Top Selling E-Books Topics For Essays
It feels like yesterday that I was self-publishing my very first e-book, Make a Living Writing: The 21st Century Guide. I made quite a few mistakes putting that out, and it’s no longer available (cough).
But I lived and learned, and created better e-books. As I prepped to release my latest, Small Blog, Big Income: Advanced Ninja Tricks for Profitable Blogging, I realized I now have TEN e-books available for sale, counting my free e-book for subscribers.
I’ve learned a ton along the way, so I thought I’d save others some time and unpack it all.
I’ve made over $45,000 selling e-books over the past 6 years, without a lot of effort (I added it up when I was writing the new e-book, because I was curious!). So it can add up to a substantial chunk of change, over time.
What helps me earn well from each e-book I release these days? Here are 17 hard-won tips for self-publishing success:
1. Ask your readers first
As with any product you develop, begin by discovering what your readers desperately need—and therefore, would spend money to learn from you. Take a survey, run a question-driven blog post and read the comments, hold a tweetchat, start a Facebook thread. However you do it, find out what your readers’ pains are, and think about how you can solve them.
2. Research the competition
Once you know what readers want, it’s time to research the competition to fine-tune how to position your e-book, and to tweak the title to use the best possible keywords.
Are there already a lot of recent e-books on this topic? Who are the top sellers? What Amazon categories do they use? What are they charging? This competitive intel will help you tweak your e-book concept. It definitely did for me with that first Small Blog, Big Income e-book, which started out as “How I Earn a Six-Figure Income From My Tiny Niche Blog.”
These days, I’m using Dave Chesson’s great research tool KDP Rocket (yes, since I use and love it, I affiliate sell it), which gives you quick answers to these key competitive-research questions. The revised title has “niche blogger,” “make money blogging,” other useful key terms the initial title idea lacked.
A review of current offerings and feedback from my author mastermind showed me that my initial title choice might feel scammy to some (even though that’s exactly what the content is), and it wasn’t different enough from other offerings. Don’t write an e-book in a vacuum!
3. Short is better than long
People don’t want to read endless e-books like my first one, which topped 200 pages! Better to break up your material into multiple e-books than to try to cram it all into one. Yes, Amazon is now penalizing shorter e-books in author royalties…but short e-books are still more effective in building reader loyalty, especially in nonfiction.
4. Write a series
Nothing is easier to sell than a sequel to a previous e-book. I’ve done a series of four Freelance Writers Den e-books adapted from bootcamps, and the new Small Blog, Big Income e-book is the sequel to the original Small Blog, Big Income: A Niche Blogger’s 7-Step Success Formula.
Know what I did to sell the new one? I sent an email to everyone who bought the first one, and made hundreds of sales. Easy!
5. Cheap is better than expensive
Trust me, you will earn more in the long run with lower-priced e-books, nearly every time. On Amazon, anything above $3.99 is real tough sledding.
I recently heard from a new writer who wanted me to affiliate sell his $27 e-book. I said, “Have you visited Amazon lately?”
Remember, though they may be a paid product, e-books are rarely a huge earner, especially in the short run. Most e-book sellers price them low to get people into their marketing funnel and sell them pricier stuff — their consulting, premium courses, and the like.
If you’re dreaming of selling a $79 e-book as your primary earner, you’ll have a hard time making sales, unless you’re a big name with a built-in audience dying to buy anything you put out.
6. Repurposing is good
I’ve done well turning everything from live event transcripts to collections of blog posts into e-books. People are not offended that you’re recycling—different buyers like to buy things in different formats, and some like e-books.
Don’t think you have to write from scratch! Aside from my very first e-book and the two Small Blog, Big Income entries, all of my other e-books are repurposed content.
7. Co-authors rock
Yes, Collaborators are terrific for e-book writing! Most of my e-books have co-authors—I even did one with 40 different authors that I edited and presented. That means I had 40 other writers who would promote the e-book.
Curated content rocks. Collaborating will allow you to generate more e-books faster, which is important.
8. Write many e-books
The easiest way to sell more copies of your e-book is to have another e-book come out. Readers will be more receptive and less annoyed than if you keep flogging that one, old e-book. A new e-book gets readers looking over—and buying—your old titles.
When you have additional e-books, you can also create ‘bundle’ sales of multiple e-books at a discount. That’s been one of my most popular types of e-book offers.
9. Refresh and update your e-books
You can also redesign the cover of an older e-book, update and introduce a new edition, or otherwise refresh an older e-book and promote it to create a sales surge. Linda Formichelli and I did this with our co-written e-book 13 Ways to Get the Writing Done Faster, which initially had a cheesy, homemade cover — and we’ve been selling copies steadily ever since.
10. Invest in design
I don’t go on Fiverr and pay $10 for a cover. I usually invest $1200-$2000 in my e-book publishing process—and make it back the first week. You can compensate for the relatively modest size of your audience and look more successful with better-quality e-book design.
I use the webmaster team I use for my blog and Den community, but if you want turnkey help, I’m hearing good things about Archangel Ink’s services and have seen nice products from them (so I recommend and affiliate sell them). I learned about them from self-publishing expert Steve Scott, who I read regularly. Find some self-publishing successes and watch what they do — you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort.
11. Participate in multi-author events
Again, people: Think collaboration! Instead of trying to sell your e-book all by yourself, team up with 5-10 other authors and do it together. Do it in person at a bookstore, do it online—but get together.
That way, you all pool your small lists and end up with a much bigger audience. I recently ran a 99-cent, one-day, multi-author e-book sale off a simple blog post that netted thousands of dollars for the authors (without paying for ads on BookBub or any of the other book-promo sites).
12. Know your goal
Know what you’re trying to accomplish with your e-book before you write, price, and market it. If it’s supposed to be your cash cow, you’ll write, design, and market it differently than if it’s your $1 tripwire.
Some authors use their e-books to build authority and land lucrative public speaking gigs, or fill seats at their live or online conferences. With this new e-book, for instance, I’m finally acceding to many requests that I offer blog coaching, and debuting that service. When your e-book is the tip of a sales iceberg of related services, you can earn a lot more.
13. Sell at the top and in your endpapers
One recently learned trick for me is to offer one cheap additional e-book before the table of contents in your e-book. That way, it shows up in Amazon’s ‘Look Inside the Book’ excerpt, and exposes readers to more of your items.
Flip to the end of my e-books, and you’ll see a link to every single product I offer. Don’t forget to update your endpapers in your e-books as you add new products. Your reader is now a qualified buyer from you, and that means they’re a good bet to buy additional things from you.
14. Presell, presell, presell
Selling e-books is all about preparing the way. It’s impossible to start too early, talking about an e-book! Chat in social media about your draft, your cover possibilities, your topic. Publish blog posts on the topic. Guest post ahead of the release.
Offer your readers discounts for reserving presale copies. Get the buzz going, before official launch day. At this point, the bulk of the money I earn from e-books happen during presales! And running a presale also means you’ve got a list of people who’ve read the book that you can email on release day and ask to leave Amazon reviews.
15. 99 cents is the new free
A lot of authors are hooked on the exclusive, free Kindle Direct Publishing promo e-book launch. They’ll even pay BuckBooks and the like hundreds to promote their free offer! I’ve tried it myself, and I’m here to say I think these free giveaways are a crock—especially for bloggers with a smaller audience. Yes, you get some sales after them, because the freebie event spikes your rankings…but the impact tends to be fleeting.
You get thousands of free downloads, get all excited that buzz is spreading…and often, end up making $300 when you switch to asking folks to pay for your e-book. At this point, I’ve heard too many reports of that from other self-publishing authors. I think this is a strategy that once worked well, but now that the market is super-saturated with e-book releases, it just doesn’t anymore.
Why doesn’t a KDP freebie event lead to a lot of sales? Because free downloaders are NOT buyers. They’re freeloaders. So their downloads don’t mean much. Instead, do a 99-cent sale. That’s a way to get a large pool of qualified buyers — especially if you follow this next tip:
16. Capture Amazon buyers’ emails
The big problem with selling on Amazon is you don’t know who buys. You don’t get a list of previous purchasers you can sell the next e-book or class.
Solve this by leaving something out of your e-book that they must come to your site and give you their email address to get. In the case of my newest Small Blog, Big Income installment, it’s a special report with 90 Actionable Tips for earning more from blogging. I create fillable workbooks for many of my e-books, so readers have a good place to take notes and build their own action plan, based on the tips.
The other way to know who your buyers are is…
17. Sell on your own site and keep all the money
Yes, I know I depart from the pack on this one. My Amazon sales are only a small part of my e-book sales strategy, and with the e-tail giant’s ever-changing rules and policies which seem to result in ever-smaller author royalties, I recommend it be a small part of yours.
When you sell an e-book on your own site, to your own audience, you are in complete control of the process, and you keep all the money. This is what you built your niche audience for—so you can sell them directly, and not be dependent on the whims of Amazon’s algorithms to earn! I fail to see why I should give Amazon 70% of the money for selling an e-book to someone I already know.
On Amazon, you cannot run bundle sales or offer readers special discounts the general public doesn’t get. And that makes it a bad place to debut a book, in my view.
I put my e-books on Amazon after presales and after launch week, when I’m done offering deals to my audience. Yes, I’ve been told I’m a fool, and if I went KDP Select exclusively and emailed all my peeps to buy on Amazon, I could rank well and Amazon would become a cash machine…and all I can say is, I’m skeptical.
As a niche blogger, it’s key that you keep rewarding your subscribers and make them feel special when they buy. They should feel they’re getting the inside line and that it’s well worth staying on your list. If they do, they will buy again and again. Send them to Amazon to buy your book, and…well, it’s less special.
I also feel confident that there’s no way I would have earned close to $50,000 selling these e-books via Amazon. They just take too big of a chunk of your sales.
Track the trends
If I had a final point to add, it would be that the world of online self-publishing keeps on changing. The points above outline my philosophy to this point, but the playing field keeps shifting. Try new things, and stay on top of what’s going on in the e-book sales marketplace to see where you have the best opportunity.
Got self-publishing questions? Leave a comment, and let’s discuss.
Tagged with: Amazon, book launch, competition, ebook, ebook prices, ebook publishing, ebooks, group coaching for writers, self-publishing, Small Blog Big Income, writing coach
I've had a few people tell me that they've struggled with finding profitable niches to publish Kindle books on, as they feel that all of the “good ones” are gone. This is simply not true! In this blog post, I want to share with you my thoughts towards competition and saturation in the Amazon Kindle marketplace, as well as reveal to you a list of 100+ profitable non-fiction Kindle book niches.
Why I Am Never Worried About Competition
I'm never worried about competition. Not only do I think that worrying about competition is an unhealthy “scarcity” mentality, but it's also a limitation that we put on ourselves that prevents us from taking action. I view the world of business as being abundant. There are literally MILLIONS of opportunities awaiting you that you can make money and profit from. In the case of publishing Kindle books on Amazon, this couldn't be more true.
The fact is, publishing Kindle books on Amazon is a hugely untapped market. Amazon literally gets MILLIONS of visitors each day that are visiting their website to buy products, and it's growing everyday. There is no doubt that Amazon is one of the top retailers in the world and are clearly the #1 book retailer. Millions of Kindle e-readers are being sold every year, and the numbers keep climbing. Not only that, but the Kindle marketplace has rapidly been expanding all over the world. In fact, Amazon recently infiltrated the Australian market with Kindle on November 13, 2013.
With all of this being said, can you imagine the opportunity that you have by publishing a Kindle book to get in front of all of these people?
I think we can now agree that the demand for Kindle books is massive and growing everyday. While thousands of Kindle book are being published every month on Amazon, you shouldn't be worried. The reason why there is little concern is simply because there is NO WAY that publishers can publish too many books that the market becomes saturated – the market is simply too big. As Amazon grows, so does the opportunity for making money publishing Kindle books on Amazon.
There are literally thousands of potential niches available to publish Kindle books in, many of which have very low competition. In fact, most niches in Amazon only have a couple hundred or couple thousand competing books in them. While this might sound like a lot, it isn't much when you can see the thousands of searches these niches get every single day. To compare things, the search engine Google has MILLIONS of competing websites for each niche or category, while Amazon only has hundreds or thousands.
The bottom line is, if you know how to effectively market and rank your Kindle book, you will NEVER have to worry about competition as you can always get to the top. With Google, despite there being millions of competing websites, if you know how to effectively rank your website through search engine optimization then you can always get to the top of the search results. Most Kindle publishers have no idea what they're doing – they have no idea how to market their book. By knowing how to market and rank your Kindle book, you have an edge over your competition and will never have to worry about them.
Here's My List Of 141+ Profitable Kindle Book Niches…
I've compiled a list of 100+ profitable non-fiction Kindle book niches that you could easily create and publish a Kindle e-book on. These are all niches that customers are searching for on Amazon, so I have no doubt that you could easily profit from them. Of course, you'd want to ensure to do the proper keyword research and competition analysis that I walk you through in my Kindle Money Mastery program, as some niches will be more profitable than others.
Become A Nurse
Bird Training/Train Your Bird to Talk
Boating & Sailing
Camping and Hiking
Get Your Ex Back
How To Be Confident
How To Budget
How to Get Rid of Panic Attacks
How to Learn French
How to Learn German
How to Learn Guitar
How to Learn Italian
How to Learn Spanish
How to Play the Piano
How to Play the Violin
Invest In Gold
Learn The Guitar
Learn To Dance
Learn To Sing
Low Fat Recipes
Mutual Fund Investing
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Self-Sustainability (solar power/wind-power/water filtration)
There you have it! These 141+ book niches don't even scratch the surface of what's available out there. Below, I'll go into ways you can find even more profitable niches to publish Kindle books on.
Where You Can Find Even More Kindle Book Niches…
I love to always brainstorm and get ideas on topics that I can publish Kindle books on. There's a few websites and resources that I use to compile a list…
- Amazon.com – Check out the Kindle store on Amazon.com and you'll see all of the categories that Amazon has, and with some digging you can easily see what other Kindle books are out there and get ideas for your own Kindle books.
- EzineArticles.com – This is a huge article directory website and you can often get ideas for Kindle books just by looking at the categories that are available for articles.
- Clickbank Marketplace – On Clickbank, you can see what products people are selling and which niches are profitable. You need a Clickbank account to view the marketplace.
- JVZoo – Similar to Clickbank, you can see what products are selling on JVZoo and get some ideas just by searching around on there.
- Your Local Bookstore – Just spend an hour visiting your local book store and walk around. You'll see thousands of potential niches and categories there that can give you many ideas that you can publish a Kindle book on.
I hope you can see by now that the opportunities are endless. This list is really only for non-fiction type books, so the opportunity gets even bigger when you start looking at fiction books like romance, mystery, erotica, etc… and even children books are another huge opportunity and market.
Now, you may be thinking, “But I don't want to or know how to write a Kindle book!” or “I don't know anything about any of the subjects you mentioned above.”
You don't need to!
In my Kindle Money Mastery program, I show you how you can create, publish and market your own Kindle book without having to write it or know anything about it. You see, I have personally published over 100+ Kindle e-books and they are ALL making me passive income every month. These Kindle e-books are on topics that I know absolutely nothing about, yet I profit from them every single day. The reason is because I've developed a system that has allowed me to outsource Kindle book creation inexpensively, by hiring writers to write my Kindle books for me. These writers will research and create a quality book for me, and then I take that book, publish it on Kindle and make money from it. I have people around the world that purchase my books and enjoy the content in them, while I get paid – it's a win/win! Of course, can also write your own book too, if you enjoy that… but it's not necessary.
To find out more about my Kindle money-making system, click here.
Tagged With: kindle, marketing, passive income, publishing