Do you visit websites and see the great looking ebooks people offering in return for your contact details and wonder how to create one for your own site? In this post, I want to share with you the process I followed to create my own eBook, on a shoestring budget of only $5.
Why you need an eBook
Well you don’t need an eBook but here are some reasons you might want an eBook:
- to demonstrate your expertise to potential customers
- to incentivise people to give you their contact details
- to give your audience a sense of what you know and your style
- to offer a low-risk, low-cost way for your community to experience your products or services
- to leverage work you’ve already done (more on this later)
- to earn a little extra income on the side
- to give back to your community (if offering a free eBook)
- for the fun of creating a book – even if it is an electronic one!
I’m sure you can think of a whole lot more reasons. Leave me a comment and let me know why you want / have an eBook.
Where to start
You know you’d like to create an eBook for any or all of the above reasons but the problem is, where to start? What will you write about? What do you know about to be able to write enough content for an eBook? These are good questions and I suspect a lot of people get stuck at this point and talk themselves out of writing anything.
The negative little voices probably start saying things like:
- I can’t think of anything to write about
- Everything has already been said on the topic I know about
- I’m not very good at writing
- I don’t have time to write an eBook
- No one will be interested in what I’ve got to say about [insert your topic]
What to write your eBook about
Obviously it needs to be something of interest to your community and your target market. I help people who are interested in starting a business so I wrote my eBook – How to Start a Business – 5 Steps to Save you Time and Money. I wanted the eBook to provide a good overview of the main steps involved, provide some tips from my own experience and some great resources I’ve found and used.
Research the topic before you write the book to see what else is in the market. Although I found other eBooks and websites sharing information about starting a business, many of them focused on one specific step. I decided to bring everything together in one place.
If you write about something you know a lot about, you’ll find it much easier. The words will flow and you will be able to produce it quickly because you won’t have to do lots of research.
Try to make your content “evergreen” if possible. This means don’t write content that will be quickly out of date. You don’t want to have to rewrite your eBook to keep it up to date with latest changes.
Where to physically write your eBook
You’ve decided to write an eBook, you know what you’re going to write about but what people get stuck on is where to physically write it! This might seem obvious but I have talked to people who have a great idea but haven’t done anything with it because they don’t know the ‘mechanics’ involved.
The easiest way is to just write your eBook as a document. Use whatever software you normally use to write a document; Microsoft Word, Pages, Open Office etc. Use what you’re used to. Now is not the time to learn a new software package. I recommend that you just start writing. Don’t worry about format, layout, editing and production – you can do all of that later. Just write.
If you have a Blog, you might already have content that you can re-purpose. Have a look through all of your posts and choose your best ones, most popular or those that you thought deserved more attention and pull them together as the starting point for your eBook. Even though this content already exists on your Blog, pulling it together into an eBook makes it easier for your readers to access.
How to produce your eBook
Once you’ve finished writing, collating or curating your content, the next thing to do is think about what you want your eBook to look like and how to actually produce the finished product.
You want your eBook to be visually appealing to your readers. Here’s some tips:
- Add some colour
Use headlines and fonts
- Don’t be afraid of white space
- Add some graphics 🙂 😉 😛
Give your eBook a memorable title. You could make it something catchy, something funny or as I did just tell readers what they’ll get “How to Start a Business – 5 Steps to Save you Time & Money”.
Design your cover. This can be quite tricky and frustrating. I recommend you take a look at “e-Book Evolution – Cover Recipe Book” from Sticky eBooks – it’s free. It describes exactly how to create covers using Open Office (which you can easily apply to Word or Pages). You can also outsource this. I used fiverr.com to design my cover and convert it to a 3D image for, yes $5!
Check your eBook for spelling mistakes and poor grammar. Remember to write the content for your audience. It doesn’t need to be grammatically perfect and you can write it to reflect your own style but it needs to be professional. If grammar isn’t your strong point, then engage an editor to review it for you.
Once you’re happy with the look of your eBook, simply convert it to a PDF document and voilá, you have created an eBook!
Watch out for Part 2, which I’ll post on Friday, where I’ll share with you:
- How and where to publish your eBook
- How much to charge for your eBook
- How to let people know about your eBook
- How to leverage your eBook
Do you offer an eBook to your community? If so, leave a comment with a link to your site so we can check it out.
What do you look for in an eBook?
What’ the best eBook (free or paid) you’ve come across?
Please share this offer with others who may be interested in learning how to start a business.