blog post lesson, we are diving into the steps that you’ll go through if you want to self-publish an eBook, profitably. You’ll notice that we have the 23 steps broken down into an 8-day outline, but you can obviously take longer with them, or you can take less time.
Some of our clients do it in about 8 – 10 days, others take 2 – 5 weeks, so it’s really up to you and your schedule.
Okay, let’s dive into how to self-publish an eBook in 8 days 👇🏽.
Day 1: Kick off your eBook publishing with the essentials. 📋
Step 1: Identify why you want to self-publish an eBook.
- Do you want to be able to use it as an authority or credibility booster? Because you will have literally written the book on ___________.
- Is it your goal to add something that’s a little more “recession proof” to your revenue model? Meaning: you’ll have an item at a lower price point available for people to buy?
- Do you want to have a product that serves as a funnel starting point for you? As in: getting it to rank really well on Amazon.com (which is a search engine for shoppers), such that new people are finding and buying it every day and, in essence, hopping in your larger sales funnel. They now know about you, they’ve got your book, they’ve read your book, maybe they’ve visited your site, signed up for your email list, and are now following you on Instagram/LinkedIn and being exposed to your deeper offers.
- Do you want to use your eBook as a free incentive for your email list signups?
- Do you want to use it as a downsell? If there are people who can’t afford your larger offer or are not ready to invest in your larger offer, do you want to have this eBook/workbook/guide available as a downsell option for people?
Step 2: Determine the type of eBook you will self-publish.
- Are you creating an instructional/informational book that is going to help people learn a new process?
- Are you creating something that’s meant to be a follow-along PDF (or other type of document—like a Google Doc)? Ex: a guidebook that is supposed to go with a workshop that you’re teaching? Or a document meant to be filled out during and after a 1-on-1 session you offer? Or a course manual that accompanies one of your online courses?
- Are you creating a digital workbook that’s meant to be filled out entirely online? A digital workbook that’s meant to be printed out?
Step 3: Decide on your eBook’s distribution channels.
Basically: how is this book going to get from a file on your computer into the hands of customers? Or onto the hard drives or phones of your customers, rather?
- Will you sell the eBook from your website as a file that is immediately downloadable after the customer has paid?
- Are you going to sell it as a Kindle eBook on Amazon.com?
- Will your book be available on Audible as an audiobook?
- Or, are you going to sell it as an audio file or digital document through a 3rd-party service like Gumroad.com?
And with your chosen distribution channel, are there any special formatting requirements or other considerations that you have to pay attention to? Certain channels are going to come with rules and restrictions you’ll want to be aware of. Ex: they might cap the price you can sell your book at, or maybe enforce a minimum price; they may also have unique formatting guidelines you must follow in order to list a product on their site.
With each channel you consider, you’ll want to make sure their requirements won’t limit you from doing something you really want to or need to do with your book.
The benefit of some of these channels (like Amazon.com, for example) is they often give you reach that expands beyond your current reach, because they’ve built up an engaged audience of their own.
Step 4: Select an exact topic and scope for your self-published eBook.
You probably already had an idea of what you were going to write about, right? Well now you’re really going to want to narrow down what you’re covering inside your book.
“What do I want my reader to be able to do by the end of this book?”
This question will help you determine the scope of your eBook.
Are you trying to share everything you know about your topic (widest scope)? Or are you trying to help your reader with a smaller goal inside a larger topic (narrow scope)?
I won’t keep you in suspense any longer . . . the latter (narrow scope) is typically much more manageable for authors, comes with clearer outcomes for the customer, and can be created more quickly by the author (you).
When people who want to self-publish an eBook for the first time ask me “How long does a book need to be?”, I usually respond “As long as it takes to cover your topic well.”
You don’t have to keep writing and writing to fit a fictional word count goal.
Focus instead on the specific goal that you want the reader to be able to accomplish by the end of your book, and then . . . if it takes 50 pages, it takes 50; if it takes 200, it takes 200.
Day 2: Shape your eBook’s direction. 🗺
Step 5: Outline your eBook.
So this is where your book will really start to take shape. If you want to self-publish an eBook, sans hassle and sans getting stuck, your outline is your best friend.
You’re going to choose whether you want to do a framework centered outline (ex: the 4 Ps of building a memorable brand from scratch), or, if you want to do an outline that highlights the steps of a certain process (ex: how to build a brand from scratch in 15 simple steps), or even an outline that groups together a bunch of ideas (ex: 100 ways to help your brand stand out—with some ideas grouped under “Website” and some under “Social media” or “Customer service” . . . etc.).
Your outline can also be set up to allow you to tell a personal story (memoir-style) while teaching valuable lessons along the way.
Step 6: Craft an epic title and subtitle for your eBook.
What effect do you want the title to have on your potential readers? What message do you absolutely need for it to send?
Do you want people to be able to tell exactly what the book’s purpose is (and exactly what they’ll be able to accomplish with the book) by the title and subtitle alone?
If you publish a book called “Craft Your Photography Website in Five Days,” that’s a pretty straightforward title. We know exactly what we’re going to be able to do with your book.
You might want to provide a straightforward title (or a slightly more creative title) and then provide a subtitle that speaks to what your unique positioning on the topic is.
“Release: The Modern Woman’s Guide to Forgiving Herself and Others So She Can ____”
If you want to write/teach something that a lot of people teach/write about, it’s important to have your book’s positioning, design, title, subtitle, and more, differentiate your book from other books.
Note: don’t get stuck on the name of your book and let it prevent you from writing. You can come up with it later. And it may come to you very clearly once you’ve done some of the writing. So if you can’t immediately come up with title options you like, let it sit and move on to other parts of the creation process.
On the other hand, if you’re going to do all the work it takes to self-publish an eBook, you’ll want to eventually land on a powerful name. Again, go back to the effect you want the title to have on your readers.
Step 7: Set the price range for your eBook.
What price makes sense for your business goals as well as where your customer is at? Also, what do you want/need the price of your book to communicate?
I like to set a lower bound and an upper bound for my price and then narrow it down from there.
Basically, what is the absolute lowest amount that you could charge for this book and still make a profit? And then, what is the highest amount that you could charge for this book (which is usually dictated by your industry, your clients, and your competitors)?
From there, I like to set my ideal price (what I’d like to make each time the book sells) as well as an “Early Bird” price to give people who jump on the offer early, a cool benefit of doing so.
Day 3: Prep the perfect packaging and presentation for your eBook. 📓
Step 8: Design a compelling cover for your eBook.
You can of course use a service like Upwork.com (or some other service/designer) for your book cover design, but you can also purchase a template (from a site like CreativeMarket.com), or design the cover yourself using software such as Canva (web-based and free), Photoshop, Affinity Designer, Affinity Publisher, Adobe InDesign, Keynote, or any other software you’re comfortable with.
Want to develop your book design skills?
Inside our eBook course (returning soon!), we take you through the step-by-step process of designing your book cover from scratch in Keynote (note: you can use PowerPoint if you don’t have Keynote), in Canva, and in Photoshop. We also show you an awesome place to get digital illustrations and icons to use for your book cover and interior, plus how to change the colors of these illustrations in Photoshop to match your brand.
It’s pretty epic to learn the skill of designing your own covers (and your own social media collateral—which we also take you through inside our course), because then you know you can get any kind of designs you need done (for this project and future projects) done yourself.
Step 9: Lay out the interior/formatting of your eBook.
The way you lay out and format your book will depend on whether you’re formatting for Kindle, for a workbook that’s fillable online, for a printable PDF, for an audio file on your site or a 3rd-party sales site, or for audio on Audible.com.
When you self-publish an eBook, the way that you lay out and format your book is very key to the customer experience.
Layout is what makes it easy for them to find what they’re looking for, easy for them to read or listen to, etc. It also gives your customer a feel for how professional you are.
Step 10: Create digital mockups of your book so you can showcase it online.
You can create book mockups using Canva, Photoshop, Keynote, or any other software you’re comfortable designing with.
Try to not only show the cover of your book, but also some inner pages that have charts, checklists, or other items that look helpful and intriguing.
Mockups are yet another thing that we have tutorials for inside our eBook course (returning soon!) because of how helpful they are on your sales pages, emails, blog posts, and social media posts.
Note: most people we see who self-publish an eBook do not take enough time to build out awesome visuals to help them sell their book. Even just a few mockups/graphics will go a long way in your eBook sales efforts.
Step 11: Craft sales collateral and designs to use on social media, sales pages, and more.
In this modern age of the Internet, it’s of the utmost importance to create promotional graphics and educational graphics that help you teach, transform, tell stories, explain, and market what you do.
Depending on which platforms you and your ideal readers/customers use, you might want to design images for Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube (either the cover image or slides/images you show in your videos), your blog, your sales pages, etc.
Whether you traditionally publish an eBook or self-publish an eBook, your book deserves to be proudly presented on your social platforms, website, and beyond.
Day 4: Plan your eBook’s debut. 💃🏽
Step 12. Plan the official launch of your eBook.
So whether you plan to offer your eBook for free or you plan to sell it, you will choose between putting up your landing/sales page before the book is done (and collecting email addresses or pre-payments for the book), or putting up the landing/sales page after the book is completely ready.
Either way, you’re going to want to have a plan in place to promote your book (and to share helpful, educational content on your topic around the web in different places) as well as to officially launch the book.
Step 13: Create an attractive landing page or sales page for your eBook.
After selling eBooks and print books online for almost a decade, I believe there are several essential elements that belong on every eBook’s landing page or sales page, such as: a compelling headline, on-topic and on-brand imagery, a section on who the book is the best fit for, and more.
Day 5: Host your own “Get Momentum” Writing Day. 📅
Step 14: Write the intro of your eBook.
The best eBooks and books use the intro as a place to invite people to reinvest in what they just bought into.
What do I mean?
Your customer buys your book for a specific reason—such as: something they want to learn, a new skill they want to possess, or something they want to accomplish, right?
So once they’re in the book, in the intro, it’s time to not only remind them of the goal they bought the book for (and what you’re going to do to help them achieve said goal), but to also identify and introduce some new reason to be excited and remain invested in the reading experience.
Is there an additional skill you’re teaching? Is there something more your reader is going to get out of this experience than they were expecting?
Step 15: Write the outro of your book.
Just like you want the intro to be strong, you also want to end on a high note so that your reader carries with them a certain energy and resolve to achieve their goals.
For this reason, I like to write the outro towards the beginning of the writing process because I want to remind myself of what I need to build into my book in order for readers to experience success with it.
The job of your outro is to conclude your book in a way that people won’t forget everything they learned and don’t lose steam on their goals.
Step 16: Write the chapter you are most excited about.
You can write your book out of order (from the outline). In order to build momentum, you might want to write the chapter that you think is going to be the easiest to complete, or the chapter that you’re most excited about.
Day 6: Finish your eBook publishing process strong in a “Power Through” Writing Day. 💪🏾
If you’re writing a 200 page book, you might not get it done in two days 🥴 (Day 5 and Day 6), but there are shorter projects that you can finish in a matter of days. Either way, you can use Day 6 to knock out a huge chunk of your book.
Step 17: Write the rest of your book’s rough draft.
So you got some initial momentum in Day 5, now it’s time to create the rest of your rough draft.
You may have heard/said this 1,000 times before, but don’t worry about perfection, since it’s unattainable. Just write; because this imperfect product in the hands of a willing customer/learner is going to be so much more useful than a “perfect product” that still lives inside your head.
Step 18: Rewrite the intro, outro, or sales page if necessary.
Now that you have a rough draft of your book, it’s time to rewrite any details in the intro, outro, or on the sales page, to reflect what you actually built into the book.
Did you actually add a surprise chapter that you didn’t expect? Or perhaps you included a helpful checklist or roadmap that you hadn’t planned on? You’re going to want to go back and add these new details to your sales page—and maybe even do a mock up of it to include a graphic/visual representation of the new materials.
Day 7: Edit your eBook and get an outside edit. 🧐
Step 19: Do a self-edit of your entire eBook.
There are three main types of editing that you’ll want to get familiar with as you self-publish an eBook or print book: substantive editing, copy editing, and proofreading.
Basically, you’re going to want to self-edit your book with the first two types (substantive editing and copy editing), then you’re probably going to want to get an outside editor for either substantive and copy editing, or just copy editing.
Finally, when the book comes back to you, you’ll likely want to make most of the changes your editor suggested and then do a final proofread (and/or have somebody else proofread it after you do).
The goal is to minimize errors and unclear writing.
I still personally haven’t read the book that’s more than ten pages that doesn’t have any errors in it. And I’m talking even professionally published books by the biggest publishing houses in the world. Typos. Not a lot of them, but they’re still there.
Some people kind of use your editing (or lack thereof) as the way to identify someone with a professionally published book vs. someone who chose to self-publish an eBook. Most audiences won’t mind a few small errors (since grammar is usually not what they’re buying the book for); they just want to get an answer to their question, or figure out how to do the thing they bought the book for.
However, you probably don’t want your book to look amateurish. And the best way to do that is to make sure your book is not riddled with errors.
Step 20: Have your eBook edited by someone else.
In an ideal world, in terms of appearance, editing, relevance, and overall epicness, there would be nothing to distinguish your self-published book from a traditionally published book backed by a large, experienced publishing house.
Getting an outside editor is key to achieving this for anyone who wants to self-publish an eBook.
So after you’re done with your self-edit (in Step 19), it’s time to send it to a freelance editor or acquaintance of yours who is really great with the English language and is good at editing.
Day 8: Plan your epic next move. 🤓
Step 21: Hit “publish” and go live.
Whether you’ve decided to offer your book for free as an incentive for people who sign up to your business email list, or to offer your eBook as a paid product (or include it as a part of a paid product), it’s time to officially take your book live.
Step 22: Get an official copyright for your eBook.
An official copyright (from copyright.gov or a similar entity in your country) is going to help you protect your intellectual property. And yes, there are technically ways for you to get a type of copyright before the book is published, but that’s a story for another day.
You can put a copyright notice in your book and apply for the official copyright after your book is published.
Note: I’m not an IP attorney, nor am I an attorney of any kind, so please seek professional services to make sure you protect your IP and business.
Step 23: Learn your options for continued promo, marketing, and sales.
Ideally, if you take the time to self-publish an eBook, you also work out a way to sell your book in a consistent, evergreen funnel. Whether you choose to start the funnel with free search engine optimized content (and visitors to said content), paid ads, or something else, it’s important to put the framework in place—and monitor or tweak it as necessary.
Okay, so those are the 23 steps of publishing your eBook in 8 days. But remember, you can make that longer than 8 days if you need, or shorter.