There is no question that writing your own ebook can be a worthwhile venture. Not only can it bring in significant passive income but it can open up new doors, all the while increasing your level of authority and credibility in your field.
Over the period of 13 years, I’ve written several ebooks and used a variety of ways to do so, which have all worked (or failed) at varying degrees and reasons. A lot has changed from the time I first got started.
Back then in 2001, people didn’t really embrace the idea of buying an ebook online.
Of course, that has totally changed. Buying and selling digital products is just as common as buying a physical item today. Additionally, writing and selling your ebook has never been easier (and I hope to show you how)!
Arguably, there is no “right way” to write your ebook, but I have found a method and basic structure that works for me and it may also work for you too.
By taking a methodical approach to writing your ebook, I believe that you will be able to stay on track and deliver the e-product you will be proud to offer to your prospective customers.
So, let’s get started!
Below are the direct steps that I take to create and sell an ebook online. Feel free to mix and match, add or subtract in a way that you feel comfortable with. After all, if you don’t feel comfortable with something, the chances are you will not finish it. And the primary goal here is to finish it and sell it!
First, here are the basic tools I use to create and sell my own ebook:
- Microsoft Word (You can also use Google Docs, which is free or any other word processing software)
- Adobe Photoshop software for creating the book cover (You can also cheaply hire a designer for your ebook cover)
- A WordPress Website
- Selz Platform (Free and necessary)
Steps to Creating and Selling Your Own Ebook
Step 1: Understand Exactly What You Want to Say, Write, or Argue in Your Ebook
This may sound obvious, but you will need to decide on what exactly you want to write about. The great thing about writing an ebook is that it can be on any specific topic you want.
In fact, some have argued that the more specific a topic you write about, the more you can actually charge for your book. In other words, the more specific it is, the more money it can bring in!
In any case, you will want to understand exactly what you want to say or write about before you get started.
You might already have a broad topic in mind. If you do, consider narrowing it down further. Then once you boil the topic down, go even further and consider narrowing it down some more!
Additionally, you will want to have a very specific idea of how your ebook will actually help your readers.
What do I mean by this?
Well, for example, you should be able to confidently affirm the following statement: “by the end of this ebook, you will know XY and Z.”
Step 2: Pick a Title
Everyone needs a flag to rally behind. The “title” of your ebook can be that symbolic “flag” that ties all the emotion and energy behind your writing effort, and will sustain you as you move forward. Use it to rally behind your writing and your ebook!
My recommendation is that you start with a title that makes sense to you as you begin. As you move forward, you may feel the need to change it or add a sub title. That’s okay too.
Whatever you do, don’t leave your project nameless. Providing a name for your project will bring it to life and harder for you to abandon.
Step 3: Write Your Table of Contents
Writing out a list of chapters is essential before you actually write. The most challenging way to write anything (especially a book) is to sit in front of a blank screen unsure of where to begin.
Often times, this is so scary for most people that they simply get frustrated and just give up.
You can avoid this mistake by first scratching out a table of contents.
Creating a table of contents also makes it easier and faster for you to write out your manuscript. When you know exactly which topics you will need to write about, your brain can get right to work.
A table of contents provides you:
• Greater efficiency
• Time savings
• Greater clarity
• Organized and convenient content for your readers to consume
Now, of course, you can take a number of different routes to write out your book, but consider structuring it like this:
An organized ebook, makes your writing easier to digest and therefore, more useful to your readers. However you decide to organize your ebook, make it consistent.
Step 4: Set Benchmarks
Now that you have your table of contents written out, consider developing your personal benchmarks to getting each part of your book written.
Maybe you will determine that writing for two hours every day is feasible. Or writing out one chapter per week is more the way to go.
Either way, your benchmarks should be easy to follow and allow you the ability to track your progress as you move forward with completing your ebook.
Step 5: Block Out That Time!
Once you determine what your benchmarks will be, you will need to block out time throughout your day (or week) to actually get some work done.
This might require you to say “NO” to other activities, like meeting with your friends on Sunday afternoon or happy hours on “Taco Tuesdays.”
Have a pre-determined plan to block out time and stick with it as best that you can.
I’m a big believer in getting things done somewhat quickly without sacrificing quality. Your benchmarks should be written and constructed in a manner that completes your project within six months or less (preferably less).
Anything beyond six months may be hard to sustain. Additionally, I have found that if my benchmarks are beyond six months, I was really telling myself that I’m just not ready to start this project yet.
Step 6: Create an E-book Cover
Every book needs a cover. This includes your ebook!
A professional looking cover can help make your ebook look and feel “legitimate”, but more importantly it will help boost the trust in your product and help drive up sales too. In other words, you can judge a book by its cover!
For starters, creating a digital cover for your ebook isn’t as hard as you might think. Your book cover can be created with Adobe Photoshop or other similar photo editing program and should have a title, subtitle, “by” line, and a photo or graphic.
Photoshop is fairly easy to learn, however it can take a little time to become comfortable with it enough to create the look and feel you want in an ebook cover.
If you don’t have the time to tinker with the photo editing program or don’t want to invest in the product cost, you can hire a graphic designer online from a popular website like Fiverr.com or UpWork.com.
Step 7: Create a Website
Is it possible to sell your own book without a website? Sure, but it will be a lot harder! You can choose to sell your ebook on Facebook, Twitter, or another social media platform, but you should also have your own website too.
Without your own website, you are not going to have the effectiveness and sales you want.
Your website will provide the space to craft your “sales pitch” and provide a place where your potential customers can come to learn more about you as an author, develop a greater understanding of your subject matter, and the specifics of your book.
Fortunately, creating your own website isn’t as hard as it once was!
Instead of paying thousands for a basic website, you can literally build your own website for less than $10 a month. You definitely have plenty of options with using WordPress or Shopify.
Step 8: Develop a Social Networking Presence
You may already have a personal Facebook page that you use for your friends and family. If you do, you can easily set up a page that simply promotes you (as an author), your specific book, or your website in general.
You have plenty of options when considering developing your online social networking presence. My recommendation is that you start out slow with one or two social media accounts for your book.
The great thing is that opening an account is free and that you can start developing a potential audience for your book right away.
Once you open your account, reach out to like-minded people and let them get to know you on a professional level and discover your book.
Step 9: Open a PayPal Account
If you want to get paid online, opening a PayPal account is essential for your business. It’s relatively easy to open a PayPal account and it takes only minutes. PayPal is just as safe as using any other payment method, if not safer.
One thing you might consider when using PayPal: Your email is an identifier that is needed to pay you through services like PayPal, so you might consider opting for another email that is not a personal one.
Step 10: Pick a Sales Platform
While there are some good platforms to sell your ebook, I have settled on a winning combination of developing my own WordPress website and using the third-party sales platform, Selz, to collect my money and deliver my product.
I really like Selz because it’s incredibly easy to upload your ebook, graphics, your description, and do other important things like add coupons for your customers to use.
Plus, you never have to deal with your customer’s credit card information, which takes away a big weight off your shoulders.
Selz is a beautiful platform that easily collects your customer’s payment and quickly delivers your product to them without any hiccups. While there are other similar platforms out there, you will be in good hands with Selz.
For more information, check out Selz here.
Step 11: Nip and Tuck Your Ebook
After you write your book and are satisfied with it, I recommend going back and re-reading it. After that, you will want to re-read it again.
Once you finish editing, you can have the option to make the formatting look sleek or pretty. It isn’t completely necessary, but it is nice to do. Perhaps you might want to add some graphics or you might want to add some pictures to your ebook?
Pictures and graphics help to break up the wall of text that can turn off your readers. Just make sure that you don’t violate any copyrights when you publish them.
Additionally, you will want to publish your book along with your ebook cover as a PDF file. This is relatively easy to do. This will ensure that your work is protected and is sent out to the world in the manner in which you want it to be without anyone being able to edit your work.
Step 12: Pat Yourself on the Back!
Life is all about celebrating the small things. Since you just finished writing a book, celebrate by opening a bottle of wine or going out to dinner. When you are working for yourself day after day (or night after night), it’s important to pat yourself on the back when you finish your book!
Step 13: Promote, Promote, Promote
After you finish writing and packaging your ebook, you need to promote it. There are a number of different ways to do this (and I hope to write a completely separate post for this). For now let’s start with the basics.
You want to get your ebook in front of an audience that needs your information.
Don’t be shy! Even if your audience knows everything there is to know about your subject, you will be surprised just how many people will want to hear your prospective on the subject they care about.
One of the first things you should consider doing is adding a blog to your website.
A blog on your website is great for SEO purposes (Search Engine Optimization). The more relevant content you have on your website, the higher Google will rank you on their pages.
The higher you are ranked, the more traffic you will get. The more traffic you get, the more money you will make.
But a blog and your blog posts can also provide relevant information that will endear people to you and your products. Every blog post can help drive up sales or generate new leads, email acquisitions, etc.
Once you finish writing your blog post, you can send out your blog post links through Facebook and Twitter. This will help pique interest in your social media accounts as well as drive traffic to your website.
You can also send out press releases or be interviewed by other bloggers in your genre.
Of course, you can buy online ads.
But before you spend any ad money, I rather see you first do everything you can to create a robust experience for your readers once they land on your website.
One thing is for sure, you want to target your promotional efforts specifically on people who will be interested in your product.
If you are writing a book on fishing in the Northwest, you will need to do everything you can to reach these specific people.
Don’t forget how important face-to-face interactions will be for you to promote an online product. Whether on a one-on-one basis or in front of a small group, you can steer potential readers to your website or social media accounts.
You Can Do It!
Believe in yourself. You can do this! Start small. Start big. Whatever you choose, just start on it! If you need help, simply shoot me an email!
Selz – Ebook Delivery and Payment Platform
UpWork.com – Find freelancers to help with your ebook cover
Fiverr.com – Find freelancers to help with your ebook cover starting at $5!
Blue Host – Website Hosting
Shopify – All in one Stop for your website needs