How do you write a bestselling e-book? No, really. If every writer/marketer knew how, this post would be snore-fest. But that’s the big, million dollar question. I’ve written loads of e-books in my career for a variety of customers.
Some of them have blown up, and become instant bestsellers. And I’m starting to see a pattern forming. The real differences between the ones that make it, and the ones that don’t make it.
The online publishing industry will always be shrouded in mystery. There are no agents, acquisition editors or publishers around, to tell you that your e-book would make more sense if it was written by marmoset.
It’s a healthy combination of faith, great research skills and marketing insight. But that’s all vague nonsense. As you know, I HATE vague statements like that. They don’t help anyone, and they have no business being in my post.
This is how you really write an e-book bestseller…
Step 1: Remove The Idea Blinkers
When the average person comes up with an e-book idea, it’s usually because they know a lot about a specific subject. The thought process goes a little something like this. “Hey, I know a lot about (insert subject), I should write a book about it, and then sell it for millions online!”
The second most common process comes from marketers, online publishers or digital entrepreneurs. They see other books selling like hotcakes, and they decide to jump on the virtual bandwagon. “Hey this topic is selling so well, I bet I could cash in on this – kapow!”
Then you write the e-book, or you hire a writer to do it for you. BEEP. Wrong.
The Right Step #1: Boring Marketing Research
No one likes doing marketing research. But I can’t even formulate a sentence powerful enough to communicate to you how important it is. You have to find out if the e-book you want to create is feasible. If there’s a demand for it.
The bottom line is that most e-books that sell loads of copies are the first of their kind, have a unique angle, or are tailor made to provide a solution to a problem that so far, hasn’t been addressed. Is this your e-book?
How Do You Do Market Research?
• Quality information. Educating your reader, with all the right information.
• The format. A nice format makes reading a pleasure.
• A spectacular cover. Covers sell ebooks. Invest in a good one.
• Accurate price/value ratio. Is your ebook worth the price you want for it?
• Long term potential. Will your ebook still be valuable after 6 months?
The Right Step #2: Do a Writing Plan/Overall Costing
Before setting out on your first (or seventh) ebook journey, do a writing plan work up. Figure out how much research is required for each chapter of your ebook. Then plan how long it would take you to do 2 drafts. Cost out time and money for an editor that isn’t you. Include in this costing, money for a cover, and professional formatting.
If you’re hiring a writer, find one that has a good track record, and is above the average price. Give them your research and angle, and ask for a table of contents. Review the book chapter by chapter, to keep it on track. A quality writer will support you through this process. It’s easy to spot a ‘hack’ – or someone that churns out writing fast, with little thought or research.
Step #3: Rushing To Sell
You have your ebook product, and you’re eager to start selling – the problem? You don’t have any money to sink into this endeavor. Instead you sign up for Clickbank or something similar, and you pop on a hasty sales page. Ta-da! 5 ebook sales. Total. Reality sets in, and you realize that your ebook isn’t making any money. In fact, you’ve lost more money than you’re ever going to make.
The Right Step #3: Your Ebook Marketing Campaign
I don’t use the term campaign lightly. But that’s exactly what it is – a full scale product launch that is going to take time, money and professional assistance. Average ebooks can sell hundreds of copies, thanks to the great marketing plans the pros put in place. But here’s another problem. You don’t have a social profile, and you’ve never built an email list. You don’t even have a functional blog. Oh dear.
Here’s how you plan an ebook launch.
• A supportive article marketing campaign of 100+ articles
• Building anticipation for it on your blog, social pages and email lists
• Creating a dynamic sales page – that you split test often
• Offering an affiliate marketing program (with an affiliate resource area)
• Creating a delightful slew of blog posts around your topic
• Publishing announcements on your Facebook and Twitter pages
• Sending out announcement emails to your list – with incentives
• Upselling whatever other ebooks you’ve created in the past
• Using old ebooks as free giveaways on your sales page
• Creating ‘free’ mini ebooks, podcasts, videos that your buyer also receives
• Adding in a testimonial box, for real time feedback
• Creating a few press releases that are relevant and newsworthy
This is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s still so much more you can do, to ensure the successful sale of your ebook. Have you skipped any of these steps? So you see, creating an ebook is just the beginning of a long and laborious marketing plan. Don’t try and do it all yourself, you will need help. A team would be best. But there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for sellers that do this well.
To sum up this entire post, you need a quality product, and a quality marketing campaign. Think about what the word ‘quality’ means to you. Bestsellers sell thousands of copies. For an investment of $5000.00, you could make $250 000. Or you could end up like so many others, spending $800 on an ebook, and making $1000. The difference is vast. Don’t be a marmoset!
Having trouble with your ebook or just have an awesome idea that needs a second opinion? I’m here to help, comment away.