Ebooks are one of the most effective ways to start making a living online.
They are simple, quick, and dare I say, easy?
But even knowing all of this, I resisted creating my own products for a long time. I didn’t believe I could do it.
However, as I read more and more ebooks, I realized that in many cases, I knew more than the product creators, and I was often frustrated with how complex the information was made to seem.
After years of doing affiliate marketing and advertising, I decided it was time to write my own stuff, so I did.
Not without some hesitation, I might add.
I wanted to create a great ebook, and it held me back, because it led to perfection-land, and I never actually shipped anything.
It took a while to become aware of the fact that I didn’t have to create the “perfect” ebook. I just had to solve a problem.
So why do I write and sell ebooks?
I Love Writing
First of all, I do it because I like it.
I’m more than happy to pass up on more “lucrative” opportunities if what I’m doing will make me happier, is more interesting, or will just keep me going each day.
You have to factor in everything.
But don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to be a writer to write and sell ebooks. People don’t want award winning prose, although it certainly doesn’t hurt, unless it does.
They want you to solve problems.
And you can do that with simple writing. In fact, it’s best done through simple writing.
It’s a Quick Way to Test Ideas
I write ebooks because it’s a quick way to test my ideas.
How many people do you know who say they have great ideas, but they aren’t willing to test them because they aren’t “ready”?
Yeah, they’re never going to be ready.
The key is to test your ideas as soon as possible, and with ebooks you can do that.
I’ll do my research, listen to my readers and customers, and I’ll find a way to test that idea as quickly as possible, and with as little risk as possible (more about risk in a second).
I make small bets until I hit a winner.
Writing Ebooks Can Be Fast
You may think ebooks take a long time to write, but they don’t.
When you know what you’re doing, it’s as simple as putting together a swing for the kids, unless it’s from IKEA.
I used to struggle with writing books, but I never had a system to follow. I had no structure. I just started writing and hoped for the best.
Now I use outlines and other things, and it’s a breeze to not only write ebooks, but to create all kinds of products and courses.
It Can Be Cheap (If Done Right)
Writing and selling ebooks is cheap.
Having an editor go through your book is great, but if you’re just getting started, you either can’t afford it, or don’t want to risk that much so soon.
You can create most of the graphics on your own by using PowerPoint or Keynote, if you keep it very simple and clean.
The secret is to not try to get your ebook perfect right away.
Instead, create a “beta” version of it where you give early-birds a nice deal in exchange for feedback.
Once you see the ebook making money, then you can improve it, get a nice professional cover, and even an editor to go through it with you.
Think smart. Strategize. Test your ideas.
It’s Low Risk (Yes, Low Risk)
This sounds completely counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?
I mean, writing ebooks isn’t low risk, it seems like it should be high risk, right?
It depends on how you approach it. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re better off buying a lottery ticket.
But when you know what puzzle pieces go where, the risk is low.
You see, most of the ebooks that are popular solve problems. They help people get rid of something in their life they don’t want.
They help customers move forward and get closer to what they want.
They serve an audience that is hungry for that information.
If you do your research, you don’t have to worry about zero sales when you release your book to the world.
And that’s one of my favorite parts about ebooks. Not only are they easy and cheap to create, but they are low risk when you solve problems.
Writing Books Makes Me Uncomfortable
Last, but definitely not least, ebooks help me grow.
If you’ve never created your own products, it’s going to be overwhelming at first, but when you keep taking action, you’ll learn a lot about yourself.
And let’s be honest, if you’re constantly running away from what’s uncomfortable, you won’t get very far.
But keep putting one foot in front of the other, and a whole new world opens up.
This is not about writing one ebook and retiring to one of those white sandy beaches in the Caribbean, although I wouldn’t say no if that happened.
You’re going to write many ebooks, because with each one you write, you grow, you learn, and you get better.
I’m constantly looking for new ways to grow. And I’m not saying ebooks is the only game in town, but it’s a pretty sweet way to get your feet wet with making a living online.
There’s a simple way to write and sell ebooks.
And then there’s a hard way.
I follow a simple system that allows me to write them quickly and easily, but we’ll get to that in the coming weeks, so if you aren’t already subscribed, make sure you are.
There’s some good stuff coming.
Remember, what matters is that you take action.
Forget about perfection, and start with what you have.
The next article in this series is out, click here to discover the 3-step process for writing and selling ebooks.
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Of all of the things that we have done recently, writing e-books does seem to have the most promise. However, what I am seeing now is that everybody and both of his dogs are writing trash ebooks that are basically polluting the space to the point where it’s difficult to even find anything useful. Amazon appears to be trying to weed out the pollution, but it remains a serious problem.
What needs to happen is that the barrier to entry needs to be high enough to discourage the folks who are not willing to put in the effort needed to produce a reasonable-quality product.
It will be interesting to see this market play out, but Don Lancaster warned years ago in his book The Incredible Secret Money Machine (out of print for years now) that any really good, easy source of money will attract an instant massive pile-on that will make it no longer any good. And that’s exactly what I’m seeing in the e-book business.
There are a lot of bad ebooks out there, just like there are a lot of bad products, courses and workshops, but that isn’t a problem.
What’s good will rise to the top, because bad ebooks don’t build a loyal following. It doesn’t build a real business.
That’s why it’s so important to build your own platform and audience first.
Also, I don’t think ebooks are an easy source of money. To do it well requires hard work like anything else.
Chris Garrett says
There have always been junk books out there, it’s just now the barriers to entry are lower and visibility is higher (in a traditional book store we could flick through the book and see some signs of quality or lack of).
On the other hand, reviews are pretty ruthless and plentiful online, and online audiences are cynical enough to offset a lot of the concerns around this. I’d say it balances out.
I have written one ebook which didn’t sell, but perhaps the product was wrong or I didn’t market it properly. I also tried to market several other ebooks written by others, but altered by me to upgrade the product and to improve it overall…no luck here either. I used aweber to help build a list, but couldn’t get many folks to sign up.
I would like to think that ebooks are the way forward, but I haven’t discovered how to do it yet. I’ve bought loads of ebooks, some were really rubbish and some seemed good at the time, but was always disappointed in the end. I am very reluctant to buy another ebook.
It’s rare to succeed on the first go (or even the second). You just keep going until you find what works, at least that’s what I’ve found.
Quick tip: If someone promises fast results, like most crappy ebooks and products do, they’re often lying.
I need some help in choosing ebook subject. I have some passions etc, but not sure how to validate these with the market. I don’t want to write something that no one wants but me.
Any ideas on how I can test the market re: my ideas?
The best way to test is to get a short version of your ebook out there.
Another one is to look at what is already selling. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
I cover this in more depth in the first module in my ebook workshop.
Chris Garrett says
One thing I see a lot of people do when they start developing ebooks is they look at what they want to write (or sell) rather than what people want to buy. Start with the audience.
Thanks for pitching in, Chris!
Hi Henri, I tried to order your course on how to write ebooks, but your system does not believe that I live at my address, so won’t allow me to order.
Just emailed you!