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Publishing Ebooks: The Truth about Writing Ebooks to Promote Your Freelance Writing (or Other) Business

Updated on February 24, 2010

Insights from an Ebook Publisher

I’ve seen so many articles written about the fast money to be made from writing and publishing ebooks that I wanted to dispel some common myths around this phenomenon. First, let me give you some background, so you have more insight about my credentials as it relates to this subject.

I’ve been in publishing since 1987. I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993. I owned an editorial staffing agency in New York City from 1666-2004. And, I’ve been writing and publishing ebooks since 2002. To date, I’ve written 17 – most on freelance writing.

1) I can make a lot of money publishing ebooks. True . . but with a caveat. You probably won’t make a lot of money right out of the gate. It can take months . . .or years. It all depends on your subject matter, the niche you’re target, the competition in that niche and most importantly, your marketing ability.

While writing an e-book might be a relatively easy task – if you know your subject matter intimately and are disciplined enough to actually finish it, once it’s written it’s still has to be promoted.

If there is one myth I wish I could dispel for freelance writers it’s this – you must market your ebook to be successful. I don’t care how good your ebook is, how packed with information or how helpful a resource – if you don’t market it, you won’t make a lot of sales.

FYI, this holds true for anything you sell/promote, especially online. Writing and publishing your ebook will be the easy part – you will expend 10 times the energy you spent writing it to promote it.

The reason is, people just don’t part with their money easily – whether you're charging $5 or $50, which brings me to the next myth about ebook publishing . . .

2) I will sell more ebooks if my price is low. This is not necessarily true.Customers buy based on emotion -- not price – to a large degree. While they may hesitate when there is a large disparity in the price, eg, $10 or $75, they won’t when the price is closer together, eg, $10 or $40.

I learned this first-hand with my SEO writing ebook. The introductory price was $9.95. After the introductory period was over, I raised it to $39.95. And you know what? I actually started to sell more. I didn't change a thing; it was the same product.

I think this is because there’s a lot of garbage on the internet -- especially in the ebook sector. When you charge a lower price, you run the risk of people thinking that yours is another piece of garbage ebook with no real substance.

BUT, when you charge more for your ebook, buyers think they’re getting a better product. After all, no one would have the balls to charge $50 for a piece of junk, right (although plenty do!)? They’d run the risk of too much backlash.

Most people will spend $5 or $10 and if the product is not up to par, they may write it off as just bad luck. After all, it’s only a few dollars and even though they’ll be pissed if the product doesn’t live up to it’s billing, they won’t take the time to pursue getting their money back or getting revenge. But if they spent $50, they might.

See the psychology going on here? It's the same with buying $300 designer jeans from Saks as opposed to $10 Levis from the Salvation Army. Price has a lot to do with prestige in the minds of many.

Now, let me say, there are some very good ebooks out there – and many of them are free. I’ve found that ebook publishing is one industry where you literally can’t judge a book by its cover (ie, its price). Research the author, see if they have experience in what they’re writing about, how long they’ve been at it, what others say about them on the web, etc., before buying an ebook.

For further insight on this, read, Buying an Ebook? 4 Things to Look for Before You Purchase.

3) Publishing an ebook will land more freelance writing clients. True. BUT, not immediately – over time. Why?

Because writing and publishing an ebook positions you as an expert in your niche. There’s just something about being an author that makes people think you are more knowledgeable, more professional, more of an expert . . . more . . . talented.

You can have the same credentials and experience as someone who hasn’t written a book, but as soon as you add “Author” to your freelance writing profile, you stand out.

BUT, I repeat – this will not bring an avalanche of new freelance writing clients immediately. It will take time. Being an ebook publisher and author is just another piece of the puzzle for customers that makes you stand out from the competition.

Publishing ebooks to promote any type of business is an excellent way to market online in my opinion. But, don’t sit back and wait for clients to come a'knockin'. You STILL have to market.


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    • Bethaleg profile image

      Bethaleg 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Thank you for some professional help on this subject! My question is, though, how do you promote it? Through social media? Or are there other avenues that work well?

    • stricktlydating profile image

      StricktlyDating 5 years ago from Australia

      Very interesting.

    • nicregi profile image

      Reginald Chan 6 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi there!

      I really love the way you wrote it. I feel it comes from the heart and thank you for your advise.

      Appreciate it as I myself is a freelance writer. I am thinking of getting ebook up soon.

    • JMAW profile image

      JMAW 6 years ago from Hawaii

      thx for the tips!