How to write and publish an ebook
If you’re a writer, there’s a pretty good chance that publishing a book has crossed your mind at least once. Maybe you were thinking of writing a novel, maybe something more non-fiction…and now, it’s all possible thanks to our friend, the internet.
Publishing ebooks is super cool because:
- They show your expertise in the field
- They provide a valuable resource for your audience
- They can be an additional revenue source
Let’s dive in to how to actually do it!
You know why I’m hype on ebooks right now? It’s because I just published one! So obviously I had to write a blog post about how to do it lol. If you’ve got your eyes on a big writing goal like starting a freelance biz, writing a book, starting a blog, etc. then check it out! You’ll go from not knowing where the heck to start to understanding exactly what you need to do to accomplish your goals. Check it out here:
What should you write about?
This is of course the first question that will pop up in your mind when thinking about writing a book and quite possibly the hardest part. Can’t write much without knowing what you’re writing, right?
Some things to consider when choosing a topic are:
- Conduct market research. What is your audience talking about? You’ll want your ebook to be relevant to them and not just something you think is important. What matters to your audience?
- Don’t be too narrow or too broad. There’s a balance to a great ebook! You want a good enough topic to write around 40-50 pages at least.
- Make sure your topic solves a problem. What are you helping your audience with?
- Make sure your reader will experience a transformation with your ebook. Think about a significant change they will experience after reading. Not just something they’ll learn—a way they will change for the better. For example, they could go from having a huge writing goal but too intimidated to start, to creating a solid plan and finally feeling confident in where to go (like my ebook). Or, they could go from having no clients and not sure how to get any, to having a proven framework and several strategies on how to master client acquisition (an idea for one of my future ebooks).
I think the most important takeaway here is to think about your reader’s transformation once they finish reading your ebook. Whereas a blog post may teach a single skill or mindset or a social media post may be more like a thought of the day, an ebook will have a bigger impact on the reader that will walk them through a transformation.
The first draft
I have actually talked a lot about first drafts because once I discovered how to play their nasty little game, everything clicked for me.
The trick to conquering the first draft of anything you write is to write bad on purpose.
You read that right!
Throw proper grammar and punctuation and finding the right words out the window. Just dump words on the page.
Without your ideas on the page, there won’t be anything to work with! I learned this the hard way when writing my novels. I refused to continue writing more until what I had already written was perfect…and you can imagine how productive THAT was. It wasn’t.
Once I just allowed myself to write horribly, I actually made progress.
This isn’t easy, especially when all we do is try to sound amazing with our words! But I’m telling you, once you let go and just write bad the first time around, you’ll be amazed.
Your good friend Editing will be there when you need it to do its job.
You’re a writer, so you’re mostly playing with words all day. But what’s also important is to think about how to make your words visually appealing beyond using headings, lists, and shorter paragraphs and all of the other formatting tricks we use.
For your ebook, you’ll want to include images to complement the text. You can do this easily by either taking your own photography if you can or using free image websites like Pixabay (my favorite).
For my ebook, I used visuals for each section title page and a couple throughout each section to break up the text and make it even easier to read.
Don’t overthink this here. Just think about how you can make your writing easier to read by using visuals as a tool.
I formatted my ebook pretty much how I format my blog posts as far as the writing goes. I used different headings to break up sub-topics, used bulleted and numbered lists, and short paragraphs. The key here is to still make your writing as readable as possible!
Even though you’re writing a book, this is different than a novel where you could get away with pages and pages of paragraphs. When someone reads a novel, that’s what they’re expecting. But for an educational ebook, you may want to consider how formatting differs from a novel.
I did this all using Google Docs, too. Nothing fancy! You can also use programs like Canva to design each page and work your writing into the design, but I kept it simple with Google Docs.
As with most in marketing, there are a bunch of ways you could go about this. Maybe you’re feeling super confident about what you wrote and you just want to go and publish already. Maybe you have a friend read it first. Maybe you hire a professional editor.
At least for me, I felt like at least one extra set of eyes needed to look at it first before publishing. I could have hired an editor or passed it around to a few writer friends, but I opted for none other than my wonderful husband. And there’s a reason for this.
My husband can write really well, but he isn’t a marketing content writer. He doesn’t surround himself with marketing every day. He hasn’t tried to write a book or anything that I talk about in the ebook.
If he didn’t understand what the heck I was talking about, a writer certainly wouldn’t. So, he was “hired”.
Sometimes someone who actually isn’t your target audience is a great person to review your work to make sure you are super clear about what you’re saying.
Again, you like to play with words, maybe you aren’t a pro designer. But honestly, Canva has completely changed the game. Now, I’m not saying that Canva has replaced the need for good graphic designers entirely—no, no. But Canva really provides the tools you may need to create simple visuals for social posts, brochures, and even ebook covers!
I really just kept it simple, but play around with the different built-in visuals and elements and see what works best for you! Try researching other ebooks related to your topic to see what their covers look like. There is plenty of inspiration everywhere! My philosophy is the simpler the better here.
This may be different depending on where you live, but at least for the US, your work is protected by the common copyright law. Once your work is written down, it is copyrighted. But if you want to go the extra mile for extra protection, you can have it registered through the US copyright office. Whatever makes most sense for you, where you live, and how comfortable you feel. Just make sure nobody can steal your writing as their own after all the hard work you put into it!
Where to publish
Your first thought on where to sell books is probably Amazon, but there are many other options! I have bought books from people who published on Gumroad which was a decent experience from the customer perspective. For my ebook, I published on Amazon Kindle and on my website via WooCommerce. There are a ton of possibilities these days, so you may have to do your research on what works best for you, but Amazon and WooCommerce were both super, super simple for me.
Get the word out
Once you finally publish, you’ll want people to know about it, right? This requires a strategic campaign to make sure you spread the word to the right people at the right time.
First, I published a “my ebook is published and the launch starts tomorrow!” post to give people a heads up. Surprisingly, these posts performed REALLY well…better than the actual official launch posts LOL. For my next ebook, I may consider just making the big announcement when I’m ready for the launch.
This is what I did for my official launch campaign:
- LinkedIn post
- Instagram post
- Facebook post
- Blog post
- Share to my personal Facebook page
- DM those who commented on my initial “ebook coming soon!” post
- Tell friends and family
- Offer $5 off for the first week when you buy off my website
This is your opportunity to spread the word! Share it proudly.
I’ve also heard the strategy to only sell to your email list. These are theoretically the people who are most loyal to you and are most likely to make a purchase. As we know, there are so many different ways to go about this and many ways that can work! As with most things marketing, you just have to experiment to see what works the best.
If you’ve got your mind set on writing an ebook, go for it! It’s a lot of work, but totally worth it in the end. You’ll help your audience, gain more writing experience, and maybe even make a little money!
Feeling a little overwhelmed or intimidated about the whole process? My latest ebook can help with that. By reading it, you’ll learn different strategies, mindsets, and systems to put in place in order to tackle any big writing goal. Go from unsure to confident about accomplishing your goal.