The number one way I make money online is selling eBooks – my own eBooks, that I wrote, that I market, that I sell. No middlemen, no affiliates, just me. Some of those eBooks are sold directly on sales letters, most are sold through blogs.
It works incredibly well – so well that you might want to make selling eBooks the backbone of your online income too.
The only tricky part of the process is getting the eBooks written. You can outsource the job, but that costs money that you may not have. And if you’re a perfectionist like I am, you may feel compelled to write your eBooks yourself.
If you’re going to be writing your eBooks yourself, you’ll find it’s a tricky process unless you have a solid plan to follow.
To help you with that, I’ve put together a simple tutorial that you can follow.
If you follow this tutorial, the process of writing an eBook will be simple. Even if you think you can’t write, you’ll produce a quality eBook faster than you ever thought possible.
Step 1. Research
Once you’ve chosen the topic for your eBook, you need to do some basic research. This research will only take a few minutes to do, and it’s going to help you outline all the content for your eBook.
There are 2 places you need to visit to do this research. Let’s look at them both.
First, you need to find a couple of forums that are related to the topic of your eBook. To do this, just do a Google search for your topic, plus the word “forum.”
So if your eBook is going to be about dog training, do a Google search for “dog training forum.”
Take a look at the first few results. What you’re looking for are the best forums on the topic of your eBook. A quick glance is all it takes to find the top forums.
You’re looking for forums that are busy – the more threads and posts the better.
When you find a forum that looks good and has a lot of activity, take 10 minutes to look around. Click on the sub-categories. Read the most popular threads. Take notes.
You’re looking for the questions, problems, issues, and subjects that come up repeatedly. And you’re looking for the threads that generate the most views and replies.
Make a note of anything that sticks out.
Next, head to Amazon. Do a search in the book section for the root term that relates to the topic of your eBook.
So if your eBook is going to be about overcoming procrastination, search for “procrastination.” If your eBook is going to be about getting rid of spots, search for “acne.”
Next, start taking a closer look at the books that your search turned up.
One of the great things about Amazon is that you can look inside the first few pages of most books, and that’s what you’re going to do here.
Click on the book’s cover image and then click on “Table of Contents.”
This will take you directly to the book’s contents page.
Read through the names of the chapters, sections, and headings on the contents page, and make notes of anything that catches your attention or that sounds like something you could include in your eBook.
Next, scroll down the page until you get to the customer reviews – and start reading them.
You’re looking for two things:
- customers who loved the book
- customers who hated the book
So pay close attention to the reviews with 5 stars and the reviews with 1 star.
What you’re looking for are the reasons people loved the book and the reasons people hated the book.
When you’re checking out the 1 star reviews, pay close attention to what customers said the book lacked – what they hoped it would include that it didn’t.
As you read through the customer reviews, take more notes. Keep these questions in mind:
- what topics did customers like to read about?
- what topics did customers feel were missing?
- what writing style did customers like?
- what positive things did multiple customers agree on?
- what negative things did multiple customers agree on?
Go through this process for several of the popular books related to the topic of your eBook.
Once you’ve done this, you should have a lot of notes. You’ll have the notes you made from the “Table of Contents” pages of the books, and you’ll have the notes you made from the customer reviews you read.
You can now use these 2 sets of notes to outline your eBook.
Step 2. Brainstorming
Using all your notes, you now need to come up with the 10 best ideas you’ve come across. Each of these ideas will become a chapter in your eBook.
First, compare all the notes you made from all the “Table of Contents” pages that you found on Amazon.
Look for subjects that have a chapter dedicated to them in all or most of the books you checked out. Any subject that features in every book is probably a requirement for your chosen topic, so these subjects will be essential.
Put these into your shortlist.
Now compare the rest of your notes and ask yourself these questions:
- what 2 or 3 subjects were discussed the most on the forums you looked at?
- what 2 or 3 topics did several Amazon customer reviewers say they loved?
- what 2 or 3 topics did several Amazon customer reviewers say they wished had been included that weren’t?
Consider them all, while keeping in mind all the other things you learned during your research, and get your list of chapter ideas up to 10.
Don’t get nervous that you’re choosing the wrong subjects to focus on. The research you did puts you way ahead of most people who are outlining an eBook.
This is your eBook and there’s no wrong answer, as long as you use your research notes as guidance.
All you have to do now before you can move onto the next step is to put your 10 chapter ideas into a logical order.
Again, don’t agonize over this. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You just need to think about your future readers and which order the information in your eBook should logically come in.
When you’re settled on your 10 chapter ideas, and you’ve arranged them into a logical order, your entire eBook is outlined. All you have to do now is write it.
And don’t worry – I’ve got a system you can use that’ll make it easy.
Step 3. Write Your Chapters
To make writing your eBook chapters simple, I’m going to share my favorite content framework with you.
Think of a framework as the skeleton that you hang your content on. The framework gives your content its structure, its organization. And best of all, it makes the content easy to create.
I’m going to recommend that you use the framework I teach you to create each of your 10 chapters. This is a very fast way to create an eBook, and by using the same framework for each chapter, you guarantee that all your chapters will flow beautifully in your final eBook.
The framework is made up of 3 components. Let me show them to you.
The first component of this framework is the introduction. The introduction component does 3 things:
- it introduces the topic of the chapter
- it states a problem that the chapter will solve
- it briefly reveals the solution to this problem
Imagine that my eBook is about weight loss and that the chapter I’m writing is all about the metabolism. So the metabolism is my topic and I’d write a couple of paragraphs on it – just to introduce the idea.
For this, I’d check out the Wikipedia entry for the metabolism and a handful of other authority sites on the same subject. Then I’d rewrite/reword what I’d learned into the opening section of my introduction.
Now I need to introduce the problem that the chapter will solve.
In this example, the problem might be that having a slow metabolism makes it hard to lose weight fast. I’d write a few paragraphs on that. A quick look around online would give me all the info I’d need, and I could reword it to explain why a slow metabolism makes it hard to lose weight.
So I’ve introduced the topic of the chapter, and I’ve stated the problem that the chapter is going to solve. Now I need to briefly explain the solution to the problem.
Here, I might spend a couple of paragraphs explaining that a slow metabolism is caused by eating too infrequently, and that the best way to speed up a slow metabolism is to eat lots of small meals throughout the day.
At this stage, I don’t need any more explanation of the solution than that.
The reason that I would only explain the solution briefly is because I’ll be going into the solution in detail later in the chapter.
For now, all the introduction needs to do is let the readers know where they’re being led, and to get them excited about the potential of a solution.
And that would be it for the introduction component of the chapter.
I’d normally aim to make this component of the chapter approximately 250 words long, and I recommend that you aim for a similar word count.
The Action Steps
Next, we get into the action steps section, which will take up the majority of the chapter. The action steps section only needs to do one thing:
- break the solution down into simple steps that your readers can follow
Even though the action steps section takes up the majority of the chapter, it’s by far the quickest and easiest section to write.
Why? Because all you have to do is write short, clear steps for your readers to follow.
This section will almost write itself.
Before you write the action steps, you’ll need to create a quick plan to follow. To do this, just spend a few minutes thinking what someone would have to do to make use of the solution that you’re recommending.
I’ll stick with my weight loss example to show you how this is done.
Okay, so my problem is slow weight loss due to a slow metabolism, and my solution is to speed up the metabolism through more frequent eating.
So I’d brainstorm a series of simple steps someone would have to follow to make this solution a reality. Here’s what I might come up with:
- step 1: monitor your food intake for a week
- step 2: work out how many calories you eat a day
- step 3: work out how many meals you eat a day
- step 4: decide how many meals a day you should eat
- step 5: create a new eating schedule
- step 6: follow the schedule for 30 days and measure your progress
That list took me about 60 seconds to create, and anybody could have created it.
I just thought logically through the series of steps someone would need to follow to make this kind of change to their eating habits.
So what I have now is 6 steps that I can use to create my action steps section.
I would now write one or two paragraphs for each of the steps, where I break down the entire process into much more detail.
I would generally try to make this action steps section about 1,000 words long. That may sound like a lot, but it’s really not.
For my example with 6 steps, that would mean that each step would need to be about 150 words or so. That’s nothing. And when you break the writing down into 150 word chunks like this, you’ll be amazed how fast you can get it done.
Once you’ve got your action steps done, you’ve just got one section of your chapter left to write.
The What If
The “what if” section exists to do just one thing:
- to get the readers of your eBook to take action and follow the advice you’ve shared with them
If your readers don’t follow the advice that you offer them in your eBook then their problems will remain unsolved.
That will mean one or two very bad things could happen:
- your customers will ask for a refund
- your customers will spread the word that your eBook is a waste of money and doesn’t work
These two things can happen even if the advice you offer in your eBook is great – because great advice that people don’t use is no better than bad advice.
So that’s why this “what if” section is vital. It will dramatically increase the number of your customers who actually follow the advice your eBook teaches them.
The result will be happier customers, fewer refunds, and more sales through positive word-of-mouth.
The “what if” section is really there just to inspire your readers. In it, you need to tease them with images and suggestions of what their future selves will be like after they’ve followed your advice and achieved the results you’ve promised them.
In my example, that would mean I’d focus on how hard it’s been for my readers to lose weight in the past. How they’ve worked so hard, done everything they can, and still they’ve not lost the weight.
Then I’d start to inspire, to get my readers excited, to put the idea into their heads that the advice in the chapter they’ve just read is the answer they’ve been looking for.
So I would literally come right out and ask them something like this:
What if your metabolism is the thing that’s stopped you losing weight all these years? What if you’ve been doing everything else right but your slow metabolism has been ruining it all for you?
What if you made the simple change to your diet of eating more often, and that alone was enough to make your excess weight start falling off you faster than you ever thought possible?
Do you see how this “what if” section works?
It makes your readers believe that the chapter they’ve just read contains a missing piece of the puzzle they’ve been trying to solve.
It makes your readers believe that, if they follow your advice, their problems will be solved.
And so they are far more likely to take action, to follow your advice, and to get great results.
So make sure you include a powerful “what if” section at the end of each of your eBook’s chapters, and aim to make them around 250 words long. It will guarantee that your eBook is better and more helpful than 95% of all the other eBooks out there.
Step 4. Compile Your eBook
When you’ve done your “what if” section, your chapter is finished.
If you got close to my recommended word counts for each section, then your final chapter should be about 1,500 words long.
And that’s a nice length, because if you have 10 chapters of 1,500 words each, you’ll end up with an eBook that’s approximately 15,000 words long (that’s about 60 pages).
That’s just right for a $37 eBook.
So all you have to do now is use the same framework I’ve shared with you in this post to write all 10 chapters of your eBook, and then to piece them all together into one 60 page document.
Convert that document into a PDF and you’ve got yourself your very own eBook information product.
If you’ve never written an eBook before, and you have no plan to follow, then it’s a daunting task. But now that you’ve read this tutorial, I’m hoping you can see how easy it can be.
Do your research on Amazon and related forums, create a table of contents for your eBooks, write 10 chapters using the 3 part framework I showed you, and then piece it all together.
That’s it – you’ll have a high-quality eBook, ready to make you money.
And in case you need a little inspiration to get you to actually go through with writing an eBook, let me share some numbers with you:
- if you write 500 words a day you’ll complete 2 chapters of an eBook in a week
- if you complete 2 chapters a week you’ll have a finished eBook in a month
- if you price that eBook at $37 and you sell one copy a day you’ll make $1,100 a month – that’s $13,200 a year
- if you repeat the process and write and launch an eBook every month and they each sell one copy a day, in a year’s time you’ll make $13,320 a month – that’s $159,840 a year
A few eBooks can make you a life-changing amount of money. I know this because I write and sell eBooks and they’ve changed my life.
Look at those numbers up above – look how big those numbers get. And it all starts with writing just 500 words a day.
So you really should get started. Right now.