In today’s post, I’m going to provide some insight on how to write ebooks – ebooks that sell. In 2011, I chronicled my quest to publish 50 ebooks in 12 months – so I get a lot of questions about self-publishing.
Following, in my opinion, is the most important thing you need to know about how to write ebooks that sell.
Is There a Big Enough Audience for Your Ebook?
Before you write a word, you should do some research to determine if there’s a big enough audience for you to make enough sales for it to be worth your time. While this may seem obvious, you’d be amazed at how many writers get an idea and run with it before doing this upfront work.
But like in any business, (and that’s what ebook writing / self-publishing is – a business), if there aren’t enough customers who will buy your product/service, you’re not going to make any money.
“So,” you may be thinking, “how do I go about finding out if there’s a large enough audience for my ebook?”
In a word – SEO . . . aka search engine optimization.
What Is SEO and Why Every Ebook Author Needs to Know
SEO is all about how search engines work. It examines factors like what people search for when they go online and the actual words and phrases they type in to find stuff. FYI, these are known as keywords/keyword phrases. Website analysts (and website owners) use this info to do certain things to their website to make it pop up higher in search results so that web surfers land on their site.
If you don’t know what search engine optimization is, it’s critical that you learn at least the basics of it because self-publishing is an online business. And, you can’t talk about marketing an online business these days without talking about SEO.
Here’s a Quick Rundown of How to Use SEO to Find Out if Your Ebook Will Sell
I’m going to use an example from one of my niches – SEO writing. I've written several ebooks on this topic. Here’s a “quick-and-dirty” rundown of what you need to do before writing a word.
1) Do keyword research: Go to Google’s Keyword AdWord Tool. I typed in the keyword phrase “SEO writing” (without quotation marks). As of this writing, that particular keyword phrase is searched for over 40,000 times globally (40,500 to be exact).
So I surmise that yes, there’s a big enough audience for an ebook on this topic. Now the next challenge is can I get my ebook / info about my ebook on the first three pages of Google. Why is this important? Read on.
2) Can you get on one of the first three pages of Google: Studies have proven that most web surfers don’t look past the first three pages of search results. Proof?
Seventy-four percent of consumers said they usually abandon search results if they can’t find desired information within the first three pages of SERPs, according to a survey from AYTM Market Research. . . . [And] Just 15 percent of respondents said they scan five pages of results, with 61 saying if they don’t find what they’re looking for they try a new keyword search. [Source: Brafton, Incorporated]Once you write an ebook, the key to getting it on the first three pages of Google is to assess who’s already there – and to see if you can bypass them in search results. One of the easy metrics I look at is page rank (PR). If a website has a PR rank of 4 or higher, then I know that it’s going to be pretty hard to outrank them (eg, get on one of the first three pages).
But, if there are three to five sites on the first page of Google that have page ranks of 3 or lower, then I know that I have a pretty good shot. Note: I always aim for the first page. Hence, I assess who’s on the first page of Google. It doesn’t always work – at least not right away. But if there are “weak-ranking sites/blogs” (ie, those with a PR of 3 or lower) and I keep at it, usually within 3-6 months I eventually land on the coveted first page.
Here’s a link that lets you quickly check the page rank of any site.
3. Start writing: In case you’re wondering what I do to get on the first page of Google, it’s article marketing, ie, writing SEO articles (and blog posts and press releases). I then distribute them far and wide on the web to, for example, article directories and free press release sites. I also write and distribute weekly newsletters, in addition to blogging consistently.
This works. Proof? Search results change all the time but as of this writing, if you go to Google and type in “SEO writing,” you’ll find info written by me in two spots on the first page (position #1 and #6).
How to Write Ebooks that Sell: Conclusion
I tell everyone who asks me about self-publishing that writing an ebook is the easy part. Ebook marketing is where the real work comes in. It’s not hard; it’s just that there’s a lot to learn – and it’s an ongoing process.
But I’m living proof that if you want to write and publish ebooks that sell – it’s totally possible. In 2010 – for the first time ever – my ebook earnings surpassed what I made as a freelance writer (and I’ve been doing that since 1993).
Yuwanda has written and self-published over 50 ebooks. If this article peaked your interest, get full details on how to write an ebook, market it and start getting sales within a week – really! And, feel free to contact her with your ebook writing and self-publishing questions.