Home Opinion Why should writers consider self-publishing or selling ebooks

Why should writers consider self-publishing or selling ebooks


When authors think about publishing a book, they are often focused on print, but putting an ebook out alongside your print book, or even just an ebook on its own, is a much better idea.

Here’s why.

Writers Earn Larger Profits from eBooks

Most indie authors make the majority of their income from ebooks. In the financial year 2016-2017, authors made 86 percent of their book sales income from ebook sales. Yes, there’s simply more profit per ebook because there’s no printing or shipping. Readers can also buy immediately when they hear about the book, so the barrier to purchase is lower.

If you don’t have an ebook version, you’re missing out on a chunk of readers and revenue. You can sell your books to anyone in the world over the internet without printing or shipping costs. You really can have a multinational global business from your writing desk, which is exciting!

Don’t Believe the Doubters

Self-publishing and ebooks are huge growth market. There are reports in the traditional press about the slowing down of ebook sales in the US, but this is skewed by data that only report on books with ISBNs. Many indies – myself included – don’t use ISBNs for ebooks.

In fact, Author Earnings reports in October 2015 that 33 percent of all ebooks sold in the US don’t have ISBNs and none of those sales are counted in the traditional press reports. The February 2016 report demonstrated that the percentage market share of ebooks by indie authors only continues to grow in the US market.

And remember, that’s only in the US. The ebook market is considered ‘mature’ in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, but most of the rest of the world has barely started on the digital growth path. Those sales streams are trickles right now, but they will only grow in the coming years as readers start to transition to digital. It’s inevitable with the rise of mobile technology and streaming internet.

eBooks Are a Faster Avenue to Publishing

The speed of publishing means you have control of when and how readers can get your book.

Once you click “Publish,” your ebook can be for sale within 24 hours, sometimes it’s up in less than 4 hours. So, you can publish and have a book earning you money before lunch. That’s just brilliant!

eBooks are lower risk because they have a lower cost of entry. It is free to self-publish on the most popular ebook platforms. Obviously, you have to pay upfront for editing and cover design, but the actual publishing is free, and the stores take a small percentage of sales. If you are selling ebooks online via Shopify or another platform, you will benefit from the ability to process payments without any hassle. Compared to most other business models, publishing in this digital age has low overheads, low entry costs and potentially a high margin of return.

Self-publishing can be free or cost thousands of dollars. The difference lies in the details: there is no step that you couldn’t do by yourself, but sometimes it is better to hire a professional. If you know in advance what kind of expenses you can expect, you can make your own compromises if you have to. You can decide whether to learn a few new skills and try doing it alone or ask for professional help.

About the only thing that remains constant in ebook publishing is that it changes—everything from the services to marketing strategies. Bottom line: There’s no one right way to go about it, since it depends on your time and resources, your books, and your marketing strategy.

You can also change your mind at any time, although not without some administration hassle and sales downtime. The best part is that you are not reliant on anyone to get your book out there!