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Publishing has come a long way since I worked in a traditional publishing house, what seems like many moons ago. I worked at the business imprint where many bestsellers you’ve read, were born. But it appeared so limiting at the time. Self-publishing and eBooks were around, I already had my first eBookwise reader, but it hadn’t caught on yet.

With the vast change in landscape, allowing for “everyday people” to write and publish their own books without the approval of a big publishing house, more opportunities to get your message out became feasible.

eBooks have become a natural go-to item for many solopreneurs and bloggers. It’s a great give-away gift to someone who subscribes to your newsletter list; it’s a way for people to get a deeper understanding for your platform; and it’s a way for people to inexpensively get a feel for your style and personality.

How to Know If It’s an eBook or Not

One of my biggest pet peeves, is when traditionally published authors refer to eBooks as inferior pieces of work. As though the writing process for each book was so vastly different, and eBook authors are inferior. If you are one of those people who believe that, then the eBook path isn’t right for you – and that’s ok.

{stepping off of soap box}

1. Does your idea have “legs”

Defaulting to creating an eBook because it’s what you’ve read will make you a popular solopreneur/blogger, isn’t enough. You need to have a fully formed book idea in mind to carry the book throughout. Your overarching theme of your eBook needs to have a general theme or point.

You should be able to take your large idea and have enough to say about it, to break it into different sections, chapters, and pages; with the reader gaining value from reading it.

Ask yourself: Can I write more than 30,000 words on this topic? Or is this a shorter overview of an idea?

If you can go on forever, it can be an eBook. If it’s a shorter overview or an establishment of a concept – it’s probably a short guide or pdf.

2. Would you pay money for what you want to write?

This question has often paralyzed my thought process – I mean, most writers don’t have the inherent confidence to say that millions of people are going to readily hand over money for their voice. Which is why most successful writers would tell you that you don’t write to sell lots of books, but for the love and art of writing.

But your eBook – it’s going to have to add some value or have an end result in mind. You don’t have to sell millions of copies, but is there a specific group, audience or person that would pay good money to better understand your advice, guidance, platform, and/or ideas?

If the answer is yes – then you have an eBook idea.

If the answer is no – keep playing with your idea. Most likely, you haven’t drilled down to the important message or learning nugget that you want to share. Keep asking yourself what would your audience need to hear – what would improve their lives?

3. Are you willing to commit to writing a book?

As I briefly ranted about, writing a traditionally published book or an eBook is… writing a book. Writing a book takes time, discipline, frustration, and tradeoffs. Even if you are writing a shorter book, you are still going to need to be committed.

The creative process is different for everyone, but know that your idea will take on a life of its own and the writing process will be more painful than you think it will be. You will hate your idea, loathe having to sit down and write when your favorite show is on at times, and not want to stop writing when you are in the flow.

The key here is being committed to the completion of your book. Being able to share your ideas with others. Having a book with your byline.

4. Is there another medium that you prefer instead?

An eBook isn’t just something you do because it’s cool and popular. Trust me, if that’s your approach and you hate writing, you will be miserable… and your subsequent eBook won’t be awesome.

If you prefer doing videos and are awesome at that, consider a video series to present the same ideas and concepts instead of a book. Perhaps you love podcasts instead.

The important point here is that you need to deliver your message in the channel that best fits YOU first, your audience second.

5. Don’t do everything yourself

One of the most common question my clients have when pondering an eBook is… where do I start? The process of writing and creating a book seems overwhelming. And it should. There are so many different components that come with publishing – writing, editing, copy editing, designing, page layouts, covers, ISBNs, and so on.

You don’t need to do everything yourself – in fact, I would urge you not to as you will be too close to the project to see any blind spots. If the process and components of publishing a book is overwhelming, don’t worry about them.

Focus on the part that you have influence and control over – your “wheel house.” Write the book.

Then get others to help you once it’s written.

Need help with your ebook? Let me know – I’ve helped several authors get their eBook written, created/designed, and published. Drop me a line with any questions.


photo credit: Leo Laporte

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