Everyone has passions and areas of expertise. Whether it’s business coaching, music, nutrition, fitness, digital art, or writing, there are people out there who value your knowledge and want to learn more. One of the simplest and most effective ways to turn your passions into a business and monetize your skills is by selling eBooks.

Creating your own eBook is surprisingly simple, and this article will walk you through the essential steps.

8 Steps to Create and Sell an eBook on Your Website

Step 1: Create your eBook

Step 2: Format your eBook

Step 3: Proof reading

Step 4: Get a cover that sells your eBook

Step 5: Convert your eBook

Step 6: Add your eBook to a website

Step 7: Promote your eBook

Step 8: Keep track of your sales

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Read on for a comprehensive guide to selling eBooks online. Selling eBooks is seriously simple with Selz, and here at FounderU 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.
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 by author Laura Powers.

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

Step 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 the 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 backwards. 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.

Extra reading:

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

Step 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 simple 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 sites offering free images that don’t require attribution- check out Gratisography, Unsplash, PicJumbo or DeathToStockPhoto.

Step 3: Proof reading

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 content.

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.

Writing on a tablet. Selling eBooks is seriously simple with Selz, and here at FounderU 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.

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.

Step 4: Get a cover that sells your eBook

Prospective buyers will judge your eBook by its cover. It may be cliché, but it’s a fact. Check out these examples of attention-grabbing book covers:

  eBook cover. Selling eBooks is seriously simple with Selz, and here at FounderU 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.eBook cover. Selling eBooks is seriously simple with Selz, and here at FounderU 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.eBook cover. Selling eBooks is seriously simple with Selz, and here at FounderU 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.eBook cover. Selling eBooks is seriously simple with Selz, and here at FounderU 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.
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).

Extra reading:

Step 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. If 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.

Step 6: Add your eBook to a website

Now it’s time for the seriously simple part: creating a website and adding your eBooks (trust us, it really is simple!)

Using the Selz easy-to-use 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 simple it is to start selling eBooks using Selz:

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

  • Quick and easy set up
  • 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 simple and 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 link to the eBook
  • Integrates with AWeber and MailChimp, making building a customer email list easy

Sign up for your free 14-day trial yourself to see how easy it is to start selling from your website with Selz.

Step 7: Promote your eBook

It’s time to tell the world about your new eBook. Build a buzz within your audience and use that to drive drive sales.

Tweeting from an iPhone. Selling eBooks is seriously simple with Selz, and here at FounderU 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.

One way to do this is to do ten to twenty guest posts for sites that your niche read. 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 and Pinterest to get traction with your audience, and of course, don’t forget your email list as an invaluable resource.

Check out 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.

Need more? Check out this list of over 100 (mostly free) resources to help you sell online.

Step 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. Selling eBooks is seriously simple with Selz, and here at FounderU 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.
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.