Four Crucial Steps to Writing and Publishing Your First eBook

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Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 6.06.29 PMEntering the world of eBook publishing can be a little less overwhelming than all the options for print publishing, but there are still some key steps you need to address.

Without a clear path, direction and focus, you may find that all the hype about Kindle book sales and generating leads for your business through your eBooks will not apply to you.

While it’s true many people have become quite successful writing, publishing and selling eBooks, if you sacrifice quality and a few essential steps, you may end up doing yourself more harm than good. You want to be seen as the go-to expert in your industry, not someone just looking out to make fast money.

Step 1: Identify your audience

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 6.22.11 PMWhile a print book will give you more credibility and make you stand out as the go-to expert in your industry, the Kindle market is quickly becoming saturated.

If you don’t have your audience and message in mind first, you’ll be writing to a blanket audience of “everyone,” which means ultimately no one will buy your book.

You need to ask yourself, “If I could sell my eBook to just one person, who would that person be? What do they look like? In what industry to they work? What are their hobbies?”

After you identify your audience, take time to research what eBooks are already available to them. What do the reviews say? Are they in a hot niche market? How many results in an Amazon search do you get when you search for your topic?

Contrary to popular belief, though a market may be saturated, if there are thousands of eBooks already in that market there’s a reason—because people are buying!

Here’s an example: I recently started an almost completely raw diet. I’ve been downloading eBooks and purchasing print books on the topics of raw nutrition, raw “non”-cookbooks, etc. I’m not just buying one book in this niche, I’m buying several!

If a niche is a hot topic and heavily saturated, that may be an indication it’s actually a good niche to write about and have a presence in. If it’s not a hot topic and has hundreds or thousands of titles already available, it may be overly saturated. Hint: “hot” topics are often the subject of news casts and articles, and many social media groups form around them. Think of the diet and exercise industry for some clear examples.

Step 2: Research the gaps

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 6.24.20 PMOnce you’ve researched what eBooks are already available and have skimmed the reviews, start looking in the reviews for what readers wish the book contained. What gaps are found in the marketplace?

You may find the same gap spoken about in more than one eBook title’s listing, and that’s a good indication you should write about it.

Don’t just jump into writing an eBook without doing a little research first. It might also be beneficial for you to purchase a few of the best sellers in your category before writing your own.

Read those reviews and eBooks, and note what you would do differently. How can you customize the same material to your specific audience?

Step 3: Write!

After you’ve researched your audience and know what gaps to fill, write! Carve out a block of time every week to spend time putting words to paper. Avoid editing as you write—simply let the words flow. You can always go back and edit your writing after it’s done. The fact is your eBook will never be finished—there’s always going to be something you can improve. But you can decide when it’s done.

Step 4: Production: eBook editing, design and programming

Then don’t skip these crucial steps: editing, cover design and programming. Unedited eBooks look bad to the reader, and give you a not-so-stellar reputation to your potential audience. If your book is hard to read or poorly edited, reviewers won’t be shy to tell the world.

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 6.38.30 PMWhen in doubt, hire a professional editor to look over your work. An eBook will always have a few typos, but the more eyes are on your manuscript, the more polished it will get.

An eBook cover is the first thing people will see and how they will judge your content. You might have great content, but if the cover isn’t professional you’re just another eBook in the pile.

I’ve seen thousands of horrible eBook covers done by the author or the author’s best friend’s plumber who happens to know Photoshop. Remember the first impression! You don’t go on a first date without brushing your teeth!

You’re courting your potential readers, so entice them to look closer at your book with an outstanding, professional eBook cover. If you can only afford to outsource one service and you’re not a professional graphic designer yourself, outsource your eBook cover design to a professional. Your increase in sales and the broader reach of your message will be worth it!

Lastly, without proper eBook programming, your eBook can be hard to read and get massive negative reviews. Those negative reviews can’t ever be removed from Amazon and can permanently damage your reputation. I’ve seen quickly published eBooks get massive amounts of one and two-star reviews.

Then the guru (usually a guru will do this) emails their massive list and asks people who read their eBook to post a positive review on Amazon. This may counter-balance the overall rating, but it won’t make those negative reviews disappear.

And fixing the formatting later, after the negative reviews have been posted, won’t make them go away either. Do it right the first time and you won’t have any regrets.

The bottom line

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 6.40.56 PMThe truth is, as with all industries, there’s no such thing as a “get rich quick” or “make $5,000 per month your first month!” result with eBook publishing.

It takes hard work, dedication and ongoing attention to fill your audience’s needs to make a career out of eBook publishing.

Now, that being said, eBooks are a great way to generate leads for your business and increase your passive income.

But eBook publishing is not for the faint of heart. Dedicate yourself and your resources, and you’ll see results.

Try it for a quick money-making scheme, and you’ll be sorely disappointed! I’d love to hear what you think about this topic in the comments below…

This article was originally published on The Future of Ink and is reprinted here in its entirety for our Magnolia Media Network readers.