No doubt, selling ebooks can be a great way to complement your income, build a network, and gain visibility. Not just that, it can also make you feel satisfied about creating a quality product that can help other people as well. However, if you’ve never created an ebook before, specifically a “How-to” ebook, what’s the best strategy to use?
Even though there are several authors who use digital tools to publish fiction, other freelance writers are slowly becoming successful in the non-fiction and how-to genres, mainly because informational products usually cost more. So, if you’re interested in sharing your knowledge and expertise, while earning at the same time, then the how-to genre will definitely be ideal for you.
Without further ado, here’s the 5-minute guide to writing your own ebook.
How to Write an eBook
There are a lot of things to consider in order to produce a successful how-to ebook. Likewise, this can differ slightly from the criteria for a printed book.
Here are some of the basics:
Building a Structure for an eBook
Rule #1: What Do You Want to Say?
First things first. The best place to start is by thinking about what your book is going to be. For instance, what’s the message you want to convey by the time your readers reached the last page? That will be the central message you should focus on your ebook.
However, if you believe that your area of expertise is somewhat broad, then it’s advisable to pick a certain angle of the subject and just concentrate on that. This technique will help you trim down the information you’re going to discuss. If this doesn’t work, then try to determine what you’re really passionate about. Let your feelings be your guide.
Rule #2: How Should You Say It?
Keep in mind, aside from the content, the writing style is also important. Try to think about how you should talk, and how your ideas should be delivered to your audience.
- Style 1: Bullet-Point Style
If you’re the type who enjoys the bullet-type format, then you should stick with that, and go for a manual format instead. A step-by-step guide is a great example for this. Additionally, if you’re trying to meet a deadline, you can always collect some of the best how-to blogs and just compile them into an instructional book.
- Style 2: Storyteller
If you see yourself as a storyteller, then just combine your proposals with popular quotes and anecdotes that will explain your point. This could be the inspirational personalities you know or relevant case studies you’ve worked on. If you’re not satisfied with those, you can always try an academic approach instead.
Rule #3: The Chapter Structure
The chapter structure will divide your main ideas into several parts. For this, try to determine if it’s possible to break down the ideas into chunks. Also, don’t worry about the number of chunks you’ll come up with– there’s no rule for this and what works for one may not work for the other. For instance, you might have six or you may even end up with 30 or more. This doesn’t really matter at all, as long as you can cover all the subjects comprehensively, you’ll be fine.
Tip #1: Breaking It Down
Oftentimes, you’ll realize that the several areas in a How-to ebook are quite obvious from the subject and title of the book. For example, if your book is about budgeting, you can include sections, such as:
* Saving money on clothes
* Saving money on groceries
* Saving money on telephones and mobile phones
Alternatively, it’s also possible to break the subject down and just create a separate ebook on each topic.
Friendly Reminder: A book on internet marketing might have several chapters that focus on different areas. What we’re trying to say is that, it doesn’t matter what your ebook is about, as long as the sections fall naturally into place.
Tip #2: Jotting Down Your Ideas
List all the ideas for topics that you’re going to cover in your book. Take a look at them and see if you should follow a particular order. If we take this guide as an example, you’ll notice that after the short introduction, we tackled the main idea first; then the subheadings.
Tip #3: A Well-ordered Plan of Action is a Must
If you want to break your idea into several sections that are manageable to write and manageable to read, then a well-ordered plan of action is important. This will ensure that your readers will be able to follow the idea you’re trying to present from beginning to end.
Rule #4: The Length
Are you busy? Or you just don’t want to write forever (figuratively). What is great about ebooks is the fact that it doesn’t have to be lengthy. If you’re not aware, a lot of internet marketers use ebooks as complimentary items to their customers and most of which are just 15-20 pages long.
Now that we’ve discussed the basics in regard to the structure, let’s move on to other important aspects:
Coming up with a Title
Keep in mind, the ebook market is no-joke. Over the years, it has become competitive. Thus, it’s important to come up with a title that will stand out and will attract your readers. For one, if you’ll stick with uncreative titles, such as “Seven ways to Conserve Electricity” is unlikely to sell, because there isn’t any “wow” factor in it.
So, it’s important to be creative. For example, instead of using a generic title, use something that will instantly attract your readers. Here are some examples of that:
1) Generic Title: Making Money Matter
Interesting Title: Don’t Be a Mule: Save More and Spend Less!
2) Generic Title: A Beginner’s Guide to Writing an eBook
Interesting Title: The 5-Minute Guide to Writing Your Own Ebook
Truth be told, there’s no way to measure how much profit you’re going to get from a creative title, but one thing’s for sure: if it’s eye-catching, then you’re going to lure a good number of readers.
Creating Unique Content
Just like what has been mentioned earlier, there’s a high level of competition in the ebook market. So, aside from having a creative title, it’s also important to create a unique content– this will be your key to overall success.
Likewise, your knowledge, together with your passion for your chosen topic will help you provide the key insights that other ebooks fail to cover. Focus on these points and highlight them in your ebook.
For How-to eBooks:
If you’re going to write an instructional book, do your assignments first and research the competition. Despite the fact that there’s a lot of instructional ebooks online, most of these are outdated, unprofessional, impersonal, and in most cases, inaccurate!
Knowing that, you should try to come up with an easy-to-understand guide and if possible, make it fun to read by providing examples and narratives. Setting yourself apart from the rest of the pack is a great way to ensure success.
Last, but not least, don’t forget the important chapters of your book. Be sure to include the table of contents, copyright information, and an “about the author” section.
Basically, if you’re going to create an ebook, then you should save your work in a PDF format. Here are the dos and don’ts:
– Use Open Office and save it as a PDF file. Also, unlike MS Word, Open Office is free of charge.
– Format your ebook to an 8×11” page. This will make it more convenient for printing– just in case some of your readers decided to print your ebook for personal use.
– Don’t format your work in MS Word and convert it to PDF. This could be troublesome, because there’s a huge risk that the links will disappear.
Editing Your Book
Yes, you probably have the best ebook in the world, because it contains ideas and tips that have never been published before. However, what if it’s filled with typos and grammatical errors? Sorry to say, your ebook will be a huge failure.
Most writers utilize a professional editing service in order to ensure that the book they’re going to publish is grammatically correct. Even the smallest errors can give a negative impression to the author. The readers might think that the person behind this ebook is unskilled.
Cover Design Is Also Important
Once your ebook is complete and ready to publish, don’t forget to come up with an attractive design as well. A lot of readers often judge a book by its cover. Considering that, if your ebook has a less-than-professional cover, then this will give an impression that maybe, even the content isn’t as appealing either.
There are a lot of websites that allow users to personally create an ebook cover. Most of these are for free, but if you want to ensure quality, then it’s advisable to opt for a professional designer instead. That’s if, you’re not capable of producing a design yourself.
There you have it. These are just some of the important things that you should pay attention to when writing an ebook. However, what if you’ve suddenly lost your drive in the middle of your work? Here’s what you should do:
Practical, Yet Effective Ways on How to Avoid Writer’s Block:
Tip #1: Have a Writing Schedule
Allot some time to write and try your best to shrug off that writer’s block. Even when it feels like nothing is coming out of your head, just continue scribbling– write about anything, even if it’s not related to your topic. Basically, if your body shows up to the page at the same time and place everyday, your mind will get used to that schedule and it’ll automatically start working right away.
One great example of this is Graham Greece. This man wrote 500 words (mind you, only 500 words), every morning. After some time, he managed to produce more than 30 books.
Tip #2: Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
It’s never advisable to force yourself to write eloquently even when you’re already tired. This will just pressure you, instead of motivating you. Besides, there’s a time and place for errors– that’s called editing.
Tip #3: Stick to Deadlines
A lot of writers have a hard time following this. However, this can easily be resolved. You can look for a writing partner who will be willing to remind you when your deadline is and encourage you to keep on writing, as long as you’ll do the same for him.
Tip #4: Relax and Take a Rest
Oftentimes, we experience a writer’s block when we’re tired. This is an indication that your mind needs to rest. So, every time you experience this, try to give yourself a break– enough time to gather new ideas and inspiration.
Tip # 5: Work on Multiple Projects
Some writers find it easier to switch back and forth from one project to another. Oftentimes, a writer’s block is caused by boredom. So, switching from one project to another is a great way to prevent that.
Tip #6: Why Are You Writing?
Try to answer this question, what are you writing about and why? If you’re writing about something you love, then it’ll feel like you’re just playing and having a wonderful time. Likewise, this can also help you create a connection with your readers. So, the key is, always choose a topic that you’re going to enjoy working on.
Mistakes To Avoid
Lastly, in order to ensure that you wouldn’t fall at the first hurdle, avoid these writing mistakes:
Mistake #1: Working on an Unfamiliar Topic
Clearly, how will you even write if you don’t have any clue on what you’re working on. If you know little or nothing about the topic, then you’re going to do a ton of research, rely on experts, and even pay a real guru to get things done.
Mistake #2: Starting at the Beginning
Believe it or not, your introduction shouldn’t be the first thing that you should focus on. The reason behind? It’s hard to determine what to include if you haven’t drafted the majority of your book yet. Also, starting with the introduction, you’ll often end up writing far more than what you need to.
Mistake #3: Convincing Yourself That You Don’t Need an Editor
Let’s be honest, working on your own is really tough, and if you’re a first-time ebook author, then there’s a huge possibility that you’re still inexperienced.
We’re not saying that you should pay a professional editor, but it’s always advisable to hire one.
Mistake #4: Being a Perfectionist
Yes, quality matters, but it doesn’t mean that you should waste your day debating whether or not a particular phrase needs a comma or semi-colon. Are you even aware that even books from major publishing houses commit mistakes every now and then? Perhaps, you haven’t noticed that, so why bother and scrutinize everything? Don’t be too hard on yourself.
It doesn’t matter if you’re going to write an ebook for a living or you’re just creating one to promote a product or service to your valued readers, there are a lot of things that you should pay attention to. This would ensure that your final product is professional and saleable.
Lastly, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy whatever you’re writing about.