First in an occasional series
Notice that the title of this series is “How to Write AND Sell an Ebook.” Dig those capital letters.
For some of us, writing comes easily. For others, selling is a snap. For most mortals, both are a challenge. But you know me—I’m all about freelance writers making the money they deserve. One way is by writing ebooks. But what’s the point of writing one if you can’t sell it?
So let’s talk about writing AND selling an ebook.
The beauty of writing a downloadable ebook is the end run you get to make around the entire hard-copy publishing profession. No groveling for an agent or genuflecting before a publisher. No tiresome rewrites at the behest of some junior editor.
This baby is yours. Guerilla publishing!
But it’s precisely because you won’t have an agent, editor, or publisher that you have to approach the whole process with laser-beam focus—plus you have to commit to becoming your own marketing manager.
“Is there a market for my ebook?”
That’s the first place you point your laser ray. Because I’m assuming you don’t want to do this as a labor of love.
Start with a timely take on what people are interested in by reading this post. You can bet the subjects that Internet marketers are keying on are subjects with solid sales possibilities.
One of the current hot categories is pets, which is, of course, way too broad a topic for an ebook. But let’s say your niche is dog training, and you’re thinking about a book on how to keep your dog from biting people. (Personally I’d just call Cesar Millan.) Now trot over to Google’s External Keyword Tool. This tool lets you plug in your topic and see how many Google searches are happening for that topic.
That’s right: Hire Google, for free, to do your market research.
If you plug in “how to train a biting dog” and look under Global Monthly Search Volume, you won’t see big numbers. But you’ll see many more searches for “how to stop a puppy from biting” and “puppy training biting.” That suggests you should focus on puppies. But the numbers still aren’t huge.
If you’re a dog expert, maybe you should try a slightly different niche. Aren’t the barks of most dogs worse than their bites? So how about barking dogs? “How to stop dog barking” brings up much bigger numbers.
Now plug that term directly into Google’s search engine—i.e., Google it. It brings up hundreds of thousands of results—and a lot of free information. Don’t sweat the competition, though. It means people are interested in your topic.
But what it also suggests is that you need a spin, a twist—dare I say gimmick?—to stand out from the rest of the barking-dog-stoppers.
So what’s your spin? What differentiates you from the rest of us who just yell “Shut up!”?
Bob’s Cheap List of ‘Shut Up Your Mutt’ Titles
- Overnight Relief from Your Barking Dog
- The Gentle Way to Stop Your Barking Dog
- Instant Relief from Dog Barking
- The Untold Secret to Stopping a Barking Dog
- Get Inside Your Dog’s Head to Stop Him from Barking
- Want to Stop Your Barking Dog? Call Cesar Millan, Fercryingoutloud!
See where I’m going? BEFORE you write a single word of the ebook you’re contemplating, make sure there’s a market for it, and make sure you’re giving that market something valuable and exceptional. Don’t worry about joining a crowded market. Just find a way to stand out from the crowd.
I’d also suggest that you write some dog-training articles for pet magazines and top pet-care blogs to help establish your credibility. Then you’re Joe Hushpuppy, as seen in Dog Fancy magazine or dogchannel.com.
So that’s a good start. Don’t waste your time writing anything people don’t want to read. Not if you’re in it for the money.
If you’re keen to learn more about ebooks and ebook marketing, check out my site EbookSecretsRated.com, where I review the best books on the market about writing and selling ebooks.