How to write an ebook
In this “ideas for startups series”, I will talk about how you can write your own e-book. If you feel all out of ideas, I hope you can find some inspiration in this series of posts, that can help you get started with you own online business.
Why should you write an e-book?
- An e-book is a perfect way for generating a passive income, as you only have to do the work once.
- Your revenue is 100%, as you don’t have any publishing or production costs.
- You have all the rights to your product.
- You have full control over the content.
- You can use an e-book to promote your knowledge about a given topic, for example if you are offering consultant services.
- You don’t have money tied into stock.
- You don’t need to spend money on distribution.
- You can create a “living” product by including audio or video.
- You can make the buying process more or less automated.
- You can use the e-book as a free gift when somebody is signing up for your newsletter.
Excuses for not writing an e-book.
People have a lot of excuses for not writing their own e-book. Here are some of them – and the reasons why you should get started any way:
“I’m not an expert, there is are a lot of people that know a lot more than me about XXX”
You don’t need to be an expert to write an e-book. You just need the idea to write the book. Of cause it helps if you have some interest in the topic that you are writing about, as this will “shine through your book”. But the readers will more often then not look at the content of the book and not the resume of the writer.
A way to get about this “no-expert-problem” is to interview an expert on the topic that you would like to write about. Tell the expert that you are writing an e-book about XX and that you think of he or she as an expert on that subject and would very much like to get their input. Be sure to be prepared in the interview and to mention the expert in the book.
“I’m not that technical – I don’t know how to publish an e-book”
A lot of e-books are published in PDF format. There is a lot of ways to make a document into a PDF format try for example to search Google for “convert word to pdf” and you will get a lot of hits. Many printers do also have the option of printing a document as PDF.
Who are your audience?
Before you start writing your e-book you need to have a clear picture of which audience you are aiming at. Ask your self these questions:
- Who would really enjoy reading my book?
- Who are you really making a difference for?
As in marketing if you are trying to target all, you won’t hit anyone (read: Market positioning strategy for an online business).
Is there a market for my ebook?
It can be hard to estimate if at market exists for a given e-book. But to make a qualified guess you can try to brows trough Amanzone.com to find out what topics are selling. This is also a good exercise to find inspiration for a name to your book. A good headline will often be one that helps answering a question that the reader has.
How to write an ebook – The writing process
Step 1 – Find a working title for your e-book.
Before you start writing you should try to come up with a working title for your e-book. For example:
- This e-book is about xx.
- This e-book has XX readers in mind.
- This e-book will provide XX value for the reader.
Step 2 – brainstorm subjects for your e-book.
In this step you get to brainstorm about the idea for you e-book. This is where you unfold your idea and try to empty your brain to come up with all the subjects that you would like to write about.
Step 3 – topics for you ebook.
Now that you have a long list of topics for your book, it is time to sketch the structure of the book. This is like writhing an extended table of content:
- what topics do you want to cover ?
- what order should the topics be in?
- what are the sub topics for subject?
Also try to write some lines fore each of the topics. The more you can go into detail at this point, the easier it will be to write the book later on.
When you are doing this you will properly have to skip some of the things you wrote down in your brainstorm activity – but don’t worry this will just make the book more lean.
Step 4 – writing you e-book.
When starting to write your e-book it is important to find a flow in your writing. A way to do this is by using the structure in step 3 and write about a topic that you feel the most like that particular day. Try to break down your structure into very small pieces and give you self an assignments every day, for example to write 350 words. At the moment you should not think about how the things you write sounds, just write. You can read through what you wrote and rewrite it at a later time.
If possible you should try to write on you e-book every day to keep in “contact with it” and not get separated from the topic.
It is very common for to have a writer’s block at one time or another. If you start to suffer from this, here are a few helpful tips to get you going again:
Non-stop writing. In this exercise you start writing without taking a break or prof reading your text. Set at an alarm to ring after 5 or 10 minutes and just start writing what pops up in you head about the topic that you have.
Turn you topic into a question. This exercise is know as “writers response” and functions by turning you topic into a question. For example: “why could an e-book be a good way to kick-start you online business?”. By doing this you force you mind to come up with an answer to the question. This will also benefit the readers of the e-book if your questions are relevant to them.
When writing an ebook you should deliver quality to your readers.
When you are finished writing your e-book, be sure that the book delivers good quality reading to you audience. By quality I mean:
- The book’s “cover” is visually attractive.
- The layout is reader-friendly.
- The e-book provides reader value. Be sure to answer the questions that you say you will.
- Your book is well written and well structured, no misspelling or grammar errors.
- Facts should be well documented (not necessarily in the book itself).
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