Tag Archives: write and sell ebooks

Write A Book: 3 Simple Ways To Get Nonfiction Ideas Readers Love

Write A Book: 3 Simple Ways To Get Nonfiction Ideas Readers Love

You want to write a book. Specifically, you want to write a nonfiction book. Easy — ideas are everywhere.

You’re keen to get started, but every idea you develop seems trite — uninspired. You’re wondering whether you’ll ever come up with something original.

Hey, listen up… “Original” is over-rated. Let’s say you managed to develop a completely different idea for a book… An idea which no one has ever had before.

Amazing, right? A guaranteed bestseller, right? Wrong.

Hundreds of thousands of writers all over the world are cudgeling their brains and looking for ideas too. Not only is it unlikely that you’ll come up with something that no one has ever thought of before, but if you did somehow manage it, chances are that no one would buy your book.

Decide now that you’ll write a book which will sell: the only way to do that is to write what readers want.

Write a book that people want to read

Recall that you’re not just writing a book, you’re writing a book that people will want to read.

When I started my writing career, more years ago than I care to remember, a savvy editor suggested that if I wanted to sell, I write about: diets, romance, and money. That trio of topics will always be popular, because: human nature.

Let’s look at ways you can get ideas and write books that readers will love.

1. Make a list of what fascinates YOU

It’s not what you know, it’s what you love, and want to learn more about.

Before the Kindle and the self-publishing revolution, authors’ research to find ideas for books was time-consuming. Not only did you need to hustle to the library to study databases of books which were already published, you had to source lists of upcoming titles as well.

All that took time, and convincing editors that you’d found a hot topic took a lot of back and forth. Even remembering those long-ago days makes me tired. 🙂

Today, you have millions of potential readers, and those millions of readers have endless interests. No matter how esoteric your own obsessions are, it’s likely that thousands of readers share those obsessions and will want to read about them.

So make a list of what you love (or hate, come to that) and keep adding to it. The list will serve you well in years to come.

2. What problems can you solve?

Everyone is an expert on something, and nothing is ever lost on a writer.

Make a list of what you know. Consider your history, your job history, personal challenges you’ve overcome… You’ll be surprised at the length of the list, no matter how young you are. Of course, if you’re mature, you know even more.

Share your knowledge.

3. What do you do in your spare time? You’re a fan of…

What do you like to do?

Create another list. This list should include everything you’d do if money were no object, as well as your favorite pastimes.

Your three lists: competition analysis

You now have three lists.

Choose five to ten topics, and do a little competition analysis.

From this early-stage analysis, you want to know:

  • The category: how popular is the topic? Do any books covering the topic appear in Amazon’s Top 100 Best Sellers? Here’s the Top 100 for 2017.
  • Assuming that your category is represented, are the books indie published, or traditionally published? Traditionally published books are a good sign, because publishers have research resources that we don’t. (Don’t take this too seriously — publishers are often wrong. :-))
  • Potential for a shortie title. Can you come up some shortie topics with which you can test the category’s potential? Writing a couple of short titles makes sense, before you spend several months writing.

If you want to write a book, there are a million nonfiction topics

As we’ve said, with millions upon millions of readers, chances are that thousands of them will be interested in any idea you choose.

Have fun. And keep adding to your lists. Then you’ll never run out of great ideas for great books. 🙂

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

eBook: $5.99
In this book we'll aim to increase your creativity to unlock your imagination and build the writing career of your dreams. More info →
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Nonfiction Ebooks Goldmine: Write and Sell Nonfiction Ebooks In 24 Hours Or Less

Nonfiction Ebooks Goldmine: Write and Sell Nonfiction Ebooks In 24 Hours Or Less

$5.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 5
Genre: Writing
You're a writer. You need to make money from your words. What if you could create AND sell a nonfiction book in just a day? More info →
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Fast Short Stories: New Online Writing Class

Fast Short Stories: New Online Writing Class

Over the past year or two, authors have discovered the value of short stories. Not only can you charge as much for a short story as you’d charge for a novel, readers in several genres love them.

On Amazon, the term “short stories” has a respectable monthly search volume of half a million searches, which shows that readers are searching for snack-sized fiction and are buying it. If you’re not using short stories in your self-publishing program, you’re missing out on an opportunity.

In Easy Fiction Writing: 4 Profitable Ways To Use Short Stories, we said that short stories are fun part-time projects. You can write a short story and publish it as an ebook within a few hours.

A tip: authors ask me “how long” a short story “must” be, if you want to publish it as an ebook. There are no rules — it’s up to you. Traditionally, a short story was fiction up to 15,000 words — beyond that, it’s a novella, and after around 30,000 words, it’s a novel.

Publish Fiction In 8 Hours Or Less: Conquer Short Stories

Enrollments are open for our new online writing class, Publish Fiction In 8 Hours Or Less: Conquer Short Stories. I created the class because writers were stumbling with their stories, and not getting as much out of them as they could.

When you’re writing short stories, it’s essential to know which genres sell. For example, the Mystery/ Thriller genre sells less well than several other genres, and we cover that in the class.

We also look at:

  • Clever ways you can use short stories;
  • Short story pricing;
  • Essential tactics to make your short stories satisfying to readers; and
  • How to make the most of Amazon’s Short Reads categories.

I’ll guide you through writing and publishing a short story step by step. By the end of the four week class, you’ll have written a complete short story, and will have received feedback on every stage of writing it.

The writing class’s structure and what you’ll get out of it

I’ll be offering this class at intervals of a month or two, depending on how busy I am with other commitments.

The class is strictly practical — you’ll be writing, rather than stuffing your head with knowledge. 🙂 By the time the class ends, you’ll know exactly how to use short stories in your publishing plans for 2018 and beyond, and how to write them quickly.

You’ll receive everything you need for the class each week, via a download link sent to your email address — PDFs, audio, and video — so no other purchases are required.

Estimate that you’ll spend an hour or two a week on the class.

Class begins on October 16, and enrollments are limited.

NEW CLASS: Publish Fiction In 8 Hours Or Less: Conquer Short Stories

New fiction writing class: write and sell short stories

Discover a brand new, step-by-step, class to writing and publishing short stories FAST. You can publish within hours.

This class is easy, fun, and practical. If you’ve got an hour a week, you’ll master short fiction writing and selling in just four weeks.

Join us, and take control of your fiction writing career.

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

eBook: $5.99
You can, when you discover the secrets of writing blurbs (book descriptions) which sell. More info →
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Self-Publishing Shock: “My Book Isn’t Selling…”

Self-Publishing Shock: “My Book Isn’t Selling…”

I hate receiving messages like: “My book isn’t selling, what do I do now?” Writing a book is hard, self-publishing is hard too. The fact that you’ve written a book wins you huge kudos — good for you. Now it’s time to buckle yourself in, and look on self-publishing as a business.

Here’s the good news. Just because your book isn’t selling right now, it doesn’t mean that it will never sell. In traditional publishing, if your book doesn’t sell, in three months it gets pulped. In self-publishing, your book is available forever.

The self-publishing competition is heating up: accept it (this is good news)

Well over 100,000 new ebooks hit the Kindle Store every month. I just checked, and in the past 30 days, 107,691 new titles have been added to the Kindle Store.

So, if you’re just hitting the Publish button, and are then sitting back waiting for sales, you need to be aware of the huge competition, and do a little more.

I talked about slumping book sales in this post, and advised:

You can start with doing more marketing, yes. However, that’s a slippery slope. You can spend too much on advertising, more than you’re likely to recoup in sales. My advice to “help! my sales are dropping” calls from self-publishers starts with advising them to go back to basics.

That post has never been more relevant. It’s no longer enough to publish, now you need to actively promote your books — and sometimes even that won’t help. Authors are reporting that their sales from Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) ads and Facebook ads are woeful.

What’s an author to do?

Two things:

  • Don’t panic — business operates in cycles;
  • Get busy: be ready for the cycle to move upward.

1. Understand business cycles: you’re self-publishing, so you’re a PUBLISHER

Here’s the thing. Amazon’s Kindle set off a gold rush. Check the freelance marketplaces. You’ll find many “writer wanted” projects there.

Buyers are willing to hire writers to write books. They’re investing a few hundred dollars in each book,and are then publishing the ebooks on Amazon. They wouldn’t be doing that if they weren’t making money.

Please stop thinking of yourself as an “author”. Ditch your ego. Stop panicking and start thinking like a publisher.

Here’s how publishers think: they expect to publish duds, because no one knows what will sell. No one. As a rule of thumb, out of every ten books published, most will sell few copies. One or two might make reasonable sales. Out of a few thousand books published, one will be bestseller.

Depressing, right?

Not so. Self-publishing is a HUGE opportunity.

2. Get busy: self-publishing CAN be a gold mine

Look at it this way. Many thousands of authors are making great money on Amazon, because they’re writing good books, and are doing their best to promote those books. A few authors are making thousands of dollars a day; most are making nowhere near that.

However, when I see buyers hunting for people to write their books on the outsourcing sites, I know that opportunities exist.

So get busy: produce more good books.

Recall that you’re a publisher, and publishers publish more than one book a year, or one book a quarter. They publish as many books as they can.

Please realize that I’m not suggesting that you dump a lot of junk on the online book retailers. That helps no one. You’re wasting your own time. Write the best books you can, and keep self-publishing.

One dud book is nothing, and as we’ve suggested, it may take off next month or next year.

In the meantime…

Onward… 🙂

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99
I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly. More info →
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Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

$4.99
What If You Were Twice As Successful, Or Even THREE Times More Successful Than You Are Today? There's No Ceiling On A Writer's Income... You Just Need To Be Prolific. More info →
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Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out our ebooks for writers.