Sell Your Ebooks Online for Free With this Simple Guide
Last updated: October 29, 2021
The internet has democratised publishing. If you’ve got something interesting to say or just a burning desire to be a published author – you can. These days you can sell ebooks online for free without the help (or hindrance) of a publisher or agent.
Becoming an author used to be at the mercy of publishers. To get access to publishers you needed an agent. Both would look to take a substantial cut from any sales. And both would be looking for low-risk certainties rather than taking a punt on an unknown new writer. No wonder the odds seemed stacked against new talent.
But you don’t need anyone’s permission or help to sell ebooks online. Today, many successful authors (including those with big publishing deals) started out by self-publishing ebooks.
Ebooks are booming. In August 2021, the American Association of Publishers reported the ebooks accounted for 21% of all book sales. This figure is just for consumer books from established publishing firms. It doesn’t include self-published ebook sales through platforms like Payhip.
Do you have a successful blog? Then you probably have the beginnings of an ebook. You probably also have a ready-made audience, which can be a big help. Can you combine articles into chapters and organise it all into a coherent structure?
You might want to add a bit more depth and write a few more words to make it all flow but your blog content could be an excellent first step towards selling ebooks online for free.
Perhaps you just know a lot about a particular subject that you can put into a self-help guide or resource.
The difference between an idea and an ebook is mostly work and discipline. Give yourself a publishing deadline and put time aside to work on your project.
Derivative Public Domain Works
Struggling to come up with a plot? Just recycle one. There’s a healthy market in adaptations of public domain works that are no longer protected by copyright. That’s how the world came to have Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Whether that’s something the world actually needs we’ll leave to your judgement.
There’s nothing new in this. Think West Side Story and countless Disney animations. There are no taboos about taking a masterpiece and putting your own twist on it.
Finding Popular Ebook Topics
If creative writing and fiction don’t float your boat there are plenty of factual avenues to pursue. But there’s a big difference between broad trending subjects and topics that will allow you to sell ebooks online. Narrowing your focus to appeal to a specific audience usually pays dividends.
That said, there are definitely subjects such as healthy eating and sustainable living that people want to know more about. If you want a few pointers this recent article on popular ebook topics might help.
Unless your ultimate ambition is the Nobel Prize for Literature it’s best to keep your copy easy going and readable. Make your sentences short (with a few longer ones thrown in for variety). And never use a long word if there’s a perfectly acceptable shorter one. Use an active rather than passive voice.
There are free online tools like the Hemingway Editor that will highlight where your language is too high falutin’ and where you can simplify it and bring it to life.
Another pro writer’s tip is to avoid adverbs. Stephen King’s final editing stage is to remove all adverbs. People in his books sprint, gallop, hurtle, or dart; they never ‘run quickly.’
Make Your Ebook Look Appealing
The idea of this post is to tell you how you can sell ebooks online for free. But there are a few areas where a bit of investment will pay off. Cover design is one of these. You want to entice potential readers with a visual that leaps out of their computer screen.
A professional cover design also makes you look professional. It might even be that one of the lovely creators in the Payhip community has just the template you need and ready to download.
Promoting your Ebook
An email marketing list is the greatest asset an online publisher can have. You can drop tasters and teasers straight into your followers’ inboxes. Leverage your blog, website and social media accounts to keep building your list.
Offering a few free downloads in return for an email address is a great way to build a focused mailing list. It’s also worth considering paid advertising on search engines and social platforms to reach a wider audience.
Where to Sell Ebooks Online for Free
Talk about selling ebooks online and you might automatically think Amazon and Kindle. But hey, Bezos doesn’t need any more money – so why should you pay him to publish your ebook?
You can set up a Payhip account and storefront completely free of charge. It’s also incredibly easy to get started. You can use the free account for as long as you want and switch to a paid account only when you’re selling so many ebook downloads every month that a monthly fee makes more sense.
You can upload your ebooks in no time, set your own prices, and get paid instantly every time somebody downloads one. And if you have any questions along the way, there’s a real person waiting to help you.