Writing, Publishing, and Selling Your E-Book

As you might have been able to glean from my recent interview, I am currently in the process of writing an e-book. I don’t have a real timeline in place just yet, but the plan is to have this book written, edited, and published some time this year. The trouble, though, is that I have never published an e-book.

In some ways, you could almost say that this is ironic. I pride myself in being a professional writer, but most of my efforts thus far have been writing for my clients. Even when it came to the book I co-wrote with John Chow, it’s a project that focused more on his knowledge, his brand, and his expertise than it did mine. I can call myself a published author, sure, but it would be great if I had a similar project I could wholly call my own. And that’s partly why I find myself in the position that I do today.

Shifting from Services to Products

As a freelance writer working from home, I am afforded certain freedoms when it comes to location and scheduling, but I am still bound by the restrictions of time. There are only 24 hours in the day and I can only provide so much writing services within that time period. This is partly why I am interested in shifting my providing services to selling products.

Don’t get me wrong. I will continue to be a freelance writer for the foreseeable future, writing a variety of content (mostly online, but also offline) for my various clients. However, I do want to build up a product portfolio that I can call my own.

Where Can I Publish My E-Book?

It was a very good idea for me to attend Bookcamp Vancouver last fall. It helped to expose me to other authors. I gained access to their perspectives, expertise, and experience. Even at that point, I was already thinking about publishing an e-book.

Part of the trouble is figuring out where to do this. While there are certainly other options, the three main possibilities for me are the following:

  • Amazon: I’ve been looking into the Digital Text Platform, which allows you to publish your own content through the Kindle Store. This allows for a 70% royalty option, after delivery costs (which are pennies per e-book). The good thing is that the Kindle is a well-respected brand and having your e-book listed there helps with credibility. The bad thing is that it is only the Kindle Store, so potential customers have to work within that ecosystem.
  • Clickbank: This online marketplace sells more than just e-books, but it’s great how you can define your own affiliate program through it. The associated costs can be a little higher than the Amazon platform (including a $49.95 “activation charge”), but you have a better chance of getting Internet marketers to help promote the e-book. The Clickbank customer base is typically more receptive to higher prices too.
  • Self Sale: The cheapest alternative is to host the e-book file on your own servers and handle all the transaction processing (likely through PayPal) yourself. This offers the most control, but it means you don’t gain access to a pre-existing marketplace. It also means you have to deal with all the logistics of payment and delivery.

I’m leaning toward the Clickbank model, as I’d likely try to capitalize on my network of Internet marketing friends to promote the e-book. What do you think? If you were in my position, how would you publish and sell your e-book?