Self-publishing non-fiction ebooks such as self-help, personal advice or how to books comes with distinct advantages.
The biggest advantage of self-help ebooks is discoverability by Internet search.
Unlike fiction, the themes of these books are very easy to define, and because of this, are ideal for using SEO to aid in being indexed by major search engines.
While fiction discoverability is more or less confined to individual online retailer searches on stores such as Amazon, Apple iBooks or B&N, non-fiction, and particularly self-help and advice titles have huge potential for being found on websites, social media and blogs.
To take a simple example, let’s say you write an ebook about golf, and the title is How To Improve Your Golf Swing. Doing a Google search on the title will bring up a lot of results. But scroll down to the bottom of the first search page and you will find SEO gold.
Google will list other popular search terms that you can use on your website and ebook retailers in the form of longtail keywords. Here is the list Google suggested.
How do I improve my golf swing, golf swing basics, compact golf swing, golf swing technique, good golf swing tips, proper golf swing, correct golf swing, how to get the perfect golf swing.
Adding these longtail keywords when publishing on Amazon, Smashwords or Draft2Digital, as well as incorporating them into websites, blogs and social media posts will help dramatically in attracting highly focused traffic, and potential ebook buyers.
For fiction books, this use of SEO to attract ebook buyers is not nearly so easy. As an example, I’ll invent a romantic title. I Left My Heart In Rio.
Entering this title into Google returns no longtail keyword suggestions at all, and most of the indexed entries are for songs and YouTube videos. For fiction books, the best chance of discoverability comes with hunting down theme-specific keywords and categories when publishing.
Answering a question
Another advantage self-help ebooks have is that they fulfil the number one use of the Internet, which is to answer a question. From the example I used above about golf swing, when someone uses Google or Bing to ask a question such as, ‘how can I improve my golf swing?’, search engines do not differentiate between a question and a phrase. So, How To Improve Your Golf Swing and how can I improve my golf swing, are seen as almost one and the same.
On top of this, the longtail keywords that Google suggested will help in returning results for similar or related questions.
This also works on ebook retailers, as the search function on their sites works in a similar fashion.
Short is sweet
While there is often a lot more research needed when writing self-help and advice books, they do tend to be much shorter than fiction. Commonly, self-help books rarely run beyond 25,000 words, so not only are they faster to write, but they are also quicker to edit and proofread.
While non-fiction writing is not for everyone, there are distinct advantages for self-publishers who have expertise or experience in niche market sectors.