Today we have a guest post by Moon Hussain. I like it because it talks about one of my favorite subjects – Writing an eBook. As you know, I’m always harping on about the importance of offering a free lead magnet. I recommend reading Moon’s post because goes into a step-by-step action plan for completing an eBook and offering it to your audience. Enjoy!
It’s easy to assume that people who are offering ebooks on their blogs (paid and free alike) have a lot of experience to have written them. Most bloggers in their first year of blogging won’t even think of creating their first ebook; I know this because I was one of those bloggers.
Thinking of creating your first ebook can seem daunting. For instance, I wanted to create an ebook as an incentive for people to join the EIP newsletter list for a long while and before To The Moon & Back, I attempted two ebooks that I never finished. With the third idea, however, things just clicked.
Whatever topic you choose to write about, make sure that you can write about it from your own unique perspective. The following is a comprehensive guideline that will help you create your masterpiece of an ebook:
1. Create An Ebook Around a Topic That Is Related To Your Blog And You’re Passionate About!
This seems like common sense but too many people get this wrong. If you have started an ebook about a topic that you don’t care for, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Most likely, if you don’t find the topic interesting, neither will your readers.
Also, it’s ridiculously important that you write about a topic that relates to your blog well. Why would someone download an ebook about how to treat insomnia in sixty days when the blog is about pet care?
One of the ebook ideas that I started was writing a guide on how to increase your Twitter count with passionate followers. While this seemed interesting, I wasn’t sure how I could relate the topic of the ebook to the blog in a direct way. Plus, I was so bored into page 5 that I never got around to finishing it. If I was this bored writing it, I surely couldn’t expect my readers to put up with that crap!
The ebook that I did finally succeed with, To the Moon & Back: An Honest Guide to Building Successful Passive Income Businesses Online, came very naturally to me. The idea came to me over an outdoor lunch and had me very excited from the start. The whole ebook was written in about 4-5 sittings.
2. Write the Ebook From Your Own Unique Perspective
This is a very important point as anyone can write a dry, text-book-like-I-want-to-kill-myself-reading-this type of ebook.
Did you enjoy reading textbooks in college? Most people don’t. What I do like reading, however, is content with pictures, videos and case studies. For my niche, I knew it was incredibly important to show everyone a personal case study based on my niche site experience. My ebook is all about the mistakes I’ve made with my blog and my mini-sites, so this ebook discusses all these things from a very personal view. At the end, I also discuss what I did wrong with one of my mini-sites. My whole angle was to discuss my mistakes so people can save time and not make the same mistakes.
3. Create an “Idea Map” for Your Ebook
Remember how I was just mentioning that the idea for my current ebook came to me while I was eating an outdoor lunch? Well, luckily I had my notebook with me. Why lucky?
Because as soon as I got the idea, these little sparks started generating tons of ideas. I was able to take my initial idea of “write about my blog and mini-site experiences” to more specifically “write about what I did wrong with my blog and mini-sites so people don’t fall into the same traps!”
That mangled piece of paper had my messy writing all over it. I wrote down ideas in big bubbles, drew lines connecting one bubble to another and was able to flesh out some crazy ideas.
Everyone has a process that works best for them, when things naturally come together. For me, it happens best when I have a pencil and paper (or my handy, dandy notebook) to work with. The point is to somehow get all of these things down in an “idea map” that suits you best!
4. Create Sections and General Headlines of Your Ebook Based Off Your “Idea Map”
This part can be drafted when creating your idea map for the ebook if you’re stoked enough. Heck, I created my headlines straight from the idea map and only refined the sections and headlines when the writing for the section dictated so.
For some of you, the vision might be quite clear so this part of the ebook will come to you naturally. For a few of you, creating titles before the material might feel unnatural; if this is the case, at least create general sections so you know how your ebook will take form.
5. Start Writing Your Masterpiece Ebook And Don’t Let Up
When you start writing, it’s important that you let the content flow. If you start fitting the content within the titles, the process won’t feel natural anymore. A lot of times, I had to adjust the titles of certain parts of the ebooks especially when I felt the content didn’t suit the particular title.
While writing the rough draft, you will end up writing completely new sections you hadn’t thought of before and deleting a couple of sections that don’t flow. It’s important not to get frustrated at this stage because it can feel as if the ebook will never see completion.
One thing you shouldn’t do is stay hung up on editing when you’re just writing your rough draft. Leave the editing for later!
6. Don’t Give Up, No Matter What That Asshole Nagging Voice In Your Head Tells You!
No joke! Halfway through my report, an unexcited voice started making a point for me to quit, to tell me that my ideas sucked and that no one would want to give my “failures” a read.
It was harsh but remember, we are our own worst critics. Thankfully, despite this asshole, nagging voice, I pushed past it and finished my rough draft.
In fact, after finishing my rough draft, the asshole voice came back for another stab: “.. there’s so many others who are doing this better than you are. Don’t bother and don’t embarrass yourself!”
Please remember that not everyone can and will do what you are doing and that you attract your own type of crowd. Your audience will enjoy your ebook if you write it from the heart and it follows most of the guidelines mentioned here. Do NOT give up!
7. Hold Yourself Accountable By Announcing Your Ebook On Your Blog and Submitting Your Rough Draft to Close Friends
Thank God I announced my ebook ahead of time on my blog and also pushed the rough draft to a couple of good blogger friends of mine! The feedback was positive and my confidence was on the upswing!
Had I not taken these steps, there was a huge chance I wouldn’t have released an ebook. Since we can be our own worst enemies, we cloud our own judgment and sadly beat ourselves down to the point where we kill our own motivation.
By taking these actions, I was able to refine my ebook and hire a designer to put on the finishing touches.
8. Create a Buzz By Talking to Other Bloggers & Your Readers
This is quite an important step because not only do you want your own readers to download your ebook but you want to reach as many other people as you can to expose your magnificent work. This is why I personally reached out to a few bloggers (such as Mr. Steve Scott here) and let them read my ebook before my readers.
The end result was a lot of tweets by my fellow bloggers supporting my ebook; heck, even if it hadn’t reached as many people, the support was overwhelming and it helped me form true connections. Come launch day, you will find that plenty of bloggers and your readers, alike, are more than willing to help spread the word about your work!
Also, make sure that you create buzz amongst your readers by mentioning the release of your ebook a post or two ahead of time. This will get your readers anticipating your ebook release and perhaps even tweeting your post to alert other people of your upcoming ebook. In fact, a few weeks before the release of my ebook, I created a post asking the EIP community to help me name my ebook… the responses were fun and got a lot of people involved.
Writing a good, quality, relatable ebook shouldn’t be too hard and if it seems that way, then there is a good chance that you are forcing the process in an unnatural way. If you want to join the big boys or girls, you need to rid yourself of your insecurities and take a leap of faith. As long as you follow the steps in this guideline, you will not only be the proud author of an ebook but you should also have great exposure through your ebook.
Steve’s Note: Moon Hussain loves road trips and wants to set up passive income streams so she can travel to her heart’s content. She runs her own blog, Experiments in Passive Income, and she recently released her first free ebook, To the Moon & Back: An Honest Guide to Building Successful Passive Income Businesses Online, detailing her successes and failures with her blog and niche site in the last year.Take Action. Get Results.