The other day someone asked me, “How do you write so many eBooks?”
I’ve written thirteen so far. Plus hundreds of pages of other essays and articles that aren’t about marketing.
This fellow asked me, “Would you be willing to share on this, on the way you write, your organization …?”
What follows are my answers to his more specific questions:
How you define the subject?
I’ve already got the topics for my remaining eBooks complete. I’m not sure how to answer this except to say that, once I start getting the same question a few dozen times and become some combination of tired of answering it and feeling like I’ve got a lot to say on the topic, I start wanting to just get an official version of it done so that I don’t have to repeat myself over and over again. Plus, if I write it as an eBook, I get to make it perfect. I’ll never be able to say it in person so well as I will be able to write it up.
How you constitute your plan?
It is, of course, always immensely flattering when people assume you have a plan around the whole thing. I regret my plan resembles something more along the lines of a dam bursting. I’ll sit on things for years sometimes until something happens and I finally realize I have to get started on the endeavour.
I’ve currently got notes gathering for another seven or so eBooks that I hope to write in the coming year or so. We’ll see how that goes.
How do you write the content?
This is the big thing. I don’t write it all at once. I have a place where I put my ideas. I use a program called Things to keep track. Some people use the text notes on their smart phones. Some people type their ideas in documents in their laptop. Some write in their journals.
However you do it, you must create a system to capture your ideas as they come.
By the time I actually sit down to write an eBook, I’ve already captured hundreds of ideas to incorporate. So then, writing becomes more a matter of organizing ideas and connecting them.
And, in the articulation of these ideas, I begin to see more. When I began to write the Point of View Marketing eBook, most of what has become the core content (e.g. the POV Pyramid) didn’t exist yet. It came as I wrote it and tried to make sense of it all. Writing these eBooks better resembles a game of Connect the Dots than writing a novel.
I have never written an eBook by sitting down with a blank page and starting from there. I always already have a sack full of ideas that, like puzzle pieces, I dump out onto the table to begin to piece together. As I do that, I begin to see that there are huge gaps and begin to wonder about how I might fill them.
How do you decide how much they cost?
I just sort of sit with it and see what feels right. If something is highly tactical, I might charge $50-$70. If it’s a strategic opus like The Niching Nest, The Art of Relevance, The Art of the Full House or Point of View Marketing then I charge around $40. If it’s more of a 30,000 foot view on a topic like The Top Ten Blunders Holistic Practitioners & Life Coaches Make, or a beginner piece like How to Start, or a short workbook like Don’t Market Yourself. Market Your Message then I’ll charge $20.
But prices are just made up. That’s the truth. The key thing is that you feel good about what you charge.
Do you ever use a pen name?
I will finally admit that I do. It’s Stephen King. I hired an actor to do interviews and kept him quiet by offering him plum roles in my films.