How to Write an E-book and Sell It

How to Write an E-book and Sell It

Is there a subject that you know something about? Perhaps you have experience in childcare, or know a lot about interior design or app programming.   There is a writer in all of us, as the saying goes. Is there one in you?

Writing for a living is becoming so popular these days, with the emergence of a huge number of blogging sites, and the boom of ebooks, it seems like everyone is writing writing writing. Even for my website, I write every day, sometimes 1,000s of words. I even have an e-book too, see the form to your right. (shameless plug!)

Did you know you can make a really good income from writing ebooks and getting them published on a variety of ebook stores?

And there are courses to help you learn (more about this later in the ‘want to take it one step further’ section)

 

How to write an ebook and sell itWhat is an ebook?

You most probably have heard about ebooks?

There are like mini novels. Generally they tend to be non-fictional focussing on a specific niche, but not always.

The length of the book is not really defined. It could be anything from 5,000 words to a full size novel.  I would most I have seen are around 30 pages that focus in on a niche.. The feeling is the longer it is, the higher quality it is. High quality could be represented by around 80 pages.

Remember you want people to pay for your book, so it has to be long enough and high quality enough to be worth it.

 

How to write an ebook in 10 steps

Where on earth do you start writing an Ebook? Well follow these steps and it should give you some great food for thought.

 

Step 1: Choose your topic wisely:

Be very careful to pick your subject matter. First and foremost it must be about something in which you have some knowledge already. It doesn’t matter if you need to do loads of further research, that’s fine, in fact I don’t think anyone could just start writing and finish an ebook without research.

But think about your subject. Make sure it’s not too broad, but make sure there is enough depth for a 30 pager.

 

Step 2: Think about your target audience

This is key to get right from the start.

It will determine not only your approach but your tone of voice. It’s worth creating a persona that you can start building on. Create this person, give her an age, a name, a job, hobbies, where does she hang out, what does she like to do. It might seem like a futile exercise at this stage but it will really help you get a clear picture!

 

Step 3: Do your research

It’s worth checking that your topic has demand. If you find a popular area, you might think this means that you can’t write in this area, and that you need to find something that no-one else is doing, but not so. If people are writing books in this niche, then there is demand for it.  Importantly, make sure you aren’t creating something that others can get for free.

A really good way to do research is to use Amazon Kindle Store and see what books are selling and what ones aren’t within your category.

 

 Want to see my no 1 recommendation to make money online?

 

Step 4: Define your structure

How to Write an E-book and Sell ItMake sure you have an outline.

Have a think about what are the key subject areas that you will need to cover within your topic. To start off the best thing to do, is just write everything down and you can create a structure when you know everything you want to include. Use it like a brain dump exercise.

Use Amazon again. Find any relevant ebooks in your niche. Often you can get a look inside and see the contents pages.  You can use this to give you some guidance to your structure, although don’t copy them! As if you would

If you can’t access contents of the ebook, look at the full books on this topic.  If you know this topic, then you might spot something that is missing. This could be where you can make a difference?

 

Step 5: Set a timing plan

Before you start any writing, get a plan together based on your schedule. Think about when you might have time to work, and schedule when you will complete each chapter. You could get this done in a month if you really set you mind to it. But be realistic as you don’t want to lose momentum just by not meeting unachievable deadlines. Nothing is more discouraging.

 

Step 6: Just start writing

You have to start at some point, so just go for it.  Follow your timing plan.

It’s a good idea to work in bursts, and just simply time yourself for 30 minutes and then have a rest. This will keep your mind fresh and your ideas flowing. Stick to this as it can be tough to break when you are on a roll. You can even use a timer.

Depending on when you are most productive, it might be a good idea to write content at a certain time of day, and use any other additional time for reserach. You know what words for you best!

Try not to worry too much about editing as you go, you can do this at the end. You don’t want to break the flow with correction spelling and grammar. At the end of each chapter, this would be a good time to go back over and check grammar, spelling and flow.

 

Step 7: Your title

As if you would, but don’t forget this. Regardless of the content, this is the thing that will determine who clicks on your book to find out more. It could be a deal maker or a deal breaker.

I think leaving the finessing of the title to the end is the way to go, some may agree, some may not. It’s personal choice I think!

 

Step 8: Layout and formatting

How to Write an E-book and Sell ItYou will probably have used Word or a similar program to write your content, but of course it can’t be published in this format. Online or not. You will need to create a pdf file.

The best recommendation is 8 1/2 by 11 inches which is standard in the US. And don’t forget it doesn’t have to be standard portrait, you could consider landscape, but bear in mind that readers will need a break in the writing so they don’t have to read so far from edge to edge. Consider maybe 2 or 3 columns. A few more tips:

  • Don’t stuff your page with content.
  • Think about the space around it.
  • Make sure your margins are wide enough and that you are using too many words per page.
  • Break up lines so that you don’t have such huge blocks of text.
  • Think about breaking up your layout using maybe quotes or images.

You will need to double check your formatting when transferring from Word to pdf. Things are never THAT straightforward!

 

Step 9: Pictures or not?

There is no rule of thumb on this one, it’s entirely up to you. But if you do decide to use images, you have to be sure that they are professional looking and that you have the rights to use them. So it’s best therefore to go for royalty free images, and there are loads of good stock photography libraries out there.

Try pixabay, unsplash, death to the stock photo to name but a few. These free image libraries have some really good images to choose from and one of the cheaper image libraries such as dreamstime which have a great selection too.

So, you are trying to position yourself between a novel and a newsletter. So not too flashy with too many images, and not dull with just page after page of text. Don’t overdo it with colours, as it’s still a long read, so it needs to be catchy but not enough to give you a headache.

 

Step 10: Don’t forget the front cover

how to write an ebookYou will need a professionally designed ebook cover.

You can get these done pretty cheaply at freelance website places and i would recommend Fiverr.com, where you can get something really professional for a really low price, for you guessed it, a fiver.

Or if you have a little more money you could try 99designs.com who are super professional.

Have a look at my article about how to find a freelancer

 

So now we get to… selling your ebook

There are ways that you can sell your e-book yourself, if you have a blog or a website, but to be honest, that seems like the hard way, especially if you are looking at selling e-books in a business at itself, and if you are just starting out.

My advice would be to just look to third parties at this stage and THEN if you want to build a website later on to support your topic, then good idea. You can take this to a whole new level.

You should take advantage of all the excellent platforms out there in order to get published.

There are so many but of course the most famous and the best one to get listed on is Amazon Kindle Store or KDP (kindle Desktop Publishing). Once you get it right on Amazon kindle store, the others . This is an excellent article which gives you 20 websites where you can sell your ebook.

 

Want to take it one step further?

Although I have given you an outline of how to write an ebook above, if you are really serious about this, and really want to make some decent money, I would suggest getting some guidance from experts and some formalised training. If you get this information before you start, you could have a really strong passive income on your hands.

There is a course on Udemy which can help you with this. This one has great reviews and I have been through the content list and it sounds pretty awesome.

$50,000 Ebook Publishing Empire: Amazon Kindle Publishing

how to write an ebook

The course will take you through a lot more detailed information about how to write your ebook, and how to position it in the right way to make the absolute most of it, and to make it into a serious success, rather than just a hobby.

Then it goes through exactly how to get it published with Amazon Kindle. Once you have nailed this, the others are easy. Take a look at the course content. This could be the difference between make or break. If you are going to spend the time writing an ebook, why not make it a fantastic one from the start, one that could change your working life perhaps? And this course will give you the help you need.

Then you could write more.. and sit back and watch the money pour in!

Other Udemy courses, which are also excellent are these ones too, have a look and see what suits you

Kindle Secrets: How I Wrote a Best Selling eBook In 72 hours

You can read blog after blog about writing an ebook but in my opinion you need structured learning, and if you are serious, I would really recommend this.

 

So will you go for it?

Well I hope that’s given you some food for thought.

I would love to know if this has peaked your interest. Was it something you were always considering? Or something you are maybe just starting to consider?

Apologies for the really long article, I seem to have gone into a lot more depth than I originally intended, but that’s what writing is about, you get on a roll! Anyway enough! Please share this article if you know someone who might be interested.

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19 thoughts on “How to Write an E-book and Sell It

  1. So much great information I thought about making my book I selfpublished available for kindle etc but they take a HUGE HUGE cut of profits and I don’t make enough on it to justify it yet but think I need to look into it more after reading this. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

    • Thanks for your comments Jenny. I think with Amazon is they wield a lot of power. But for good reason. Even if you are an affiliate of Amazon, for example, you get the lowest commission rates of most other networks. This is because SO many people trust them and they are their first port of call for sales. So if you are interested in writing an ebook, you would definitely make the most sales through Amazon. So with the increased volume you would be able to just about swallow the bigger cut from them.

      It’s tough though, but being left with a low percentage of high volume of sales is better than a high percentage of very few sales.

      I hope that helps!
      Good luck!

  2. Earningwow says:

    Hello! Rmaisey

    Hey! Ruth, I just visited your website you have a lot of information but all your pages are all well put together.

    Your titles between each section encouraged me to read on, the use of color to emphasize some information really works well. The information you provide I found it inspirational and frankly encouraging for me to start a home business. I have read every pages and learn a vast amount of information at the same time. Evernote is a great innovation. Your information for me completed “the work at home woman” Holly Reisem Hanna site. Between you two I feel I am getting a real education about everything the internet can offer to work from home. It is website like yours that motivates people like me to forge ahead and learn more to attain that goal of having my own business on the internet. Thank you Suzanne

    • Ruth says:

      What lovely comments, thank you so much for posting them. I aim to provide legitimate opportunities only with recommendations only on those in which you can really make money. I hope I can help you!

  3. verna8767 says:

    Hi Ruth,

    Thanks for this article. I have been thinking about writing an e-book but haven’t had the time to look into how to do it. You have definitely saved me some research time.

    I was wondering, if you think it is better to write the e-book yourself or farm that tasks out to someone more experienced to write it?

    I’m sure taking on that task would be rather time consuming and I have so much on my plate right now.

    Thanks again for sharing this information with us. I’m sure this has helped me out a lot.

    Thanks,

    Verna

    • Ruth says:

      Hi Verna

      Thanks for your comments. I think you could do either. If you write it yourself you can be sure that it is written exactly how you want it to be written. But as you say, this is a very time consuming exercise, so it is fine to farm it out to someone else.

      However, be careful. If you are using a service like Fiverr, the quality of the writers can vary. If you have found someone you like and haven’t used them before, then I suggest you test them out on an article for your website or something like that. An ebook is too much of a commitment to risk getting the wrong writer

      Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

  4. Olive says:

    Hello there!
    This is great! My boyfriend is in the process of writing a book now and he wanted to know all about the process of selling it.
    You have laid out the steps in an easy and readable manner. I am excited to show him your website!
    Thanks for the information!

    • Ruth says:

      Great news Olive, I’m pleased I have been able to help! Wish him good luck from me and if he has any questions, I could help..

  5. Alan says:

    Hi,thanks for your great guide.

    I’ve been thinking for a while on writing my own e-book but still have some doubts that i hope you can clarify.

    First of all , about the recommended lenght of it. Keep in mind that it’d be my first book, for a beginner how much content do you suggest to be good as a starting point?

    Can you apply this to any niche or do e-books give better results on specfic niches? What’s your opinion about it?

    • Ruth says:

      Hi Alan

      Thanks for your comments. There are of course certain niches that perform better than others but those are usually a lot more competitive. For example making money online is very popular, but you can get a lot of free ebooks by joining the right websites. Although these types of ebooks tend to be more quick guides than anything else. The most popular markets for these sorts of things are generally

      1. Make money online

      2, Relationships and Dating

      3. Weight loss and health

      4. Pets

      Rather than focusing on a niche that is profitable, I would suggest focussing on something that you have some sort of grounding in, especially if this is your first book. This will make it easier to write, and make it more believable.

      In terms of length you are looking at about half a novel. between 30 and 60 pages.

      I hope that helps!

  6. Sammi says:

    This is a great post and it’s very relevant to me at the moment as I’m looking in to this right now!

    Your step by step tips are fantastic and easy to follow. My one question is do you have any information on publishing? Do you need to worry about any photos or images used on the front page that you’ve paid a freelance to design for you?

    Sammi

    • Ruth says:

      For any image publishing you would need to have rights to use images. You can usually direct your freelance to only use free images in which case there are no problems. But if they have selected rights managed ones, then you will need to pay for the amount of usage you intend.

      I would stay well away from this as you don’t need this hassle and there are lots of websites out there where you can get free images. Have a look at Pixabay.com or unsplash.com to name but a few. Your freelnacer should know where to look.

      Good luck with your writing!

  7. Dave says:

    Hi Ruth!

    Thank you so much for this article – it’s exactly what I’m looking to move into and you present it in such a clear way that makes the whole task seem far less daunting!

    I imagine it takes time to write a good eBook, but hopefully with this info I can make a start and build from the foundations 🙂

    • Ruth says:

      Hi Dave

      I am so pleased to help. I have written an e-book and it’s immensely satisfying and if you do it right you can made some really good passive income from it. Good luck to you and let me know how you get on!

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