Gone are the days when publishing houses were the gate-keepers of the book industry. We are in the midst of a revolution. The book industry is being turned upside down. If you have a message to convey to the world, the time has never been better to do so.
The Internet has provided everybody with a stage and a mic. How large this stage may stretch or how big the speakers will become is entirely up to you.
This article is intended towards those who are in some sort of online business like bloggers, website owners, freelance writers, etc. But even if you are a newbie to the online world and are contemplating writing an ebook, you will find some useful tips in here as well.
1. Work Once, Earn Forever
There are few businesses that allow you to earn forever by working only once. Writing a book is one of them.
Once you have written an ebook and uploaded it to the necessary online stores like Amazon or iTunes, you don’t have to do any more writing. Whenever somebody buys your ebook the money will automatically be credited into your account. And this will continue happening forever and ever.
Okay not actually forever; only until the author’s copyright expires but that is usually more than the author’s life. In fact even after the author dies, there are provisions that the author’s family may receive the royalties.
I must mention that although you won’t have to do any more writing after your book is completed, but you may have to do marketing if you want to sell more copies. So it’s not like, write an ebook, upload on Amazon, and sit back while the cash flows in. You should do some book promotion.
But still it cannot be denied that books grant you an evergreen income. William Shakespeare is not alive to do any marketing yet his books sell like hot cakes.
2. No Costs Involved
Writing an ebook is free. You just have to write it in a text editor like Word, format it for the website you are intending to sell it on, and then upload it. Online stores charge nothing for accepting and adding your ebook to their library. (If any site does, don’t use it. Most probably it’s a scam.)
If you have written your manuscript with a pen on paper and you want to hire someone to convert it into a digital format, or if you don’t know how to format it for the online store, you may need to hire an editor for that.
But if you are a savvy, publishing an ebook is free of cost.
3. You Can Add the Term “Author” to your Resume
It is not that only the traditionally published people that have the right to call themselves authors. Oxford Advanced Learner’s defines an author as “a person who writes books or the person who wrote a particular book.”
So if you have written an ebook you can rightfully call yourself as an author, a word which will make a stronger resume and cast a good impression in your job interview.
4. You Will Become an Authority
If you want your book to sell a huge amount of copies and if you want to be read, you must do enough research about the topic on which you are writing. This research can take many forms – reading books, reading news reports, reading blog posts, searching encyclopedias, interviewing academics, watching documentaries, etc.
In all this process you will gain a lot of knowledge and wisdom and this will happen even if you already know the topic. It’s a different thing to know a topic, it’s different to actually sit down and write a long, serious, coherent piece on it.
Also, you will begin to command more respect in society because of being an author and if your book is good and is getting positive reviews you will be treated as an authority in your niche.
5. You Can Discuss the Topic Completely
Blog posts are good to read for fixing minor problems like how to install WordPress on a webhost or how to exclude your own visits from Google Analytics. But they do not have the space to discuss bigger issues like provide you with a complete guide on how to blog. Ebooks are the way to go for such complete analysis.
Blog posts provide you with only pieces of the complete puzzle. An ebook, on the other hand, provides a complete solution.
This is what Darren Rowse was referring to when he said:
“The Digital Photography School blog is a ‘how to’ type blog that gives free tips on how to use cameras — but many of the topics our readers want to learn about are a lot bigger than we could fully cover in a single post.
For example, a topic like ‘Portrait Photography’ is fairly large — a single post might cover one aspect of it, but to cover the topic comprehensively, an eBook of 20,000+ words is going to serve readers a lot better.”
6. Ebooks are More Secure and Won’t Die Off Like Blog Posts
Trina Holden makes a very good point about why you should write ebooks:
“Blog posts have a very short life span. No matter how much work you put into that post, it’s going to eventually get bumped into your archives. You can try to resurrect it, but it’s still just a blog post that people are going to have to be willing to follow a link trail to read.
On the other hand, a book is not so easily lost. It can live right in your sidebar with a cute graphic, be shared regularly with other bloggers via reviews or giveaways, and be easily linked to in current posts.”
Agreed that there have been cases when a blogger suddenly starts getting large traffic to one of their older blog posts but such things only happen occasionally. What usually happens is that the activity on a post dies off exponentially after its publication. Perhaps the main reason is that in a blog, articles are arranged chronologically with the latest one going on top of the page and the older ones being pushed down.
But that doesn’t happen with ebooks for the reasons mentioned in Trina’s quote.
Also ebooks are more secure than blog posts. You put in a lot of time and effort in writing your blog posts but what if your servers couldn’t handle the load of the traffic and your site goes down? What if a hacker inflicts your site with a virus?
These may seem like wild ramblings but these incidents have really taken place and affected many bloggers.
But ebooks remain secure from these mishaps. If your site goes down your ebook will continue to sell in online stores and readers who like it can pass it onto their friends through e-mail attachments, etc.
7. Ebooks Can Be Taken Anywhere
Again ebooks have an edge over blog posts in that, once downloaded, they don’t require an Internet connection to read them. Therefore you can carry them in your tablet to any place you like.
In fact if you are on a holiday, lying on a beach and sun bathing, what will you prefer to read? A novel in your favorite genre or a blog post on how to install Google Analytics?
8. You May Find a Publisher
Yes publishers are no longer the gate keepers, yes you don’t need them to publish your book but for many writers getting a book deal with a reputed publisher is the holy grail of their career. Just imagine the feeling of walking into the best book store of your town and seeing your books stacked on their wooden shelves.
But getting a book deal with a good publishing house is very difficult nowadays. If you want to get published by a big publisher and have tried hard for that but everyone has rejected you then the wise thing to do is instead of running around finding publishers, divert your energies towards self publishing it as an ebook. If your book really has the potential to sell, and if you are even decent at marketing then your ebook will sell.
As Seth Godin said, “ideas worth spreading, spread.”
Once your ebook starts selling a decent number of copies it will become very easy for you to land a book deal as publishers are always looking out for books that sell. In fact there have been cases when the publishers themselves have contacted successful ebook authors instead of the other way round.
Amanda Hocking is a classic example of an author who struck a book deal with Macmillan, after selling more than one million (yes!) self published copies on Amazon.
Go Forth and Write Something!
I hope at least some of these tips have inspired you to write an ebook. Go and create something wonderful and when published, give us a heads up about it :-)
If you’re looking for some free design ebooks, we have published a collection here for you: 50 Free Books for Web Designers & Developers.