsing on Amazon. Geographically, Amazon has Kindle stores aimed at the USA, UK, and other countries.
- Cons: Amazon charges a substantial commission to authors. The commission fees charged range from 35% royalty (i.e., for books below $2.99 and above $9.99) to 70% royalty (i.e., for books priced between $2.99 and $9.99). In addition, accessing some of Amazon’s best features for authors like “Kindle Unlimited” requires authors to list their books on Amazon exclusively for some time. With Kindle Unlimited, authors earn income for each page a reader reads.
- Pros: Payhip offers multiple ebook marketing tools for authors to use, including such as analytics, marketing, discount codes, affiliates, and customer management.
- Cons: Authors have to pay either a 5% transaction on sales on the free plan or a monthly fee ($29 per month, which gives you a 2.9% transaction fee on each sale or the $99 per month plan, which has no transaction fee). In addition, Payhip.com does not have millions of ebook customers like Amazon.
- Pros: Kobo has a significant presence in Canada (44% of Kobo sales in 2018 came from Canada). In addition, Kobo ebooks are distributed through Chapters Indigo (a Canadian bookstore), Walmart, Best Buy, Future Shop, and other book stores.
- Cons: Kobo has three different royalty rates ranging from 20% to 70%. Similar to Amazon, the royalty rate you receive depends on your book price.
- Pros: Sellfy is different from the other platforms mentioned above. In addition to selling digital downloads like books, you can also sell physical products. For example, you could use this platform to sell bookmarks, t-shirts, and other merchandise to your fans.
- Cons: the platform requires authors to pay monthly fees. The Monthly fees start from $19 per month paid annually ($29 per month paid monthly). These fees might be unattractive for a new author who is not yet earning much from their books.
CheckYa has a file upload feature, and lots of creators are using CheckYa to sell their digital downloads, such as ebooks or albums.
- Pros: Unlike Amazon and other popular platforms, there are no commission fees. All revenue goes to the creator. You can sell your books using a single PeacePay page. You can also accept payment in multiple currencies, including cryptocurrency.
- Cons: CheckYa does not have the same number of users as Amazon, so you will be responsible for marketing your book. Keep in mind that this limitation applies to authors in most circumstances – there are millions of books on the market, and you have to work to promote your books.
How to market your ebook
When you sell ebooks online, writing an excellent book is your number one priority—after that, marketing your book consistently is vital to keep making sales. Fortunately, there are many different ways to promote your books. To better illustrate how you can market your book, let’s look at some of your options for fiction and non-fiction books.
Promoting a fiction book
Fiction ebooks, especially novels and short stories, are among the most popular types of ebooks on the market. Use the following tips
- Find your readers by genre. Many readers of ebooks search for titles based on genre. Therefore, it is helpful to think in genre terms. For instance, readers of romance ebooks are generally different from readers of science fiction ebooks. According to ProactiveWriter.com, fantasy, science fiction, dystopian, adventure, romance, and detective/mystery are the most popular fiction genres.
- Find existing groups of readers on social media. As a new author, you might have no fans yet. In that case, it is wise to focus your efforts on existing groups. For example, search for book groups on Facebook where readers are already gathering. For example, there are large Facebook Groups dedicated to genres like science fiction (e.g., the “Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Fans” Facebook Group has over 13,000 members). Before promoting your book in these groups, take a few minutes to review the group’s rules – many have rules governing self-promotion.
- Offer free review copies of your ebook. It is essential to get reviews of your books from readers. That’s why many authors frequently give copies of the books to reviewers. There are services like BooksGoSocial that can help you to get book reviewers. Avoid paying people to give you a review, instead give them a free copy of the ebook and let them know
- Give interviews. Giving interviews about your books on blogs and podcasts is a proven way to create awareness about your new book. To find potential interview opportunities, there are a few options. You can sign up as a source on the Help A Reporter Out (HARO) website and look for interview opportunities for authors. In addition, you can see where your favorite author has been interviewed. For example, an author of detective and mystery books might look at L.J Ross, who has published ebooks since 2015. Ross has been interviewed on many websites like bytheletterbookreviews.com, newinbooks.com, and thebookseller.com.
- Consider using online advertising. Ebook authors have many different options when it comes to ebook advertising. For example, you can use Amazon advertising for advertising your book on Amazon. Other authors have found success with Facebook advertising. For additional insight on how to use advertising to sell your ebooks, read “Ads for Authors Who Hate Math” by Chris Fox, a best-selling author of fantasy and science fiction who has used advertising successfully for years.
Promoting a non-fiction book
Selling non-fiction ebooks is similar to fiction, but there are significant differences to keep in mind.
- Clarify your goal. Many authors who sell non-fiction ebooks are seeking to build a business around that topic. For example, a business owner might sell an ebook to promote their company. For example, Russell Brunson promoted his software product ClickFunnels in his book “Dot Com Secrets.”
- Think creatively about ebook pricing. When you offer a non-fiction ebook, it is possible to sell the ebook for high prices. For example, consultant Kai Davis sells a nonfiction ebook called “The Outreach Blueprint” in two versions. You can buy the ebook alone for $49 or the “complete package” version of the ebook with additional materials for $119. You can set your prices by selling ebooks directly from your website and selling them with CheckYa.
- Answer questions to promote your ebook. There are many different ways to promote a non-fiction ebook. For example, search Quora to see if people are asking questions related to your book. In that case, you can post an answer to the person’s question and mention that you have a book available that provides additional information.
- Use content marketing. Nonfiction ebook authors often create content like blog posts and podcasts to promote their ebooks. In each podcast or blog, you can answer a question and mention your book as well.
- Leverage online advertising. Depending on where you sell your nonfiction ebook, you will have different advertising options. To maximize your advertising options, sell your nonfiction book from your website using CheckYa. You can advertise your ebook using Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and other advertising platforms. If you publish your ebook on a platform like Amazon, you can use Amazon advertising to promote your ebook.
How To Earn More As An Ebook Author
Selling ebooks on websites like Amazon for a few dollars at a time is a difficult way to make a living. That’s why many authors are starting to use multiple formats. For example, you could sell an ebook with bonus audio and video content directly from your website with CheckYa. Instead of making a few dollars per ebook sale, you could make $50 per sale by offering bonus items.