Being an entrepreneur means wearing many hats, including author, publisher, marketer, product creator, copywriter, mentor, and more. As I move into my fifteenth year online I now see that writing and publishing an eBook on a topic I knew well within three months of starting my business on the internet was the wisest step I could have taken at that time. I firmly believe that everyone should know how to write an eBook to build an online business based on your current level of knowledge and expertise. This will also bring in some income and get you in the habit of creating something once and selling it over and over again.
When I started my online business in the spring of 2006 I was coming from twenty years as a classroom teacher and over twenty years as a real estate broker and residential appraiser. The writing and the technology were a struggle for me and I wasn’t sure how I was going to earn income with my new endeavor. Believing that everything would work itself out (I’m a positive thinker and believer) the solution came more quickly than I imagined and from an unexpected source.
My new neighbor, Lori, came to my door in tears one morning. When I let her in and we sat down to talk she told that her husband had said she had to get a real job because she wasn’t earning enough in real estate. His suggestion was for her to apply at J.C. Penney in the local mall and as she shared that her tears turned into a full sob.
“I don’t want to work at Penney’s. That would be just…awful!”
I gave her a hug and told her she didn’t have to do anything she didn’t want to do. Then I asked her if she was “farming” a neighborhood in our community. Farming refers to the process of choosing a geographic area of homes with the intention of connecting with the residents to let them know you can help them with their real estate needs. I had done this quite successfully over the years and finally had three farms I worked in on a regular basis. My question brought more tears and wet sobs.
“I don’t want to knock on doors every Saturday.”
“Every Saturday? You only need to go into your farm four times a year. I can show you how to do it.”
I believe Lori was more excited at the thought of not having to work at J.C. Penney (a wonderful store, in my opinion) than she was at the prospect of having me teach her what had worked well for me with farming over the previous two decades. But we had made a deal and I welcomed this opportunity to share knowledge and expertise I had garnered over the years with someone who desperately needed this information.
How to Write an eBook – Start With an Outline
Before my friend had walked back to her house I was already in my home office mapping out an outline on my mini legal pad. I wrote down what I would include in the information I was about to prepare for her, as well as what I would omit. I made two columns and wrote in my own shorthand to sort out what was of the utmost importance and what could be left out. Then I went to the computer and opened up a new Word document.
Remember that I was new to the world of online business and that in 2006 eBooks were a fairly new concept. But somehow I knew that from the five pages I wrote on that day something much bigger would evolve. Over the next several weeks my document doubled in size as I thought of more pertinent details to include. I even made a schedule and doodled a crude drawing of what I wanted to put into words.
At some point I turned one portion of my writing into an article and published it on two of the articles directories we used at that time. Both sites bounced my article back to me because of the title. Real Estate Farming: How to Get Started seemed innocuous enough, but upon closer inspection you can see that the letters spelling state Farm are included. This was an infringement on the rights of the insurance company, State Farm and I changed my title so those two words did not in that order. This was the very beginning of my education about keywords and SEO (search engine optimization) and I was excited to learn more.
Soon I came upon the work of Dr. Joe Vitale and Jim Edwards, who were both legendary authors and marketers before I came online. They were each teaching about eBooks and I gobbled up everything I could on this topic. Within another few weeks I had written a sixty page document – an eBook – that I was ready to share with others. This was years before Amazon created the publishing side of their business and traditional publishers had yet to think about eBook versions of paperback and hard cover books to be important.
So I did what any self-respecting, pioneer entrepreneur would do under similar circumstances – I self-published my eBook and set it up for sale on my website! That’s right; I signed up for a business PayPal account (there is still no cost to do this) and wrote some simple sales copy to describe what my eBook was about. The title was Real Estate Farming for New and Seasoned Real Estate Agents. I printed out the first copy was my neighbor and she was most appreciative. She never did have a take a “real” job and her husband simmered down after she took two new listings before the month was out.
Then I told some people at my local Board of Realtors about the eBook I had written and they encouraged me to run a small classified ad in our weekly newsletter (still only available in printed form at that time) to let all of the members know what I had written. That’s when I had to decide on a price for my eBook. Based on what I was learning from Jim Edwards at that time I came up with a price point of $49 USD. I began to make sales and it was so wonderful to earn money in this way.
One brokerage even contacted me to get a price for allowing them to offer my eBook (they referred to it as a “white paper”) to all of their agents. We agreed on a price of three thousand dollars for unlimited downloads and I signed a contract with the details and legal information. Months later I updated and expanded the eBook and I called that company first to let them know and share the new version with them. At that time, the idea that a new version of a book could simply be printed out on the office copier was quite a novel one.
Everyone Should Know How to Write an eBook – Here’s Why…
Since that time I have created hundred of eBooks to sell, use as bonuses for my products, and to give away in various ways. Sometimes these eBooks are referred to as white papers, reports, short reports, special reports, information products, or focus guides. Whatever you choose to call an electronic book the result is the same. When you know how to create such a thing you are able to:
- Create a product to sell within a relatively short period of time
- Share your thoughts and ideas with others instantaneously
- Take control of your destiny by selling information on the internet
- Sell on Amazon alongside thought leaders and experts
- Run an international business without maintaining any physical inventory
Yes, I believe in the value of writing, publishing, and marketing eBooks for you, no matter what your niche or background. We’ve come a long way since I wrote and published my first eBook in the spring of 2006 but the concept of sharing electrons with others is the same. I would love to know your thoughts and ideas on this topic.
I’m bestselling author, publisher, and marketing strategist Connie Ragen Green. Get started with your own eBook empire by learning how to write an eBook from the person who continues to guide me along this lucrative journey. Take a look at How to Write and Publish Your Own eBook…in as Little as 7 Days from expert and author Jim Edwards.