Making money online

A guide to selling eBooks in South Africa

eBooks can be a very powerful source of passive income; in this guide you will learn how to self-publish an eBook and how to make sure that you get massive sales. This is a guide on how to sell eBooks in South Africa.

There are hundreds of eBooks that get published on a daily basis, a lot of those books will not reach their projected sales figures. The reality is, selling an eBook is hard, maybe harder than writing the book. Let’s look at some of the things you can do to sell more eBooks in South Africa.

Develop an audience

A lot of successful authors started by developing an audience for their work before they published books. It’s very beneficial to have an audience because you know that there are a lot of people that will buy your book immediately after you release it.

There are a lot of ways you can create an audience, you can create a blog, gain social media following, create a forum or even a YouTube channel. It’s very easy to create an eBook about photography if you already have a photography-based blog that gets a lot of traffic. All you have to do is create the eBook, publish it and notify your audience.

This is the best route to go, especially if you don’t have a lot of money saved up for marketing.


A blog is one of the most powerful marketing tools, used by a lot of professionals and businesses. You can create a blog and get around 50 000 monthly visitors, then advertise your book to them. A blog with 50 000 monthly visitors will have over 3 000 email subscribers. This would be a perfect time for you to write your eBook because you would be guaranteed to sell a lot of books and make money.

Even 10 000 monthly visitors would be enough. You would sell a 100 books per month if only 1% of your visitors bought your book. Here is a more detailed guide on blogging. Blogging is also a great way to earn passive income.


Another great way to build an audience is to create a forum that focuses on different aspects of the subject that you want to write a book about. It’s best that you merge this with your blog because a forum will have a limited number of people that keep coming back each month and it can take longer to build a solid audience. However, if you have merged it with a blog then you can redirect some of your website visitors to join your forum.

Social media following

This option is not as powerful as the two options above, because you are at the mercy of your social network. Let’s say you want to write an eBook about economics, you can start by publishing a lot of your views regarding economics on social media. People that engage with your content would be perfect to sell an eBook to.

You can’t do this with 100 people, you need to have thousands of people engaging with your content before you publish your book.


YouTube is very similar to blogging but it works more on things that need more visuals to be better understood. This platform is the most powerful platform for building an audience, even more powerful than blogging. This is because a lot of people that use YouTube get used to their creators very quickly because of the visuals.

You can do all of the above and create the biggest audience while earning some passive income for yourself.

Run digital ads

Developing an audience can take a long time, you might have to wait for one year before you have a solid audience. Running digital ads will bring you quick results but at a significant cost.

You should have a budget of at least R10 000 if you plan on using digital ads to promote your eBook.

Facebook ads

There are over 17 million people that use Facebook in South Africa, your target market is among those people. Facebook allows you to target the type of people you want to see your advert.

If your book is related to photography then you can target photographers and people that are interested in photography. Facebook ads are not expensive but they will split your budget if you are not careful.

Facebook offers different formats of ads; they vary in price. One of them will perform better than the others and one of them will be a waste of time. It’s not easy to know which ad format works unless you test them, you have to test them using your money.

Google ads

Google ads are expensive, much more than Facebook ads and I am not completely convinced that they are good for selling eBooks. They may be good for selling eBooks that are already popular, but a not so popular eBook from a self-published author, I don’t know.

However, you can run Google ads, Google serves billions of searches per day. A lot of your target market is using Google to search books that are related to the subject that you have written. It’s best to target these people by bidding for keywords like “photography books”.

If you are selling a fictional novel then it’s best to use Facebook ads, even creating an audience will be difficult if you want to create a fictional book.

Selling on platforms

You can use platforms to sell your eBooks, Amazon is one of the biggest platforms that you can use. They take 30% from each sale but you will have a lot of exposure. Amazon also has an affiliate networks, which promotes amazon products for a certain commission, they might also promote your book.

Other platforms are Payhip, Blurb, Lulu etc see more of them and their terms here. You might still to run digital ads that link to your book in the platform. That’s because it can take some time before people start noticing your book in these platforms because there are hundreds of other books.


This was a guide on how to selling eBooks in South Africa. Do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below.

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