Could Publishing an Ebook Get You Better Freelance Writing Work?


Writers create ebooks for mobile devicesby Dana Sitar

Ebooks can boost your online presence, create passive income, and grow your audience. Bloggers and entrepreneurs know this. It’s time for freelance writers to get on board.

An ebook can increase your credibility on a topic and help you get noticed by the kinds of people you want to work with. Creating this product to anchor your brand can help you take control of your career and get picky about doing the work you love.

Here are my tips for using an ebook to boost your freelance career:

Write About What You Love

Trending topics and keywords are tempting because of their ability to draw a lot of eyes fast. But they also doom you to writing about a topic you may not like long into your career. Instead, choose a subject you love to write about. Take a unique angle and show off your voice and expertise to catch the attention of the right readers.

Keep It Simple

Simplicity is a good rule of thumb for creating an ebook. You have the opportunity to add illustrations, design, and multimedia to enhance a reader’s experience — but you don’t have to to make the book effective. You can create a simple PDF to share with readers in one link. Then get back to your freelance work.

Keep your content simple, too. Make your ebook short and digestible, so readers will actually read it. No one will learn who you are or know your expertise if you write a massive tome that intimidates them out of reading it.

Launch Big

The launch is where many a self-published freelancer misses a major opportunity. You’re thinking of your ebook as a side project and decide you don’t have time to promote it; you’ve got too much client work.

Big mistake.

If you want a freelance career you love, where you can be picky about working with the best clients, you’re going to have to let them see you.

Your book launch is a key opportunity for this.

Book promotion sounds like a lot of work on top of your freelance load, but if you make room for yourself like you do clients, it can pay off. With a strong launch in the blogosphere, you’ll gain quality clips and killer contacts for referrals and testimonials in exactly the space you want to write for.

Keep the Conversation Going

After launch week, stay on point by presenting new angles on the topic at your blog, creating related multimedia content, hosting communities or events on social media, and more. Leverage the excitement you’ve built to become the go-to expert in your niche.

Get Ready to Write

I know you’re overwhelmed with client work, your blog, Twitter, family stuff… But there’s no better time to start writing than now. Take it slow and steady, plan ahead, and most important, carve out time for the work you love in the midst of client work.

Have you written an ebook? What was the biggest benefit for your career? Tell us in the comments below.

Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is an author and digital publishing coach, and also a branded content editor at The Penny Hoarder


  1. Joseph Rathjen

    I think what this article is saying is that every little bit helps. Editors are more likely to consider giving you an assignment when they see you have proved you have the dedication, and can be relied on to complete the project. They already know an e-book is a lot more work and preseverance than an article. That shows something about your character and drive. That person would come first on my list.

    • Carol Tice

      Exactly. Also — there are a lot of people looking to get ebooks ghosted, so having one already written provides a great sample for what can be a lucrative niche.

    • Dana Sitar

      That’s an important point, too, Carol! Any way you can showcase skills/experience in a variety of media will boost your profile for potential clients.

  2. Joseph Rathjen

    This is definitely on my after Christmas to do list. I have two other trade books (security) that went out of print about 5-years ago when the publisher closed down. They enjoyed good sales for about 10-years in the industry, but are still sitting on my shelf. Since their information is niche-specific and timeless (and I own the copyrights) I may publish and resurrect them both myself in an ebook format. Since big bucks isn’t my issue at present, they should serve well to boost my future marketing plans when I’m ready to start full blown branding and marketing.

    Thanks for the idea and the tips.

    • Carol Tice

      If you have the publishing rights back, sounds like an ideal ebook publishing project to give you a little stream of side income, Joseph!

  3. Ally E. Machate

    This post is so timely and I am cheering over here. Thank you! I’ve been teaching people the benefits of self-publishing a book to boost your business for years, but like the shoemaker’s children my own book projects are languishing on my to-do list.:( This post has reminded me to get going again!

    I would like to add to the discussion, however, that for some people it is equally important to have a print edition of your book (and it can be short, too!). Every industry is different, but if you are doing a lot of high-touch, in-person networking, it can be very powerful to hand someone a copy of your book on the spot as a supercharged business card. Talk about impressive! Go to any given business networking event with an expertly written and edited, well designed book and you go straight to the top of the food chain.

    For those who are concerned about making their book stand out amidst the considerable noise, I also offer this thought: There is immense value in free ebooks as well. Creating something short that you can offer as an opt-in on your own website can bring you more subscribers and a higher conversion rate once people get that “pink spoon” taste of your expertise and skill. Having a free ebook can also open doors for you as a guest speaker on teleseminars (as Dana suggested, you want to plan events to increase your visibility for your launch, and this can be a great way to do it), which further lengthens your reach and drives new eyeballs to your site.

    Passive income is awesome, but when it comes to self-publishing, the benefits for the business owner (and we writers are business owners!) can go much further.

    • Carol Tice

      Ha, I’m so relating. Regular readers of this blog may recall I promised to rewrite and reissue my Make a Living Writing blog this year…and I’ll be lucky to get ONE of the three new ebooks I want to split that old one into out before the end of the year.

      But TRYING to get my focus more onto ebooks! In 2014 FOR SURE.

      Do have one ebook I’m making out of a Den bootcamp that WILL see the light of day soon — it’s at the design stage! Yay!

    • Dana Sitar

      Ally – yay! I totally agree; I think the benefits of self-publishing to boost the profile of your business can far outweigh the potential passive income. Too many writers are enticed by the idea of passive income and put tons of energy into begging for sales, when they could grow their biz and earn that extra income just by being generous and giving the book away!

      I love your idea of using a print book as a calling card! I always consider print copies as good fodder for back-of-the-room sales, but it’s so smart to be generous with those to boost your profile just like you do with ebooks online.

    • Carol Tice

      Yeah, there is that school of thought that all ebooks should be free. Why try to gouge $4 out of someone for an ebook when you could get it into way more hands if you made it free, seed it with links to higher-paying stuff you have, and end up making way more?

      That’s pretty much the approach I’ve decided to take with one of my upcoming ebooks, which is going to become my new free subscriber goodie…so stay tuned for that. Hopefully January.

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