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Love everything about the written word? An ebook business might be the perfect venture for you. As you can self-publish without the costs of printing and working with a publishing house, it also has the potential to be a great little moneymaker.
Our guide will get you started, outlining what skills, equipment and legal matters you need to have sorted to set up a successful ebook business.
An ebook business specialises in publishing and marketing ebooks. You can commission authors to write content or write it up yourself, then turn it into an ebook and sell the work to customers online.
Here are some of the important steps involved in launching your own ebook business:
While there are no formal requirements needed to start an ebook business, you will need to have writers (and sometimes illustrators) who can create works that sell. You can create your own content or hire ghostwriters to write on your behalf.
Some skills and requirements to look for in ebook writers include:
You don't need formal qualifications to run an ebook business. However, you can sign up for short courses to help with your writing skills. For example, Udemy runs an online creative writing course for $25.
You don't need a lot of equipment to start an ebook business. Some useful equipment and software may include:
Third party self-publishing tool, such as Amazon Kindle Direct
As an ebook writer and publisher, you are likely to be operating your business alone or with someone else. If you are operating the business on your own, you'll most likely register as a Sole Trader. This means the following:
If you are setting up the business with someone else, then you will need to register as a Partnership. This is similar to being a Sole Trader, except that all members have equal control and equal responsibility for the business.
You can also set up a company to run your ebook business. It will allow multiple people to exercise control over the company and better protect you personally from the company's liabilities, but the initial set-up and compliance costs can be higher.
As an ebook publisher, you will need legal documents to help protect your business and copyrighted assets. Useful legal documents may include:
With many of the documents above, you can access a range of free templates to get started. You might also want to consult with a lawyer to get a full picture of the regulatory requirements for your business. You might want to speak to:
You can request a free, fixed-fee quote through various legal services websites, including:
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
As an ebook publisher, you will have complete control and freedom over how you want to market your ebooks.
There are many channels to sell through. Popular ways to sell your books are:
Some practical ways to promote your ebooks and grow your readership include:
Run an advertising campaign on Facebook, Instagram or Google. If you are selling your ebooks on Amazon, you can also run paid ads directly by targeting people who are interested in related books.
Pricing an ebook can be tricky because there is no real "fixed cost", unlike a printed book. It's important to research ebooks of similar length, genre and topics to help you work out how much to sell your books for.
If you are selling your ebooks through Amazon, it's important to work within their pricing structure to maximise profits. Ebooks between $3.99 to $11.99 give the author 70% royalty, while for anything outside of this range, the royalty drops significantly to 35%.
If you are a first-time author, you can consider offering a slightly lower price compared to similar ebooks to attract new readers. You can always increase your pricing as your books become more popular.
Is owning an eBook writing business profitable?
Running an ebook business can be profitable, but earnings will vary. According to The Authors Guild, self-published writers on average earn USD$3400 ($4400). Some businesses, however, earn much more. One example is Adam Croft, who writes and sells his mystery novels through Amazon self-publishing, and has earnt almost $2 million in 5 years.
How can I grow my business?
A successful ebook business is all about producing quality books and knowing how to sell them. Pricing ebooks to optimise sales is very important, along with various marketing strategies to capture new audiences. You can also open up new revenue streams by selling your ebooks in different formats, such as audiobooks or paper books, through a print-on-demand service.
What are the pros and cons of selling ebooks directly to consumers versus working with third party sites like Amazon?
If you're selling your ebook directly to consumers online, you have control over the entire process and you will have access to the customer information, so you can use the data to market your other ebooks. You also don't have to pay a commission to third party sites and your pricing is not limited by what third party sites prescribe.
The key advantage of working with third party sites like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing is you can use the platform to reach a bigger audience.
It is recommended that if you're starting out in the ebook business, you do both. You can use Amazon as a way for new people to find your ebooks and you can also sell directly to consumers through your own site.
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