Why You Should Create an eBook and 6 Basic Steps to Creating One

Thursday, September 06, 2012
by Karen Cioffi
As a writer there are a number of ways to earn money. You can freelance, ghostwrite, and you can create your own information products. And, the easiest information product to create is an ebook.
As an author/writer you no doubt have learned a thing or two along the way. And, if you’re starting out, you’re in the process of learning. This knowledge can be turned into an income through ebooks. One of the simplest ways to create an ebook is to write what you know. But, keep in mind the information you offer must be of value and something others will want or need.
Along with the simplicity of creating ebooks, you can’t beat the cost. You can create one for NO money, or very close to it. And, you can sell it for whatever your audience is willing to pay.  The primary cost is your time, in addition to some effort.
While just about all writers want to make money from their writing, there is another reason why you should create an ebook, probably more important than simply selling them. They are the perfect ‘ethical bribe’ to offer visitors to your website.
If you’re wondering why giving your ebook away for free is of more value to you than selling it, the answer is: your mailing list, which is considered ‘golden.’
For those who are unfamiliar with an ‘ethical bribe,’ it’s a free gift that you use as an enticement to get visitors to sign up for your newsletter or say YES to another call-to-action you have. This is considered an effective marketing strategy: You give one or two FREE informative e-books, obviously pertinent to your site’s brand, to help coax your visitor to say YES to your call-to-action.
Both these ebook options are beneficial, and you don’t have to choose between the two. You can create a valuable ebook as a freebie on your site, and you can also create ebooks to sell. You can even take an excerpt from a ‘for sale’ ebook and turn it into a ‘freebie’ offering.
So, now that you know the benefits of creating an ebook, let’s go over the basic steps to actually creating one.
6 Basic Steps to Creating an eBook
1. Create content. Simply open a Word document and start typing away. Get all that expert knowledge you’ve accumulated over the year/s and create your content. Just be sure that your content is reliable and will actually be of value to your readers.
Pretty easy so far, right?
2. Edit and organize your content into an easy reading document. Be sure to leave plenty of white space, as it makes for easier reading. White space means creating short paragraphs – take note of how I formatted this article. There’s plenty of white space.
3. Add images. Now that your content is set, you can add pictures (images). If you can believe it, this is free also. You can use clip art, take your own pictures and turn them into jpgs, or create your own images (it’s easier than you think).
If you decide you want to buy the images, you can check out BigStock.com, Freepixels.com, or MorgueFile.com. You can get images for $2 or 3 dollars each and it’s well worth the cost.
In actuality, you don’t need images within your ebook, so this step is optional.
4. Edit your content again. Having a polished and professional looking product is essential.
5. Create a cover or buy one.
6. Create a PDF. Now, you’ll need to turn the Word document into a PDF with a PDF converter. The newer Word versions have converters built in – check your Print feature.
Or, you can upload the your Word doc onto Kindle, Smashwords, Lulu, or another similar service. The service you choose will have instructions on formatting it.
That’s it. You have an ebook!


Karen Cioffi is a multi-award-winning author, ghostwriter, freelance writer, editor, and marketer. But, her specialty is online marketing. She founded and manages Writers on the Move (a marketing group), and presents online writing and marketing workshops and webinars. Karen has published 12 writing and marketing eBooks, the most recent, Article Marketing: Increase Website Traffic with Properly Formatted and Search Engine Optimized Content. In addition to this, Karen’s website, Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing (http://karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com), was named Writer’s Digest Website of the Week, June 25, 2012.

Join Karen in the WOW! Women On Writing Classroom and create your own ebook (and so much more)! Her brand new class, CREATING AND BUILDING YOUR AUTHOR ONLINE PRESENCE, starts September 17th. Early registration is recommended.



Karen Cioffi said...

Oh, by-the-way, I created the image for this post and it's something else you'll learn how to do in the class!


Kristine said...

This was a helpful post and I've been thinking of doing this on my website for some time...but I shied away because it seemed technically complex...didn't realize it would be easy! Thank you so much Karen! I have a question, if I do get to the point where I'm able to create a free ebook on my website, where do I purchase a cover, and how do I obtain reader's email addresses if they download the e-book? Is there a service that will help me do this? Thanks again!

Karen Cioffi said...

Hi, Kristine, I'm so glad the article was helpful. There are a number of places to purchase an ebook cover. You might try fiverr.com - that'll probably be the most reasonable.

I'll be teaching how to create an ebook and cover in the class that's starting September 17th.

I use PayPal for selling on my own sites and yes you get the email addresses of those who buy.

WOW! said...

Hi Kristine,

Answering your question about offering free e-books and collecting e-mail addresses for your list.

After you create the e-book you want to give away for free, you need some way for people to sign up and download it. So you need an e-mail subscription box on your site where you have maybe a little cover image of the free e-book, some text saying it's free for download, and a box below it that allows people to enter their name and e-mail addy for an instant download. WOW! uses Constant Contact (www.constantcontact.com) as an e-mail subscription service, which is a little on the pricier side to be quite honest, but there are many others. For instance, if you have less than 2,000 subscribers, you can use Mail Chimp for free (www.mailchimp.com) and send up to 12,000 emails per month. I haven't used them personally and I'm pretty happy with Constant Contact, but I'd recommend comparing services in the beginning because once you start your list somewhere it's a pain in the butt to move! So definitely compare prices and functionality because if you're doing things right your list will grow beyond 2,000 very quickly. :)

Once you've decided on your e-mail list provider, you need to set up an autoresponder. This is as simple as setting up a vacation response on your regular e-mail. So you type the text and graphics in the e-mail that you want people to read and provide a download link to the e-book. To have them download the book, you just need the exact URL. You can upload the e-book to your website's server, or if your e-mail provider allows it (like ours does) you can upload it there. You can also use sites that let you store files for free. Then in your e-mail response you just paste the URL and subscribers can click and download it. It should have the file name (.pdf) at the end of the URL (like this: http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/downloads/WOWHolidayGiftGuide.pdf) and your browser will automatically download it or open it in the browser depending on your settings. It's better to provide a link to download instead of an attachment because of spam filters, but some e-mail providers allow you to attach the e-book to the e-mail autoresponse. Ours doesn't, but I think others might.

Then you just get a form to put on your site. All e-mail providers give you an html code for your website/blog for subscribers, and it's as simple as adding a badge on your blog.

So that's it!

There are more complicated ways to offer free e-books on your site like pop-up windows, etc. but I won't get into that here.

And like Karen mentioned, if you want to sell your e-book, you can sell it via PayPal, or use an affiliate website like Commission Junction or Clickbank, etc.

Hope that helps! :)
~ Ang

Karen Cioffi said...

Thanks for answering this Angela!

CJ Jackson said...

These are great information! Ebooks are indeed great ways that can teach you how to make money online. If you are a talented writer, then you can capitalize on your writing proficiency and starting creating your own ebooks.

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top