How I Published a New eBook by Accident and Started Selling It Right Away
How to make an eBook in little time and sell it to test the market
Last February I started a series on ‘How to Write a Short Story’. I thought I’d share everything I learned about writing them in the last 2,5 years. Not only about my own experience and growth, but I also shared what I picked up from others. I’ve read dozens of books on writing, followed a few courses here and there and I’m figuring it all out as I’m going.
I started the series to help writers who are starting out and want to give short story writing a go. It’s everything I would’ve liked to know before I started out.
Little did I expect that the first few posts gained thousands of views on Medium and my own site. And then I had an idea.
I came up with titles that reflected often Googled questions people have. I did a slight bit of SEO writing and generally packed the articles with actionable steps.
After 18 posts, they attracted an audience of about 80,000 people on my website and Medium combined. Hundreds are still added to that daily. That’s crazy, and I’m really happy these articles have found an audience.
And then I had another idea, why not bundle these article into an eBook in order to see what happens and in all honesty earn a bit of side income?
Making the eBook
Making and publishing an eBook via Amazon’s KDP service is quite simple. It’s a bit of work, but if you’re a bit tech-savvy, you can all do it yourself. Earlier, I wrote an article with all the steps for making an eBook:
How to Side Hustle Your Writing Career — #10: Self-publish Your Own Books
12 Steps to Hustle and Publish Your Own (e)Books
First I collected all the articles from my website into a word document. Then, I started formatting them and made sure everything followed the same logic in terms of chapters and subheadings. This took me about 8 hours.
Next, I needed to change my article style of writing into book form. In addition, I added and deleted some information to give the book more body and sense. This took me another 8 hours or so.
I logged into my KDP account and started following my own checklist of steps to take including adding categories, a good description, and keywords. I picked four free to use pictures from Pixabay and started playing around with designing a cover. I always like this part. I made four of them, showed them to a couple of friends and picked the one everyone liked best (including me). This took another 8 hours or so.
I did all this without spending 1$. The only thing it cost me was my time.
Then, launch time!
Marketing the eBook
Since I still have hundreds of people visiting the articles I wrote, I already have the potential to sell my book to people who read those articles.
I inserted a small “ad” into every one of these pages with my book cover, the fact that the book is just $0.99 and a button to the Amazon page. I made a 3D mockup in photoshop for that. This process took me about 2 hours.
Another part of marketing the book is reaching out to my Medium friends and writers. I still find it difficult to ask people to buy my book and review it. But recently, I saw that Nicole Akers successfully launched her book, ‘Make Money on Medium’. It did very well and has already gathered 45 reviews! Most of the names I recognize from Medium, too.
To deal with that uneasy part of me of asking people to help, I only ask a few people every day.
Since the start has been quite successful with 25 books sold in three days, I’m convinced I should put in the time and effort to turn it into a small paperback version as well.
Why I Felt Compelled to Turn the Articles Into an eBook
First of all, I think every writer should write short stories. It’s great to train your idea muscle, it’s a great way to practice your storytelling skills, find your voice, genres and themes, test out ideas, to gain visibility or test a novel idea.
For an in-depth article on why I think writing short stories makes you a better writer:
5 Reasons Why Writing Short Stories Makes You a Better Writer
Why You Should Write Short Stories
Also, through publishing this eBook I can reach more people with my writing through Amazon.
Another reason for me was to test if this works. If people buy it and like it.
Like I said previously, so far so good, so I’ll turn it into a paperback version too.
The next step is to turn it into an online course, complete with prompts, exercises, and extra material. I first want to reach an X amount of sales in order to proceed and commit.
Join the Short Story Writers Facebook Group
So, this is how I accidentally published a new eBook and started selling straight away. I hope it inspired you to try some of these techniques. I know I’m not in the bestselling lane yet, but you have to start somewhere right?
The last thing I want to do is to invite you to join the Facebook Group I started. This group is completely dedicated to short story writing. Here you can share your stories, ask questions, give feedback to others and share your successes and challenges.