How to sell eBooks on your own website in 5 easy steps
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Did you know that self-published authors like Amanda Hocking have made millions selling eBooks? If you’ve ever wondered why you should sell eBooks—there’s your answer! Most social media influencers, creators, and entrepreneurs from all over the world have sold at least one eBook as part of their brand.
In fact, digital publishing has become so popular that, according to Statista, user penetration is expected to hit 15.9% by 2024. So, there’s never been a better time to jump in on the trend and make money selling eBooks! Not only are they in high demand, but they’re also some of the easiest products to make.
In fact, you don’t need to be a techie to create one—all you need is a computer, a topic, and the right tools. In this article, we’re going to guide you through the process of creating and selling your own eBook in just five simple steps. So, stay tuned!
1. Prepare your eBook for selling
How do you write an eBook and sell it online? The very first step is to pick a topic of interest. Ideally, you should choose something that you’re very knowledgeable or passionate about so that you can establish yourself as an authority in a niche market. For example, you can write a step-by-step graphic design tutorial for beginners or a guidebook for digital nomads. Whatever topic you select, make sure there’s an actual market demand for it.
Write your eBook and proofread the content
To give you some ideas, here’s a list of the most popular eBook niches:
- Dating and relationships
- Pets and animal welfare
- Self-care and self-improvement
- Wealth building and finance
- Beauty and fashion
- Beliefs or spirituality
- Art and design (e.g. creating Lightroom presets)
Aside from a niche, you can also write fiction if writing and imagination are your strongest suits. Wondering about the best genre to break into?
List of the most popular fictional eBook genres:
- Contemporary romance
- New adult and college
- Coming of age
- Mystery, thriller, and suspense
- Paranormal and urban
- Epic fantasy
- Science fiction
- Action and adventure
To get a more specific idea of what people look for, type in your niche in the Google Search bar and pay special attention to Google’s long-tail keyword suggestions.
Once you’ve decided on a topic, it’s time to start writing with a word processing software of your choice, such as Microsoft Word (paid) or LibreOffice Writer (free). If you have a Gmail account, you can also use the free Google Docs for writing. Google Docs will also let you download and convert your document into a PDF file or EPUB format. Another great thing about Microsoft Word and Google Docs is that they both have in-built grammar checkers.
When you begin writing, it is advisable to create a clear structure for your eBook. Most eBook platforms will let customers preview the first pages before buying a book, so it’s important to maximize the content on the first pages.
A few ways to maximize the content for potential readers:
- Make a short table of contents
- Write a compelling introduction
- Leave the reader with a cliffhanger
For tips on how to encourage people to download your eBook, I recommend these 7 lesser-known ways to generate leads using content.
And last, but not least, it’s important to proofread the content before you format and publish it. To see if your text is grammatically correct, download Grammarly’s extension (a free writing assistant) for your web browser.
Other useful proofreading tools (free and paid):
Professional proofreading services (from cheapest to most expensive):
You can also browse Upwork’s best freelance proofreaders or Fiverr’s top freelance editing experts.
Design a kickass eBook cover
To make sure your eBook sells well, you should create an awesome front cover and include images. People don’t just love compelling stories—they also love visual content.
List of top free photo sites and graphic resources:
While the cover of your eBook is definitely important, the rest of the design matters just as much. Writing an eBook can be a bit of a challenge, but designing one doesn’t have to be.
You can actually download an eBook template. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of free as well as paid pre-designed templates available on the internet.
List of platforms and marketplaces with eBook templates:
To find out more about design, head over to our article on 8 free and paid ways to create a kickass eBook cover.
Format your eBook for publishing
After you’re done with the writing and the design, you’ll need to convert your document into a PDF or an eBook format.
You can convert with Google Docs, a word processing software (Microsoft Word, LibreOffice Writer), design software (Adobe InDesign), or a free tool like SmallPDF. The last two are also secure and use SSL encryption, so you won’t have to worry about anybody stealing your document.
When it comes to formatting, readability is crucial—the text you’ve written and the color scheme should be easy on the eyes. Don’t use more than three headings (H1, H2, H3) and try to stick to short paragraphs.
Another factor that determines readability is the body font. Writers normally opt for Verdana or Ariel at size 11 or 12. But, if you’d rather have something else with more character, you can try Caslon, Garamond, Georgia, Helvetica, Baskerville, or Palatino. These are some of the best fonts for reading as evident by how frequently they’re used in publishing.
For more on formatting, have a look at 7 money-sucking book format mistakes to avoid.
2. Create a Sellfy store and upload your eBook
So, you’re probably thinking:
Where can I sell my eBook?
The choice usually falls between an eCommerce platform and a marketplace. So, what’s the main difference between the two? A marketplace is good for exposure, but bad for a number of reasons like too many competitors, and not having control over the platform.
An eCommerce store is a great choice for someone who wants to be their own boss and have complete control over their store (from product pricing to customization, and so much more) without unnecessary fees or regulations.
The only downside is that search engine visibility can be a little tricky. But, in most cases, it isn’t much of an issue when you already have followers. Even if you don’t, you can always use SEO, marketing tools, and social media to spread the word.
Now, let me ask you something:
Do you want to receive instant payments? And, use an all-in-one eCommerce solution that is fully customizable and mobile-ready? If the answer is yes, then you’ll love Sellfy.
Sellfy has everything you need to create an eBook store website:
- An integration to help you sell digital products online with PayPal
- File security that prevents download attempts
- Unlimited bandwidth
- File size up to 10 GB
- Smooth payment processing
- Built-in marketing tools
- Automatic file delivery
Do you want to give it a try? Then let’s get started!
Steps to open a Sellfy store:
- Choose a subscription plan (Starter, Business, or Premium) and set up an account with a valid email address, or start a free trial. Keep in mind that you can always upgrade and get access to additional features.
- Customize the look with the Store Customizer tool, or use one of Sellfy’s premade themes to get a beautiful design.
- Optional bonus: download Sellfy’s mobile app in the App Store or Google Play to keep track of your performance and receive notifications of new orders.
3. Monetize your eBook with the right pricing
How much money you can make selling eBooks? That depends on two things: your marketing strategy and product pricing.
Writing and designing your own eBook can lead to additional costs, like design or proofreading services. So, if you underprice your product, you’re not going to make enough. On the other hand, overpricing your product can discourage people from buying.
So, how do you strike the right pricing balance? Let’s discuss a few strategies.
One of the most common strategies is average market pricing. This will put you in the same category as your competitors. Your product will be neither cheaper nor costlier than the average pricing for an eBook. It’s a safe choice for targeting a large audience that buys at the average market value, but also tougher because it’ll set you up against competitors.
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend average market pricing if you’re a beginner.
When your product has the same price as your competitors, people will end up evaluating your product based on quality or popularity—they’ll draw comparisons and pick the more attractive eBook. This makes it harder to cut through the competition, especially when your competitors are popular, and have a solid reputation.
A far more effective strategy is to price your product above or below the market average:
- Increase your product value, but keep the average price to set it above the market average. For example, you can add a bonus gift such as a freebie. This will make your eBook more enticing.
- Decrease your product price, but keep the quality to set it below the market average. For example, let’s say the average eBook price is $10. You can decrease it to $8-9 to gain more customers. But, keep in mind that this strategy isn’t likely to be profitable in the long term. Our article on pricing strategies explains why.
Another strategy that you can try is discount pricing.
With discount pricing, you set a higher price for your eBook than the average market price, and then you can do occasional sales. You can use this method during the holiday season when people are more likely to shop online.
4. Embed the eBook on your website
Do you already have your own website, e.g. WordPress? Then you can use Sellfy’s embed feature to sell an eBook on your blog!
Here are all the embed options Sellfy offers:
- Buy now—a button that can be added to your site to sell your eBook. You can pair it with your own site design, product images, and description.
- Single product—this will feature the whole eBook on your site along with the description, a Buy Now button, and uploaded images. You can customize it on Sellfy and embed the code on your site.
- All products—this will add the entire Sellfy store page to your site and is a great option for selling more than one eBook.
The best part about the Buy Now button is that your customers won’t be redirected away from your site. They’ll be able to stay for the whole checkout process and complete their transactions in a pop-up window.
In addition, if you combine Buy Now with the shopping cart button, your customers will have the option to add multiple items to their cart. How convenient is that?
What’s more, if you’re selling different variations of your eBook, they’ll get a dropdown menu with all the product variants. At the checkout stage, customers can then review their order as well as any tax charges. If you’d like to give the embed feature a try, we have a very detailed tutorial on our site.
5. Drive sales with Sellfy’s marketing tools
And last, but not least, you’ll need to promote your product!
If you’ve signed up with Sellfy, you’re in luck because we have the best marketing tool stack for you. With the help of our in-built features, you can come up with a great marketing plan.
But, first, let’s cover the top two social media platforms for driving sales:
- Instagram—according to Statista, more than 200 million Instagrammers visit at least one Business Profile daily. 60% of them do it to discover new products and 90% of accounts follow a business on Instagram. Instagram’s great for promoting visual content. You can use IG to create quality photos, reels, and videos of your eBook, or promote with paid ads. Follow our guide on how to sell on Instagram with PayPal to learn more.
- Facebook—not as visual as Instagram, but just as popular. You can use the platform to promote your eBooks with targeted ads and marketing campaigns. For instance, many entrepreneurs will create a Business Facebook Page or Group for their followers. Use this to your advantage so that your brand pops up in Google Search results. If you’re using Sellfy, check out Sellfy’s Facebook integration.
Now, let’s get to the part of how Sellfy’s tools can help you sell more eBooks.
This is a very powerful tool for targeting specific audiences. You can choose between four customizable email campaign templates: product launch, product discount, product update, and custom message. Use these templates to inform your followers about new product launches, discounts, or updates.
When you head to your Email Marketing section, you’ll find statistics about each campaign that you send out, such as open rate, click rate, and so much more. It’s also possible to set up an integration with other email marketing services like Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, etc.
Email marketing tactics that you can use:
- Create a flash sale that’ll grab customers’ attention and then release it when the timing is right. Don’t forget to stress the hard deadline so that it won’t be missed!
- Send premium email content to increase engagement. Make it informative (eBook sneak peeks, blog posts), interactive (online quizzes, games, apps), or visual (infographics, product videos, live streams).
- Send out a “coming soon” email to your customers to get them excited about an upcoming product launch. Make sure you also announce it on social media (Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to get maximum engagement.
- Announce a viral giveaway or social media contest to create hype around your eBook.
Need more ideas on how to launch your product and keep your followers in the loop? Head over to our article on 10 effective product launch ideas that work.
Analytics, discounts, and pay-what-you-want pricing
We recommend using the Sellfy Analytics tool to understand how your business is performing and what really drives your sales.
To view the statistics, log into your account, and navigate to Overview > Analytics. You’ll be able to see the data for the last 30 days (store visits, purchases, conversions, and overall revenue) and keep track of your sales, best-performing products, etc.
Other marketing tactics that you can use:
- A sale or a discount for a certain product or service
- Running Facebook ads or an email marketing campaign
- Sharing your product or store page link on social media
- Changing or updating your product description
- Launching a new product or service
Aside from analytics, we also offer the Discount Manager tool for Sellfy users who want to create promotional campaigns, sales, and coupon codes.
As a Sellfy creator, you can also add or embed the following:
- Facebook Live Chat so customers can talk to you directly.
- Zapier to connect with more than 1,000+ apps and streamline your sales, marketing, and customer management process.
- Interactive previews of products (YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud), etc.
Another marketing tactic you can use is the pay-what-you-want pricing (PWYW). Studies have shown that the PWYW pricing is very effective for last-minute sales, so why not give it a try? With Sellfy’s PWYW feature, you can set a minimum price threshold and give your customers the freedom to decide how much they should pay.
Cross-selling and upselling
Upselling is about giving your customers the chance to buy a higher-end product than the one they had chosen, whereas cross-selling is about offering complementary products. Studies have shown that upselling works in 60-70% of cases. Sellfy’s upselling feature will work on your store pages as well as individual product pages.
With Sellfy’s upselling, you can:
- Leverage your store revenue and customer experience
- Offer exclusive deals or related products
To enable it in your store, log into your account, and go to Marketing > Upselling. Then click “Add new upsell”. If you’re selling on Twitter or Facebook, you can also include ad pixels to create ads for your store and track their performance.
Here’s how it works:
When a customer buys a product that is linked to the Upselling feature, they’ll get a pop-up window that displays the other exclusive product deal. They’ll then have the option to either decline or accept the offer.
Use this marketing tactic to your advantage and create an attractive eBook package deal. As a bonus, you can also write an optional message for the pop-up window, e.g. “special eBook offer just for you—50% off!”
If you need even more marketing tactics and examples, have a look at our 6 product promotion strategies article.
Ready to become the next Amanda Hocking?
Keep checking back with our five-step guide and you’ll slowly, but surely, be on your way to figuring out what works best for you and your business. With Sellfy’s in-built marketing tools and tips, we believe you can make anything happen. Let us know how you’re doing in the comments below—we’d love to hear your success stories!