Monday, June 04, 2007

Publishing E-books for A Living: How to Ensure an Income for Life

I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993. Many writers write because it’s their calling. They love it and can’t imagine doing anything else.

Unlike these gifted souls, I write because I have a knack for it and it allows me to order my life around my work, not my work around my life. This is why I love publishing e-books for a living.

Besides the benefit of working in my jammies, the number one advantage of publishing e-books for a living is residual income. Once an e-book is written, it can earn you money for years to come.

What do I mean? Let me explain by way of a personal story.

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Publishing E-books for A Living: How & Why I Started

I published my first e-book, How to Really Make a Living as an Editorial Freelancer, in 2002. It was prompted by all the inquiries I received about freelancing after 9/11, when many in the publishing, advertising, communications industry lost their jobs.

By way of background, at the time, I owned an editorial staffing agency in New York City, Inkwell Editorial. After 9/11, the industry I staffed (publishing, advertising, media, communications, etc.) suffered a severe downturn.

As no one was placing ads, magazines were cutting back, dot-coms were going out of business and advertising agencies were trimming the fat. All of this meant many writers, copy editors, creative directors, editors, copywriters, etc., lost their jobs.

Many turned to freelancing – but few knew how to go about it. So, I wrote the e-book to shed some light on it.

That one was received so well that I followed up with a companion e-book, Advice from Successful Freelancers, which featured advice from real freelancers on how they succeeded.

To date, I’ve published 6 e-books, one e-course and numerous reports, pamphlets and guides – all focused on the business of creative freelancing.

Publishing E-books for A Living: How to Ensure an Income for Life

Once you write and publish an e-book, you can make it an income-generating enterprise for years to come. How? By doing the following:

A) Update Your Publications: Keep your e-book(s) relevant by regularly updating the material. The initial writing is the hard part. Updating it every few years will give readers a reason to re-purchase from you.

You can even offer discounts to those who bought the original publication.

B) Publish a Line: What I mean by this is, publish in a niche. For example, my e-books are all about the business of freelancing.

Each title focuses on a different aspect of this topic – whether it’s getting a website, learning effective marketing techniques or first-hand advice from other freelancers.

The wonderful thing about publishing a line is that the more products you offer, the better chance you have of making a sale. By listing all of the titles you offer at the end of each publication, you can effectively cross promote with little to no effort.

C) Create Other Products: Like what? Seminars, workshops, CDs, DVDs and e-courses.

The beauty of e-books is once they’re written, you have the bones of a seminar, workshop or DVD right there in front of you. Rewrite and rearrange the material to fit the different format.

Some people like their products live (eg, a seminar, workshop); some like to listen to it in the car on the way to work (CD), some prefer to work at their leisure (e-course).

Again, cross market all of these, which brings me to my next point -- marketing in general.

D) Market, Market, Market: This is an on-going thing. Put together a marketing schedule you can following week in and week out – for months on end.

Create a blog, publish a website, do a podcast – whatever it is, do it consistently and watch your sales grow.

Publishing e-books for a living is a wonderful way to ensure an income for life – and allow you to have a life. Good luck if you decide to give it a go.

Wanna know the steps to take to publish a successful e-book? Read this post.

Good luck if you decide to publish an e-book of your own!
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