Although we’ve published this eBook guide for YouTubers and vloggers, anyone interested in the process can use this helpful guide to earn money selling an eBook.
Creating an eBook is a great way to increase your exposure, build your brand, and monetize your YouTube channel, all at once. However, it can be very intimidating, as well. After all, how many people do you know who’ve written an entire book? Fortunately, writing and creating an eBook is not nearly as difficult as you might imagine – you just have to break it down into manageable steps and work on one thing at a time.
In this guide, we will take you through the step-by-step process of planning, writing, designing, publishing, selling, and promoting your eBook.
There may be a lot to it, but it’s not as immense a project as you might think, especially if you’re a dedicated vlogger who’s used to consistent work on creating, shooting, and editing YouTube videos. So let’s get started!
Planning Your eBook
You might think that the first thing you need to do is to sit down and start writing your eBook, but that’s not the case at all. In fact, there are actually a few steps you need to take before you start on your first chapter, or even on your outline. First, you have to plan your eBook, much like planning your YouTube channel.
With a plan, you’ll have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish with your book, who your audience is, and everything else you need to know to write a successful eBook.
What Will You Be Writing About?
Are you writing an autobiography of your YouTube vlogging career and/or personal life? Is this a book of tips and techniques to help new travel vloggers get started? Or is it a book of tutorials related to your YouTube channel’s niche? Any of these subjects would make a great eBook, but you really need to pick just one. This will give you focus and direction as you get started.
Who is Your eBook For?
Once you know what your book is about, you need to determine who it’s for. Presumably, you’re writing your eBook for your YouTube channel’s audience, but who are they? When you initially started your YouTube channel, you may have researched your target audience. If so, find that research again and give yourself a refresher on who you’re going to be writing for in your book.
If you didn’t do any target market research when you started your YouTube channel, there’s no time like the present. Sit down with a pen and paper and write down all of the qualities and traits you can think of that apply to your audience. How old is your typical reader? Are your readers predominantly male or female? What are their hobbies? Do they respond better to more formal, professional speech and writing, or are they more relaxed?
The more specific you can be, the better. When you sit down to write your book, you’ll want to write as if you’re speaking to your audience, so you’ll want to know who you’re “speaking” to and what kind of tone and language is best.
How Will Your eBook Provide Value?
Now, it’s important to answer these two questions:
Why would your viewers/readers want to buy your eBook?
How does it provide value to them?
An autobiography may be both entertaining and informative. Tips and techniques based on your YouTube channel’s niche and video topics can be very valuable to people that are interested. Are you a fitness vlogger that wants to share experience, tips and advice? Are you beauty vlogger that wants to go more in-depth with your make-up tutorials and tips.
Think about the problem(s) that your eBook will solve for your audience. This will help you a great deal when you get to the sales, promotion, and marketing part of this process. For now, it will help you build an idea of what kind of book you’re writing for your audience.
How Long Will Your eBook Be?
Unlike novels and textbooks, eBooks can be as short as 10-20 pages. People will pay for these guides and pamphlets because they’re helpful and densely packed with information. Longer eBooks can be between 30 and 100 pages, and you may be able to charge a bit more for a book with more information.
However, content length isn’t everything, and you don’t want to pad your book with a lot of fluff material that doesn’t do anything for your audience.
Take a look through Amazon’s inventory of eBooks and find a few that are similar to what you want to write. How long are they? As you read through samples of similar books to your own, think about how much content you have to share and how much your audience really wants to read on the subject.
What Will You Title your eBook?
Finally, at the end of the eBook planning phase, you’ll come up with a title for your book. Just like titling your YouTube videos, you want to make sure that you come up with a title for your eBook that’s relevant to your topic(s), contains appropriate keywords, and is unique and catchy, too.
Brainstorm a few different eBook titles, and as you do, don’t be afraid to play with the language to come up with something clever and memorable. Get your friends and family in on it, as well, and see if you can come up with a title together that really feels like a winner. Once you’ve settled on a working title, you can move on to making your eBook.
Creating an eBook
As you begin the process of creating your eBook, you’ll note that we didn’t say, “You’re ready to write your eBook.” That’s because writing is only part of the eBook creation process. While writing your eBook is, of course, essential, you’re also about to embark on the process of proofreading and editing, formatting, cover design, and publication.
In other words, you really do have to create an ebook. And, of course, that creation process does begin with writing, so let’s get started…
Start With an Outline For Your eBook
Writing an entire book – even one that’s just 20-30 pages long – can seem like a huge task. Even writing an entire chapter can seem intimidating. How do you fill up all that space? And how do you make it all coherent and cohesive?
You start with an eBook outline.
Start by taking out a piece of paper and drawing a vertical line down the left-hand margin. Then draw three short horizontal lines at the top, middle, and bottom of that vertical line. These will be the beginning, middle, and end of your book.
Write down how your book starts, what happens in the middle, and how it ends. Then, in between your beginning, middle, and end, outline the steps (or chapters) that get you from one point to another.
Start with the broad events or points that you want to cover, and then hit the smaller details in between. Before you know it, you’ll have a full outline, from beginning to end, of your eBook. This will give you your road map for writing the book.
Establish Your eBook Structure
Using your outline, look at your larger points and subjects. These will become your eBook chapters. Then you’ll be able to start picking out subheadings and sections for your chapters, based on the information in your outline.
You’re now ready to sit down at your computer and start typing, but it’s not time to actually write your book just yet.
At this point, you want to open up your word processor and create a file for your eBook. We recommend using Microsoft Word or Google Docs, as these both allow you to save your content in a variety of formats, which will be highly helpful when you actually put your eBook together and format it for reading.
Write your book title on the first page, and then create a table of contents on the second. In Word, you can insert your table of contents, and it will generate automatically based on the headings you use for your chapters and subsections.
After your table of contents, go ahead and type in the structure of your book, including all of the chapters, subheadings, and notes that you have in your outline. With this in place, you’ll be ready to start writing your rough draft.
Thanks to this structure, you’ll have a roadmap to guide you, and you won’t have to worry about feeling lost or wandering off topic as you write.
Start Writing Your eBook Content
Now, most writers like to start at the beginning, and that’s a great place to start. However, you don’t actually have to write your eBook from beginning to end. In fact, we actually recommend saving the introduction for last, as you’ll have everything written and you’ll know exactly what you’re introducing your audience to.
Also, if you’re having trouble or you get stuck on one chapter or section, it can help a great deal to skip it for the moment, move on to a section that comes easier to you, and then come back later with a fresh perspective.
Complete Your Rough Draft
At this point, the most important thing is to get a full draft of your eBook completed. This is a rough draft, and that means that it most definitely does not have to be perfect. Just get all of your points written and in order.
Also, you shouldn’t feel that you have to finish the whole thing in a single day, but it’s a good idea to set a deadline for yourself and to keep a consistent writing schedule between the day you begin writing and the day of your self-imposed deadline.
For example, you could write for about an hour a day, either in the morning or in the evening, whenever you feel the most productive and engaged. Before you know it, you’ll have your first rough draft finished, and you’ll be ready to move on to proofreading and editing.
Proofread and Edit Your Draft
Proofreading and editing your own work can be challenging, so be sure to give yourself a break after you finish writing. You may actually want to just print your draft and then leave it for a few hours or even a whole day. Then, when you’ve had a little bit of time to focus on other things, you can start proofreading and editing with fresh eyes.
Printing your rough draft is a good idea because sitting down with it and reading a physical copy of it can help you see mistakes and places where your wording might have been awkward. It also allows you to physically rearrange the pages to see if ordering the chapters differently might make the whole eBook flow better.
After you’ve made corrections and adjustments to the physical copy of your rough draft, head back to your computer to correct and revise your draft’s file. Then you’ll be ready to create a final copy.
Create a Final eBook Copy
After you’ve finished all of your revisions and edits on your rough draft, and after you’ve reorganized and adjusted the book to flow and read naturally and fluidly, you’ll be ready to create your final copy. Read over your updated draft and make any final revisions that you think are necessary.
Then print this copy out, and you’ll be ready to do your last round of proofreading and editing.
Proofread and Edit Your Final Copy
At this point, you’re making the final edits on a book that you’re going to publish for the whole world to see. That means you need to make sure that there are no typos, spelling mistakes, or grammatical errors in your work. Poor proofreading and editing ruins a lot of eBooks – don’t let it ruin yours.
So, once you have your final copy written, print it out and go over it yourself again. You may actually want to read it aloud, as this is a good way to tell if any of your sentence structures are awkward, if you have jumps in your content, or if anything just doesn’t sound quite right.
We also recommend getting someone else to take a look at this to ensure that you’re not missing anything. A lot of good eBook writers will actually hire a professional proofreader or editor to go over their final copies to ensure that they’re ready to publish.
Create an eBook Cover
Many people really like this step because it lets them play with graphics and get visually creative. If you have experience with graphic design and/or you’re willing to take some time to learn how to set up a pleasing cover design, you’ll enjoy this step a great deal. If not, you can always hire a graphic designer to do it for you.
If you’re interested in creating your own cover design and you don’t already have a preferred image editor, you can try Canva, which is a free tool that allows you to buy one-time-use rights for a number of stock photos and images to create all kinds of professional grade graphics.
Format Your eBook
Earlier we briefly mentioned using headings. These are vastly useful when formatting your eBook. If you’re using Microsoft Word to create your content, you’ll notice a styles window at the upper left-hand corner of the screen.
In it, you’ll see a list of styles, including headings, list paragraphs, etc. Use “Heading 1” for your book title and chapter titles, “Heading 2” for your chapters’ subsections, “Heading 3” for subcategories of those sections, and so on.
Be aware that every heading you use will be listed in your table of contents. This will help readers navigate your book, and it will set up the structure of your book to be easily formatted into a file type that’s compatible with eBook readers.
You don’t have to worry about actually converting your file to an eBook reader file. That will be done automatically for you when you upload your eBook to Amazon, iTunes, or your preferred ecommerce site.
Creating an eBook That’s Awesome
Finally, make sure that you’re really happy with all aspects of your book before you publish it. Do you like the colors and the layout of the cover? Does the structure of the eBook work for you?
Take a day or more to step away from the project if you need to, and then look at your book and determine if there’s anything you think needs improving. Doing this will ensure that you’re happy with the finished product and that you’ll be proud to sell it online.
Selling Your eBook Online
Now that you’ve created your eBook, it’s time to earn some money! But how? It seems like there are millions of eBooks for sale out there, and so many of them are just collecting metaphorical dust on the digital shelves of e-commerce sites. How can you make sure that doesn’t happen to yours?
How to Make Money Selling an eBook
Selling your eBook is an active process. You could just put it up for sale and walk away, assuming that it will sell itself, but that’s rarely the case. In the next few sections, we’ll go over selling and promoting your eBook to get more sales and earn money.
Set a Price for Your eBook
The first step in selling your eBook is to set its price. If you agree to sell exclusively through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Program (KDP), you can price your ebook as low as $0.99, and you can even offer to give it away for free for a limited time, too.
However, selling exclusively through Amazon isn’t the right choice for everyone, and you can still sell your eBook at a low price of $1.99 on Amazon if you don’t agree to exclusively use their service.
At $9 per unit, you may make money with eBooks faster on fewer sales, but at $1.99 per unit, you’ll be more likely to make more sales. More sales mean more people reading your eBook and getting familiar with your brand, which will be great for your YouTube channel, too.
Do some research on eBooks similar to yours and see what prices they’re selling for. Take a look through Amazon and other sites to see which books sell the best at which price points. Then decide what will work best for you.
Selling Directly on Your Own Website
One of the reasons you may not want to go exclusively with Amazon is the chance to sell your products directly on your website. With the help of Shopify or another ecommerce service, you can actually set up an online store on your own website or blog with ease and sell your eBook directly there.
After all, if your YouTube viewers are already visiting your website/blog, you can get a lot of sales right on your site. That said, this is only one avenue for sales, and with an unlimited commodity like an eBook, you can’t go wrong with multiple sales outlets.
Amazon is a really popular platform for a reason. It’s because it works great for eBook sellers, and trusted buyers are always browsing the site for products that interest them.
How to Sell Your eBook on Amazon
The Kindle Direct Program allows you to upload your Word file or .pdf and have it automatically formatted for a Kindle reader (or for the Kindle app on an iPad or other tablet).
Through the KDP site, you can follow simple directions and have your book online and ready to sell within hours. The whole process on your end usually only takes a few minutes, but it does take Amazon a few hours to ensure that you’re uploading appropriate content that isn’t plagiarized.
The only downside to selling through Amazon can be the delay in payment, whereas if you use Shopify or another e-commerce service, you won’t have to wait for payment. However, if you use these e-commerce services, you’ll have to find one that allows you to convert your eBook document to the proper format. So, if you’re not willing to wait for payment, you’ll have to do a little bit more work on the front end.
Create a Great eBook Description
When you upload your book to sell it on Amazon, iTunes, or wherever you decide, be sure to include a great description that’s rich in the kinds of keywords and information that your readers will be searching for. You want this description to help your book get higher rankings when customers look for books similar to it, but that’s not all.
You also want it to get your readers’ attention when they click on the link for your book and read about it. When you read your book’s description, does it make you want to pick it up immediately? If so, then you’re on the right track. If not, keep working on that description until it really stands out.
Getting Ready to Sell Your eBook
Finally, before we move on to promoting your eBook, you can help your sales by ensuring that you’ve created an original, eye-catching cover, that your book is formatted correctly, and that you have chosen a good venue to sell it.
Check out other eBook authors like yourself and look at where they’re selling their books. You can even reach out to them and ask them if they have any advice for you for selling more copies.
Promoting Your eBook
The real key to selling more eBooks, though, lies in promotion and marketing. If you put the right efforts into promoting your eBook, then more people will hear about it, and you’ll get more eBook sales.
Let’s talk about how you can get the most out of social media, your YouTube channel, and your other online presences to sell more copies of your eBook.
Build Buzz Before You Publish Your eBook
Don’t surprise the world with your eBook. Tell your viewers and fans that you’re writing it. Talk in your YouTube videos and on social media about your upcoming eBook and why people should be interested.
Give hints about some of the tips and tricks you’ll reveal in the book. Post a picture of the cover design on Facebook or Instagram. In short, build hype and buzz around your book before you publish, and you’ll have people waiting excitedly to buy it before you’re even done writing.
Mention Your eBook in Your YouTube Vlogs
As you build buzz, don’t forget that your YouTube vlogs are a powerful promotional tool. Mention your book in your vlogs or whenever the topic is relevant. Include your book in your call to action at the end of your YouTube videos.
Remember, your viewers are your target audience, so they should be interested in your book, but they won’t know about it if you don’t tell them.
Link to Your eBook in Your YouTube Descriptions
You already know how important your video description is to getting more people to visit your social media sites, right? You can boost hits just by including a link in the first line of your YouTube video descriptions. Why not do the same for your eBook? Include a link to it in that first line, and you’re very likely to start seeing more traffic and sales.
Start Your Own Blog
Starting a blog is a great way to get more exposure by creating compelling content about your YouTube channel and your eBook. Write blog posts about topics that you mention in your eBook, and link to your book in your posts and in the sidebar of your blog, as well. Every time someone makes a search on Google about information that can be found in your blog posts, you could get a new visitor, which can become a new sale!
Link to Your eBook in Your YouTube Videos
Of course, you can also link directly to your eBook while you’re talking about it in your vlogs, too. With YouTube’s annotations, you can create an in-video link to your eBook that appears briefly while you’re talking about it. You can even place an image of your book’s cover in the video and put the annotation over that image so that people see what they’re clicking on.
Promote Your eBook on Social Media
While you’re promoting your eBook on YouTube, we cannot stress enough how important and effective social media is to eBook sales. Post interesting tidbits from your eBook or fun facts about the writing process, and link to the site(s) where your followers can buy it.
You don’t want to overload your viewers with advertisements for your eBook, but don’t neglect to use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to sell more copies.
In the weeks leading up to your publication date, you can mention your eBook once or twice a week on Facebook and Instagram (and whenever you like on Twitter). In the last few days, you can create a lot of hype by starting a countdown to your eBook’s release.
Be sure to post at least once a day for your countdown, and you should much more exposure and excitement for your eBook.
Guest Contribute to Popular Sites
You can also spread the word about your eBook by writing a guest column for a site or blog that’s popular with your book’s niche. You might be surprised how many popular sites will be glad to publish a column or blog that you’ve pre-written for them.
Everyone’s open to good content, especially good, free content. Just be sure to include an author bio with a link to your eBook, and people who don’t even know about your YouTube channel (yet) will start taking notice.
Additional Tips for Marketing Your eBook
As you’re putting effort into marketing your eBook on your social media pages, YouTube, and other online presences, don’t forget that you’re part of a vlogging community. Reach out to other vloggers whom you’ve collaborated and partnered with in the past. Ask them if they’ll read your eBook and give it a review or shout-out.
You can also ask your viewers to give you reviews on Amazon and other review sites and to let you know what they thought of your eBook in the comments on your YouTube channel or on Facebook. Good feedback is essential for selling more eBooks and earning money.
Use this guide to help you make money by creating and selling an eBook as a YouTuber. Have fun!