Selling an ebook online (or rather, ebooks) is one of the things I’ve implemented on my site to make money online. This came as a response to the increasing number of people visiting my site and their primary areas of interest.
I read many articles (and even books!) about how to sell ebooks online before taking action.
While I find that there is quite a bit of quality content on how to technically create an ebook, I feel that there’s a lack of concrete, precise, and detailed information on how to sell a self-made ebook on the internet. Questions like where to sell it, how much to charge, and most importantly, how to make it known are often overlooked.
Yet, in my opinion, this is the most challenging step!
The existing articles are seldom written by people who have actually experienced this process. They often paint a rosy picture and ignore the fact that many people fail, despite their best efforts.
So, I decided to write this very transparent article, which I hope will help you sell your ebook or, in some cases, encourage you to put this project on hold and explore something that might work better.
I draw from my own experience for this, as well as in-depth research in both the English and French-speaking web. You’ll find plenty of examples of things that may or may not work.
As you’ll see, there’s no magic formula (contrary to what some may want us to believe)… just a lot of hard work, time, and a bit of luck!
Especially if you prioritize the quality of the content you produce, which, in my opinion, works best in the long run.
I’m sorry if this doesn’t sound very enticing, but I prefer to be very transparent!
Happy reading 🙂!
Last update: October 2023
Disclaimer: Affiliate links. Complete disclosure in legal notices.
Written by Nelly Darbois, a trained physical therapist, scientific writer, and entrepreneur.
Why I Decided to Create and Sell Ebooks?
I, like many people, had the idea of writing a book in my head for a long time. I can’t even count how many Word files I saved with book outlines!
However, there was always one thing holding me back: I only wanted to write them if I was reasonably sure they would be read someday! And by a sufficiently large number of people considering the time invested and the value I thought I could provide.
I’m sure, like you, I’ve come across content like this:
The youtuber’s promise: write AND sell an ebook in 1 week…😊
If you’re still reading my article, you probably already understand that I’m not going to make promises like that.
I have some friends who have written books (often of very high quality). Mostly through publishing companies (some of them well-known), and some through self-publishing.
They dedicated months to it. With real expertise.
And often, their sales were very low (when they got feedback from the publishers on this…!).
So, I was quite aware that selling an ebook required a lot of work beyond just writing.
When is the Right Time to Write My First Ebook?
Three years after devoting several hours a week to my main website, the one you’re on now (Fonto Media), I felt (and it was confirmed by statistics) that I had reached a milestone.
I had created a lot of free content that was appreciated:
- Traffic exceeding 100,000 views per month (now my PV are more than 260k/month)
- Relatively high engagement rate (comments, clicks on links, average time spent on pages often over 10 minutes)
- Over 1,000 subscribers to my newsletter (which I had only started two months ago)
I had identified specific needs of a part of my audience that I could address with a certain level of expertise on the subject and legitimacy.
So, I embarked on the wonderful adventure of creating ebooks (only using Canva). Then, I put them online to be sold over the internet (via Payhip).
This was with a medium to long-term goal: to partially make a living from the production of informational and high-quality content in written format. Selling ebooks is one of the means I chose to achieve this goal.
In this article, I will mainly focus on selling informational ebooks.
Publishing Companies, Self-Publishing, or Simple Online Ebook?
I also thought about whether I wanted to:
- Write and publish through an “official” publishing company. I had already done this collectively in 2019 for the collective writing with a few friends of the book “RIC, the Citizens’ Initiative Referendum Explained to All” (available on Amazon). I was in charge of finding a publisher.
- Go through self-publishing, still giving my book an ISBN (a unique number that allows a book to be classified; but which doesn’t bring anything if you don’t follow up with extensive administrative and communication efforts to get the book well referenced in their catalogs).
- Or make a minimal ebook in “pdf” or epub format, without an ISBN number.
Without much hesitation, I chose the last option. It offered the most freedom, flexibility, and potential remuneration margin behind it.
I indeed intended to modify/improve the ebooks based on the feedback I received, which I have already done several times in 6 months. This wouldn’t have been possible with self-publishing or official publishing.
What is the main thing to consider before selling an ebook online?
In my opinion, there is one thing you must think about and invest a lot of energy into before selling your ebook, even before writing it. That is your action plan for selling it and the evidence to evaluate if that plan is viable or not.
Too many entrepreneurs or writers ponder the visibility and interest in their digital book after they’ve written it. Some even realize, a few months after putting it up for sale, that they haven’t made any or very few sales.
This isn’t a problem if you’re writing your ebook primarily for yourself, and selling or having it read is secondary. However, I believe only a minority of people fall into this category.
If one of your main goals is to have your ebook read or purchased, then you must dedicate at least as much energy to thinking about how it will become known as you did to write it. I know it’s frustrating, but it’s a pragmatic observation!
1- The topic of your ebook: What need does it address?
Whether you’ve already written your ebook or it’s just a project, think about at least two things to better identify the need it addresses. Why is this important? Because it will provide you with arguments to highlight its relevance and explain why you believe it can be a source of information, entertainment, or emotion.
You’ll be better at presenting and valuing your ebook by identifying your targeted audience and what is important for this audience!
Here are the two things to consider for a better understanding of the need it addresses.
Who is your ebook intended for? Your target audience.
Is your ebook intended for the general public or professionals? If it’s for professionals, which sector are they in?
Is it for parents, elderly individuals, women, men, or people who don’t identify with a gender?
For example, I have four ebooks (here) that are solely for self-employed physiotherapists in France (so, professionals). I have many ebooks that are solely for patients who have recently been injured or operated on, or who want to stay fit, in English (here), French and German. My last ebook (here) is specifically for people with hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).
What does your target audience value?
What is important to your target audience? What would make them happy, provide them with emotion, entertainment, or reusable information? And most importantly, how does your ebook really address these concerns enough for this audience to be willing to pay?
I’m not saying that answering these questions is easy; I’m only saying that it’s essential if you want to maximize the chances of success for your project!
Two other examples:
This American dietitian (from the blog “The Geriatric Dietitian“) sells ebooks on her website targeting specifically elderly people who struggle with gaining weight. She regularly publishes the number of ebooks she sells (a few dozen per month).
Another example, this time of an ebook that doesn’t offer informational content but instead fiction. The startup that created it managed to raise over $12,800 through a crowdfunding campaign to finance the launch of their ebook.
The target audience was dyslexic children (and their families: parents and professionals).
2 – What Legal Status to Use for Selling Your Ebook?
Keep This Question on Hold There’s something where you can save some thinking time: consider under which legal status you will sell your ebook.
Keep this consideration for when you have sold at least 2 or 3 ebooks!
It’s not a big deal if you sell a book “under the table” for a few dollars (or more).
Don’t embark on the process of obtaining self-employed status or any other legal status before you’ve sold your first ebook!
3 – How to Determine the Price of Your Ebook?
Some people spend days and days agonizing over the best price to sell their ebook.
I understand that this can be a challenging step.
You don’t want to ruin everything because the price is too high. Conversely, you don’t want to risk underselling your ebook.
You may have already come across ebooks selling for tens of dollars. Question: have you seen many of them with solid evidence of long-term sales?
I think not.
If you’re realistic, no matter the subject of your ebook, its price should be, in my opinion, between $5 and $30.
Especially if you intend to keep it on sale for the long term (what’s called evergreen), without constantly running promotions and launches to remind people of its existence.
You will probably find some exceptions, of course. But these are exceptions, and I believe it’s essential to be realistic and not rely on these exceptions when thinking about your strategy.
What makes me say that this is a fair price for an ebook that finds buyers?
- Because it’s the price at which most books, whether digital or not, are sold.
- Because it’s the price range in which ebooks by successful American bloggers or writers (of quality) are sold online.
My ebooks are priced at €12 / $14 for individuals and €16.13 for professionals.
I recommend spending more time thinking about the strategy you will implement to promote your ebook rather than its best price!
8 Different Ways to Promote Your Ebook Online
In my opinion, you’ve reached the most crucial part of this article.
I genuinely hope to provide you with concrete ideas that you can apply to your own situation.
I will base this on:
- The things I did to promote my ebooks.
- But also the things I deliberately did not do, with my reasoning behind those choices.
I don’t claim that my method or approach is better than any other. It was simply the one that, in my opinion, was most suitable given my product, my audience, and what I enjoy doing.
It’s up to you to find your strategy! And really evaluate its plausibility before diving headfirst into writing your ebook… if it’s not already too late!
These tips are valid even if you are selling your ebook:
- On a platform like Amazon KDP or Fnac. ⚠️ It’s illusory to believe that your ebook will sell just by putting it online on these platforms, without any other specific promotional actions;
- By a publisher and not through self-publishing.
Sell your eBook with your personal network (word-of-mouth)?
Many authors I know operate in the following way:
- They create their book more or less on their own, mentioning it a little (or not at all) to their close friends.
- They put their ebook up for sale on the internet and send an email to their close friends to inform them of the publication, sometimes asking their friends to share the information.
It is entirely possible to make a few sales through this channel. However, I believe it is highly unlikely to sell and promote your ebook beyond your close circle in this way, even if the content is extremely relevant and interesting.
My experience: I didn’t even inform my personal contacts by email about the launch of my ebooks! They weren’t really my target audience (not even my kin therapist friends).
Sell your eBook on Social Media (Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok..)?
This is a variation of what I just described. Instead of sending an email to your close friends (or in addition), you share the launch of your ebook on your Facebook page or Instagram account (or LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, etc.).
If you are followed on social media by only childhood friends and a few acquaintances (let’s say, fewer than 500 people), there is a good chance you will achieve the same result as sending a simple email.
It is only if you have made the effort for several months (and probably, more like years) to build a specific audience on social media that you can hope to generate sales through social media.
Of course, this audience should be the one you target in your ebook. And don’t just settle for a single Facebook post; talk regularly about your ebooks in various formats without overwhelming your audience.
Or collect their emails and engage in email marketing (see below).
My experience: I am not very active on social media. I did not announce the existence of my ebooks on my personal Facebook, but only on the page I created for my community around hyperhidrosis. I made a simple post on LinkedIn to introduce my ebooks to physiotherapists and nothing on Twitter.
Sell your eBook with Crowdfunding Campaign?
Many platforms allow you to easily create a page to collect money to fund the creation of an ebook or test your idea. For example, KissKissBank, Patreon or Ulule.
There are always people creating campaigns for ebooks on these platforms. Some succeed, others fail. In 2023, 76% of the campaigns launched on Ulule reached their goal.
But again, this requires you to already have a minimal audience to redirect people to your page!
Moreover, Ulule validates (or not) the launch of your campaign by assessing whether your project is likely to succeed or not based on the promotion strategy you present to them.
Furthermore, launching such a campaign takes a lot of time:
- Creating rewards
- Creating imagery or even videos
- Promoting the campaign before and during
- Managing registered people
Therefore, a crowdfunding campaign for an ebook is a substantial amount of work that requires a lot of thought and energy! However, it can allow you to test your ebook project before writing it or completing its writing.
My experience: I created a crowdfunding campaign for my ebook on Ulule, but I never launched it. I made the bet that it wouldn’t work. I transformed it into a crowdfunding campaign for the launch of a podcast. And the campaign didn’t work! So I didn’t launch the podcast and instead focused my energy on my free articles and paid ebooks.
Sell your eBook using your website or newsletter traffic
Do you have a website and/or newsletter frequented by people who are part of your target audience? Bingo! In my opinion, this is the best long-term way to sell ebooks online.
Of course, you need:
- To have a continuous flow of traffic to your website!
- To prominently feature your ebook in various strategic locations so that people are aware of its existence.
- To regularly send useful newsletters that talk about your ebook (while continuing to provide value for your subscribers).
I will provide further insight into my ebook sales in relation to the traffic on my websites and my newsletter later in the article.
Some people also create what are called “sales funnels” to automatically sell ebooks:
- They collect the emails of people who visit their website (by offering to join a newsletter, providing a quiz, a PDF file, a webinar, etc. This is known as a lead magnet).
- They automatically program a sequence of emails to be sent to the person who just signed up (using an autoresponder, such as System.io, for example).
- They offer the ebook in several emails or in their final email.
Personally, I find this a bit too much for selling a simple ebook for a few dollars.
My experience: Talking about my ebooks on my websites and occasionally in my newsletters is the main method I use to promote them. You will see that despite very high traffic on my website (over 260,000 visits per month in August 2023), my sales are relatively low (but exceed my goals). I haven’t set up automated email sequences (and don’t plan to).
Sell your eBook on Facebook Groups
There are countless Facebook groups on almost every topic. You can mention your ebook in Facebook groups (private or public) of people in your target audience.
However, a few precautions to take:
- Provide value first and foremost, for example, by regularly answering questions. Only occasionally mention your ebook.
- Be transparent and honest about your intentions.
- Don’t participate only to promote your ebook.
- Stop if you receive too many negative responses.
I highly doubt that this approach will generate more than a few occasional sales (at best). It also requires continuous activity in the groups, or everything stops.
My experience: I have never mentioned my ebooks for patients in Facebook groups. I think I mentioned one or two of my ebooks for physiotherapists on groups where I have been active for a long time and where I occasionally respond to questions because they were related to a question someone asked. However, I don’t rely on this method, and I am not very active in Facebook groups. Edit as of June 2023: I have even left the few French-speaking Facebook groups I was part of to focus on my website and newsletter.
Selling your ebook with affiliate program & marketing?
- Other people can promote your ebook (affiliates).
- If someone buys an ebook through the link they share or the promo code they provide, they earn a commission (often around 10%).
Even if your ebook is excellent, there’s no guarantee that you’ll find people willing to promote it. Why do I say this?
On System.io, there are a lot of people (the majority) who have attempted to set up affiliate marketing and have had no sales. This information is readily accessible in the Marketplace on System.io.
In fact, you often need to implement a dedicated strategy (along with the other methods I mention in this article) to find affiliates.
My experience: I find the profit margin too small to implement affiliate marketing for my ebooks (priced at €16.13 for professionals and €12 or $14 for individuals, not including transaction fees and contributions to be deducted). So, I haven’t implemented it, and I don’t plan to do so in the future. Plus, I wouldn’t want people to use practices I disapprove of to promote my ebooks (assuming anyone wants to promote them!).
Sell your eBook with advertising
Some people are aware that they need to promote their ebook to sell it, but they don’t want to invest the time, energy, or money in creating a website or building an audience on social media. So, they sometimes turn to advertising.
They invest some tens (or even hundreds) of euros to display:
- Images and texts promoting their product.
- Or more often, they offer something for free in exchange for an email. Then, they send a series of emails with the goal of selling their ebook. They choose when these ads appear (when people search for specific keywords on Google, or based on demographic characteristics, etc.).
The uncertainty of the results is high, and I am quite skeptical about the profitability of using advertising to sell ebooks.
My experience: I have never used advertising on platforms like Facebook, Google, or others to promote my ebooks (or anything else, for that matter). It’s not something I want to pursue.
Sell your eBook with Email Marketing
The latest technique I’ve seen used to promote ebooks involves:
- Finding emails of people you don’t know (by collecting them using various tools on websites, buying email databases, etc.).
- Sending one or more emails to these people.
- Hoping that these people will buy your ebook.
This is what’s known as cold emailing. It’s called “cold” because the people receiving the emails are not familiar with you as an author or content producer.
Unlike warm emailing, which involves sending emails to individuals who have already been in contact with your website through newsletters.
I find it hard to believe that you can succeed in selling ebooks through cold emailing without using somewhat “aggressive” marketing techniques or making unrealistic promises. But maybe I’m wrong?!
My experience: I have never bought (or sold, for that matter!) email lists. So, I have never practiced this form of emailing. The people receiving my newsletters have signed up for them by downloading something from my website or by filling out a form to subscribe.
What is the Best Plateform for Selling an Ebook Online? My Review
Do you have a clear plan for how you’re going to promote your ebook to people who might be interested in it? If so, you can start thinking about where to make it available for purchase, either on a single platform or multiple platforms (except for the constraints of your limited time!).
3 places to sell ebook online
There are roughly three types of places to sell an ebook online:
- Your own website, whether it’s built on WordPress or another platform. There are numerous plugins that facilitate this, such as Woocommerce, Shopify, or EasyDigitalDownloads for WordPress. See resources at the end of the article for more details.
- A platform that allows you to sell ebooks and lists your ebook in its catalog. The most well-known of these is Amazon KDP, but there are also options like Google Play, Fnac, Kobo, Decitre, Cultura, eBay, and more. However, keep in mind that having your ebook listed in their catalog doesn’t guarantee sales unless you implement a specific strategy, as I discussed in the previous section.
- A platform for selling ebooks (and other digital products) without listing them in a catalog. Options include Payhip, System.io, Gumroad, Sendowl, Podia, and others.
Here’s my comparison of the five options I considered for selling my ebooks. I ruled out other sites because they either required paying subscriptions upfront or involved too many steps, as per my assessment.
5 Best & Free eBook Selling Plateform: Review
|🥇 Payhip||Free, but 5% per ebook sold + Paypal/Stripe transaction fees||Quick and intuitive ebook setup|
Very instructive tutorials (in English). Extremely friendly and efficient email customer service (even with the free plan).
+++ Handles taxes for different countries
|English interface for setup (buyers see everything in French)||Best balance of simplicity, quality, and price if comfortable with English interface|
|System.io||Free and no per ebook fees (excluding Paypal/Stripe transaction fees)||Responsive email customer service||Lots of options and settings, which might take too much time (may not improve ebook sales)||Least expensive option, highly customizable, some learning curve, fully in French (or in English or other languages)|
|Podia||Free for one ebook, but 8% per ebook sold + Paypal/Stripe transaction fees. |
For multiple ebooks, $33/month (or $75/month) with no transaction fees (excluding Paypal/Stripe).
|Relatively easy setup||Can become expensive if selling multiple ebooks before knowing if it works||Relatively intuitive, less cost-effective if few sales and planning to sell multiple ebooks|
|Via your website (e.g., WordPress)||Free (depends on the plugins used, excluding Paypal/Stripe transaction fees).||100% customizable|
No additional fees (except Paypal/Stripe commissions)
|Significant time required to install the right plugins and configure them|
Some people may have less confidence in buying directly from your site
|Suitable if your site receives a lot of traffic, has authority, and you’re willing to invest time in setup.|
|Amazon||30% or 70% per ebook sold||Slightly higher potential visibility (with effort)||Requires specific file formatting and is time-consuming. |
Significant royalty reduction
|Interesting only in addition to direct sales if you have a website and some traffic to experiment with.|
I’ve extensively explored some of the digital product selling platforms mentioned in my comparative table: Payhip, System.io, Podia, and WordPress.
In the end, I chose Payhip to sell my ebooks, and I absolutely do not regret that decision.
I opened two accounts with two different email addresses: one for ebooks sold to physiotherapists and patients, the other for people with hyperhidrosis. Edit as of July 2023: even others for my ebooks in English and German.
I don’t plan to put my ebooks on Amazon because it would take time to format them correctly, and the sales I manage to generate through my website are sufficient for me.
I prefer to spend time continuing to create free articles accessible to as many people as possible (which also indirectly helps promote my ebooks through my website).
You’ve been hesitating for hours, or even days, about the best platform? I suggest finding a way to make a quick decision (even if it means flipping a coin!) because, in my opinion, the choice of platform is not what will significantly impact your number of sales!
Moreover, you can always use another platform later, in addition to or instead of!
It’s better to spend time promoting your ebook! And that’s something no platform will do for you…
Payhip vs. System.io for selling eBooks
Several English speakers have asked me why I chose Payhip over System.io. I do indeed use System.io, but only for sending a monthly newsletter and collecting email addresses from people who visit my site and wish to subscribe.
But as I explained earlier, setting up System.io for selling ebooks takes much more time than Payhip. With Payhip, everything is pre-configured, and I like that. It allows me to focus more on my content 🙂.
5 Things to Consider for Your Ebook Sales Page
Of course, how you present your ebook (and its cover) matters. It’s reasonable to think that it can have an impact, potentially doubling (or more) the number of sales.
However, it’s better to invest time in this AFTER you’re sure you’ve defined a good strategy for promoting your ebook.
1/ Choose a Title that Intrigues Without Overdoing It
This step was quite challenging for me. I was aware that if I wanted to sell at least a few ebooks, I needed a title that would spark some interest.
But I didn’t want to overdo it either.
For example, I didn’t want to use expressions like:
- “7 Secrets You’ve Never Read About…”
- “The Ultimate Guide to…”
- “What Science Says About…”
Here are the titles I ultimately chose for my ebooks for patients (all visuals, covers, and ebooks were created on Canva, directly online and for free):
I could have chosen more enticing titles. For example:
|My Choice of Title||Existing Equivalent Ebook Titles Actually Sold on Amazon||Why I Think My Title Is a Good Compromise|
|Living with Hyperhidrosis: Testimonial Book Addressing Daily Life and Solutions for Excessive Sweating||The Sweating and Hyperhidrosis Cure: Stop Sweaty Armpits, Hands, Back, and Face||Hyperhidrosis is a chronic condition. Promising to end it permanently is untenable. I find this title “too much.”|
|Staying Fit as You Age!||Living Younger Longer: Extend Your Life by 20 Years. Science Reveals Everything… Foods, Supplements, Fountain of Youth Treatments, Secrets of Centenarians||Promising to extend your life by 20 years is extremely ambitious. Similarly, guaranteeing secrets (there are already plenty of resources on the subject) is too much for me as well—too bad if it costs me some sales!|
Here’s how to choose a title in 5 steps that I followed:
- Write down all your title and subtitle ideas, even the bad ones.
- Look at examples of similar ebook titles in both French and English on Amazon.
- Improve your titles based on this research.
- Select the top 3 titles that align best with the message you want to convey.
- Ask someone else for their opinion to make the final decision. Consult your audience if you already have one and think they might be interested. Personally, I didn’t ask my audience for the title choice, but I did for the title of the podcast I’m also launching through an online campaign.
Is it important for you not to “sell a dream”? Then ask yourself if you would be willing to tell everyone (your neighbors, friends, family, etc.) that it’s you who is selling this ebook and that you chose its title.
2/ Display a representative and enticing preview
Most platforms will allow you to display an excerpt from the ebook.
For example, in the form of photo galleries or downloadable excerpts.
I chose to present 3 pages from my ebooks (including the table of contents), which are each approximately 60 to 80 pages long. I also indicate the number of pages contained in the ebook so that people know exactly what to expect.
Here’s what it looks like on Payhip:
Potential buyers can download a free preview or view a few pages by clicking on the arrows next to the cover.
My advice: show a few pages from inside the ebook and indicate the total number of pages it contains.
3/ Specify who the ebook is intended for
It’s important for people to know if the ebook is intended for people in their situation or not, especially for informational content ebooks.
Normally, the title and cover already provide this information.
But you can provide a bit more detail in the body of the sales page.
Here’s an example from my ebooks:
Here, I specify that my ebook is intended for individuals who are concerned about the recovery after a broken upper limb.
4/ Offer a satisfaction guarantee (and stick to it)
I truly believe that my ebooks provide value, and I had them evaluated by others in my target audience before putting them online. Therefore, I offer a 14-day satisfaction guarantee:
Since then, I’ve had a few refunds, one for the ebooks for professionals and three or four for patients (out of a total of about 280 sales).
I recommend implementing this, provided you are truly committed to honoring refund requests!
Offering a satisfaction guarantee demonstrates your sincerity. If you receive too many refund requests, it’s likely that you’ll need to reconsider the content of the ebook.
5/List what your ebook will provide concretely to the reader (even for a novel)
Normally, the title of your ebook already indicates what the reader can gain from reading it, such as insights or emotions.
This applies to novels, testimonies, or short stories as well: the title will provide information about the emotions it will evoke and the atmosphere it will create.
I think it’s important to elaborate on this a bit more in the ebook’s presentation text.
Here’s how I did it for one of my ebooks:
I will now present more specific figures on the number of sales I have made for my ebooks, especially in relation to the number of people who visit their sales page.
I searched for this type of information (precise sales figures / income report /ebook earning) before launching my ebooks. However, I only found information in English on the subject, coming from countries like the United States or the United Kingdom, where attitudes towards purchasing paid content differ.
Hence my desire to share these Francophone figures!
Ebook Earning: My Income Report Selling eBooks
It’s very important for me to be completely transparent about my sales figures.
To truly counterbalance all the information you read everywhere praising the ease of starting online businesses and making a living within a few months 🙂
So here are the views on my sales pages for the first two months after I launched my ebooks (in French): from 10 to 300 views per day, averaging around 150 views per day. With more of 130.000 visitors of my website this month!
And the number of sales per day: less than one sale per day. However, my goal was to achieve 1 or 2 sales per month, which has been significantly exceeded.
I will summarize in the table below the number of ebook sales in relation to the traffic on my websites, over one month. According to the data I have available, most people buy my ebooks by visiting my site, rather than receiving my newsletters.
This will provide you with concrete figures, which are sorely lacking in the online ebook sales sector!
|Ebook||Website Traffic||Number of Page Views||Number of Ebooks Purchased||Conversion Rate (Page Views to Purchases)|
|Professionals 1||165,000 visitors||681||14||2%|
|Professionals 2||165,000 visitors||404||10||2%|
|Professionals 3||165,000 visitors||1,763||6||< 1%|
|Professionals 4||165,000 visitors||338||1||< 1%|
|Patient 1||165,000 visitors||2,122||18||< 1%|
|Patient 2||8,000 visitors||342||9||3%|
Net Earnings from Ebook Sales: the first 3 months
Here are the net earnings (after social contributions but before income tax) I have generated from the sale of my ebooks since I started:
- Month 1 (incomplete): €51
- Month 2: €199
- Month 3: €320
So, that’s a very factual and quantified summary!
Note: €1 ≈ $1 USD
Monthly Ebooks Income Report
I launched my first ebooks in January 2023, in French. In July 2023, I started selling them in English. And in September 2023, I made my ebooks available in German.
Here are my gross earnings from ebook sales in August 2023, for a traffic of 260,000 page views on my Fonto Media website:
- I sold 83 ebooks to 71 customers
- For a total of €1,103.
- This amount should be reduced by the PayPal and Stripe transaction fees (approximately 2%) as well as the 5% Payhip commission.
So, the pre-tax and pre-contribution income is €1,026 ($1,098) for 1 month.
General Conclusions on Selling Ebooks
- Selling an ebook is a lot of work. One should not underestimate this effort.
- My conversion rates of around 1% per person who visits the sales page, I believe, are quite representative of what one can expect.
- The conversion rate is immensely lower when compared to the number of people who see the information that I offer ebooks.
- It is possible to sell an ebook online evergreen, meaning not only during a launch but continuously throughout the year.
If you have watched many videos on make money online, digital marketing, online businesses (or read books or blogs), you have probably already seen people or practices that you find inappropriate or dishonest.
It’s something I’ve felt while researching.
And I sincerely hope to commit as little as possible.
How do I try to guard against potential deviations or dishonest practices?
- The “strategies” I put in place.
- And the income I derive from my activities.
Publicly accessible to everyone. With articles like this one, or the one I did on the methods I’ve implemented to monetize my blog.
Why? Because I believe that being transparent about my paid activities potentially exposes me to criticism.
As long as they are courteous, not anonymous, and well-argued, I am open to criticism. It is these criticisms that could potentially allow me to readjust my approach.
A good practice, in my opinion, is to ask yourself before doing something: would I be comfortable with the idea that everyone knows that it’s me who’s saying/doing this?
If you only write your name in small letters on a subpage of your site, or even if you use a pseudonym, I think it’s interesting to ask yourself why you’re doing that.
Conclusion: Selling an Ebook Online or Waiting a Bit?
I hope this article has provided you with concrete and realistic insights into how to sell an ebook online. But more importantly, it should help you determine if it’s the right time for you to do so:
- Do you already have a minimal audience that is likely to be interested in your ebook? Let’s say you have the emails of 300 people who have been following you for several months. A good conversion rate would be in the range of 1 to 5%. This means you could sell between 3 and 15 ebooks with this audience (in my case, the conversion rate is much lower than this estimate!).
- If not, have you thought about a solid communication plan? Do you have strong evidence that it holds water? Keep in mind that we tend to overestimate the potential success of a project, a bias of our brains!
If you answer “no” to these two questions, I believe it’s more relevant in the first place to build your audience or think about other income sources that are more likely to work—unless, of course, making sales is very secondary for you!
I also hope that this article illustrates the fact that you can generate income from selling ebooks online without making extravagant promises.
Finally, if I were to list the top 3 actionable things that I believe worked best in achieving some sales:
- Creating high-quality free content for more than 3 years and consistently responding to comments on articles and videos. I think this demonstrates the sincerity of my approach.
- Informing people about the existence of these ebooks in multiple places on my website to prevent anyone from missing out: in the top menu, at the bottom of the page, in the signature of each article, and within the body of the article (if the article’s topic allows). Occasionally, I mention it in my newsletter (making a real effort not to overwhelm people with it).
- Still, paying attention to the choice of the ebook title and their presentation. As an anecdote, I even got help from ChatGPT (an artificial intelligence) to draft my sales pages! I asked it to provide me with suggestions, which I then edited (they were too “aggressive” for my taste). For the presentation on the online store, Payhip is a good compromise for me (not too many settings to configure, limited transaction fees).
Here’s what I wanted to tell you about this! Do you have any comments or questions? Your comments are welcome 🙂 !
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- About me
My personal experience 🙂
Written by Nelly Darbois
I love writing articles based on my experience as a physiotherapist (since 2012), scientific writer, and extensive researcher in international scientific literature.
I live in the French Alps 🌞❄️, where I work as a scientific editor for my own website, which is where you are right now.