Maybe you’ve watched other bloggers launch their ebooks, and you want to do the same — but something’s holding you back.
You probably already know the benefits of publishing an ebook …
- Establishing yourself as an expert author
- Finally making real money from your blog
- Creating a low-priced product to draw new customers in
You keep telling yourself that you will write an ebook someday … just not yet. And it’s almost certainly the case that one of the seven common fears in this article is holding you back.
Staying stuck isn’t any fun, so let’s get right to it …
Fear #1: I’m not ready
This is the biggest worry I hear from bloggers: I’m not ready.
All too often, the bloggers saying this are more than ready.
They’ve been blogging for six months, or a year, or longer.
Or they’re subject matter experts.
Or they’ve been writing for years or even decades.
Even if the longest thing you’ve written so far is a blog post, you probably are ready (or at least a lot closer to ready than you think).
Tip: Pick a date when you will begin your ebook, however unready you feel. Put it in your calendar.
Fear #2: I don’t know what to write about
This fear comes in two forms:
- I have no ideas at all
- I have so many ideas, I don’t know which to pick
The best way forward is to ask your audience.
Give them a list of your potential ideas and ask them to vote on their favorites. Even better, ask them what they’re struggling with, using open-ended questions.
Tip: Though open-ended questions are always best, you can use SurveyMonkey to run a multiple choice survey — it’s free at the basic level, and quick and simple for your audience to use.
Fear #3: Nobody will buy it
No writer wants to pour weeks of work into an ebook … only to find that sales are zero (or as close as makes no difference).
I can’t guarantee that your readers will buy your ebook. But if you’ve written what they want to read (see #2) instead of what you think they want, they’re very likely to snap it up.
You don’t have to sell hundreds of copies during your launch, either. Ebooks never go off: they can stay on a virtual shelf for months or years, bringing in regular income.
Tip: Don’t spend months and months on your ebook. Write something short, and aim to complete it within a couple of months — or try the 30 Day ebook plan here.
Fear #4: It won’t be good enough
Perhaps you’re worried you don’t know enough. Perhaps you think your writing isn’t up to scratch. This fear is one that pretty much every first-time ebook writer suffers. (And plenty of umpteenth-time writers still find it hard to beat.)
Remember, your ebook doesn’t have to be the last word on your subject.
In fact, it’s much better (for you and your audience) to write an ebook that tackles one single topic — not one that aims to be the only ebook they’ll ever need.
Also, you don’t have to go it alone.
Maybe there are a couple of chapters in your plan that fall outside of your personal experience. You can research those, interview an expert, or even ask someone else to contribute text for them.
Tip: Ask fellow writers, or some members of your audience, to act as “beta-readers.” Get them to comment on your draft, and use their comments and suggestions to improve it.
Fear #5: I don’t understand the technology
If you’ve only just got to grips with WordPress, the thought of mastering the technology behind ebooks might put you off starting.
The great news is that ebooks are relatively easy to produce.
If you’re going to sell your ebook through your own blog, you can simply make a .pdf file that readers can view on their computer. (And you can hire a designer to make it look great.)
If you want to get your ebook into major online stores, like Amazon, there are a few extra steps to take — but these are by no means insurmountable.
Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) is straightforward to use, and Smashwords will help you format your ebook for distribution to other online stores.
Tip: There are plenty of individuals, plus companies like BookBaby, that can take your ebook manuscript and format it for you. Shop around and ask for recommendations.
Fear #6: I don’t have a big list
Yes, an email list is a powerful way to sell products … but you don’t need to build a huge list before you can create your first ebook.
Even if your list only has a few dozen members — or if you don’t have a list at all — you can publish an ebook.
You can use other techniques, like guest posting, to get the word out there, and build up your list over time. After all, if you write the ebook first, you’ll have something for new members to buy.
Tip: Use a free chapter or two from your ebook as a sign-up incentive for your email list. This not only gives them a reason to join your list, it also helps nudge them towards buying.
Fear #7: I hate the idea of marketing
Some people are natural marketers: confident, charismatic, and with an instinctive grasp of what benefits will entice their audience.
Others — probably most of us! — find marketing uncomfortable at first.
Marketing may not come naturally to you, but you’re perfectly capable of it. Marketing your ebook simply means letting people know what it can do for them.
Some of your audience will decide not to buy, of course: perhaps they don’t need that particular book, or they don’t feel they have time to use it right now.
Others, though, will be delighted that you’re produced exactly what they need.
Tip: Focus on your audience in your marketing. Instead of trying to write about how great your ebook is, write about how it can help them.
If one of these fears has been holding you back, decide today how you’re going to move forward.
Drop a comment below to tell us your plans.
About the Author: Ali Luke is author of Publishing E-Books For Dummies (Wiley, Sept 2012), a step-by-step guide to help you finish, publish, and market your ebook. If you want clear, friendly help and expert tips, pick up a copy today. It’s available in paperback and ebook form.