Tips for Becoming a Digital Publisher & Earning Like a Pro

If you’re internet savvy and running a business, there’s a decent chance you already have a website. Perhaps you even have a blog where you give out advice to potential customers.

But if you have subject matter expertise (or specialized knowledge in general), there’s a better route to using it than merely sharing wisdom by blog post: monetizing it with digital publishing.

You don’t have to be a professional author, or have a prior publication, or have any business experience at all to begin digital publishing. Anybody can use the power of the internet to share their work with waiting audiences.

You could publish content on things you’re passionate about. Nonfiction, fiction, biographies, senior’s books, career highlights, romance, travel, self-help, drug withdrawal…the list is endless. And you can bet there’s a loyal base of readers for just about any subject out there.

Publish & Monetize an Online Magazine

The first step towards becoming a digital publisher involves owning an online magazine. While it is possible to convert your existing blog into an elegant magazine, we recommend creating a new one from scratch. Tools like FlippingBook and LucidPress offer you the tools to design and create beautiful print and digital magazines.

Switching to digital publishing takes some planning and thought. You can choose either to publish the magazine on your site or through a native magazine app. Both have their unique advantages. For instance, integrated digital magazines lead to a mutually-advantageous partnership between the website and the magazine as they both generate traffic for the other. However, in-app magazines offer the benefit of always being in your readers’ hands because of their smartphones.

If you decide to use a website to distribute your magazine, there are some embedded cons that you should be aware of before proceeding. The same applies to app-based distribution. However, magazine apps are preferable when it comes to digital editions’ distribution, and play a key role in raising magazine circulation numbers.

Then there’s another decision to make: you have to pick a tool or a platform for magazine publication. Currently, Paperlit Joomag and ISSU are some of the most common digital publication tools. The majority of these tools allow budding publishers to get started for free.

Once you’ve published a magazine, it’s time to monetize it. Here’s how to generate revenue and earn like a pro as an owner of a digital publication.

1. Try Native Advertising

Display advertising is a popular way of monetizing digital content, but it doesn’t work well for digital magazines. However, publishers can always bank on native advertising to step in and fill in the gap. When advertising is integrated into the content, it becomes native. Native here implies that the ad blends in with the magazine’s content.

Different ad networks offer different revenue streams for publishers. Whichever ad network you sign up for, put a label stating that the advert is sponsored content. This will keep ethical problems at bay. Also, if someone wants you to feature a story that meshes with the tone or subject of your site, skip it. Otherwise, your reputation can get damaged.

2. Create an App

Several of the top iPad apps are magazine brands. Hence, a native app could be a valuable addition to your digital monetizing toolkit. If you’re ready to make one, you can hire someone to code or make it on your own with a tool such as Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. That’s a significant investment, however, so is you can use a tool like Lucidpress to test the concept by posting interactive content and then publishing it on a separate URL.

That way, publishers can simulate application experience and test how visitors respond. If it works out, you can think of investing in a native application. Ads can be integrated inside an app, just like they’d appear on the site. Also, instead of having a paid application, consider offering a premium account that would provide exclusive content to users.

3. Be Subscription Only

If you manage to become the go-to source for quality content, you’ll have an excellent chance of transitioning to a subscription-only magazine. Subscriptions are considered better than ads for several reasons. The main one is that help builds a consistent stream of revenue than on-time advertising deals. An example is The New Yorker, which offers to pay subscribers unlimited access to all its blogs and articles along with 90 days of its archive.

The good news is you can use the magazine tools to place content behind a paywall. Publish your magazine, activate a password so that only specific readers can access the content, and email people the password once they pay for the subscription. However, give away some free articles every month to show people that your magazine is different from the rest of the crowd.

Once you’ve streamlined the revenue part of your online magazine, you’ll start earning passive income on an ongoing basis.

Self-Publishing on Amazon

The most inexpensive and hassle-free way to break into the digital publishing industry is by taking up Amazon self-publishing. The best route involves publishing ebooks. People can download them directly to their gadgets, such as the ebook reader from Kindle. Also, the process is facilitated by Amazon through the Kindle Direct Publishing Program. Though it requires an Amazon account, there’s no fee for usage – the user gets self-publishing with zero initial costs.

Amazon self-publishing offers several benefits, such as:

  1. You can publish the ebook in a few minutes. And it will become available to purchase in a few days.
  2. The author retains full rights to his/her books and can set their own prices.
  3. On every sale, Amazon gives you 70 percent of the final retail price and keeps the rest

Also, users can have a print version too if they use the “print-on-demand” feature. The option is present in Kindle Direct Publishing and comes with paperbacks. However, a few differences should be noted. For instance, self-publishing paperbacks get you 60 percent of the sale price (probably because publishing costs get deducted from each sale as well (it’s print on demand).
Those who generate passive income from Amazon self-publishing typically follow a three-step process. We’ve shared it below to help you get started (along with a few tried and tested tips).

1. Creating Your Book

The first step is to write the content of your ebook. A few actionable tips: Once the topic is decided, do some research, create an outline and start producing content. Don’t procrastinate. It can be hard to imagine writing a whole book. But it’s not that big of a deal once you categorize it into steps.

The next step is to show it to a trusted individual (someone with experience on the subject you’ve written) to get honest feedback on the writing. Based on their feedback you might have to make some editorial changes.

After the content part, start thinking about how you’ll make the book look good. We recommend hiring a graphic designer to create a cover for it and lay the content out into ebook format. Amazon self-publishing requires you to follow their specifications, which you’ll get upon joining the KDP program.

2. Marketing Your Book

One smart way to increase the sales of your book is too create an enticing page for your ebook listing. Causal ebook browsers will be more interested if you publish a detailed description. Also, using keywords in the description will attract people searching Google or Amazon for the topic/subject you’ve covered. Keywords should also be placed in the ebook’s title.

Reviews are also crucial. Potential buyers want to see what others think before taking out their credit cards. How to get reviews as a new author? Send a copy to experts or specialists of the industry/topic covered in the book, friends, co-workers, etc. And ask them to submit honest reviews.

Other things to do: Comment on blogs with a link back to the Amazon page, create an email list, joining relevant forums, and put the word out on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

3. Earning from The Sales Proceeds of Your Book

The first thing to do is to get the ebook on the Kindle platform. And then get the word out via marketing. However, know that just putting a single book through the self-publishing program won’t result in a lot of income.

Those earning real passive income (in four figures) list multiple books for sale. This has two main benefits. First, you can write on a popular topic and deliver your unique point of view. Secondly, one of the books may get cross advertised with similar books. This happens when Amazon lists identical products to the one a consumer has just bought.

Several Amazon users click on those links to discover related items, in this case, self-published ebooks and purchase them too.

In a nutshell, unless multiple books are online and for sale, it can be hard to make money. So get at least a couple out there.

Final Verdict

You’ve probably read through the various blog posts that digital publishing can be somewhat complicated. However, it is the only complication until you give it a try. So what’s the verdict? You need publishing tools that make magazine creation easy every step of the way and then monetizing strategies to generate revenue. However, you can also do it on Amazon. Whatever route you take, earning passively and consistently as a digital publisher is indeed possible.