With the ebook market bursting at the seams it does feel that the standard passive income advice is to ‘knock out an ebook and get it onto Amazon’. But the truth is there’s no such thing as a perfect passive income product and nothing (and certainly not an ebook) can be just ‘knocked out’.
Both ebooks and ecourses can take a considerable amount of time and effort (not to mention blood and tears!).
Let me tell you my book and ebook publishing story.
In 2008 my very first ‘proper’ book (ie not self-published) The Holistic Beauty Book was published by Green Books. Phew I thought, I’m now a published author – let the money start rolling in.
Ha. Ha. Ha. Nothing is THAT simple.
The fact is that my £12.95 book (with matching ebook on Kindle) took 4 long years of hard work and gave me just £1000 a year in royalties (I get 12% of the sale price).
Bear in mind that the publishers take the biggest cut because they take all the financial risk plus they have a massive sales team who market your book constantly. My book is still in all the mainstream high-street bookshops and there was a lot of press and TV exposure for the first 2 years.
4 years, 33,000 words, 2 extra stone in weight and no sleep for the last 2 months leading up to deadline. And I get £1000 a year.
Compare this to when I launched my first ecourse.
The ecourse had roughly the same amount of words, took less time to write (because I mined my book for a lot of it) and because it sold for £250 it became an instant 4 figure income for me.
As I become more proficient at writing ecourses, I stumbled across this truth: Less Is More.
Teaching a skill is best done in small bite sized chunks using plenty of multimedia. Therefore each module of an ecourse need only be a short video and short worksheet.
It gradually dawned on me that ecourses actually contain LESS word count than a book and for good reason. We read books to… read. But we buy ecourses to learn and learning doesn’t usually take place by reading but by doing actionable steps. Actions are best taught via video and worksheets.
|Huge word count (200-300 pages for average book)||Low word count. Quick to make videos and PDFs|
|Usually sells for low cost. Physical books = $10-$20 and ebooks for Kindle are anything from $1-$6 PDF ebooks on websites are often $10-$20||The sky is the limit with pricing. Quick ecourses are often between $47-$147 with more indepth courses going for several hundred pounds/dollars. It’s not uncommon to see ecourses at $250-$500
|Profit margin can vary as Amazon take a cut. Self-hosted ebooks can be 100% profit||Usually all profit unless you decide to host through a 3rd party site like Udemy. Most ecourses are self-hosted though.|
|A full sized book/ebook of 20k-30k words can take a very long time to write – many months.||A video based ecourse with worksheets can take just days or weeks.|
|You need to sell in high-volume to earn a full-time wage, this means lots more marketing. Ranking in Amazon can take a LOT of effort.||You only need a few sales each month to make a full-time income, less marketing is needed.|
There are obviously exceptions
Ebook whizkids that make 6 figure incomes from ebooks do exist but they are in short supply and you have to be super-dedicated to earn that kind of cash from a low-cost product like an ebook.
But if you just compare the amount of actual ‘stuff’ (content) to income – ecourses are the clear winner. You can sell them for TONS more money and they can take less effort to make.
To me ecourses are the best choice by far for anyone starting out to make passive income streams. They embody my personally philosophy of High-Income, Less Effort – which is really what passive income is all about.
After all what is the point of launching a product if you then have to spend 10 hours a day marketing it.
Ebooks = work harder.
Ecourses = work smarter