If you’re a content creator, especially a creator educator, chances are you’ve probably wondered to yourself how to create an ebook. Trust us, we get it. Content creation is a hustle, and sometimes you need to think about that passive income potential. That’s why in this article, we’re taking a deep dive not only into how to create an ebook to sell, but also how to create an ebook for free.
If you’re an expert on a topic that you want to share, we’re here to tell you that you can make a pretty penny from selling ebooks online. Read on to learn more about the marketing efforts behind ebook creation, and how it can increase the chances of your content reaching a global audience.
What is an ebook?
You’ve probably already guessed what the “e” stands for — that’s right, “electronic.” But what really defines an ebook?
An ebook is a digital format of a traditional printed book designed to be read on electronic devices like tablets, smartphones, computers, etc. As a digital product, the ebook is a valuable marketing tool and can be a lucrative source of passive income for content creators.
Typically, the structure of an ebook is similar to that of a traditional book, and includes an ebook cover, page numbers, chapters, and all that good ‘ol regular book jazz. Depending on its file format (e.g. EPUB), an ebook could adapt to various different digital devices, meaning its design elements are responsive and reflowable.
Much like writing blog posts or newsletters, the purpose of an ebook is to communicate information to the reader, with the added advantage of low production cost and effort. Not to mention a diverse range of style formats, embedded links, and other design features.
Read on to learn more about the advantages of ebook publishing.
5 great things about ebooks
They can be used as lead magnets
What’s a lead magnet, you ask? In marketing, a lead magnet is a technique for acquiring a prospect’s contact information.
As a creator, part of the success of your job is based on identifying your audience and acquiring a larger following. So, by amassing a robust list of contacts, the hope is that you’ll be able to convert more people into loyal followers, or even customers.
Let’s say you want to reach your followers outside of a social media platform. One way of doing this would be to produce a “magnet” such as a podcast, an e-learning course, or — ahem, see where we’re going here? — an ebook.
The problem with higher-production lead magnets, like podcasts, is that they take more time to produce and require regular contributions and updates to content. An ebook, on the other hand, is a one-and-done deal. You create and publish the book only once, yet you have the potential to earn passive income from it indefinitely. Sounds pretty ideal, right?
For content creators, publishing an ebook is a low-cost, low-risk way to reach a large audience and make some money. Not to mention it’s much more convenient than producing and promoting a tangible book. This convenience extends to your readers as well. Without manufacturing, shipping, or inventory space costs, your can price your content more affordably.
One of the biggest benefits of an ebook is its portable document format and instant accessibility to your audience. Once readers download your ebook, they can store it on their devices indefinitely and access it at their convenience.
Ever wondered why book prices fluctuate by country? Without going too much down a rabbit hole, we’ll say it has something to do with various import regulations and transportation costs.
Long story short, if you were to produce a physical book, your readers in the U.S. could be paying a much different price than your readers across the Atlantic (not to mention varying shipping costs).
On the flip side, if you have your own ebook, you’re offering on-demand access to your audience, meaning anyone from anywhere in the world can download your words of wisdom. This potential to reach an even broader audience is one of our favorite advantages of producing a digital product like an ebook.
A great source of passive income
If you’re a creator, nothing is more satisfying than producing high-quality, creative, and innovative content. That is, apart from turning a profit from said high-quality, creative, and innovative content.
Producing original content and cultivating a voice that is unique to you and your brand should be the foundation of your ebook. After all, it’s your passion and drive that will bring on the most success.
While there are so many different ways to make money as a creator, spending some time and energy on producing and selling digital products like ebooks is a super smart and lucrative tactic for generating passive income online, aka regular income made with minimal effort.
More design capabilities
Unlike traditional print books, ebooks provide unparalleled flexibility in formatting. We’re talking about dynamic layouts, interactive elements, and multimedia integration.
These flexible design capabilities help content creators produce visually engaging content that can include images, videos, audio, or even hyperlinks to complement written text.
Plus, nothing beats the responsive nature of an ebook. As a digital product with seamless adaptability across various devices, from e-readers and tablets to smartphones and computers, ebooks have the potential to cater to a wide audience.
User-friendly design features like customizable fonts, text sizes, and background colors allow your readers to personalize their reading environment, making it more comfortable and accessible.
Not only do these design features keep your readers engaged, but they also facilitate better comprehension and retention of the material. For example, ebooks also offer the advantage of searchability within text, a particularly useful feature for creator educators’ content.
What types of ebooks can you create?
The world of ebooks is yours. Seriously though, just about any topic is fit for ebook content. As long as you’re passionate about a subject, you can create an ebook about it.
Whatever topic you decide on, make sure you’re providing insight to your readers. Whether that’s solving a problem, offering hot tips, providing a how-to guide, or original recipes, there should always be an incentive for your audience to download your ebook.
Popular ebooks on the market today include:
As long as humans are humans, the topic of self-improvement will never grow old. Because there really isn’t enough that can be said when it comes to relationship advice, career tips, exercise regimens, or how to maximize (or minimize) your caffeine intake.
If you feel like you’re an expert on a self-improvement topic or have specific experiences to share, there is 100% an audience for it.
For passionate gamers and aspiring game developers alike, gaming ebook content is a popular genre. These ebooks cover a wide range of gaming-related topics catering to different interests and skill levels.
Some gaming ebooks might focus on in-depth game guides, helping readers conquer challenging levels, defeat bosses, or unlock hidden parts of a game.
Other gaming ebooks delve into game lore and narratives, behind-the-scenes information, character backgrounds, or even border on fan fiction narratives. The gaming ebook is a valuable resource for players, developers, and designers to share and gain insight from industry experts.
Yogurt toast, anyone?
The internet is so chock-full of recipes oscillating between social media channels, blog posts, and culinary media websites, that it can be difficult to keep track of it all.
Enter, recipe e-cookbooks! A popular genre of ebooks for a reason — people love to eat and especially love discovering new recipes. If you’ve carved out a niche in the culinary and food creator scene, chances are you’ll see success in the ebook world too.
Thanks to the ebook’s interactive and visual design elements, it has quickly become a popular medium for a broad range of study guides and how-to guides. Let’s say you’re an expert on studying for the LSAT, or maybe you learned some study hacks for that AP Calculus test coming up — if you have hot tips to share, there will always be a community of readers eager to learn.
How to create an ebook
Step 1: Come up with a topic
Before you start writing, you’ll want to settle on what topic you’re writing about. Seems simple, right?
It definitely can be! Especially if you’re genuinely passionate about your content. However, when considering how to create an ebook to sell, there are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind.
First things first, your ebook shouldn’t stray too far away from the topics you would normally talk about on your content channels like TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube. We recommend thinking of an ebook as an opportunity to deep dive into a particular topic within your already established content niche.
Whether you’re a finance enthusiast skilled at advising on how best to invest, or an expert in natural disasters, you’ll want to ensure that you’re bringing your unique personality into the mix.
Step 2: Research and make an outline
What goes into writing an ebook? First, brainstorm, and then brainstorm some more.
Second, research. Seriously, so much research should go into your ebook! Even if you feel like you’re already an expert on a topic, research is essential.
Next (here’s probably every writer’s hot tip), make an outline to help give shape to your vision. An outline will also help to keep you on track when you’re writing your ebook. An outline will give you an idea of roughly how much writing you should dedicate to each section, which is key to keeping a consistent and engaging flow throughout.
A smart way to outline your book is to think about it as though you’re creating a class syllabus on your topic. Don’t worry about reaching a certain amount of page numbers. As long as you focus on presenting the most essential information in your unique voice, you’ll reach the appropriate amount of words in no time.
Step 3: Get to writing!
Now that you’ve outlined your ebook, you can get to the fun part — writing your content.
“Fun” is key here in that, writing is a daunting task (even for professional writers), but the more you enjoy what you write, the more entertained and educated your readers will be.
Hot tip: When writing out your chapters, make sure to break them up to increase engagement. Use headings, subheadings, bullet points, numbered lists, images, etc.
Keep in mind that you don’t want your ebook to read like a university essay. Even if your content is education-focused, your main goal should be to keep readers engaged. Alongside quality writing and design, breaking up paragraphs is one of the best ways to encourage reader focus and engagement.
Step 4: Edit, edit, and edit some more
When editing your ebook, you’ll want to check for clarity and consistency, as well as grammar and spelling glitches. You’ll also want to make sure your personal voice is shining through, because ultimately, it’s your unique POV that will set you apart from the rest.
Once you’ve made an editing pass for spelling and grammar, read your entire ebook out loud from start to finish. This editing hack is one of the best ways to identify any issues with clarity and tone.
From there, you might choose to hire a professional editor, have a few different friends read over your ebook before publishing, or maybe you decide to edit it solo. Whichever method you go with, don’t underestimate the significance of a well-edited piece — it’s not a cute look if your reader discovers a typo right out of the gate.
Not a grammar pro? No problem. Nobody’s perfect! We recommend leaning into spellcheck or consider downloading an app like Grammarly. Trust us, even professional writers rely on these tools (and if they say they don’t, they’re lying.) The best part about these free editing tools is that they won’t break the bank (or require you to open up a dusty dictionary).
Step 5: Design your ebook
Designing an ebook is all about merging the eye-catching with the user-friendly.
First, choose a sleek layout that vibes with your content. It can be super minimalistic, or maybe you hire a graphic designer to help with the layout. At the end of the day, you know your audience best and what will appeal to them most.
Consider adding visuals to keep readers hooked. You can upload your own images or use stock photos, illustrations, GIFs, memes, etc. Whatever you choose, just make sure you stay on brand.
Don’t underestimate your font game either. Helvetica and Arial are always safe bets, but don’t forget that there are tons of free font options out there to explore. Just don’t go overboard — easy to read is key.
And don’t forget that nobody likes a massive wall of text, so you’ll want to consider breaking up chapters with headings, subheadings, and bullet points or interactive elements like clickable links or quizzes.
Last but not least, consider making your ebook design responsive, which essentially means creating a layout and format that dynamically adapts and adjusts to different screen sizes and devices.
The goal here is to make sure your ebook is readable, user-friendly, and looks great across several devices including a desktop, tablet, smartphone, or any other digital device. Which leads us to our next topic: What ebook format should you use?
Step 6: Choose an ebook file format
Most commonly packaged as a PDF, ebooks can be saved in one of several file formats. including EPUB, MOBI, or AZW. You might be wondering, “What’s the advantage of packaging your ebook as an EPUB or AZW file vs a PDF ebook?”
While PDF is a commonly shared file format across many marketing assets, an EPUB format is a more responsive, ebook-specific format that can adapt to various mobile devices, making it particularly useful for smaller screens like smartphones. Whereas an AZW file is a proprietary ebook file format developed by Amazon specifically for its Kindle e-readers and Kindle apps.
Step 7: Add CTAs
If you really want to level up your ebook game, you’ll want to consider a little marketing thing called CTA, aka call-to-action. Think of a CTA as a nudge for your readers to take a certain action after they’ve downloaded and read your ebook.
A call-to-action can be a prompt for anything from visiting your web page or social media channels, to downloading a specific cookbook recipe or design template. By adding a CTA (or even multiple CTAs) to your ebook, you’re essentially helping to guide your readers into taking the next step you want them to take.
Ultimately, CTAs help build a stronger sense of community and connection between you, your brand, and your readers. That being said, while it’s okay to include more than one CTA in an ebook, don’t get too wild. Otherwise, you run the risk of sounding spammy (and no one likes to be spammed).
There are multiple ways to incorporate CTAs into your ebook. For example, you can work them throughout your text, in between chapters, or reserve a strong CTA for the conclusion of your ebook. Either way, you’ll want to make sure your CTA stands out visually from the rest of the text. So, consider implementing a graphic design element, or even just bolding the text to grab your reader’s attention.
Step 8: Publish your ebook
Once you’ve finished writing your ebook, you’ve reached the exciting stage of publishing. But, wait! There are a few things to consider before you hit publish.
Choose an ebook format
First, you’ll need to convert your ebook to the proper ebook format. As mentioned above, there are several formats to choose from. Some examples include PDF, EPUB, MOBI, and AZW (designed specifically for Kindle).
Choose an ebook publishing platform
Once you’ve converted your ebook to a format that ensures compatibility with your readers and their electronic devices, now you can choose where and how to sell it.
One option is to sell your ebook on an ebook-specific publishing platform. For example, Apple Books (formerly iBooks) is the ebook platform for Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads, and macOS devices. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform allows you to publish and sell your ebook on the Kindle Store, which is accessed by millions of Kindle e-readers.
Alternatively, you can sell your ebook on an e-commerce platform that supports digital product sales, like Gumroad. One advantage of selling on an e-commerce platform is that you typically don’t have to pay any royalty fees, but smaller transaction fees per sale. Some creators prefer this because it means they have more autonomy over how to price and sell their ebooks.
Set up an e-commerce online store
If you decide to go the e-commerce route, you’ll need to choose an e-commerce platform to sell your book. While it may feel daunting to set up an online store, it’s actually a pretty painless experience thanks to a selection of all-in-one e-commerce platforms like Gumroad, Shopify, or even Etsy.
You can even go the extra mile and build your own website on a platform like Wix or Squarespace, both of which allow you to set up an online store that supports selling digital products.
Before you start selling your ebook, you’ll need to settle on your determined price. We recommend scoping out what other content creators are selling their ebooks for. Getting a sense of the ebook landscape within your niche can be a helpful guide when setting your pricing terms.
Or, maybe you’re not in the ebook game to make a financial profit. As discussed above, giving away your ebook for free as a lead magnet can be a strategic marketing tactic for collecting valuable contact information from your target audience.
It really depends on what you find most valuable at the time of publishing. For example, you can always start with an ebook as a lead magnet tool, and plan to publish another ebook for profit down the line once you’ve generated more buzz and a larger target audience.
Create an account and upload your ebook
Whichever ebook publishing platform or e-commerce platform you decide to use, you’ll be prompted to create an account to upload your ebook for publishing. Just make sure you upload your ebook in the appropriate format.
Set pricing and royalty rates
If you choose to sell on an ebook publishing platform, there are two important factors to consider when you’re determining a price for your ebook:
- The sale price of your ebook.
- The royalty rates (i.e. the percentage of the ebook price that you’ll earn as the author or publisher for each sale.)
Different ebook publishing platforms offer various royalty structures. Keep in mind that researching the rates and terms of these royalty structures may help you determine which platform to publish on.
When determining the sale price of your ebook, it’s always helpful to research the prices of other creators’ content that’s similar to your niche.
Preview and publish
So, you’ve written and uploaded your entire ebook — amazing, you’ve made it to the other side! Now it’s time to preview how your ebook will look across multiple digital devices. Once you’re satisfied, you can finally hit that publish button.
FYI: If you’ve decided to publish your ebook on an ebook publishing platform, you can expect a quick review period of 24 to 72 hours before your ebook is officially published online.
Step 9: Promote and sell your ebook
Congratulations! You are now a published author. It’s time to let the world know. Get out there and spread your ebook news. Promotion is key to the success of your ebook, since the more you promote your ebook, the better your chances of selling it and generating passive income through it.
Promoting an ebook can feel like a challenging task, but we’re here to tell you that you don’t need a PR agency to do it. Here are a few ideas for promoting your ebook:
Social media and content
Start promoting on your social media and content channels. We’re talking Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Substack, maybe even your podcast or your blog — anywhere you might be able to grab your audience’s attention.
Make sure to prioritize social media and marketing channels that resonate with your audience the most. Remember, no one knows your audience better than you do.
Sure, we may be well past the You’ve Got Mail era of communication, but never underestimate the power of an email.
When promoting your latest ebook title, send an email with your ebook cover to your subscribers. Include a direct link to download, or even consider offering your email subscribers a special discount to further encourage sales.
SEO (search engine optimization) is an invaluable tool for promoting any digital product as it increases visibility in search results, attracts targeted readers, and enhances credibility.
By optimizing with relevant keywords and content, you can potentially rank your ebook higher on search engines, driving organic traffic and downloads. It’s a cost-effective, long-term strategy that can establish your ebook as a top choice within the digital market.
Get the free digital product launch checklist!
So you think you’re ready to become the next big ebook prodigy? Well, you’re in luck.
Download the Leap’s free (that’s right, free!) digital product launch checklist for more useful tips on how to unlock your passive income potential.
How can I make my own ebook for free?
Great news! You don’t have to be a designer to publish your own ebook. There are plenty of free software options out there to help you bring your ebook to pro status. For example, Google Docs (or any type of word processor) will likely become your new best friend, as will graphic design apps like Canva.
How to create an ebook in Canva, you ask? Canva has a library of free ebook templates for pretty much any style or theme imaginable. Once you pick one of your favorite (free!) ebook templates, you can get to customizing.
Ebook creation software like Canva includes a robust toolkit of fonts and colors, plus a library of professional stock photos to choose from (or upload your own). Your content is the most important part of your ebook, but don’t forget about those visual elements that’ll help pull your readers in even more.
Can you make money from selling ebooks?
Yes, yes, and yes! Beyond being able to share your passion and expertise with a global audience, the next best thing about publishing an ebook is the possibility of profitability. And since you only have to produce an ebook once, the profit margins are high.
Once a potential reader discovers your ebook and expresses interest, all they have to do is pay your fee for immediate access to the goods. That means, once you’ve produced your book, settled on a price, and promoted it, you can sit back and instantly reap the rewards of your hard work. That’s right, no shipping or supply chain logistics. It’s a win-win for both you and your audience. Not to mention a great way to turn your passion into cold hard cash.
What types of ebooks are the most profitable?
Thanks to an ebook’s low sale price, simple logistics, and scalable format, producing and publishing an ebook has high-profit potential.
Self-help and personal development, technology-related content, or digital entrepreneurship ebooks can be lucrative topics due to their “how to” nature. Including CTAs or gamified elements like quizzes or multimedia components can appeal to audiences that may lean towards a more interactive experience for learning or entertainment.
At the end of the day, as long as your content is well-researched, well-written, and features engaging design, your potential for raking in the cash is there. Just remember that, like selling any digital product online, promotion is key.
Once you’ve produced and published your ebook, you’ll want to make sure your audience knows about it. Some useful strategies for ebook promotion include an email list, social media channels, a podcast spot, or even paid advertising.
Can I sell ebooks on Amazon?
Believe it or not, publishing your own ebook is one of the most popular ways to make money on Amazon. How does it work? Luckily, the process is pretty simple.
After you prepare your ebook by making sure it’s properly edited, formatted, and saved in a compatible file format for Amazon (like EPUB or AZW), you’ll want to visit Amazon’s publisher page, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), to set up your ebook.
From there, Amazon allows you to choose pricing and royalty options, verify your publishing rights, and preview your ebook. Once you’re satisfied with the preview, hit “Publish Your Kindle Ebook” and wait for Amazon to review your content. Once you’re approved, your ebook will be available for purchase on Amazon’s Kindle store within 24-72 hours.
Congrats! Now you can relax and revel in the potential of lucrative passive income. While many factors like content niche and promotion strategies go into the success of an ebook sold on Amazon, there’s potential to make anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 a month.