As an author, you can choose the route of publishing via traditional publishers or independently. If you select the latter, most likely, you'd be selling directly to readers, unless you've chosen Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) that can also capitalize Amazon's substantial Prime membership of 105 millions.
In this article, we'll discuss both distributing directly to readers and through Amazon KDP. Ideally, your ebooks are sold by both avenues for optimized monetization and reach. We'll also cover other valuable tools for file distribution, tools for ebook formatting, and how you should strategically build the readership with authority.
First and foremost, why do you need to consider publishing through Amazon KDP? Simple, because Amazon's share of the ebook market is 67 percent worldwide. Thus, when you use them, your ebook will also be available on all 14 Amazon sites, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, UK, and the USA.
And why should you be considering this electronic book format? Because it's convenient and instantly downloadable, which is ideal for impulse buying.
The thing is, if you sell directly to consumers, you'd need more than impeccable grammar and insatiable topics. Most likely, they must be convinced of your reputation as a subject matter expert in the chosen field. Your expertise may not necessarily be the most advanced, but it should be positive, nonetheless.
Of course, ideally, to sell a lot of books, you already have a strong reputation. However, as soon as you've published a book, your reputation would spike up as well.
So, releasing an ebook and directly selling it would be beneficial to your reputation as an expert who actively shares knowledge and also as a published author with a track record in book publishing. This being said, there is no excuse for not having your book (ebook) published independently.
Online File Distribution Tools
Having a professional-looking website is a must, which can be achieved by using Wordpress CMS (content management system) or ready-to-use sites like Wix and Squarespace. You can have a single landing page for the book or a popular website with multiple pages, including blog, about, and contact pages.
Your site is both a hub of social media accounts and a newsroom. The former requires you to include links to social media accounts, and the latter allows you to share about your professional and personal activities through dated blog posts and specific utility pages.
With advanced usability, you can design the blog to show up on a specific page, while the home page shows a static page that projects your values and expertise. One page that must be available when selling ebooks online is the Shop page. It should showcase covers of the ebooks available for purchasing.
For each book title, assuming you have multiple books, create a separate page where you can summarize the content and share testimonials and editorial reviews from advanced readers and professional editors. On that page, a "buy now" button that connects to a shopping cart must be placed strategically, so the site visitors would be compelled to purchase. Think about Amazon book pages and adapt them to your own site.
Whichever online downloadable product distribution tool you choose, you'd need a payment gateway, like PayPal and Stripe to process credit cards and bank transfers. The only difference between the two is that with PayPal, you wouldn't be able to have access to the customer's bank information.
For delivering ebooks, the followings are the available tools, which can be used independently or integrated with Wordpress sites. They provide a safe and secure environment for downloading ebook files. Security, after all, is of primary importance due to the random hacking attacks that many sites experience on a daily basis.
You should pay attention to each tool's pricing schemes, which can be quite different from tool to tool. Some tools are very affordable, such as $10 per month to quite pricey, that costs users hundreds of dollars per month. Select the ones that you've used personally, if possible. However, if you haven't used such tools, read for reviews and sign up for trial accounts, so you can test the water before deciding to pay for the premium access.
Tools for Ebook Formatting
The ebook layout is often overlooked. While it can be pretty straightforward, the choices of font and decorative typesetting elements (like those curly first letters of the page) would make or break the overall feel of the book. You want your book to have the best UX (user experience) look and feel so that the readers would have a positive experience.
Three of the most popular ebook formats are PDF, EPUB, and MOBI. You can create each of them separately or with a single application. Some of the most popular ebook formatting apps are Vellum, Jutoh, Amazon Kindle Create, Calibre, and Ulysses.
Each tool comes with its features and benefits. Carefully review them and download demo apps, so you can see whether you can use them when formatting your books. Kindle Create and Calibre are free apps, so you can download them first and try them. Whenever using Calibre, watermarks are automatically generated. Thus, it's recommended to use non-watermark apps to ensure professional-looking ebook files and cover.
Strategies for Building Readership with Authority
What does an online authority have that millions don't? You need to have genuine and unique knowledge, publish a book, build an authority site, create and share memorable content, featured in traditional media.
What is "genuine and unique" knowledge, by the way? The knowledge and skills you offer are rare but not too rare that many people would love to learn from you and pay for them. For instance, there are many career coaches, but only a handful of them share the in-depth know-how for nailing and winning job interviews with top Silicon Valley companies.
Now publishing a book can be as simple as releasing your ebook independently on your website. With many self-published ebook distribution tools and Amazon KDP, you should be able to sell authority ebooks online with zero barriers to entry instantly. The key is the topic, which must be strong enough to provoke curiosity and provide solutions to people's problems.
An ideal online authority's site bears your profile photo, some activity photos, and images of your publications. Top bloggers and magazine writers might have cited you, or you might have contributed chapters to traditionally-published books, so remember to include their covers and the text PDFs.
The site should also have your "signature style," which can be a specific logo or a tagline. All social media accounts should be in alignment in terms of style, logo, and tagline, so your authority is considered a personal brand as well.
Links to feature articles and interviews with blogs and other publications should also be included on the site to boost your profile. If you have posed with famous people, especially those in the same field, post them on the site. If there are many photos, create a "photo album."
To cement your authority, create events from time to time. For instance, if you're known for your creativity in a freelance job search, you may want to create a "freelance job summit" or something of that nature. The events can be online, offline, or a combination of the two.
Offer your expertise in conferences as a speaker. While most of such speaking engagements are unpaid, it's an excellent way to introduce yourself to the public and the industry.
As an expert, feel free to connect with influencers on various platforms. Introduce yourself to them, which can be as simple as a Twitter comment away. Start a conversation that shows your genuine interest in the topics being discussed. Add value to the discussions and, eventually, invite a win-win collaboration.
Another way to increase readership is by being guest on podcast shows, blogs, and other publications. If you can nail a regular contributing writer position at high-traffic blogs or magazines, that would be awesome. For instance, Forbes and Huffington Post columnists enjoy the respect and high-volume generic online traffic.
At last, creating loyalty in readers is a marathon, not a sprint. You'd need to build a long-term relationship with them through many channels and various platforms.
Gary Vaynerchuk, for instance, always appears daily on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube. His profile looks non-stop wherever we go on social media, which is key to his success. His aggressive branding with inspiring business and life lessons becomes his springboard for any company he has now and in the future.
While not everybody can be like Gary Vee, you can learn from him on how to build a loyal following. With daily commitment and passion in the chosen field, you should be able to find fellow enthusiasts who are eager to be your readers.
Now is the age of electronic books that comes with instant download, which is ideal for impulse buying. As long as you know how to play the ebook authority game, publishing success is yours.