16 Strategies to Create A Successful and Effective Ebook


Ebooks are a valuable asset to any business owner. They range in length from ten pages to hundreds depending on your topic, your purpose and your audience. And they can be written on just about any topic under the sun.

The key to a successful and effective ebook is to make sure you write your book with your reader in mind. What do they have to gain from reading your book?

Give it a great title. Write it clearly so it’s easy to read and understand and create a product you are proud of.

Once your ebook is complete, you can use it to build credibility in your industry, to build business awareness and to drive profits.

#1 Choose a Tight Topic

The reason is twofold. It’s much easier to write thoroughly on a very narrow topic. For example, it’s easier to write a book on how to meditate with your dog than meditation. OR How to create a household budget rather than home finances.

The second reason for choosing a narrow topic is that it’s easier to offer value to your readers. Thus it’s easier to market your ebook.


#2 Solve a Problem

In addition to choosing a tight topic, it’s important that your book offers value. If the reader doesn’t benefit in some way from reading your book then they’re not going to buy it. Think about your customers and what their problems are. What topics might make good book topics?

For example, if your customers are pet owners, common pet problems can include but are certainly not limited to:

  • Grooming
    • Grooming behavior problems
    • Grooming tools 
  • Health
    • Obesity – How to help your dog/cat lose weight
    • Common skin problems and how to cure them 
  • Training
    • Dog housebreaking
    • Not using the litter box 

You see there are many potentially tight topics that can be found within any given problem. Make a list of the problems your customers commonly face and brainstorm book ideas that can solve these problems.

#3 Give It A Compelling and Attention-Grabbing Title

Prospects will make a decision about your book in just around twenty seconds. In that amount of time they have the opportunity to read your book title. If it intrigues them enough they’ll move onto a description of your book or look for more information. If it doesn’t attract their attention, they’ll move on.

What does an attention grabbing title include?  It promises a benefit, for example, “Learn How To Housebreak Your Dog In Three Days Flat.”

Think about these bestselling book titles:

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People
  • The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care
  • You Can Heal Your Life
  • The Purpose Driven Life
  • Think and Grow Rich
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The list could go on and on but you’re probably getting the point. The books make a promise or offer a benefit right in the title.


#4 Create a Format for Your Book

This may sound strange but once you’ve chosen your topic and have maybe chosen a few potential titles for your book, it’s time to sit down and start writing it. This means you need to come up with a structure for your book. We’re not using the word outline because this evokes memories of primary school and tedious, extremely structured, outlines. If this structure works for you by all means use it. If not, no worries. There are many other ways to go about it.

The easiest and often most effective is to use a question and answer style. We’ll use the example of a book on how to train for your first marathon. Your chapters might include the following (note they’re formatted as questions):

  1. What equipment do you need to run a marathon?
  2. How long does it take to train for a marathon?
  3. What is a good first marathon or how do you choose your first marathon?
  4. How do you fuel your body?
  5. What health problems should you expect when training and how do you treat them?
  6. Are you too old, fat or unhealthy to run a marathon?
  7. What can you expect from your first marathon?
  8. What should you know about running form?

Each of these topics can be chapters and each chapter can be further broken down into useful and easy to answer questions. For example for chapter one you could ask:

  • How do you choose running shoes?
  • What kind of socks work best?
  • Should you wear a heart rate monitor?

This is an easy format to work with as answering the questions makes it pretty straight forward. Once you have your outline worked out, all you have to do is fill in the necessary information.

There are however, other formats you can use to create your book. These include the How to format which generally follows a step-by-step process. You can also present it as a class or tutorial type format. The type of format you choose should match your topic and your audience. If you’re unsure, read a few ebooks or even print books and take a look at the format or style of them. You can use that as a guideline to create your ebook.

#5 Research Wisely

You can probably spend the rest of your life researching information for your book. This is because information changes and most of us are prone to procrastination. It’s easier to surf the web and read books than it is to write one.

However, research is likely going to be a part of your book writing process. You have one of two approaches here. Research the content in advance, after you’ve written your outline and know what you’re going to be writing on.

Or, start writing and leave space for where it feels more research is needed or where you’d like to cite a fact, provide data or fill in with a quote. This approach is often more expedient than the first, but it’s your choice.

It’s said that most successful novels are written at a primary school reading level. We’re talking third, fourth and fifth grade and that even the New York Times is written at around a sixth grade reading level.

Why is this?

Certainly not because we’re slow. Nope! It’s actually just because often the simplest words and sentence structure are the most easy and effective. This isn’t’ about winning the Nobel prize, it’s about writing an effective and successful ebook.

So on that note, let’s continue with some writing tips to make your book easy to read.

#6 Use Short Sentences

Each of your sentences will ideally be around ten words or less. Don’t count your words as you type, just take a look at your readability score when you run your spell check and grammar check. And as you’re editing, separate or clean up the long sentences. Short sentences are easier to read on a computer screen. They’re easier to comprehend and they’re often more effective and efficient than long ones.

An entry in The Guinness Book of World Records claims the longest sentence in English is from William Faulkner’s novel Absalom, Absalom! It has 1,287 words.

#7 Use Short Paragraphs

Short paragraphs, like short sentences, make your ebook easier to read. This is definitely the case for ebooks because it’s often difficult to read a lot of text on a computer screen.

The general rule of thumb is no more than 3-5 sentences per paragraph.

#8 One Subject per Paragraph

Too many ideas in one paragraph is confusing for your reader. In general, this shouldn’t be a problem if you create a structure or format for your ebook before you start writing. This is particularly the case if you’re using the question and answer format.

And it’s fine if it takes more than one paragraph to explore a topic. An easy rule to remember when creating the structure and paragraphs for your book is this:

  1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them. (Your introductory paragraph or two for each new topic)
  2. Tell them. (Your main information)
  3. Tell them what you told them. (Your summary or conclusion for that information.)

This process can be repeated over and over again each time you introduce a new chapter and a new topic within that chapter.

#9 Use Headings and Subheadings

Headings and subheadings help provide structure to your book. They tell the reader what’s coming up in the next paragraph or section and it helps readers who often scan for information, know where to stop.

#10 Use Small Words

Before we started this section we talked about reading level. You want to make you’re your prospects and readers easily understand what you are trying to say. There’s no need to intentionally strive for a third, fourth, or fifth grade reading level. However, you can use the readability feature on your word-processing program to give you an average grade level when you’re done. Try to keep your book around an eighth grade reading level or below.

#11 Formatting

One easy way to improve your books readability and therefore its effectiveness and success is to use formatting that makes it easy to read. We’re talking about bullets, text boxes, graphics, and numbered lists. This breaks up the content and makes it much easier on the eyes.

However, be careful to not get carried away. Too much formatting can make a book look a little silly.

 #12 Go Easy on the Punctuation

Have you ever read an email or an article that practically screamed too much enthusiasm? All those exclamation points! It looks silly! And yet people still do it! This goes back to keeping your sentences short and to the point. There’s no need for indulging in too many punctuation marks.

#13 She Literally Floated Away

How often do you hear that a person literally did something that is actually physically impossible? Newscasters, of all people who should know better, do it quite often.

Figurative language is language that uses metaphors, similes, personification and so on. Use them sparingly and make sure they’re appropriate for the context of your topic. And also make sure you’re not confusing people. She can’t literally float away, right?

#14 Make It Active

Nouns and verbs are your core components in a sentence and certainly in a book. Choose them wisely. The more active your verbs the more interesting it will be to read your book. And watch out for passive voice.

Passive voice is often confusing to readers; it mucks up your sentence structure. Rather than dive into an explanation of active and passive voice just make sure when you’re writing, the subject of your sentence is doing the action. 

setting up

#15 Write Like You’re Writing a Letter To A Friend

When you write a letter to a friend you do several key things that will actually make your book a better book. These things include:

Using the word “You.” When you write your book you want it to feel as if you’re speaking directly to the reader. You want them to feel a connection to you and become involved in the content. This is how you write a letter to a friend so pretend your book is a long letter to a good friend. In fact, share stories in your book to strengthen the connection, add interest and help demonstrate points you’re trying to make.

Use Contractions. When we talk and when we write to our friends, we use contractions. Contractions are those nifty combinations of words like:

  • You are – you’re
  • Can not – can’t
  • We will – we’ll
  • I am – I’m

And so on.

Use contractions in your writing and your book will feel less formal and more personal. It’ll be easier to read and have more impact on your reader.

Another thing you may do when writing to a friend is to use examples. This is a great way to illustrate a point or further explain something without having to rephrase it ten different ways. And examples are interesting to read. Share a story!


#16 Give It a Professional Shine

Many people spend way too much time fidgeting with the graphics for their ebook. Yes, it is important to give your book a professional shine. However, this is better accomplished with an easy to read and professional looking layout. Excellent editing including spelling, grammar, formatting consistency and an easy to read and understand book.

It’s great to include a table of contents, a cover page, a disclaimer, an about the author and a section for resources or an appendix. Also remember to include page numbers, a header and a footer and your copyright statement along with your URL.

Always save your book as a secure PDF. This makes it easy for anyone to download with a free PDF reader and the contents cannot be copied or changed. If you’re publishing to Kindle or other established ebook sellers, you will need to follow their appropriate formatting.

An ebook is a wonderful marketing and business building tool. Put in the thought and energy to do it right and you’ll reap the rewards for years.

9 Steps to Publish a Kindle Ebook


Use this guide as a slightly more than a checklist for your Kindle publishing project. Going through all the steps will help you plan it and fit it into our schedule.

It will also alert you in advance to steps you may find especially time consuming or just not up your alley, allowing you to plan for, find and hire the correct outsourcing contractors to complete these particular modules.


Step 1.  Write Your Book

Lots of people talk endlessly about writing a Kindle ebook:  Not so many do it.  If you are writing non-fiction, you need to come up with a hot topic.  Checking out magazine stands, best seller lists and the Amazon marketplace itself will help you get an idea of what people are looking for nowadays.

Discount books written by celebrities.  Those will be heavily promoted and subsidized, and won’t give you a true picture of what’s currently in demand, topic-wise.

Narrow your topic down to specific Kindle book categories.  Come up with a dynamic Title if you can.  (Don’t get too hung up on that, however:  You can change it later.  It just helps you get a feel for the character of your book, if you come up with a strong title at this stage.)

Write an outline.  It will help you stay on topic and produce a much tighter, more focused book that feels professional and reads clearly.

Then sit down and start writing.

The Secret to Writing – and Finishing – Any Book

Schedule it.  Don’t wait for inspiration. Ruthlessly put aside your feelings.  Just give yourself a minimum word count per day that you have to write:  Then stick to that minimum.


That’s the magic formula that published authors the world over have discovered.

(The real secret?  If you make yourself do this every day, and turn off your Inner Critic, it soon becomes a habit.  And that’s when you suddenly catch the wave and learn to surf!

And what a high it is, when you can’t wait to sit down at your computer in the morning (or evening, if that works better for you) and get started.

That’s how books are made.


Step 2.  Proofing and Editing

Writing your book is a huge accomplishment for many, but it’s just the raw bones of your finished product.  Put the book aside for at least a week if you can, and then come back to it and begin the process of proofing and editing.

Spell-check first, then proof it again for readability.  Then proof it again for consistency.  Then proof it again for flow.  And run the spell checker a final time.

If you’re new to writing and have the budget, hiring an editor at this stage can free you up to continue with other projects and get the book ready for print a lot faster.


Step 3.  Create your Ecover Image/Have it Created

Your ebook’s cover image is one of the most important components to getting your book approved by Amazon, being taken seriously as an author – and inspiring people to buy.

If you do not have solid art skills, don’t waste time or cut corners here:  Hire an artist experienced in creating Kindle ecovers to produce a polished, vibrant product.

If you do have artistic experience, you still need to be totally familiar with ecover formatting for Kindle.  Here are the requirements:

  • Your cover image has to be in .JPG or .TIFF format
  • Resolution:  72 D.P.I.
  • Minimum size:  500 pixels wide X 1,000 pixels
  • Maximum size:  1,250 X 2,000 pixels
  • Maximum file size (interior photographs):  127k

Don’t use black and white photography for your Cover unless it is an essential part of your cover photo’s statement and enhances the book’s mood and premise.  Your interior photographs will display in black and white on older Kindle versions, but your cover will always be competing with other richly-colored covers on Amazon’s Kindle book site.

Your cover photo should be 100% original. If you hire an artist to produce the artwork only (as opposed to producing the entire ecover) make sure she signs a “work-for-hire” clause, ceding all rights to you. Do this also if you hire a photographer to produce a photograph.

If you outsource through Fiverr, perform due diligence to make sure the artist is not using improperly licensed stock photos.  This is the sort of risk you take when you outsource through abnormally low-priced sites – but it can also help you unearth great talent.

If you purchase an image from a stock photo company, make sure you also purchase the correct commercial license.  But original is always preferable.


Step 4.  Do Your Own Formatting for Kindle/Have it Formatted for Kindle

So your book is ready to upload.  Your ecover is also ready.  You have a variety of options available as far as formatting tools go, but since you most likely created your ebook in MS Word, let’s take the easiest route – publishing it with KDP Select. Before we even begin to worry about the actual formatting process, however, you have to make sure your manuscript is Kindle format-ready.

If you don’t already know how to format for Kindle and you don’t want to outsource, download Kindle’s own Building Your Book for Kindle guide.

And before you upload your book, make sure you have created and thoroughly tweaked:

  • Your Cover photo for the book
  • Your Description

Research and know your keywords too, as well as the categories you’d like associated with your book.  Finally, decide on a price for your book.


Step 5. Sign Up or Log Into KDP Select

You may see a message like the one below in the upper, right-hand corner. Click on the anchor text: “Update Now”.

3-update-notice You will be taken to your account screen. Fill in any missing information.  Put your real name. You will be able to choose a pen name later, if you’re planning to write for different niches or genres under different pen names.

Step 6.  Upload Your Book

  1. If you don’t see the “Update Now” message, simply click on “Add New Title”.


Don’t be intimidated about uploading your first Kindle ebook.  You will be able to “Save it as Draft”, and no one will see it until you are ready to publish.

When you click on “Add new title”, you’ll be taken to section # 1, “Your Book”.  Beside it, you’ll see # 2, “Rights and Pricing”.

You will also see a window for the KDP Select program.  Decide whether or not you want to be enrolled, and either check or uncheck the box accordingly.  And if you need to find out more about it before making a decision, click on any of the anchor text links or visit KDP Select FAQs.  (You can always enroll later, if you prefer.)


Next, start entering your book details…


As you can see, this phase is extremely easy and self-explanatory.  Clicking on the little “What’s this?” anchor text brings up simple pop-ups explaining each step.

If this is a new book, enter “1” for edition number and if you don’t have your own publishing company (something you should definitely explore once you’re comfortable with the Kindle publishing process) enter your own name as Publisher.

Don’t skip clicking on each anchor link:  None will take you away from your page.

Don’t enter an ISBN number or Publication date for now.

Notice that Amazon also offers you the option of setting up a series. (And in this screen shot, you can see how the pop-ups work.)


  1. Verify that you have the right to publish your content. If it is in the public domain, you cannot include it in the KDP Select program, and you must disclose its status here.

Otherwise, go ahead and select “This is not a public domain work…”


  1. Next, enter up to 7 keywords (single words or phrases); then click on the “Categories” button to choose the 2 main categories in which you want your work to be located.


  1. When you click on the Categories, a pop-up will open up.

If you can’t find the exact categories you want, you can either enter “NON-CLASSIFIABLE” and contact support while your book is being reviewed, letting them know the exact categories you’d like the book placed within… or pick a similar two categories for now.  (You can always change it later.)


  1. Next, upload your book cover.  It should be “camera-ready” – meaning all text should be in place, rather than just uploading the photograph alone.


Select “Browse for image” if your cover is ready and waiting on your hard drive.

An alternative is to use Kindle’s brand new Cover creator:  However, since your cover is one of the most important selling tools for your book, careful pre-design is recommended.

  1. Once your image is selected and you see your filename in the pop-up, press the “Upload” button.


  1. Next, upload your book.  If it contains images, upload it as a zip file.

14-upload book

  1. IMPORTANT:  While your book is being uploaded, you will see message asking you to click “Save and Continue”.  Resist the urge to click “Save and Continue”, and instead select “Save as Draft”.  (This enables you to thoroughly review your book before publishing it.)


  1. After your book is saved, you will see a green “successful” notification, just as you did with your book cover.

You may also see a notice alerting you to possible spelling errors.


Step 7.  Preview The Formatted Version

Next, you will be offered the chance to preview your book.  If you have prepared it in MS Word, go ahead and preview it online.  If you have used formatting tools or prepared it in HTML, you may prefer the second option:  To preview it by downloading one of the suggested tools. Once again, pop-ups are there to help you choose the right one.


If you preview online, you will be able to move back and forth between pages.  If there are image errors, you will see them.


Since you have saved it as Draft (and even if you didn’t) you can simply go back, correct the errors in MS Word, update your TOC if you need to an re-save as “Web page, filtered”.  (Remember to right-click on this file and “Send to” a zip file format after doing so.)

Once you close your Online previewer, press “Back to the Bookshelf”.


You will be taken back to where you started.  You will see it displayed as your first Title, along with the status and the option to enroll it in KDP Select.


This gives you plenty of time to troubleshoot any glitches that showed up in the previewer or explore KDP Select further.


Step 8. Rights and Pricing

Once you’ve corrected your uploaded book and are ready to “Save and Continue”, do so.  You will then be directed to continue on to the next page, # 2 Rights and Pricing.

Here you will be able to set your preferences for:

  • Publishing Territories
  • Price
  • Royalty Rates

Here’s what Amazon offers you…


In other words, if you’re charging up to $2.98, you are locked into a 35% rate.

If you are charging $2.99 or more, you can choose a 70% royalty rate.

If you have decided to go with KDP Select, check their terms also.  You may need to charge a different rate.


Step 9. Get Approved

16-checkOnce you have made your pricing decisions and published your book, you will have 24-72 hours to wait for Amazon to review it and approve it.  (Your actual book will appear for sale after 12 hours – but wait before promoting, because other approvals may not yet be in place.)

Use that time to implement your marketing and promo plan – and be ready to roll when you get the green light!

4 Proven Methods to Find Popular eBook Topics


If there’s one thing that’s clear from more than a decade of eBook publishing, topics tend to go in trends. One moment motivational topics might be all the rage, then a year or so later it completely dies down. Then eBooks about online options trading take off. That might die down a little, then all of a sudden a whole slew of “How to Start an E-commerce Website” eBooks hit the market and make millions.

Finding popular eBook topics is a great way to jump in front of an emerging trend. Instead of trying to come up with an idea that people might like, you can figure out what people do like right now instead.

So how do you find popular eBook topics? Here are a few different tactics you can use.

Using CB Engine for Clickbank Products

Clickbank is the largest eBook repository on the internet, second only to eReader bookstores (like the Kindle store.) It’s a great place to look for eBook ideas. It’s also a great place to feel out potential new trends.

Unfortunately, Clickbank’s marketplace is quite a poor research tool. You can sort by popularity or gravity – And that’s it. It doesn’t give you much data.

Instead of using Clickbank’s native marketplace, many internet marketers choose to use websites that aggregate data from Clickbank instead. There are a few of them around. CB Engine is one of the most popular ones, with most of its features available for free.

Begin by going to “CB Best Gain” in the left hand side column. This shows you the Clickbank products that have improved in rankings the fastest recently. This is a much more useful statistic than gravity or popularity, because you want to look for new ideas that are catching on rather than products that have already been popular for months.


Here’s what the screen looks like:


You can change the criteria you’re searching by along the top. You can look at high momentum products, products moving up, products that are gaining steadily, products that are getting more popular and have big payouts and so on.

If you click on a product, you’ll be taken to that product’s data page. Here you’ll see all the vital stats you need to know about the product.


Click “Graph” along the top to see a visual representation of the product’s gravity trend, as well as its previous gravity stats by date.


This technique can help you find new eBooks as they’re taking off, but before the market gets saturated. Look for trends, look for big jumpers, look for multiple eBooks on the same topic that are taking off at the same time. Look for things that seem to indicate a new opportunity.

Doing Keyword Research

Another way to look for potential popular topics is to do keyword research.

Begin by jotting down a bunch of different potential ideas for your book. For instance, let’s say you’re in the weight loss industry. You might jot down ideas like:

  • Weight loss for people who’ve just had a baby
  • Weight loss for video gamers who don’t get exercise
  • Weight loss for vegetarians
  • Weight loss for people who love chocolate
  • Etc

Come up with as many ideas as you can. Then head over to the Google Keyword Tool, then type in some of the ideas you’re thinking of using, one at a time.

Google will tell you about how many people search for your keyword every month. Below the keyword you typed in, Google will also tell you the search volume for a number of related keywords.

In this case, you can see that the general topic gets about 40,000 searches a month. Smaller sub-topics get quite a few searches a month as well. So you might put a check mark next to that idea as having strong potential.

Do the same with your next topic. For instance, let’s look at post pregnancy weight loss.

In this case, it seems that vegetarian weight loss is about three times as popular as post pregnancy weight loss.

One important thing to notice is that the keyword “pregnancy weight loss” does get 90,000 searches a month. But if you type it into Google, you’ll find that this search phrase encompasses people who want to lose weight during pregnancy, people who are losing weight during pregnancy and are worried, among a myriad of other topics, including weight loss after pregnancy.

It’s less clear cut because of that one keyword, but it still seems vegetarian weight loss generally has more demand than post-pregnancy weight loss, based on the numbers.

Rinse and repeat this process for all your ideas to get a sense for how many people are looking for the solution you’re thinking of providing.

Browsing Amazon

The Amazon bookstore can be another great way to come up with popular book ideas. Start by heading over to the Editor’s Picks section. You can choose other sections, too. Look through these different lists to see what kind of books are doing well.

You can also sort the category further by going to a more specific subcategory. That’ll really help you get a sense for what’s doing well in your specific niche.


Count Forum Questions

Another way you can find problems that people are eager to solve is to go to internet forums and look for common questions.

For example, if you’re in the fishing niche, you might head over to a fishing message board and spend some time looking around. What kinds of questions are people asking? Is there an abnormally high amount of questions around certain topics? Are there new questions you haven’t heard before? Are there questions being asked that seem to have no good answers?

You can also conduct a search for terms like “how to” or “how do I” or “question.”


This brings up exactly the kind of person you’re looking for: People who came to the forum looking for help. Again, look for patterns in the questions people are asking. The more people asking about it, the better your chances of success with an eBook on that topic.

These are four different ways you can find popular eBook topics. Do your research before you start writing and make sure you’re jumping into a market that’s positioned for success.