Creating your own products is one of the quickest ways to take your blogging business to the next level.
An ebook, with your name on the cover, helps build your brand, but even more important, it helps establish you as an expert in your niche.
Many bloggers are intimidated by the idea of writing an ebook because they get hung up on that word “book.” They picture award-winning novels and automatically think they don’t have what it takes. But here’s a secret: You’re already writing content for your blog and if it’s attracting readers, then you have what it takes to write at least a basic ebook that you can use as a free guide to attract subscribers. Here are 13 steps to write and publish a free ebook in less than a day.
Step 1: The Idea
If done properly, this ebook will help establish you as an expert in your niche so choose a topic that you know inside and out. Page count doesn’t matter but I like to choose a topic that has enough information that it would take at least 5 long blog posts to cover.
Step 2: Build Anticipation
Publish a post announcing your upcoming free gift to your readers. This will build anticipation and also make you accountable for actually getting it done.
Step 3: Create an Outline – 30 minutes
Outline your ebook. Think of it as you would a series post. If you were writing a series of posts that stretched over 5 blog posts, what would you title each post? And under each title, what key points of information would you include?
Step 4: Write a Rough Draft – 4 hours
Now, simply write each of those 5 blog posts, filling in each of your key points, just like you would if you were writing each post for your blog. At this point, don’t worry about formatting and editing. Just get your words onto the page.
Step 5: Add Graphics and Images – 1 hour 30 minutes
Since ebooks are much longer than your average blog posts it’s important to add images and graphics to break up the page for the reader. Plus, images and graphics add value by helping the reader visualize your information which is especially important if your ebook is a How-To guide.
Step 6: Edit – 3 hours
Now that you have everything in place, start from the very beginning and edit your ebook, checking for spelling and grammar errors, continuity errors, and fact-checking for mistakes. Don’t forget to add links to relevant content on your blog, and a call to action with a link to subscribe to your newsletter.
Step 7: Format
Starting at the very beginning again, format your ebook. Most word processing programs allow you to select heading tags. Use Heading 1 tags for Chapter titles and Heading 2 tags for sub-headings. Use bullet points and numbered lists to make your book easier to read. Don’t forget to format a header and footer for each page and include your name, the title of your ebook, a Page Number element, and a link to your blog.
Step 8: Table of Contents – 1 hour
After you have your ebook completely formatted and everything’s lined up the way you want it to appear, go back to the beginning of your ebook and add in a Table of Contents. With most word processing programs this can be done with just a couple of clicks. I generally set up my ebooks so the first page is the ebook cover, the second page is the TOC, followed by the book itself.
Step 9: Ebook Cover – 1 hour 30 minutes
If you have the money, I recommend getting a professionally designed cover. If you’re going to do it yourself the most important thing to remember is to use a large, clear font for the title, especially if you’ll be using a thumbnail of your cover image in some of your promotional materials.
Step 10: Create PDF
Add your cover to the first page of your ebook. (I sometimes also add it as the last page.) Scroll back through your ebook to make sure everything’s still lined up and then convert it to a PDF file. Again, most word processing programs will do this with one click.
Step 11: Final Proof – 15 minutes
Take a look at your finished ebook to make sure everything is where you want it to be. I’ve published to PDF before and set it up for download only to find that an image was out of line or a chapter title ran on to the next page. It kinda shoots your “expert status” in the foot when your ebook looks like it was put together by a 5-year-old.
Step 12: Publish – 30 minutes
To publish your ebook simply upload it to the media files on your blog and publish a new post that announces the arrival of your new free gift for your readers. Set up a new email list and give subscribers the link to your ebook when they confirm their subscription.
Step 13: Promote – 30 minutes
Promote your ebook every where. Spread the word that you’ve just published a free ebook. Write a post about one of the sub-headings. Ask your readers to share it. Link to it from your email and forum signatures. Tweet it yourself.