Ebooks have been around for a few years now. But I think there is going to be massive scope to make money from them in the future. Mobile devices on which you can read ebooks – like Amazon's Kindle and the iPad – are just just coming into their own. But I'm sure they're going to be big in future.
Who knows, maybe within a few years, we'll all be buying and reading our books as ebooks?
Ebooks offer a great opportunity to publish and sell your own writing easily and cheaply too. Just think, before ebooks came along writing and publishing a book was pretty difficult and expensive. You had to write your book. Pay out lots of money to get it printed. And find space to store it. Then if your printed book did not sell you were stuck with a lot of expensive waste paper!
Ebooks have solved all those problems almost overnight. You can just try an idea for next to nothing. If it does not sell you've not lost much. But if it does sell …. well the profit margins can be massive. Because there's no paper, print and shipping to pay for.
So first you need an idea for your ebook.
For starters, I would not recommend you publish fiction as an ebook. There's not much money in that …. as people can buy paperback fiction for a fiver or so.
Ideally, you should choose a fairly specialist non-fiction subject. Offer high quality information that people will be willing to pay a good price for.
For example, someone I know wants to publish a cookery book as an ebook. I think that would work really well. So how about picking some skill or talent you have – anything from car repairs to gardening to DIY to dressmaking, to bookkeeping or badminton – and turning it into a 'how to' ebook?
Writing an eBook is not any more difficult than an ordinary book. Dividing it up into chapters will make it easier to create as well as easier to read. Your ebooks can be as long or as short as you like. I've seen ebooks as short as 20 pages. Although about 150 is a maximum …. as they get a bit difficult to handle after that.
Do not worry about making a mistake when you write. With an ebook, if you make mistakes, you can easily correct them later at no cost.
And here's another great thing about publishing ebooks: You can easily and cheaply add illustrations. In fact you SHOULD. A picture paints a thousand words as they say, so they will save you work. They will help explain things better for your reader and add great value to your book too.
If you can, add some pics of your own digital camera. Or buy some high quality professional ones from a digital photo library like iStockphoto. It does not cost much. You can also add charts, diagrams, graphs, drawings and tables using the tools you can find in any word processing software like MS Word.
But try not to go too far over the top with your design. Keep it simple and clear, just like a professionally published book. Bear in mind that gaudy colors, backgrounds and complicated graphics are not always easy to read on a computer screen.
Once your eBook is finished all you need to do is put into an eBook readable format.
Converting it into an Adobe PDF file is usually the best option. Most people already have the Adobe Reader software on their computers. So most people will be able to buy, download and open the files easily. (If you do not already have the software to convert your book to Adobe Reader format on your PC there are some websites which will do this for you for free. Try this one – Do PDF at http://www.dopdf.com / ).
By the way, when you write and publish an eBook you do not need to formally register it – unlike with a printed book. Also, it automatically becomes your copyright – you do not need to register copyright in any way. (But I'd recommend you set the security settings up on the PDF to make it more difficult for anyone to copy.)
All you need to do next is market and sell your ebook. There are lots of different methods you can use. But unfortunately there is not really enough space to cover all of them today. So I'll look at how you can turn your eBook into money in another article.