Career Advice/ Entrepreneurship/ Freelancing/ Social Media

9 Tips for Writing Your First eBook

eBooks are all the rage.

Nifty little self-published jewels of personalized expertise – amazing!

Perhaps you’ve downloaded a few noteworthy eBooks; maybe you’re new to the whole eBook scene.

That’s cool. 

Regardless of your company’s stage of development, industry, or market, creating an eBook can be a great way to provide value to your customers and establish your expertise.

Here are 9 tips for writing your very first eBook:

Go Niche

The internet is saturated with lots of lots of information. Making a splash in the digital space means cutting through all the “noise”, and highly specialized information is a great way to do that.

We are all experts at something specific – building an e-mail list, raising start-up capital, trending topics on Twitter, rallying over sales rejection, designing a feng shui home office under $300. When selecting a topic for your eBook, think specific (not “Jack of All Trades”). Forgo “10 Marketing Tips” for “12 Strategies to Grow Your Twitter Following”.

While going niche may seem like it’ll limit your readership, you’ll actually yield higher eBook downloads on something specific.

Passion Power

“If you want your writing to matter and people to like it, you must first be passionate about what you’re writing about,” my community college Creative Writing Instructor advised.

Passion is priority when writing anything. If you don’t “care” about what you’re writing, the apathy will seethe through and chances are your readers won’t “care” either. When selecting an eBook topic, make a list of everything you’re an expert in (see above) and a list of topics that you’re passionate about. Compare the lists for parallels – what topics were included on both? Here’s your starting point for topic selection.

Actionable Essentials 

Digital information is all about action. Today’s readers want access to content that will not only inform, but empower them to improve their lives. When drafting your eBook content, keep readers’ need for action at the forefront of your mind.

Here are three tips for crafting actionable content:

  • Include an actionable title
    • When brainstorming title ideas, consider including action words (verbs) such as: learn, make, land, discover, realize, grow, etc.
  • Create action-inspiring lists
    • Everybody loves lists, and your eBook readers are not exception. Turn recommendations and strategies into easy to use (and print, and share) checklists.
  • Always, always include active links
    • Don’t leave your readers hanging on recommended apps and programs, or resources for more information. Include them (with active links) right in your manuscript.

Eye-catching Cover

Growing up in the Deep South, I was routinely cautioned to not “judge a book by its cover”.

While such guiding principles may be helpful in character development, truth is: readers judge books by their cover.

As a writer, it’s tempting to get so wrapped up in your writing that you totally neglect the importance of an aesthetically appealing cover. A repurposed PowerPoint slide won’t cut it. Regardless of how “great” your written content is, no one’s going to read it unless it’s introduced with an eye-catching cover.

Not a graphic designer? No worries, I’m not either. There’s a variety of super easy to use graphic design options available (some are even free) for today’s busy entrepreneur. Personally, my favorite is Canva.
If do-it-yourself cover design isn’t up your alley, consider outsourcing your cover design project to a professional graphic designer.

Short and Sweet

So the jury’s still out on the “proper” length of a bestselling eBook.

The average length of a printed novel in around 80,000 words – eBooks are much, much shorter than that.
I’ve known some authors to do exceptionally well with eBooks in the 1,500 – 3,000 word range, while others swear by the 20,000 word count.

The length of your eBook is up to you.

My advice: focus on including only the best content and if that’s accomplished in 2,000 words or 25,000 words – more power to you.

Main thing is to keep you eBook content short and sweet, and not feel like you’ve got to write a novel (because you don’t). eBook readers are looking a quick read on their commute, over coffee, or waiting in line at the carpool. They want quality info delivered in a time efficient manner.

Easy to Read Format

Your eBook needs to be “speed-read” friendly.

This means lots of white space, cool graphics, and content broken up into small, digestible “chunks”.
There are a lot of content design options out there, to help you organize your eBook in a condensed and classy way.

Here are few of the recommended options:

Keep the book’s deigns style consistent throughout the manuscript – color themes, fonts, etc. While such recommendations may seem like common sense, you’d be surprised…

Write to Convert

So writing an eBook is a great way to share information and establish your expertise, but done right, it can also be a GREAT way to acquire new customers.

Chances are, if you’re writing about something your super educated and passionate about, you’ve got some additionally niche service or product offerings that correspond.

Maybe you’re writing about improved social media strategies, and you happen to offer social media consulting services.

Maybe you’re an experienced recruiter writing about ten essential resume elements, and you also offer resume consulting services on an hourly basis.

Don’t be shy – include links and info regarding your corresponding offerings within your eBook!

If your readers are downloading your eBook, they are needing assistance in that area. By providing easy to use links to your additional offerings throughout the content, you can easily convert targeted traffic into satisfied customers. Develop a customized conversion strategy for your content and include active links and resources directly within your manuscript.

Don’t Forget to Edit

Wrapped up in the fanatic frenzy of inspired writing, it can be easy for an author to neglect grammar, spelling, and even proper sentence structure. Publishing unedited manuscript, however, can be extremely detrimental to your brand’s image. Regardless of the length of the book – be it a 1,500 word eBook or a 90,000 word novel – all books need editing.

I recommend perusing your first draft for revisions a few days after you’ve completed it. Giving yourself a break – a few days in-between writing and revision – can a be great way to facilitate a “fresh” perspective on your manuscript. As writers, it’s common to get so wrapped up in our work that we begin to overlook glaring grammatical errors and other “should remove this” statements within our draft.

Some authors crowdsource their editing needs, asking qualified friends and family to review the draft, while others solicit the services of a professional editor. You can use gig websites like Thumbtack or Upwork to post your project and connect with editing freelancers.

Award Winning Distribution

Now that you’ve got a “clickable” title, eye catching cover, and a final draft, you’re ready to distribute your eBook! The cool thing about self-publishing an eBook is that you don’t have to wait to publishing house cycles – you can publish your book whenever you’re ready and promote it any way you want.

I like providing links to my eBooks on my main website – providing free downloads in exchange for e-mail addresses or social follow. It’s a great way to build my prospective client audience and initiate the guiding principles of Law of Reciprocity. By providing your web followers with a free resource that improves their lives, they are more likely to provide you with something in return – i.e. sales.

But people aren’t going to “just download” your eBook – you’re going to need to promote it! E-blasts, social media, press releases, new web page, etc. are just a few promotional strategies you can use to publicize your latest written work. You wrote the eBook to be written – now go get readers!

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