Writing a book is exciting, creative and intensely personal. eBooks are all this and more. And when done well, eBooks are great for business.
I’ve helped many entrepreneurs and companies to reach more customers and share their stories through eBooks. One of the questions I’m asked most over coffee is:
‘How do I write my eBook – what’s the best way, what’s the formula, the secret?’
Honestly? There isn’t one right way.
There are as many ways to write a great eBook as there are great businesses. But to help make it a little easier, here are some of the key questions I work through with my clients.
I’d suggest you ask yourself these questions before you begin or as you draft your eBook, and try to answer as many as you can to arrive at some clarity around your approach and style. It’ll make the process of creating and launching your book that much easier.
Before you start your eBook, ask yourself:
What experience do you want to create?
Is this an uplifting and inspiring read, an informative resource or an activity based workbook?
Will readers download a lot of info and insights, or answer questions, complete exercises, journal and be guided to make their own conclusions?
Or will your eBook include a combination of these things?
There’s no right or wrong way, but it pays to consider the experience you’d like your readers to have.
Will you share stories and examples?
Even if your eBook is an informative resource, it’s a good idea to ‘show’ and not ‘tell’ by using stories and examples from your own personal and business experiences, as well as those of your clients. Stories help you clarify points, emphasise teachings and engage readers.
If you’re not able to use real life client examples, why not create ‘illustrative’ examples where you change names and circumstances to highlight the message you’re trying to share? This one inclusion alone can make for a much more interesting and enjoyable read.
Is it just the eBook, or the eBook PLUS+?
Is your eBook a standalone resource, or does it come with support and other resources, like an online community?
Are you creating a facebook group or other forum for those who read the book, to help guide them along and to create a space where they can share experiences?
Are you checking in, encouraging readers to hashtag as they go and supporting them as they complete activities?
What’s your design brief?
Are you going to play with design and take a quirky approach, or are you going to have a traditional layout?
Are you going to use quotes images and pull-outs of text to illustrate your points and break up the heaviness of the content?
Reading online or on tablets is hard on the eyes, so it helps to break up text and chunk out content in digestible pieces.
Have you read other eBooks?
It helps to have read a few other eBooks so you know what kind of experience you want to create and get a feel for this mode of communicating.
Do you have a few in mind that you like, in the style you want to create?
Can you point copywriters, designer and typesetters to what you’re after through examples of the eBooks you like?
What kind of structure do you want?
What’s your plan for structure? How are you going to segment your chapters, lessons, modules or musings? Are you going to jump straight into chapters or are you going to have an introduction and a preface?
Will you include a ‘how to read’ section? It can also help to explain how you want people to read chapters, ie sequentially or dipping in and out? Should people read your eBook in a certain time period, or should they go at their own pace?
Will you include your story or an about section? People often purchase eBooks to learn more about the author and hear more of your story.
Have you considered a forward by a peer or mentor?
Are you going to have a tools and resources section for people to keep learning and growing?
What’s your launch plan?
Where do you intend to share your eBook (eg will you use platforms like Kindle or share it on your website)? It makes launching a lot easier if you plan ahead. Will you have a campaign leading up to going live, using your website, blog, social media and channels like events and talks, to promote your eBook?
Social media can be particularly handy for promoting your eBook (and have a think about your hashtag) when you’re launching, but it can also be handy as readers go through your eBook and share experiences and progress.
What’s the key call to action?
Are you going to position your business and your services in the eBook?
If so, what’s the most important call to action and the thing you most want readers to think, feel and do?
What’s the outcome you want?
Some business owners write eBooks because they want to make extra income in their business, some give them away for free as a way to drive extra people to sign up to their list. Sometimes both factors come into play.
Why are you writing an eBook?
Whatever the reason, think about the outcome you most want and keep it front of mind as you go.
As a goal, your eBook should represent the best of you, your business and your message. It should give away something extra and go a little deeper than the content on your blog or in your opt-in.
If you see your eBook as way to take your message a step further – to provide more of you, more insights and more value for your clients – you’ll be on the right track.