You've got the evidence, that you're able to write an eBook!
Why? Because I did it. Without any experience in writing, publishing, or any related topic. So you can do it just as well!
You might know that eBook self publishing works, since famous writers like Guy Kawasaki decide to self-publish their books*.
Let me show you, how eBook self publishing works.
Phases of eBook Self Publishing
1. Writing the eBook
2. Editing the eBook
3. Selling the eBook
4. Marketing the eBook
1.1 Setting Up Your Tools
You should the writing process with organizing my tools. As a passionate Mac user, I wrote the whole eBook on my MacBook Pro and my iPad.
There where basically three programs, that worked extremely well for me:
I have written my eBook in Apple Pages. Guy Kawasaki recommends MS Word for Mac, since you'll have to exchange your documents and the .docx format is the standard. Word forces you to use SkyDrive in the WebApps. When you are using DropBox before, you can easily sync a DropBox folder with SkyDrive using this IFTTT workflow.
To organize my content I used the free mindmapping tool Xmind. It is awesome, because it seamlessly integrates with iThoughts, which you could on iPad and iPhone.
With those tools, you are ready to start writing!
1.2 Selecting the Topic
Selecting the topic is of course one of the most important steps in the process of eBook self publishing.
You'll want to find a topic you are passionate about and that helps your readers. Try to find the topics where people are fanatical engaging.
Where do people spent more money than you would? Which subjects are people discussing about?
When your book provides value to those topics, it's most likely that people will actually buy your book.
Make sure, that you provide REAL value to your readers. Rewriting content that somebody else has written won't be sufficient. A good idea is to include the knowledge of other experts through interviews, case studies, surveys or similar methods.
Integrating the knowledge of well-known experts will increase your credibility, especially when you're not established as an expert in your niche right now.
1.3 Outlining the Content
Outlining eBook content makes it easy for you to write your eBook. Since you're bringing your content in an order, you already know what comes next when you start writing. This allows you to build bridges between the topics and helps you to focus on the overall goal of your eBook.
This implies, that outlines are a tool to structure your eBook. A good structure makes reading the eBook easier to read for your audience. And structuring your eBook will help you to keep the focus on the most important topics.
Last but not least, your outline will motivate you to write! Creating an outline takes a lot of work from you. Since you've already inserted the most important things in the outline, the writing process consists of putting the outlined subjects into context and write text around it.
Start the outline with creating the headlines and sub-headlines. Then you should outline the paragraphs and point out some keywords, that you want to be included.
Don't focus on the length of your eBook! It's about the quality of your content, not about the quantity.
1.4 Writing the Content
When you've selected the topic and created the outline, you can get down to the nitty-gritty and start writing.
This phase will be very challenging, since it's going to be a long period of doing the same thing.
My experience shows, that you should definitely tell everyone who might disturb you, that you can't be interrupted in the flow of writing! Distractions kill productivity, especially while writing content.
The tools listed above provide distraction free writing. All tools feature full-screen views, so that no Facebook can get in your way. Try to focus only on the ONE topic you are writing right now.
We humans aren't good at multitasking, even though a lot people try to persuade you of the opposite.
You will come into situations where you loose all confidence in the content you're writing, when you loose all confidence that you can make it, or when you want to start all over again.
In those times, remind yourself about the value you want to deliver. Focus on the benefit that your reader will get through your eBook. Imagine how your reader solves his problem with your help, and simply go on.
If doubts are still there, skim through your outlines and the content and check, if you're still targeting the problem of your reader. If that's the case, you should jump in the air high and go on. It's easier than you think to loose yourself in the details while writing.
Use your outlines to guide the process of eBook self publishing and especially this writing phase.
2.1 Designing a Cover
Remember that there is no second chance to make a first impression. You'll want to have a professional looking cover, to achieve a positive first impression for the reader.
Places where you can hire graphic designers are Fiverr.com, oDesk.com or elance.com. I got my cover designed by i-Intellect Inc, since I've already made very positive experiences in past projects.
Be as precise as possible when communicating with your contractor. Point out every single wish you have and take nothing for granted. Discuss every single aspect, since the designer needs to know EXACTLY how you want your cover to look like.
eBook layouting divides into font, font-size, spaces, and colors. The layout makes your eBook look special and stand out of the masses.
Though far more important is the readibility for the user. Imagine yourself sitting in a café on a sunny day with your iPad.
You're dealing with a noisy environment and the sun mirroring in your display.
Even in the most challenging environments it must be easy for your reader to focus only on your eBook.
Thus your layout should make your eBook look special but at the same time make it easy to read. You can align your eBook layout on common standards like they are described here.
Proof-Reading is a quite forgettable step in eBook self publishing. It means, that a professional proofreader goes through all of your content and corrects mistakes that you've left in there.
Like the designers you can hire proofreaders on oDesk.com or elance.com. It's very important that you eliminate every single spelling or grammar mistake.
Since your eBook is going to have a lot of content it is nothing but normal that you can't find all mistakes.
Writing and editing the eBook for a long time while make you start skimming through the lines and will make you immune against finding mistakes.
That's why a proofreader is an absolute must-have in eBook self publishing!
Pricing obviously is a huge aspect in eBook self publishing.
You must decide on the price, that your audience is most likely willing to pay for your eBook.
A factor that price should always relate to is competition. It's important to take a look at your competitors. What do the competitors charge that are similar to you?
Another important aspect to take a look at is your goal. Do you want to make short-term money or long-term money? For short-term you should probably start with a higher price than you would do shooting for the long-term money.
Keeping the balance between underpricing and overpricing can be a challenging task. You need to make sure, that the price is a fair trade off.
If you provide huge value, don't be shy to set a reasonable price!
3.2 Selling the eBook in Your Own Shop
Creating your own store is probably by far easier than you might guess.
I've created The Entrepreneur's Store based on this WordPress extensions:
- Mystile - WooThemes (free)
- WooCommerce (free)
- WooCommerce Pre-Orders ($99)
- WooCommerce 2Checkout Form ($49, not active yet)
Install those tools and you're able to sell your eBook in your own shop.
This has several advantages. You decide on SEO optimization for the shop, you must not pay any fees except for payment transactions and you decide on the design. Your personal online shop is great for branding.
The drawbacks could be, that you don't benefit from the daily visitors on Amazon or the eBook platforms. But who says, that your shopis the only place to sell your eBook?
When I've published my eBook on other platforms, I'll update this post and let you know how to do it.
4.1 Growing Expectations
A problem in eBook self publishing is the financial part. Wouldn't it be great to get payed while writing the eBook?
To achieve this you'll need two things: Pre-Ordering Available as well as Expectations and Awareness.
You want the people to engage with you and your eBook while it's still in the creation process.
Utilize social media, forums and blogs for this purpose. Start talking about your eBook in topic related discussions and start integrating a few people in this process.
Select some people that could be possible readers and include them in the creation process. You could ask them questions about their biggest problems, the expectations to possible solutions and get them to cheer about your eBook. When they start talking about it, a avalanche can go off and you can get pre-orderings for your eBook.
All you need to do is to find very few people, who would possibly talk about your eBook if you integrate them into your eBook self publishing process.
Ensure, that you get people speaking about your eBook while you're writing it.
You see, that eBook self publishing is not as hard as you might think.
Don't hesitate to contact me when you have any questions.
To your success,