Writing a book sounds like a huge task. In our busy, distraction-filled, digital world, even reading a whole book can seem like a challenge. But books are changing, partly as a response to how busy we are, and how digital our world has become. Here are a few changes you may or may not be aware of:
- Ebooks are now the most popular format for many English-speaking readers
- Non-fiction books are shorter than ever – often around 10,000 words
- Readers love short, highly-focused ebooks that teach them to do one specific thing
- A short book in a specific niche is easy to market, especially if you already have a blog on the topic
- Writing a short book doesn’t require vastly different skills from writing blog posts
- Programs like Kindle Direct Publishing make publishing an ebook as easy as publishing a blog
- You can easily create an Amazon author page (like mine) to promote your ebook/s (and blog)
- Getting your ebook into stores like iBooks and Barnes and Noble is also pretty simple
- If you want to produce a print book, print-on-demand technology now means you can do so easily, with minimal upfront costs
You already have the skills
You’re a blogger, right? Unless you’re predominantly posting videos, infographics or other image-heavy content, you’re probably writing a lot. Writing blog posts will have honed and improved your writing skills. Writing a book will improve your skills further and make you a better blogger. Win, win.
A short, focused, ebook that solves one specific problem can easily come in at around 10,000 words. If you’re writing long-form blog posts of around 1000 words, that’s the equivalent of just ten posts.For a niche blogger, writing an ebook can increase traffic, subscribers and revenue. Click To Tweet
You may already have the content
My first two ebooks were the result of me shutting down my blog about freelance writing. It was my starter blog, and while the content was good, I never really had a plan, a strategy, or a suitable way of monetizing that content. So I closed it down and decided to re-purpose the blog content by writing a book.
As I went through the content I realized I had a lot of posts aimed at newbies, and some aimed at more experienced writers. So I ended up creating two ebooks, How To Start Your Freelance Writing Career From Scratch, for brand new freelancers, and 52 Tips For Freelance Writers, aimed at those already working as freelance writers. As a bonus, I realized lots of people who bought the first, and applied the advice, might then be interested in the second.
I also had a couple of essay style posts left over that didn’t seem to fit in either book. They were eventually adapted into two chapters in my third book Ten Commandments For The Thriving Writer (I wrote the rest from scratch).
Lastly, I had a page on my blog that was simply a list of all the free tools I’d found useful while starting my freelance writing business on a zero dollar budget. I took that list, wrote a short review of every tool, and turned it into my most successful and best selling ebook so far, Free Tools For Writers, Bloggers and Solopreneurs.
As I was closing down my blog I was able to compile my content into exclusive ebooks, but it’s OK to use posts from your live blog and compile them into book form too, especially if you add some extra exclusive material as well.
Look at your blog. Do you already have posts that could be a chapter in a book? Have you written a series of several posts on one niche sub-topic that could be compiled into a book?
You can create your book content as part of your blogging strategy
If you don’t already have a series of posts on one niche topic, could you start one now? If you start with the idea that each post will also be a chapter in a book, you’ll adapt your writing as you go along. This means you’ll spend less time editing when it’s time to compose everything into book format (I may have used my blog content as a basis for those first few ebooks, but it took a LOT of editing to make them read like books, not a series of blog posts).
You’ll drive traffic to your blog
I’ll be honest. I don’t make a ton of money from my book sales. It is nice to have a bit of extra (passive) income coming in every month, but for most bloggers the real benefits of being an author don’t come in royalty checks.
This reason, and all the following ones, are the hidden benefits of authorship. If you have your blog set up right, they’ll be worth much more to you than your monthly royalty payments.
I put a live link to my blog in the front (and back) of every ebook, along with the occasional link within the text to a specific post or page. Every time I release a new book or do a big promotion for an old one, I get a significant spike in traffic. With my Savvy Solopreneur Guides, in particular, the traffic tends to be well targeted. As I’m sure you’re already aware, if your blog is well monetized, targeted traffic is as good as money in the bank.
You’ll increase sign-ups
I put a link to my sign-up page, and a mention of my free opt-in gift, in every book. Again, every new book release or promotion brings me new subscribers.
Hint: I put my call to subscribe right at the beginning of my ebook, where people previewing my book on Amazon or other online retailers can see it, and click it. Even people who don’t buy my book may click through that link and sign up. If they were checking out a book on freelancing or solopreneurship, they’re probably bang in my target market. Again, if you’re monetizing your list, you’ll find that over time an interested, engaged subscriber list is worth a lot more than book sales.
You can promote your services
Write an ebook firmly in your niche and you’ll find you can use it to promote your services. Health coach? Write a book on healthy living and nutrition and offer readers your health coaching services. Blog designer? Write a book on blogging strategy and use it to sell your design services. You can even offer your ebook readers a coupon code to get a discount on your services.
You can sell your products
Maybe you sell physical or digital products. Same deal. You can mention them within your book or even include an advertisement or promotional blurb at the front or back of your book. Selling your info products or an online course? That would also lend itself to an exclusive discount offered to readers of your ebook.
This works best, of course, when you niche it down. So if you sell a course on blog strategy, a book about starting a blog or planning a content strategy would work. If you sell stock images you could produce a tightly focused ebook about the importance of visual marketing. Make sure your book attracts your ideal customer.
You can make affiliate sales, directly from your book
Many of us promote various affiliate products on our blogs. But did you know you can do that in an ebook too? If you include any recommendations or suggestions for products and services your readers might find useful, you can include your affiliate link for them to click through (don’t forget to disclose – I put my disclosure notice in the front matter of my books).
You’ll increase your authority and uncover new opportunities
Even though it’s really simple to produce an ebook, or even a print book, producing a good one (one that offers high quality information, is well edited, with a great cover design) will help establish you as an expert in your field.
Since I’ve been an author I’ve been approached for interviews and quotes, and asked to contribute guest chapters to other books (most recently I’ve been featured in the new ebook, The Secret Lives of Writers).
A print book is also an excellent way to make extra money from speaking or training events. Have signed copies of your book for sale after the event. If you’ve wowed your audience, that’s a nice extra for them to take home.
It’s simpler than you think, with the right tools
It’s much simpler than you might imagine to produce an ebook. Once you’ve done the actual writing, uploading the book to Amazon Kindle, for example, is no more complicated than uploading your latest blog post.
You can get your cover designed by a professional, or if you have any design skills at all, you can try making a cover yourself (the free online design tool Canva even has ‘Kindle cover’ as one of it’s design options). There are very few costs involved, though you may want to shell out for copy editing and/or proofreading (Hey, that’s one of the services I offer. Check my rates out here.)
Want to write your book in the next 30 days? I highly recommend the Kindle in 30 Challenge from Kristen Joy, also known as The Book Ninja. There’s no way I’d have been able to write my books (eight of them, and counting) without the help of Kristen’s courses, checklists and templates. She’s been my secret weapon in creating, publishing and marketing my books. (Yes, those are affiliate links. Yes, I really do use and love Kristin’s products and training materials.)
Have a question about publishing your first book? Email me (seriously). I’ll try and help. And if I can’t help, I might know someone who can. And consider signing up to get your free printable workbook and other goodies to help you run your online biz.