A new series on self-publishing e-books. Coming soon: How to write an e-book | How to market your e-book | The most successful self-published business books
There’s a lot of money in e-book publishing.
Notable self-published e-book authors who have made millions from the medium include Fifty Shades of Grey creator E.L. James, who has a reported net worth of $60million; Amanda Hocking who has made millions with her fantasy novels after being rejected by major publishers; and non-fiction author Steve Scott, who has published over 42 self-help books and earns over $100,000 every quarter.
An e-book is an electronic book that can be read on computers, smartphone and reading devices such as Kindles and can come in any genre from fiction to self-help, business, memoirs, journalism and more.
“In the first quarter of 2012, e-books passed a critical milestone when they outsold hardcovers for the first time. Insiders have estimated that e-books now account for a quarter of all book sales,” report Writers Digest. What’s more, “ebooks now sell in the millions each year, representing about 20 percent of the publishing market in the United States. Industry watchers say that by 2018, ebook revenues will reach over $8 billion per year,” say thebalance.com.
The advantages of self-publishing an e-book
- You don’t have to rely on a book deal
The beauty of e-books is that it’s relatively easy to self-publish without having to get a book deal with a big publisher, and many amateur writers are finding success on their own through self-publishing platforms such as Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Apple iBooksore and Smashwords.
- It’s free
The aforementioned self-publishing platforms all offer their initial publishing services for free, although you will have to pay a small percentage of your earnings once your book starts making a profit. Unless you’re amazing at design as well as writing, you may wish to employ someone to create your e-book cover, and you may want to pay someone to edit and format your book to ensure it’s of the highest possible quality. Many authors choose to use freelancing sites like Upwork.com to do this cheaply, or dedicated book editing services like scribendi.com or gopublished.com.
- You can write about anything
Major publishers tend to avoid niche subject areas because they want to sell their books to a mass audience. However, if you think you’ve got authority in a more obscure area and there’s an audience for it, you could see yourself reaping the rewards at a much lower risk. As of May 2017, the best-selling non-fiction books on Kindle include subjects such as real life stories from an E.R. ward, slow cooker recipes, managing your home, psychology, astrophysics, essential oils, dating, minimalism, writing fiction, and a whole host of self-help books aimed at helping readers improve their productivity, make money and be happier.
- You’re in control
As a self-published author, you can decide what to write about, how long your book is, when to publish, where to publish, and the price. However, this can sometimes be a disadvantage. One of the most difficult things about being a self-published author is marketing your work without the weight of a major publisher and it’s budget behind you. There’s a lot of work involved in the launch, promoting yourself on social media, gaining reviews, building a website and more.