What You May Have Missed In Your E-Books
Ever thought you’d be writing self-help books? I bet you didn’t. But the truth is that in recent years, the e-book business has exploded and there’s a lot of potential to be exploited, here. So, you’ve written a couple of e-books on a range of topics so far, but it’s not going as well as it is for others, or not as well as you’d hoped, anyway. What are you doing wrong? Most likely, several things. So, let’s focus on what you can improve or what you may have missed.
1. Always keep in mind that your e-book should provide value for your reader
This point is probably the most important and it really cannot be stressed enough. If you want someone to pay for the advice or information you provide for them in an e-book, it better be some damn good one, otherwise your readers will feel ripped off, and for good reason. Remember that people are turning to your e-books for help in a particular area of expertise, whether it’s relationships, self-improvement or something else. They purchase the book, expecting to find helpful, useful and relevant information inside, as advertised.
So, if you’re writing an e-book on making yourself more attractive to the opposite sex, for example, you have to make sure to include some good, practical advice in there, and specific steps and actions the reader can take, in order to fulfill their goal. Stringing together a series of general statement, random babble and a few clichés is not going to help anyone and your readers will feel disappointed and mislead. Consequently, they will leave you bad reviews and you will lose their business in the future. And if there’s one thing that’s important in copywriting, it’s repeat customers and clients, because they help build your base.
Quick tip: Use personal experience, when possible. This way, you are able to give your personal perspective, as well as establish a bond with your readers.
2. Take the time to thoroughly research your topics
Sure, with a lot of topics, it’s very tempting to skip the research part and just start making up facts, advice and information. Hey, as long as it sounds legit, it’s cool, right? No, not cool. See, this ties in with my previous point on value. When you forego the very important step of thoroughly researching your topic and choose instead to just improvise along the way, you are essentially ripping off and lying to your readers. The person who purchased your book paid good money, hoping and expecting to be provided with real advice and information, not your late-night amateur improvisation. Respect yourself, as a writer and respect your readers, by giving them the best content you can produce.
This means that before you start writing, you have to first take some time to do a little research and investigation. It’s not like you have to go to the library – it’s a quick Google search, so don’t be lazy. Click on a few links, educate yourself on the topic, jot down the most important ideas and concepts and bookmark some good sources for later. This is a good time to also organize your e-book. You want to know from the beginning exactly what you’re going to write about and how much, as well as how to organize it to provide the most value for your readers. Also, always make sure to properly cite your sources, when it comes to quoting and otherwise stating facts. You didn’t just make up numbers and statistics; you got them from somewhere, so indicate your source.
Quick tip: Don’t use the first results that pop up on Google – you might end up treating the topic superficially. Dig a little deeper and find something genuinely helpful to your readers; it’s worth it.
3. Mind your tone and the way you address your reader
The way you address your readers is actually very important, even if it may not seem that big of a deal. Depending on the topic of your e-book, you’re going to want to approach your reader in different ways. For example, for a book on something like “picking up chicks”, an overly-formal tone will feel off-putting and too impersonal. Here, you want to give the reader the impression that you’re his very knowledgeable buddy who is willing to teach him some tricks he has up his sleeve. This will help keep the reader engaged, interested, and most importantly, it will sound natural and believable.
In fact, a friendly tone is most suitable for most e-books, especially ones that aim to teach something to the reader or otherwise help them develop or improve a skill. However, an e-book on a very serious topic, a professional one or one geared towards a certain type of public (older, professional, etc.), a casual tone and way of addressing the reader will not be appreciated and it will be perceived as disrespectful. When you have a “drier” or more serious topic to write about, embellishments and attempts at buddying up to the reader are unnecessary. You’re better off sticking to the topic and providing the relevant information in the most efficient and professional manner possible.
Quick tip: I know I said to talk to the reader like you would to a friend, but, by all means, avoid appellatives like “man”, “dude” or anything of the sort. That’s just unprofessional and not ok, unless it’s a humorous book.
4. Ensure that you are making your e-book easy to read
This one is also very important, but often overlooked, but making your e-book easy to read is crucial to its success. Think about it – it doesn’t matter how packed it is with interesting and valuable information, if the reader never gets to it, because it’s hard to read, right? Let’s be honest here: people are busy, lazy, impatient and get bored easily. So, taking these things into account, you have to organize your book accordingly. Everything counts, from chapter organization, to spacing, to the length of the paragraphs and the words you use. They all contribute to facilitate a better reading experience.
But what does this mean, practically?
- Well, making sure your lines are well-spaced gives it a cleaner, more airy vibe, which makes it less tiring to read – especially on a device, such as a tablet or a Kindle. Plus, it makes the text look shorter and less “scary” or time-consuming to get through.
- Also, keep your sentences short, as well as your paragraphs. It’s easy to fall into the trap of long-winding paragraphs and run-on sentences, but that’s just going to confuse the reader. They will not go over the same paragraph three times, in order to understand what you mean; they’ll just give up.
- For the same reason, consider using average, uncomplicated words. This ensures that your e-book will be accessible to everyone, regardless of background or education level. Besides, let’s be honest, here – this isn’t your PhD; leave the “big”, pretentious words for an academic setting.
Quick tip: It’s better to have several shorter chapters than a couple of very long ones. Yes, the length of the book is still the same, but this works as a psychological trick that gives the reader the impression that that it’s quicker and easier to read, this way.