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One of the most effective ways to turn your passions into a business and monetize your skills is by selling ebooks online.

Everyone has areas of expertise that can help you create a great ebook. There are people out there who value your knowledge and want to learn more. You can help them if you start selling ebooks.

Creating your own ebook is surprisingly simple, and this article will walk you through the essential steps as you learn how to sell ebooks.

8 Steps to Creating and Selling Ebooks on Your Website

1. Create Your Ebook

2. Format Your Ebook

3. Proofreading

4. Get a Cover that Sells Your Ebook

5. Convert Your Ebook

6. Add Your Ebook to a Website

7. Promote Your Ebook

8. Keep Track of Your Sales

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Read on for a comprehensive guide to creating ebooks and selling eBooks online. Learning how to sell ebooks is simple with Selz, the Ecommerce platform for growing businesses and we're here to help you get started selling eBooks and grow your business over time. Selling ebooks doesn't have to be a hassle.

There’s never been a better time to self-publish and sell ebooks online.

Big publishing houses are losing steam, and self-publishing is rising to the top. In fact, more than a million books were self-published according to the latest 2018 research.

Note: While you can absolutely sell your ebooks on a marketplace like Amazon, there are serious upsides to selling your work directly from your own site.

Selling ebooks direct gives you the greatest control, independence, and percentage of sales. It also helps to build your authority and engagement with your audience and create that all-important email list of people who want to hear more from you.

Want to learn more about the benefits of selling direct? Check out this eye-opening article.

Publishing an ebook can be both daunting and exciting, so we’ve put together a guide to creating and selling an ebook on your site.

1. Create Your Ebook

This will likely be the most challenging and most rewarding part of your journey.

Decide on your topic

Think about what you’re passionate about and what content would help your target audience. You also need an original edge. The best ebooks share a personal story or experiences. Why? A personal story is engaging, builds authority, and creates empathy with the reader.

Tip: a great way to gauge what your audience responds to is to look at which of your blog posts and social media updates currently get the most comments or shares.

Before finalizing your topic, do some research on the existing market. Look at potential competitors already selling ebooks in similar categories on Amazon or their own site.

Consider ways in which your story and unique perspective can help you to stand out. Get creative.

“To be known, you don’t have to be a subject matter expert. But you must have the determination and patience to become one. A professional is simply an amateur who didn’t quit.” –Mark Schaefer

Come up with a killer title

When selling ebooks, the title can be a game changer. Be specific.

Ramsey, from Blog Tyrant, talks about a successful post he wrote called “How I sold a Blog for $20,000 in 8 months” that could have easily been called the less interesting “How to Sell a Blog”.

Joanna Penn, of The Creative Penn, had a similar experience. When she switched the title of her book from “How To Enjoy Your Job” to “Career Change” sales suddenly took off.

Try some of these handy tools collected by Kindlepreneur Dave Chesson to help generate your very own killer title, or check out this post on crafting a title for your first ebook.

Write your ebook

The key to selling ebooks is to write simply and clearly. People will buy your ebook because they want to learn how to do something. Start with the desired result (teaching an idea, skill, or process) and then work backward.

Create a structure and then organize your writing around it. Remember that you don’t have to write your whole ebook in one sitting.

Some of the world’s most respected authors write a little bit each day. Set yourself deadlines and focus on one chapter at a time – you can find more tips on cultivating an ebook workflow here.

Overcoming writer’s block

At some stage, this is going to happen. You’ll sit down to write, your brain will go blank, and you’ll have no idea what to do next. There are two ways to get unstuck that work for me.

Think about who you are writing for. Is it someone you know? How old are they? What do they do for a living? Think of your ebook as a challenge or an escape for that person.

Another way to get back to writing is to set an end goal for word count or the number of pages for your book. This will ebb and flow as you write, but aim for 250-300 words per page. An ebook is usually at around 35 pages or 11,000 words.

Extra reading:

Here are a few of our favorite free tools for increasing writing productivity:

2. Format Your Ebook

One key to selling ebooks is readability. Make it easy to digest the information you’re putting forward by keeping your formatting consistent and using a sans-serif font like Ariel or Verdana at size 11 or 12.

Less is more here, so don’t go overboard on your formatting. Stick to a simple color scheme. Try to maintain two or three types of headers and use lots of short paragraphs and lists.

Use great images

When we hear information, we’re likely to remember only about 10% of what was said three days later. Pair that information with a relevant image, however, and retention rate over the same period jumps to 65%. (Source)

Feeling creative? Enjoy photography? It’s absolutely possible to take your own photos with your smartphone or a DSLR camera. If you’re like me, though, and don’t trust your photography skills, you can buy them from an image library.

Make sure to pay attention to the license on each image. There are also a ton of sites offering free images that don’t require attribution- check out Gratisography, Unsplash, PicJumbo or DeathToStockPhoto.

This simple guide explains how to avoid common formatting mistakes. Formatting is essential for readability, so you’ll want to ensure that you’ve got this step down when selling ebooks online.

3. Proofreading

Before getting another set of eyes on your ebook, check for spelling mistakes and do a round of editing on your own. Remember that fixing minor errors can distract your proofreader from bigger tasks, like checking how well you’ve communicated your ideas.

Reading aloud is a fantastic way to catch things that you might otherwise miss. Your brain automatically fills in gaps, corrects typos, and ignores incorrect words. You’ll also get a better sense of the flow of longer sections.

a coffee mug beside an ebook for an article about how to sell ebooks, how to make an ebook, and how to create an ebook to sell online for Selz the Ecommerce platform for growing businesses

Extra reading:

So you’ve poured in your blood, sweat, and tears and have a finished draft. Don’t make the mistake of giving it to your romantic partner or mom for edits. Find an objective outside party that isn’t overly concerned about hurting your feelings. Don’t be offended if they suggest deleting paragraphs of your book.

Remember: simplicity and clarity are what matter here.

4. Get a Cover that Sells Your Ebook

eBook cover. Selling eBooks is simple with Selz the Ecommerce platform for growing business, we're here to help you learn how to sell ebooks and get started selling eBooks to grow your business over time. Selling ebooks doesn't have to be a hassle. Creating ebooks is fun, and so is designing book covers

Prospective buyers will judge your ebook by its cover. It may be cliché, but it’s a fact. Check out this example of an attention-grabbing book cover: 

A good book cover suggests professionalism and gives customers a sense that work has gone into the product. Look at book covers in a similar niche to yours to get some ideas. Here are a few elements of a good ebook cover:

  • Make the title a different color than the background
  • Set your title in a large, easy to read font
  • Visual elements should be 300 dpi
  • Beware of copyright – don’t use images or design elements that you don’t have permission to use
  • Use good images – avoid cheap standard stock photography

Unless you are proficient in graphic design, I would suggest finding someone to create the ebook cover for you. You could try a service like ebook launch (whose professional ebook covers start from $99), or you could try a freelance designer on Fiverr, where prices start at $5. Remember: once you start selling ebooks, you’ll be able to quickly recoup these costs.

If you really want to give it a go yourself, I’d recommend a tool such as Canva’s Free Online Book Cover Maker, or Adobe Spark’s Book Cover Maker (also free).

You may want to draft a short description of your ebook at this stage in the process. Your book description copy is a teaser that entices readers to buy your ebook. Creating a great headline is like writing a best-selling product description. It shares the benefit of your product, so think about what you want your ebook to deliver to your readers!

Extra reading:

5. Convert Your Ebook

Correctly formatting your digital product is vital for selling ebooks online. For Amazon Kindle, the file format is MOBI. For other readers, the universal ebook format is ePub, which is accepted by Barnes & Noble, Apple iBookstore, and Kobo. EPub is also a good option for selling it directly from your own store.

If convenient for your readers, you can also sell your ebook in PDF format. When you are selling from your own store you can easily have all three formats available for the customer to choose between.

If you choose to do the conversion yourself, check out this good introduction by Kobo books on Converting a Word or OpenOffice Document to Epub format PDF.

Alternately, you can pay someone on Fiverr to do the formatting it for you.

6. Add Your Ebook to a Website

Now it’s time to create a website and add your ebooks.

Using the streamlined tools of the Selz store builder, upload your ebook with an image of the front cover, add a description, set the price, and then add the product to your new store.

This video shows how to start selling ebooks using Selz:

Selz provides a lot of useful features for selling ebooks from your website:

  • Quick set up with powerful features
  • Instant and automatic delivery
  • Secure, expiring download links
  • Upload ePub, MOBI, PDF files
  • Customizable buy button, widgets, and the ability to embed an online store
  • Securely processes credit card and PayPal payments without any changes to your site
  • A quick checkout for your customers to use without having to leave your site
  • PDF stamping to personalize each copy with your buyer’s name
  • Download to Kindle or Dropbox option for customers
  • Customers receive an automated order confirmation with a link to the ebook
  • Integrates with Campaign Monitor and MailChimp, making building a customer email list easy

Sign up for your free 14-day trial yourself to start selling from your website with Selz.

7. Promote Your Ebook

It’s time to tell the world about your new ebook. Prepare to dedicate serious time to your marketing both before and after your ebook launch. Build a buzz within your audience and use that to drive sales.

Many writers think that traditionally published authors have it easy when it comes to marketing, but that isn’t the case. Another benefit to self-publishing is that you have complete control over the way you market and sell ebooks.

Tweeting from an iPhone. Selling eBooks is simple with Selz the Ecommerce platform for growing business, we're here to help you learn how to sell ebooks and get started selling eBooks to grow your business over time. if you want to know how to create ebooks write ebooks or create ebooks this is the place to start

One way to do this is to do ten to twenty guest posts for sites that your niche read. You can find these readers by looking at popular keywords for your niche. You can also look at other authors in your niche on Google and see what blogs are most popular for them.

This isn’t for the purpose of SEO links, but to generate interest. You don’t have to directly mention your ebook, but the subject of the post should relate to the subject of your book. The aim is to get someone interested enough to land on your website and to then consider buying your book.

Consider giving away some copies to bloggers in your niche and request that they share it with their network if they enjoy it. Don’t bombard people with requests for reviews or shares without getting to know them first.

Try some live streaming to create a buzz around your work. Use visual content channels like Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest to get traction with your audience, and of course, don’t forget your email list as an invaluable resource.

Check out this excellent source of practical tips on how to promote your eBook on social media by the awesome Peg Fitzpatrick. Another great source of tips is how to make your eBook a runaway success by Mary Jaksch and Jim Kukral.

8. Keep Track of Your Sales

This isn’t as hard as you might think. If you’re using Selz to sell your ebook, you can log into your account and see how many sales you’ve made and where they are coming from on your Analytics Dashboard.

Tracking eBook sales via Selz. How to create an eBook. Selling eBooks is simple with Selz the Ecommerce platform for growing business, we're here to help you learn how to sell ebooks and get started selling eBooks to grow your business over time. Selling eBooks doesn't have to be a hassle.

Want to dig more into the numbers? You can learn about the Analytics Dashboard here. For more in-depth analysis, you can also connect your Selz store to Google Analytics.

Wrapping up

Creating your own ebook absolutely takes work, but it’s also a really rewarding way to explore your passions and share your expertise, not to mention increase your passive income. Ready to get started? Sign up for your free 14-day trial of Selz and start building your online store today.

This post was originally published in February 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

About the author

Jo Gifford

A widely read contributor to Huffington Post, Selz, Regus, Prowess, YFS Magazine and many more interwebz rabbit holes, Jo is a respected UK voice on life as a pocket-sized enterprise owner.

Jo’s background – a seasoned blogger, copywriter, podcaster, and graphic designer with an MA and research interest in creative thinking for small business – makes for an eclectic and colourful killer content approach.

155 comments

  1. www.stanleyparkins.com

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!

  2. Harish Kumar

    Thanks for sharing this ebook publishing guide. It’s just amazing to read this article. It’s very useful and valuable information.

  3. Shona Chambers

    Hi Jo
    What a great article thanks so much!
    Shona

  4. androdrump

    Found this on yahoo and I’m happy I did. Well written site.

  5. rudemonk

    This is a topic that is close to my heart… Thank you! Where can I find the contact details for questions?

    1. Tara Storozynsky

      Hi there, glad you enjoyed the article! You can always leave questions in the comments and we’ll get back to you!

  6. MARK HULL

    Another useful article. Thanks!!

    1. Jana Rumberger

      Thank you Mark! We’re glad it was helpful!

  7. Harish Kumar

    Thank you very much for such an amazing post. Making an ebook and sell them can actually very great to make money.

    1. Jana Rumberger

      Thank you for your comment!

  8. dating

    Great blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from
    somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would
    really make my blog shine. Please let me know where you
    got your design. Kudos

  9. Samson Tanko

    Awesome write up. I like the laid out steps for creating an e-book. I in particular have struggled to find the best and most convenient ebook maker that will save me time and lots of money. Finally I found one that you can use for commercial ebooks. It even takes content from the your url, creates beautiful covers and in minutes you’ll have a professional looking ebook. It is called Sqribble. Just check this link to see if this is for you bit.ly/2WRPxZP

    I’ll like to see your feedback. Let’s see if there are better software’s out there.

    1. Tara Storozynsky

      Hi Samson, thanks for sharing your resource with FounderU!

  10. Akindele Victor

    This is awesome. I am a relationship and marriage blogger, I have my website, my Facebook page and my WhatsApp chat group. I equally wrote books on relationship which I placed on my Facebook page and website for sale but till now there is no single order. Since you guaranteed the protection of the eBook download, I will like to partner with you to see how this will help me sell. How, do I go with the eBook download and how will my customers pay me. What are the information I need to supply to make this work? I will be glad to receive a response from you.

  11. Anayo Ozoene

    I love everything I read about your site, I would love to create a site I can sell an e-book, advertise my comedy videos, connect to social medias and you tube

  12. Ahriez

    How do you prevent people from sharing your ebook with others?

    1. Tara Storozynsky

      Great question, Ahriez, and a very common concern. Selz actually minimizes this issue with PDF stamping and download limits, which you can read more about here. Thanks for checking out FounderU!

  13. Deepanshu kondwal

    How i can publish the e books of other writers.
    I will get copyright claim if i will add their book without their permission.

    1. Tara Storozynsky

      Hi there, Deepanshu! You’re absolutely right. Reach out the authors of ebooks you want to feature, figure out the compensation and distribution terms that work for both of you, and be sure get it in writing before adding any ebooks which are not your intellectual property to your site. Thank you for your comment, and for checking out FounderU!

  14. prathu

    thanks, my audience are all over the world and there seems to be difficulty in accepting payment from india, there are local payment gateways that indian ecommerce websites use, so can i accept international payments via stripe and then have instamojo (indian payment gateway) to accept indian payment using selz

    1. Tara Storozynsky

      Hi Prathu, thanks for your comment! You can email [email protected] if you have any further questions. Thanks for reading, and best of luck!

  15. prathu

    I am starting to sell info products, initially i have 4 books to sell, am confused how to start a store on my website. I own a domain name and publish blogposts regularly keeping my audience engaged and now i am planning to add a store to my website and start selling ebooks, video courses etc… Can you help me with the step by step process to get started and if selz is of any use

    1. Tara Storozynsky

      Hi Prathu, thanks for your comment! Selz makes it easy to build a custom store, or add buy buttons and widgets to a pre-existing blog or site. Check out this helpful store builder article. It will tell you a little bit about the Selz online store builders features and what you can achieve. Selz also offers 24/7 customer support, including a free set-up session with an expert, to ensure that you’re set up for success. We wish you all the best of luck, and thanks for checking out FounderU!

  16. Edward

    I’m interested in creating a “recommended reading list” when I create my blog but I’m not looking to sell any books or be an affiliate or anything. Can I legally just use the images of books I like on my site to make my site content rich (but again, like I said, I’m not looking to help sell directly)? Thanks.

    1. Tara Storozynsky

      Thank for your question, Edward! You can absolutely use images in your recommended reading list, although we would recommend a quick blurb as well, and even a link to where they can be purchased online. This will be more engaging for your readers, as well being considerate to the books’ authors.

  17. precious

    I want to know more about selling my ebook online and how to start as soon as possible ?

  18. kevin

    hi
    ive been running around in amazon for a week trying to sort out small payment issues and eventually thinking of giving up on amazon
    so im searching for other outlets for my books….
    i have old paypal acc hope it still works and new payoneer acc.
    because this is new venture im thinkin of just going for free option until i make some money to step up to a better account …im in south africa and the economy very bad at moment…so dont wanna commit too much yet.
    will this work
    ps is my weebly website workable
    thx kevin

    1. Bryce Patterson

      Hey Kevin- Selz could be a good option for what you’re looking for. You can connect to your Weebly site and Paypal, and the free plan would work well if you are only selling a few items. Hope this helps!

  19. Harish Joshi

    Information is good but can you please tell me how to protect your eBook from reselling at cheaper price ?

    1. Bryce Patterson

      Hey, Harish. Selz offers PDF stamping, which adds customer order information to the footer of the eBook, making it significantly less likely that a customer will share on other sites. It also makes it easier to track the origin of pirated copies. Hope this helps!

  20. Thom

    Thanks for sharing. I just finished writing my first ebook and I’m no mean a good writer but as I’m reading through this article noticed I skipped one item. Never thought about getting my ebook cover with fiverr… lol

    1. Bryce Patterson

      Hey Thom, congrats on your first eBook! That’s a huge milestone. Let us know how it goes moving forward!

  21. Joan N. Atlas

    Thank you for this brief but useful guide. And the links at the end are very useful as well, I appreciate when someone adds links to useful source even when they go to another site!

    1. Bryce Patterson

      Hi, Joan, thank you for your kind words! We really love the ability of the internet to connect a huge range of resources, so we try to find helpful content from around the web. Best of luck moving forward, and let us know if you have any questions!

  22. Severino Aquino

    I am a pastor and want to convert all my messages into ebook so I can sell it online for low cost. Is it possible to do this? Thanks

    1. Bryce Patterson

      Hi, Severino. That’s 100% possible! You’ll want to collect the text of your sermons and make any edits or adjustments, then start building the eBook. Feel free to check out our Help Center if you have any more questions: https://help.selz.com/

      Thanks for checking us out and commenting!

  23. Mindy

    Have you ever thought about writing an e-book or guest authoring on other websites? I have a blog based upon on the same subjects you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would value your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e mail.

    1. Bryce Patterson

      Hi, Mindy- great to hear you’re enjoying our content! Feel free to shoot an email to [email protected] and you can communicate more.

  24. back to school

    Way cool! Is it OK to post on Pinterest? Some extremely valid points!
    I appreciate you penning this write-up plus the
    rest of the site is also very good. Keep up the superb work!

    1. Bryce Patterson

      Great to hear you found this helpful! Feel free to pin- thanks for checking us out!

  25. Obat Penumbuh Rambut Botak

    Hello this is somewhat of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if
    you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no
    coding know-how so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience.
    Any help would be enormously appreciated!

    1. Bryce Patterson

      So it depends on the platform you’re using- generally sites like WordPress have an html coding element, but you can stick to the visual editor and get by just fine. If you want to take the simplest route, Medium is a platform that comes with the pages pre-built and standard across every blog they host. Hope this helps, and best of luck!

  26. somen

    this is awesome information just fall in love with this blog. my confusions are all gone. I’m planning to create my first ebook and this blog helped me alot!

Comments are closed.