How I Created My First eBook

As you may or may not know I’ve been spending the past month or so writing my very first eBook, “Your Ultimate VA Crash Course”. It’s somewhere between a book and a workbook, and walks you through every step to find, interview and hire your first kickass virtual assistant.

The book is finished, (and it launches on Thursday!) and I wanted to open up and share the process from inception to completion with you. Keep in mind, this is my own personal process that evolved out of experimentation!

 

1| Find Regina’s 12-hour course creation challenge

I was working on a final paper in May and got bored, so I started checking some of my favorite blogs. I came across Regina’s awesome guide for creating a mini-course in only 12 hours, and was instantly intrigued. I downloaded the guide and immediately started brainstorming. I’ve been wanting to make something for awhile that will help small business owners and entrepreneurs truly elevate their online empires, and suddenly I had a guide that would help me figure out exactly what that could be.

Earlier this year I had put out a question to the Facebook business groups I’m a part of, asking about what people wanted to know about finding + hiring + working with virtual assistants. As a working virtual assistant, I have one realm of knowledge in my head but had wanted to figure out where the gaps in information were -- both for me, and for other entrepreneurs. So I had a whole list of things I knew people wanted to know, and decided to take all of that information and use it to create a product that would answer all the questions I’d gathered.

Going through Regina’s workbook, I came up with the following outline for my eBook. The spreadsheet is based off of an example Regina has in her workbook, and really helped me organize all of my ideas and figure out how all the topics I wanted to cover could fit together. My final organization is a bit different than this, but I wouldn’t have been able to form a coherent narrative without playing around with this outline for awhile.

 

2| Sit down and write

Honestly, this was the hardest part for me. Even though I have experience writing academic papers, blog posts, etc., informational writing for other business owners was completely foreign. I kept psyching myself out of doing the actual writing, but eventually just sat down in my school’s library for a few hours and brain dumped into a Google Doc about every topic I’d created in my outline.

What really surprised me was how much I had in my head about each section! Once I got into the flow of writing, words kept pouring out. Just getting them out of my head and onto the page meant that I was on my way to actually creating this eBook, and that I was one step closer to being able to get it into the hands of people who could truly benefit from it.

I also decided to take a risk and reach out to some of my favorite entrepreneurs and online business owners to see if they would be willing to contribute and got two yesses! I asked them to write a short piece on what it’s like to work with their virtual assistants. The idea behind this is to show the entrepreneurs reading the book how having a virtual assistant can help their business, and allow them to see just how many ways a virtual assistant can impact their business positively.

 

3| Edit, edit, and edit some more

After I’d written everything I thought I could, it was time to get down to editing. I’ve learned from my other writings that taking a break from my material for a couple days and then come back to it with fresh eyes. I decided to put my eBook on hold while I finished out my semester, jotting down any ideas I had for it but not letting myself go back and work on it until I could dedicate 100% of my focus to it.

One of the ideas I had for the eBook while going through finals was to create worksheets, instead of checklists like I had originally brainstormed. That way, people reading the book could actually go through exercises and come up with solutions + answers that are perfect for their businesses instead of me trying to prescribe a one-size-fits-all solution. Because your business is unique to you, and it deserves unique solutions and strategies.

So I spent a while editing what I’d written a couple weeks before, trying out different formatting options, designing the cover, trying to create a cohesive voice + feeling for the eBook. I trimmed out a lot of the excess writing, made the eBook as to the point and focused as possible. This means that while there aren’t an exorbitant number of pages (it clocks in at 29 total), every page is jam-packed with actionable tips, tricks, scripts, worksheets, and knowledge.

 

4| Get beta readers

After I’d finished the first full draft of the eBook, writing it and designing it, I decided it was time to bring in some outside opinions. I put out a call for beta readers in one of my favorite business Facebook groups, and with a racing heart I emailed my eBook to all the amazing women that had responded.

Over the next week or so, I kept getting replies in my inbox that nearly brought me to tears. While I had intended for my eBook to help people in their businesses, my inner fears kept telling me that it never would. So when business owners kept telling me how much my eBook had helped them and impacted their personal and professional lives, I was beyond touched. Beyond grateful. Because that’s why I wrote this book in the first place, to help amazing entrepreneurs and business owners like you get the help you need and deserve. (Click through to the eBook's sales page to see some of the amazing testimonials I received from my beta readers!)

 

5| Final edits and pre-order

Based on the feedback from my beta readers (and my parents!) I changed the formatting, added sections, took sections out, etc. They have all had a hand in how the final eBook turned out, and I couldn’t be more proud of the final product.

While I tweaked the eBook, I set up a pre-order system that went out to my newsletter subscribers first, and then onto my website for all of my readers. The pre-order saves you $4 off of the price of the eBook, as it’s only $10 right now. Once the book launches on Thursday, the price goes up to $14.

I decided to use SendOwl for the pre-order and distribution of my eBook for a number of reasons: 

  • I can create an affiliate program, which allows you to essentially pay off the price of the eBook by sharing it after it’s helped you + your business
  • They automatically calculate EU VAT tax if someone is buying from the EU

  • There’s no percentage taken out of every sale, instead I only pay a small monthly fee to be able to sell through them

 

6| Launch!

On Thursday morning I’ll officially launch my eBook! That’s the final step for creating my eBook: I’ll send out social media updates + emails, change the pre-order forms on my site to “buy now” buttons, and sit steeped in gratitude that I’ve created something that helps entrepreneurs and business owners.

If you are interested in pre-ordering the eBook, enter your name + favorite email below to gain access!

UPDATE -- 7/27/2015

For numerous reasons, I decided to change from SendOwl to Digital Product Delivery. It allows me to save $5 per month and offers more features + value.