Stephen King once said,
Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.
…and he’s right. If you want to write an e-book, don’t wait for inspiration. The inspiration will come as soon as you sit down and write.
But here’s the problem.
This only works when you already know what you’re writing about. People often have trouble figuring out what their e-book topic is or what type of e-book they want to (or should) create.
Well, today I’m here to help you get one step closer to your big idea.
This is important.
There are a few things that will determine whether your e-book will sell or fail.
- The type of e-book you decide to write
- The topic of that e-book
- Your pricing strategy
- The marketing done before, during and after launch
- The positioning of the book itself
Let’s talk about picking your e-book type, since that’s one of the first things you’ll need to do.
You need to make sure that your e-book will solve a real problem for your readers and also make sure they’re willing to pay for the solution. I created this list of e-book ideas to help you decide on the type and structure of your book. As you’ll see below, all of these ideas fall into these categories:
- How to guides
- Problem solving
These are all goal-oriented but, there are different ways to approach them. Here’s what I mean…
1. How to ____________
The classic “How to…” guide is the type everyone knows about.
The best way to use this e-book idea is to pick a specific problem that you want to address and provide your readers with steps on how to fix it.
One of the biggest mistakes self-published authors make is addressing too many problems in one book. Specificity is king when writing e-books. Don’t fall victim to the “I need to write about everything I know” mentality.
Example: How to Use Twitter for Business (very specific topic and audience)
2. 30 Days to ____________
Another way to approach a goal-oriented guide is to provide your readers with a 30 day plan.
Darren Rowse used this e-book idea to create his 31 Days to Build a Better Blog e-book. What makes this approach different is the breakdown of the information.
As soon as they read the title, your potential customers will know they’re going to get practical information that they can implement every day; and in 30 days, they’ll be closer to their goal.
Example: 31 Days to Build a Better Blog
3. The ___________ Planning Kit
This is a great idea to get people started on their journey towards a big goal. For example, setting up a Euro Trip may be daunting to someone who hasn’t done it before.
Where would they go? What would they do? What countries should they visit? Where should they stay?
This e-book idea would take away the fear (and headache) of planning the trip. It would provide readers with things they should look out for while traveling that only experienced people would know.
Example: Family Reunion Planning Kit
4. 30 Recipes
This e-book idea may only be useful to cooking sites but it’s still a popular one online, so I thought I’d mention it.
If you run a cooking or healthy eating blog, then you can create an e-book on how to make some delicious healthy meals.
People pay for convenience so they’ll pay to have 30 awesome recipes all in one place. Again, if you don’t run one of these websites then ignore this one, but the next one is very similar.
Example: 30 Healthy Deserts You Can Eat
5. 59 Ways to ___________
This e-book idea is very similar to the recipes because, essentially, what you’re doing is showing your readers many different ways to cook healthy meals.
But with this structure you’ll be providing them with ideas, tips and strategies on how to get something done faster, better or more efficiently.
If you could think of 50 things to share with your readers, you can write 2 pages for each tip and you’ve got a 100 page e-book that can sell from $20 to $40 on your website.
Example: 48 Ways to Social-Power your Business
6. __________ in a week
This is another time based e-book idea, but instead of a 30 day plan you can create a shorter, more concise guide to accomplishing something. This can be broken down into a 7 step plan, one for each day of the week, which makes it super easy to organize and deliver.
Keep in mind that the goal for this type of e-book needs to be attainable in a week. Anything that sounds too good to be true will come off as hype and your audience may not appreciate that.
7. _________ 101 or The Beginners Guide To __________
Here’s another classic – the beginners guide. You can create an e-book on virtually any topic by writing for people who are just getting started. To write an effective “101”style e-book you need to think back to your early days. Think about the misconceptions you had about your topic. Think about the things you would do differently.
Give your readers your point of view and get them started on the right track. Whether you’re talking about dating, wedding planning, business, fitness or anything else, you can create a starter guide that they can benefit from big time.
8. The Essential ____________ Checklist
People love checklists and they’ll pay you to create one for them – especially when dealing with a goal that has many moving parts.
Take wedding planning for instance. People are planning their weddings as early as a year before the big day. There’s a lot to consider – the dress, venue, invitations, bridesmaids, flowers, food, and music just to name a few.
Whether you’re helping bride’s plan their wedding or helping parents get ready for their first baby, providing a checklist of things to do will eliminate a lot of the headaches.
Example: Busy Bride’s Essential Wedding Checklist
9. Top 10 ___________ Mistakes & Easy Fixes
Another take on a beginners guide is to talk about the biggest mistakes people should avoid when trying to accomplish a goal. I’m sure you struggled when you were first creating your website. (I know I did)
You made mistakes and now you know how to fix them if you were put in the same situation. Writing an e-book detailing the top 10,15, or 20 mistakes people make is a huge time saver and your audience will pay for that saved time.
Example: 15 Business Blogging Mistakes
10. The Ultimate Guide to ______________
Finally, we have the ultimate guide. Yes this is sort of like the classic “How To” guide but if you’re going to name it the ultimate guide, you should go into much more detail than you would otherwise.
People reading this type of e-book should leave knowing more than the average person about a particular topic. Usually these guide include tutorials, mistakes to avoid and case studies to support the information.
Example: The Ultimate Guide to A/B Testing