10 Essential Characteristics for a Successful Non-Fiction eBook
When I write a non-fiction eBook there are 10 key boxes that I make sure I tick in order for it to achieve its main goal. The tips below are worth taking into account BEFORE you start writing as it could just help you with the structure and content of your eBook.
1. Solve the Reader’s Problem!
The majority of non-fiction eBooks are written to solve a person’s problem, satisfy their interest, teach them a new skill or improve a certain aspect of their life. There are non-fiction eBooks about history, biographies etc. These are not the type of non-fiction topics we are referring to here. These could include:
- Learning how to make more money.
- How to look younger.
- How to find a new job.
- How to lose weight.
- How to start an online business.
- How to train your dog.
Therefore, when you write an eBook that is designed to help the reader then you must write with that reader in mind. Connect with the reader on a personal level by understanding what it is exactly they want.
If you make a statement in your title or description then a reader is expecting for you to follow through on your expertise.
2. The Structure of Your eBook is Unique
Non-fiction eBooks will often target individual topics within your ‘major topic’ separately in chapters. You can see this in work from my own eBook title ‘How to Sell More eBooks – Self publishing Success.’
I have broken down the content into numerous chapters and sections. The length of chapters in fiction eBooks can vary in size and the ‘readability’ factor allows for this to maintain the reader’s attention.
3. Target Your Reader
We constantly emphasize that authors who have succeeded with their marketing campaigns are the ones who target their niche audience rather than using the ‘spray and prey approach.’
Your eBook may not reach the best-sellers list on Amazon because your niche category may not allow for you to achieve the high volume sales required to appear on these lists. However, that does not mean you cannot be successful, sell a lot of copies and make a lot of money!
4. Success is Dependent on the Reader, Not the Author!
You can advise and tell someone what to do but unless they are willing to action your advice then they will be unlikely to achieve their goal. So, I always state clearly early on in an eBook that I can show them how to achieve their goal, but ultimately their success will come down to them in actioning my advice.
5. The Author Must Own the Marketing and Promotion
Successful non-fiction authors have created and own a powerful author platform and brand. That is, they are already recognised as the expert because of their blog, their public speaking, their author website, their tips via social media, their Facebook page and so on.
As a non-fiction author you must take control of promoting your eBook. The best way is to have an existing list of people who are interested in your target topic. This is your ‘ready-to-go’ list of interested customers.
6. The Content Must be Action Based
Your eBook needs to be action orientated and not just explain why they need to make the change. If you promote that you can show someone how to lose weight then you need to provide exercise programs of how they achieve this. What foods they need to eat. What lifestyle changes they must make. And so on.
7. Get the Reader to Take Control
One way I get readers to take control and be involved is to provide checklists, assessments, questionnaires and other forms of ‘participation’ documents. It is similar to the way we were taught back in university.
We listened to lectures and we were also required to be active by completing assignments, homework etc. You could also invite them join in discussion forums on your website or connect with you via social media.
8. Write from Experience
If you are indeed an expert in your niche topic then you would have some valuable stories and experience that you could refer to help emphasize a point. In my ‘Mental Training for Tennis – Your Winning Mindset’ eBook I was able to talk about some actual real-life experiences I had while playing on the tennis tour. I used these stories to re-enforce my points and tips.
9. Powerful Descriptive Attention-grabbing Titles
We have numerous articles in our Academy that are devoted to writing a great title for your eBook. The success of your eBook depends on a great title and a professional eBook cover. Your title will be able to sum up in a few words exactly what your eBook is about and what it can do for the reader.
Again, take my eBook titled ‘How to Sell More eBooks – Self publishing Success’ as an example. ‘How to Sell More eBooks’ is descriptive and immediately tells the reader how the eBook can help them.
10. Do Not Date Your eBook!
Yes, sounds like a strange headline, However, I am referring to the fact that if you create a title with a date then it will have a short shelf life. For example; if you wrote an eBook titled ‘How to Win More Clients in 2014’ then by the time 2015 comes around your content and eBook will appear to be outdated.
This is also important for the content within your eBook. Be aware of all the hard work that goes into writing your eBook when deciding on the topic and direction you will take. For my eBooks in the field of marketing online, the content certainly changes each year as some techniques become outdated and some new ones emerge.
The key is that I update my eBooks yearly and then re-upload them for sale.