How to Write an eBook

By | September 3, 2012

 

People’s experiences with ebooks differ completely. Some people know all too well what they are, some appreciate the value that they add and others don’t. On the other end of the spectrum, some people have never even heard of an ebook. I was talking with a friend the other day and he stopped me and asked me what an ebook is. Can you believe that some people don’t even know what an ebook is?

Learning that some people don’t even know what an ebook is, I felt it was necessary to cover how to write an ebook. I should point out that I am not a professional author, but I have written an ebook and in the process of writing two other ones. An ebook is a great way to organize and make available valuable information to readers without going through the hassle of a publisher. It is in electronic form (often pdf format) and can be either given away or sold. I like to use my ebook as a free prize to those who sign up for my feed at my main blog. If you want to see what it looks like, go over 20’s Finances and look on the sidebar. Just because you are able to skip the publisher aspect of making it available to readers, it doesn’t mean that it is a breeze. There are many things that go into writing an ebook and I thought I would walk you through it, step by step.

  1. Decide on a Focus for your Ebook – This is one of the easiest ones. Do I want to write something about blogging, investing, budgeting, cooking, etc.
  2. Narrow Your Focus / Develop a Thesis – After you have a general topic, you need to develop a thesis. A thesis is an argument that helps make your writing both valuable and unique. Instead of writing a book about cooking, you might write a book about how to cook on 5 dollars a day. This is just one example, but narrowing your focus and actually making an argument is so important.
  3. Define Your Purpose – Determine what your purpose is for writing this book. Is it to provide an incentive for your blog readers to sign up for your newsletter or feed? Or, are you intending to sell it for money? While I strongly believe in always putting in your best effort, figuring out your purpose early one will help you figure out how much time to devote in certain areas. For example, you may not spend as much time formatting the book if it is free. It all depends on the purpose of the ebook.
  4. Research – While many people can write from their own knowledge or experience, doing research to increase your knowledge will accomplish a few things. It will make you more reputable as an author and also give you more knowledge of what has already been said. The best authors never repeat what has already been said. (Again, make sure it has your own spin or perspective on the topic)
  5. Organize – Some people write best by just starting to write. While this may be valuable to get your ideas down, you need to organize your thoughts. It will help keep your reader’s attention and make it a valuable resource. Start by putting together an outline.
  6. Write – Once you have organized all of your thoughts and you are satisfied that it adds value to the lives of those reading it, start writing. This may be the most difficult part, so don’t get discouraged if it takes time. By taking your time, you can ensure that it covers everything and you aren’t rushing through anything.
  7. Revise – The best writings are written again and again. Make sure to edit and revise your first draft. And then do it again. There is nothing more embarrassing than finding a mistake in the final product after people have already downloaded it.
  8. Format – In this step, you take your writing and format it. Some people keep the material on standard 8.5″x11″ paper, but I like to make it look as much like a book as possible by using landscape orientation and splitting each page into two. Regardless of your preference, spend enough time adding in pictures, quotes, borders, etc. Anything to make it easier to read and more professional in experience. The time you spend here may be tedious, but it is an important step to bring your ebook to the next level.
  9. Create a Cover – Another thing you will want to do is to create a cover for your ebook. This should be something original and the best ones even have a 3D image of the book. This will be useful in marketing. The first time I published my ebook, I made my own. In hindsight, I know that to be a huge mistake. Don’t hesitate to spend a little extra money to pay for someone to create a professional cover for you. It is money well spent.
  10. Finalize – After you have formatted the book and included a cover at the beginning, save the file as a pdf document. You don’t want to release a word document or a file that can be easily edited or manipulated, so a pdf file is important. Saving it as one file makes it easy to deliver to the reader.
  11. Publish – Make your ebook available to readers. Whether this means hiring someone to convert it to a kindle format or simply creating a landing page where your customers (free or paid) can download the file. Depending on whether you sell or give it away will change how you set it up.
  12. Market – Marketing your ebook is equally important. Again, this depends on your purpose for the ebook. Are you giving it away? If so, you may not need to spend as much time or effort marketing as you will if you are selling it. If you are selling it, you may want to consider the actual tools to sell the product (or where to sell it) and creating an affiliate program. The best written books don’t sell. The best marketed books sell.
  13. Relax – Enjoy all the hard work you put into it and relax. The hard part is over and you can see the benefits of your work.

Do you think I missed a step? Have you written an ebook?