Are you considering writing your first e-book?
It’s an exciting and rewarding journey, leading to profits and improved business performance depending on what you use your book for.
And, you couldn’t have started at a better time.
According to the Association of American Publishers, e-books make up approximately 21% of all book sales.
I’ve written a couple of dozen e-books during my career as a writer, and they generate me a good amount of passive income on the side of my other businesses.
I also use e-books to generate leads via email marketing, so I’m well versed in creating them for different reasons.
That’s why I put together this e-book writing guide today.
I am going to teach you how to write an e-book easily, research topic ideas, edit properly, and more.
It will save you heaps of time and energy from trial and error, allowing you to skip past hurdles and get straight to the results.
Follow along 🙂
Why you should write an e-book
There are many different reasons that an entrepreneur may want to write a book. Here are some of the main ones,
I suggest that you reflect on why you’re writing a book to brainstorm if there are other ways you could be using it to further your career.
Selling for profit
Many writers produce e-books to self publish on platforms like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. (More on that later!)
In this scenario, the book needs to be extremely high quality and different from anything on the market. It can be tough to break into self publishing as a full time gig, but it is possible.
Look at Mark Dawson, for example. He pulls in $450,000 per year selling books on Amazon. What could you do with that kind of money?
For those interested in generating passive income through e-books, you need to focus on marketing and promotion.
Many authors upload their books in hopes that sales will come to them automatically. You might get a few, but it won’t pay your mortgage.
Instead, create social media accounts to promote your material, and consider investing into advertisements like Facebook Ads.
You have to spend money to make money, as they say.
E-books are a great way to build an email list.
You can offer them for free in return for a newsletter subscription.
This is what we call lead generation.
Businesses can then build relationships with these subscribers, continually offer value like blog posts, and promote their products towards them.
Email marketing remains as one of the most effective channels, as well.
You can generate up to $44 for every $1 spent, and is 40x more effective than social media marketing.
I suggest using a free tool like Mailchimp to get started using e-books for lead gen.
You can sign up for an account, create a newsletter form, and begin collecting emails.
Set up a drip campaign in which the first email automatically sends them a link to the free book. Files can be uploaded directly to Mailchimp, making this process seamless.
Offering free value and improving the lives of readers is the name of the game.
Nobody likes ads being pushed into their face anymore.
In fact, did they ever?
This is the reason that some of the biggest companies in the world are taking advantage of content marketing.
It’s the practice of publishing free content on a regular basis, building a genuine readership, and it leads to loyal customers.
Look at Microsoft, for example.
They produce relevant and useful articles, which attracts high quality users to their website.
This educates readers about the company, and further expands Microsoft’s brand awareness.
Many of these users will convert into paying customers, as well.
You could publish them on your website for free, and over time you will have a fan base that follows you.
Quick mentions about e-book writing
Before we get into how to write e-books, I’d like to mention a few ideas to consider that will help the process.
Patience is king
Writing a book won’t happen overnight.
Even a ten page children’s book would take plenty of time to produce, edit, format, etc.
That’s why you need to focus on being patient during the writing process.
It’s common to get writer’s block, stuck on certain chapters, or think that you’re not progressing.
Give your book a healthy window of time to complete, whether it’s several weeks, months, or longer.
As Judith Orloff M.D. puts it, “Patience is a lifelong spiritual practice as well as a way to find emotional freedom.”
Use the book writing process as a way to develop yourself as an entrepreneur and person, as well.
Take an omnichannel approach
Let’s imagine that you list your book on a single platform and earn $500 per month.
Doesn’t it make sense to list it on three more platforms to ramp up your monthly earnings to $2,000?
This is what we call omnichannel.
It is the strategy of taking advantage of several different marketing channels at once.
There are many different publishing platforms for books, so you should never focus on one.
Here are some of the main websites you need to sign up for to get your book in the hands of more readers:
Learn to take a break
Writing an e-book can take a lot of time and energy.
Even though you’d love to power through the chapters, it’s healthy to take a break on occasion.
Take a walk, grab some coffee, read a book, or do something else to take your mind off of writing.
A study performed in 2016 by Karrie Godwin and other researchers observed students and how their performance changed depending on how long they were taught for.
Do you know what they found?
That students were more attentive and focused during shorter lessons, and that longer lessons led to distractions and dis-focus.
This is why it’s crucial that you take a break every set amount of time. This may be 45 minutes, one hour, or more depending on your own work schedule.
I personally schedule in breaks at very specific hours to read, meditate, journal, eat healthy, etc.
Try using a tool like TomatoTimer. It’s used in conjunction with the Pomodoro method.
This involves taking a break every set period, and the break time increases every time you reach it.
Click the “Start” button once you begin writing, and you will receive a sound notification when the 25 minutes is over.
The first step of writing a great e-book is researching topics.
I suggest doing this in a few different ways, beginning with brainstorming:
- What problems are your readers facing?
- What questions do your readers have?
- What interests, values, or beliefs does your audience have?
Just like any other piece of content, e-books needs to improve the lives of readers, not just provide entertainment.
This is especially important when producing non-fiction, where it needs to be very actionable and practical.
Secondly, I’d suggest considering what you’re interested in or passionate about yourself.
Writing a book about something you love speeds up the process, and you will enjoy it much more.
If you’re still stumped, try playing the alphabet soup game.
This is where you type in a keyword into a search engine like Google, and enter every letter of the alphabet afterwards to get auto-suggest ideas.
Let’s say that you wanted to write a book about inbound marketing. You would search Google for “inbound marketing” followed by “a,” “b,” “c,” etc like such.
Create your e-book outline
Once you know what you’d like to write your book about, it’s time to craft the outline.
This will help you stay organized and makes the writing process more smooth.
You won’t sit staring at a blank screen wondering what to write next because you planned it all out beforehand 🙂
Map out the chapters, and all of the ideas that you’d like to cover in each one. The chapters and sub-chapters don’t have to be final, however.
The goal is to get a general idea of how the book will flow, so you can begin writing the first draft.
It should look something like this:
Once you’ve done this, it’s time to move onto the fun part!
Mastering the writing process
Don’t be a perfectionist
It’s easy to try to fix every grammar mistake and make every sentence perfect while you’re writing the first draft.
That’s what the editing and proofreading process is for.
One rule that I’ve learned as a copywriter, and I’m using it right now, is to write as fast as possible and let the words flow out of your fingers.
Why do this?
Because when you think less quickly, it uses the creative and emotional side of your brain.
You see, the different hemispheres are responsible for various functions.
The right side of our brains help with creativity, language, and speech. So, it only makes sense to maximize this part while writing.
Even if your e-book is heavily analytical and academic, there’s no harm in writing fast to get the gift of the material done before cleaning it up later.
Trust me, I’m no saint.
I still get distracted by my phone and other things from time to time, but I’ve learned to control distractions and it’s drastically changed my productivity.
The first step is to determine what is distracting you.
Is it the television? Social media?
Once you’ve narrowed down what is taking away from your work flow, kill it!
I recommend downloading the free Block Site Google Chrome extension.
This is a lifesaver if websites are taking away from work because you can add them to a block list when you’re writing, and then remove them after.
Have a goal every time you write
Every time you begin writing, have a clear goal in mind.
Maybe it’s to write one page per day or finish a chapter every week.
This makes you feel great when you complete that goal, and it prevents you from writing mindlessly.
You will be able to accurately measure your progress, and get a good idea of when the book will be completed.
For example, if you write one chapter per week and there’s ten chapters, you’ll have it done in roughly ten weeks.
Design the front and back of the book
A big component of an e-book is the visual aspect. It needs to pop from the other books it will be put beside, and that means the cover needs to be amazing.
You don’t have to the Picasso of graphic designers to make a professional looking e-book cover, either.
I use free tools like Canva. There’s a book cover option you can select, and dozens of templates to customize.
Alternatively, you could outsource the design on a website like 99designs.
There are nearly two million designers on the platform will create you an e-book cover which will attract clicks and readers.
All you need to do is complete a quick questionnaire to ensure that the cover comes out perfect, and you kick back while it gets made.
Edit and proofread
You let out a big sigh of relief, crack open a beer, and look at your masterpiece of a book once it’s done.
It’s time to ship it out and become the next Stephen King, right?
Eh, not so fast.
As I mentioned earlier, after writing you need to edit and proofread the content to make sure it’s flawless.
You can do this manually, of course, but it’s much more efficient to use a tool like LanguageTool.
You can copy and paste in sections of your book, and it will bring u any issues it inds to fix.
Click the green “Check text” button and it will highlight improvements it discovers.
Wrapping up e-book writing
Thanks for reading my article today. Here’s a summary of the main points: