Can Writing Your Own eBook Pay the Bills?

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

Thanks to various methods of self-publishing, writing an eBook has become a common way many people dive into working from home. But, does publishing an eBook necessarily mean you’ll make enough money to replace a full-time income?

Not necessarily. In fact, I know of many indie authors who still have to work regular 9-to-5 jobs to make sure the bills are paid. And I know authors who’ve had books published by houses who don’t rake in the dough.

Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t write an eBook and test the waters. Just keep in mind that there are no guarantees that you’ll make it big by publishing your creative works.

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What’s Involved When Writing an eBook and Self-Publishing?

Unlike having an agent, finding a publishing house, and putting out a novel in a store like Barnes & Noble, there’s a lot involved as an indie creator.

An “Indie” creator is one who is independent and is handling all aspects of development in-house. Everything from creation to marketing is the responsibility of an indie author. 

When you decide to self-publish, you’re faced with:

Choosing a Publishing Platform

There are several publishing platforms on the Internet for eBooks. Some of the more popular include:

  • Kindle Direct Publishing
    Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP, is Amazon’s platform for self-publishing. From this platform, you can push out eBooks or printed copies of your book for a fee.
  • Barnes & Noble Press
    If the NOOK is more your speed, you can always sign up with Barnes & Noble Press. It has some of the better royalties available and has tools to help you push out the eBook.
  • Smashwords
    Smashwords comes with a slew of benefits for those writing an eBook. Global distribution, free ISBNs, digital conversions from .DOC files, and much more are available.
  • Lulu
    Lulu is similar to Smashwords and comes with a free EPUB formatting tool. In fact, the platform has a lot of tools and information for using global distribution to major retailers.
  • iBooks
    If it’s online, Apple has a slice of it. With iBooks, you have access to Apple users as well as various ways to prepare and publish your eBook. You can even convert it to an audiobook with ease.
  • Wattpad
    I added Wattpad to this list because technically it is an indie publishing platform. Though, you won’t make money from reads unless you enter in some contests. However, you can easily generate an audience for future eBook sales.

The hardest part is figuring out which publishing platforms will work best for your specific needs.

Originally, I wanted to use Createspace when writing an eBook. However, Amazon merged Createspace with Kindle Direct Publishing. This means they are essentially one and the same.

If the system you choose doesn’t have exclusivity rights in the terms of service, you might as well use as many platforms as possible to reach the greatest number of readers.

Creating Book Covers

eBook Cover

When publishing your own eBooks, you’ll also have to create your own book covers. That is as long as you want to impress someone to buy and read your eBook.

Luckily, there are a lot of different ways you can go about designing your own cover.

Using Canva for Free
Canva is a free graphic design app that provides templates for a wide scope of elements. In this case, you can easily put together your own eBook cover without spending money.

Well, unless you add “premium” elements. In which case, it can cost you a dollar per prime graphic. However, Canva has an extensive list of free graphics you can use.

Freelance Graphic Designers
You can always choose to find a graphic designer who won’t charge you an arm and a leg. And, there are several on sites like Fiverr who may do a great job for less than $50.

Publisher Designers
Some publishing platforms will offer book covers from professional designers but usually charge upfront. Depending on the platform, you could spend more than $100.

Finding an Editor, Or Do It Yourself

Next up is finding an editor to go over your work. You can always do it yourself, but I highly advise against doing so.

For one thing, it’s easy to mistake text when proofreading your own writing. This is because of how the brain works when immediately analyzing your own content. Things you might think are correct could be grossly wrong.

If you do decide to edit your own eBook, I suggest waiting a week or two first. This way, the content is no longer fresh in your mind and it’ll be easier to see grammatical mistakes.

Finding an affordable editor, on the other hand, is quite simple. You can either use the services some publishers offer or find a good editor on sites like Twitter.

Yes, I see editors market themselves all over the #writingcommunity.

The idea behind an editor is to make sure your work is as polished as possible before actually publishing your eBook. The more professional you look, the more likely readers will take you seriously as an author.

Besides, it’s unlikely that you’ll get into the New York Times Best Seller List with a novel that is riddled with grammatical errors and confusing texts.

Marketing the eBook Yourself

After writing the eBook and you’re ready to sell, you’ll need to invest in marketing. This is where a lot of authors fail in the beginning. That’s because it’s often difficult to market the eBook correctly or come up with upfront cash for ads.

While most publishing platforms have great tools to help you market the book, you’ll still need to put in a lot of effort to make sure it gets in front of as many eyes as possible.

Promotions, sales, discounts, ads on social media, hosting your own online bookstore from your blog, and giveaways are just some of the methods that can help spread the word.

If you set up Buy Me a Coffee for your supporters, you can also give them discounts and freebies as part of a reward program.

The sooner you plan out a solid strategy, the better.

Should You Start Writing Your eBook?

Start Writing

Yes, there is a lot wrapped up in writing an eBook if you want to be successful as an author. However, it can also open a ton of opportunities if you do it correctly.

In fact, it’s not uncommon for major publishing houses to pick up indie authors under some lucrative contracts.

I’ve also seen many authors get picked up from Wattpad to work with publishing houses as well as digital entertainment, such as Netflix and Fox.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, YES, start writing your eBook! Because you never know just how far a single book can take your career as an author unless you try. 

From a creative standpoint, I would just be happy to have a book on my shelves with my name on it. And, it would make a great Christmas present for Mom.

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Do I Have an eBook Published?

At the time of this post, I am actually nearing the end of the “writing” phase. It’s an autobiography of myself and how I went from desperation as a new freelance writer to becoming the Content Marketing Team Lead of GreenGeeks Web Hosting.

With any luck, I’ll have it done in the next couple of weeks.

I’ve decided to go with Kindle Direct Publishing first to test the waters a bit.

However, I do plan on publishing a lot more in the coming months using a variety of services.

Once I find the one that works best for me, I’ll probably publish my primary novel, “VII.” But for now, I’m doing a series of freelance writing, WordPress, blogging, and marketing eBooks.

Nevertheless, I am extremely excited to get the process started. And as I explore the different possibilities, I’ll update this post accordingly as well as log my experiences for both this blog and the YouTube channel.

Writing Your eBook is Just the Beginning

There’s a lot involved when publishing your book as an indie author. But if you do it right, the rewards can be great. And I’m not just talking about it from a financial perspective.

It can be a process to inspire you to do more and explore what it means to you to be an author.

In the end, it all comes down to what you want to achieve when writing your eBook. Take the steps necessary to make it happen.

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Michael Brockbank

Michael has been a freelance writer since January of 2012. He has completed more than 8,000 jobs for a variety of clients ranging from animals to travel. Currently, he is the Content Marketing Team Lead of GreenGeeks Web Hosting.

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