Making money with ebooks?

This fellow here has an interesting website. It’s not genre, but its relevant to my situation so I check him out every once in a while. I haven’t bought his ebook since I can pretty much guess at what’s in it based on the other content on his blog, but who knows… I might give him twenty bucks and take a look for myself one day. The reason I mention him is because of one of his recent posts where he claims to be on path to making four figures monthly with a single ebook.

Heh… that’d be nice, wouldn’t it?

Could I do that? I’ve considered it, but making an ebook and hawking it on this site is not on my short-list of ideas to try first. It’s on my try-eventually list, but maybe I should move it up. Or not.

Could it be done? Well… the one big MAJOR difference between me and guys like this is that their products are targeted toward people who are wanting to make money. Making money online is such a common pipe-dream of so many people that even with cheapskates and skeptics like me around, there are still LOADS of suckers people who are willing to pay money to find out how to do it. All you have to do is advertise it enough… cast your net far enough… and you’ll rake in a reasonably large haul.

Fiction, on the other hand, is different.

I’ve said on the Asylum Walls that people don’t pay money for entertainment on the internet. They pay money for entertainment, yes. They pay money for things on the internet that AREN’T entertainment, yes. But the internet is so full of people who are publishing entertainment for FREE (and I used to be one of them), that the idea of coughing up cash just to read stories is a pretty tough sell. Yes, it can be done. Yes, people are out there doing it; don’t bother pointing them out, I already know who they are. But it takes SIGNIFICANTLY more effort to sell an entertainment ebook than it does to sell a “Make $1000 every month with your blog” ebook. The process is the same:

  1. Create a product and
  2. Market the hell out of it

but the effort required to produce the same amount of bill-paying money is an order of magnitude higher. To say otherwise is to admit naivety. People expect entertainment on the internet to be free. Period. They think the internet exists for the sole purpose of providing them with free shit to read, see, and hear. So I’m going to throw up an ebook and expect these same people to pay money for it? Enough money to cover my advertising and hosting costs and still have enough money left to pay a bill or two? Yeah… maybe if I was Stephen King. Then again, maybe not even then.

Still… it’s worth considering I could come up with an ebook in a relatively short time. Not necessarily a full-length novel, but a collection of stories or a novella of some sort. I could certainly make it interesting. That’s sort of what I DO, after all. Could I market it? I don’t really do that well, and I don’t have money for the kind of advertising that it would require, so that’s a major strike right there. A “how to make money” ebook wouldn’t even NEED that much advertising money… it would market itself just by being linked from a blog or two, and there are hundreds of blogs that would link to it almost immediately as soon as they found out about it. People think they NEED that information. Fiction? Not so much.

I guess its obvious that I’m still on the fence about the whole thing. Try it soon? Try it later? Not worth trying at all? I’d like to see if anybody has actually done it (with fiction), how much they made and how much effort they put into the marketing of it.

I wonder if any of those people would be willing to talk?


  1. coops200ad, February 10, 2009:

    You hit the nail on the head there. I found this post under your random banner but coincidentally I recently posted about this very thing.

    Have a look and see what you think.

    There’s gotta be a way to be rewarded for doing something you love where both parties are gratified by the experience.

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