1. write book 2. ???? 3. Profit!
October 28, 2008 9:21 AM   Subscribe

Whats the lowdown on selling ebooks?

I saw one previous question with a single answer where the OP made his own unrelated choice regarding what he would use, so I'm asking again: Whats the best way to go about selling something like an ebook? I have a couple of things that I'm interested in putting out there for a low price with the hopes of volume. Setting aside creating my own site pushing the books and going through all of the magic and enchantment of internet marketing, are there sites where I can upload the book(s) and they do the rest, taking a cut for their services?

I know zero about things like SEO, affiliate marketing and all of those sorts of things. The few places I've looked seem to rely on it to a degree (places like this).

So if anyone has thoughts or experiences, please share!
posted by zennoshinjou to Work & Money (6 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
CreateSpace, which is owned by Amazon, does the nuts-and-bolts part of the equation. Looks like you can make the product searchable on the Amazon "mother site," too.
posted by jbickers at 9:29 AM on October 28, 2008

Setting aside creating my own site pushing the books and going through all of the magic and enchantment of internet marketing, are there sites where I can upload the book(s) and they do the rest, taking a cut for their services?

I'm not an expert on ebooks in particular, but in my experience with selling things on the internet, nobody is going to do your marketing for you. There are plenty of turn-key solutions like jbickers pointed out for selling pretty much anything, but you're probably going to be on your own for promotion.

Marketing takes a lot of upfront time and/or money for a possible payoff in later sales, and in most cases for a random unknown product the investment isn't worth it. That is part of the reason why it's so hard to get a book published by a traditional publisher.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:54 AM on October 28, 2008

Check out e-junkie. I think they might be just what you're looking for.
posted by willmize at 12:05 PM on October 28, 2008

Best answer: I've been in the game for the last decade and sold thousands of ebooks and related material. I have many friends in the business, too. I am not in the ebook business, I'm in the education business. And people gladly trade money for the value I put together in my courses.

Doing low priced ebooks is a tough way to make a living online. Conversions are the number of people who visit your site versus that number that buy. In general, you will get a 1% conversion. 100 people visit, one buys. Would you rather be selling a $29 ebook to that one person, or a $495 course? Again, if that 1% is a constant (and it normally is), which would you prefer to sell? So that's step 1, build courses, not ebooks. (The course can be all digital and include ebooks.) Affiliates prefer to push high-priced stuff anyway, it's more moola in their pocket. Think people won't pony up $495 for material? Think again!

And the magic sauce is: the list. A newsletter list. Anytime someone visits your site, you bend over backwards to try to get them to give you their email address. It is a struggle to get new traffic to your site. But if you have a list, in one click, you can send out a promotion to tens of thousands of existing visitors that are on your list. You can literally put money in your bank account any time you wish. This seemingly simple step is how many "infopreneurs" have made themselves very wealthy.

And my last tip: Don't create anything yet. Go find someone that has a large list. Find out what topic might be interesting to their readers. Offer to create a product if he will promote it. Offer a 50% commission on each sale. Sign up with clickbank and hand off an affiliate link when you are done. He mails to his list, you make a ton of sales, you split the profit. Rinse, repeat. This is happening over-and-over right now in all kinds of markets online. Watch your bank account blossom.

You have a ton of research ahead of you. Google 'warrior forum'. This is probably a good place to start learning, many of the folks that inhabit this forum sell digital products.
posted by bprater at 12:16 PM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]

You could sell your ebooks on Amazon and convert it to a format that's readable on the Kindle -- which Amazon is pushing very heavily. There have been a number of authors who put up their books on the Kindle and have made some money off of it -- most notably a Kindle User Guide better than the one provided by Amazon. But it's a pretty easy way to get started into selling ebooks since Amazon seems to guide you through the processs. Here's a thread on Amazon's Askville where they discuss this very topic. The first answer seems especially helpful as it spells out all the steps you need to take. Good luck!
posted by peacheater at 12:49 PM on October 28, 2008

Response by poster: thanks for the answers- this is all great stuff!
posted by zennoshinjou at 7:03 AM on October 29, 2008

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