From technology blogs to self-help sites, it seems like just about everyone these days has an ebook to download, give away or sell – and it’s no wonder! When done right, ebooks can be a fantastic marketing tool, not to mention a handy way to make a little passive income. Now who wouldn’t want that? If you’re ready to jump aboard the ebook bandwagon, here’s how you can turn your nuggets of knowledge into actual dollar bills.
Choose the Right Topic
Often times the hardest part about writing an ebook is choosing what to write about. You can help narrow in on a topic by keeping these few ideas in mind:
Take Cues From Your Target Market: First and foremost, you should choose a topic that’s related to your industry and to the products and services that you offer. But if you’re struggling with where to get ideas, look to your customers and clients. What are they looking for? What do they want to know? What would they find compelling to read? You may find the answers to these questions in your email, on forums, on Q&A boards even on your competitor’s sites.
Focus In On Your Idea: Once you have a general concept for your ebook, it’s time to narrow it down. This will help keep you focused, help keep the length under control, and help attract a specific target market, which in turn, will help you make more sales. Be direct – your customers want to know what they’re buying.
Vague Title: Gaming
Specific Title: 10 Tips for Teen Gamers
Vague Title: Building A Website
Specific Title: Website Building on a Budget
Include Just Enough Information: When choosing what to include in your ebook, you want to walk a fine line. Include enough information to be helpful and valuable to your customers, but not so much information that it’s overwhelming and confusing. You also shouldn’t get too caught up in “guarding secrets.” Just because your readers gain an understanding of how something works doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be able to do it or even want to do it. Contrary to the cautionary tales you might read on the internet, people will still hire you, even if your ebook provides them with a step-by-step guide, just like people still hire general contractors or accountants even though there’s enough information on the internet for you to install a cabinet or do your taxes yourself.
Include Your Information: If you’re creating an ebook to market your business, the general idea is that people will read it who haven’t heard of your business before. Then as they want to learn more information, they make the jump from the book’s page to your web page. Make sure you properly lead them there by including your name, your company’s name, your website address, and your email address somewhere in the book.
Write the Book
While you may be eager to get those first few pages typed out and your finished book up on iBooks or Amazon, it’s crucial that, for the sake of your product’s overall quality, you take these few extra steps.
Write From An Outline: Creating an outline may seem like a waste of time now, but it will be a bigger waste of time later when you’re making massive rewrites to your ebook and Frankenstein-ing its structure together. Books written with an outline are significantly stronger because your writing is guided by a roadmap. Outlines prevent you from forgetting a topic, going off topic, or from covering the same topic three times.
Get Help If You Need It: Not everyone is a writer or a grammar snob, and that’s okay. You don’t need to be. You just need to recognize when your work could use a little help. If writing isn’t one of your strengths, consider hiring someone to write, edit, or proofread the book. Even if writing is one of your strengths, it’s always beneficial to have another set of eyes.
Don’t Rush: As an entrepreneur, you get excited about ideas, so it’s only natural for you to want to pump out ebooks as fast as your hands can type them so you can start giving them away in newsletters and on your site; however, working too fast can diminish the quality of your product, and you don’t want to market a less-than-perfect product.
Choose a Publishing Platform
How you publish and distribute your ebook will depend on your overall goals, and you’re not limited to one single option.
Your Website: Is your newsletter subscriber list looking a little bare these days? Do you want to generate more leads? Offering a free ebook on your website is a great way to start accumulating those names and email addresses. If you’re not looking to give your ebook away for free, you can still sell it as a product on your site.
Amazon and iBooks: You can also sell your product on Amazon and iBooks. Each require their own separate formatting and have their own terms and conditions, but both have fairy easy launching processes. They also place your work in front of new audiences.
Market Your Product
No matter how good your ebook is written, no matter how awesome your cover art may be, your ebook isn’t going to sell itself. At least not at first. You’ll have to take a few extra steps to get things moving.
Blogs and Newsletters, and Sales Letters, Oh My! Once you have your ebook published, whether it’s on your website, on a marketplace, or both, you want to make sure you’re doing your job letting the world know. So mention it in your blog articles. Include a link to it in your newsletters. Have a page of your website that provides an inside look. If you’re attending a conference, a lecture, a speaking gig or other event, make sure you mention it to your audience.
Ask For Reviews: It’s amazing how much just a few little gold stars can influence a consumer’s purchase. A positive review is like an endorsement, so having a lot can really help with your sales. If people are purchasing your ebook from your website, and you have access to their email address, you can follow up by reminding them to write a review.
Be Patient: While 10-20 page ebooks can be digested the same day they’re purchased, longer ebooks may take a while for consumers to read. If your ebook doesn’t seem to be “working,” give it time. It needs to gain momentum.