How to Self Publish an Ebook To Make Passive Income

by | Feb 11, 2021 | Live Work Play Travel, Work Online | 0 comments

If you are wondering how to self publish an ebook to make passive income wonder no more. In this post I’ll go through why self publishing is a good idea. Plus, how to format an ebook for publication, what platforms to publish on, plus loads more. I have published both printed books and ebooks and discovered, it is quite easy to do. Writing and self publishing ebooks and books has generated a very good passive income for me. And you can do it too. I will run you through the process to follow so you can generate a passive income also from self publishing an ebook. So let’s get started.


Why Self Publish an Ebook


Most authors dream of writing a book and seeing it published. And I can tell you seeing your hard work on a shelf is a huge buzz. Depending on the genre many focus on the print format however, in my opinion having an ebook is a much better idea. Here’s why.

a) Authors make more income from ebooks. That’s write, authors make more income from ebooks than printed books. There’s more profit per ebook because there is no printing, shipping or marketings costs involved. Authors usually have a contract where they receive 10%, yes that’s right 10 per cent of book sales. So if you have a book available at $20, in theory you will receive $2 per book sold. Whereas with an ebook you can receive 80-90% of the ebook price. Sounds good to me!

b) Readers can buy the ebook immediately. Yes, that’s right, readers don’t have to wait until they get to a store or have it delivered to get their eyes on it. This means by having no access barriers to your product you can sell more ebooks.

c) With printed books you sell rights to areas to have your books published in that particular area. This could mean your printed book may only ever be available in one area. With an ebook you can sell it to anyone, anywhere in the world. My printed travel guide Live Work and Play in London and the UK was only available in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Now, as an ebook I have made sales of the book to readers from 18 countries. And with instant access and no shipping costs I have sold more ebooks than my printed books ever did. So how does it feel to have a multinational global business from my laptop? Great I say! And you too can have this.

d) Once you have your ebook ready for sale you sell it on different online platforms.These platforms will have automation of instant delivery after payment set up. So sales can occur while you sleep without you doing anything. And there is your passive income from your ebook sales. And these sales should grow as more and more readers transition to digital and mobile technology.

e) The speed of ebook publishing means you have more control of when and how readers can get your ebook. Once you click publish, your ebook can be available instantly. And if you need to update any details, like I do with a travel ebook, I can have the new information available straight away. No more waiting for a new version which may come out once every 2 years. This makes me look like more of an authority in the field being able to provide the latest information available.

f) Ebooks have a lower risk because they have a lower cost of entry. Yep, apart from paying for upfront editing, proofreading, internal design layout and cover design the actual publishing is free. With no printing costs which can cost thousands of dollars if you are self publishing, most ebook platforms where you can self publish your ebook are free. Amazon KDP is one such publishing platform which is free to join and only charges minimal percentage of sale. So publishing in this digital age has low overheads, low entry costs and at the same time, provides potentially a high rate of return. 

There you have it, 6 very good reasons why you should self publish an ebook to make passive income. So let’s get started on the steps to take to make your dream of self publishing an ebook come true.


Where to Self Publish An Ebook


The two most popular places to self publish an ebook are on your own website and on Amazon KDP. Other places include Kobo, NookPress and iBooks. Amazon KDP has a monopoly on the ebook market with a staggering 80% of the market. Therefore, it is highly suggested to sell your ebook on this platform.


How to Self Publish an Ebook


1. Have an Idea and do some research


If you thought I was going to say “just start writing”, well you are wrong. Before you even begin to write your ebook you should do some research as to whether the idea of your ebook is a viable one. You may not know, but print publishers do this before accepting someone’s book pitch. If they are going to invest their money and time in a book they need to know it will not only cover costs but make a profit, and preferably a big one. So you too, need to do some research. Most self-published authors sell their ebook on their own website or list their ebook on Amazon since they own 80% of the ebook market. I would suggest you visit Amazon and check out the ebooks in your genre. Is there are demand for your idea? If so, take note of their page length, design, name and price as all these things will come in handy when working out the same for your ebook. When and if you are ready to start your ebook, here’s the steps I take to start generating steady passive income from writing an ebook.


2. Write the Ebook


People can write their books in different ways. A method I use is to write my travel guides is to make a list of my chapter headings, then headings within the chapters and then I begin to write information under each heading. Eventually, I have an ebook. But a key to writing your ebook is to actually write it. Many can procrastinate so I suggest you give yourself a timeline and very importantly a publishing date of when you want to have your ebook on sale. Aim to set time each day to write a specific number of words, maybe 1,000 words per day. Then in a month’s time you will have around 30,000 words which is enough for a non-fiction book. At this early stage, just push yourself to get your ideas down on paper, or computer, before you do any refining or editing or proofreading. There is no hard and fast rule as to how many words are needed for your book, but as I said before, take note of the word count of your competitors. 

You could even do a little designing of the internal pages as you write. For instance, chapter headings can be in 14 point and centred on the page. Then headings could be in 12 point and the text in 10 point. If you plan to sell your ebook on different platforms, Amazon KDP, Kobo, Nookpress and/or iBooks, I would suggest you read their design requirements and do some of the designing and formatting while writing – if you can. If you don’t understand the formatting, don’t worry, just write your ebook in Word and find someone later to do the designing and formatting.


3. Proofread and Edit your Ebook


The main differences of editing and proofreading is that editing can see you change or delete complete sections of text while proofreading is really ensuring the ts are crossed and the i’s are dotted. Definitely do things like run a grammar and spelling check of your manuscript afterwards. But really, it is always a good idea to have another set of eyes proofread and/or edit your ebook. Fresh eyes can pick up things that you may have missed. If you don’t have a family member or friend who could help you out, then you can pay for the service.  I also offer a Proofreading / Editing Service, please contact me for details I’d be happy to help you.


4. Design a kick-ass Book Cover and Internal Pages


People can, and do judge a book by its cover. When people are scrolling on Amazon KDP or other digital platforms you ebook needs to stand out. You can try to design a kick-ass book cover yourself through designing programs like Canva and even Amazon KDP will let you design a cover but you might want to have someone design for you. If you are going to use Amazon as one of your main digital platforms to sell your ebooks then you should definitely read through their designing guidelines. They offer extensive guidelines and easy to follow instructions to design and upload your ebook to their platform. Check out Amazon KDP here.

Apart from the designing, which is basically making it look good, you will need to have a formatted ebook to load to your chosen publishing platform. If you are only going to sell your ebook via your website then designing your ebook in a Word Doc and converting it to a PDF should be fine. However, other platforms like Amazon prefer .mobi and others prefer ePub. So decide where you will be uploading to before you begin the process of designing and formatting.

Most ebook authors want to produce their ebook as cheap as possible, yet being of good quality. You either have the choice then to design and format yourself which may mean you need to learn new software or you can find someone to do it for you. Not everyone would agree, but I have found some great designers and formatters of ebooks on Fiverr.


READ MORE: How to make money on and with Fiverr.


5. Pricing Your Ebook


One great thing about pricing your Ebook is if you got the price wrong and the ebook isn’t selling, you can always change it. But how do you price your ebook? This is a really hard one. When you look at your competitors on say Amazon KDP you will see many prices ranging from $2.99 upwards. It will be trial and error as to the price you put on your own ebook. I would suggest you ask yourself, ‘how much would you pay for the information’. Or possibly ask your target market, how much they would pay. You could do this by doing a survey on your website.

You also need to take into account and commissions taken from the sale of your ebook by using online platforms. And is your product subject to any added taxes such as GST (Australia) or EU VAT. I suggest you work out your bottom line and then add some to cover commissions and taxes. For instance, I would like $5 every time I sell an ebook. If I have to pay say 10% commission (50 cents) and 10% tax (50 cents) then I would probably sell my ebook for $6.00 minimum.


6. Launch and Market your Ebook


Once written, edited and designed it is time to release your product to the world. People do this in different ways and an Ebook launch is quite different to a printed book launch. It is pretty hard to sign an ebook in a bookstore sipping on champaign! A lot of ebook authors fail in the launching and marketing of their ebook because realistically all authors want to do is write, not promote. In order to succeed in selling your ebook you will need to undertake some marketing. I would suggest you work on a media campaign. Basically uploading information on your ebook, and most importantly, how to buy your ebook by uploading information to as many social media accounts that you have. You could always find a social media manager.

OK, we are done. Now you can go and self publish an ebook and make passive income.


To Self Publish An Ebook You Need A Laptop, Pen And Writing Paper, A Camera If You Include Photos And A Work Place.

Thanks for sharing!

Useful Travel Resources for Your Next Adventure!


Accommodation: Where Will You Sleep Tonight? If you want a bed in a hostel dorm find a great deal with HostelWorld. I mostly stay in hotels now, is my favourite site for booking hotels from budget to ‘I feel like splurging’. For something completely different I house and pet sitting through Trusted Housesitters – this has saved me thousands on accommodation, no joke!

Flights: I always head to Skyscanner first to find a cheap and flexible flight.

Car Rental: When I need to rent a car I turn to RentalCars.

Train Travel: I love riding the train rails and get the best value from Eurail and Interrail Passes. And Japan has a great one too – JapanRail Pass.

Bus Travel: Check out Busbud for bus tickets.

Pre-organised Tours: I’ve been on a few in my time with Contiki being my first and favourite. if you are 18-35 years of age you should check them out.

Jump-the-queue entrance tickets: I don’t enjoy standing in long queues which is why I book my entrance tickets and day trips in advance. My favourite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.

Travel Insurance. There are a number of reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having bought a policy as you never know when something might happen. World Nomads is great for general travel insurance while SafetyWing is great digital nomads and long-term travellers.

Need something else? Check out my Resources page.


Sharyn McCullum In A Black T-shirt With Her Live Work Play Travel Logo In The Shape Of A World.

Hi. Sharyn here, the face behind Live Work Play Travel. I’ve been travelling all my life thanks to my dad who worked for an airline. My aim with this blog is to help you work abroad or work online and travel the world.   Read more.


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Hi, Sharyn here. I’m the face behind Live Work Play Travel. I’ve travelled all my life thanks to my dad who worked for an airline – thanks dad! I’ve been a travel writer/blogger and living a location independent lifestyle since 1993. My aim with Live Work Play Travel is to provide you with the info to start living, working and travelling around the world like I do. I currently live in Melbourne with my partner and 2 kids. 


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