What if you could write books, help other people, and increase your income at the same time? (I mean, without losing tons of sleep or giving up your late night Netflix binges. Obviously.)
If you love to write and want to increase your income, writing and publishing ebooks is a great option. It doesn’t even have to be complicated or intimidating. In this post, I’ll discuss a few different platforms you can use to write and publish your ebook with minimal work. I’ll also include some helpful tools to make designing and promoting as easy as possible.
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There are a few different ways to write and publish ebooks, but I’m going to focus on what worked for me. I like to keep these things simple, especially since I’m not a graphic designer or, honestly, all that knowledgeable when it comes to the technical stuff. I love to write. I don’t always love the other responsibilities that come with putting a book together. That’s why I keep it simple.
Here’s how I write and publish ebooks with minimal work.
STEP ONE: PLAN
Sometimes it feels good to just sit down and write. But if you’re writing with a goal, it helps to plan first. When it comes to writing books, some people plan extensively and some people just wing it. (Does it make a difference?) I make a basic outline in Google Docs to keep myself on track. You can also use Word, Scrivener, Evernote, or whatever writing software you usually use. Sometimes I like to sit down with a notebook, a pen, and a giant
bowl cup of coffee to outline the “old fashioned” way. (I prefer the term “vintage.”) Either way, take a few minutes to figure out your topic and write a brief outline.
As you’re planning the ebook itself, consider your writing and publishing timeline. I use my favorite day planner (I say favorite because I’m a nerd and I have multiple planners) to chart goals and choose a launch date. Creating a timeline will help you stay on track. If you wait to write whenever you feel like it, it could be months (years!) before you actually get it done.
(Want more details on planning your ebook? Check out this advice from Rachel Rofe.)
STEP TWO: WRITE
Are you writing a series of novellas or a personal finance ebook? If you love to write fiction, go for it. If you want to create something your blog’s readers will find useful (and if you’re a writer without a blog, what are you waiting for?), the easiest place to start is with your previous posts.
Look through your old blog posts. Which ones have your readers connected with the most? What topics did you enjoy writing about the most? Is there a particular post or series of posts you can expand upon to create a more detailed, fleshed-out ebook? As a blogger, you have so much content at your disposal. Use it well.
Another option is to write an ebook to offer your subscribers for free. This is a great option for fiction and nonfiction authors alike because it’ll help you grow your email list and connect with others who are genuinely interested in what you offer.
STEP THREE: DESIGN
This is my favorite part. (*Rolls eyes.*) Seriously, this should be the fun part. But like I said, the designy, technical stuff just doesn’t come to me as naturally as writing. It’s okay, though, because I’ve found a few tools that have made it much simpler.
Now that you’re finished writing and proofreading your ebook, you’ll need a cover. You can pay someone to do this through websites like Book Design Templates, Go On Write, Reedsy, or through personal connections. Or you can do it yourself. Whether or not you DIY depends on your goal for the book and your confidence in your own creative ability. Just try to make sure it looks professional enough that you would buy it if you saw it on a bookshelf.
There’s also a special place in my heart for Ivory Mix, which is an excellent resource for bloggers and creatives who need help with the visual side of things. I signed up for her email list months ago. Since then, I get gorgeous stock photos in my inbox every month. It’s easily one of my favorite blogging resources.
I have little to no talent for graphic design, but tools like this make it easy and foolproof for me to create blog graphics, social media headers, and even book covers without spending a ton of time or money.
And that leaves more time for writing, which makes me happy! 🙂
STEP FOUR: PUBLISH
This step depends on whether you plan to offer your ebook as an opt-in freebie for your subscribers or not. If so, you can use your email service provider to upload your ebook and automatically send it to new subscribers. (I use Mailchimp. Here’s a tutorial.)
I offered my ebook for free for the first two months before I removed the free option and published it on Amazon. I set up an Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) account, which allowed me to easily publish my book in just a couple of hours.
STEP FIVE: PROMOTE
There are tons of promotional opportunities available for authors these days, but not all of them are free. (Nor should all of them be.) But I’m writing under the assumption that you, like me, don’t have the biggest advertising budget in the world right now. (And if you do, go for it!) Those of us with smaller budgets have to get a bit more creative with how we spread the word about our books. This is where social media becomes crucial.
Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, among others, are essential for writers who want to connect with fellow writers and readers. It doesn’t cost anything to set up an account and get to work. However, effective social media use doesn’t happen overnight. After all, there are entire jobs that exist around social media marketing. It can feel like a full-time job.
You have options here. You can:
1) Do it all yourself, even though you’ll sacrifice writing time.
2) Hire someone to do it for you.
3) Take the automated DIY approach by using tools such as Tailwind, BoardBooster, Buffer, and others to plan and schedule your posts.
Social media can work well, but it’s also a good idea to focus on your email list. Soliciting help from relatives and friends and working with others in your niche are also great promotional ideas.
No matter what you decide to do — whether you write a simple freebie or pour your heart into a series — don’t get so sidetracked by everything else that you forget writing comes first. And connecting with real people will always be more important than having tons of indifferent followers. Authentically connecting with a smaller number of fellow writers and readers is more meaningful, and ultimately more valuable, than gaining followers who don’t really care what you’re doing in the first place.
Have you ever written and published an ebook? What tools and strategies did you use to make the process simpler? Let me know in the comments below!