Part Two of a Two-Part Series on eBooks
Her many years of offline and online publishing experience have taught her there’s always an easier way to get things done! Here she shares one insight that will save you hours of time. – Pamela
Begin with the End in Mind
It makes good marketing sense to create products that your customers want. The same principle applies to writing an eBook. You can write a great eBook on any topic in the world, but it’s only sound as a business strategy if it addresses a need or desire that your customers actually have.
To that end, when you begin your eBook project it’s best to start at the end. What are you selling and why would people want it? We want to figure those ingredients which will inspire people to purchase your eBook. Prospective buyers will want to know what problem your eBook solves and the kinds of benefits they will experience as a result. So why not take those features and benefits use them to build both a sales page and the table of contents?
Once you know the general topic of your eBook‚ which problem you’re going to solve or need that you’ll address‚ it’s time to get specific. If you follow these three steps you’ll end up with both the heart of your sales copy and the basic structure of your eBook’s contents.
Step 1: Brainstorm Features and Benefits
Complete the following phrases to get a basic list of your eBook’s features and benefits. At this step keep it simple. For now you don’t need to put on your copywriter hat and be interesting, just use your imagination.
Features: In this eBook, you will learn…
For example, an eBook that answers “which breed of dog should I get?” teaches you how to: analyze the lifestyle factors that affect dog choice, decide how much time and energy you want to spend caring for and training your dog, determine your dog owner personality type and the breeds that compelement it.
Benefits: Because of learning this, you will feel/have/be…
For our dog breed eBook example, as a result of reading it you will be able to have an enjoyable, non-stressful dog owning experience because you’ll have the perfect dog for your life. You will feel at one with your dog, as its personality will perfectly complement yours and training will be a breeze.
Step 2: Turn each Feature and Benefit into a Fascination
“Fascination” is a term borrowed from copywriting. Once you know what they are, fascinations are everywhere: the cover lines on a magazine, the back cover of non-fiction books, and especially in magazine subscription ads and bulk mailings.
Fascinations are the little bullet points that give you a teasing taste of what’s inside a book or product. Fascinations play on one of the strongest urges we have as human beings: curiosity. They compel people to buy because the curiosity itch must be scratched! I know it works on me.
I think of fascinations as the whys, hows and whats that arouse interest in your eBook. They are the menu, the answer to ‘what’s in it for me?’
Here are some real life examples from the world of books:
- Why transparency and being true to yourself are now winning marketing formulas. (Crush It)
- How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist (4 Hour Work Week)
- Strategies for turning attention into money. (Crush It)
- Learn the visual alphabet: twelve simple shapes that will enable you to clearly and concisely draw anything you can possibly imagine. (Gamestorming)
Creating fascinations out of your features and benefits helps you put abstract ideas into concrete terms. This tunes you in to what’s interesting about your topic AND your audience will catch the excitement. Which is more compelling? “Reading this eBook will help you get fit” or “Reading this eBook will help you triple your energy in 30 days?”
Generate at least 10 fascinations, but keep going until you’ve exhausted all of your ideas.
Here are some prompts to get you going:
- The ____ best ways to do/achieve/create ______
- ____ reasons your ____ isn’t _____ing
- How to ______ without ______ing
- Why the most effective _____ is the _____est
- What you can do to ______ your _____
- Learn what ______ does for your ______
Step 3: Rearrange Your Bits Into a Logical Order
Take your list of fascinations and print it out. Now cut it into strips, with a fascination on each one. Our thought patterns are non-linear, so freeing up your lines of text from the block of a single page is really important to the creative flow of ideas.
Now you’re free to move the bits around and mix them up. Group similar ideas together and weed out and duplicates. You will likely start to see a structure emerge. It will become clear where your idea clusters are and if some thoughts are tangents that can be pruned away. You can use index cards if you prefer.
Take each cluster of fascinations around one idea ‚ for example, identifying lifestyle factors that will affect your dog choice‚ and see if you can put them into a sequence. Repeat for each cluster and soon you’ll have an outline made from the same points that will form the core of your sales page.
Going from Outline to Finish Line
You’re off to a great start: in your hands now is the framework of a marketable, compelling eBook and sales page. These are valuable things, but they are just the beginning of your eBook journey!