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How to Write an E-book

I love the idea of a good e-book. Say you want to know about a new subject in a hurry. You want to make sure that the information is accurate and up to date and you don’t want to spend a lot of time in research of study. Wouldn’t you pay $50 or $75 to get the information you needed immediately? I would.

And that’s why I love the idea of a good e-book. Done correctly an e-book will have these qualities: 1. Written by an expert in the field 2. Be focused on exactly the information you want to know. 3. Be very well written so that the expert’s knowledge is easily communicated to you. 4. Is concise, easy to read and well organized?

For example, let’s say that you are a golfer and you find that your thoughts wander such that you make too many mistakes in your short game. If Tiger Woods were to publish an e-book entitled “Three Easy Steps that I Use to Putt more Accurately” would you buy it? Our let’s say you are a CFO of a medium sized corporation and you are concerned about the growing size of your telephone bill. If a leading telecom consultant wrote an e-book with the title “Ten ways reduce your telephone bill without reducing your service” don’t you think that would be worth the $49.95 price tag?

An E-book can be a bargain.
Think about it. A well-written e-book can approximate the value of an expert’s pondering your problem and writing you a report. The cost of actually doing that could run into thousands of dollar and by comparison, a good e-book is a great bargain.

But, this assumes the e-book is good. Unfortunately, most are not. In fact, if you do a search on the Internet you will find that most sites featuring e-books are little more than get-rich-quick schemes carefully worded to fleece the gullible. These sites offer to sell you a book, a course, even software that they say will write your e-book for you. I don’t know if these sites make money for their owners but I would think they do since there are so many of them. And most are not badly written. They make the point that there is huge market for information in e-book form and that all anybody has to do is to pick a market and a topic and then sit back and count the money.

The truth is that a good e-book is as rare as good novel or a good play. Despite what the ads tell you, it is not easy to write a good e-book. In fact, because it is so short and concise, it could be argued that it is actually harder to write a good e-book than it is to write a longer document.

So if I believe that it is unlikely that a do it yourself e-book will make you rich, why am I making this effort to tell you how to write an e-book?

Use an E-book to promote your business
For the same reason that I started this site in the first place—to promote good marketing ideas.  An e-book may not be your road to riches, but it can be a powerful and effective marketing tool for you and your business.

Consider this example: you are a computer consultant.  New accounts are the lifeblood of your business but there is a lot of competition and every year it gets harder and harder to differentiate yourself from the others.

An e-book can do that for you. If you are a computer consultant, your e-book can be about network security, or expanding your network, or integrating voice and data. But having an e-book to offer to prospects is a great way to differentiate your company and stimulate interest in your services. Even if it is only a PDF file that is delivered via email, there is still magic to a “book” with your name on the cover.

In the past year I have ghost written e-books for a marketing company, a consulting company and a company that does valuations for privately held corporations and a specialty manufacturer who needed a quick way to explain his products to prospects.  In each case an e-book was a quick and cost effective marketing tool.

Writing Your E-book
If you want to create an e-book or e-books for your business, here’s what you need to do.

  1. Get a title first. Pretend that you already have your e-book written and produced. Think about your audience. What title would work best with your target market? The more vertical your market, the more focused your title should be. But pick a title that you know from your experience will be interesting to your prospects.
  2. Develop Realistic Expectations. Remember, the purpose here is not to tell the history of the world in 24 pages. This is a prospecting tool so you need to write your e-book so that the prospect believes that you have the experience and skills to help him. A good way to make this point is by presenting common industry problems likely to be of interest to your audience.
  3. Have an organized structure. You want your e-book to have strong organization to make the point that your company is also strong and organized. Your goal is to show mastery over the subject matter—not to provide specific solutions—you can do that after the prospect becomes your customer
  4. Limit the detail. As an expert in any field, this is the hardest part of this exercise. You can’t tell everything you know and you shouldn’t try.
  5. Use plain clear language. Short words, short sentences, short paragraphs
  6. Have a call to action. Invite the reader to call to discuss their particular situation.
  7. Make the book perfect. Be sure to proofread carefully and make sure to remove all typographical errors and spelling mistakes. Make sure the design you use to make your PDF file is open and attractive.

Distribute carefully. Some clients like to mass deliver their e-books but I think it is better if you offer the e-book on your website, via direct mail or as part of your sales pitch. A prospect who asks for your e-book will value it more highly than if it just arrives, unsolicited in their Spam filter.

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