My personal challenge for writing an e-book that sells
Three months ago, I decided to write an e-book.
At first, I didn’t understand why everybody is so excited and willing to write their own, but then I’ve seen the business possibilities behind this type of project, and I want to give it a try.
Still, I had no expertise in writing a book, so I had to study and research to prepare myself for the task. Also, I have a full-time job, and I use all my free time to write articles for my blog, so if I want to write one, I need to split time between blog and e-book or join them together.
But let’s start one step at a time by analyzing some data first.
Where to publish and how much to write?
While studying the field of self publishment, I discovered surprising data.
First of all, the e-book excitement comes mostly from platforms like Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), which allows you to self-publish your content for free and advertise it however you want. So before publishing my own content there, I should build a following somewhere else.
Also, from an overview of the homepage on Amazon KDP, I found out most bestsellers are around 100 to 150 pages long. And considering that 10 formatted pages contain about 2 thousand words, this means an ideal book should have between 20 and 30 thousand words.
So I came up with a challenge.
Since I don’t have much time, I would take one week away from work and use it entirely for my first book. In the first months of the challenge, I will prepare myself slowly for the task. But then, when the challenge begins, I only have one week to write 20k words.
So here are my 4 simple steps to write a competitive e-book in less than a week (or at least what I planned to do).
Step #1 — Test the Waters
The first step of my plan is to test the waters to see if people are interested in the argument I want to talk about. To do this, I will study the topic from two points of view.
1 — Global Data
The first point of view is the data retrieved from the study of the topic-related keywords.
For example, since I plan to write a book about creativity, I went on Google Trends and searched a couple of keywords.
From my analysis, the creativity keyword has grown by about 50% in the last 12 months. It is something, but not enough. However, related competitive keywords like creative thinking have increased between 70% and 130%. While the general macro-topic has had a sudden rise with some relative keywords that reached 1000% or even 4000% increases.
2 — Niche Data
The second point of view is more complicated and requires more work. Of course, trending keywords can give some information about the request for a topic, but since I am self-publishing, I also need to check if my readers enjoy the argument.
For this reason, after choosing the topic, I planned to write between 5 to 10 articles to discuss it. This allows me to gradually gain knowledge, explore its multiple niches, and observe its many perspectives.
Without this process, I wouldn’t have the necessary research and knowledge to write an e-book that is globally accepted, which means assured failure.
Once this step is completed, I will analyze the data collected from the niche. If they enjoyed the content and provided me good results, I can proceed with the second step. Otherwise, I will test another idea.
Step #2 — Define the Outline
As for any other type of book, even an e-book requires a specific outline. Otherwise, it might turn out as dispersive and without a clear goal. So, after testing the waters, I will write the outline of the book.
From what I’ve seen, most e-books are practical guides to understand or learn an argument, so I will maintain a simple structure. For example:
- An introductive chapter, where I introduce the argument to my readers and make them a promise to fulfill throughout the book.
- A variable number of chapters to develop the argument. There are no clear limits. But, as a rule of thumb, each chapter should be at least as long as an article.
- A conclusive chapter, where I summarize the concepts and show my readers that I fulfilled my promise.
Based on the argument, I will also choose a target. The target defines my vocabulary, so I can choose between:
- Generic, if the book is written for a wide range of people, with variable knowledge about the argument.
- Specific, if the book is written for a close range of people that already know the basics.
Also, to write an e-book in less than a week, I will include some articles from the first step. This way, I save a considerable part of the work, and I only need to adjust it to fit the bigger idea.
Step #3 — Writing and Adaptation
The third step is the most crucial one, and it mostly depends on how many articles I have already written.
Writing at least ten articles, with around one thousand words each, means that at least half of the work should already fit the book. This way, I only need to write about 15 thousand words more.
So, if I want to produce a competitive e-book in less than a week, this means writing and editing between 2 and 2.5 thousand words per day.
It is a doable task. However, from my experience, writing and editing on the same day are not efficient, so I will alternate the two activities.
- On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I will write around 5 thousand words per day.
- On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, I will edit everything wrote on the day before.
- On Sunday, I will read everything one last time and edit the remaining blunders.
Alternatively, if I feel like my articles cannot fit in the overall idea of the e-book, I will have to write more, so my schedule would be the following.
- On Monday, I will write 6 thousand words.
- From Tuesday to Saturday, I will write 3 thousand and edit 3 thousand words from the precedent day.
- On Sunday, I will edit the last 6 thousand words.
Also, every day I would start and finish with an alignment check, to control if everything matches. In the morning, I would read everything I wrote the day before to continue with consistency. And in the evening, I will read everything I wrote on the same day to ensure alignment throughout the day.
Step #4 — Publishing and Promoting
A week passed, and I have an e-book ready to be published.
My plan here consists in selling the book on Amazon KDP.
This service not only allows me to self-publish my book and sell it giving me high royalties, but it also admits me to the affiliate program that could make me gain even more from selling your book.
I won’t go too much into details because percentages could vary over the days, but at the moment, I should gain between 30% and 70% of royalties from only selling my book. However, my success will depend on my following since I will get a percentage on everything they buy within 24 hours after clicking my link.
From studying niches to self-publishing, these are 4 easy steps to write a competitive e-book in less than a week.
At the moment, I am still between the first and the second step. I have already studied the niche and published some articles that had quite a success, so I can define the outline of the e-book.
In September, I will take one week to write the entire e-book, and I will update you.
Until then, if you want to follow my plan, keep in mind these four steps.
First, study the data. Second, define the outline. Third, write the e-book. And fourth, publish the book and promote it.
Those were the 4 easy steps to write a competitive e-book in less than a week. As simple as that.
If you follow my plan, let me know if it worked for you. Share in the comments your e-books, so we can all follow your example. Also, if you want to support the blog, click the buttons below!
Article first published on Start it Up, a Medium publication.