Brick by brick to a perfect ebook
From the Epic of Gilgamesh written 4000 years ago on clay tablets in the Sumerian civilization to an ebook read on a tablet or iPad today, the essence remains the same – you have to have a good story and grab the attention of your readers. But how do we do that when our minds, so often, function on autopilot?
Since we’re overloaded with information, we’ve developed certain habits that prevent us from drowning in this vast pool of information. Think of the last time you went to the grocery store. Even though you had so many choices, you knew, more or less, what you were looking for, and didn’t pay attention to most of the other products. Right up until the moment someone offered you to try their product or find out more about it. Right? Well, it’s similar with ebooks.
Marketers call them “high converting”, but these phrases can sometimes seem so official and distant, unless understood in plain language. So, let’s explain it simply. To convert something means to change it, and in this case it’s converting a person who’s just browsing your website into a buyer or new client.
Ebooks are also great for lead generation – capturing the attention of your potential customers (just like the samples in the grocery store). They don’t look like they are a marketing tool, but they are. They are subtle and not that expensive. And in constructing them and explaining things, we use different building blocks. So, let’s see what kind of steps we need to take to create a good ebook.
Step 1: Think like a journalist. Pick a topic and create an outline
To start with, choose a topic you want to write about. You can use some journalism tricks here: the 5W + 1H questions. Start by answering the question WHO the ebook is meant for. Move on to WHAT you are going to offer in it – a solution to a problem, an in-depth explanation of your product etc. Move on to the question of WHERE you are going to place your ebook – is it going to be a PDF on your website, sold on Amazon… Next, think about HOW this ebook is going to reach your audience and how it will influence their decision to buy your product or service, which is, let’s be honest, your ultimate goal.WHEN is the best time to pitch this ebook to your audience? And lastly, consider WHY are you going to write this ebook and what purpose will it ultimately serve you (e.g. are you building your e-mail subscription list and want to give the book for free, or are you selling it; building a personal brand, connecting with your audience, etc.)
Step 2: Gather the team
Step 2 is actually an extension of step 1. A great team with a writer, designer, and marketer will help in creating step 1. Unless you’re working alone. But, even then, you’ll want someone to at least proofread what you’ve written.
Step 3: Create the structure
Now that you have the topic picked out and an outline set, it’s time to start thinking about the content. To do that, well, make a table of contents and structure the chapters of your ebook.
Step 4: Research and write
Remember, you are writing a book, not a company brochure, and the content needs to be helpful to your audience and provide them with some in-depth information. Firstly, find as many facts about the subject you’re researching. Then, think about how you want to present this information in an interesting way. You can once more use the 5W + 1H questions from step 1. Be clear, simple and use a friendly and human, rather than a buzzword marketer, voice. Start with a catchy title and a great opening in the first paragraph. Jack Cappon of The Associated Press called it, rightly, “the agony of square one.” “There is no getting around it, although every writer sometimes wishes there were,” Cappon says. “Every story must have a beginning. A lead…Based on the lead, a reader makes a critical decision: Shall I go on?”. Even though you’re not a journalist writing a Pulitzer prize piece, it helps to think like one. Our advice – find an editor, and decide whether they should give advice on the content or just grammar.
Step 5: The format
Decide on the format you are going to use and don’t forget to consider the following questions. Will there be hyperlinks in the text? How will the navigation between the pages be handled? Will it be easy to print? Will it be ebook-reader-friendly?
Step 6: Design – don’t be afraid of the text
First off, don’t feel the need to make a picture book. If someone downloaded your ebook, they are already interested in the subject and want to read about it. However, that said, design elements should nonetheless support your text. We suggest, unless you are really great at designing, that you hire an expert to do this part for you.
Step 7: Let everyone know your book is out! Promote it!
Now that the production part is finished, your ebook is ready for the world to see it. Create a campaign for promoting your ebook through social networking sites, email, video content, website, and any other tools you can think of.
To help you navigate these steps more easily, we’ve created an infographic for you. Let us know what you think in the comments!
Click on the image to view full size.
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