Sell eBooks on Your Website


If you already have a site and get enough traffic to it, you can target that audience to sell eBooks on your website more easily. If you are starting from scratch, you can build a site based on the e-book you want to sell. I have done both, and there are advantages to each way. It's nice to have a market already there for your book, but your site probably already focuses on certain things and has navigational links on the homepage. These things distract a visitor, which is okay if the other pages make money by way of advertising or affiliate links, etc., but it does mean you'll sell fewer books.

For example, I sell three different eBooks on my site, but the site preceded the books, and I am not willing to take away the navigation, newsletter subscription form, and other elements that made it a successful site just to make the homepage into a sales pitch for the book. On the other hand, on the entire focus of the homepage is to get the visitor to either buy the Secrets Package or sign up for the free Secrets Course, which promotes the package in each mailing. I make more money from this ebook package than I do from the three offerings on the other site.

A disadvantage of a stand-alone site built to promote one e-book or one package of e-books, is that you have to optimize it from scratch, meaning it will likely be months before you get much recognition from the search engines.

In any case, once you choose whether to sell your ebooks on your website or blog, or build a new site, you have to prepare a sales pitch that gives visitors good reasons to buy your book. Copywriting of this sort is too big a topic for this page, but you can start by looking at other sales pages. When you find the ones that make you want to buy the product, take notes on how the writer generated that feeling in you. Also, in the resource section below you'll find some sites and books that will help you develop your copywriting and marketing skills.

Once you have a sale's page you need a way to get paid. PayPal will work fine, but I don't like the fact that everyone who buys a book from you is forced to open an account with them just to use their credit card. If this hasn't changed by the time you read this, consider the lost sales from those who are annoyed by that process (prior to opening a PayPal account I regularly quit halfway through a purchase because I didn't want to sign up with PayPal just to use my card).

I use ClickBank at the moment. It costs about $50 to sign up as a vendor (it's free to open an affiliate account just to sell other people's products), and although their fees might be a bit higher for processing orders, they have a nice workable system, they can process refunds if you are not available, and they have over 100,000 affiliates who can promote your product if you offer a decent commission (50% is normal for digitally-delivered products). That built-in sales force is potentially valuable; I've had dozens of different people sell my e-books for me.

Whatever credit card processor you use, this is an easier route than trying to get your own credit card vendor account and having to set up shopping carts and all of that. Services like ClickBank will walk you through the process of how to put an order button on your site, link to the delivery page, and the rest.

So this is the scenario once you're ready:

You're sound asleep at three in the morning, and people are visiting your website. One out of every hundred (if your pitch is that good) decides to buy your book. They click the order button and are directed to a payment page. Once they pay they are immediately directed to a download page where they can get their e-book(s). A receipt is sent to you automatically so in the morning you can see how much you made while sleeping.

How Much Can You Make?

Some marketers make hundreds of thousands of dollars from their e-books. I sell a variety of eBooks on five different websites, but my best one makes me only about $4,000 annually. Then there are the ones I have which only do about $100 each year. The common fine-print that says, "Your results will vary," is an understatement--and a good argument for cranking out more than one book.

Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities | Tips

Better marketing equals more profits. I suspect that if I did not have sixteen other things going on in our business, I could make one of my e-books do $40,000 in annual sales. You can add a newsletter or free course that you send by e-mail, which gives you multiple opportunities to convince each subscriber to buy your book. For my e-book You Can Make Money Writing I gave away a short course that had excerpts from the book (I no longer sell the book now).

If your primary sales strategy will be to have affiliates selling your e-book for you, you might not want any subscription forms on the sales page. Myself and others hesitate to promote a product if there is a giveaway, because it becomes less certain that we'll get credit for the sale if it comes weeks later, since cookies are cleared from computers and some processors only track affiliate sales for a set number of days or weeks. See the page How to Sell eBooks Using Affiliates for more about this.

Please offer good information. You'll sleep better, have fewer refund requests, and help all of us who sell e-books combat the negative view some people have of them based on the garbage that is sometimes sold.

See the resource section below for other pages on this site about making money with e-books.

Qualifications / Requirements

I could say you have to be able to write, but you can go to Elance and hire a ghost writer. You can hire out almost every step if you like, in which case the only requirement is some money (a good writer for a sales page can be very expensive, but the rest is relatively cheap).

First Steps

Write a book. You'll need a converter to make it into a PDF e-book (the most common format). The newest versions of Microsoft Word can convert the document for you; other wise there is a free PDF converter linked to in the resources below. To set up your links on the download page, set them to link to documentname.pdf; so if you named your PDF howtobuyacar, your link will go to howtobuyacar.pdf . I included a link to a basic download page in the resources below to give you an idea how it works.


How to Write & Sell Simple Information for Fun and Profit, by Robert Bly - Linden Publishing 2010.

Download Page Example - This is an example of a download page, which buyers are sent to after paying by credit card. They should be more secure than this, but I'm also not a tech-whiz. Oh, and of course, since you are there, you get a free copy of a little ebook I used to sell for $3 on (it's a fun little book that promotes my other e-books). - Get a free PDF converter here; much easier to use than Adobe products.

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Every Way to Make Money | Sell eBooks on Your Website