My current circumstances currently prevent me from working full time. And I also need to make to $8000 in the upcoming months to pay my family's bills. I'm good at writing. I also love research and have what it takes to produce new ideas/strategies in entrepreneurship. I thought about building my audience first through writing articles on Medium, but people didn't show up. Then I thought about writing free ebooks then switching to paid ones, but I don't know how I should build my audience. What should I do?
First, I think you need to look at why no one showed up for your writing on Medium. Did you just publish and forget it? What's your view-to-read ratio? Are the people reading your articles engaging with it (or at least reading to the end)?
Selling ebooks is about 5% writing and 95% marketing. I wish that weren't the case, but the fact is that most ebooks are utter trash: riddled with typos, mostly packed with useless information, and generally executed poorly all around.
But those terrible ebooks sell because they're marketed well.
You can find tons of free resources on marketing, or you can buy (warily) any number of books about marketing ebooks online. You can also talk to someone who's helped other people set up successful ebook-selling operations — I'd be happy to help.
The basics are:
1. Write something people need. If no one has the problem you're solving, it won't sell.
2. Put out lots of content around the subject matter on your own site/Medium that links back to your sales page for more info/next steps.
3. Write for other sites with big audiences. Guest post about your subject matter. Most sites are constantly hard up for content, so you have a decent shot of getting a post run of you submit it properly.
4. Be consistent. You can't run two guest posts and expect millions of dollars in sales. Many of the best sellers are putting out dozens of articles a month.
5. Test and iterate. Set up simple split testing on your site. Watch the conversion rates from your articles and see where spikes and dips are happening. Adjust as necessary.
Making money from ebooks is not easy, and it's mostly an effort in self-promotion and sales. But if you follow through and keep testing, there's a lot of money to be made.
If you'd like an experienced set of eyes to help with putting together a launch/marketing strategy, I'd be happy to give you a hand. Let me know.
These articles on The Hustle can you give a new kind of perspective.
Hope it gives you a few pointers in the right direction!
P.S. I, in no way, condone some of the black-hat techniques mentioned there.
Earning a living by publishing books either in hard copy or Ebook format is a tough slog. I have published over 20 books in both formats. Some of the books were self-published others published by major publishing houses such as Doubleday, Prentice Hall and McGraw Hill. Two of these books were best-sellers, each as a result of my own marketing efforts.
Since you are good at writing and enjoy research, you might try freelancing. There is a huge demand for good content for online use. And with the growth of content marketing, many businesses are looking for good writers to help prepare great content.
I don't know what your fields of interest and expertise are; give me a call an i will help get you started on researching potential sources of freelance work.
I spent a lot of time writing an eBook that very few people read. I also wrote for Medium for a while and had minimal success. People also consider me a pretty good writer. So why should you keep reading this answer? Because I think I've learned a few things from these lessons that I hope may be helpful :)
The first lesson is that if you want to attract an audience, write about something people are interested in reading about today. There's a lot of research involved in this.
The second lesson is that just because a topic is important to you, that doesn't meant the topic is important to anyone else. Because of this, circle back to the first lesson!
Finally, writing an eBook take a pretty big investment in time and getting the book written is just the beginning. As one other respondent to this question said, after the book is written, the marketing part takes a lot of time and effort. Because of these reasons, in my opinion, eBooks are not a quick way to begin earning income.
It sounds like you need to earn money quickly. If that's the case, I'd suggest writing blog posts for other people, just to get started. You could start on Fiverr for lead generation purposes and to get your name out there. Try Upwork too. Finally, I came across this job board that may be helpful - http://jobs.problogger.net/. I'm sure there are other platforms that match writers with blog owners who are looking to outsource the writing of their blog articles.
The advantage to this approach is that you get paid, whether or not the article is actually read. The risk shifts from you to the owner of the blog who's paying you, who's hopefully done his/her research before hiring you to write the blog post.
The first thing you need to do if you decide to write and sell ebooks is study the market to make sure you are writing and publishing within a niche that actually has a large audience. You need to study the market. You can study the market for both fiction and non-fiction to determine which categories, genres, and subgenres are hot niches and selling well, which is half the battle when it comes to marketing books.
I have two different tutorials at the links below. One will teach you how to do the research for yourself and one will show you how you can purchase reports that have done the research for you.
If you can nail your niches and write to market then after that it's just a matter of strategic monthly promos on the right sites to keep a consistent flow of traffic to your books.
Write to Market Research