How to Create an eBook to Sell (Tutorial)

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Some of my favorite questions to ask my exclusive newsletter subscribers are,

“What do you want me to write about?”

“Was there a post I previously published that didn’t include all the answers you were looking for?”

“How can I do better to deliver this information to you?”

Well, this month, I received several requests for more information about my previous post: How I Make Income Selling eBooks I Didn’t Have to Write.

Since I had an overwhelming response to this particular post and received several questions regarding the topic, I feel that I should write a second and much more specific description of how I actually go about publishing several eBooks (that I didn’t write) and generate a decent amount of dollars each month, as a result.

I have been asked to elaborate on this topic, and I think that this deserves a bigger (and perhaps more descriptive) post on the subject.

Thanks for the suggestion!

So, here we go!

How I Make Money Selling Books I Didn’t Write

First of all, I’d like to make it completely clear that I genuinely appreciate original material and I respect the artist behind each and every work of creative art, whether it be written or visual. That being said, I am not against legally revamping creative works from many years ago and reselling my creative versions for a profit. If anything, I feel like reproducing original material and adding additional photographs, creative covers, enhancing single stories with additional pieces from the author, and other annotations, makes my re-created public domain materials unique and valuable. Being an eBook creator is an art of its own!

Here is a break down of the process I use to generate income from eBooks I don’t have to write. I will explain each step in detail and walk you through the creation of a brand new book! (You can download a free preview on Kindle so that you can see my final product, too!)

  1. Create an account with Kindle Direct Publishing
  2. Choose a public domain work you want to reproduce
  3. Edit, annotate, and copyright your re-created product in a word document
  4. Create an original cover
  5. Upload word document
  6. Upload Cover
  7. Publish

In order to truly benefit from this post and see my final product and read any other Kindle eBook on any device, you’ll need to download Amazon’s FREE Kindle Reading App so that you are able to download the kindle eBook and view it on your computer (or other non-kindle device). Viewing my completed product is the BEST example I can give you for how this process works.

Step 1: Create Account With Kindle Direct Publishing

First, you will need to create a Kindle Direct Publishing account. If you already have an amazon log in, you can use that. Otherwise, sign up for a new account.

Why do I use kindle? Because kindle is the most popular, most widely used eBook library online. That’s not my opinion. Kindle pretty much dominates every other platform for buying eBooks. PLUS Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) allows you to publish your material without putting up any of your own money. Also, once your eBook is published, you have the option of creating a paperback version free (this only increases your sales) and while they do take a percentage of your profits, there is no way you can get as much publicity for your eBooks anywhere but on Amazon.com.

Step 2: Find a Public Domain Work to Reproduce

For this particular example, I’ll direct you to my favorite online resource for public domain material: Project Gutenberg. You can search through the archives at www.gutenberg.org, and find thousands of pieces of literature that is currently in the public domain.

By definition, public domain material is content that is not under a copyright and currently belongs to the public. Some of the best works of fiction and non-fiction, alike, falls into this category. Some of your favorite fairy tales (Cinderella, Pinocchio, Alice in Wonderland) were written so long ago that the work is no longer protected. The public domain archives is where Walt Disney got some of his best story ideas!

Therefore, if a piece of literature is in the public domain, you are allowed to use the original text, artwork, characters, plot, and idea of the story for free.

Legal tip: Before taking a piece of public domain work from any website, be sure to check out that site’s terms of use. Although the site might contain mostly public domain work, they might have specific conditions you must pay attention to especially if you’ll be using this content for profit.

Today, I am going to re-create the public domain book entitled: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass.

**Ensure the title you have chosen to re-create is in the public domain in your country. I am located in the United States and I have ensured that this title is, in fact, in the public domain, in this country.

Download, copy, and paste the content of your public domain file into a word document (.doc, .docx, HTML, MOBI, ePub, RTF, Plain Text) for step 3. (Exclude Project Gutenberg’s text at the very beginning and the very end of the public domain content.)

Step 3: Edit In a Word Document

In order to sell this book on KDP, you need to have the public domain content either illustrated or annotated (or both). Illustrated means that there are several unique images included in the content. These don’t necessarily have to be your images. You can get free, public domain images from other sites, as well. Annotated means that you include notes or textual comments. You could add an “about the author” page that you researched and wrote, too. This would be all you’d need to have your book a usable edition to make money selling on KDP.

Below, you can see that I have pasted the original content into my word program.

I have chosen to include a few illustrations I have found from public domain sites such as Pixabay. Additionally, I have included some study guide questions at the end, for a deeper understanding of the text. This will make my version popular with teachers and schools, who may purchase bulk amounts of books (eBooks and paperback), for the study guide questions.

I added the photos into the text on word. You’ll see them included in each chapter of the book.

Next, you’ll need to include a copyright. Why? After all, you got the material from the public domain, right?

But if you don’t copyright, anyone can resell your version of the book without giving you credit. This means that the effort you spent putting this book together could be stolen by another person. A copyright protects your compilation (text & images).

Here is the example of a copyright page:

Copyright 2017 by {your name}.

All rights reserved. This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise—without prior written permission of the author, except as provided by the United States of America copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author at {insert an email}.

***Don’t forget to thoroughly check your work. For a limited time, you can download the Best Plagiarism Checker & Proofreader for free (only when you use my link). The last thing you want is a reputation as a sloppy editor/author. Even though public domain eBooks are easy to crunch out in a few hours, you’ll want them to also be top quality if you intend to market them to anyone and sell a massive amount of copies! Download Grammarly for free to proofread your finalized eBook. Grammarly checks your entire document for plagiarism and grammar errors. It is far more intuitive and comprehensive than word’s spell check. Grammarly has caught several errors in my eBooks that spell check glosses over. For free, it’s definitely worth the download!

Finally, save this as a word document.

Leave it alone for now.

Step 4: Create an Original Cover

I use free sites whenever possible. Canva.com is one of those sites that surpasses my expectations because they offer so many useful templates — all for FREE! Canva even has a book cover template that will save you tons of time when you’re trying to figure out how to create a book cover (I messed around with programs like “paint” forever until I discovered Canva). Sure, you can use KDP’s automatic cover generator, but then, your cover will not stand out. If you want to create a public domain book that actually sells, you need your cover to be a unique piece of art.

Step 5: Upload Word Document to KDP

In order to publish on KDP, you’ll need to set up your tax information. Once that is complete, you can begin publishing. Remember that document you saved in word? This is when you’ll need to upload this as your eBook content.

In your KDP Bookshelf, you will have the option to “Create a New Title.”

Choose Kindle eBook

While filling out your book’s details, be sure to indicate that it is a Public Domain work. This affects the publishing options of the book.

Complete all information required for your book. Set a price, and send it to Kindle for review. They usually publish within 72 hours of submission. You’ll receive an email when your book is published.

Step 6: Upload Cover

As mentioned before, you can choose to create a generic Kindle cover OR upload a cover of your own. I always opt to upload my own covers, but this is completely up to you. I will say that your sales will increase with a unique cover.

Step 7: Publish

When it comes time to publish your eBook, you are almost ready to promote! Usually it takes 72 hours for your title to be published. Sometimes you’ll get an ALERT from KDP email. Sometimes, KDP needs you to vrify that the public domain title you are publishing is, in fact, in the public domain. Usually, they ask for a URL (you’ll give them Project Gutenberg’s URL of the eBook you’re publishing) and they will continue on with the review process. This is common, so don’t worry if you receive an email.

**In order to make extra money on this book, consider selling a paperback version. It’s super easy and uses the same content. This generates extra income for you and it doesn’t cost you more to make paperback an additional option.

Download the FREE Kindle Reading App in order to preview (free) the finished eBook I just created here:

Make sure you have downloaded the FREE Kindle Reading App in order to view a free preview of the finished eBook! At least this will give you an idea of how simple it is to create an eBook online. I truly hope this tutorial answered a few questions about how I make money from eBooks I didn’t write.

Lastly, I’ll invite you to check out the book I wrote and published that explains the top 3 ways I generate income online: Experimental Cents: Guide to Online Entrepreneurship (read a free chapter here). Selling eBooks is one of the subjects discussed in this book and I have an entire section devoted to the concept of selling Kindle eBooks for profit. I have thoroughly researched the topic of selling public domain eBooks. I have included several other resources for finding public domain content, how to continually market your eBook, and extra information about copyrights as well as other valuable information regarding eBook publishing.

If you join my free newsletter (sign up is at the top of this page), I will let you know when I am running a free eBook promotion on Experimental Cents: Guide to Online Entrepreneurship! I usually run 5 free days every three months so join now to catch the next promotion!

Stay tuned because my next post will be about how I choose from the thousands of public domain eBooks to publish successfully.

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