Multiple independent authors have self-published popular eBooks that have gone on to sell more than a million copies. Two of the most commonly referenced examples are Amanda Hocking and John Locke, who sold over a million copies of their eBooks using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program.
According to recent reports, eBooks made up 27% of all book sales in January 2012, with a total revenue of $128.8 million for the month. This illustrates a 76% increase from January 2011′s eBook sales of $73.2 million. With rapidly growing eBook sales, the time is right to write a popular eBook.
Growth in eBooks sales has been accompanied by a corresponding increase in the number of new eBooks published each month. For example, the United States Kindle Store has more than 95, titles, with tens of thousands of new titles published each month. With all of the competition out there, it is important to learn how to make sure your eBook will be popular, stick out from the crowd and sell.
Here are six important tips compiled from insights shared by successful eBook authors:
Before you invest the time to write that eBook, make sure there is an audience and genuine demand for it. If you use social media sites like Twitter or Facebook, pitch your ideas to your fans and followers. See if they are excited about the idea and try to hone in on what about the idea is most valuable to them.
Create a quick survey using a free service like SurveyMonkey or TwtPoll and share it with your network. Try to ask questions in your survey that will help you identify your core audience, what their needs are and the benefits they would want from reading a book on the topic you’re considering.
If you take the time to research the market and collect data, the eBook you write is more likely to provide readers what they are looking for and to help them solve important problems.
Once you have done a little research, test the market before you start writing the eBook. This can be a simple as writing the first chapter and giving it away for free to subscribers or connections on social media sites.
If you really want to test if people will actually pay for an eBook on the topic you are considering, make it available before you even write it as part of a pre-sale offer. See how many people who expressed interest actually end up buying the book.
Another great way to test the waters is to create a Kickstarter campaign to pitch your eBook project. Many people help to fund creative projects on Kickstarter, which is another great platform for gaining exposure, testing your concept and hopefully raising a small amount of funding for you to write your eBook.
It can be tempting to write an all-inclusive, expansive eBook that has the potential to become the seminal work on a topic. Resist that urge at all costs!
Before you invest months upon months of your time and energy into writing an eBook, make sure it justifies spending that amount of time. Unlike print, eBooks can be easily updated and multiple volumes can be released without a huge cost, in terms of time and money.
Instead of trying to go big from the beginning, find a specific focus and goal for your eBook. Write the eBook, publish it and see if there is enough demand to justify spending the time to continue writing on the topic and expand the focus in subsequent versions or create a series of eBooks.
Don’t get off track or waste time, figure out a game-plan from the beginning and try to stick to it. This will help you avoid false starts and ensure that, halfway through writing, you don’t realize that your eBook has lost its focus.
When creating your game-plan, figure out the amount of time you’re going to dedicate to writing your eBook. Give yourself at least 3 days, but try to limit it to less than 12. This ensures that you can write and publish a couple of eBooks per year, as opposed to just one or two, giving you a better change of an eBook that really sells.
Take the time to brainstorm and explore ideas when in the planning phase. If questions come up or you are unsure what is more important to cover, spend a little time doing research or create a quick survey. By developing an outline and plan for your eBook, you will be more efficient in your writing and improve the quality of the end product.
People judge books by their covers, and eBooks are no exception to the rule. Take the time to create a great-looking cover for your eBook, or hire a graphic designer to help. A great cover can have a big big impact on the overall popularity of your eBook.
If you are not a talented artist, there are a number of affordable ways to have a great cover designed. A quick search of the web using Google or Bing will lead you to many talented graphic designers who specialize in book covers. If you would prefer to get a couple of different choices for graphic designs, online graphic design services like 99 Designs might be a good choice.
Most new authors suffer from chasing perfection in their writing and eBooks. Your eBook, especially if it is one of your first, will never be perfect. Instead of improving hypothetical problems that only you notice, get feedback from readers who are interested in purchasing the book.
If you create a survey and invite them to participate, you will get far more valuable feedback on improving the eBook than you would by wrestling with your own opinions. Remember, eBooks evolve rapidly over time and there is nothing wrong with publishing a new and improved edition every couple of months.