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Selling Ebooks: How Many Do You Have to Write to Make a FullTime Living as SelfPublisher

  • By Yuwanda Black
  • Published 10/27/2011
  • Writing

Writing and selling ebooks online has become much more possible – and possible since giants like Amazon and Barnes and Noble introduced e-readers (eg, the Kindle and the Nook). More writers are dreaming less about getting a traditional publishing deal and dreaming more about hitting it big as a self-publisher. And, with good reason. Following are just a couple of reasons why. Ebooks Are Outselling Hardcovers In July 2010, Amazon reported that ebook sales for its e-reader (Kindle) outnumbered sales of hardcover books for the first time ever during the second quarter of 2010. By how much? The company reports it sold 140 ebooks for every 100 hardcover books. This includes hardcovers for which there was no digital edition. [Source: Wikipedia] Ebooks Got Their Own Listing by The New York Times Familiar with The New York Times best-seller list? In the November 10, 2010 NYT article, Times Will Rank E-Book Best Sellers, the company reported that it would start publishing e-book best-seller lists in fiction and nonfiction at the beginning of 2011. So yeah, ebooks are here to stay. Selling Ebooks Online: Amazon Makes Online Publishing So Easy I’ve been writing and selling ebooks online since 2004. In 2010, for the first time ever, over half my income came from e-products (ebooks and e-courses) that I authored. To date, I’ve published almost 30 ebooks on Amazon. And the reason is, they make it so easy to do so. It’s completely free to do so and you don’t need an ISBN number, which was a requirement in the past.

I receive a lot of questions from aspiring ebook

writers about writing and selling ebooks online for a living, eg, one aspiring writer wrote: “I’m also just getting into this whole ebook thing, so am looking forward to learning more, and hopefully one day actually writing one of them! The only thing that’s putting me off is that people are saying you got to write lots of them.” So, Just How Many Ebooks Do You Have to Write to Make a FT Living as a Self-Publisher? Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer. It depends on too many factors, eg, genre you write in, writing skill, your marketing ability, ebook cover, your target audience, etc. But, what I can tell you is this . . . I didn’t start seeing a real difference in my income as a self-published ebook author until I’d published probably around 15 of them. And I write in the “how to; non-fiction” niche. This niche is not nearly as hot as say, paranormal romance or mystery thrillers. While some authors like John Locke and Amanda Hocking (just Google their names if you have no idea who they are) have had crazy success with way fewer titles, this just won’t happen for the vast majority of ebook writers. Why Self-Publishing is a Guaranteed Way to Make a Living as a Writer The way I look at it is this — if somebody told me that I could be a self-sustaining writer in 3 years, 5 years, or 10 years – guaranteed, IF I just put out enough titles, would that make me happy or sad? It would make me happy because while I might have to write a couple of hundred ebooks to achieve a 10th of the success of a Lock or Hocking, at least I know that I can “write my way to riches,” so to speak.

After all, writers write, right? Here’s to your ebook selling and online publishing success!

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