How to Make Money Writing E-Books
Are you looking for ways to make additional income? Do you enjoy writing? Do you urn to start your own business and be your own boss? I am going to show you a few of my favorite ways on how to make money writing e-books. Of course, once you practice and learn how to write well, you can take that skill and transfer it to any other writing industry like blogging, copywriter, editing and more.
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A Little Motivation
Table of Contents
Writing e-books and selling them on Amazon can be quite lucrative. My brother-in-law actually makes his living doing just that. He writes e-books and publishes them on Amazon. He consistently makes a steady income of $20,000+ a month, with his best months over $50,000 per month.
Now don’t get me wrong, my brother-in-law is a machine. He pumps out a new book every two or three weeks. He types over 1,500 word per hour and has bought tons of tools to help him write even faster. Voice to print software, fancy microphones, and other writing aids.
I’ve even taken a stab at writing e-books, this is one of my books on the right. GameLit Harem was a hot genre at the time, back in 2018 I think it was, so I took advantage of it and wrote a book, published it on Amazon, and made more than the $5,000 I quoted above.
Before being introduced to gamelit-harem by my brother-in-law, I had no idea what the hell it was.
Most of the profits come in the first month or two, but the boos does still trickle in passive income.
How to get started making money with e-books — Bootstrap version
The first step in getting started is to do your research. Sit down and think of a topic, genre, or subject that you are interested in, or better yet a few of them. Start by making a list of subjects or genres that interest you. Make sure you’re interested in the topic, ideally have passion for the topic, or your writing career will be short lived.
If you are unsure where to start with genres or topics you can head over to Amazon, Audible, Barnes and Noble or your favorite bookstore for some ideas.
For simplicity’s sake, we’ll stick with doing your research for sales on Amazon.
You’ll want to dive down from generic genre titles such as Romance, and get more specific and more niche. Instead of searching for Romance, you’ll want to search for Romance>Middle Aged Woman>Boss
Once you’ve made your list, it’s time to start searching for search and sales volume. Begin by going doing some keyword research and sales research to see what is hot right now. K-lytics.com is a great place to start. There is a monthly fee to use there service but I have seen free trials in the past.
You can also go to Amazon and dive into the book section to see what is selling. This will likely take significantly longer than using K-lytics, but it is free.
Below is a sample table that shows broad genres being targeted down to the niche level:
Broad Genre/TopicFirst LevelSecond LevelThird LevelRomanceFantasy VikingSecret baby RomanceHistorical Romance PiratesLove Triangle Contemporary RomanceAlpha Male Medical Workplace Contemporary RomanceLGBTQ+ International Amnesia
Another way to get started
Look at your own personal library and see what you read. What authors do you like? Think about what you read most? Think about specific genres or interest you would enjoy writing about? Then make a list of what you’ve found in your library and use a simple ranking system of a pros and cons of each genre.
Now you have another basis to begin your Google search volume and Amazon sales volume.
Getting Paid with Amazon
Once you’ve done your research and have some genres or topics in mind, head over the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). You want to make sure you are up to date with the latest in best practices and keyword ideas before you begin writing.
Another great resource for publishing on Amazon is Kindlepreneur.com. Make sure you check out Dave’s site before you get to far along in the process.
Now that you have the easy genre research and due diligence out of the way its time to get to the hard work — writing. Decision time. Do you write these e-books yourself? Do you have time daily to commit to your craft or are you going to take an alternative path to your e-book income and outsource the writing? Or at least most of it.
You — the budding writer | author | artist
We are going to start with the notion that you are creative and ambitious, and you will be doing the writing yourself. This would obviously be the bootstrap version of becoming an e-book writer and publisher. My brother-in-law started on his path to recurring income of $20,000+ a month doing it all himself. This is the way I wrote and published my book. Yes, I hired an editor and a cover artist, but the writing was all me.
If you put in the proper effort in the above research and due diligence, then the writing process should be a ton of fun, and not much work.
You might have to trial and error to see what works for you when it comes to being an efficient writer. For me, I did a loose outline and jumped write into the story. My brother-in-law is more of a major outliner. His outlines are very detail orientated. They speed up the writing process and lead him to a focused plotline and character arc.
The key to writing is to be consistent. Try to write for at least an hour a day, a couple hours a day if you are able. Set small daily goals for yourself, finishing a chapter, a page count or word count and stick to them. Knocking off daily goals will give you the motivation to stick with the project and see your book through to completion.
Have fun with the process.
If you find yourself with writers block, take a break and walk away. Come back to your story in a little while. If the break didn’t help, try writing a different part of your story. You don’t have to write your book cover to cover, you can skip around if that works for you. Start writing another chapter, or go back to your outline and flesh out some more details.
Try and be as efficient with your time as you are able. When I was writing Alex in Underland I was using every spare minute I had, which meant time away from my wife and daughter. I was really intentional about making the best use of my time and was able to write the 86,000 word book in about 30 days.
I definitely recommend you either have a friend edit your story or hire a professional to edit it. Kindle readers are notorious for blazing through several books a week and they want a quality product. That means no typos, correct formatting, grammatically correctness are all super important and worth the money one a professional.
A few negative reviews from a lack of editing will kill all the time spent and your hard work.
You can find professional editors at Kuprik.com, a website and app dedicated to writing professionals.
The services Kuprik offers are:
- Plotting / Structure
- Writing / Ghost Writing
- Developmental Editing
- Line Editing
- Copy Editing
- Book Cover Decision
- Marketing / Ads for Authors
Kuprik is really a one stop shop for all your e-book sourcing, but more on that later.
Like editing, it’s worth paying a professional here unless you are a photoshop pro. There are standard, template book covers you can purchase rather inexpensively, but again its worth buying a custom, one of a kind cover.
Locate cover artists at the previously mentioned Kubrik, Fiverr, and Upwork.
You will want to go to the cover artist with a few ideas of what you are looking for in a cover. Make sure you pay attention to the covers of the best sellers when you are doing your due diligence. This will save you time later in the process. Start thinking about cover designs ideas during the due diligence process and take notes so you don’t forget when the time comes to place your order.
Also, be aware good artists will be busy. They may take a month or two to produce your cover, so be to find your artist early in your writing process. You don’t want you master piece sitting on the shelf for months waiting for a cover.
Formatting for Amazon
Straight away I will say I did not format my e-book for Amazon, my brother-in-law did. I wrote the book in Google Docs and he converted it to the proper format for Amazon Kindle using Vellum. Vellum runs about $200 and can only be used on Mac’s.
There are free versions of software that will convert your story to the correct format, such as Calibre, but Kindleprenuer has a great article on formatting software. Make sure you get this right, or your book will not work correctly in a Kindle reader.
Publishing — Posting on Amazon
To publish your book on Amazon KDP is super easy. You can log into Amazon KDP with your regular Amazon account.
Just select what type of book you will be uploading and follow directions. It literally is fill in the blank once you select the type of book to upload. You will also be able to select keywords to help people locate you book, so make sure you have those handy from your due diligence process.
You’ll want to make sure everything is correct from the get go. You don’t want to have to make changes and hope the algorithm finds your book again. The first week to first month are when you typically make the most sales.
If you want to make e-books a consistent stream of income you have to publish a new book every three weeks or so for best results.
Publishing on other platforms than Amazon
Amazon has tight rules about posting your e-books on other sites once you have listed them on Amazon. Honestly, I am not up to date on their latest regulations so I will bow out and tell you to do your due diligence. Use the links above to Amazon KDP and Kindlepreneur before taking the risk of trying to earn a few extra bucks on another site.
How to Make Money Writing E-Books — Outsourcing
You have probably figured out the outsourcing piece by now, but literally just about every single aspect of writing and publishing your e-books can be outsources. Kuprik, Fiverr, Upwork and other websites make it super easy to hire someone or multiple people to do each and every step in this process.
From ghostwriters to formatting you can outsource literally everything. I would keep the actual posting to Amazon piece to do yourself. That Amazon account will be the heart of your business and you don’t need to make mistakes there.
A word of caution
After completing Alex in Underland I decided I was going to make a business out of e-books but my schedule was not conducive to pumping out a new book each month. My plan was to provide ghost writers with an outline and hire them to write the bulk of the story. I would do a first pass edit to make sure I enjoyed the story before sending it off to a professional editor. I would hire a cover artist and format the book myself before launching them on Amazon.
It was an absolute disaster!
I thought I did an adequate job in vetting my ghost writers, read reviews, sample work, etc. but the work I received was not only unusable, but I could not get the writers to make the edits they promised or the plagiarism reports that were part of the deal.
This wasn’t a one time deal, this happened with three separate writers, or agencies. Needless, to say it didn’t go as planned. Make sure you have several conversations with the writers in advanced. Admittedly, I tried to do it cheap and I got what I paid for.
Horror story out of the way, it can be done and it can be profitable. But it will most likely be more work that you are expecting, herding cats as they say. Be prepared to be the ultimate project manager.
Congratulations, you have completed your book and published it to Amazon! Well done on your accomplishment.
We hope you enjoyed this guide on how to make money writing e-books. Please leave a comment below with any tips, suggestions, or e-books you’ve published.