Monday 2/21/11: I’m really proud of this post and I want to make sure all of my readers see it… and comment on it :) So I’m not posting today. My next post will be Wednesday, 2/23.
[This looooong post is also available as a PDF ebook that you can download here.]
I love ebooks. I love reading them. I love writing them. I love collecting them. Heck, I even love thinking about writing them.
But I think some bloggers are a little bit afraid of writing ebooks, and most bloggers don’t bother. For those bloggers I’ve compiled a list of 31 ebook ideas that can be applied to any niche.
I could see all of these ebooks being offered as free linkbait or listbait incentives, and you could probably even charge for some if they were good enough.
The below ideas are loosely grouped together with similar ideas. For some ideas, I give made-up examples. I’ve taken great care here to make sure those who don’t blog about internet marketing or blogging can still find each one of these ideas useful and relevant.
Time to a Goal
All of these ebook ideas have something to do with meeting a specific goal after a certain period of time.
30 Days to ____
This could be 31 days, too. The first ebook like this that comes to mind is Darren Rowse’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. His ebook is pretty hefty, but yours certainly doesn’t have to be. If you blog about mountain biking, your ebook can be 31 Days to Better Mountain Biking or Be a Bike Mechanic in 30 Days or something like that, and then just list a tip every day.
____ In a Week
Again, you could have 7 different sections to this ebook, one for every day of the week.
Example: Poker Mastery in One Week or 7 Days to Poker Domination
____ In 365 Days
This would be a pretty epic ebook, and Chris Guillebeau’s Empire Building Kit (not an affiliate link) is the only one I can think of off the top of my head, even though it doesn’t say “365” anywhere in the title.
How rad would something like Become a Professional Blogger in 365 Days be?
____ in 24 Hours
Language learning publishers are the king of this kind of thing. Ever noticed one of those French in 24 Hours! books at the book store? There are usually 24 chapters in the book and each chapter/lesson takes an hour to complete. So if you blog about health and fitness, you could create ebook along the lines of Everything You Need to Know About Your Body in 24 Hours.
____ in an Hour a Day
This is pretty similar to the above idea. I’ve seen a bunch of tutorial-type books like this: C++ in an Hour a Day, or Photoshop in an Hour a Day.
All of these ebook ideas include numbered lists that we all love so much.
101 ____ Tips
This is essentially what I’ve done with my free 101 Ways to Battle Blogger’s Block ebook. It’s usually not too hard to come up with 101 tips, it just takes a bit of a think.
101 ____ Mistakes
This one is pretty close to the previous one, but they’re not the quite the same. 101 Biggest Blogging Mistakes was the first working title of my 101 Ways You’re Killing Your Blog ebook (which you get for free when you sign up for my awesome newsletter).
Example: 101 Drawing Mistakes or 101 Huge Travel Faux Pas (I just found out that that’s apparently the singular AND plural form of the word. Hah! Cool.)
365 Ways to ____
It’s a bit harder to come up with 365 of anything, but with some hardcore brainstorming supplemented by clever Google-fu it’s usually not TOO difficult. And the Ways in the title can be changed to anything, really.
This is different from the ____ in 365 Days idea because these ebook doesn’t outline any kind of process that leads to a goal. It’s just 365 different… things. Does that make sense?
Example: 365 Ways to Be Happier or 365 Animals to See Before You Die
10 Commandments of ____
Take ten basic yet essential principles and apply them to your niche.
Example: 10 Commandments of Digital Photography
7 Deadly Sins of ____
If I ever start up a rock climbing blog again (I’ve had one in the past and quit it when I started Blogging Bookshelf), I think I’ll have to create an ebook called The 7 Deadly Sins of Rock Climbing. Because you know, you really could die if you mess something up.
How to Easily ____
Take a common problem in your niche and tell your readers how they can solve that bad boy.
Example: How to Easily Sell Your Car would be great for an automotive blog.
How to Make Money ____ing
Now you might be thinking, “Bah! This one can’t apply to my niche!” But oh it can. I’d venture to say that there are people making money in pretty much every niche you can think of.
Example: How to Make Money Reading would be great for a book review blog. You could talk about being a book indexer, copyeditor, or blogger who reviews books online (and links to Amazon as an affiliate).
How NOT to ____
This kind of ebook would go PERFECTLY with a great personal story. Let’s say you blog about home improvement and learned the hard way how to mess up installing the new tile in your bathroom. You could title your ebook How NOT to Tile Your Bathroom and it would probably be a big hit.
This could also be called How to Suck at ___ or How to Fail Miserably When You ___, etc.
Come up with a step-by-step list or guide on how to do something. This could be something like How to Install WordPress, where you list each of the 10 (or however many) steps and include an accompanying short description/more detail for each step. Or you could make it something bigger…
So there’s this ginormous cliff in Yosemite National Park in California called El Capitan. There are a couple hundred different routes that rock climbers can take to get up the thing, with the original (and most classic) one being The Nose. One ebook publisher that specializes in rock climbing guidebooks created a Road to The Nose ebook that went through the step-by-step of how to climb The Nose, and it goes through everything from which routes to train on to gear you should take and skills you should have. Pretty cool.
Things You Need to Know About ____
Example: 10 Things You Need to Know About Skin Cancer would be great for a blog about skin cancer.
From the Experts
Do some research and figure out what the leaders/experts in your niche have said about a certain subject. For example, I plan on creating a What Google Has Told Us About SEO ebook sometime in the near future. Or if you blog about golfing, create a free Tiger Woods on Golf ebook (though that’s not the best example because he’d probably sue you and then get drunk and crash his car into your house or something).
The ___ Planning Kit
I’ve done this with my free Blog Planning Kit ebook. If you’ve got a travel blog, create a Road Trip Planning Kit. In it you could include packing lists, lists of games to play on the road if you’ve got kids, general pre-trip car maintenance tips, etc.
How to ___ Better
Everyone wants to get better at what they do. I want to be a better blogger. I also want to be a better mountain biker. I’m sure lots of you out there would like to be a better parent. Each one of these ideas could have an ebook dedicated to it.
You’d need to make the title more interesting, though. How to Blog Better really isn’t too exciting, but How to Blog Like William Shatner Sings… Now THAT is exciting.
What I Wish I Knew Before ____
This is a powerful ebook if you’ve got a blog dedicated to helping beginners with something.
Example: What I Wish I Knew Before I Started Eating Competitively. [Note: I have no interest in competitive eating, but I can't help but think that this ebook would be really, really entertaining.]
There’s a lot of inaccurate and incomplete information floating around out there. No matter what your niche is, there are surely some common misconceptions or misunderstandings about certain things. Set the record straight with this ebook idea.
Example: The Truth About Search Engine Optimization [affiliate link] is a great book that I have and love. Common Bigfoot Myths would be a great one if you blogged about bigfoot.
There’s not a whole lot of depth to these ebooks but you can make up for that through quantity of information.
I’ve done this before on one of my blogs as the newsletter opt-in incentive. It worked surprisingly well and took all of 15 minutes to create.
Example: 20 Best Kayaking Websites or 45 Favorite Wedding Photography Blogs.
Most Valuable Tools
These can be digital tools (50 Greatest WordPress Plugins or 20 Sweet Chrome Extensions) or physical tools (25 Patterns Every Crocheter Needs).
If you came up with a list of the 100 Greatest Books for Bloggers, I’d read it (and yes, I know there are already lists out there like that). But only if you (or maybe with your readers’ help) have really read them and can vouch for them. I hate it when I see lists like this where the compiler hasn’t read them.
Example: 15 Essential Books for Every Small Business Owner
I’ve seen this a lot on personal development blogs, with ebooks like 101 Inspiration Quotes to Help You Through Your Day.
You could just list a bunch of quotes, but that’s not very substantial. To add more value to the ebook, expound on each quote and say why it’s helpful. I did this with my free 68 Blogging Tips from Confucius ebook (BTW, if you haven’t read that ebook yet, you should definitely check it out. The cover itself is enough of a reason to take a look. I’ve very proud of that cover.)
Best Blog Posts
Let’s say you blog about, oh I don’t know… blogging. Compile a big ol’ list of the best posts about writing hadlines from around the web and slap them into an ebook. Ta-da! Linkbait.
History Of ____
You don’t see this kind of ebook very often, but I think it’s a pretty cool idea. If you’re into yoga, for example, wouldn’t you love to read a history of yoga?
Compile your greatest blog posts into one nifty little package.
This is another one I have in the works for blogging, so don’t steal it. It’ll be a single-page PDF that you can print out to monitor your daily blogging activities. It’ll include little boxes to check off for number of comments you make, lines for writing down how much time you spent doing whatever, etc.
But how is this an ebook? Just include a few pages with a sample one filled out, plus some explanation on how to best use it.
Example: I created one of these for my personal use (I never posted it on my climbing blog, though I could have) to track the rock climbs I do. For each climb, there are spaces for the name of the climb, when I climbed it, the difficulty, the type of climb, the kind of rock it’s on, gear needed for the climb, and so on.
Pull a Mark and ask different people in your niche the same questions and compile their responses into an ebook.
Interview someone and plop it into a PDF.
Create software tutorials. But how would that work for any niche? Well, if your niche doesn’t have any specialized software for it, create a tutorials on how to use more common software.
Example: WordPress for Photographers or Facebook for Lawyers.
Hopefully this was enough to get you excited about writing ebooks. They’re really not big and scary, I promise. They’re a lot of fun to write (“Hey! I really am an author now!”), and people share them like crazy. Get after it!
- What other ebook ideas can you think of (if they’re good, I’ll add them to this list and give you a link back to your blog)?
- Which of these have you used already?
- Which of these would you like to use in the future?
- Which of these would you like to see from me in the future?