Knowing your content and having a desire to write it down are good first steps to getting an e-book written. Showing you the path from desire to completion is what this article is about.
Let’s run through the steps, then I’ll give you some advice about “doing it all” yourself and outsourcing.
1. Choose your topic.
Make your topic specific and targeted to a niche market. For example, choose How to Build Balsa Wood Model Airplanes rather than just How to Build Model Airplanes.
2. Make sure you have a market using Keywords.
Google offers a free keyword tool (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal). Look for search results less than 40,000 per month – the ideal is from 4,000 to 12,000 searches per month.
3. Create an outline.
This is your roadmap. You’re the author so you get to set the course, and you’re free to alter it as the e-book develops. Three common approaches are alphabetical, process steps (like this article) and Q&A.
4. Research your topic.
Even experts do some research to get organized and ready to write. From reading through your own material to visiting the library and surfing the net – research is a vital, indispensable part of writing. It’s also something you can hire someone to help with.
5. Write your e-book.
Write the e-book yourself or hire a freelancer to write it for you. Just take your research notes and tell your story.
6. Create a few bonus reports to give away to your e-book buyers.
The difference to sales between having and not having premiums as part of the offer is staggering. Customers attach great value to bonuses.
7. Edit your e-book.
Whether you find a volunteer or hire a freelance editor, the key is to have the writer and editor be different people. Spotting your own errors is notoriously difficult.
8. Create the front cover design and interior page layout.
My preference is to make a couple of notes then hand this over to someone else. Design is more than just specialized knowledge. It includes a visual flair that’s at least as much in-born as it is learned.
9. Proofread and lock the PDF file.
Do a final proofread to check for double words and other mistakes. Fortunately, an e-book is easily updated if you find mistakes after the release.
Locking the PDF keeps honest people honest. There’s no sure-fire way to keep someone from “stealing” you e-book. Fortunately, most people simply prefer being honest.
10. Load your e-book PDF into a shopping cart.
Choose a shopping cart service that gives you one-stop shopping for the shopping cart, merchant account, autoresponder, and affiliate tracking. Ask your webmaster to connect the service to your web site. You can load every e-book you write into the shopping cart easily – it’s as easy as attaching a file to an e-mail.
11. Reserve a domain name for your e-book.
Shorter is better. Making it easy to say also works well. For example, choose “BalsaWoodModels.com” over “HowToBuildABalsaWoodModelAirplane.com.” A good resource for domain registration and hosting is www.UseBluehost.com/.
12. Write and design a landing page to sell your e-book.
All you need is a single web page connected to your shopping cart and a Thank You e-mail afterward. Simple, but you do want to be sure that one web page is well written. Hiring a copywriter might be a good choice.
13. Arrange hosting for your landing page.
You need a reliable hosting service at a low cost-per-site hosting charge. Be sure your hosting service package gives you enough space to hold all your files, that there is sufficient bandwidth to permit a high volume of downloads each month, and that you can add lots of new landing pages without increasing the total monthly hosting fee.
14. Capture the e-mail addresses of landing page visitors who do not buy your e-book.
List building is an integral part of selling on the internet. Capturing e-mail addresses allows you to continue marketing to visitors – whether they make a purchase or not.
15. Set-up an autoresponder e-mail series to convert non-buyers into buyers.
Use an autoresponder e-mail series to persuade them to come back to the landing page and buy your e-book.
16. Drive traffic to your landing page.
Use e-mail marketing, pay-per-click advertising, videos on YouTube and other social networking sites, articles, affiliates, and other traffic-building methods to drive prospects to your sales page.
17. Test, measure, and optimize your landing page.
Testing shows you what works and what doesn’t on your landing page. Always work toward making the landing page as effective as possible.
18. Create a profitable line of e-books and related info products.
Called a Product Funnel – you want a range of information products and services that move from inexpensive, front-end to the highest priced back-end.
19. Recruit affiliates to sell your e-books and other info products.
Give affiliates 50% of the sale price and enjoy the help for increasing sales and building your reputation.
20. Publish a free e-zine and drive traffic to the subscription page.
This is a great list building tool. Publishing the e-zine also keeps you in contact with your list. You’ll find your list is receives future offers much more warmly when you stay in contact with them.
21. Send regular e-mails to your opt-in subscriber list to drive additional sales.
Your opt-in list always contains people who have not yet purchased one or more of your e-books or other information products. As you provide high-value content to your subscribers, use the attention they are giving you to remind them of purchases they could be making.
We can wrap this up with a quick word about “doing it all” yourself – don’t.
There’s a simple way to know when it’s a good idea to outsource a particular task. Estimate how much time it will take you to do something and multiply that by how much each hour of your time is worth. (e.g. 20 hrs. to design a cover times $40 an hour is $800.)
When you can hire someone to do the task for less money, and they’ll do it faster (often with better results), then it’s time to outsource that task.
Another kind of outsourcing is getting advice. Sometimes it helps to talk a thing through with someone who has done it before (it’s what the corporate fat cats like to call “consulting”). Before you spend money on this option, make the effort to visit the blogs of people you would like to speak to. The answers to your questions might already be in print.