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How to Find Amazing eBook Ideas that People Will Actually Buy (*6 places I look)

“I don’t know how to find eBook Ideas that people will actually buy”.

That (or some similar version of that) is the #1 thing people tell me is keeping them from making money with digital products. 

And you know what, I agree with them. 

If you don’t have an eBook topic that people are actually willing to spend money on, you’re kind of sunk. 

Especially if you don’t already have an audience of rabid fans (and even still then, sometimes).

So in this post, let’s talk about ways you can find some eBook ideas and how to tell whether or not they will actually make money. 

What Makes People Buy Anything?

Woman finding eBook ideas that people will spend money on.
Woman finding eBook ideas that people will spend money on.

Before you get to anything when it comes to starting an online business with digital products; picking a niche, making content, thinking about eBook ideas… you have to have an idea of what people are going to actually spend money on. 

Luckily for you, people only spend money on only ONE thing. 

Improvement. 

You know those commercials about eating a Snickers when you’re Hangry?

They work because that Snickers is going to improve your life in one small way (or big way, depending on how angry you are when hangry). 

You’re hungry and irritated? A Snickers will improve your life by making you not hungry or irritated (assuming the irritation is a result of your hunger).

The 5 Improvements

Technically there are 10 improvements that people are willing to spend money on. I learned about them in Jim Edwards’s book “Copywriting Secrets”.

They are:

Base your eBook ideas on one of these 10 improvements: Make money, save money, save time, avoid effort, escape mental or physical pain, gain more comfort, more cleanliness or beauty, gain praise, more love, more social status

For digital products like eBooks, some of these work better than others, but if you can think of some eBook ideas that helps someone achieve one or more of these improvements, you have a solid chance of making money with those eBook ideas. 

The easiest of these 10 are:

  1. Make money
  2. Avoid effort
  3. Save time
  4. More love
  5. Escape pain

So the idea is, let’s pretend you are in the Weight Loss niche.

Specifically, your niche is women over 40 who want to lose weight. Now if you can show women over 40 how to lose weight without going to the gym or buying an expensive prepped meal delivery service, then you are helping them with several of these improvements. 

First, lose weight is going to fall under either “escape mental or physical pain” or “more beauty”, depending on what is important to your customer. That’s great. But, every weight loss program falls under those. 

If you can ALSO help them “avoid effort” by not going to the gym (which also probably “saves time”) and help them “save money” on expensive meal delivery services then you have stacked a bunch of improvements people are willing to spend money on. 

They’ll lose weight without the effort of going to the gym or wasting money on expensive meals. 

Now that you have that foundation of the 10 improvements, keep them in mind every time you think about a new digital product idea.

Where to Find the eBook Ideas Though?

Before we even get to where to find the eBook ideas, let me dispel a couple of myths real quick.

  1. You do not “come up” with ideas. 
  2. You do not need to have a totally unique idea.

Instead, you go out and FIND problems. And then you go and create your own version of a solution for that problem. 

You are not going to have a “EUREKA!” Moment. 

I don’t even want you to have a eureka moment. Most of the time when people tell me they have a completely unique idea I get a little nervous for them. 

Even if your idea is amazing and will help people, it can be very difficult to market a truly unique, brand new idea.

So, don’t sit around thinking you have to have a stroke of genius pass through you in order to come up with your eBook ideas.

Go out and find one. 

Six of My favorite Tactics & Places to FIND Money Making eBook Ideas

I hope you didn’t think I was going to tell you to go buy some expensive software that would help you find exactly what people are willing to spend money on.

The tools and tactics that I use are probably things you already use now. And they are all free.

Here are six of them:

  1. Reddit/Quora/Facebook groups
  2. Google (FAQ Method and Alphabet Soup Method)
  3. Your own experience
  4. Udemy/Skillshare/Amazon
  5. Social Media Comments
  6. Surveying your audience

You’re going to use these things to look for the eBook ideas people are going to want to spend money on.

With Udemy, Skillshare and Amazon, you’re going to look for products that other people have ALREADY created and make your own version. 

No This Is Not a Sign That Your Niche is Saturated!

People will often think that because there are courses or ebooks already created on the topic that they want to talk about that the market must be “saturated”. 

In fact, what this means is that this is a topic that people WILL buy if it brings them improvement. 

If there are 10 Cricut paper cutting courses on Udemy it is a GOOD sign that this is a topic that people are buying those courses (you can even check this on the course sites). That is a good sign. It does not mean that you cannot also make a course or an ebook on Cricut paper cutting.

How to Use The Rest of the Tactics 

It can be a little more difficult to interpret things like Social Media comments and your audiences response to your survey. 

Do you know the old saying from Henry Ford? Something about, People asked for faster horses, but I gave them a car?

Yeah. Sometimes you have to be able to interpret what your customers actually want. Fords customers didn’t need faster horses. They wanted to travel more quickly. Cars solved that problem. Not horses.

So you don’t necessarily build exactly what you’re audience is asking for. You have to be able to discern the right problems that you can actually solve.

There are a couple of tricks to picking the right questions/comments that could lead to a digital product like an ebook.

One of those things is knowing whether or not the problem or question that your audience is expressing is related to one of the 10 improvements we talked about earlier. 

Here’s an example:

“I know I need to do social media to grow my business, but it takes me FOREVER to create content and it is keeping me from other important tasks that will also make me money!”

This type of problem addresses 2 or 3 improvements if you can find a solution to it. 

  1. You’ll save your customer time if they use your templates for creating social media content. 
  2. You’ll help them make more money because they can attend to other things in their business.
  3. You may even help the avoid effort if your templates make things easier for them. 

The second trick to picking out the right questions/comments that could lead to a great eBook idea is finding “emotion”. 

When you read a comment or a survey answer or if you can remember something from your own experience that made you feel a negative emotion, that is something to keep note of. 

The easiest thing to sell is going to be the digital product that solves the problem that your audience wakes up thinking about. 

Busy moms wake up thinking “I wish I just had a little more time each day to spend with my kids”. 

Stained glass artists wake up thinking “I’m so frustrated that I have not been able to make money from the art I put so much work into. I do NOT want to get a regular job. I want to make art AND money”. 

Keep your ears open for the things that are truly frustrating people. What are the things that are keeping them from the outcome they are looking for? 

Those are the things that they will be willing to spend money. 

Those are the eBook ideas you should be keeping in a spreadsheet somewhere so that when you finish one, you can immediately start the next one. 

Your Homework Assignment

Don’t worry, it’s easy.

You’ve got an idea of what to look for now in a solid ebook idea.

I want you to pay attention to the ads that you see or her for everyday things. Commercials on the radio, ads you see on social media.

Do you hear them addressing the some of the 10 improvements? When you start to notice this, you’ll start to think about ways you can incorporate them when you’re talking to your audience about your eBook.

Because if your eBook idea helps someone with one or more of those improvements, and it solves a problem that is drawing some negative emotion from them and then you TELL them how you can help with that problem and how it will get them more money or save time or avoid effort… they will buy it.