(As stated in the sidebar -->)
I'm not really great at looking more than five or so steps ahead in climbing toward a goal (maybe that's something I need to change?), so I generally like to create a medium-term set of goals and work off of that. I always keep the larger goal in mind, but I don't have a meticulously planned, start-to-finish trajectory. I don't know what Step 32 is in the trajectory, but I'm confident I'll know what Step 32 is at Step 27 or so.
So what's the next step?
Right now, the next clear step is to build a website for the ebooks I launched this month and last month. The sales have been way better than I expected, and right now I'm only live on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. All of my books have been accepted into distribution at Smashwords, but I won't begin to see money from those sales (or up-to-date reports) for a few months.
Distribution will get me significantly more exposure, but I want to follow the SEO principles of driving targeted traffic to my ebooks and really cranking up those sales. As I plan to put out more ebooks in the very near future, I would also like to begin building a list to retain paying customers. With a website, I could also earn a larger royalty cut by providing affiliate links to my books at the respective retailers (around 5 percent - no small number when you're dealing with volume).
I have considered offering the ebooks for sale directly through my website in order to retain 100 percent of the sales, but I'm leaning against that at the moment because I'd need to set up an enormous infrastructure to make it happen. That would be less of an issue if I only sold PDF, but that doesn't seem like a particularly wise decision. I'm still at a point where I'm doing everything on my own. Maybe further down the line when I begin outsourcing some of the work to others.
The one downside to ebooks, particularly when you're selling them through a retailer, is that the lag time before you get paid is at least two months. Smashwords only pays quarterly, and their pay schedule is on a lag as well! Rome wasn't built in a day, I guess.