It’s no news to any new and upcoming writer that it’s a very difficult thing to make money from writing fiction alone but if you’re clever you can turn that passion into a passive income stream.
Don’t put aside that novel you’ve been sweating over just yet, but there is money to be made writing informational eBooks. And it could be the money that keeps you going till your fiction project is completed and published and you become the next JK Rowling.
Consider this obvious fact. Whenever someone uses friendly Dr Google, what is happening is they are looking for a solution to a problem.
Now, what if it was your eBook that provided a good answer to a particular googled question? Then you may be on your way to creating a lucrative little income stream to supplement your novel writing aspirations. Not to mention that working on an info title is also a great way to cure writers block and polish your writing chops.
Remember this simple fact. Writers write, so in your downtime when your not working on your fiction, (which is a project that may or may not have a pay-off), do some research, find an under serviced niche then think of a twist and write an informational eBook.
And remember, if you’re worried about diluting your personal and mysterious writers ‘brand’ you’ve built up, you can always write your non fiction under an alias.
So, here’s my 7 tips for getting started as a information eBook writer.
1: Start with the research.
Brainstorm a topic you are passionate about. What is the thing that you know a lot about? It could be related to your field of work or study. Maybe it’s just a hobby. But its a good place to start. Just brainstorm some ideas on a sheet of paper.
Google Trends is a great tool for this. You can investigate trends, projections and history of specific search terms. Google Trends will show you the volume of search terms and overlays that map so you can easily see where your search term is trending in the world. The tool allows you to drill down and find topics.
When you have some topics, try adding a ‘how’ to them and see what problems people are searching answers for. Search the term within Facebook and Twitter using hash tags and see what people are writing about and sharing. All this is fantastic research to help focus on a micro niche.
2: Pick a niche
Now use your research to zero in on a gap in the market. Try to find a need that isn’t being serviced well. If there are some eBooks on your topic, read them. How could you differentiate and do it better? Just because somebody has beaten you to a topic shouldn’t matter. Come up with a unique angle. Your angle might be the one people are looking for.
3: Write a skeleton
Right. You’ve picked a niche and a good angle to approach it. Without a doubt the easiest way to write an information eBook is to start with a well thought out skeleton. Do this and the book will practically write itself. If you haven’t written using a skeleton before it’s simple. Start with the Chapter headings. Aim for about 6 to 8. They should build in a logical sequence. Now under each chapter, bullet point the topics you’ll cover. That’s it.
You’ve now got a writing plan. So start writing! Fill out the gaps. If you get to a point that requires further research, mark it, move on and come back to it. It is definitely possible to create an info eBook in 30 days if you put your mind to it.
4: Pick your publishing format.
Your main options are PDF, ePub or MOBI. Don’t panic, it’s simpler then you think. If you don’t want to publish on Amazon or Apple iBook store and indeed most of the majors, then just publish as a PDF. You’ll need to have your own web hosting in place. You can setup a payment gateway with free services like Clickbank. This option means you keep all of the sales, but you’ll need to develop strategies to drive traffic to it.
If you want to reach a much larger audience quickly, I recommend to use an aggregrator like Smashwords. You’re book will be formatted and available on all the major eBook retailers. Even better, you keep full control of pricing and sales through a single dashboard. What’s not to like? As long as your eBook conforms to Smashwords style guide, their cloud based ‘meatgrinder’ software will take care of the rest. The convenience and control far outweighs losing a few percentage points on royalties.
5: Create a website squeeze page
You want people to find your book. Create a small website in WordPress that sells the benefits of your eBook. Make it clear how your eBook can solve the problem they have been searching for. You can make a free website in WordPress and register a domain name with Godaddy for only a few dollars a year. Pick a descriptive domain name that fits in with your niche and book. Make sure you have a compelling call to action. Get some help in SEO optimisation to make sure you rank for the search term you’ve targeted. You could even run paid Google Adwords and Facebook ad campaigns to put an ad for your eBook in front of the right people.
6: Create a mailing list
Make sure you capitalise on the interest and traffic coming to your site. Setup a mailing list. Free mail auto responders like MailChimp are a fantastic way of automating content delivery and adding a personal touch. Give something away. Maybe you could summarise your ebook and give away a free light version in exchange for a potential customers email addresses. You can then sell through the full version. This way you capture people that may not want to buy right now, but will in the future. A list will let you contact them.
7: Sell to your list
People have trusted you with their email address. Ensure there is good value for them in that. Give something away in exchange. A free eBook or regular newsletter. Position yourself as an authority on your chosen niche. Don’t over do the sales message. Give a little and get a little. You want to build trust.
If you do all this, you may just possibly create a little automatic passive income stream that will help supplement your life as a writer. By writing! The best advice is to be honest with your choice of niche topic. If you pick something you are passionately interested in, and can discover a niche and angle, this can work.
Are you thinking of writing an info eBook? What holds you back from starting? Have you written one? What was your biggest challenge? Drop us a comment below. Would love to get your feedback.