It’s time to start outlining your ebook; this probably won’t take you more than an hour to do.
I’m also gonna answer the age-old question, “how long should my ebook be?”
There’s a simple answer to this question – but first, a quick update. The topic I chose for my Ebook was Blog Design & Conversions.
More specifically, “design tips and tricks to attract and convert visitors into subscribers and customers”.
The idea behind outlining is to create a path for your writing. You sometimes hear that when you outline correctly, 40-50% of the work is already done.
I’d say that’s about right.
Writing takes a lot of brain power and staying on track and being thorough in your writing can become obstacles. Outlining is the cure for these problems.
4 Important Reasons to Outline
1. It makes writing easier - Once you have an outline ready, you know what comes first, next, and last. This makes writing a piece of cake.
2. It helps your ebook have balance - A good outline helps you see where your ebook lacks substance. You can clearly see what sub-topics need more content.
3. It makes reading easier - Because you took the time to make sure the ebook has structure, it makes it easier to read and comprehend.
4. It motivates you to write - This is the first step in the writing process, so knowing that almost 50% of the work is already done, you’re more likely to sit down and write and follow the path you’ve already created.
The Outlining Format I Follow
I follow a pretty straight forward format when drafting blog posts and I’ll be using the same approach when outlining my ebook. (with a little variation)
My blog post outlines go like this:
Main Topic – Headline
- Closing Sub-Headline
As for my ebook, the only things I’m going to add to this outline are specific examples and action steps. Why do I suggest doing this? Because you want your ebook to not only teach, but motivate and get your customers to take action.
This is how they get results and this is how you get awesome testimonials – like this one.
So my ebook outline will be structured like this:
Main Topic/Title – Blog Design & Conversions
Introduction/Welcome Message – Introduce readers to the content, what they can expect and what the ebook is NOT about.
- Section 1 – Using Design That Attract Attention
- Section 2 – Using Design To Keep Attention
- Section 3 – Using Design To Get Some Sort of Action
Of course, it’s gonna be longer than this. I just wanted to give you an idea of what I was doing, so that you can follow the same structure and outline your ebook as quickly as possible.
This is the brainstorming part of the process, so I highly recommend you put in the time and effort into your outline so that the writing doesn’t become an issue later.
“But How Long Should My Ebook Be?”
“How many pages should I expect to be writing?” – Before I answer this question, I want you to think of yourself as your customer. What if you’ve just bought an ebook for $29.95 and it was 13 pages long?
How would you feel about that? Probably not very happy.
Because for $29.95, you’d expect a lot more content and value, right? – Exactly.
Now I’m not saying that ebook length directly translate into value, because in some cases it doesn’t. You can, in fact, buy an ebook for $20, that was 192 pages in length, and get absolutely NOTHING from it.
The point that I’m trying to make here is that the content inside the ebook is what really matters – but you also don’t want to upset your customers by giving them less than expected.
So how do you know what’s “expected”?
I like to follow this simple rule. If the ebook will be given away for free, it could be however long or short you want.
If the ebook is going to be sold for more than $19.95, try to at least hit the 50 page mark to avoid any negative feedback from customers. (it also depends on your market and how much your audience is willing to pay)
- I’ve seen 72 page guides sold at $47
- 106 page guides sold at $39.95
- 92 page guides sold at $97
- and even 237 guides given away for free…
In the end, your goal shouldn’t be a page number, the goal should be to write the best content that those pages can hold.
You want people to GET RESULTS – isn’t that the whole point anyway..
What To Do Now: Write your Outline
Take an hour of your day and start writing your outline. (it really shouldn’t take you any longer than that if you follow the structure I laid out)
If you have any questions about pricing, outlining or ebook length, leave them in the comments section below – and don’t forget to Share Your Progress On Twitter..
Next week, I’ll be talking about naming your ebook. Talk to you soon..
For the complete list of articles in this series, visit the resource page:
How to Write and Sell an Ebook in 7 Weeks