A step-by-step guide to writing your first ebook

You should really write an ebook. “Yeah, right,” you might be thinking. “I’ll add that to my ever-growing list of stuff I need to do.” I definitely understand where you’re coming from. The idea of writing a book is both daunting and rather vague. Well, what if I showed you an easy step-by-step way to do it? And what if I shared the great results I got from my first ebook?

Why should you write an ebook?

Here’s the first reason: People will give you their email address to download your book. I’m not sure why, but I’m guessing it’s because there’s a certain value attached to a book, electronic or otherwise. I found that to be the case with my first ebook. At the end of each article I write for my website, there’s a call-to-action (CTA) of one form or another. Those CTAs used to be something specific to the topic. Once I started providing a link to the book instead, responses to these CTAs rose 1,100%. That’s not a typo — an 1,100% increase in reader engagement!

Once you have a person’s email, that’s the start of an ongoing relationship. You’ve earned permission to send communication to that person. Of course, we need to respect this fact by continually providing educational information. Make the mistake of sending only solicitations and you’ll end up worse than if you had never started that relationship in the first place. Once someone unsubscribes, it’s really difficult to get him or her back.

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The second reason to write an ebook? It establishes credibility. If you’re in a situation where you’ve written an ebook and a competitor hasn’t, you will be seen as more reputable. If you’re speaking about a topic you’ve discussed in your ebook, you can say, “As I said in my book …” or “in my book, I wrote about ….” Isn’t that cool? For more about establishing credibility though a concerted strategy, please see my article about the Summerfest Effect.

You already know everything you’ll need for your ebook

If you’ve read any of the other articles I’ve written about teaching-based marketing, you know you should be sharing your knowledge online. Potential customers can learn from you on their own time without taking any of yours. Plus, it establishes your expertise in a crowded marketplace. If you’re not teaching your customers, then someone else is.

When it comes to writing your ebook, you can start by writing one article at a time. What do you write about? The questions you’re hearing all the time from your customers and potential customers. This isn’t a work of fiction. We don’t need a compelling plot, characters, twist, and the like. We’re writing with one goal — to educate your customers. Since you’re spending 40-plus hours per week doing your job, you are an expert by default.

Step-by-step guide to your first ebook

  1. Start writing articles answering your customers’ questions. This is much, much easier than you might expect, evidenced by this article.
  2. After a few articles, see what kind of theme is developing. Typically, you’ll see you’ve been answering very basic questions about your business and your industry.
  3. Concentrate on writing more articles about this theme.
  4. When you have eight to 12 articles, print them all and put them in a logical order.
  5. Have your graphic designer design the layout and cover.

Spencer X. Smith is a Waunakee-based business consultant.

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