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How to Sell Ebooks Using Affiliate Programs

how to sell ebooks using affiliate programsAffiliate or associate programs tend to be an overlooked tactic for how to sell ebooks. But you can profit from setting up your own affiliate program to sell ebooks at other web sites or through joining other affiliate programs.

Imagine the leveraging power of having hundreds of web sites selling your ebooks. Ebooks are ideal products for affiliate networks. Match your ebook content to appropriate web sites, offer a percentage of each sale to the web site and your network of partners can quickly grow.

I have used affiliate programs like ClickBank, PayLoadZ and JVZoo as a way to how to sell ebooks. Their systems attract many high traffic web site owners and the process is completely automated.

You can also become an affiliate as a way to earn income. Many of the profitable companies selling books and products online actively seek affiliate partners. Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com have several hundred thousand affiliates. Affiliates who work this full time can earn upwards of thousands of dollars each month.

Increase your own web site profits by joining other affiliate plans and display links or ads to their product on your site. They pay you a commission on every sale. One of the keys to affiliate marketing success is blogging and promoting products or services related to your subject matter and that you use and enjoy yourself.

Going beyond the sale of books, affiliate programs provide an excellent avenue for promoting additional products and services by including links to affiliate products or services in your ebook. You can include hyperlinks embedded with your affiliate code to resources your reader can click straight through to.

Think about related products your readers could use to solve a problem. Set up affiliate links to these related products in your ebooks. Simply join appropriate affiliate programs and place your affiliate links in your content.

How to Sell Ebooks Through Your Own Affiliate Program

Affiliate tracking software like IDevDirect lets you set up your own affiliate program. Consider paying out from 20% to 50% on each sale. Commissions for less than 20% will most likely fail to attract and motivate many associates.

Seek web sites with a related customer base. That is, if you were looking for dealers of your ebooks on angels, you would approach or market to web sites with angel and related themes. For example, potential affiliate web sites for angel ebooks include art or crafts selling angel products, religious sites, gift cards and posters.

With a little imagination, you can probably come up with hundreds of potential affiliate sites. Email the webmasters or site owners announcing your affiliate program. Your message can be brief and friendly while pointing to your web page affiliate FAQ for further details. Offer partnering sites autoresponders with free sample chapters that include their affiliate partner’s link for purchasing the ebook.

Services That Manage Affiliate Programs

Rather than setting up your own management system, it may be easier to use a service provider that automates the entire affiliate management operation.  Many software package programs are fairly expensive – from $200 to $750. Even with software to help, you still need to maintain the operation which takes time. An easier solution is to use a service provider who can set up and manage your affiliate program through a web site that automates the tasks of enrolling new members and tracking commissions.

Another how to sell ebooks via affiliate programs idea is to get your books listed on Amazon and BarnesandNoble. Then, approach web sites with related content to yours and encourage them to become affiliates with the online bookstores so that they can profit from recommending your books. Since you are the publisher, all orders eventually have to come from you or your distributors.


Popular Ebook Topics

start writing your book

Why should you care about popular ebook topics? Knowing what topics are trending helps you find your niche. It’s easier and less costly to publish your book to a niche audience than to a general audience. When you have a small marketing budget, as most of us start out with, you have to use all the free resources for publicizing your ebook that you can find.

Long term plan for those who write and publish fiction ebooks: aim for fame and you will sell almost anything you produce. A best-selling author, like Stephen King, can sell ebooks on his name online or offline.

Design your ebookUntil then: identify, sort and deliver qualified audiences based on popular ebook topics for specific subjects directly to your web site or email address. Once you know what to publish, you can locate and attract your topic’s audience using search engines, email, links, discussion groups, auctions, publicity and more ways.

What if you don’t know what to start writing about or you need more ideas for publishing new books? Consider these topic-stimulating ideas for turning out more content.

How to find your ebook topic niche

Find a niche subject, if you don’t already know what yours is. Tap into your life experiences for ideas. Look at your hobbies, special interests and areas of expertise. What events have inspired, motivated, enraged, or rewarded you? Has your education, jobs or business trials and successes given you knowledge or skills that can be passed on to others? Are there popular ebook topics related to your life experiences?

popular ebook topicsDo a little brainstorming by making a list on paper. At the top of the page write headings like Education, Jobs, Skills, Hobbies, Loves, Successes, Disasters, Family, and any other categories you can think of. Under each heading, list ideas for topics that can be expanded into articles or books. This exercise can help you discover many areas of your life that could give birth to book ideas.

Don’t imagine that you must necessarily be an expert or a fabulous success at something to write about it. My book described below was called “the blueprint for success” by one reviewer, yet the material arose from a depressing business failure. Even though I made many mistakes — and maybe even because of them — I became a widely recognized authority on my book’s subject.

first self-published bookMy first book, Weaving Profits, written in 1991, was a marketing guide for weavers and fiber artists who sell their work. After checking Books In Print, I found there were no other books written on my subject. I had no way of knowing if the 100,000 weavers I could reach in this country (estimated from adding the number of subscribers to all the weaving magazines) wanted my book.

Weaving Profits was not going to appeal to a large audience so I was fairly certain no publisher would go for it. The obvious alternative then was to take the book directly to readers myself and so I investigated self-publishing through Dan Poynter’s excellent book, The Self-Publishing Manual.

Anything you are passionate about can provide you the emotional impetus to produce a story, a book, even a publishing company.

Amazon best sellers booksLook at books on the best seller list for learning what’s hot in the publishing world. Sources for best sellers include your newspaper, Publishers Weekly, USA Today, local bookstores, BarnesandNoble.com, and Amazon.com.

“How to” popular ebook topics

“How to” books are perennial sellers. People are always hungry to learn and accomplish more in life. Typically, “how to” books sell at higher prices than other types of nonfiction. Use your list of life experiences to come up with potential ebooks that inform readers on “how to” achieve what they want.

Readers frequently tell me they have taken advice from my books and become successful in their business. I feel good about helping others. Equally rewarding, I have found that doing research for a “how to” book expands my knowledge and interests in a wide variety of topics.

Special reports as ebook topics

special report ebook coverA source of additional revenue for publishers of non-fiction is selling special reports. Within your “how-to” book, there will be chapters or sections that can be expanded and repackaged into detailed, multi-page reports. You can often charge more money for the special report than the original book because people are willing to pay more for getting the exact information they need.

Technical manuals

A growing market for ebooks is the delivery of technical manuals in digital form. Top of the list of popular ebook topics selling online include computer related titles. If you have the expertise or material to write such texts, the market is ready.

Educational textbooks

E books allow a student to download the most up-to-date edition of course material and store many of the etextbooks in one small, portable device. Benefits include cutting textbook costs, lightening their backpacks, providing timely content, and enhancing the learning process by using the text searching ability of ebook reading devices.

Romance, Science Fiction, Horror, Mystery

romance novel ebookAs mentioned, romance is one of the hottest selling ebook genres. Since romance accounts for almost half the mass market paperback sales in the U.S., demand is well established. SciFi, like romance also has a proven market in paperbacks. L. Ron Hubbard’s novel Battlefield Earth is a best-selling ebook on the Palm-compatible ebook bestseller list which lists the top 25 leading fiction electronic book titles.

Frank Weyer serialized his murder mystery M.I.T. Can Be Murder and reports over 5,000 downloads. Stephen King released an ebook called The Plant in portions. According to an article in USA Today, around 172,000 people paid $1 each for part one. Over 74,000 people paid another $1 for part two.

Poetry Books. Really?

poetry book by susan polis schutzYou may have heard that self-publishing poetry is not the way to make money. In general, poetry books don’t rank among the more popular ebook topics. But for you who are poets at heart, read this inspiring success story.

Several years ago, a young couple created a business selling their gift cards. The wife wrote the poetry and the husband created the artwork. Their business grew to the point that, at one time, Susan Polis-Schultz was considered the best-selling poet in America. They created a company called Blue Mountain Arts in Boulder, Colorado. By the time I went to work for them in the late 70’s, they were already millionaires and selling cards all over the world. But that was before the Internet.

In the 90’s, they put together a web site that allowed visitors to send gift cards free via email. The site became immensely popular, so much so that it was at one time, the sixth most visited site on the net.

Publishing ebooks by other authors

Consider taking on other authors’ material. I now publish the works of several writers and keep an eye on the horizon for new and marketable material that complements my growing line of titles. With the advantages of print-on-demand and electronic publishing, you can publish several titles and test the market at the same price you would pay to print and promote one paper bound title with traditional printing and marketing methods.

A vast number of literary works have passed into the public domain. Find public domain books at Project Gutenburg.