If you’ve managed your business for any length of time, you’ve probably picked up a helpful hint or two along your way. And depending on how helpful those hints actually are, your customers might even be willing to pay for them.
Ebooks are a simple way for online merchants to monetize their knowledge and experiences by creating a digital product that can be easily purchased and downloaded from their online stores.
If you’re just starting out with digital products, you might not know exactly how to approach selling ebooks. In this post, we’ll walk you through how to create an ebook, connect you with helpful resources to simplify the process, and get you started down the path to offering your very first ebook product in your online store.
Five steps to selling an ebook:
How to Select a Topic for Your Ebook
The first step to creating a successful ebook is to decide what your ebook will be about.
Generally, ebooks teach a reader how to do something. Unless you’re a novelist or a poet, you’ll want to consider how your skills and personal experiences could be used to provide actionable value to your readers and how that value can relate back to your store’s main product offerings.
For example, if you sell paper crafts, a relevant ebook to sell online might be something like: Affordable DIY home decor with paper crafts.
Tie in personal examples from your own life or projects to add a human element to the actionable advice you’re sharing in your ebook. Using our paper crafts example again, you could show some of the ways you’ve personally used paper products to decorate your home. This adds relevant context to your ebook and offers opportunities for interesting visuals to help illustrate your content.
Before you start writing, be sure to review what types of ebooks — if any
Browse top sellers on Amazon to understand readers’ preferences — that will help you to start selling ebooks that will actually get read.
How to Write an Ebook that Sells
Once you’ve found the perfect topic for your ebook, use these tips to guide you through the writing process and create an ebook that sells.
Focus on a
People often buy ebooks because they want to learn something. So a
Think of a compelling title
The title will play a large part in whether or not a shopper is interested in purchasing your ebook — so it’s important that you take the time to write a title that’s both interesting and attractive for your target audience. Use concepts like the curiosity gap, a pain point, or a desirable outcome to make your ebook feel like a
For example: If you’re writing an ebook about canning fruits and vegetables, How to Save $500 A Year on Groceries would be a much more compelling title than The Guide to Canning because it tempts the reader with a more desirable outcome.
As writers ourselves here at the Ecwid Blog, we’ve learned that titles beginning with How to resonate best with our readers.
Other ways to make your ebook title more compelling:
- Provoke: You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters
- Intrigue: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
- Use repetitive phrases: Fitter, Happier, Healthier: The Ultimate 4 Week Body Transformation Plan.
Use simple words
Unless you’re writing your ebook on nuclear physics, your writing should probably be fairly easy to understand.
Ever find yourself
One universal rule of writing to educate is: the more simply you can state your points, the better. Unless you’re a poet or acclaimed novelist (and if you are, that’s awesome) it’s unlikely customers will be buying your ebook to find out how many big words you know. More than likely, they’re buying based on the positive outcome promised in your title. And they’ll want to understand and attain that outcome as quickly and efficiently as possible. (for example, the use of on condition that instead of if.)
To make sure your writing is understandable, avoid the use of jargon, acronyms, and any industry speak that might be unfamiliar to your audience. If you’re still not sure whether your writing is simple enough, check out the Hemingway App. This handy tool will run your writing through a checker and automatically highlight words that are too big, sentences that are too long, passive voice, and unnecessary adverbs.
Use your intro pages wisely
Most ebooks offer the first
Because the preview can play a large part in whether or not a shopper chooses to buy your ebook, it’s important to use these pages wisely. In the first
Take it slow
It’s easy to want to sprint to the finish line when you’re writing your first ebook. But don’t rush the writing process. Instead, try setting an attainable daily/weekly goal for the number of pages or chapters you’re going to write, then stick to your goal. And using a tool like the FocusBoosterApp or the Pomodoro Technique will help you minimize distractions while you write.
If you find yourself struggling with writer’s block, don’t linger there. Move on to the next chapter to keep the process moving, and come back to that spot later once you’ve had some time away.
If you’re not sure how to organize your thoughts, a tool like Airstory can help you break down key thoughts into digital notecards that you can visually organize and arrange until you’re satisfied with the structure and ready to dive in.
If you’re looking for more tips on writing your ebook, check out:
- How to write your first eBook from WikiHow
- How to write an eBook from Amy Lynn Andrews
- Write an eBook in 30 Days by Sellfy
How to Format Your Ebook
Up next: formatting. When creating ebooks, there are a few design elements to keep in mind to make your content more
Select a good ebook file format
The PDF is by far the most common file format for ebooks. PDFs open seamlessly across a variety of different operating systems, and they allow readers to easily access, download, and print their ebooks from their various devices. And because PDFs don’t require any special software to create, they’re great for ebook authors too. All you need is a word processor that lets you save PDFs, and you’re good to go.
Choose a font that’s easy to read
It’s not just the words you use that make your ebook easier to read. Your font style also plays a critical role in creating an ebook that’s easy for readers to understand. According to AWAI, san serif fonts are the best for reading online (simple fonts that don’t include feet or flourishes), with Arial, Courier, and Verdana among the most legible. Surprisingly, while Times New Roman was historically the default font for word processors, it’s actually the least preferred
You may be tempted to express your creativity through your font choice, but decorating your ebook with
Finally, your ebook should be responsive to fit your reader’s screen size. This means that your reader will always have an optimal reading experience, regardless of what screen size your reader is viewing your ebook on.
Use a consistent color scheme for your ebook
Whatever color scheme you choose, you’ll want to make sure it’s consistent throughout your ebook. Select a palette of
Format your ebook for easy scanning
You can format your ebook to accommodate this behavior by
Use images in your ebook
It’s always easier to sell something when it looks good. So do your best to add value to your digital product with exciting graphics and illustrations.
If you already have your own
Design a beautiful cover for your ebook
As the first thing your audience will see, a good cover design is important. Not only will your cover design help sell your ebook, but it’s also a representation of your brand. Free tools like Canva let you easily design professional ebook covers using their
Other ebook cover design tools include:
Don’t forget to ask a friend or colleague to give your cover a quick look for a fresh perspective before settling on a final version. Fresh eyes can spot mistakes you might have missed and might even offer an insight to turn your good cover design into a great one.
Before you can start selling your ebook, you’ll need to have someone proofread it for spelling and grammar mistakes. Dropping your text into a free tool like Grammarly is great for a first pass and can usually catch most major mistakes, but nothing beats a set of human eyes reviewing your work (at least for the time being). Because the last thing you want to do is send out your first ebook with a bunch of misplaced commas and apostrophes.
How to Sell an Ebook Online
Ebooks can be sold on any number of online platforms, including Amazon, iBooks, your own online store, Google Play, Fiverr… the list goes on.
If you’re planning to make a living selling ebooks online, you’ll probably want to list your books anywhere you can. In this article, we’ll focus on two common ways to sell your ebooks: Amazon Kindle and your own online store (using Ecwid
Sell ebooks on Amazon
If you’re a
If you plan to sell ebooks to attract shoppers to your other products and services, consider offering your first ebook for free for a period of time. This will help you garner some early attention from readers who might otherwise be hesitant to pay for a book from an unknown author, and can be instrumental in securing those
Selling ebooks on Amazon can be fairly nuanced, so take some time to study this topic before launching your first ebook. For example, check out this practical guide from Joseph Hogue: How I Made $1,928 Last Month
Sell ebooks in your online store
With Ecwid, there’s no limit to the number ebooks you can sell or their respective downloads. This feature is available on all paid plans, with file size allowances increasing for each plan tier:
- Venture — 100MB
- Business — 1GB
- Unlimited — 10GB
If you’re ready to start selling ebooks with Ecwid, simply follow the steps below:
- Log in to your Ecwid Сontrol panel and go to the Catalog page.
- Click any product to edit it or create a new one.
- Open the Files tab.
- Upload the files you want to sell.
Need more info? Visit Ecwid Help Center for complete details and FAQs on selling digital goods through Ecwid.
With Ecwid, you can sell digital products like ebooks AND physical products and services from a single storefront. Use your Ecwid account to sell in your online store, a shop on Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, eBay, Snapchat, Pinterest, and more, all while keeping your sales synced in your Ecwid dashboard.
How to Promote Your Ebook
When you’re finally ready to start selling your ebook, you’ll need some smart tactics to get the word out. Here’s a couple great ways to begin promoting your first ebook:
Use social media. Schedule several posts across your social media channels to let your followers know that your new ebook is available for purchase. And if you’re offering it free for a limited time, don’t forget to mention that as well!
Guest post. Try to find some relevant,
Do a podcast tour. See if a few podcasts would be willing to have you on as a guest to share a lesson or two from your new ebook (without giving too much away, of course). This will help build interest with new audiences and offers another chance to share the link in your bio.
Partner with influencers. If you’re connected with bloggers or influencers in a niche that’s relevant to your ebook’s subject matter, ask if you can team up to give away a few free copies.
Selling ebooks is just like selling anything else: it’s all about finding effective ways to get your product in front of your audiences. And once you’ve found them, keep it going. Don’t let your promotional plan fizzle out after the first week — put together a strategy that will keep sales rolling in month after month through new channels and opportunities.
The main thing to remember is to keep finding new, creative ways to get your ebook in front of new audiences. Don’t let your promotion plan fizzle out the week after release — put together a strategy that will keep sales rolling in month after month through continuous new opportunities.
Selling Ebooks: Teach What You Know
From teaching others about your industry and products, to sharing your experiences as an entrepreneur, writing ebooks is an opportunity to turn your story into a product you can sell.
Does it require time and planning? Of course. What good
This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated for accuracy.