Writing and selling your first eBook is an essential step toward building up your online income. Not only do eBooks help you ramp up your authority and influence, but they can also create the beginning of what could become a strong passive income stream.
So, whether you want to leave your 9-5 or simply monetize your website with digital products on the side, deciding to sell eBooks as part of your strategy can be a smart way to leverage your knowledge, time and energy.
From brainstorming, organizing, and publishing your eBook, there are a few key strategies you should consider when writing and selling your first eBook. For much more, tune in to How to Write and Publish an eBook with Tara Gentile here on CreativeLive.
To celebrate the launch of Tara’s upcoming class on writing an eBook, we’re giving away a TON of awesome tools and goodies from Selz, ConvertKit, Pressbook, Creative Market and more to one winner that’ll help you write, publish, market, and sell your eBook with maximum results. You can enter the giveaway here.
1. Create an objective: Before you get started with brainstorming, writing, and selling your first eBook, take a moment to understand how your eBook fits within your business goals. Are you trying to grow your influence, hone your writing skills, add an extra income stream or fulfill your need for creativity? Make sure your eBook is designed to achieve the goal you’re targeting. If it’s not going to move you closer to that goal, then it’s time to consider other monetization efforts.
2. Set a publishing goal: Whether you write a 10,000 or 100,000 word eBook, set a reasonable publishing goal to keep yourself focused and productive every day. Is there a specific date you want to publish your eBook by? Look at your business goals to see where an eBook would fit within your content strategy and make sure you allocate a realistic time commitment to it.
3. Choose how you want to sell your first eBook: Do you want to self-publish your eBook and sell it from your website or blog, list it on a marketplace like Amazon, or get it traditionally published? Having this goal in mind will help you stay focused while you begin writing your first eBook.
4. Brainstorm your eBook idea: There are countless smart ideas for creating your first eBook. Starting with the title, ask yourself: What’s my specialty? What do my customers or clients ask me most about? What do I want to write about? How can I help others with my eBook?
5. Create a title for your eBook: A clear title is essential. Your title is what keeps your content organized and should reflect what your readers learn by reading your eBook. Additionally, a subtitle is smart for adding depth while carving your eBook into the niche of your specialty. If you aren’t sure where to go with your title and subtitle, look at what others in your niche are doing. Take note of the specific words and phrases that are used. Lastly, consider what’s unique about your work and your angle: Why should people care about your perspective? This is your angle that can help you craft a smart eBook title.
6. Outline your eBook: Once you have your title, you can start organizing your content. Consider the layout of your eBook. Does your eBook take your readers on a journey or a process? Depending on your eBook’s goal, you can organize by chapters, modules, steps, themes, etc. Knowing how you want your audience to experience your ebook is a great way to determine the layout.
7. Schedule in your writing: Writing your first eBook is no small feat and can be more difficult than coming up with the idea itself. It requires commitment and consistency, so figure out what works best for your schedule and stick to it. Whether you write 1,000 words every morning before the sun rises or you stay up late with a cup of coffee and your laptop, find what results in productive writing sessions for you. Try using the Pomodoro Technique if you need help with your productivity.
8. Stay focused: Writing your first eBook can be a challenge. While having a writing schedule can help, staying focused will help keep you on track for your publishing date. Refer to your eBooks objective and goal(s) whenever you feel lost.
9. Edit your eBook: Once you’ve finished your eBook draft, it’s time to edit. You can either edit your work yourself or you can hire out a copyeditor through Upwork, Elance, or Fiverr. When editing your eBook, aim for clarity and make sure all grammar and spelling is tidied up. Once your eBook is edited, it’s ready for design and publishing.
10. Format your eBook for multiple devices: Although PDF is the most common eBook file type, if you want to sell your eBook to customers with Kindles, converting the PDF to MOBI and EPUB file types can be a smart idea. You can also offer your files in multiple different file types, so customers can choose what they prefer. On Selz, buyers can choose to ‘Send to Kindle’, so consider offering both MOBI and PDF to your buyers for an easy buying experience.
Tara Gentile does this beautifully by offering MOBI, EPUB, PDFs, and an MP3 to her customers. Use conversion tools to transform your eBook from PDF to other file types with KitPDF or Calibre. You can also hire someone on Fiverr or Upwork to do this for you.
11. Design your cover: When designing your cover, take a look at the top-selling books in your niche. Take note of the cover design and try to replicate the most common designs of the top-selling books: There’s a reason they are at the top! Although you may be tempted to stand out with a unique design, communicating your eBook’s subject can be done with a thoughtful cover photo and font that matches your niche.
While you can design your own, hiring a designer is always an option. Design your eBook cover using Canva and their free stock images. Or you can find free images at sites like Unsplash and Pexels, which provide royalty-free stock images for commercial use.
12. Sell your eBook direct: Using Selz makes selling your first eBook super simple. Easily sell your first eBook directly to your existing audience using our professional online stores, buy now buttons and widgets, and links. The best part about self-publishing is being able to retain over 95% of your profits. Unlike Amazon, you have complete control over your customer relationship, including email addresses for email marketing.
You can also integrate your sales on Selz with your Mailchimp account, making it a 1-stop shop for selling your first eBook and staying in touch with your customers after purchase. Once you add your first eBook to Selz, you’ll have a super professional page to send your customers to – or, you can embed the buttons and widgets onto your own website.
13. Show behind the scenes: As part of your first eBook’s launch, build anticipation and momentum as your publish date comes closer. Showing behind the scenes can be used even after publishing your eBook. Use live video to show behind the scenes in your office or write blog posts to share your creative process.
14. Market your eBook: Your job isn’t over after you publish and launch your eBook. Marketing your eBook consistently to those who want to hear about it is crucial for keeping those sales from going flat. Ideas for marketing your eBook are countless, but consider at least promoting your eBook to your email list, write guest posts on your eBook topic, use Facebook ads.
15. Sell your eBook where your customers are: Determine whether your customers are most active on your website and social media, or if it might be better to direct them to your online store. By self-publishing and selling your first eBook yourself, you build an ongoing relationship with your customers over time while building your traffic and authority. Learn how and why Tara Gentile sells her eBooks directly from her website.
16. Aim for clarity in your writing: Make it clear what you’re teaching and write it in a way that’s engaging without being fluffy.
17. Re-read your eBook: Review your eBook title, chapter titles, and content for ease of reading using the Hemingway App
18. Edit and proofread: Install Grammarly (it’s free!) in your browser for editing-on-the-go
19. Add structure to your writing: Use Egg Timer to provide a timed structure to your writing or editing
20. Outline: Use a free cloud-based tool, like Evernote, to outline the structure of your eBook
21. Get more tools: Need more tools and resources for writing and selling your first eBook? We’ve got 23 of them.
Simply deciding to take the first step to write and sell your first eBook is crucial. Setting goals, finding a writing schedule that works for you, organizing, designing, publishing, and marketing your first eBook all come after that first decision is made. And, once you’ve got the first eBook published and out the door, you can come back to this same process and do it all over again. So, take that first step, start brainstorming your first eBook, and sell online.
If you decide to sell your first eBook direct, sign up for a 14-day free trial on Selz and join 100,000+ entrepreneurs, like Tara Gentile, and start selling your first eBook. We provide beautiful eCommerce stores, buy now buttons and widgets, and short links so you can sell everywhere from Pinterest to your online store to your website or blog.