The Benefits of Publishing E-books

Let's compare a few publishing models authors might consider: traditionally-published books, self-published books, and e-books. Each as their own benefits. For example:

  • Traditional Publishing - There's a certain amount of respect that comes from being a published author, you're often paid an advance, and there's a publisher to help with the marketing of your book.
  • Self-Publishing - You can become a self-published author without getting tied up in delays and politics of pitching your book and dealing with editors. You also may get a higher profit margin per-book.

E-books seem to be the last option considered by many serious authors (other than offering free e-books for promotional purposes), and that baffles me. Let's talk a little bit today about the benefits e-books have over other publishing models available to authors, and why snubbing them might not be such a good idea.

Benefits of E-book Publishing

  • People will often pay significantly more for an e-book from an industry expert than a print book. Why? Because they want the instant gratification.
  • There are far fewer costs generally involved in e-book publishing than traditional publishing (no printing or shipping for example), which further increases the profit potential of e-books. Even if you sell through affiliates, the portion left after their payouts is often more than a total traditional book sale (even before considering those extra print costs).
  • E-books have the ability to go viral whereas print books do not.
  • You still get the benefits of self-publishing.
  • E-books from reputable professionals do carry a good bit of credibility. Many industries ignore this fact and still snub the medium because they're simply ignorant. If your primary target market consists of heavy Internet users, e-books may even be a better option for you than print books as far as sales potential goes.
  • E-book distribution can be automatic. Aside from marketing your e-book, the sales process can be completely automated - no emailing the e-book to buyers, no manually processing any payments, etc.
  • E-books can be sold through highly-motivated affiliates. Sure, books have affiliate programs too (think Amazon.com). But they payouts to affiliates are usually dismal. E-book affiliates can earn half or more of the sale price (a reason e-books are often priced higher in addition to the instant gratification convenience). If you sell an e-book for $40, and your affiliates are getting $20 per sale, they tend to be enormously more motivated to promote your product than someone making a few cents to a few dollars at most per hard copy book sale.

That's not to say that e-books are perfect. You still have to invest time into effectively marketing them. You have to compete with a lot of poor quality e-books, and get past the stigma sometimes attached to them. And you have to set up your distribution channel or process.

Overall though, e-books are a publishing opportunity worth pursuing, especially if you're concerned about expanding income opportunities for your writing. If nothing else, e-books can be a nice supplement to self-published print books, and even some traditional publishers are now offering e-book versions of their print titles. They're certainly not being ignored, so don't overlook the option.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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3 thoughts on “The Benefits of Publishing E-books”

  1. I wouldn’t suggest trying to up the price on something you’re already selling. With a new e-book, it really comes down to how you’re going to market it. People are willing to pay a premium if they can get a combination of instant gratification (instant delivery) and something they haven’t seen before (preferably from an “expert” in the niche or industry).

    If you’ve already branded your products as being in a certain price range, it can be difficult to break out of that – for instance, if you used to charge $7 for an e-book, and you’re suddenly charging $27 for your next release, those past customers may not be as willing to bite. It would really come down to altering your target market and marketing strategy.

    I’ll be posting more in the new year on e-books (specifically a post on e-book pricing), and running a month-long e-book writing challenge over at All Freelance Writing in January, so if e-book writing is of interest to anyone else here, I hope those resources will set you in the right direction.

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  2. One note on eBooks, while the financial benefits are obvious – that form of digital asset to market (much like a podcast of video or sample chapter in a book) allow you to broadcast your passion in a digital format. Sampling the ebook, providing it for review in the blogosphere is also very helpful in marketing online.

    Super post!
    Maria 🙂

    Reply

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