Self-Publishing an eBook

The majority of ebooks will sell less than 150 copies, with most of these sales going to friends and family of the author (Juniper Research). However, ebook sales are growing fast with the rapid uptake of mobile devices like ipads, the kindle and ebook readers. Total mobile ebook sales are forecast to reach $10B by 2016, with close to 1 million books in the Amazon Kindle Store. In this article I explore the how and why of producing an ebook, as a tool for promoting your business or consultancy.

The Bad News
The odds are stacked against you writing the next best seller, with the influx of new ebooks. With the low barriers to entry, it becomes even more difficult to stand out from the crowd.

So the question becomes why bother to produce an ebook? As I see it, here are the four main reasons:

  1. Credibility - writing a book gives you instant status as an expert in your selected niche.
  2. It’s a low-cost way to provide a valuable or free item to potential customers through your website, usually in exchange for an email address, building your database.
  3. Content can be repurposed for use on your website, in email newsletters and in creation of a print version of your book.
  4. If you are a speaker, trainer or consultant, ebook sales can be driven through your activities.

The Good News
The ebook allows an author to skip over the hurdles of print publishing, at costs much lower than even the POD (Publish on Demand) self publishing route.

The Hard Work
Even though the costs of distribution are close to zero, there is still a large amount of work that goes into creating a professional ebook. This includes the process of creating original content, research, editing, formatting, revision and graphic designs. It is also very important to optimise your book’s keywords (metadata) across the distribution e-stores to ensure your book gets some sales.

How to Start
The best way to start is by picking a niche and writing one or two articles on the subject. Publish these articles on your website or email newsletter, in order to get feedback and develop your writing style. Over time, you will build up a library of articles, which can then form the basis of the chapters of your ebook.

A Great Outcome Regardless
If your ebook is a success, you can then look at producing a POD (publish on demand) print version through one of the low cost online services. If your ebook does not make many sales, you can always offer the electronic content on your website for free to provide a content rich site that will get indexed by the search engines. When you look at your ebook in this way, it is a low risk strategy to improving your online marketing.

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