Thoughts of Writing an eBook: Free or Not

So let’s begin at the beginning. I’ve noticed lately that everywhere I read people are starting to come out with an eBook. Some free, others not really. As I was writing I was also thinking about the decision of selling my eBook or just putting it out there for free. Here are some of the thoughts that have gone through my silly brain:

“If I charge something people are going to think it’s worth something, but if I don’t, they might think it’s not as valuable.”

“If I give it away for free maybe less people will download it for that same reason (it’s not worth something, since it’s free)”

All these “ifs” run through my head and the more I think about it, I start telling myself you just need to go with your gut. Ship it! So I think that’s just what I am going to do, put it out for free. I’ve realized that money is NOT the reason why I am writing this eBook anyway. What really motivates me to write this eBook are a few reasons:

  • I want to have my own product
  • Help people
  • Become an expert (eventually)

And yes, later down the road make a some income.

If you’ve been contemplating this thought of writing a free eBook I suggest you ask yourself this question:

Why write an eBook?

In most cases your first thought will be to make money, but I don’t think that will be a strong motivation because how can you possibly know if people will actually buy it?

When I say motivation, I mean what is making you want to spend hours putting ink to paper until you complete that eBook. If you can find that why, the how will become easy.

The biggest reason I did not write an eBook before?

It’s simple; because I had no idea of what I wanted to write about. Nothing really came to me naturally, and I didn’t feel confident enough to write about what I’ve been writing about. One of the biggest reasons people will read an eBook I think is because it’s something they WANT, so if I didn’t have something to give that readers WANT I knew nobody (not even my dog that I don’t have) would read it.

As you can see, picking a topic to write about is not that simple. The process can take time and you really need to know what you’re talking about, so you don’t look like a fool (Mr. T voice). You could easily just research the heck about something and synthesize the information, but would that really be an ethical thing to do? Of course not, that’s why I didn’t choose that route. I wanted to write a guide with my own words and my own experiences. I wouldn’t want to ruin my reputation online as a phony. And neither should you!

How I choose my topic

To be honest, I didn’t really have a plan. I just happened to be talking to some friends’ offline and they were hammering with a bunch of questions like…

…why do you… and how can you… where do you??? Etc…

So I came home and eventually a light bulb came up on my head like in the cartoons, (and I thought) I wonder how many other people offline are asking those questions. That’s when I dropped everything down and grabbed ink and paper and started to mind map everything and paste ideas into my little red moleskin.

The good thing is that I was familiar with the topic and I knew I was an expert to at least somebody, so why not share some of my knowledge with them. The idea of just writing something for a group of people has grown into something bigger and better obviously.

A question that can help you come up with a topic is; what do I know that my friends don’t? or how can I help someone do something they don’t?

If you begin to answer those two simple questions, you’ll come up with a basket of ideas that you can put into action, in this case into an eBook.

It has helped me and I believe it can help you get started in your first eBook if it’s something you’ve been thinking about doing too. If you have any questions or ideas about the process of putting an eBook together for the first time, I’m curious. Send me a tweet, or an email. Or just leave a comment I’ll respond when I can.

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  • I am currently in the process of writing an e-book too. I’m leaning towards selling it, only because I am putting a lot of research and time into making the product and I think it is going to be way more valuable than a freebie. However, it will be offered at a very cheap price, I’m thinking 7 dollars, and I will be giving loads of copies away for free.

    I recommend writing down your idea on a piece of paper or in a Word document and then brainstorming about the stuff you want to cover. I also use Mind Maps (if you don’t know what this is, google it) to help me organize.

    Looking forward to seeing how things work out for you!

    • Awesome! How far are you into it? I’m assuming it’s got to do with personal dev or something of that sort? I like the price, it’s perfect just to get your feet wet you know. I would recommend you survey your readers, sometimes they’ll tell exactly how much are they willing to pay for it too. Not that I have experience but something I’ve read before. Cheers! I wish you luck with the eBook launch.

  • I love finding thought synchronicies like this, my friend 🙂 This has been a huge topic on By Bloggers before our e-book comes out in less than a week.

    I had a great conversation with another blogger over skype yesterday and the topic of e-books came up. There really is a need to define your goals for any e-book you do. If it’s free, you might spread your influence more. If it’s paid, it might be perceived as more valuable. In fact, if you price it HIGH, in the 37-47 range, you might have even more perceived value than a $9 or $14 e-book. Once you know what your goals are for the project, you can choose how to go about putting it all together.


    • Oh thanks a lot, glad you liked it.

      I know for sure this one is going to be free, but eventually have a product for sale. But I’m still unsure.