What’s on your blogging agenda this week?
New post tomorrow? Post some more blog ads? Get a few more Likes?
Be serious. It’s time to finally publish your first eBook.
What’s inside this post?
I bet you’ve thought of making an eBook before. You’ve probably read them, but maybe thought the process was a bit too complicated. Well the goal with this post is to get you excited about eBooks and give you every single tool you need to make an eBook that totally blows people away.
eBooks let you…
- Reach audiences your blog alone cannot
Sure people share your blog online, but an eBook can penetrate new markets like Kindle and iPad and can be consumed without internet.
- Become an expert in your chosen field
Anyone can start a blog but an eBook is a valuable piece of literature that will make people notice you. He just published what?
- Build an email list
As I’m doing now, you can give an eBook away for free to your subscriber community. This gives readers an incentive to join in and something to talk about once they do.
- Earn passive income
Mammoth names in blogging like Darren Rowse and Erin Falconer sell eBooks as a way of earning steady passive income (I’ll mention their books a bit further down).
This post will show you it all, including:
- What an eBook really is (hint: it’s just a PDF file you easily create)
- What software to use to create eBooks
- How to choose the perfect eBook topic
- How to upload eBooks to the blog
- How to deliver eBooks with Aweber (video)
- How to market your final product
- Probably even more too!
If you’re ready, let’s begin.
How to choose the perfect eBook topic
Choosing the right topic isn’t easy. You want something solid that you’ll enjoy writing on. A topic you can really pour your experience into and do a good job at.
Like in most aspects of blogging, a bit of strategy and a touch of preparation will go a long way. So, let me be the first to introduce you to the “niche-narrow strategy.”
What is niche-narrow? “Going niche-narrow” basically means targeting one bite-size piece of a larger experience that people truly want to learn about. It means writing about one part of your niche, instead of trying to cover it all.
Think you can create on this level?
Applications of the niche-narrow concept
Below, I’ve chosen a few examples of niche topics, and in this section we’ll make them niche narrow.
Example: You blog about gardening
Poor eBook: How to design a beautiful garden
Better eBook: How to grow beautiful roses in the winter
Example: You blog about personal finance
Poor eBook: How to save a lot of money
Better eBook: How to use eTrade investing to save $25,000 before turning 30
Example: You blog about world travel
Poor eBook: How to travel on the cheap
Better eBook: How to plan your honeymoon getaway for under $1000
So what’s your perfect topic?
Your perfect topic is something niche-narrow, based on previous experience, that you can write a lot (like 5000+ words) on.
For example I love camping, and camping in the winter, but I couldn’t write more than a couple hundred words on that or even come close to expert advice. I also love salad. Not a good eBook topic though.
What I can write a lot on (clearly) is blogging. So I wrote on a real life case study I went through over the summer on reducing bounce rate, and created Bye-Bye Bounce Rate.
Time to write your eBook
So you’re ready to begin writing a fantastic eBook that exhausts your topic and adds lots of value to a reader’s life. But wait.
What is an eBook?
It’s a PDF file you save onto your desktop and upload to the web. Quite simple, and people call it an eBook! PDFs are good and strong, you can’t edit the content unless you have a reverse PDF converter.
But while you’re writing your eBook it’s not quite a PDF yet. PDF is the final format.
The two best programs for writing your eBook are Apache Open Office (free and awesome) and Microsoft Word (not free, unless you belong to a network which already has Microsoft Office Suite).
Microsoft Word is your best bet but either will work fine. You should never pay for a software when a free one does the job. Lots of free programs exist.
Once you’re done writing, just save the file as a PDF, and make sure all the images and links convert properly.
Keep these things in mind as you write your eBook:
Will your eBook have chapters or sections? An intro? A conclusion? Maybe each unique chapter will have a follow-up section where in your own voice you explain what your reader just learned? Consistency is key in structure; mess up your structure and all your messages may go unheard.
Does your eBook have a branded image? Is this image gripping? You might also want to add images at the beginning of each new section. Readers love skimming, and seeing pleasing images will encourage them to read all the way through.
It’d be smart to include a few links to other pieces of your work to further explain your points. You could also cite relevant sources like Wikipedia or About.com.
You can even include affiliate links in the eBook that go to certain products you trust. As your eBook gets shared around you can earn quite a lot. That’s all I’ll say on creating the book, because a lot of it will be up to your own creativity!
Deliver for free or sell the eBook?
This is a tricky question, so try looking at it from the reader’s point of view. Would you buy an eBook from you? Is your knowledge worth $20 to someone?
To sell an eBook you can use a tool like e-Junkie that charges $5-10 per month to host your eBook and takes care of the transaction end of the business. The profits go right into your PayPal.
If you think you can pull this method off, go for it. eBooks are a fine source of passive income, as Darren Rowse shows us.
A better option?
What many of us do instead is give the eBook away for free to anyone who subscribes to your blog.
How to deliver free eBooks to new subscribers
This is the method I’ve come to love. The concept is simple, someone subscribes, then instantly receives your eBook. But you may wonder:
- How does someone receive the eBook automatically?
- Is the eBook in an email?
- How is the download accomplished?
In the 6 minute video I’ve created and embedded below I’ll reveal it all, including a behind the scenes look at the Dear Blogger eBook. I’ve decided to leave comments “On” on this post but you can also post your thoughts over at the YouTube video.
You’re giving away the eBook to a “pre-loyal” email subscriber.
Pre-loyal means the person who opts in for your eBook may not be totally sold yet, but likes your work enough to hand over their email address.
This person isn’t your best friend, yet.
When you follow up on your promises and send that eBook, now the relationship is going. You’ve set a foundation for potentially great things down the road.
How to market your new eBook
So at this point you’ve written the eBook, made it pretty, and have followed the steps in the video to send a free eBook to subscribers.
Everything is in place…right? Wrong.
The missing component here is the eBook marketing! See, no one knows about your eBook yet. The whole blogosphere won’t just rush over for your book unless you tell people.
But before you even do that, here’s a good marketing strategy.
Market the eBook in guest posts
To market an eBook in your guest posts, insert a little blurb like this.
Assuming you’ve landed some decent gigs and are allowed to include a back-link this should be no problem. Just think up a compelling sentence or two about your work and put it in there.
This will create some buzz, which in turn could lead to lots of eBook downloads if the reviews on your book are positive.
Other factors to increase eBook downloads
Here are a few eBook components I won’t talk about here. I don’t want to bore you, but wanted to get all the basics in one post and get you excited to make your first eBook.
- Time constraints i.e. limited time offers
- Sales pages (read: my landing page strategy)
- Joint-eBooks (include a section by your favorite blogger)
Update: I’m directing comments over to the YouTube video so please ask me about the above over there.
Time constraints are really important and easy to create. The one I’m utilizing is that after 1000 copies of my book go out for free, it will become for-sale.
After-all, all sorts of companies use limited time offers to get us involved.
Maybe you give your eBook away to the first 20 people to comment on a post, or the first 100 people to like your Facebook page.
Either way, if you can create a time-sensitive structure for your eBook release you’ll see a lot more purchases or opt-ins.
Conclusion: Don’t wait
Like most aspects of blogging, waiting to get started only means lost conversions and potential revenue down the road.
Given how many bloggers enter the eBook scene every day you’d be wise to get going now. And keep in mind, very few of these bloggers had this guide to break down the process. The key is to go in niche-narrow, with good design, and with confident copywriting.
With a tactical approach like this the results will pour in over time.
Again, I’ll be chatting with folks over at YouTube so please head over there and get the discussion going
Can’t wait to see ya there!