If you know who Guy Kawasaki is, it’s likely because you’ve seen his books and perhaps have even read one. Or you may have heard him speak at a conference. But did you know he’s a successful entrepreneur who has self-published an e-book with massive success? The title of that book is What The Plus! It’s only available as an e-book.
Kawasaki is not the only successful non-fiction e-book author. There are plenty more.
In fact, Amazon has more than 20 top-level non-fiction categories for Kindle e-books. If you take a look at the Business & Money category, you’ll see yesterday’s top selling e-book, “Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less,” is a self-published e-book with more than 50 reviews resulting in a 4-star rating.
There is no reason why more non-fiction authors can’t be their own publishers. All it takes is a little motivation, some writing ability, the wherewithal to market your book, and a good book idea.
Why Non-Fiction Is In Demand
Believe it or not, the first e-books ever sold online were non-fiction books. In those days, the technology to create e-books was primitive. There were no e-book readers or tablets. There were only PDF files, HTML books, and laptops and desktop computers. We’ve come a long way since then.
It is more common these days to hear about a runaway fiction best seller in the e-book category, but that’s a relatively recent phenomenon.
E-books are actually a perfect fit for non-fiction titles. The reason is because the Internet is intrinsically an information medium. Most people still use the Internet for research. Whether they are researching a product to purchase or need information to solve an issue, it is this drive for information that has spawned the growth of the Internet and search engines like Google.
Since non-fiction books are inherently about the information inside them, e-books are the perfect fit for any information you have to impart to your audience.
Where People Buy E-books
Amazon may be the largest seller of e-books online and the most well known, but it is not the only place consumers of e-books can purchase books by their favorite authors. Kindle books are only one format for e-books. Digital books can also be published in the following formats:
Consumers have a variety of options with each of these e-book formats, in terms of where they can be purchased. You can always offer them on your own website, but many consumers would rather buy from one of the big online retailers due to trust factors. The e-book retailers that are the most trusted among e-book buyers include:
- Barnes & Noble
It is important to point out that Smashwords is a distributor, not a proprietary e-book retailer. Consumers can purchase e-books in all available formats at Smashwords as long as those books are independently published.
How Self-Publishing E-books Boosts Your Authority
No matter what business you’re in, you no doubt want people to see you as an authority. Nothing positions you as an authority more than authoring a book. But why should you publish an e-book versus a print book?
I want to be careful here and NOT say that print books should never be published. There are times when a print book should be your first choice. In fact, you might consider publishing both a print book and an e-book.
On the other hand, there are times when publishing an e-book is preferable to publishing in print. Consider these points:
- If you work in an industry where information changes rapidly and there is a risk that the knowledge you have to share may be obsolete by the time you publish a print book, you can publish an e-book a lot more quickly and make changes to the information more easily should you find it necessary for later editions.
- If your business is an online business and your only means of distribution is digital, then you should publish an e-book.
- If you want to test the market for a print book, e-books can be a great way to determine whether an investment in a print book is worth the risk and additional expense.
- If you have a limited budget for publishing, e-books are cheaper to produce than print books.
- If you are pressed for time and have a short deadline, an e-book can help you get information out more quickly.
Many non-fiction authors find that publishing an e-book makes them a credible expert in their niches. By publishing an e-book and sharing your knowledge within your niche, you can position yourself as an authority and increase your sales and market positioning.
How Long Does It Take To Publish an E-book?
Publishing an e-book to promote your business is one of the most rewarding projects you can take on, and it doesn’t have to take a long time. It can, of course, take several months, or it can take a couple of days. It really depends on a number of factors.
These are the factors that determine how long it can take to publish your e-book.
- Are you creating content from scratch or re-purposing old content? You can create an e-book from original content, use re-purposed content, or go hybrid, but if you create original content, then you should expect the process to take longer. That’s because with re-purposed content, all you have to do is cut and paste. There’s no new content to create. Therefore, it shouldn’t take as long.
- How long will your e-book be? If you’re putting together a short e-book (say, 10 to 15 pages), then it won’t take as long as creating an e-book that is a couple of hundred pages.
- Are you busy enough that you have to fit the e-book between other projects, or is it something you can focus on entirely? For most entrepreneurs and business people, time is a commodity. There’s not a lot of time to work on non-paying projects. That might mean spending an hour or so a day, or once per week, working on the e-book as you spend the rest of your time on client business. If you’re just starting out and have little client business, then you can spend more time on your e-book.
- Are you doing it yourself or paying someone? If your time is limited and you want to get an e-book published quickly, you could hire someone to do it for you. They’ll spend much more time focused entirely on your e-book than you will. So this could be a trade off if you are extremely busy.
- Does your e-book require extensive graphics? Many e-books don’t. In fact, some very successful e-books don’t have many graphics at all aside from the cover art. That’s okay. However, if your e-book requires a lot of graphs, charts, and images to make your content visibly appealing or easier to understand, then it may take longer due to the time it takes to create the graphics.
- How “perfect” do you want it? I’m a perfectionist at heart. I don’t like turning in sloppy work, and you probably don’t either. But I’ve learned that there is such a thing as good enough. And with e-books, it’s easy to correct mistakes and re-publish as long as you are aware that quality matters. You shouldn’t wait until your e-book is completely without flaws, but you shouldn’t rush to get it out the door before it’s ready either. One option is to pay an editor or proofreader to look it over when you are done. If you agonize over every word, paragraph, sentence, and semicolon, then the process could take longer. Learn the trade-off between “perfect” and ready to publish.
- Are you doing it by yourself, or do you have help? – You could write all the content yourself or go in partners with another writer. Maybe you’re taking submissions. Or maybe you have a researcher to gather the facts while you write the prose. If you work with someone, you can likely get your e-book published faster. On the other hand, if that someone is late with their material or sloppy with their work, then it could take longer.
- Is the book full of technical details – If the content is highly technical, it could take longer to write or compile and edit the content.
Stay on Target With an Outline
One way to cut down on the time it takes to create and publish an e-book is to start with an outline. By outlining the e-book before you start working on it, you create a blueprint to follow so that you aren’t flopping around like a fish trying to get back to the water. An outline keeps you on target as you pull the information together and go through the publishing process.
With the proper planning, you can create an e-book for your website or to promote to your target audience wherever your name appears. Take your time and do it right, but know that time is of essence.
Do you need help publishing a non-fiction e-book? Learn more about publishing your e-book.
Are you ready to boost your authority? Looking for ways to expand your reach and deliver the best content for your niche audience? Download my free report, “7 Types of Authority Content“. Learn the seven types of content that will keep your audience coming back for more and instantly make you an authority they can rely on.