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How to Write an Ebook: 12 Critical Steps for Success

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Do you have an amazing idea for a story that you’re itching to tell?

Well, you’re lucky to have been born in the digital era because getting your book published has never been easier.

While it’s sad to see them go, paper books are quickly being replaced by ebooks – this is good news for aspiring writers who might not have any connections in the publishing industry because writing an ebook requires no prior experience (although it may help).

Keep reading this inclusive guide on how to write an ebook and take note of these 12 critical steps for success. 

An Overview of Ebooks

While conventional books have been around for centuries, ebooks are a fairly new concept.

Despite their limited history, they have taken the world by storm and are quickly becoming the dominant form of book-related media

header image that illustrates how to publish a book on amazon

What Is an Ebook?

An ebook is a digital distribution of a book that can be accessed through phones, tablets, computers, or other similar electronic devices.

There is no physical copy of the book, only a digital one.

ebooks have become increasingly popular in the past decade as they are cheaper to publish than conventional paper books and are accessible to anyone with a device.

Furthermore, ebooks are eco-friendly and better for the eyes of vision-impaired readers.

Do Ebooks Make Money?

Like everything in this world, there is money to be made by publishing an ebook.

That said, just because you publish one, doesn’t guarantee it will have any monetary value.

Ebook publishing is incredibly competitive, and while it can be quite lucrative, some writers will find their hard work going to waste.

Still, if you’re willing to put in the work, then this hard truth shouldn’t deter you, as there are numerous success stories of everyday people publishing books on a whim and making lots of money off of it.

How Much Can You Make From Publishing an ebook?

If you’re looking for exact numbers here, you’re going to be disappointed because there’s no way to estimate how much you can make from publishing an ebook.

The range of income generation is so wide you cannot accurately scale it.

Top earners can earn tens of thousands in revenue, while some might not see a single penny; it’s all contingent upon your circumstances and how you market yourself.

Can Anyone Write an Ebook?

Nowadays, universal access to the internet makes it so everyone can publish ebooks.

There are tons of free tools to help aspiring authors, such as Amazon Publishing and various editing software.

While anyone can write an ebook, having more recognition on the web (followers on Instagram, Facebook connections, etc.) increases your chances of success tenfold.

Remember that since anyone can publish their work for free on the web, the competition is going to be way steeper in comparison to traditional publishing. 

In an ocean of genres and concepts, you’re going to need a way to get yourself out there, and being a little internet famous will help.

What Type of Ebooks Sell the Most?

The types of ebooks that sell the most are fiction and literature.

Some of the best-selling genres within these categories include romance, crime, and fantasy.

Amongst non-fiction genres, business and money seem to be the highest selling book types.

These might be the most popular groups of books, but that doesn’t mean you should force yourself to write within these varieties.

If you have an idea, stick with it. 

You might find that writing within a niche is quite beneficial.

This is because while the mentioned genres have the highest sell ratio, there is also an oversaturation of them on the market. 

You can avoid falling into obscurity by taking on lesser-known genres and sticking within small, dedicated communities.

It’s important to stick with your gut and write about what you want to write.

Is Publishing an Ebook Worth It?

This is a commonly asked question and one that’s not very clear-cut. 

Publishing ebooks can be relatively inexpensive (even free sometimes), but it might not be worth the time spent writing them for everyone. 

It’s probably not a good idea to quit your job and bank everything on the chance that your book will take off and make you millions of dollars because it most likely won’t.

On the other hand, if you have the time and a story you want to get out there, then there’s little reason you shouldn’t.

Just go for it, and maybe your ebook will become a bestseller.

What You’ll Need to Publish an Ebook

Before you get straight to the meat and potatoes of publishing an ebook, you should prepare yourself with these key components.

image showing a man sitting at a computer and writing a review - for how to write a review post on bloggingtips.com

An Idea That You’ve Thought Through

When you start writing your book, it shouldn’t be an on-the-spot, poorly put-together concept.

You need to think it through and make sure you have a well-thought-out idea.

Planning will allow you to be organized and more equipped to meet time/word goals.

Ebook Writing Software

Your ebook writing software is where you’ll spend most of your time and should be the one you’re most comfortable with.

Some of the most common digital writing software are Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and Grammarly. 

There are tons more out there, and before you go splurging on the most expensive site with the most features, keep in mind that it won’t write your book for you and you don’t need to spend any money at all on software.

An Ebook Template or a Designer to Help

Structuring an ebook isn’t overly complicated, but it may take a good chunk of time if you’re trying to do it on your own.

Instead, using a preset ebook template or a designer can help optimize your book to be formatted for online reading.

An Amazon Account to Publish the Book To

The final thing you will need before you can get started on your book is an Amazon Publishing account to publish your book.

Creating an account is free, and there are a few useful tools for publishing your ebook in their bookstore.

Amazon publishing is the most widely used ebook publishing service and has many advantages.

You keep a good percentage of royalties (up to 70%), and they have paid promotional options and a high volume of traffic to their site (it’s a multibillion-dollar company, after all).

Creating your account ahead of time will ensure that everything’s all good to go when you’re finally ready to publish.

How to Write an Ebook

Are you finally ready to begin writing your ebook?

Here are 12 key elements to keep in mind and increase your odds of success.

image showing an illustration of how to write an ebook

1. Research and Understand Your Target Audience

So you’ve got your concept down, and you’re ready to start your book.

But before you can begin writing, you need to know who you’re writing for. 

This is for a variety of reasons.

First, ask if your level of writing matches your target audience’s age group.

You shouldn’t be writing at a high level if your book is for children and vice versa.

The second reason you should research and understand your target audience is for marketing purposes.

If you run any marketing campaigns or promotions, their efficiency will be increased if you tailor them toward your target audience.

2. Select a Topic To Write About

Topic selection is a pretty crucial point for your ebook, considering it’ll outline the premise and progression of your book. 

You’ll want to break it down as far down as you can.

Start by determining if it’s non-fiction or fiction.

After that, run through the genre and subgenres your book falls under until you pinpoint exactly where your book lies.

Once you’ve reached the bottom, determine what your unique subject is and any other details about your ebook.

3. Outline the Ebook

You should outline your ebook the same way you would outline a conventionally written book.

Just because it’s being published online, that doesn’t change anything about the writing process.

An organized schematic will allow you to stay on track and know where you’re going with your writing at all times. 

If you’re unorganized, you risk drifting off course from your original plan and your book may become a jumbled mess.

4. Write Chapter by Chapter

Writing chapter by chapter is good for the organization and your sanity. 

Chapters are integrated aspects of your book.

They control the pacing people read at and give structure to your writing.

Each chapter should be its segment but also flow alongside each other.

It’s imperative to take things one step at a time.

One big conglomerate of words isn’t very optimal for keeping interest and doesn’t have very high retail value. 

Just take things slow, and write one chapter at a time.

5. Design Your Ebook

ebook design doesn’t have to be overly complicated. 

There are tons of resources for inexperienced web designers to use to format their books.

Using pre-designed formats can save you the headache of ensuring your book fits with the configurations of ebook reading software and simplifies the design process.

6. Add Supporting Content

After writing and designing your ebook, the next step is to add any supporting content. 

Maybe you’re just writing a conventional, pictureless novel and have very limited needs in supporting content, in which case you can probably skip this step.

But if you’re writing something like a biography or a cookbook, then there are a few elements you might want to consider adding, such as:

  • Images – Images aren’t for everyone; however, they can add a great deal to your book depending on the context. For instance, if you are talking about art, images are a great way of helping the reader gain a foothold in what you are discussing. Just watch out that you are adhering to copyright laws.
  • Quotes – These can help to add more credit to what you are saying and provide more connection to the world.
  • Charts & Graphs – Much like quotes, charts and graphs work to add credibility to your claims and help to give other types of readers an easier way to process the information.
  • References – Make sure to include references especially if you are using other people’s data and information for the basis of your book. You should already have this list somewhere so it shouldn’t be difficult to add to the manuscript. Make sure you are following proper citation guidelines based on your preferred style and genre to ensure that people take you seriously. 
  • Calls to Action – Another method that not everyone will use, a call to action is great for people who are speaking on current events such as environmentalism or social issues. Asking the reader to take the information they have learned and go out into the world to protest, give back, or volunteer. 

Any visual or editorial aids you add are dependent on the content of your ebook.

Consider any research you’ve done and insert media accordingly, based on what works best with your target audience.

7. Edit the ebook

You don’t want your ebook to be riddled with grammatical errors and syntactic structures that just don’t make sense. 

Such is the purpose of the editing process.

It will allow you to catch mistakes and prompt you to make necessary changes.

The first order of editing is to read it over yourself.

Use your editing software to catch any simple errors.

Afterward, you can move on to having others proofread your book.

8. Create a PDF to Proof

Before you start handing out samples of your book, create a PDF version so you can easily distribute it to anyone you want to review it.

PDF proofs are electronic files that allow others to make comments and suggestions on your document.

The alternative is to use built-in features such as Google Doc sharing, which isn’t a terrible concept in itself. 

You can then start by having any friends or family read over your work.

You can also set up a group of test readers to give you feedback.

Once you’ve done all this, consider paying a professional editor to evaluate your book.

If you don’t have the funds or access to one, you don’t necessarily need to hire one, but they help.

9. Revise Until You Are Happy

Chances are, you won’t hit the mark on your first try.

It might hurt to cut and rework content, but you can’t grow complacent in your work.

Go over any feedback you’ve received and revise until you are happy.

Revisions are and always have been a crucial constituent of the publishing process.

There’s no way around it, and it would be best if you spent as much time and effort on it as you possibly can spare.

This is the final step before you publish your book, so this is the time to ensure everything is perfect.

Repeat this step and the previous two until you are ready to publicize your work.

10. Publish Your Ebook on Amazon

Once your book is fully written, formatted, designed, and revised, you can head to your Amazon publishing account and publish your ebook.

You’ll have a chance to take one final preview of how your book will look in the store before it’s officially published.

Fill out royalty options and all other publishing preferences, then submit your ebook to be put in the store.

It should only take a day or two before your book is officially on the market.

11. Promote and Market Your Ebook

Your ebook publishing journey doesn’t end with your book being accessible on the marketplace.

Its unlikely success will befall you by chance, and it’s important to put your book out there through a series of marketing methods.

You can start with any available promotional options Amazon gives you during the publishing process.

This includes paid advertising, discount promos, and book distribution.

There are tons of other online marketing services that you can pay for, which will market your ebook and optimize its findability on the web. 

Your ultimate goal is to have a book that is SEO (search engine optimized) and easily found in the Amazon bookstore.

Ratings and reviews will bolster your search ranking, so be sure to add discounts if people review your book.

Another good idea is to use any social media accounts you have to market your book. 

Social media is a free way to promote your book, and there are various techniques such as hashtags you can use to get your ebook out there, even if you don’t have a large following.

Just be attentive, and work every day to promote sales.

A flop is only a flop when you give up marketing your book.

12. Track the Progress and Sales as You Go

Tracking progress and sales as you go is an essential aspect of your marketing process.

Sales are indicative of progress, and let you know if you’re hitting your projected goals. 

Amazon publishing has a few tools you can use to view demographics and other useful statistics to keep track of your progress. 

You can alternatively or additionally use external marketing services to give you the necessary data on your sales progress. 

These insights will tell you what’s working and what isn’t and allow you to pinpoint where you should divert your marketing efforts.

Wrapping Up

Many success stories prove you don’t need a professional agency or tons of money to write an ebook. 

If you keep the 12 critical steps for success listed in this article, you’re already more equipped to tackle the complexities of ebook publishing than most other novice writers.

Use these tips to your advantage and you’ll undoubtedly go far.

Want more tips on writing or marketing?

Go to bloggingtips.com to learn more about how you can optimize and promote the content you write.

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