So you’ve got a great idea for creating an ebook or maybe you’ve heard of someone else who’s done well by publishing online. With all the available resources, and reduced cost constraints, it’s proving to be easier and more convenient to self-publish than to use traditional publishing.
There’s only one huge problem…
The internet is currently saturated with content and ebooks are no exception. If you run a random Google search for any topic with the word “ebook” after it and all you will come up with stacks of results.
So do you even have a chance of being able to sell a book online?
The simple answer is yes.
In fact, more people are buying ebooks now more than ever. Sales in ebooks in the US alone are expected to reach US$7.6 by the end of 2016.
This is because of the growth in ownership of smartphones, e-readers, smartphones and computers. Statistics have it on January 2014 55% of people used tablets up from 23% on Dec 2011 and 57% used e-readers from 41% for ebooks, during the same time period. (Source: Problogger)
So how do you create a book that people will actually pay for and download?
Here’s a guide:
1. Clarify your Audience
This might sound like a cliché, but it’s one of the most important aspects when it comes to writing an e-book. You have to fully understand who you are writing for.
Here are some questions to get you thinking:
- If your audience were part of a group or community, what would the group be called? (eg. Teachers? Engineers? Startup entrepreneurs?)
- What is the average age of your audience?
- How active are they online?
- What is their motivation, and income level?
- What are their favourite hangouts and which websites do they prefer visiting whenever they are online?
2. Identify your niche
Now you could write about a topic you like or love, but your passion might not be everyone’s cup of tea. You’ll need to validate whether or not what you think you should write about is actually what people are reading (and buying) online.
So to make sure that you can actually monetize your content, write about something that meets the market demand. This means doing research!
To do this, you can visit Amazon Kindle store and take a look at the categories for ebooks. Here’s a few:
By doing this you get a rough idea of what topics the market wants. What are the popular subject areas and keywords being used?
What are the topics and sub-topics? These are the niches or micro-niches.
Select one micro-niche and ensure that you either have a deep level of understanding of it and can get that level of depth. Be a master of your craft, not, a jack of all trades.
Another website you can use for finding your niche is Reddit.com – a social news and discussion forum. Look specifically at the “sub-reddits”, where you’ll find sub-categories such as science, philosophy, sports etc. making it easier for you to identify your area of interest.
So, you are a great writer, you have selected your niche, a killer title, and you are sure the idea behind your book or the content that you are going to put is nothing short of great.
Well, there is no harm in being confident, but why don’t you go one step further in understanding your target readers better and undertake some due diligence? This will only ensure that you’ll get more buyers when the ebook is launched.
What are the specific challenges that your target readers are facing?
Find out what other writers have already written about and seek to be different. You can read negative reviews on Amazon and find what’s been missed that you can address in your own ebook (and also what’s been done right to ensure that you include those things too).
Then find out what people don’t like about existing ebooks in that niche by studying the 3-star reviews. These tend to be the most balanced, and you’ll gain some insight into what was missing from a book that you could include in yours (and also learn what worked really well so you can include that too).
Consult with your potential readers and know what they what they want or need. Empathise with your reader, and understand how they think and feel. Know the price range for most bestsellers.
Want to create an ebook that people will pay for? Here are 5 tips to get you started. @ateacherpreneur
4. Proofread, Edit and Format
“If you think an apostrophe was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, you will never work for me. If you think a semicolon is a regular colon with an identity crisis, I will not hire you. If you scatter commas into a sentence with all the discrimination of a shotgun, you might make it to the foyer before we politely escort you from the building.” ~ Kyle Wiens, co-founder and CEO of iFixit, an online repair community.
Kyle’s statement is a good example of how poor grammar and wrong punctuation can rub people the wrong way. You don’t want your e-books doing the same, do you?
Get an expert to proofread your writing so as to ensure that no errors exist, edit, and then format to achieve maximum appeal.
When formatting, ensure you have a great title, use imagery and a killer cover, because people literally do judge the book by its cover.
Actually, it has never been easier to proofread and edit with tools such as grammarly.com for checking your grammar, and Upwork.com or Fiverr.com where you can hire freelancers to proofread or edit your work.
Note: you can awesome find graphic designers on those freelance sites who can create an awesome cover image for your ebook.
Word of warning: If you’re time-poor you can hire others to ghost-write for you, just make sure you use copyscape.com or plagium.com to ensure that their work is not plagiarised.
So, you finally have a final copy of your ebook and are ready to start selling. How do you go about it?
Promote, promote, and again I say PROMOTE.
There are several ways to do this.
First and foremost you’ll want to find your audience. We recommend you check out these 5 proven methods for finding your audience and building a community online.
You can also tell your friends, invest in Google or Facebook ads, and use social media to generate a buzz about your book.
Whichever method you choose the key is to get people talking and ensure people know about your ebook. The more the merrier.
When promoting, ensure that your book is pocket-friendly. Don’t overcharge, or undercharge. Ensure you get the right value for it.
One self-publishing success story is Mark Dawson, author of the John Milton series. Dawson offered his book “The Black Mile” for free on Amazon and that resulted in 50,000 downloads of over the course of a weekend. He now receives US $450,000 from Amazon annually.
Rachel Abbott, author of “Only the Innocent”, hit #1 on Amazon by having a marketing plan. She used twitter to get word about her book out there, and set up a blog where she interviewed famous authors. These generated traffic to her blog, where she could then market her book.
Other ideas for promotion:
- You can create a video about your book and put it on Youtube, it can be your calling card and it’s more informational than a sales letter.
- Give away a chapter or two. This can spark interest in your book and generate sales.
- Refer here for 19 tips on how to promote your ebook.
So when it comes to creating a great ebook that people will pay for, It all comes down to great content that your prospective buyers are hungry for, being different and relevant to a specific audience, a solid promotion plan and making sure the price is right.
Want to learn other ways that teachers can make money online? Grab our free guide “7 Ways Teachers Can Make Money Online”.