eBooks are electronically published material with content your readers will find helpful, useful, or of interest. They’re easy to produce and distribute, and they can add another dimension to your writing career and branding platform. eBooks range from a few pages, such as a 5-10 page “White Paper” or “Special Report,” to a tome of hundreds of pages. You’re the expert writing about your niche topic and you get to decide on the content.
A few reasons to write eBooks include:
- sharing your niche topic expertise for profit;
- building a larger readership;
- offering incentives for eZine subscribers; and,
- delivering a free gift for readers.
Most successful eBooks are fewer than 100 pages. While longer works such as full-length novels are offered electronically, the buying public gravitates toward shorter eBooks that answer a question or solve a problem.
The writing style you choose for your eBook is determined by two factors: you and your audience. If you’re writing for an academic audience, then by all means use an academic voice. If you’re writing an eBook to help home gardeners grow better roses, your style should be more casual. For most eBook topics, you’ll want to use a conversational tone––a writing voice that makes the reader feel you’re talking directly to them across the dinner table.
The primary advantage of ePublishing is that you, the author, are in control. You decide on the content, writing style, and the format of your eBook. You don’t need professional design software (such as CS InDesign or Pagemaker), although these programs create a professional layout. Many special reports and eBooks are created using Microsoft Word and designed to print on 8 1/2″ x 11″ (or your country’s standard) paper. As you create content, keep in mind how your readers will utilize your finished product. For example, make it easy for readers to print the book.
Writers are rarely good editors or proofreaders of their own work. I recommend that you have your eBooks (and everything you write for publication) professionally edited. It IS worth the expense to hire a professional editor.
The publishing of your eBook is easy. Save the eBook you’ve written as a file and offer that file for sale on a disc, CD, or via online download. Voila! You’re ePublished. There are many acceptable eBook file types. The most common is Portable Document Format (PDF). While DOC and HTML are also acceptable, I recommend PDF because they’re easy to create and universally accepted.
If you’re interested in distributing your eBook through online sales portals like Amazon.com, you’ll need to obtain an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and register your eBook with the U.S. Copyright office. The Library of Congress will register eBooks, but does not currently maintain an eBook library.
Additional distribution options include e-mailing requested or sold eBooks, utilizing your autoresponder (WOTR, April 2007) or shopping cart software with electronic download options. For beginning ePublishers, consider the economical combination of PayPal and PayLoadz. Together, these online sales tools create affordable, safe and secure distribution.
Gregory A. Kompes (www.Kompes.com) is a writer, speaker, mentor and coach. He is the author of the #1 bestseller 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live, The Endorsement Quest, Turning Your Writing Hobby into a Writing Career, and The Everyday Gay Activist. Gregory is the editor of The Fabulist Flash, an informative newsletter for writers, founder of LAMOO Books, and Coordinator of the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference. The author holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, NY, and is currently a MS in Education candidate at California State University, Eastbay.