Publishing a web design ebook is a path a number of web designers have taken. They have done so for several reasons:
- Publishing an ebook is a great way to boost online presence, and become noticed by fellow web designers and potential clients.
- It provides an opportunity to work on your personal voice and brand.
- Ebook publishers have an opportunity to learn more about themselves, their thought processes and opinions, and gain factual knowledge about web design trends and principles.
- And, there is a potential for earning passive income.
If you are thinking about following this same path, these benefits could apply to you as well. You already have much of the information you need close at hand, or in your head. The actual writing is the hard part; but you can get off to a good start by gathering some promotional materials, and publishing a blog or newsletter by customizing a professionally-designed pre-built website such as this one, as you prepare for an eventual launch.
There’s no need to organize writing materials in an obsessive compulsive way, even if you are a web designer.
There’s much more to it of course; so keep on reading.
The Best Way to Get Started? Simply Get Started
There are three seemingly sensible reasons to put off your publishing effort. If you subscribe to any of them however, your ebook will most likely never see the light of day.
Let’s put a damper on them; one by one.
- “I am not a writer.” That’s probably true. You’re a web designer. It’s nice to have some writing skills, but what you really need is confidence, plus, a little practice. This is where publishing a newsletter, or a blog, can help you express your knowledge and experiences clearly and coherently.
- “I am not an authority in web design.” You don’t have to be an authority, but you do have to be authentic. Write about what you know, and do so in a friendly, relaxed manner. You’ve probably read, and learned from, many articles written by people who are neither experts nor authorities, but have simply felt a desire to share their knowledge. Put your own arguments on the table. Opinions are fine too, as long as you don’t state them as facts.
You’re not telling a story; you’re telling your story.
- “No one will read it.” You don’t know that. If it’s the first time you’ve published an ebook, you can’t know what to expect. Think of your publishing effort as an experiment. If writing an ebook is really your objective, you’re in the midst of experimenting with a precedent in advertising your skills and your online branding.
If you can speak with an authentic voice, and demonstrate a knowledge of the facts, your efforts will put you a step ahead in your design career. If you do your absolute best, only to find that very few read your ebook, perhaps you should never attempt to publish again. But, even if your experiment fails, you will still learn much. The “no one will read it” assumption is in truth a fallacy. Treat the exercise as an experiment, and go on from there.
A Short Course on How to Write an Ebook
Now that you’ve put your fears aside and decided to proceed, the one thing you don’t want to do is to start writing Chapter One. There are other things that must be attended to first.
The scary white page. Do you dare disturb it? Of course you do.
Work on improving your writing skills. One good way is to start a blog. Other things to consider include:
- Reading books on creative writing and/or take an online course on writing.
- Do daily writing exercises. The subject matter doesn’t have to be that of your ebook. Write on things you are comfortable writing about – with expressivity in mind.
You’ll eventually become more comfortable with using the writing process to communicate your thoughts. Test your newfound skills by incorporating some of what you’ve written in blog posts.
Find a topic you love (and others will as well). When you have a passion for what you’re writing about, it shows. For one thing, you sound more authentic. Post some of what you’ve written on your blog, or guest post on a web design magazine. Work with specific ideas, not generalities. A ton of web design stuff has already been written dealing in generalities.
What do you like most about web design? Illustrations? Typography? UX Design?
Choosing the topic you love sounds easy, but it can be hard. It should be a topic that others can relate to and are eager to learn more about. The topic also needs to be about you, and your professional experiences. That helps to make your subject matter unique. Write as if you’re attending a web design event, and you’ve discovered a new facet of web design that is so meaningful that you can’t wait to share it with others.
Write down a structure.This is essential. It’s your roadmap. You can always modify it, but you still need it. Think about your introduction and the perspective from which you’re going to approach your topic – section by section. Don’t hesitate to involve others in this effort.
Write every day. Professional writers do this out of habit. Many even stick to a predetermined daily schedule. The important thing is to get into a rhythm, avoid procrastinating, and recognize there will be both good and bad days.
Sleep on it – and proofread. Once you’ve finished your book, or a section, seek feedback. Having someone else proofread is best, but if you have to do so yourself, sleep on what you’ve written first. Proofread several times. Don’t simply look for poor spelling or grammar, or typos, which is important, but look for ways a passage, or an entire section, might be improved. That is every bit as, if not more, important.
When the proofreading and editing is complete, copywrite your ebook. You can do so online.
Make it pretty. This is the fun part. Make the cover appealing, and make the inside eye candy.
How to Work on a Kickass Landing Page for Your ebook
Remember one of the early concerns – “No one will read it”? That will be the case if no one knows your ebook exists, which is why you need to have an effective launch campaign.
What’s the most effective way to do this? By creating an attention-getting landing page. We’ll show you how to go about it; using screenshots from the Be Ebook pre-built website as your guide.
#1 The Hero/Headline
The “Hero” page should to grab users’ interest and direct them toward your goal.
The heading of Be eBook has everything you need as a starting point. Pre-built websites, like this one, are extremely easy to customize.
Heading/Product Title: Most ebook publishers use the title of the ebook for the product title on their landing page. You can too, although it’s not a requirement. It’s good practice to accompany the heading with a subheading, the purpose of which is to identify problem the product solves, and entice the user to explore further.
Picture/Cover: A picture of your ebook will lend credibility to your offering. People like to see that what they are buying not only exists, but has a sense of authenticity about it as well.
Call to Action: The call to action gives a user one or more options – “Purchase Now”, “Sign Up for My Newsletter”, “Read On if You’re Not Yet Convinced”, etc.
#2 The Value Proposition
These all-important words describe in a nutshell why someone should purchase your product. Composing one can be a challenge. The value proposition briefly describes the problem(s) a product solves, the resulting benefits, and what sets it apart from the competition. A value proposition can take on one of several possible formats.
#3 What’s Inside
A simple table of contents may suffice, or you may choose to touch upon the benefits gained from each of the sections.
#4 About the Author
Who you are as the Author can be as important as the product you’re selling. This is especially true when you already have an established audience. What you present here are things that bring credibility to your product; your background, your accomplishments, and the results and accolades associated with your past efforts.
#5 Social Proof
Landing pages often include testimonials, client logos, and/or case studies. Since you are an individual, and not a corporation, let the social proof section cover both you and your product.
The Be eBook pre-built website‘s testimonial area.
The role of the social proof section is to show that your product can follow through on your promises. It’s not how awesome your product is that testimonials should focus on. It’s the results your awesome product has produced.
#6 The Call to Action
The call to action stands out as the single “next step” toward making a purchase. Where it is placed is important. By placing it on the top and bottom of the page, it is the first thing a user sees, and the last thing they do.
Is Your Objective a Free ebook, or a Passive Source of Income?
There’s nothing wrong with giving your ebook away for free; but if you have enough web design experience under your belt to speak with authority, using it as a source of passive income often makes more sense.
The real hard work comes both before and after writing your book. You need to be perceived as authority on your topic. People are unlikely to part with their hard-earned cash if you simply present a compilation of existing knowledge.
It’s a matter of preparing, writing, and selling; and selling is where the fun begins.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What must you do to enable people to find your book?
- What reason do they need for purchasing it?
- Why should they choose your ebook over others?
The good news is; you don’t need outside support or special technical skills to market your product. You do however, need to have something to say; promoting a book requires effort, and the market is highly competitive.
The Alternative – a Free eBook
Offering a free ebook could indirectly increase your regular income; plus, you don’t have to worry about sales figures.
- It can be a great traffic draw, and used to entice newsletter signups.
- It can make others perceive you as an authority.
- It could go viral within the web design community; a situation that won’t hurt your reputation one bit.
- It can create a win-win scenario; particularly if you’re an unknown author. People hesitate to purchase something by an unknown author.
- Having a large number of people like what you write is a gratifying and inspiring experience, especially when your free ebook could be read by thousands.
- The boost in your credibility could translate into greater income.
- A free ebook can be a subtle, yet extremely effective, way of advertising; reason enough to make your ebook interactive. Ask for reviews, embed social media buttons, and include links to your enterprise’s website.
A “best-selling” (but free) ebook could make asking people to pay for your next one a whole lot easier.
We’ve looked into the benefits of writing an ebook, and explored three reasons why you might hesitate to undertake such a task; and why they are fallacious.
The best way to get started is simply to do just that; but, starting by writing Chapter 1 is not a good approach, and we’ve explained why. First, you need to brush up on, or improve your writing skills. You need to choose a topic, and do the necessary research on it to come across as an authority. Relating your personal experiences will help to make your ebook interesting and unique.
The importance of taking a structured approach, getting into a rhythm, and applying good writing habits are stressed, as are the benefits of using a landing page to promote your ebook.
Finally, there’s the choice between marketing your ebook or offering it for free. There are advantages to going either route; a number of them in fact.
Whether you choose to sell your ebook, or offer it for free, taking the landing page approach will make your life a whole lot simpler