Becoming a published author today is easier than it’s ever been at any other time in history. If you have an idea for a book, all you have to do is write it, put it up on the ‘net and watch the sales come rolling in. OK, well, it isn’t quite that easy. Along with the power to publish, comes the responsibility to make sure you’re producing something people need—and market it effectively. Still, producing and marketing your own ebook can be readily accomplished, if you make the following moves.
If you’re considering this, you probably already have an idea for a book. Before you dash off 200 pages on the subject, take some time to see what’s already out there. Keep in mind, the more specific you make yours, the better chance it will have of standing out. Rather than producing a broadly general book on raising children, consider narrowing the focus to “Raising Children in a One Bedroom Walkup on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.” Yes, that’s a bit of an exaggeration—but you can see how it would resonate more than yet another book on child rearing.
Writing a book is like public speaking, one of the first rules of which is know your audience. Take some time to learn their concerns. Ask people who fit into your target demographic what they think about the subject and what they wish they knew about it. If you have a blog, use a post to get the essence of the book out there and see what kind of response it gets from your readers. The more effort you put in at this stage, the greater your likelihood of producing something valuable.
Use your blog to ask people to sign up if they’re interested in learning more about the topic. Tell them you’re writing a book on the subject and ask them for suggestions as to what to include. The level of response you get will be a strong indicator of the amount of interest among your followers on the subject. If you don’t have a blog, offer an article as a guest post on blogs relating to the topic with an email opt-in. This will give you a list of people likely to be receptive when the book is complete. Establish a site for selling your ebooks online and use it to communicate as the project is being developed. Establish pages for the work on all relevant social media outlets and update them as the tome develops.
The best plan of attack is to figure out what you want to say and work backward from there to explain it. Write as simply and clearly as possible. Once you’ve got it all out, go back and edit to make sure you aren’t being repetitive. Then hire a proofreader to go through to make sure spelling and grammar are correct. Get a professional—don’t rely on relatives or friends, unless they proof for a living.
Inadequate packaging and formatting have ruined many a great book. Body fonts should be consistent throughout, and point sizes should be 12 at the most, 11 at a minimum. Your choice of header style should also be consistent throughout. If the subject lends itself to illustration, use photos to help tell the story. If you’re good with a camera, shoot them yourself, otherwise hire someone who is. If all else fails, go with stock images. There are a number of free libraries out there you can access. Books are very much judged by their covers, so you’ll want to hire someone adept at design to come up with yours. You’ll then have to convert the result into the formats various ebook readers want to see. Mobi is preferred by Kindle, while most others use Epub. Next, add the book to your site.
You’ve got a built-in set of buyers if you followed step three above. Now it’s time to let them know the book is ready to enhance their lives. Still, though, you’re going to have to reach farther afield. Approach every blog and website you can find with even a shred of relevance and ask to run guest posts to help you promote the book. Post about it on all of your social outlets and encourage your list of hand-raisers to do so as well. Approach local TV and radio stations with a press release and angle to get interviews. Provide relevant bloggers with free copies so they can help you build buzz among their followers as well.
With a bit of luck, careful planning and solid execution, producing and marketing your own ebook can be a fulfilling endeavor. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped others solve one of life’s nagging problems.
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