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Here is How to Write an eBook and Make Money

Updated: Jul 18

Affiliate Marketing Disclosure

Many people love to read, but I like to write. And I always have.

Over the years, I got a lot of practice. And then, in November 2019, I got the idea to write my own eBook about personal financial principles. So I did.

By May 2020, I had come up with a product that I was really happy with, and I released it on Amazon. I sold just a handful of copies. And looking back now, it was so easy. I realized I didn't know what I didn't know. Regardless, writing and selling your own eBook is probably a side hustle that you probably haven't considered.

But you should. They've exploded in popularity over the past few years, have a robust market, and can make you some really good money.

Here is how to write an eBook and make money while doing so. This article will discuss:

  • Coming up with a topic

  • How to write an eBook

  • Formatting and publishing your eBook

  • Marketing and selling your book

But first...

What is an eBook anyway?

An eBook is exactly what it sounds like. They are books that are published online and are available for electronic purchase and download. As opposed to traditional book publishing, which oftentimes requires signing a book deal with a publisher, eBooks can be published by anyone!

I like to think of eBooks as a way for those without a lucrative book deal or past track record to begin crafting an image as an established author in your niche. Of course, the eBook business model comes with its own set of pros and cons.

Among the most desirable parts are:

  • Accessibility and equal opportunity for new authors

  • The ease of publishing a book

  • Potentially lucrative side hustle income

  • Higher margins than traditional publishing

All of these pros are factors that work in your favor! But that does not mean that everything is perfect either. You should also be aware of a couple of cons, which can be neutralized if you know what you're doing:

  • It can be hard for your book to stand out in a crowded market

  • You'll need to sell lots of copies to make real money

Don't let these cons stop you from pursuing your dream. By planning out how you'll overcome these factors, you can effectively turn them into benefits. The largest determinant in making good money, for instance, is having a well-crafted and automated marketing funnel.

How to write an eBook

Writing an eBook really isn't as difficult as it may seem! With the help of a number of tools, all of which I will introduce you to, you too will feel ready to publish your own book. As I see it, writing (and then selling!) your own eBook is a five-step process:

  1. Come up with an idea

  2. Perform market research

  3. Write

  4. Market and sell

  5. Repeat

1. Come up with an eBook idea

Your first step will be to brainstorm a list of ideas that you would like to write about. Finding your topic doesn't have to be this stressful process, either. I recommend that you get started by browsing the Amazon Kindle eBook library for ideas.

When you do, you'll notice a couple of things:

  • First, there are books that fit into a bunch of different categories, including fiction and nonfiction. You may opt to write a DIY guide, a mystery, a romance novel, or any other book that you want to write. The options are seemingly limitless.

  • And secondly, you'll notice that publishing on Amazon can provide a great opportunity to help you get started as an author. I like to refer to it as the great equalizer, where established and new authors both have a chance.

If you still are unsure what type of eBook you'd like to write, you may also consider the following other strategies:

  • Ask yourself what interests you: You'll do your best work when you are engaged in what you're doing.

  • Where are your strengths? If writing a DIY guide, for instance, you'll want to make sure that you have some expertise in what you're writing about.

  • What topics have a market with lots of buyers? This goes hand in hand with step two.

2. Do some market research

Before you commit to writing a book, you will want to perform some due diligence to make sure that you're not writing about a niche so nuanced that you won't be able to sell.

This is the step in which you're essentially vetting your idea. If you're writing a nonfiction or DIY-type guide, you can perform more traditional market research. This means doing things like:

  • Surveying your target clients

  • Performing SEO keyword research (this will show you the demand for answers your eBook will provide)

  • Evaluating the prevalence of similar books already on the market

If you're writing a fiction story in another niche, such as mystery, drama, romance, or something else altogether, your market research is a little less important. I recommend that you analyze trends in your specific niche to assure that your title is a fit in an ever-changing market.

Coming up with a title

Once you've validated that your book is worth writing, your next focus should be titling your book in a way that will stand out to your prospective readers. Some best practices include:

  • Using alliteration if possible

  • Short, but descriptive

  • Make it memorable

At the same time, you'll likely want to avoid making common mistakes, like picking one-word titles and avoiding copying existing titles. Both of these red flags will make it difficult for potential readers to locate and purchase your book.

3. Write your eBook

Finally, time to write! As you put pen to paper (more likely your fingers to your keyboard), try not to overcomplicate things. I wrote my entire 150-page eBook right in Microsoft Word. There is no need for any special software.

Organize your content

If you're writing a nonfiction book, keep in mind the value that you're trying to add for your readers. At the end of the day, you're likely not going to write anything that is not available online for free somewhere.

Herein lies your biggest obstacle in getting readers to purchase your book. Why should somebody buy your book when they could likely find the material for free elsewhere on the Internet?

I liken it to workout classes. Oftentimes, trainers don't cover any new exercises that you couldn't research and implement on your own, but the true value is in the way they package the materials in one place to make it as easy as possible for you.

Writing an eBook works the same. While a reader may be able to solve a problem by investing enough time into finding the solution, your job is to bundle all of the knowledge in one place for your end reader. They then pay you for the convenience.

Edit your manuscript

Of course, once you've completed your book, you'll need to format it. More on this in a minute. First, though, you'll want to go through at least one round of editing. I always look for the same criteria in each of the two rounds of editing I complete.

In my first pass, I try to fix the more complex elements:

  1. Sentence structure

  2. Verbiage and word choice

  3. Paragraph construction

Then, once I am happy with these elements, I'll do a second, less thorough edit, where I'll check spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

If this is your first time writing your own eBook, you may consider paying an editor or freelancer to review your materials too.

Formatting your eBook

Once you're done writing and editing, you'll need to use some sort of software program to convert your eBook into its final format. Since I am most popular with Kindle Direct Publishing, I used Kindle Create, a formatting program released directly by Amazon.

Other popular programs used in this space include:

  • Calibre

  • Zamzar

  • ToePub

  • PDFOnlineConvert

Once you've completed and released your new title, you may consider making an audiobook version as well. If publishing for Kindle, you can leverage Amazon's relationship with Audible. More to come here in a minute or two.

Overcoming writer's block

As you write, there will be obstacles along the way. You'll encounter writer's block, fall victim to imposter syndrome, and wonder whether writing an eBook is even worth it.

My advice in these moments is to take a step path. Go for a walk outside, and put your materials away for the night if you need to. Then, start again when you're feeling refreshed and ready to continue, do so.

Writing a book is not a linear process.

How to write your eBook quickly

There are eBook writing services for hire that can help you with the writing process, but I recommend that you embrace the writing process and write your first book on your own. Not only will it help you continue to develop your skills, but it will also help you increase your earnings in the future.

That said, when writing my own eBook, I did learn a number of strategies about how to expedite the writing process.

First and foremost, don't worry so much about punctuation, grammar, or sentence structure as you're writing. You will complete an editing process before you release your book to the world anyway. Your first time through, focus on outlining your ideas and thoughts in a way that makes sense.

Along those lines, you may consider creating a big master outline before you write. This way, you can organize your thoughts and begin to think about what you want each section to look like.

4. Market and sell your book

Finally, the moment you've been waiting for! You've finished writing, and you're ready to release your book and start making sales. Not so fast...

...You'll still need to figure out how to market your creation.

Marketing an eBook is no small feat - but it is critically important. To be most effective, you're going to need to address (and then overcome) a couple of normal customer pain points:

  1. What problem do you solve? Or if fiction, how will you entertain me?

  2. Why should your customer buy your book in particular?

The inside of your cover and your marketing materials should directly answer these two points.

Your eBook and your marketing materials need to look professional. Not only will it help your marketing efforts big time, but it will also help you increase the legitimacy of your offering as well.

You can hire some cheap help to help you with some of these items through sites like Fiverr, Freelancer, or Upwork:

  • Book cover design

  • Formatting

  • Proofreading

  • Editing

In terms of actual marketing, though, you have a few potential paths to help you make money writing your eBook, including:

  1. Building an email list

  2. Giving away free books in return for reviews

  3. Increase your social media presence

Build an email list

Use your social media accounts, website, or any other platform you have to build an email marketing list. Beginning to build this audience well in advance of your book's launch can help you have a list of engaged potential buyers by the time you launch your book.

This is easier with some niches than others. Those writing personal finance guides, for example, may be able to generate email leads from a website, podcast, blog, or another source. Those writing fiction, for example, may have a little harder time building an audience, but starting with family and word of mouth can be a good start.

Give away free copies

Your first goal post release, even before making money, is to get eyeballs on your book. This may mean giving away free copies of your book. Why, you may ask? Because you want to start to build as many favorable reviews on your book as quickly as you can.

Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing does allow you to "sell" books for free, and you may consider adding links to your email list, website, or other platforms you have. You may even offer some sort of promotion for those that do post reviews of your book online.

Boost your social media

Ahead of your book's launch, it would be wise to spend some time investing in your social media presence. Establish yourself as a thought leader and voice of authority in your space. You may consider using some combination of Facebook (including FB Groups), Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.

Then, once you've built a following, announce your book launch, and you'll have an engaged community of readers ready to click "Buy."


These are not the only ways to market your book, of course. You may also opt to make your own website or consider a different strategy altogether.

Sites to sell your eBook on

When I was finished writing, I listed my book for sale in the Amazon Kindle store. It was the easiest for me to access quickly, and anyone with the Kindle app can download your book. No actual Kindle reader is needed.

I also really liked how easy their royalty system was to understand. If you price your book between $2.99 and $9.99, you'll keep 70% of the revenue that you generate. You can absolutely price your book outside of these ranges, but doing so will lower your royalty rate to 35%.

Publishing for Kindle also provides you an opportunity to release an audiobook through Audible to expand your reach.

But there are no shortages of other sites and areas to sell your eBook, including:

  1. NOOK by Barnes & Noble

  2. Apple iBooks

  3. Kobo

  4. Blurb

And so many others! So, what are you waiting for? Those royalty checks are only a book away.

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About Nathan Zarcaro

Nathan Zarcaro is the founder of The Student Debt Destroyer and is passionate about personal finance related causes.  A 2018 graduate of Providence College's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Nathan studied Finance, and worked for one of the world's largest asset management firms before starting his own consulting practice.  In his free time, Nathan enjoys playing golf and traveling with his wife Brigid.

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