In April, Forbes reported on self-made author Mark Dawson. Dawson writes crime thriller books. But, that isn’t the real story here. He makes about $450,000 a year from those books.
There are many other authors making anywhere from a few dollars a month to a few thousand dollars a month as well. With the ease of publishing an electronic book on Amazon, it is definitely an area that those looking to monetize their blogs should look at.
Streams of Income
While you might not be able to always predict how much you’ll make in royalties, one of the keys to monetizing your blog is to create multiple streams of revenue from different sources.
Books are a somewhat residual income. You write the book once, format it, upload it and it makes you money as long as it is for sale. While there is a bit more to it (you’ll need to at least occasionally promote the book), that is the basic premise.
You Don’t Have to Write a Book
One of the beautiful things about running a blog is that you will start to collect a lot of material over time. You can easily start to sort that content into categories and bundle it together into guides and books.
Choose a topic. For example, if I wanted to bundle some of my posts on Crabby Housewife, I might choose the topic “Gluten Free Desserts”. I could then search through titles in that category, see what went together, perhaps add a couple of unique ones and some tips for readers and bundle them into a book for Kindle.
Make the topic broader. If you want a larger book, you could choose a broader topic. For example, if Jerry wanted, he could create a book for WHSR on “Blogging Tips for Newbies“. He already has a great guide to start with as the basis for his book. He would then hunt through blog posts for the most pertinent tips and bundle them together.
Benefit from reciprocal promotions. Your blog should be a two-way street. You will promote your books and send traffic to Amazon to buy a copy. Those who find your book on Amazon will read it and should find the link and visit your blog.
However, if you do want to offer a unique book, you can sometimes capture a niche that no one has written on before and gain a new audience both for your books and your blog.
Spend time browsing the available books on your topic. What hasn’t been covered? What do you have to add?
You can also take questions readers have on the site and use those questions as a concept to write a new book.
Think about what drew you to the topic. Is there a story there to tell?
Gather up case studies of others in the industry and share the info in a book.
When it comes to ebooks, the simpler the format the better. Try to stick with a basic serif font and avoid anything with a script or graphics. Yes, even for the title. It just doesn’t always translate well into ebook format.
Choose either double spaced with indents or single spaced with two spaces between paragraphs.
Unless you are writing a children’s book, try to stick with mainly text. First, if you choose the 70% option for your earnings (more on this in a minute), you will be charged for how big your book is. Images make the file size larger.
Amazon will walk you through each step as you upload your book, choose a pricing structure and even preview the final copy before publishing.
You will need to choose whether you will make 70% on each book or 35%. Now, that might sound like a no-brainer, but there are a lot of factors involved in which royalty rate you choose. For example, if you choose the 70% rate, you will pay for the downloading of files to the reader.
Don’t worry, though. Amazon will show you approximately how much that will be based on your book’s file size. They will also let you know if your book would do better priced differently based on other books in your category.
A good rule of thumb I’ve learned with my own books is to go with the 70% royalty if they are more then $2.99 and 35% if under that. This might vary for you, so keep an eye on your sales and profits in your reports tab and adjust as needed.
For the purposes of this article, I looked at Kindle. However, you can also offer your book in other formats.
Kindle is a good platform to start on if you are just getting involved in ebooks. You’ll learn the basics there. You can then expand your reach and offer your ebooks in other formats. Before you know it, your ebooks will bring in a bit of extra money here and there. Who knows? Maybe more than a bit.
Article by Lori Soard
Lori Soard has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 1996. She has a bachelor's in English Education and a PhD in Journalism. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines, online and she's had several books published. Since 1997, she has worked as a web designer and promoter for authors and small businesses. She even worked for a short time ranking websites for a popular search engine and studying in-depth SEO tactics for a number of clients. She enjoys hearing from her readers.