‘Everyone has a book in them’ a quote from Kathryn Joyce…. Well that’s great to know, but what she doesn’t say is that it might not be the book you had in mind, and you most definitely are not guaranteed that all your hard work will be worthwhile if you are looking to make millions. It does happen… JK Rowling for example, but stories about wizards has already been done, so you are going to need a different idea!
I am going to show you how to find that idea, write an ebook and make money from it. It might not be the first idea you have that will be the money spinner but following my article will set you on the pathway to success. Millions of ebooks are sold now, so there is no reason why your book will not be one of them.
Writing an ebook is not as complicated as you might imagine. There are so many platforms now to use to write and publish an ebook, you can choose one that does as much or as little as you want, depending on your skills and for some of them, how much you want to spend. There is some cost involved, with some of the programmes but I think that once you start with one and have success, you will write a lot more but as as a start out, my biggest recommendation at this point would be to outlay as little money as possible in getting yourself up and running with your first ebook. There is plenty of time later, should you find that this is the business for you, to invest in ebook specific publication software.
Why Do You Want to Write an Ebook?
For most of us, me included, there are two main reasons for producing an ebook… Either you want to bring in some passive income, a second stream of revenue that will come in whilst you do your day job.. A very reasonable thought.
It might also be that you want to use it as a bonus/freebie for your already up and running website. When I wrote mine, it was to have as an offer on an affiliate website I own. I made so many mistakes with this ebook. I should have written this article first, there is so much about it that I would have done differently. The biggest thing, is that I would have taken more time writing it, but like everything these days, you feel that it has to be finished yesterday!
Of course after writing your first ebook you might have enjoyed the experience so much that you become an ebook writer and give up your day job! Some have, so not an unreasonable idea…. but let’s start with the first one!
Whilst it might feel daunting to write an ebook, with the right research before you start, you can be encouraged that once written, there is an audience that will buy it.
Can You Make Money From An Ebook?
Simple answer to this is….yes you can.
The internet has changed our relationship with shopping. I can remember the days before we had the web, if you wanted to know something, you went to the library and looked it up or you went to Barnes and Noble or Waterstones and bought a book on it. We had tons of books in our lives back then. But now, we only need to go as far as Google, we can find out just about everything we need to know at the click of a few buttons, the results are instantaneous and this is how we shop too.
Amazon offers next day delivery, for just about anything. There is nothing we can’t get when we want it … well that’s true for most of us who live in the UK/ EU/USA. ( Slight diversion here but its a good anecdote… As you know my son plays tennis and I travel the world with him.. he’s only 17… We have recently been to Kigali and Nairobi.. So the last day in Kigali, I was talking to a coach about the court surface in Nairobi, as that was our next tournament. He said it was best to wear grass court trainers for the clay courts in Nairobi as they’re very slippery….. So off I go to get onto Google to find these trainers and get them to be delivered to Nairobi. It was at this point I realised just how lucky we are…. they don’t have Amazon or anything related to it, they don’t have malls or big sports stores… They can’t just hop online and buy whatever they want and get it the next day. I had to accept a delivery a week later.)
So for the rest of us, we can achieve a next day delivery, but with ebooks, of course, it is instantaneous, which is even better.
But its not a matter of writing the book, publishing it and waiting for the dollars to roll in. With any book, whether it’s an actual book or ebook, it has to be promoted, only now it’s all down to you. This has to be an integral factor of the ebook writing process. Follow the steps coming up and you will succeed.
What Do I Need to Write An eBook?
The basic equipment is simply a computer or laptop to write your books on, but at this stage I would also suggest a website up and running as a platform for your sales. This is not the only place you can sell books, there are tons others that I talk about later but for you to have an audience, your own website is important. Along with having a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (the last two are perfect if you are going to be selling a book – great images will work well in attracting interested readers immediately).
The website, if you don’t have one is not essential but I would recommend at the this point you get that sorted out before you start your ebook. You can be growing the website audience whilst you write your book and keep the website running smoothly by getting your self out into the world by writing blogs about your niche … setting the scene for your ebook.
If you dont know how to start a website and need support and guidance at a low cost, take a look at Wealthy Affiliate. This is the platform that I use for all my websites, for a small monthly fee I get experienced support in live chat, webinars, tutorials. I can ask questions and if anything isnt running correctly, there is a support that responds within minutes, so nothing to be worried about.
Follow my links below if you want to know more about WA.
What Can You Write About?
If you are a follower of my blogs, you will see a theme occurring here…
What do you write about ? A few ideas here ….
What are your skills ? They don’t have to be ones you have qualifications in to be classed as a skill… So include stuff you do in an evening, or a weekend… do you run/repair cars/garden maintenance/play poker….these are skills that you have built up over time, with a great knowledge base. Show confidence and authority in your writing style. You want to be passionate about it – the whole niche market thing…
Can you solve a problem? Do you have skills that will solve problems for others? Are there people out there that need educating in order to deal with their problems? This is one of the most important questions to answer, you have something they need, so tell them all about it in an ebook.
Do you already have a niche website? You will already be solving issues for your target audience, follow this through with an ebook that you can offer to your email list.
Simplify a process with a step-by-step … Maybe you do a hobby that works well teaching in a step-by-step process. I make soap… I know there are a lot of people who struggle making soap….
This is a great hobby that works well visually so alongside the step by step ebook, I would add in great images. I would write an ebook about soap making, the process and the pitfalls, but I write here! And there are only so many hours in a day !
Answer questions in your niche…. I know the questions asked in my soap niche, because I am part of social media forums for it… natural colours or micas… fragrances or essential oils.. and these are only two of the issues. If you have a passion, or even if its part of your regular work that you are passionate about, you will know whats being said, what the problems are. I know that EMT’s and paramedics are not well paid, but you all must have other part time jobs or great pastimes in which you will have tons of questions you know you could answer.
Expand on something you have already written... If you already have a website, you can collect up all your blogs, edit them into an ebook that will allow the reader to flow from one to the next. Many people prefer to download and read them on the train on the way to their regular job, or sitting relaxing when they can take them in. So you may already have material that you can convert to an ebook, especially if it follows a particular topic. Add in more images and write a foreword and table of contents.
Repurpose a book in the public domain …. The exact rules differ from country to country so check that out first but after a certain period of time, all books around the globe become public domain. In that, you are free to use them in any way you please – But be aware that whilst its great to have a well trodden storyline to follow, even if you are putting it into your own words, there needs to be added extras to encourage sales.
Once the copyright has expired, you can use it but the copyright laws in various countries can differ, the 1995 copyright law in the UK extended the copyright of written work to expire 70 years after the author’s death. This was quite an issue at the time as some books were already in the public domain but not 70 years after the death of the author, so they fell back under the copyright jurisdiction!
How To Write Your eBook
There are several websites that offer software that you can use to write your ebook, however they are not free which is okay if you are going to be using them for more than one book but not so much if you are only planning one right now.
They do make life easier with editing, designing the layout and publishing, along with marketing, increasing traffic, getting more leads and more sales. But if you are starting out and want to keep costs down, you can use google docs or a pdf.. both are free and if you change your mind at a later date, most of the softwares can still edit/design your google doc or pdf anyway, so nothing lost. Google docs and pdf designed ebook look perfectly fine, and don’t have a self publish feel but clearly using a defined programme for the production will give it a more professional feel.
There are several online software programmes that you can use, even if you are not going to use one right now, take a look, it might define what you want to use right now – Designrr/Google Docs/PDF/InDesign/ePub/iBook. Weigh up the options on costs.
Don’t miss this stage out. Its all too easy to think you will be productive and stick to a schedule but to reduce stress and have a decent time frame for your book, set a plan.
- Set a publication date.
- Write headings for each chapter and sub headings. This will help set a skeleton of work and allow you to keep track of the length of your ebook. If you find it easier, start with a mindmap – set out in a diagram to concentrate your thoughts. Mindmap programmes like x-mind or mindmeister are useful and they have a free version.
- Schedule your writing. It has to be planned, not when you have time, because there is always something…. Planning to write a blog is a really great way for me to check my emails/facebook/latest news…. So no prevarication. Get the schedule you can stick to, this will make your writing successful.
- Plan your marketing strategy…. This doesn’t have to cost big bucks and isn’t tough, it requires planning and persistence.
Think what your audience needs to know first – the basics of your book, so once you have covered them, you can move onto the more advanced concepts and tackle these without losing your reader on the way. Whilst this is a fairly basic plan, you can build out each chapter with subheadings to help the topic flow naturally, making sense to your reader. Aim for around 30 – 40 pages.
If you find it challenging to get yourself started, think about writing your favourite chapter first, whether it’s in the middle or at the beginning. This will get you into the process of writing your book. Make sure you write in a conversational manner, that is easy to read.
- Introduction – This differs from a preface, or foreword, because its written by you, the author, and you talk about the subject matter of your book – how the book came about, the scope of the book, what it will do for your audience, why it was written etc.
- Chapter 1 – Anecdote – Start out with a story, a case study, or truth about your niche that you know your audience will find amusing or maybe a cautionary tale. You could tell your readers about the possibilities of what they will be able to do once they have read your book, you can make it humorous or not, but at the same time you are giving your readers a better understanding about you as a writer and your book.
- Chapter 2 – Basic Idea – Pretend you are your target audience, what do they need to know first to be able to get started.
- Chapter 3 – Expand your concepts and advance the level to complete the targets you set out to achieve.
- Sort out the Title/Table of Contents/Images/Cover Design. Now is the time to be getting these sorted out. If you want a professional cover, hop over to fiverr.com where you can commission a designer there to draw exactly what you want for very little money. Well worth getting the right front cover as this will attract your audience before they even know what your book is about. So worth the effort.
- Send out to family and friends for review.
- Re-read in light of your feedback and amend. Review the layout. If you are happy with how its looking, then go with it, otherwise if you are getting bogged down with this, it might be an idea to consider a designer service. Print out your book to check that the layout is how you intended.
- Proof read for grammatical errors, misspellings etc It does not inspire confidence if there are errors. You can use an online proof reader such as Grammarly.
- Set your price.
Plan your marketing strategies when you start writing your book. You need to know who your audience is and where you find them. Whilst the software programmes also help with this, if you are starting out trying to keep costs down, you can use other avenues first. You are in control of your own marketing and sales strategy!
Where To Sell
Should you sell? Or is it more worthwhile to give the first one away? Lets not be hasty and consider a few points first.
How much traffic do you have to your website ? – If you have limited traffic, you might consider giving your book away to encourage credibility and increase your audience. Trust counts for a lost online, so if you are only really getting started, a free ebook could be of huge benefit.
Do you have many subscribers? – If you are starting out and don’t have a long list of subscribers to your website consider whether offering your book as an incentive for more. If the process of writing has been enjoyable, then offer this one and sell the next. Great to increase your target audience for the humdinger that you will sell.
So if you decide that you are going to sell, decide where …..
- Your Own Website – This is straightforward to do with a shopping cart and PayPal. Customers will order your book, and download a link where they can access the ebook, so its an automated process. You can charge what you want for your book, and probably get more for your ebook than the price of an actual book. On a different level, to become a leader in your niche, you do need a website to show authority.
- 3rd Party Sites – This is probably the easiest way to get started. A website such as Amazon under their Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing will offer your book up to 89 million people, however they take commission so you won’t make as much as you would on your own site. But they will convert the book to their format, ready to sell. Any book you sell with Amazon, you can’t sell on your own site, but you can add an offer to your ebook that will bring them to your website.
- If you already have a website and email list, this is a straightforward advert to your readers, telling them about your new ebook. There is no commission to pay, so you get all of the price.
Of course you are aware of the social media channels available to you, but how would you use them? eBooks are visual so will work well with a great front cover when posted on sites such as Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
Offer a contest on your website with the ebook as the prize – you can take emails when they sign up for the contest, and offer it to your email list for a reduced price.
Publish related content or blogs about the ebook to get interest through your website so you have an audience that you know will be interested in what you are about to publish.
Offer a taster chapter from your book, with images to lure your audience to want more. Make the book good quality, with consistent writing to ensure that you can build a positive brand for good quality ebooks.
Issues With Writing an eBook
- The audience has not been sufficiently defined, so without a target reader, almost impossible to write a decent book. Pretend you are them, and imagine the questions they would ask, how you will connect with them.
- Processes have not been automated, so when a book is purchased, the download is not immediate. This is a priority, nothing more annoying for a customer when the book doesn’t download. The process needs to be automatic, whilst you might think you can action it, hopefully you will have so many in a day that you wont be able to keep up so get the automation sorted out before you need it.
- The book cover and title are not compelling enough. An unappealing book cover and title will send your book into downward spiral which after all the work gone into it would be disappointing. If you are handy with illustrator or canva, try yourself but otherwise I would highly recommend using fiverr.com, its really very inexpensive to get a custom cover. And for the title, if you are struggling, try some of the headline generators online, they will give you some really great titles you can use rightout or give you better ideas.
- Lack of Substance in your book – well this can go two ways… Either you have rushed it and the book is a lightweight and not worth reading, or you have jam packed it with way too much information that you haven’t explained sufficiently. Either way you have a disappointed customer. Deliver on what you promise and if you have too much material… write another book.
- It’s not different enough to your competitors. You have to stand out, make your book sufficiently unique that your customers want to purchase more. If you have your target market spot on, you will not have issues with this point.
- You have not marketed your book sufficiently well. It is down to you, even when you are publishing with a publishing house, they expect you to promote your book. Get reviews, post online, take out a facebook ad if necessary, email your subscribers….
- Its too long…. Don’t overface your reader with a super long book. You might think you are doing them a favour by giving them a ton of content but cut out what they don’t need to know. Make it easy to read especially if its a ‘how to’.
What’s Your Goal?
Decide what you want from your ebook writing. Is it going to be a one-off or do you want to create a whole library of ebooks in your chosen niche?
Do you have a financial goal to achieve? You want to bring in an extra $1000 a month in…
Setting yourself a goal is a way to fuel your ambitions, its not about just having a plan and following through, but giving yourself inspiration to reach for things you simply thought were impossible. Of course you can make an income from writing ebooks, don’t doubt it ! Put in the work, be proud of it and reap the rewards!