There's no doubt that creating and selling your own digital product is a great way to increase your online exposure, credibility, expertise, and earn some money while doing so.
And the creation of an e-book to sell through your own website or an online bookstore like Amazon or iBooks is the quickest and easiest product to create to get started.
I wrote my own e-book called 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship and published using the Kindle platform on Amazon. It's been a great way to increase my online presence and credibility as a specialist in relationships and has now been downloaded over 2000 times and received 19 five star reviews in Amazon.
With a $2.99 price tag, I didn't write it to make money (though the checks from Amazon are very nice), but more to reach thousands of people that I never could have on my own, through the power of the Amazon Marketplace.
Selling an e-book through your own website is also a very good idea, and the good news is you can charge much more than Amazon e-book prices.
So let's dive in and look at the steps you need to get started.
Select a topic that will sell
It's important to do some research at the beginning to check there’s a market for your e-book and people looking for the information you want to write about.
As a therapist you are well positioned to create an information product because you have years of training, knowledge and experience about good mental health, the change process, and self-improvement. These information products are often in high demand because they are providing a solution to a pain or problem.
So to get your research underway I suggest you start with Google and Amazon. Search for keywords that are related to the e-book you're considering writing.
For example, if you're a specialist in child ADD/ADHD, search for combinations of keywords in Amazon and Google such as "How to overcome child ADD", or "I think my child has ADHD", or "best ideas for dealing with ADD". The idea is you want to see how many people already have products for sale that are similar to your idea.
If you find similar products, but your idea has a particulate angle that is not covered by other e-books, then this is a good thing.
There are hundreds of books on relationships in the Amazon store, but I didn't find one that used my approach of a tip a day for 31 days, so I knew I was bringing in a different angle that might help with sales.
Create an outline
The next step in the creation process is to create an outline for your e-book.
Start by writing down the headline or theme for each chapter. This helps you organise your thinking and then you can flesh out the content later.
Here's a tip: 50% of my e-book used blog posts I had previously written, so if you have been already been writing on a regular basis, don't discount that you may have some of your e-book written already.
This was a huge time-saver that added 15,000 words to my e-book, and I then wrote the remaining 10,000 words in 10 days.
Choose a writing platform
One of the simplest ways to write your e-book is to write it directly into Microsoft Word. This is a good option if you're going to turn it into a PDF for your own website.
I used the free platform Press Books, which is like writing in WordPress, but it converts it into the .mobi file, which you need to upload to Amazon.
I found this software easy to use and enjoyable to write in. You can then make as many changes as you want and quickly upload the latest version to Amazon within minutes.
Write clearly and simply for your audience
It's important that you write in an informal and conversational way, so you can connect with you reader.
Try to avoid writing in an academic voice as it will turn off your readers. The challenge here is to let go of your college training and write as if you're speaking to a close friend.
Use calls to action and hyperlinks
The great thing about writing an e-book, either for Kindle or a PDF for your website, is you can use hyperlinks to link to websites and other online resources.
So take advantage of this and include hyperlinks to link to other websites, or your own. This makes your e-book and more valuable resource.
Also use clear calls to action, so you tell the reader what actions you want them to take.
My e-book had a tip at the end of each chapter, so I told the reader exactly what to do for the next 24 hours. This then helps the reader feel they are getting something from the e-book because they are taking action.
Watch for part 2 on how to sell your e-book!
Clinton Power is a Sydney-based Gestalt therapist and the owner of Clinton Power + Associates- a private practice dedicated to helping singles and couples move out of relationship pain. He is also the founder of Australia Counselling Directory, a free directory for find counsellors and psychologists in Australia. Clinton is also a passionate coach and consultant for healthcare professionals. Find him on Twitter or Google+.