You’ve cultivated one fantastic business. You’ve built a website, organized the blog, and ran a few social ads. Though you’ve rounded out your needs, now is the time to tackle that one task you’ve been avoiding: creating an eBook.
For some reason, the idea of creating an eBook strikes fear in the hearts of most business owners. Not because they lack confidence in their business, but because putting something official, in writing, with your brand on it can be one scary reality.
It doesn’t have to be, though. In fact, after reading this, you will walk away with a sigh of relief.
Ebooks Matter: And The Numbers Prove It
According to a study by Alan S. Inouye at American Libraries Magazine in 2008, $1 out of every $100 in total publishing revenue went to eBooks. Four years later, that number rose to $23 out of every $100 — further proving the rapid growth of the industry.
Technology is a driving denominator in consumer lifestyles. People use their phones and pads more to do their research — and are much less likely to scoop up a magazine or printed book. Because technology has the potential to innovate eBooks, the trend is likely to continue. In other words, now is the time to jump on the wagon and start promoting via eBooks yourself.
3 Ways to Avoid Mistakes
Have you ever scooped up an eBook out of the sea of choices on Amazon, intrigued by the synopsis and even the reviews? If you decide to purchase one, occasionally you’ll find yourself with a case of buyer’s remorse. Most eBooks out there are disjointed. They have a great idea, but poor implementation. Most of the people putting out these books assume writing is easy. Even the best bloggers out there find themselves struggling when it comes to eBook format versus a quick and fun blog.
Producing an eBook takes more than coming up with an idea and just writing. The process requires you to research and to put it all together, so it doesn’t look like some disorganized mismatched piece of content. Most importantly, your content needs value points.
1. Writing about something you don’t understand
You are an expert. Your business is a testament to your abilities. So, why are you picking a topic that has nothing to do with your business or even your expertise? What are you showing?
Creating an eBook to help market your business requires you to write about something you are an authority in — not just picking what is trending on Amazon. Instead, write about what you know and only what you know.
2. Focusing Too Much on the Needs
All eBook writers and bloggers fall into this trap. We know there is something our readers crave, and we give in. Sadly, we live in a digital age where people have no clue what they want — so wasting your time focusing on that is a big no-no. If you want to pinpoint what people need, run a survey on your site or even amongst your current clientele. Then, craft a book that focuses on those needs.
3. Thinking Too Writer-Like and Less Publisher-esque
If you’re making an eBook, you’re no longer just a writer. You are now a marketer and publisher. That means you need to draft a sales page that promotes your eBook all while writing the book itself. Doing so will help you create a stronger eBook — especially when you know the end goal.
The Key of a Great eBook: Define Your Audience, Then Pick Your Topic
Why are you writing this book in the first place?
You have a purpose. Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article. So, you have a goal (e.g. getting more subscribers, making a little extra money, or just increasing your brand exposure). Now, we must take this goal and create a plan that achieves it. Sounds simple, right? It is, as long as you do it correctly.
For example, your goal is to grow your e-mail list, but there is one catch: People don’t want to give out their e-mail addresses. These days, it is easy for one’s inbox to become bombarded with useless, junk-like e-mails that never stop — no matter how many pesky unsubscribe requests they’ve sent. You know you hate them, so assume your readers would too. That doesn’t mean they will not sign up, but you need to give them a darn good reason to opt-in despite their desire to avoid the flood of unnecessary emails.
The answer: An eBook. But, not just any eBook will do here. Yours needs to be packed full of valuable content.
Free information is something everyone wants and craves. So, when you entice them with free expert advice all for the exchange of an e-mail, they are more tempted to sign up. Free is only half the battle. That free product has to be something that a consumer/reader would normally be willing to pay for and feel lucky they are receiving it free.
How to Map Your eBook
Now that you know what you shouldn’t do and who you are writing for, the next step is to map it all out. Your outline is your eBook’s roadmap. According to Ali Luke’s eBook in 30 Days, you need an outline to define the territory (content) ahead properly:
1. Draw a Mind Map
This starts with putting your topic in the center of the page and then drawing ideas on the outside of that map toward the center idea. Everything should be connected. The goal is to take all of the ideas floating in your head and bring them together in one solid piece.
2. Go Backward
You already know the end-goal and what readers will take away at completion, so work backwards from the conclusion. For example, you’re writing a book about how to create a better marketing strategy. At the end of the book, readers know how to start a marketing strategy. But, just before that step they would need to define goals in their marketing campaign (e.g. more signups, better online conversions, etc.). Each goal could have a section in the book dedicated toward how to market for that goal. As you expand from the end-goal, you create your book’s content.
3. List It
If you are better at lists, start by writing your chapters (main ideas), then the sections within those chapters (sub-ideas), then the key points each section will cover (aim for three to five).
4. End Powerfully
At the end, remain powerful and send a message that makes your readers take action. If you offered a free book, you obviously want something in return. Even if your readers had to pay for your eBook, what was the goal? Use the right encouragement to push them toward your end goal. For example, you have written a book teaching the basics of business accounting. Your ultimate goal, however, is to get readers to hire your company. So, end with something powerful. Encourage readers to seek out expert advice and create a better business accounting strategy that not only implements what they’ve learned but advances it even further to improve profits and revenue. Then, direct them to your company to seek guidance. Offer up a free consultation to encourage them to reach out too.
Most importantly, keep this section simple, concise and don’t fluff it up. You’ve already proven your expertise in the content — now is the time to tell readers what you expect from them in return.
Wrap It All Up with Great Design
Your eBook copy should be designed to a standard of high quality, or you’re missing out on making an unforgettable impression with an impressive, solid eBook. Here’s an example of great eBook design: Buffer’s eBook on content curation.
Time For Action
Above, I gave you a brief guide with a few keys for success. Now it’s time to unlock those doors, stop avoiding the computer, and get to work on your next eBook.
Julia McCoy is a bestselling author of So You Think You Can Write, podcaster and an expert content marketer. She’s also the founder and CEO of Express Writers, a leading online content creation agency, with more than 60 content writers and strategists. Julia leads her team to serve hundreds of worldwide businesses with the highest-quality content for their online presence. Follow Julia’s blog.