We asked our client Margaret Webster from London Microguides to give us her insight into writing and publishing an e-book – following her recent experiences of doing this.
Here is what she says:

eBooks are big, big news.

You’ve probably heard the headlines:

  • Amazon is selling 105 ebooks for every 100 print books
  • e-readers are the most gifted Christmas present in history
  • Self-published authors, Jock Locke and Amanda Hocking, have both sold over 1 million ebooks.

The world of book publishing is being turned upside down. Authors no longer need to seek permission and sponsorship from traditional publishing companies. They can format their own book and upload it directly to online book stores, including Amazon.

If you want to publish a book, you can. But should you?

Before you are entirely seduced by the attention-grabbing stories of the uber-successful few, ask yourself these five questions.

1. Why are you thinking of writing an ebook?

What do you want your ebook to help you to achieve?

Do you dream of earning millions – or more realistically supplementing your income – by selling your ebook on Amazon or other internet stores?

Or do you want a book that will enhance your credibility as an expert in your field? If so, you’ll need a properly formatted book with a well-designed cover.

Perhaps you just want an incentive that will persuade people to sign up for your newsletter so that you can sell your products and services? Then a simple PDF could do the job.

2. Who is your audience?

What sort of people do you imagine reading your book? What’s their purpose in reading it?

Take a little time to think about your readers’ problems and ambitions. What information, help, advice and encouragement would they value from you?

3. What is your big idea in a nutshell?

Your book needs to say something.

What can you say to your readers that no-one else tell them?

4. When will you write it?

You are likely to have a small supply of spare time.

Do you have the time and energy to research, write, edit and format your ebook as well as do all your regular work?

If not, could you consider outsourcing some of the work to a researcher, ghost writer, an editor or designer?

5. How will tell people about your ebook?

Your ebook will not sell itself – not even after you’ve uploaded it to Amazon.

You’ll have to find ways of enticing people to take a look at your book. Blogging, tweeting and facebooking are important ways of sharing the news.

But so too are less obvious forms of promotion such as asking for reviews on other blogs, selling your book to libraries, creating photo books on Flickr or videos on YouTube, public speaking and building relationships directly with readers on GoodReads and the LibraryThing.

So if you know the answers to these questions, ask yourself again – do you really want to write an ebook?

If so, fantastic. Please let us know when you’ ve published it. We’d love to see it. (Or even better,  you could let us know by leaving a comment below.)

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