Are you working on an ebook right now? I mean, you are not one of those people who have been itching to write an ebook for ages – you are actually doing it. You have an ebook inside you and you want to bring it out so people can benefit. And so you are knee deep into the process.
You’ve got your notes everywhere. You are on a set schedule. You have told everybody you know that your ebook will be releasing soon.
But you are also feeling overwhelmed, tired and kinda scared at the same time. Let’s face it, you are putting everything into this project, everything you have got. You have spent every single free moment into this and more. And still there are no guarantees that your ebook will do well, that you will make some profit, or people will even buy it.
What would you say if I told you otherwise? How would you behave if I told you that you can control the success of your ebook provided you do everything right and stop making mistakes that prevent you from doing so.
Writing an ebook is not rocket science, but it shouldn’t involve guesswork, either. There is a method to this madness and in today’s post, I am going to show you how you can learn from other people’s mistakes and create something to be proud of.
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Mistake #1 Your topic is too broad
So, tell me about this ebook you are writing. What is it about?
You say it is about writing? Or self-improvement? Yoga? Or perhaps online success?
Your topic is way too board. You will trouble attracting readers because it is so generic. You have to make it as specific as you can. Solve a specific problem or fulfill a particular desire.
What aspect of writing do you want to write on? Technical writing, fiction, memoir, business or blog writing? What about self-improvement? It is a huge topic – do you want to write about finding fulfilment in your career, increasing your self-esteem, or polishing public speaking skills?
Focus on one highly specific topic with this all-encompassing category and you will make the whole process much easier for yourself.
Mistake #2 You have no idea if there is a demand for it
You are writing this ebook because you are in love with this topic. You are extremely passionate about it and feel like everyone should share your enthusiasm.
This is the problem though, not everybody does. Not everybody will be interested in what you have to say, but that’s okay. You need to find out if at least some people are. You can still write and sell a profitable ebook, you don’t need billions of people on this planet to be interested, but you do need more than 5.
So how do you find out? The easiest way to do this is to run some Google searches. If you are writing an ebook on resume writing, for example, you can search for resume writing ebooks. You can even search for related products such as courses, coaching packages and workshops. Depending on the number of products and services you discover, this is a good indication of market demand even if it’s not in the exact same format.
You can also use a keyword tool and find out how many people are searching for terms and phrases related to your topic and gauge the level of interest.
Mistake #3 You haven’t checked what’s available
You know there is demand and you are pumped. You are all set to write your ebook. Right? Wrong.
Once you have figured out that there is demand for your topic, you have to dig even deeper and find out what products or services similar to yours already exist in the market.
Go to Amazon and search for your topic and see what comes up. Search for ebooks, courses and other products being sold by independent publishers and small business owners. Assuming you are writing an ebook on a topic chosen from your own industry, you may already be very well aware of what’s out there.
Make a list of relevant products. This is your starting point. Look at their formats, their length and price points. You want your ebook to stand out amongst all the others.
Mistake #4 You didn’t survey your audience
While it’s all well and good to do the research and find out if there is a demand for your topic and what already exists in the market, you can’t simply go ahead and start creating that ebook – no, not just yet.
You need to ask your own audience first. You need to find out what they want you to create and what are they interested in learning from you.
This is the thing: all the prospective customers don’t mean a thing to your bottom line unless you have a way to reach them. And unless you have money to burn, you can’t reach them through advertising. What you can hope for is to reach your own audience and start there.
So. Create something that your audience wants so you can sell some copies to your own list and get some traction. Do surveys, ask people on your list to tell you their biggest frustrations and problems and find out what is the reason they haven’t been able to solve them by now. Ask them their dream solution. Figure out what is it that they will pay you for and create that.
Mistake #5 You are not really interested in the topic
You are working on this ebook because somebody has told you to, or because you think there is money to be made from this project. That’s fine as long as you really care about your chosen topic.
If you just do it for money, you are going to fizzle out. Ebooks take a long time to finish. From ideation to research, to writing the first draft, to editing, proofreading and design and finally the promotion stage – it requires a ton of work. You have a much better chance of finishing this project if you feel excited by it.
Creating an ebook can be a laborious job, especially when you are tackling a subject that bores you to death. This is the number one reason why there are so many unfinished books on people’s hard drives. Don’t do it, you will never be able to follow through.
Mistake #6 You don’t create a hook for your ebook
So the sweet spot between passion and demand will give you the most profits. However, there is one more thing you can do to increase your chance of success many times over.
You can create a solid point of differentiation for your ebook which will make it stand out from the crowd. And you do this by creating a hook for your ebook.
There are a number of ways to create a hook. Here are some suggestions:
Choose a new angle, say some controversial or present something in a totally different style. You can choose a stunning cover that stands out. You can include worksheets, checklists and templates if that’s not usually done in your industry.
Ask yourself this question: why would someone buy this ebook instead of the others? Figure out this and then create your ebook around that.
Mistake #7 You are not working off an outline
Once you have narrowed down your topic and know for sure that there is a healthy demand for what you are offering, and after creating a solid point of differentiation for your ebook, you need to develop an outline for your ebook.
You’ll be doomed if you don’t.
You will spend way more time working on a chapter, go off on a tangent and spend valuable time creating material that will not even make it. It is best to save yourself heartache before you waste any time by simply sticking to your outline and plan your scope well in advance.
There are two ways you can create an outline for your ebook, linear method or brainstorming, you can use whichever suits you. In linear method, you jot down the information in the same manner as it will take your reader from point A to point B. This works really well when you are solving a specific problem and needs to take people through a series of steps.
In brainstorming, you dump all your ideas in one place and then organize them under various chapters. You can use mind mapping tools or just plain old paper to do this.
Mistake #8 You haven’t done any beta testing
You launch your book without testing it with real, live human beings. This could mean all the difference between a book that is a raging success and one that is a complete disaster.
This is what I mean: Even if you have done all the preliminary research, it is an extremely good idea to beta test your ebook to make sure people are buying your ebook at the price you are selling. How would you feel if later you found out had you lowered your price by $10, you would have doubled your sales? Not very good, I assume.
Another fantastic reason to beta test your ebook is to remove any kinks. Especially if this is your first ever ebook. You don’t have a ton of experience writing a book, so you really can’t say how well it will perform, unless you test it out first.
You don’t have to do this with everybody on your list. Test it out with a group of people and see what they have to say. What do they think of the information? Is it presented well? Are there any portions that are unclear or too complicated? Do they want more examples? Ask them for their honest feedback and then incorporate that in your ebook.
Now, you don’t have to do exactly as they say. You are the expert and if they tell you something you don’t approve of, you certainly don’t have to do as they say.
Mistake #9 You don’t hire a professional copy editor
The first ebook I wrote was totally rubbish. Thank God, it was an opt-in offer or I would have been inundated with refund requests.
Why? Because I did not hire a professional copy editor to look it over. Yes, no matter how good a writer you are, you need one. All the professional writers have one so you have no excuse. You also need somebody to proofread your ebook. It could be that your copy editor offers both options, or you could hire another one. Get somebody to proofread not only your ebook, but also your sales page as this will make a huge difference to your bottom line.
If you rather not spend money in this, which I don’t recommend, get at least 3-4 people to read it thoroughly and point out any mistakes.
Mistake #10 You don’t invest in design
Hmm, are you thinking of designing a cover page for your ebook yourself? You think you are pretty good at it as you did very well in art in your school days and have certificates to prove it?
I don’t think this is a particularly good idea. Firstly, design and art are two different things. Secondly, you want to make a killer first impression and a cover designed by yourself screams DIY job. People will not take you seriously, trust me. Unless you are really good, in that case go ahead and do it. You have my blessing.
Your design gives you the opportunity to be perceived like a true professional that you are, to be taken seriously and stand apart from the rest who are also skimping on design. Do yourself a favor, hire somebody to do a first class job or use an online service that offers free ebook templates.
Mistake #11 You don’t launch it properly
Writing an awesome ebook is one thing and selling it is a different altogether.
You can’t just write an ebook, list on your website and hope that people will buy it. You’ve got to make people excited, anticipate its release and make a big fuss.
It’s a great idea to include the people on your list from day 1. From the moment you start working on your ebook, let them know about your exciting new project. Keep them in the loop. Make them a part of this process.
You would want to create some pre-launch content. Don’t worry, since you are not launching a $2000 online program, you don’t need flashy videos or a 3 week long launch. You just need to prime your audience so that they are not taken by surprise. 2-3 pieces of relevant content will go a long way in getting people in the buying mood.
After the pre-launch, when you open the cart, be prepared to send more emails than you normally would. Remember, not everybody will see every email of yours so tell them again in case they missed it. People also forget and generally leave things to the last minute so remind them. Sure, you will get a few unsubscribes but don’t worry. What’s the point of keeping these people when they are clearly not interested in buying from you? This process should not be ego driven.
Mistake #12 You don’t get help for your sales page
An excellent book = tons of sales, right?
Not exactly. It doesn’t matter how good your book is, you still need to convince people to buy it. Although, the better your ebook, the more demand there is for it, the easier it becomes.
If you are not well versed with copywriting, it is advisable to get help. Hire a copywriter to do the job for you, or if you can’t afford to hire one at this stage, at least get them to critique or tweak your already written sales page.
A well-crafted sales page will result in bucket loads of sales of your ebook. Do not under estimate its importance.
Mistake #13 You don’t promote your ebook
Lastly, you think as soon you write, design and launch your ebook, your job is done.
Not quite, my friend. You still need to promote the heck out of it.
Guest blog on other sites. Arrange to be interviewed. Appear on podcasts. Ask friends and colleagues to support your ebook. Run Facebook ads. Get the word out about your ebook any way you can.
Be proud. Stand behind it 100%. And scream from the rooftops.
This is how you write and sell your ebook. Which of these mistakes are you making in your ebook project?