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Thought about writing an eBook?
Not sure where to start and how to write an ebook to create a passive income?
Here is a helpful guide to the steps you can take to start with an idea and transform that idea into an eBook, which will give you a passive income.
Not only can you turn your hobby into a profitable eBook, but you can “rinse and repeat” to your heart’s content. Finding the tools to help you create your eBook can sometimes be tricky.
In this step by step guide, I highlight those struggles you may come across and the helpful tools and platforms to give you the best chance to write and self-publish an eBook.
Before we dive in and look at the best strategies to implement to get you started today to write your successful ebook, let’s look at some FAQ’s on the in’s and out’s of writing an ebook.
Table of Contents
can I make money writing ebooks?
You only need to look on Amazon to see so many ebooks available and on every niche, you can imagine.
Making money from ebook creation is undoubtedly achievable by implementing the steps I have in my guide.
Choosing a popular topic to write about is essential as well as focusing on delivering stand out content which will appeal to your readers.
It certainly takes time to research what to write about, and in my guide below, I highlight the top software tool to find the right non-fiction topic to make your ebook profitable.
What types of ebooks are best to sell?
There are plenty to choose from to write about with so many genres and niches to suit everyone. But what are the best non-fiction niches to sell your ebook that will sell?
Below are the top five, but don’t be discouraged if your chosen niche isn’t on the list. Publisher Rocket by Dave Chesson has an incredible software tool to search for the right ebook niche for you to write today. I have a detailed description all about how the software works later in this guide.
- Money & Business
- Health, Fitness & Dieting
- Relationships & Parenting
- Cook Books
Can I create my ebook in Word?
The answer to this great question is – yes!
You can write your ebook anywhere that feels comfortable to you.
- Microsoft Word
- Google Drive
- Dictation via an app.
Once I publish my ebook, can Amazon print my book to sell?
Publishing your ebook is a step-by-step process (see my guide below), and once you have your ebook selling on Amazon, you can set-up a listing to sell your book in paperback form.
This way, you can appeal to and reach more readers by giving different options to receive and read your ebook.
What does an ebook look like?
If you have never read an ebook before this is a perfect question.
Your ebook will look just like the print format, except being an ebook, the structure will change to adapt to whatever device the reader decides to view it on.
This way, you are appealing to a broader audience. Readers can follow your ebook chapters, changing devices as they please, with the benefit of your work always filling the screen and adapting to the device’s change beautifully.
Having such a dynamic, adaptable layout gives your reader choices, how and where to read your ebook, and also just how accessible it is to read on an e-reader or app.
How Long Should a non fiction ebook be?
Unlike the average fiction ebook clocking up between 80,000 – 100,000 words, your non-fiction ebook’s minimum word count is, on average, 10,000 words.
Thinking about word count, though, shouldn’t be your priority; as long as your content is strong and clear, you won’t worry so much about your ebook length.
Amazon Kindle does have a restricted category called Kindle Short Reads, and if your book is high quality and content-rich, but short, Amazon may choose to place your ebook in this hidden category automatically.
When you first upload your ebook to Amazon KDP, you won’t see the Kindle Short Reads category for selection. As it is a category not open to all initially, consider this an advantage as you will have less competition.
You can be selective on your keywords, target your categories strategically, and start to build your readership. It may help you rank higher in your niche, as competition in this category isn’t as strong.
Amazon considers your ebook for Kindle Short Reads if it takes the reader between 15 minutes to two hours to read your ebook content. The page count also has a bearing for this category as it can be up to 100 pages.
How to Write An EBook?
Now we have had a good look at the top FAQ of writing an ebook for profit, let’s look at the guide to writing the perfect ebook. There are plenty of online resources to help you craft and hone your ebook, many of them free. The tips in this post are to help to form your eBook when you are ready to write.
Benefits of Publishing an eBook
If you have a burning passion for sharing your knowledge and skills, why not write a book and publish it on a platform such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing KDP?
We all have a story, a niche, that special something that makes you unique.
Share that to the world, and you can create a passive income for yourself that’s not only a straightforward process but that you can replicate again and again.
Let your authentic voice shine by creating an eBook on a niche subject that piques your interest.
Many authors sell ebooks and physical copies on Amazon KDP; you can choose to do both or just one. It’s up to you.
With an eBook, you can embed links to your business (which the reader can click the link to access). And even to other eBooks, you have written too. You embed links to relevant product suggestions within Amazon to take advantage of Amazon Associates (affiliate program) to gain extra income.
It is very beneficial to grow an existing business or brand and have additional income via the Amazon affiliate program to boost your passive monthly income.
There are so many benefits to publishing an eBook on KDP; it’s a very straightforward process to go through once you have uploaded your book. The customer care is helpful and friendly, and the extra revenue is the reward.
The profits you receive to create a passive income from your published eBook not only comes from the sales of your eBook, but you also get additional revenue from each page read from Amazon customers who borrow your book from Kindle Unlimited (KU) every month.
Where to Start with Writing an eBook?
It seems intimidating to contemplate writing a full eBook, not just an article or a blog post. Do you write fiction or non-fiction?
How many chapters?
Should It be on something I love? (or will that make me loathe it)
The best practice is to knuckle down and form a mind map of what you know, what you are knowledgeable about.
That’s a great place to begin to form all your core skills and look at interesting topics you could write about.
Creating a large mind map (rather than a list) gives more clarity and increases decision making as you visually consider your ideas and concepts.
You can then create subtopics as you go (chapters or characters), customizing the mind map to your own tailored specifications.
If you are struggling to find a topic, take a look below at a more detailed outline of the software Publisher Rocket by Dave Chesson, it will help find a niche that won’t be oversaturated in KDP.
Write your eBook in Google Docs, Word, Scrivener, or Pages (MAC) considering your mind map and create a structure for each chapter breaking it down into smaller bites, which you can rearrange as you go if needed.
Once you have subheadings for each chapter (10-15), break these down into 2-3 keywords and elaborate on these to create cohesion.
Having this graphical view will give so much structure, and you can plan your writing time to create your book and make the whole process a lot easier.
You may decide to use a dictation app such as Nuance Dragon to write your eBook. If this works for you, your word count will increase dramatically.
Having the flexibility to dictate your chapters can transform your speed, and you can find yourself writing 3000 words per hour!
You can be sat in your car, out in the park, or working at your desk; it gives flexibility. It’s a little tricky to get to grips with at first (punctuating as you go, etc.), but you can edit later and perfect your work.
It’s certainly worth trying as it really can speed up your workflow and ultimately finish your eBook.
The Self-Publishing Software To Help You Find Kindle Keywords
Publisher Rocket is a useful software tool to help self-published authors target keywords (Amazon and Google’s lifeblood), analyze your competition, look at each category in-depth and look specifically at keywords generated by amazon searches (AMS).
You can find niche categories that are not over-saturated in seconds using this software to reach the right readers in the best categories for your book.
This software helps you save hours of research on Amazon for keywords and competition and see EVERY category Amazon offers.
It will ‘niche down’ to find which section you should choose from, which category to list in to sell the most books. And give you the exact number of books you need to sell to be the number one in that category also how many sales you will need to be listed in the top 10 of that category.
Having the ability to see what readers are typing into Amazon and Google will give you the best chance to find your niche and category to place your book in.
It does give you the best possible chance to thrive as a self-published author, and Dave has many useful tools. He provides detailed posts and videos on how to choose the best kindle ebook category and generate your Kindle book description into code for KDP.
He gives so much useful help and information on the website and the Publisher Rocket software itself.
I love that the software is a one-off cost ($97) rather than a rolling subscription. If you are thinking of writing your eBook in Scrivener (highly recommended), don’t forget to look at his review post to bag a 20% discount.
With a 30-day money-back guarantee, it reassures you if it’s not a good fit for you, too, although I doubt you will resort to this as it’s an incredible tool to have and will save you hours of searching.
Using Pseudonyms or Nom de Plume
Why is it that authors use a pseudonym (or nom de plume or pen name) when writing? Concealing your identity when writing has been used for years by seasoned writers and novice writers alike.
Even the hugely successful J.K. Rowling used a pseudonym after her Harry Potter series with Robert Galbraith and The Cuckoo’s Calling.
It gives established authors a sense of freedom to cross genre’s (that the reader may have pre-conceived ideas about) and break into a different market without aggrieving their established fan bases.
Not only did J.K Rowling avoid any pre-judgment from her previous work as an author with her pen name, but she also was able to prevent gender stereotyping while readers critiqued her new book.
If the thought of seeing your name on the front cover of a book, an Amazon breaks you out in a cold sweat.
Stop, you don’t need to feel anxious.
You may be bursting with content ideas and have had the desire to write them all in the next year diligently. But the fear of putting yourself out there may feel too overwhelming.
Perhaps you are an introvert, or if your writing may be controversial, you may not want your family and friends to recognize you as the author.
There is an element of protection using a pseudonym and freedom which may unlock your creative writing style without inhibition.
Giving you the ability to write and publish the work you want to do rather than edit your writing for fear of reprisals.
Don’t let it hold you back if you feel you would like to step into the publishing world and write your first eBook.
No matter if you are changing into a new genre as an established author, avoiding being judged by loved ones, protecting your reputation at work (e.g., you are a teacher and writing a steamy romance). You don’t want to be gender-stereotyped, or you can’t use your name (as it is already in use), it’s up to you to decide to use a pen name.
If you are going to write several eBooks in different genres, this may be ideal (many indie authors do just this) to segment each genre while establishing a strong identity with each pseudonym.
Publishing Your eBook
Once you have written your eBook, the next step is to format it; you can outsource to Upwork or Fiverr but many authors self-edit and then format themselves with Reedsy. You may edit as you go or choose to self-edit on completion of the eBook. Whichever works for you is the right way.
It’s best practice to have several copies saved to eliminate stress levels rising if you manage to inadvertently delete whole sections (or chapters!) while self-editing or formatting. You think it won’t happen, but you will be so relieved if and when it does, and you have a back-up or two!
Ensure you proofread your work; even better, get two trusted friends/subscribers/work colleagues/family members to proofread and give you honest feedback.
Having an objective person proofread is even more advantageous as any emotion (or hurt feelings on your part upon any criticism) is taken away.
After spending hours reviewing and checking every word, you may get ‘brain fog’ and miss glaring errors. A fresh pair (or two) of eyes will be able to spot any mistakes and help you to get to the finished product.
Once you have got to this stage, it’s time to think of a cover for your work. There are so many options, and you can search for a graphic designer to work with on Fiverr, Upwork, 99 designs, or Creative Market.
Many self-published authors create their eBook cover, and you can do this with hundreds of templates on Creative Market or create your own on Canva.
It’s easier than you think, and you can create a beautiful, eye-catching eBook cover in no time at all with the tools in Canva.
If you upgrade to Canva pro, there are even more options to choose from, such as thousands of royalty-free images to use.
Having a bold, eye-catching cover is an integral part of the process, and you don’t want to have all your hard work and time wasted only to feel embarrassed at an unappealing book cover.
You don’t have to outsource at this stage as it’s 100% doable in Canva, even with limited design skills.
You can use their pre-sized templates (or upload your pre-purchased from Creative Market) and quickly design a unique eBook cover. All that’s needed next is to export it, add it to your book, and move on to formatting.
When self-publishing on Amazon, you need to convert your eBook to ePub format and set up a KDP Kindle account to sell on. Both are straightforward, with plenty of guidance on the KDP website.
The KDP account you set up will be the platform you use to upload your eBook to sell on Kindle. It is where you input your details such as contact information, payment information, any author bio, and your book description and keywords.
Create Multiple Formats Of Your eBook
Also, convert your finished work to PDF to have the ability to sell on your website or social media.
You can have multiple formats for your readers or customers to choose from and having copies of your eBook in multiple formats is useful and very handy for your readers to choose from.
All the research you undertook in Publisher Rocket will be invaluable at this stage as you will have a clear idea, having analyzed the direct competition to decide on the right price point. It can take up to 48 hours to see your eBook on Kindle when you will receive an email to let you know it is life.
You can now work on promoting your eBook through your website, social media, or email subscribers.
Let’s Recap The Steps To Publish Your First eBook.
- Mind map
- Use Publisher Rocket Software for keywords and categories
- Write your eBook in Google docs, Word, Pages (MAC), or Scrivener
- Use dictation app such as Nuance Dragon to speed up workflow
- Backup your work (thank me later!)
- Create a cover for your eBook
- Wait 24 hours and re-edit for any missed errors
- Format on Reedsy
- Convert to ePub
- Set up KDP Kindle account
- Add all your details, upload your eBook, cover, description, keywords, and price and submit
- Up to 48 hours later, your book will be live on Kindle – congratulations!
- Promote your eBook!
Review and Revise
You will learn so much from writing your first ebook. If you make mistakes, don’t worry, you can re-edit and fix them.
By writing an eBook yourself (instead of using a ghostwriter), self-editing, creating the cover and formatting, not only will learn so much (even if it’s learning from your mistakes!), but you will hone your skills for the next eBook as well as saving so much money that you could have outsourced for all those steps.
You may still be asking yourself, should I go ahead? Have a look at Why Write An eBook (7 Top Benefits) to brainstorm practical strategies for why you should go ahead.
Take the next step and Turn Your Skill Into An eBook in 2020 and create a passive income.