It is human nature to constantly respond to change, positive or negative. Each person is reinventing themselves in ways that may not be immediately obvious to them. One of the most important drivers of change in humans is information.
Information comes in many different forms; through speech, written words, sounds, images, videos, and a whole lot of formats used for communicating ideas and thoughts. One very vital medium of transferring information is the written word, preserved in books. From the time cave men wrote on the walls of caves, to tablets of stones, and then dried animal skin, to papers, and recently electronic books (eBooks).
With the prevalence of the internet in our daily lives, we have continued to experience changes in the way we live. By this I mean the way we do business, socialize with others, work, play, acquire an education, and even the way we organize information and knowledge into readable formats. Amazon records that sale of books online have far exceeded the conventional method of buying from stores.
Electronic books (eBooks for short) refer to books whose contents are stored in digital format. These electronic books constitute a growing number of books that are sold on the internet every day. As our appetite for knowledge keeps increasing, opportunities are being created for those who can see them.
Publishing Your Book in Hardcover Vs Online
It isn’t quite certain if Amazon was the first to start selling books online, but they have made a great success of it. Prior to this, the only places you could get books were in stores and the library. You had to go there to physically pick up the book, or have it mailed to you. Publishers also had to go through great lengths to get publishing deals, sometimes waiting for years before getting one, if at all. The cost of publishing was on the high side, because large quantities have to be printed to bring down the unit cost.
The internet not only solved most of the problems of conventional publishing, it introduced a concept called “self publishing” where a book can be written and published almost instantly. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing has made self publishing so easy and profitable. What’s more? You don’t have to print your book on paper; you can publish and sell them as eBooks.
Benefits of Publishing Your Own eBook
With self-publishing, anyone who has ever had an idea, a message, story, or course could write and distribute their books – either as free giveaways, or sold for revenue.
Here are some benefits derived from publishing your own eBook:
1. Sharing Your Knowledge with Others – You may come across some vital information that would be helpful to others, and so feel the need to share in a well-organized manner. This kind of information might be a few pages long, to as much as hundreds or thousands of pages. Academicians, especially researchers usually fall into this category.
Individuals and businesses could also offer free information to their target audience. One of the easiest ways to advertise an innovative product is to educate the market, and eBooks may just be a very good option.
2. Projecting Your Brand – This kind of eBooks are also distributed free. Brand could be a person, product, service, or organization that you wish to make known to the public. A neatly packaged and colorful eBook would serve this purpose. Don’t forget that the idea is to create a memorable impression on the reader.
3. Earn Revenue – Most eBook publishers fall into this category. These eBooks could cover any topic of interest to the publisher – fishing, internet marketing, blogging, social media, digital marketing, home business, pets etc.
Few writers live entirely on their published work, while many others earn additional income from theirs. Amazon’s Kindle Store is one of such platforms to sell on; some other ways of selling will be explored later in this article.
4. Religious Purposes – An eBook could be used to spread a religious idea or doctrine. Whatever information we have in hardcover can also be converted into electronic formats.
5. Other Benefits – For other reasons that do not fall under the ones mentioned above.
If you have decided to self-publish, and most likely sell your eBooks, the following sections will further guide you.
The Do’s and Don’ts of eBook Publishing
1. Choosing a Topic – Lots of “experts” usually advise that you choose a topic you’re comfortable with, or passionate about. While this strategy has a lot of advantages, you might not be able to translate an idea you are passionate about into profits.
A typical example is a teacher who loves Arabic language. While he might be passionate about that subject, his readers may not share similar passions and so may not be willing to pay for his eBooks. Same goes for any other topic that a publisher might find interesting, but not being able to find a market large enough to support his business of eBooks.
I would suggest that you choose a topic(s) that you would like to know more about. This way, you are able to separate your emotions from the topic, giving you the capacity to be objective. Once a topic is chosen, you can then proceed to develop a passion for it. With time and a lot of research, you can become an expert in any topic. So, choose rightly.
2. Determining Your Audience – Let’s be frank, not everyone would be interested in what you have to talk about in your eBook. We are wired differently and so warm up to certain kind of people, or information. The same thing applies to your audience. You have to determine the type of people you want to write for.
First, it is what you want to write about which is covered above. Next is the type of people you want to write to. Your topic would be the most important determinant for your audience. You could segment the market based on demographics, gender, age, race, likes and preferences, religion, etc. Once you determine who to write for, you will need to carry out more research on these people.
I advise you build some sort of persona or profile that describes your audience. A profile is meant to capture your target audience’s tastes, preferences, incomes etc.
3. Title – At this point we have narrowed down the project to one particular eBook. You are now ready to get started. Please note that the title is most likely the first contact that will be made with your eBook. The title may have traveled around the world before people get the opportunity to see or read your book.
Title should be captivating, inspire a response, and/or instill curiosity in the mind of your readers. In your quest to get a great title, you may have to seek the opinion of some others, mostly those who are writers or avid readers.
Here are some tips
A. Short and straight to the point. 3 to 5 words would be ideal
B. A question, to arouse curiosity
C. A debatable fact
D. A promise
Even though a title comes before most other information, some writers only come up with one at the tail end of writing the book. While some others may start with one title, and change it along the way as the story unfolds.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing a title. You will do well to research your title, and make sure it is one that easily sticks to the mind.
4. Original Content – Remember the most important goal of your eBook is to share information – knowledge or news that is both beneficial and transformative. What good would it serve if the whole content of your eBook is “copied” from the internet?
Your content has to be original, to give the reader a feel of something new. It doesn’t have to be sensational, or spectacular, but just cool original content. Also, you could find a new way to organize information in the public domain, which can make your information seem new. How-to eBooks fall under this category.
5. The Length of Your eBook – Should your eBook be 3 pages long? Are 10,000 words long enough? Are 1,000,000 words long enough?
The truth is that all lengths mentioned above are good. Your eBook should be long enough to clearly communicate the subject to your reader. It could be a 3-page eBook, or 500 pages in length. Do not add irrelevant information to your eBook because you want to make it lengthy. Your readers should have good value for their time invested in reading your book.
Decide what is best and keep at it.
6. Accuracy – Nothing puts off a reader like typos and grammatical errors. Work towards achieving 100% error free content. This means you have to proofread multiple times.
7. Cover Design – Very important! The cover design may attract or repel readers from your eBook. You can engage the services of a professional graphics designer, or make use of the tools available on Canva if you know your way around it. Better still, you could personally design it if you’re good with graphic software.
8. Price – Saving the best for last! If this is your first eBook, price should be the last thing on your mind. Your focus should be first to build your brand – You build a name first and when you have gained the needed attention, you can command a significant amount for your pricing. For now, you may as well give it out free, or for something lower than $3.
Steps to Getting Your eBook Published
Step 1: Research – I mentioned research earlier in this post, but it bears repeating. Research your target audience, research your topic, research the response of readers to your title, and price. Do not assume anything; rather let your decisions be based on verifiable facts obtained from research.
Step 2: Write – The best way to write is to simply write. Don’t just plan to write, but put your plans into action. One easy way to do this is to set a particular time of the day for writing. You could start with 15 or 30 minutes, but make it consistent. The moment you attain consistency in writing, you can then proceed to increase the allocated time.
Bloggers complain of writer’s block and a lack of inspiration sometimes. Most times just sitting down with your pen and paper will make you write, even if what you have written isn’t relevant to the current project. Sometimes you may need to take a walk, or go for a vacation to inspire some freshness into your writings.
Step 3: Edit and Proofread – The first thing you put on paper or type into your computer is the first draft. You will need to edit several times, making changes in the process. Then when the work is due for completion, you proofread for undetected errors.
Step 4: Packaging – By this I mean organizing your content, the designs and images that go into your eBook, your cover design, and anything else that adds beauty. At this point you are putting finishing touches on the eBook.
Step 5: Advertise – Create awareness among your target audience using social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn! Other social media platforms unique to your target audience should be explored.
Step 6: Sell – You can sell on a third party platform like Amazon’s Kindle Store, or on your own website, social media platform. Selling on a third party website is best for beginners, so you can leverage on the amount of visitors they have.
The information contained in this article is enough to get you started in the business of selling your eBook for profits. The key is consistency and improvement. Your first eBook might not get a single sale. Your second, third and fourth books may be same. The important thing is you’ve started; so, keep at it. And as you do this, the first sign of progress is your personal improvement in these things.
All it takes to be successful is just one more stroke, and you’re there.
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