Writing your own eBook is all the rage these days. For better or worse, the digital publishing market has exploded in recent years. The ease of use of some of the tools by digital publishers like Amazon have essentially removed any and all barriers to entry to publishing a book.
Sure, said traditional publishers are still on the market but they are ultimately no longer needed. Any Average Joe can now bring his work and sell it on the internet. On one hand, this is great. Many self published authors who traditional companies never would, or didn’t, put their weight behind now have a platform. The world is better with their work out there. Plus, it sure as hell beats freelancing.
On the flip side, like I said—every Average Joe can put a book out. As a modestly successful author these days I thought I’d share my thoughts on how one could get started.
1. Write More
This is the biggest point—you’ve got to actually create something. I’ve gone into great detail about how to accomplish writing 10,000 words in a day in this post, but here they are in a nutshell:
- Type faster. The majority of your reading this are probably above-average intelligence men. You probably have a quick-thinking mind. Your fingers need to be able to keep up with it. Note: some people really do well writing slowly, even with a pen and paper. I find they are mostly few and far between.
- Avoid distractions. Turn off your WiFi switch. Use full screen mode. Do 25-minute Pomodoros. Whatever it takes.
- Use the proper tools to avoid burning out, physically. Computers are rough on our bodies. We’re not meant to be sedimentary all day. Get a standing desk. Use a program to dim your computer monitor. Use a font that is easy to read. Make sure you’re ergonomically comfortable. Walk around a beautiful city whenever possible and talk to some cute girls.
- Do it every day.
2. Pick a Platform
You don’t need to muck around with installing an SSL certificate on your site, or figuring out how to take a credit card payment. You just link your PayPal and credit card processor of choice (Stripe is the rage these days) to your DPD/e-Junkie account, and you’re off to the races.
3. But Where’s The Audience?
THAT is the key question you just ask yourself. If you’re going to sell the product directly, you can obviously take a larger cut and therefore take more money. Putting your book on Amazon results in them taking a 30% cut if the book is more than $2.99. Anything under that and you’re making literally cents on every book you sell.
So it would seem that selling direct is the way to go, right?
Not so fast. Where do you plan to get the audience who is going to buy your masterpiece? Do you have a website to begin with? Cool, what about an email list? Do you get organic SEO hits every day in considerable number, or are you just driving crappy traffic from irrelevant social media sources? Do you have the budget and expertise to dabble in paid traffic if none of the above are true?
Yes, there are a lot of questions. I’m not trying to be a buzzkill or make it sound impossible, but you need something that you own, with an audience, if you want to sell a product. This goes true for any product, not just eBooks. Of course, having the budget to pay for advertising completely makes this point moot.
All of these should factor into your decision. A platform like Amazon can get your book in front of the relevant people.
4. One Big Advantage
When you sell directly, someone either had to get out their credit card and type the numbers in, or log into their PayPal account and verify the purchase.
On Amazon, its way easier. Most people have one-click payment on. They get it downloaded to their device of choice on the spot. Amazon basically eliminates multiple steps from the buying process. It’s part of the reason their platform has become so successful. With every step you make someone take to make a purchase, the higher chance you have of losing them.
5. You’re At Their Mercy
Some of us write in an edgy style. If Amazon and their social justice warriors decide to go after you, that’s it. Just like that your audience to sell to can be snapped out from under your fingers.
In addition, you’re at the mercy of the review system. Which is an absolute sham given that anyone can just log in and write an anonymous and untrue review—without even having purchased the product.
If you’re up and coming, I personally think it’d best to leverage the big guys for what they’re worth. Otherwise you’ll need to produce lots of free (and good) content on your own websites to see any sales.
If you’re established, try both. Much of online business is just experimenting, as I’ve learned the hard way. Trends change. People evolved. But if your work is good, the people will find it.
Working on a book takes a lot of effort, but a balanced life is important. Master the technology aspect of dating with Tinder and Texting University (on sale this week).