Travel bloggers build up a readership much the way we travel the globe—using a myriad of methods. From Pinterest pins and Twitter tweets, to guest posts, and podcasts, we’re caught in a continuous state of putting ourselves, our writing, and our destinations out there.
But there is another less-traveled path. Books.
From the early 1700s travel fiction novels, like Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver’s Travels, to Frommers information guides for just about anywhere in today’s world, people have read travel books for centuries.
Today, books can be an important method of content marketing to build your brand as a travel writer. Leigh McAdam indicated in a survey I did of travel bloggers, that the two years she invested in researching and writing her book, Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures (print and ebook from Granville Island Publishing), was her most important career building activity. Doreen Pendgracs, with her book, Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate, which she self-published in print and digital formats by crowdfunding on Indiegogo, set her solidly at the forefront of an emerging travel niche.
Whether your travel brand is as broad as McAdam’s or as narrow as Pendgrac’s, a book can help you find, engage, and retain a faithful readership. Nowadays, you can independently publish and distribute your own ebooks relying on skills you’ve already developed as a blogger.
What About the eBook Market?
Many travel bloggers worry they won’t have the skills or abilities required to publish a book. Some may have even jumped through the proverbial hoops to try to interest traditional publishers in a travel book of some sort, and come away empty handed. Luckily, there’s an easy solution these days—self-published ebooks.
The ebook market barely existed fifteen years ago, with only a .05% market share in 2002. While the percentage of books sold today in electronic formats, compared to those in either paper or hard cover, is hotly debated, it’s guaranteed to be no less than a quarter of all books sold.
Why the issue with tallying the numbers? It’s because Amazon, which has about 70% of the ebook market in North America, sells ebooks with a non-industry trackable product number, instead of the trackable ISBN used by traditional publishing. So, while traditionally published ebook sales are compiled by agencies such as Nielson BookScan, all of the books sold by self-published independent, or indie, authors, through Amazon, go uncounted by everyone but Amazon. The same thing is true with Barnes & Noble and ebooks sold or given away from individual websites and blogs.
An interesting statistic, from what we do know, is that indie authors have a lion’s share of the sales in some genres at retail giants like Amazon.
K-Lytics, an independent analytical agency for the ebook publishing industry, has created their own ebook sales reports based on analysis of best sellers as provided on Amazon product information pages, aligned with statistics that are available through ISBNs.
While literature and fiction books outsell nonfiction books overall, taking a close look at the genres within these two main areas is interesting. The K-Lytics report for April, 2016, indicated that the best selling travel book ranked #217 out of all books sold on Amazon. But let’s examine that in sales per day, to put it into perspective.
- The #1 book in Mystery, Thriller & Suspense sold an estimated 6574 copies per day
- The #1 book in Travel sold an estimated 330 books per day
So, travel writers aren’t likely to earn as much as fiction writers.
But what do these figures mean in terms of dollars of additional income to travel writers? Well, if you sold the ebook at $4.99, you’d earn $3.49 per book minus delivery costs (let’s say $.49 for easy calculations), so 330 x $3, or $990.00 per day for a total income of $29,700 per month!
What Does it Take to Publish an eBook?
Travel bloggers typically have a well-developed skill set. Already practiced at writing and editing their own content, they usually also do photography and some, or all, of their own Web and blog design.
All of these skills are the perfect qualifications for indie ebook publishing.
The easiest place to start your ebook publishing career is with a PDF fixed format ebook to give away from your own blog, or a reflowable ebook to sell from online bookstores like Amazon and Apple. You can create your ownfixed format ebook or reflowable ebook for no financial investment if:
- You are competent with a word processor, even the free LibreOffice.
- You can create a .jpg cover to specifications.
- You can edit your own work.
Ready to learn more? Join Linda in her session at TBEX North America in Bloomington, MN.
About Linda: Linda Aksomitis has been an acquisitions editor for an e-publisher, published 20+ print books and ebooks with publishers in five countries, and self-published a dozen books in print and ebook format. She’s also a travel blogger at guide2travel.ca.