Should you write a free eBook?
A book is a powerful piece of intellectual property. The idea of investing all that effort in writing a book and then figuring out how to get it digitally published can seem like a monumental task. Offering it for free appears to be counterintuitive at best and foolish at worst.
Yet writing an eBook can be an attractive project to undertake. An eBook can be as short or long as you like. Its content can be in any genre or on any topic from best business practices for insurance companies to pet sitting to cozy mystery novellas to haiku poetry.
Plus, eBooks are inexpensive to produce and easy to distribute. In fact, you can write an eBook and save it as a PDF. Then you can distribute it as a download. Or you can save your eBook in ePUB or .mobi formats – or all three, including PDF – suitable to read on all kinds of platforms for different readers.
Writers of all stripes have left their legacy in an eBook. Thousands of businesses and careers have been launched by free eBooks. Why not you? Find out if writing a free eBook is a good fit for you by taking this simple quiz.
Answer yes or no.
If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, then maybe writing a free eBook is for you. Keep reading.
Former college basketball player and head coach Matt Doherty had earned plenty of credibility leading winning teams at the University of North Carolina and Notre Dame University. Then he worked in the leadership training space. For years, he presented keynote addresses and team building workshops to CEOs, corporate leaders, and executive trainers who repeatedly asked, “Do you have a book?” Finally, with the release of his book Rebound in 2021, he could say yes.
Bylines signal credibility. When you write an eBook, you establish yourself as an authority. Your book shares your story, your insight, or practical information that demonstrates experience and knowledge.
Check out a simple book writing plan that's fillable and re-usable.
Who will download your free eBook? Readers who are interested in your topic. Your eBook solves one of the reader’s urgent problems or answers one of her crucial questions. By opting in on your website or blog to receive your free eBook, she indicates intense interest in your topic. Your free eBook offer is the ultimate way to build a targeted readership.
When you offer your free eBook as a download on your website or blog, you initiate a relationship with a prospective client. Think about it: you reach out to prospective clients, but the main offer is not your services. It’s a helpful freebie. You give her information that she desperately needs or is at least interesting to her.
Your eBook is the portal to your inquiry fulfillment funnel. You can continue to reach out to this prospect and offer useful, valuable information, present your services, and offer your products.
“I’m not sure I can write a book” or “I have a book idea, but I’m not sure I can write a full-length manuscript.” Writing an eBook is a great way to send up a trial balloon. Once you write an eBook, figure out how to publish it, and figure out how to distribute it, then you’ll have acquired some basic skills. You can use those skills to write a full-length book, more eBooks, or approach a publisher with your book idea.
Plus, an eBook can be long, short, or in between. Kindle Singles (short-format eBooks) range in length from 5,000 – 30,000 words. Straight up nonfiction eBooks start at 10,000 words.
Sound too altruistic? Sharing what you know does more than “pay it forward” (although in our self-centered world, that’s a good thing, too.) Generosity builds trust. Check out what happens when readers begin to trust you:
You can use your eBook as the foundation of your platform. Writer Jeff Goins wrote “The Writer’s Manifesto” as a way of expressing his ideas about writing and why writers write. He gives away the eBook for free on his website. “A manifesto is a great way to condense your message into a short, all-encompassing format,” says Jeff. “By reading it (if you’ve written it well), people get a fuller understanding of your core message, which you have may have been trying to communicate.”
Your eBook can summarize your philosophy. Or its content can address one of your core values … explain a key principle … offer a practical how-to in one corner of your niche. Then you can offer your eBook to readers as launching point for selling your services, promoting your products, or promoting your cause.
Should you write a free eBook? That may be the wrong question. Here’s a better one: when will yours be ready for the rest of us to read?
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