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Should You Be Writing Ebooks?

Make Money Writing Ebooks(Partial shameless self-promo warning!)

Over here on my side of the screen, while you weren’t looking, I’ve been scrambling to update my ebooks. And while most of us haven’t been looking, the consumption if you will of ebooks continues to explode.

John Soares has done our homework for us with his post, 2010 Sales Figures for Books and E-books.

The good news is that overall printed book sales have increased in spite of the economic turn down.  and slow recovery. It’s worth noting that the growth has been in the low single digits – growth, but hardly spectacular.

Ebook sales have, well, exploded – up some 164.4 percent last year. They’ve also increased significantly as a percentage of the trade book market, reaching 8.32 percent, more than a 5 percent increase from the year before.

Does this mean you should be writing? Probably. At least you should become familiar with the process.

Ebooks for Clients

It’s amazing how many of your clients might benefit from having an ebook to offer on their website. And most of them never think of it. You can pitch the idea and land an additional writing gig for yourself.

Here are some of the best reasons for ebooks:

  • A short ebook as a give-a-way is a dynamite way to build an email list. That’s why I give away one here and at WritingWithVision.
  • An ebook or e-report is an efficient way to get specific information to prospects. Ebooks don’t have to be the 200 pages or so a trade book or printed book needs to be. For example, a series of ebooks could be used to describe each service someone offers.
  • Ebooks can become a revenue stream.
  • Ebooks properly done build credibility.

It’s easy for you to suggest an ebook or ebook series to a client. You could even write a one page proposal, or find an ebook on a competitor’s site and use that to demonstrate the need.

And yes, you’ll occasionally find ads asking for writers to create ebooks. As always, be sure you only apply for those that pay enough and be sure to get a third or a half up front.

Ebooks For Yourself

As a writer you’re in an ideal position to write an ebook for yourself. The reasons you might want to write your own ebooks is not all that different from why your clients might want to, but I think the emphasis is probably different.

Here’s how I see it:

  • It’s easy (or fairly) for you to write an ebook.
  • Ebooks can create residual income – this is my favorite reason.
  • An ebook can make an ideal sample – and just the fact that you’ve got one builds credibility.

Of course, if you’re going to write an ebook you’ll need to market it. That starts with your own website, or, depending on the topic, a website for the ebook.

An ebook is an ideal project for a freelance writer.

Shameless self-promotion: You can get information and even buy my ebook on ebooks here.

Do you have an ebook? Tell us about it and give us a link.


{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Andrea

    Thanks for this post Anne. It is encouraging. I miss your job listings. I am grateful though, because I did land one job from the listings.

    • Anne

      Look for the ebook that tells you how best to do it for yourself… soon.

  • Elizabeth West

    I’ve been thinking hard about what I could offer in terms of an ebook. Since I write fiction, it would probably be something short and maybe I could put the first chapter as a post on my blog, and shamelessly promote it everywhere else, ha ha! I had an idea for another blog, but perhaps I could do it as an ebook instead.


    • Anne

      or maybe an ebook on how to write fiction? or how to plot? or both?

  • I offer my cookbook as both print and an e-book

    • Anne

      Oh wow, Nancy… a brides cookbook… I could have used one of those way back when… and my daughter’s getting married next month… hmmm

      • Well, you know where to get it now 🙂
        Congrats to her!

  • Sharon

    I bought your ‘An eBook About Making Money’ over a year ago, and despite finding it inspiring I still haven’t got around to writing the ebook. Anyway I came across this last week and thought it might be a good way to get started. I would value your opinion as to whether this is a fair offer. Thanks; also for this brilliant site.


    • Sharon, I’m going to uplevel this to a q&a post for tomorrow.

  • Hello Anne. Thanks so much for linking to my post about 2010 e-book and book sales.

    You have lots of good advice here for writers. I’ve yet to write an e-book for a client, although I’ve written several short books for college textbook publishers that they distribute with certain textbooks and also sell as stand-alone projects.

    And since you asked, I’ll share the e-book I created specifically on my specialty, Writing College Textbook Supplements: The Definitive Guide to Winning High-Paying Assignments in the College Textbook Publishing Market:

    John Soares recently posted..Selling E-Books with E-Junkie- My ExperienceMy Profile

    • Yes, John, the truth is any book or booklet written for print can be turned into an ebook easily… and the distribution cost is minimal.

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