This is the first in a series of posts I will be writing about making money from Online Publishing. Here we look at reasons WHY you should consider getting started with book publishing.
1. You Can Make Money!
The most obvious reason why you will love to become an online publisher is because it is a great way to make money.
If, like me, your Freedom Plan1 requires you to earn additional money to reach your financial freedom goal, then you need to find at least one reliable method for generating income. Online Book publishing is a popular choice because it offers a proven approach to making money consistently.
I published my first book in July 2016 with no previous experience or training. Within a year, royalties from sales had paid back all of the expenses I’d incurred creating the book. This meant that anything earned in royalties after that point was essentially pure profit (though there are small ongoing expenses for marketing). At the time of writing this article (1 year 8 months after the book publish date) my overall profit from this book is £2,290. Since I fully own the rights to my book, which I have published on 3 sales channels (kindle, paperback and audiobook), I will continue to earn money from it for as long as people still want to keep buying it!
This is why I love online book publishing.
Of course it’s important to note that every book published is different and not all books will achieve the same results. Some books will do fantastically better than mine, others will inevitably do worse. As with all things there are no guarantees. However if you are prepared to learn the publishing process, put in the time to do topic research up front, create a quality book offering great content and ensure you have a marketing plan, there is no reason why your book won’t achieve sales. As a rule of thumb (based on my experience) I would plan for it to take about 1 year for the book creation costs to be recovered. This is not a get rich quick money maker!
If further proof is needed that online publishing is a viable option for generating significant amounts of income, look no further than Huw at Financially Free By 40 who was able to quit his 9-5 job just 10 months after starting his online publishing venture! Huw had a tremendous work ethic to allow him to achieve this so quickly. At some points he was launching 3 books a week which I don’t think even he would recommend now! However, his book portfolio provides him thousands of pounds income every month with very little time effort now needed from him. This is living the dream!
2. There Is Passive Income Potential
The most exciting part of online book publishing for me is the fact that it has real passive income potential. Can you imagine the feeling of having money landing in your account every month having done nothing during that month to earn it?!
The reality with the majority of “passive” income options is that it’s rare there will be zero effort involved. Rather it’s possible to set-up income streams which require very little effort to sustain. I think this is where online book publishing falls. Once books have been published and launched, there’s very little time effort needed, however in most cases you will need to spend a small amount of time each month promoting the book with marketing strategies.
As a guide, the amount of time I spend tracking success and marketing my books is approximately 2-3 hours per month per book. Although it’s not essential to market every book every month.
3. It’s Relatively Easy To Get Started
The barriers to entry for online publishing are fairly low compared to many other online money making ventures. You don’t even need to write the book yourself, you can hire a Ghost Writer to do the writing for you! This means that it’s quite easy for anyone to get started.
As a minimum I would say you need to have:
Initial Monetary Investment
If you choose to use ghost writers, cover designers and editors you will need some initial money to pay for these. It would also be a very wise move to invest in some mentoring or a training course, although not essential. I got started having taken a free online course and read a few blogs. I didn’t start making money until I paid for some coaching though! The advice and tips I received during the coaching were easily covered by the the increase in profits I saw immediately!
Of course if you don’t have money to get started with, you can do nearly every aspect of the book creation yourself. This means you could get started for as little as £50 to cover a launch marketing promotion. However, unless you are already proficient with writing, designing and editing this would not be the preferred approach. To set yourself up for success it would be advisable to invest some money, at least for your first book.
The below table gives you an idea of how much it can cost to launch a book. These costs would allow you to launch on two sales channels (kindle and paperback). These costs are based on my personal experience, it’s possible (and in some cases advisable) to spend much more in order to create a high quality book. It’s also possible to spend less, but returns on lower quality books are likely to be poor.
|Writer Cost||£250 - £350||Depends on desired word count. If you write the book yourself this cost will be £0|
|Editing Cost||£100+||Depends on the book's word count. If you do the editing yourself (I have always done this so far) this cost will be £0|
|Cover Creation Cost||£30 - £250+||I started with cheaper covers, recently I have paid more for better designs. If you are skilled in design you could create your own covers bringing this cost to £0|
|Stock Image Costs||£0 - £100+||Depends whether your book requires images. Stock image costs vary, in some cases you may be able to source free images to use, as long as you do not infringe anyone's copyright|
|Launch Marketing Costs||£50 - £100+||The more you market your book, the more sales and therefore profit you are likely to achieve|
|Total Doing Everything Yourself||£50||This is the minimum you will need if you do everything yourself. At the very least, you must market your book at launch to attract customers|
|Recommended Total||£330 - £900+|
The most I have spent on a book creation/launch so far is £700.
Subject to how much of the book creation process you are doing yourself versus how much you are outsourcing you will need to set aside a decent amount of time for your book project.
I have always used a Ghost Writer for my books, and a Designer to create my covers. So far I have completed all the book editing and formatting ready for print myself, but these can also be outsourced for a price.
As a guide for timings, to create a quality book using outsourcers, plan for it to take 8 weeks from start to publish date. Within those weeks you should be looking to spend approximately 10 hours per week overseeing the project yourself. Some weeks will require more of your time than others.
Although there is some free information available online and indeed on Amazon’s publishing websites to help you, it’s much harder to make a success of online publishing without undertaking any training or receiving any mentoring. This is because it’s inevitable that you will have questions that you want to ask throughout the process! Having a good course or mentor to refer to will help ease your concerns throughout the process.
I waited until I had launched my first book before I decided to spend money on learning. I then invested £300 in being mentored which was honestly the best money I could have spent! Even if you don’t invest in training at the beginning, do consider it later on to improve your profit potential.
I went to a Tony Robbins (affiliate link) Unleash The Power Within event last year , and one of the biggest takeaways for me was that the learning never ends - we should never stop seeking to learn and improve. Incidentally he also taught that getting a mentor can significantly improve chances of success in anything you are trying to achieve.
You will probably find that you have all the tools that you need to be able to get started with online publishing, without having to spend any money. As a minimum you need a computer with a word processor, a connection to the internet and access to the amazon suite of sites needed for publishing. You may want to set-up a couple of spreadsheets for tracking progress and if you’re planning to create the cover yourself you will need suitable design software.
As optional extras to the above, there are some really useful pieces of software available for purchase at reasonable cost which make the book creation process much easier. This is particularly true during the book topic selection phase. I have only spent £34 on one such tool so far.
4. Gain Credibility
One of the most frequent questions I get asked about book publishing is whether I have written the books myself, and are they published under my name?
My publishing strategy is to pay a ghost writer a sum of money to write the main body of my books for me, on a subject of my choosing. Once I have paid the ghost writer I own the full rights to the book. Since I don’t write the books myself I choose not to publish them under my own name, instead I use a pen name. This is actually a far more common practice than most realise, partiularly in the online publishing world. The great thing about using pen names is that I can batch books of similar topics or by the same ghost writer under the same pen name, which in turn adds credibility for the “author” and helps to improve sales across the suite of books.
Another benefit to using pen names is that it allows me to remain anonymous in the book publishing world. I haven’t ruled out writing my own books at some point in the future, which I probably would publish under my own name, but for now I’m happy with my pen name strategy.
The flip side to my approach is that publishing a book under your own name can provide a huge amount of credibility to you if it supports other elements of your business. For example, if you enjoy public speaking engagements, having your own book published can open doors for you that otherwise would be firmly shut. There’s also the cool factor in being a published author. Of course that’s if your book is a success. If it’s not high quality or receives bad reviews, you may find yourself wishing you’d put it under a pen name after all!
5. Enjoy The Online Publishing Community
Online publishing can sometimes feel like a lonely endeavour. For much of the time you are working on things by yourself, you could go days without needing interaction with anyone else. That’s why it’s so nice that there is a great community of fellow online publishers out there.
Everyone I’ve come across in this field has been super friendly and helpful. I’m a member of several Facebook groups specifically for book publishing. I also have my own beginners Publishing Facebook Group where everyone can feel comfortable asking their “stupid” questions, which we all have from time to time. This is open to any of my #lifedesigners who have subscribed to receive Inspiring Life Design updates.
Previous & Next Posts
In my last post I talked about my February Income & Profit Report.
My next post is all about writing what you love to make money.
If you’d like to find out more about book publishing as a side hustle, you can read the series of posts I’ve written on how to get started, take a look at this page which has a timeline of all the publishing articles I’ve written.
I sometimes use affiliate links in my posts. This means that if you buy a service or product using my link I receive a small commission at no extra expense to you. You can navigate independently to the sites mentioned if you prefer not to use my affiliate links. I only link to products or services which I personally use & recommend.