My twitter feed, once again, has disappointed me. After painstakingly removing all of the people I didn?t read anyhow, somehow word of more bad products hitting the niche wheedled its way on to my feed.
I raged for a moment, I must admit. This niche has been diluted with so much bilge water at this point, to really stand out you have ride a unicycle on the tightrope while eating fire in clown shoes. So when more garbage is rolled out as some huge, new, ?totally original? product, it makes me so angry I want to push someone?s face into the dirt.
Let?s face it. A crowded market is competitive, but competition is awesome! It keeps the rest of us on top of our game. Someone who can put out something original on the market is someone worth knowing. That is the person you want on your team.
So then why would I get so livid over a silly ebook?
Because I value the people who are buying these books.
Funny story ? Once upon a time, I wasn?t a blogger. (I know, seems like ages ago, right? Anyway.) I loved this niche so much. All of my favorite writers felt like friends, and I wanted to support my friends doing what they loved. Always on a budget, I?d pick and choose over whose book I would buy next with great care. Who was I most interested in supporting? Who would crank out the biggest bang for my buck? Who would let me steal a glance of the first few pages to see if it was really everything I wanted and more?
It was pure joy when I finally ordered that book, and it was exactly what I needed to hear. I actually only ordered one, and then bought most of the ebooks in my library from the sale Karol Gadja ran several months ago. It was a killer deal, and the sheer joy of knowing I had enough inspirational reading material for weeks to come was bliss.
Here?s the clincher, though. After looking through all of those beautiful, well done ebooks, I put my own on the back burner. The content for The Minimalist Mom was almost entirely written in September and early October, but after seeing the caliber of so many other books, I knew mine had to shine when it hit the digital shelves.
Some of those authors disappointed me with bad content or poor design, and I felt insulted. Why would they put out a product that wasn?t worth nearly what they were charging?
Suddenly, I was afraid, because I learned an important lesson.
If I wanted my readers to continue to trust me, I had to design a product that was worth every dime they spent on it. If I wanted to show my readers exactly how much I valued them, I had to prove it by offering a product that was top notch.
That?s what I want as a reader. That?s what I provide as a writer. Because you know what?
Every product that isn?t full of amazing content worth reading does the entire niche a disservice.
Every time a product is sold to a customer, there is an opportunity to further a relationship. Trust. You break the trust, you lose the customer. Bad products make it harder for everyone to sell products that are worth the amount being charged.
The internet is wonderful invention that allows us to create awesome, useful, wonderful books and websites and whatever else together. In fact, we?ve already created so much valuable material on how to do all of those things, there is no excuse to put out a crappy product.
It is my goal today to prove that, and your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to never put out a useless, shitty ebook EVER again.
Components of an ebook
There are three main components that go into putting together a good ebook:
(We?re going to ignore launching and marketing here. If you want to know more about that, check out ?How to Launch the **** out of your Ebook? by Dave Navarro and Naomi Dunford.)
First, we must acknowledge our shortcomings. Are we excellent at 1 out of 3? 2 out of 3?
Maybe you just have a really freaking sweet, original, idea for an ebook, but you can?t write worth a damn. Don?t kid yourself pretending you can learn to write well overnight. Be realistic.
A well written book sells; a poorly written one doesn?t.
That?s what hiring a ghostwriter is for. Say, you can even hire me for that. Imagine that!
If you?re going to write an ebook, make sure you?re writing it from the right approach. Are you writing it just because everyone says you can make money writing ebooks? Or is it because you have something worth sharing?
A question to ask yourself is, ?Would this make a good, traditionally published book??
If so, then you are on your way. If not, I hope it?s because you?re offering so much extra, high-quality multimedia goodness that it couldn?t possibly be published traditionally.
Content may be king, but design is in charge of the king?s wardrobe. Nobody listens to the king if he?s not dressed the part. It?s how we know he?s the king.
If you can?t design well, hire someone.
If you can?t hire someone, barter.
If you can?t barter, find a freaking intern.
This goes for all ebook aspects, but I felt it especially relevant for this part. Design is not throwing together something in Word on the fly.
Design is actively engaging typography, a color palette, image creating software, and anything else you need into an easy-to-read, beautiful ebook.
It?s complex, but when it?s done right, it makes a good book a great book.
Publishing your ebook is just as important as the other two aspects of ebook creation. It?s what makes your links work, your design shine, and your content come off with a better polish than waxed floors.
Find a good program or outsource it.
Really, do you know how to make your ebook viewable on a Kindle? Yeah, me neither. That?s why I?m outsourcing it.
I really want to drive the point home that you need to do it right or don?t do it at all, so I thought I?d assemble some extra reading material for you. I wouldn?t want you caught unprepared and accidentally let slip a shitty ebook.
So, here is your daily dose of no-excuses product creation. Repeat dosage until you can make good products in your sleep.
Reasons you are an ass if you put out a lousy ebook (otherwise know as references for learning how to do it right):
Jonathan has a whole site on how to put out and make amazing ebooks. He knows a little bit about design principles, and can help you take your ebook to a new level.
By the way, that bit about him knowing a little? Yeah. Tongue in cheek. Check this out.
2. The E-Book Editor
Chris O?Byrne is a super talented guy who makes sure your content is error free and can convert your ebook so it works across all platforms. This is huge, because your ebook needs to work on every device you can manage cost effectively.
Please Google ?how to design an ebook.? Skim the first ten or so. Takes notes.
Alright, now Google ?how to write an ebook.? Repeat the above.
Guess what the third step is.
The point here is get at least a basic idea of what you are doing before you start doing it! A good execution happens based on a good plan. That, or you may just be insanely good at flying by the seat of your pants.
Not that I?d know anything about that.
You won?t get a crappy book past these guys. If it isn?t any good, it won?t make the cut. If you need to double check if your book if worth looking at send it to them, get a badass new affiliate, and make sure your book is ready for the world to see, register at Ebookling.
If you are at all in doubt of what great ebooks look like, you?re in luck. (P.S. It?s also a great way to steal design ideas.) I?m going to take this opportunity to tell you about a killer deal where you can get quality ebooks that not only are full of great information, but they are actually designed well.
I?m fortunate enough to be included in the Simplify Your Family Life ebook sale coming up next week, and it is a great opportunity to get my book, as well as tons of other great reads. 30 ebooks for $47. It doesn?t get much better than that. The sale starts Monday at 2:00pm. It?s only a three day sale, so make sure you don?t miss it!
Hopefully, we are now all clear on what it takes to create an ebook worth buying. Do us all a favor and make yours the next big thing.
Also, I?d love to hear from you. Find me on Twitter here.
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