Are you looking for a way to differentiate yourself from the competition to help land a job faster? Or, perhaps you are thinking of starting your own business, and you could use a way to help you stand out from the crowd of other consultants. If you’re a good writer, one way to highlight what you know and to share it with other people is to create an ebook. While it’s not a silver bullet or a magic wand, a well-written ebook could impress a decision maker and give you an edge.
Follow these eight steps to create an ebook you can use to market yourself:
1. Choose a topic
It sounds obvious, but this is probably your most important and crucial step. Choose a topic that is specific enough to showcase your expertise in your industry, but isn’t so niche that very few people would be interested in reading it. Remember, your goal is to demonstrate your expertise as it relates to the job or gigs you are trying to win, so keep focused on that concept when you identify your topic. How can you identify ideas and concepts that will interest your audience? Do your research. Visit all of the online sites for organizations where you want to work. Do they focus on any topics in your realm of expertise? View details from your professional conferences online – especially national events that bring in big-name speakers. What are the keynote topics for your professional associations? What obstacles will experts discuss and try to solve? Those problems are great fodder for your ebook. If you can provide useful information, advice and solutions for people in your field, you likely have a great ebook topic.
2. Identify what others say about your topic.
Google is a great resource, as you can search for what other people have written about your topic. Decide if you agree or disagree and take a stand. Then, incorporate specifics into your ebook that will help other people who want to solve the same problem.
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3. Plan what you want to say.
There’s nothing worse than an ebook without a point. Make sure you choose a topic with a clear focus and don’t stray from the topic. When you write something too general or unfocused, your ebook won’t help you demonstrate your expertise. Write your thesis statement or title and outline what you have to say to prove your point. Consider listing out chapter titles in the form of an outline. If the concept of a book overwhelms you, consider focusing on one chapter at a time, but never lose sight of the big picture.
4. Have a target length in mind.
Once you know what you want to say, you should be able to identify how long a book you want to write. Be realistic, but keep in mind, if you want a significant product at the end, you’ll need to write many thousands of words. Don’t obsess about the length, but when you have a goal in mind, it will help you keep on track.
How should you determine your length? Your book should be short enough to inspire people to read it, but long enough to make the point that you know what you’re talking about, can organize your ideas effectively and have a solution to the problem you’re addressing.
5. Organize your time.
It’s unlikely you’ll finish an ebook of any worth without allocating time and dedicating your time and resources to keeping pace to finish before it’s time to start to re-research topical concerns in your field. If possible, allot time every day to write, or select bigger chunks of time and write every other day. When you put your book aside and come back to it after more than a week, you’ll need to spend time getting reacquainted with what you wrote, and you’ll waste time you could otherwise spend putting more words on the page.
6. Ask someone to review and edit your work.
Before you publish anything for other people to read, make sure it’s well written and not peppered with typos and errors. It’s difficult to self-edit, as you’ll likely miss mistakes you initially introduced. If you can’t afford to hire a professional editor, ask a talented friend to review it.
7. Select a format.
Once your ebook is ready for readers, you’ll need to get it into a format that makes it easy to distribute and share. There are many options for ebook publishers and choices you’ll need to make regarding formats and distribution channels. While you want the book to be attractive (having a professionally designed cover always makes a book stand out), you want to focus on the content first. Consider getting started with steps one through 5 and when you are comfortable with what you write, begin to explore options to make sure your finished product will look professional.
8. Let people know about your book.
Include information about your ebook in all of your job search marketing materials. Include a mention in your resume and incorporate details in your online profiles. When you are using an ebook to help market you for a job, it’s best to share it widely and make it available for free. Upload it to your LinkedIn profile, have a link to find it in your email signature and offer to send it to networking contacts who may be interested in the topic.
If your book is impressive and contains useful and actionable ideas, you are likely to get somejob leads as a result.
Originally appeared at AOLJobs.com.