How to Sell Ebooks Online: Guide and Tips

If you have a book that you’ve always wanted to publish and sell, or if you’d like to start a new online business, you should explore self-publishing via Kindle or a digital publishing platform like FlippingBook

Selling ebooks online is an excellent way to earn passive income while you sleep, and it’s also highly scalable. There are numerous platforms that make it very easy and simple for selling ebooks as well. In fact, if you have existing content written in a Word or a PDF document, you could theoretically have it published and up for sale today. 

But as with any business, there are tricks to the trade, and simply selling ebooks without a clear strategy or knowledge of what you’re doing is far from the best approach.

Here, we’ll cover our process for how you should create and sell ebooks online.


How to Make Money with Ebooks

Let’s take Amazon. The service allows you to make money from selling ebooks online through four primary ways: Kindle sales, paperback sales, audiobook sales, and through pages read (Amazon will pay you approximately half a cent for each page read, for around $5 for every 1,000 pages read).

Most short ebooks on Amazon sell for $0.99, $2.99, or $3.99, while paperback ebooks are normally sold for $10.99–$14.99. 

As you can imagine, the more ebooks you write the more money you are likely to make. This doesn’t mean that publishing numerous ebooks is guaranteed to make you rich, but it does mean that selling ebooks on Kindle is highly scalable, and with the right strategy in place (as we will soon discuss) you can grow your sales substantially. 


Creating The Ebook and Providing Value

First and foremost, to get started with ebook publishing you will need to create your ebook. While FlippingBook allows you to convert one from a plain PDF, first you need to create said PDF, i.e. write your ebook.

You can either write the ebook yourself or hire a quality freelance writer to ghostwrite it for you. Two of the best sites to find freelance writers are Upwork and Guru. You should be able to hire native English writers to create a quality 5k–10k word ebook for you at $0.01–$0.04 per word rate, so $50–$200 for a 5k word ebook or $100–$400 for 10k.

Regardless of whether you write ethe book yourself or hire a ghostwriter, you really need to make sure that the ebook you write provides true value for the reader. Sure, they may only be spending a few bucks, but you want the reader to feel their money was well spent. Amazon makes it easy for a customer to be issued a refund if they didn’t like the product they received, after all.

For this reason, ensure that your ebook is of high quality. It should be thoroughly checked for spelling and grammar issues, which is a feature offered in most professional writing tools. The information should be well written and flow well. After all, you don’t want to get reviews that suggest you didn’t hire an editor.

Next, you’ll need to get a professional book cover created as well. The best place to go for this will be Fiverr, where you can hire a professional ebook cover artist to create a visually appealing and professional book cover for $5–$10.

Once the text is written and you have your cover, you can make a PDF book and convert it into an ebook using FlippingBook. The ebook will then stand out with your branding and design and will give your audience an authentic reading experience online. Some people choose to send out a preview of their content via FlippingBook and then offer the rest of the ebook for sale.

Considering all the expenses above, your initial cost for a 5k word ebook shouldn’t need to exceed $100.


Establishing Your Author Name As A Brand

Perhaps the most important ebook selling tip to increase the likelihood of high sales is to establish your author name as a brand. 

In other words, publish all of your ebooks in the same niche or genre under the same author name, and create a professional Amazon author profile as well. Doing so will establish your author name as an authority in your field, and readers will, therefore, believe that they can trust the information they receive.


Making Your Ebooks As Visible As Possible 

Another key to success with selling ebooks online is to rank your ebook for popular keywords that users are searching for in a search engine. The sweet spot is to select keywords that receive decent searches each month but aren’t also saturated with existing books already. 

Take note that saturation matters more than monthly searches. For example, let’s say that Keyword #1 receives 10,000 searches a month, and Keyword #2 receives 50,000. But Keyword #1 only has ten ebooks up already, while Keyword #2 has dozens if not hundreds of ebooks. 

In this case, writing an ebook based on Keyword #1 would most likely be more strategic because you can guarantee right off the bat that it will be more visible to those 10,000 people searching for it each month. And even though significantly more people are searching for Keyword #2, your ebook could easily become buried amongst the hundreds of other ebooks already published.

Of course, finding a keyword or niche with an extraordinarily high number of searches and low existing saturation would be vastly preferable, but you get the point. 

The ebook selling industry is still highly profitable, but only if you play your cards right. Look for keywords that have high search volume and low saturation, and then include those keywords in your book’s title, subtitle, description. If you are selling your ebook on Amazon Kindle, there will be seven ‘free’ keywords that Amazon allows you to select to rank your ebook further. 

Another key to success for selling your ebook is search engine optimization (SEO). An excellent tool here to use would be FlippingBook’s SEO indexing feature, which can clear metadata and provide a more authoritative domain to help make your book more visible on Google’s search engine.


Quantity vs. Quality

As noted previously, it’s very important for your ebooks to contain value so customers will feel that their money was well spent. To this end, make sure that your ebooks contain good information, lack spelling and grammatical errors, and flow well in terms of their content. 

But at the same time, if you truly want to make ebook selling a scalable business, you will need to focus very extensively on quantity as well. This is one reason why it’s a good idea to keep your ebooks short. Would you rather publish one 10,000 word ebook for $2.99, or two 5,000 word ebooks for $2.99 each?

In the end, you’re going to need to focus on quantity if you truly want to scale up your ebook selling business and make more money.


Promoting Your Ebook

Once your ebook is published, you’re ready to begin promoting it. Take note that if you’ve followed the above steps already, your ebook should already be more visible than it otherwise would have been. 

The simplest way to promote your ebook is to run a free promotion on it. You can make your ebook free on a service such as Amazon Kindle, so more people will download your ebook. This will increase your ebook’s ranking, and a larger audience will see the ebook when you switch it back to its normal price. This will also enable you to get more pages to read and earn money that way. Each Amazon book can have five free promotion days for every ninety-day period.

FlippingBook also offers a free promotion service in the form of a lead capture form, which allows the author (you) to collect leads from within your ebook and analyze data from those leads for follow-ups. Plus, you can add links to the ads across the pages of your ebook to monetize your content, or even insert video ads for a stronger visual effect.  

Another option is to use a paid ebook promotion service, thus putting your ebook in front of thousands of readers. Most of these promotion services will also enable you to narrow things down by genre or category.

While you may not be fond of paying to have your ebook promoted, the truth is it may be necessary to help elevate it above the masses of other ebooks on the market. The trend from paper books to ebooks is simply a part of the digital transformation trends that we’ve seen over the last couple of decades, and with 97% of businesses already investing money as part of this transformation, you may be wise to do so for your book as well. 



Selling ebooks online can be one of the most scalable online businesses that you can create and an excellent way to earn passive income. Whatever approach you choose, ebook selling is about more than just getting your ebook written—it’s an intricate process from the idea to the sale, and the above strategies will help you get the best results. 

Author's bio

Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony. You can find her on LinkedIn.
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