- My first book
Let's just say it upfront: I don't promise success; I just shoot out ideas. What you make of it, is entirely up to you. On the other hand, I don't ask for money.
I know there are many people out there who are unemployed and desperately searching for a chance to create some extra income. Many of them fall for Internet scams promising them easy money, and they all lose their money. I wrote about these scams, and I can proudly say that I saved a great number of people from being scammed. They were smart enough to search the Internet for more information, and that's how they found me.
That is also the reason why I try to provide free advice. I report about these scams, but I missed to provide the most-wanted information: how to actually make money online. I will try this now, but be warned. Financial success comes only through hard work and it will take blood, sweat, tears, and time, time, time.
You Need A Product Line
In my personal opinion, these days you can only create online income through selling a product or product line. The following concentrates on technical literature as a product.
Selling Technical Literature
So, here's the idea that worked for me: Back in 2005 I wrote my first technical book titled "A Comprehensible Guide to Controller Area Network" (see image above). Yes, it's a dry technical topic, but since then the book sold about 500 copies a year. I wrote three more technical books, and in total I sell between 1,500 to 2,000 copies a year, through Amazon.Com and through my own website as eBook (PDF). The monthly income is not bad, but not enough to pay the mortgage, groceries, and other luxuries, meaning I still have a daytime job. It's kind of ironic, because I don't have enough time to write as much as I would like to, because I have my job. If I had all the time in a day, I could write more books faster and create more income. This is the point where reality kicks in.
Nevertheless, if you have the time, the skills, and the resources, you can build a steady income. However, let's do another reality check: Your success depends on a great number of factors like, just to name a few, popularity of the topic to write about, marketing, promotional activities, and more.
Fortunately, this is the easiest part, because the majority of us owns a computer with word processor. Plus, most of us have access to the Internet. And here you have the essentials for writing and publishing technical literature.
Why Technical Literature?
Yes, many of us maintain that dream of becoming a famous writer, because, as I mentioned before, we all have that computer, a word processor, and a fast Internet connection. Been there, done that, didn't work out, meaning I wrote two novels, but in terms of sales numbers it's a waste of time. This has nothing to do with lack of talent, but with a vast competition in the market, considering millions of new books published per year in the US alone.
The same is true to a certain degree with non-technical nonfiction literature. In general, nonfiction sells much better than fiction, simply for the fact that your readership is easier to define and to target. That simple fact is even more amplified when you write technical literature. In layman's terms, it's easier to find buyers for a "John Deere Lawnmower Repair Manual" than for "Buddie the Vampire Slayer." The offerings of vampire novels is overflowing the market these days.
What Should I Write About?
Again, there is no secret formula that will excel you into writers' heaven, but your best bet is to write about something unique. If you have an idea, check out Amazon.Com to see what the "competition" is. If the competition is vast, try something else, unless you think that your approach separates you from the competition. My approach, for instance, was that my books are "comprehensible" and I make sure that word is part of the title. I also use a lower price than the competition.
However, my books are appealing to a niche market, which makes it easier to promote, but I won't be selling millions of copies, either. The approach of a "John Deere Lawnmower Repair Manual" is not bad at all, because it does appeal to a much greater audience (I haven't checked the potential on Amazon, though).
My suggestion would be to look into repairs and maintenance topics. Millions of Americans do need such information.
How Do I Sell?
Besides the more cumbersome ways of finding a publisher or getting into self-publishing, I have two major keywords: Amazon Kindle and Smashwords.Com. Check out the corresponding websites and check out their publishing options. It's easy (and free) to sign up and post your eBooks. And the beauty is, you don't need an ISBN for your book.
In terms of required length of the book, it doesn't really matter when you post eBooks through Amazon Kindle and Smashwords. Naturally, it should reflect in the price, meaning a very short book should cost only $0.99 where the price is higher for larger ones. I do recommend, though, to start with low prices.
Basically, we are talking about a product – the book – that nobody knows, by a manufacturer – the author – that nobody knows, and a quality – the writing style – that nobody knows. The simple solution is a low price and promotion, promotion, and promotion.
The idea behind this concept is that you should write constantly and publish as many books as possible, and, again, Kindle and Smashwords make that easy for you.
How Do I Promote?
This question cannot be answered right here and now. There are literally thousands of books available on the topic. However, the first, absolutely essential step is to establish a web presence, meaning you need a website. If you don't have the funds to pay for your website try WordPress.Com, which I consider the most effective free website service. If you can afford roughly $120 per year, see my section on running a website, Professional Blogging, where you can also find a free (Really, it’s free) download of a book I wrote on the topic. Also, see my Facebook page where I will post more information, among others, on making money from home.