Writing an eBook For Your Blog

Bloggers can do amazing things with an eBook. Whether it’s 10 or 200 pages, en eBook can be used as a subscriber or newsletter sign-up incentive, a viral promotional tool or sold for 100% profit through your blog. This post will describe what you need and the approach you should take to finally start and finish the eBook you’ve always wanted to publish.

What kind of eBook should I write?

When answering this question, form follows function. The amount of work you need to put in will depend on what you want your eBook to do.Encourage subscribers — a report of anywhere between 5 – 30 pages should be sufficient to motivate potential subscribers to action. Offer the eBook download via your feed footer only, which makes it essential that visitors subscribe before they can download it. Instead of trying to write a miniature book, I’d suggest expanding on one of your most popular articles or exploring one of your blog’s key concept in more detail. If you’ve coined a term, for example, hinge the eBook around that term. Chris Garrett’s Killer Flagship Content eBook is a prime example of this strategy. You can use BlogClout’s Feed Footer Plug-in to add the link to your feed.Create a souvenir — you can repackage your archives in eBook form in less than a few hours. The result will be a fantastic little item for your readers to keep or print out, and something they can share with others.Aim to go viral — eBooks make it very easy to share ideas. If you create an eBook designed specifically to be shared, you can expect other bloggers to offer it for download and copies to be sent around through email. If you don’t want to put a lot of work into it, a short eBook exploring a new, useful idea will suit you. If you want to put more effort into it, you could create something as long and value-packed as Seth Godin’s Ideavirus.Sell it to your readers — bloggers have sold all kinds of eBooks to their readers, from 10 page reports, 80 page manifestos to 200 page guidebooks. You can charge more for a longer eBook, but you might sell less copies. Your sales will hinge on the quality of your blog content and whether or not your eBook is attractive to your blog’s audience. You can also market an eBook as being, say, 100 pages, even if there are only about 200 words per page (as opposed to the usual 500). This also makes your eBook easier to read.

What tools do I need?

eBooks are almost always .pdf files and there are plenty of free programs you can use to create them, even if you don’t own Adobe Acrobat. PrimoPDF allows you to use MS Word’s ‘Print’ function to save documents as PDFs. Adobe’s CreatePDF service allows you to convert documents to PDFs online or use their free desktop printing software.Most eBook writers will type out their rough draft in a word processing program, then either transfer it into Adobe Acrobat or use the same word processor to format the eBook as they’d like it to appear as a finished product. If your design skills are lackluster, you can search for a freelancer who’ll do this for you.

How do I start?

Your eBook will be easier to write if you work from a solid plan. Work out roughly how many pages you’re aiming for, what kind of topics, sections or chapters you’ll cover, and approximately how many pages you want devoted to each.Instead of writing from start to finish, it might be a better idea to tackle each section individually and then string them together. If you try to start right at the beginning the task can seem insurmountable, particularly if you’re aiming to write something quite long.My next suggestion would be to develop a writing schedule. When writing my eBook (which I’m currently editing), I dedicated one day a week to the eBook alone, with an aim to get it done as quickly as possible. You might choose to set aside one hour a day, or one hour a week instead.Your time allocation will depend on how quickly you want to get the eBook done. I’d also suggest working on it in times when you usually write blog posts anyway, because your brain is used to being in writing mode at that time. Trying to schedule an eBook writing session when you’re usually asleep will probably be met with some biological resistance!If you find yourself routinely putting off your writing sessions, a blitzkrieg approach might be better for you. Set aside one weekend or several nights in a row where you’ll write non-stop and try to get the eBook’s first draft finished. The result might not be pretty, but everything gets easier after that first draft is done.Don’t write and edit as you go along. Trying to write a final draft from the outset will make you feel unsatisfied with the work you’ve done, which will almost always lead to procrastination. If your eBook is to be a quality product, you must feel good about the writing process.

When you’re done

The most common way to distribute an eBook via a blog is eJunkie. In addition to handling sales it also allows you to set up an affiliate program where readers make a certain percentage of the profit on every sale that they refer you. An affiliate program does two things: reaches out to more buyers and creates more buzz around the book. It also encourages positive reviews. Let’s face it — nobody is going to trash a book they’re trying to sell!Here are a few other marketing ideas you can use to sell your eBook:Money back guarantee — the security of the money back guarantee makes people more likely to buy. This will outweigh the amount of people who claim a money back guarantee while still claiming the eBook. Most people are honest and will only ask for their money back if they’re genuinely disappointed with the product.Give subscribers a discount coupon — include a special code in your feed footer and allow individuals who provide the code to purchase the eBook at 20% off (or some other percentage).Offer pre-orders at a discount rate — you can create hype around your eBook by offering discounted pre-orders before you publicly release it. Just make sure it’s finished, first.Create a special mailing list for eBook owners — provide a password or URL in your eBook that allows owners to sign up for an exclusive newsletter. Make the newsletter worthwhile by providing exclusive offers and articles to those who’ve signed up. I’d suggest not sending out a newsletter more frequently than once every two weeks to avoid being seen as intrusive.Good luck! If you need any more advice on writing an eBook, I’ll be answering questions in the comments section of this post.

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82 Responses to Writing an eBook For Your Blog

  1. Ivan says:

    Thank you for the article! Since some time I have the idea to write an ebook for my readers. Now I’m really inspired to plan it and to start with.

  2. Adnan says:

    Great post Skellie. Whilst appealing for more subscribers has worked really well (with people like Michael Martine for example), I think something which could be of more value to build, would be a mailing list.Bloggers like Yaro Starak have managed to build an email list due to providing really good information and tips and tricks. However, with this email list, you can then monetise using affiliate marketing in order to earn some rather hefty commissions.I would be interested in your view on eBook privacy. Leo Babauta recently revealed that he would allow his eBook to be distributed freely – what approach will you take, and how will you prevent your eBook from being distributed illegally in the same way?

  3. Nick | PTO says:

    This post has come at a great time — I’m about halfway through writing mine!I’d also be interested to hear your thoughts about privacy and digital rights. Specifically, is the simplicity of a trust-based system better in the long run than complex setups (like watermarking the buyer’s email address into the pages)?Can’t wait to buy yours – do you have a release date in mind?

  4. Bill says:

    Thanks for the tips and links. I’ve downloaded Seth Godin’s ebook and will be using ejunkie, which I had never heard of until I read your article.Now to write my eBookCheersBill

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  6. Thanks Skellie for the great article. I really need to learn how to write ebooks, promote them, and more and this post has given me a huge boost. Now I just need to stop being lazy and get some work done. Thanks again.

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  8. Wayne Liew says:

    I am currently in the progress of writing an e-book myself and this post certainly gave a few pointers for me later on how can I spread out the completed product.Skellie, do you think that an e-book should only link to only my own blog or can let it be to other resources and articles not written by us?The first definitely creates “my own” e-book but the latter will surely offers extra quality readings for my readers. So, where should I go from here?

  9. LifeTweak says:

    Great article again :) It’s going to take a while before I start writing my first ebook…but I’ll keep these in mind.Thanks Skellie, for you efforts! :) Manu.

  10. An ebook can also be used to propel a new blog into fame and bring in a huge amount of traffic. It is also a great way to build your list of emails…

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  13. Fubiz says:

    Thanks a lot for the tips

  14. Tibi Puiu says:

    Solid tips Skellie, hope you finish your ebook soon; looking forward for it.

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  17. Spenser says:

    Excellent article, Skellie! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for to boost my blog’s readership up! Thanks for the great writing

  18. Anthony says:

    Great article Skellie! I’ve been looking for an alternative to ClickBank to sell ebooks – thanks for the eJunkie info.

  19. Jan Richards says:

    Excellent, thanks!My first book is underway, and you’ve provided a great alternate distribution option to what I was planning. I’ll check it out.

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  27. Derek Anders says:

    Great article. I am thinking about writing an ebook soon and this article helped with some questions I had. Thanks!

  28. Iain Broome says:

    Extremely useful, thank you.You’re right, just like there are many blogs to choose from, same goes for e-books. For me, the most important thing is to provide value. Offer something different and at the very least, entertain!

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  51. I have checked out eJunkie because I would have though Aweber would be the best service for distributing your ebook.As well, what are your thoughts on free distribution of it through an email subscription in order to build buzz/a following?

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  73. articlescreen says:

    I am not an author or e-book writer but I do write articles..But the way you have discussed the matter it make me interested to think about that…

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  77. A.W. says:

    Hi there! Can you sell your ebook per chapter? I am interested in selling my creative writing on a website that could generate funds for the non-profit I am working with currently. If North East doesn’t provide this type of service, who does?Thanks!

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  82. Michelle says:

    Hi. Thanks for your informative article. I have been thinking of writing an ebook ever since my blog’s first birthday, and I think I figured out how thanks to your article. I hope your ebook sells well. Thanks again.

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