4 Ways to Make Money with eBooks

Let others share your ebook for you!

Today we have a guest post from Angela England about some of the ways to make money with an eBook.ย 

I will let Angela tell you about herself….

I’ve never considered myself a “mom-blogger,” because I got into the online world as a web content writer.

Quickly developing a grasp of basic SEO and technical skills, I created a residual income in my spare time that grew from guilt-free-pizza-nights to covering the mortgage during my maternity leave with my third baby.

What I want to share is how I used ebooks to grow that revenue even further during the year my fourth child was born and I began homeschooling.

When I published Making Money Blogging – Beyond Banner Ad Sales, it was designed to be a recap of the three main ways I used my blog to create an income for myself through ebook sales, through turning web articles into magazine articles, and via content production for several clients and websites.

The book also became my stepping stone to launch myself as a consultant for small bloggers and solidify my standing as a speaker at conferences.

Last year, I used the book to leverage an additional five figures of income for my family – on top of what I already had going on as Editor-in-Chief at Blissfully Domestic, Feature Writer at Suite 101, and of course, busy mother of four! There were four main ways I garnered revenue using my ebook that I want to share with you here.

1. Ebook Sales From Direct Traffic and Affiliates

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when you think of creating revenue with an ebook product is the income from the actual sales of the book. In this case, the $25 someone paid to purchase the book. But, as you’ll see in the next two steps, this was only one portion of the income generated via my ebook.

Setting your ebook up with an affiliate program of some sort, whether third-party hosting like ejunkie, or a plugin you control yourself, can be a very significant way to increase the amount of sales you generate. Now, you aren’t the only one promoting and marketing your work – you’ve enlisted the help of others. Running a good affiliate program can make a huge difference in the amount of ebook sales you are able to generate.

2. Affiliate Links Placed Within the Ebook

Another great way to capitalize on potential revenue after the sale of the book, is through related affiliate links. This is also a fabulous way to monetize a book you’ve given away for free. Anytime you mention a product or tool that is genuinely helpful, or useful for accomplishing a task you mention in the ebook, don’t be afraid to use an affiliate link if available.

Affiliate links are something I consider a benefit and value to my readers. When I talk about the plugin I use to create my own estore and affiliate programs, it only makes sense that my readers might want to purchase those plugins!

3. Selling Services In Tandem With the Ebook

When I started doing consultations for small and new bloggers, I knew I needed to hone my chops a bit. So when I launched Making Money Blogging, I offered a free, 20 minute phone consult to anyone who pre-purchased the book. This gave me two advantages with the launch of that book:

  • 1 – I had funds upfront for hiring a professional editor and cover design.
  • 2- I had built-in practice audience for honing my skill as a consultant with a crowd that wouldn’t demand money back if it was obvious I was still learning.

As a result of those initial consultations, I raised my rates, developed a positive reputation for someone who could help personalize your to-do-list, and I was able to collect very positive testimonials.

Nearly one-third of the purchasers of that ebook last year ended up hiring me for consultations, some of them, more than once. I offer a discount for the initial consultation with the purchase of the ebook to help overcome that first barrier. Adding a service after the sale of your ebook can greatly increase the overall revenue potential for you!

4. Clients Hired or Speaking Gigs Booked Through Reading my Ebook

I put these two together because I always wind up being hired by clients when I speak at a conference or event, so the two go together in my mind. Sometimes, someone will read what I’ve done or what I suggest doing in the ebook and decide they would rather hire me to do it for them instead of doing it themselves. For example, one area that comes up a lot is keyword research.

It’s something I’ve become pretty good at, but is also something that has a higher learning curve for some people or seems too tedious and time-consuming to do themselves. Other ways I’ve seen this work for friends is with website design, graphics creation, editing, freelance writing, and many other things. Always be sure that if you are willing to do per-hour or per-project work on behalf of someone else, you make that clear in your ebook, because you never know when your next client might be reading!

Using these four methods, I turned my last ebook into an additional five figures of income for my family. Granted, we aren’t millionaires, but most of this was while I was home as the primary care-giver for our four children, traveling multiple times, running an online magazine and homeschooling my children. Turn off the TV for a month, make it a habit (Love this post by Steve!) to write every day, and work on your next ebook. Then, you’ll see how you can add to your family’s income this year, too!

Angela England is a problogger, freelance writer and author of 30 Days to Make and Sell a Fabulous Ebook.

Find her on Twitter and at her blog, angengland.com.

Take Action. Get Results.

20 thoughts on “4 Ways to Make Money with eBooks”

  1. A Tatum – Glad you liked it! I think too often the writing of the ebook is all people plan for, but if you work smart you can accomplish a lot more with just a tiny bit more effort.

    Coleman – Exactly! My ebook gave conference organizers a great feel for my level of expertise, topics I was knowledgeable about and even hints as to my voice and quality of work. I’ve maxed my speaking schedule for 2010 and 2011 and already have two booking in 2012 and I am always able to acquire new clients after a speaking gig. I think it’s true that people are more likely to hire you when they know and trust you….speaking gives you a chance to establish that in person. ๐Ÿ™‚ Congrats on successfully doing the same!

  2. Hi Angela,

    I really like your tips. I’ve been planning out a lot of what I want to do with my PLR site, Murlu and some others that I run. I always try to find ways where I can leverage my work. So, if I create an Ebook I ask myself if I can make upsales by also offering a video course. If I make a video course, I wonder if I can sell audio recording.

    Your tips gave me a couple of great ideas to add to my GLP (thanks Steve) that I have in the works.

    Side note: I’m now in Tampa and I’m really excited to offer workshops for the local business; they are very tech savvy so I think this is a perfect stepping point. If I create an ebook (and other assets) I can do cross promotion between the web and offline leads ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Definitely cross-promote and even offer a discount. Maybe create a coupon for your ebook for 25% off to workshop attendees. And in your ebook, include a coupon or mention of your in-person workshops.

      And then perhaps explore ways to create ONLINE distance trainings as well so that even those who aren’t in your community can “attend” one of your workshops. Their 25% off coupon they get in the ebook could be applied to a live course, or to an online training, their choice.

      Just some thoughts – sounds like you’re already heading in the right direction which is fabulous! Congratulations.

  3. If you want to be successful with selling eBook on the net, write about something of your interest and of which you are good at. Always have a good command of words and learn how to talk like you know everything when it comes to that topic. Of course, most of what you are sharing should be facts if you want to earn your buyer’s trust. I second on Murray by the way by saying that your tips are very helpful. Are your earnings from eBook good at the moment?

  4. I would pay attention how Angela said she practiced consulting – and speaking. Speaking gigs are only going to pay well if you are a good speaker. I have seen Angela speak and she is one of the best speakers of her topic (and last year alone I went to 15+ conferences so I know a good speaker when I see one!!). Local workshops are a great way to get started.

  5. These is an excellent article Angela. I am actually in the process of promoting my ebook about social media marketing and this post really inspires me to do better. I learned valuable lessons from it so thank you so much for sharing.

  6. These are some excellent tips, Angela. Your tips are methodical and well-thought through. Best of all, they don’t only focus on the sale of the book, but earning money afterwards. That’s great!

    Thanks for sharing, Steve.

  7. Dan – With the release of my newest ebook, sales have slowed some (but not stopped entirely) on my old book. The new sales more than make up for it, and of course these other ways to monetize will continue to be in effect.

    Katja – Thank you for your kind words! I love public speaking – I love seeing others get excited and motivated by possibilities.

    John – I’m glad you’re inspired! There is always something else you can do…the learning process is never over.

    Ana – I think that’s the key that a lot of ebook creation resources leave out. You wind up with a lot people holding a book in their hands saying, “Now what?”. My goal with 30 Day Ebook was to communicate THESE types of things in addition to the creation part. Topic selection (a key in success with ebooks, imo) and formatting are other parts sometimes left out that are so vital.

    I think the tips in this article can be applied not just to ebooks though – so hopefully Steve’s readers will get a good takeaway no matter where they are in their online journey. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Hi Angela!

    These are some great ways to make money with eBook’s! There are so many possibilities that it’s no wonder that people are getting into the eBook market more and more. It’s such an easy and cheap way to self-publish, not to mention all the numerous opportunities to market it.

    I love the part about speaking engagements. I hadn’t even thought about that. But if you’re proving that you’re the authority through your eBook, then it makes sense that people would seek you out to speak at their event.

    Thanks for the tips!

  9. Great post!

    I love the fact, that e-books give you so much more than just affiliate commissions – you are seen as an expert on your topic and you get other additional benefits (like speaking gigs or consulting) too.


  10. Congratulations on your success. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I just bought an ebook on tips for learning foreign languages, so there are certainly lots of possibilities on what folks what to learn and what you can write about (I ignore all the how-to-make-money ones).

  11. Hey Angela,

    Great post especially from someone speaking from experience. I really respect you for finding the time to write ebooks even when you are a writer for a few websites and a mum of four!

  12. Great article, I have a few questions for you:

    Do you have an affiliate program that you recommend above others?
    Would you recommend giving away free ebooks with affiliate links in them and also making them PLR/MRR?

    Thanks again for sharing this post ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Ben,

      Well of course the easy answer to the affiliate program I would recommend would be…mine. (No BS affiliate marketing link on right side of main page) But seriously it really depends. “Best” affiliate programs really depend. OF course there is going to be some variation program to program based on how aggressive and well the sales page converts, but the really important part is that you are comfortable with it. Good affiliate programs should be ones that you personally like, would recommend even if you were not getting a commission and feel are quality.

      As for ebooks with affiliate links inside, be they free, PLR or MRR. I would not do it with ONLY the idea of making sales from the links inside. It happens, but not a TON. I think of those as the icing on the cake. That is not to say it isn’t worth doing those. It is. But make sure you are making money from it (be it PLR or MRR) or using your freebie to build a list or prove expertise.

      Like I said, if those are your primary purpose the sales from internal links are just a nice little benefit and should come organically from the product you really enjoy and have faith in.

      • My background is freelance writing and content production so my answer is hugely biased – If I give up rights to something it is usually with a price tag attached. ๐Ÿ™‚ OR a very specific purpose – helping a friend, promoting a new book, etc, etc. I would be very hesitant to create a PLR type product myself because my words are my bread and butter and are what pay the bills. And my kids’ college funds. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Having said that – if you have a specific purpose and it makes sense with your business plan, go for it!

        Is your question about an affiliate program recommendation in reference to creating an affiliate program for your own products? I use a specific plugin for my estore and affiliate management that I own outright so are not limited to a third party program like ejunkie or something like that. If you are asking about a training to LEARN about affiliate programs, well, I bought Steve’s course and it’s highly informative. If you’re asking which program you should enroll in to make money as an affiliate it totally and completely depends on the topic area you’re focusing on – Steve’s course actually has a ton of great information about selecting programs to affiliate for so I really would recommend it.

        I probably wouldn’t give away an ebook without a list-building feature attached to it – but that’s my personal feeling on the subject.

        • Thank you Scott and Angela for your detailed responses.

          @ Scott – I was looking for a recommendation for my own affiliate program. I just checked out ebook empire 2011 (free report download link up top) and I think I’ll try with Clickbank. I’ve never been on the vendor side of the equation so it should be a good experience. Also, thanks for your tips about the affiliate links, sounds like they’re best used for extra monetization rather than a sole purpose.

          @ Angela – your own plugin and affiliate program – that sounds fantastic. I’d like to do that someday after I have amassed a bit of a collection of products and more know-how with affiliate programs. Also, I see your point in straying from PLR and I have to say I agree. I thought possibly it could have some sort of viral potential, but I’d rather stick to putting together quality products and keeping a reputation as someone who writes valuable content.

          Thanks again!

  13. Ebooks are a great way to drive traffic and build a great reputation. However, I see some people purchasing PLR books and just changing a few things / rebranding them as their own work. Avoid this as there are many people out there taking this easy route.

    Do your research, develop your book and write!

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