by Chantal Lima
According to the Open Ebook Forum, the electronic publishing
industry trade and standards organization, 660,991 ebooks were
sold by retailers during the first half of 2003, a 40% increase
from last year.
Ebooks are becoming more and more popular, and the way things
stand now, everyone is on a level playing field. All you need
is a couple of bucks and a bit of sweat, and you can have your
own ebook ready for market. The technology is more accessible
and affordable than it's ever been.
There's never been a better time to get started in this business.
But before you start on your ebook idea, you need to consider
four important questions:
1. What is YOUR motivation for writing an ebook?
Too many people get inspired with a writing project and get
started only to lose focus and motivation half way through. This
could easily be avoided by finding your key motivation, and figuring
out if you have what it takes to finish the project. Yes, I said
finish and not start. Just about everyone can find the passion
to start a project; the tough part is completing it.
A simple, yet powerful thing you can do before starting an ebook
or a writing project is to imagine what it would be like when
Will the recognition from your spouse or friends be your most
treasured image? Or maybe it's the chance to prove to your peers
that you have what it takes to be an author! Experience this image
to the fullest. Feel your blood pumping through your veins as
you show them your check. Imagine their reaction when they hear
that you're working from the comfort of your home and making more
money than they are.
Please don't over estimate this... your image doesn't have to
be spectacular, just real. All you have to do is jot down a line
or two that helps you create the image, and then review it on
a regular basis. Your mind will do the rest.
2. Do you want to run your own business?
A lot of people overlook the business side of things, and frankly,
that's where the money is made. You need to be prepared for the
work involved. Asking yourself this question allows you to see
if the epublishing route is for you, and if so, where you may
There are many benefits when you set up an online business.
You have little or no overhead. You have the ability to work from
home, and can sell your ebooks all over the world. You can make
your own schedule, and in some cases, you can automate much of
your administrative work. For example, you can sell your ebooks
through a credit card company like ClickBank or PayPal and for
a small fee, they can handle all credit card transactions for
In addition, you can take a community college course and learn
about setting up an Internet business, but this is not the only
option available. When I first started in this business, I knew
very little about running a virtual business. All I knew was that
I wanted to be my own boss and make money off my writing. I subscribed
to many newsletters, approached friends who ran Internet sites,
pumping them for information, and fiddled around with different
software. Through trial and error, I learned how to create a web
site, and familiarized myself with the tools that I needed to
get my web site running smoothly. At the same time, I explored
ways I could make money from my business.
3. Are you willing to work hard in your business?
A mentor of mine always says, "Success only comes before work
in the dictionary." It's no different with an Internet business.
Despite what you may have heard, fame and fortune doesn't happen
over night. But do you want to know what the secret to succeeding
Ok, get ready...
If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life!
Yes, working on your own can be tough, but if it's a labor of
love, then it's truly less work than toiling at that 9 to 5 job.
You have to decide whether you want to take on the responsibility.
Most likely you won't be relying on an editor, an agent or a marketer,
so you will have to play all of these roles. That means that you
will be spending hours doing research, editing, proofreading,
and promoting your work.
For me, I love working with words, so I embrace the business
side of things as it gives me a great opportunity to be creative
and find new ways to reach out to my readers.
4. Are you inquisitive and willing to learn?
Writing an ebook is about embracing technology. The world is
changing and with change comes opportunity. And with these constant
changes, you need to be flexible and willing to learn everyday.
At one time, you could submit your web site to search engines
and get listed quite easily. Nowadays, if you submit your web
site to a search engine like google.com, the stiff competition
makes it difficult to get top listings. You will need to explore
new frontiers that will keep you ahead of the competition and
give your product exposure to your target market. If you're willing
to develop an inquiring mind and a willingness to try new things,
there is no doubt that you will succeed in the world of epublishing.
Chantal Lima is the editor of Succeedwithoutapublisher.com,
a newsletter geared for people who want to write nonfiction ebooks.
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