How to write awesome content for an eBook
And the best place to begin when it comes to creating a book is to write it.
Writing your own book will always be your preferred approach. Keep in mind that most writers (probably all) have someone who is more of an expert on the matter to proof-read it for you.
Some other people just outsource the whole writing part to a “ghost writer”.
If you are the writer, how are going to make your own writing style engaging to read and something that people will want to sit through?
Here are some ideas that can help you to write more engaging, interesting and entertaining content!
Before you start typing on your keyboard, there are things you need to consider: It’s a lot of work. Even though it’s not particularly complicated, writing and publishing an ebook does take a lot of work.
Writing is the easy part
Marketing is the hard part. You must have a solid, trustworthy platform from which to launch your ebook. Prepare to spend a lot of time marketing your ebook after you’re done writing it.
One last question: Are you sure you want to do this?
Yes, Ok, let’s go.
3 tips to start with
For a non-fiction ebook, choose to do one or more of the three following tips:
Solve a Problem.
Be helpful. “How to” topics are excellent choices for ebooks. Find a hole and fill it. The hole you find doesn’t have to be huge; it just has to be common to a decent-sized group of people.
Address a Fear.
Most of us have fears, and we do our best to avoid them. Our fears range from “What are people going to think of me?” to “What if my spouse gets cancer?” to “What if we run out of money?” to “What if I die?” to “What if my children turn out to be tyrants?” and on and on. If you can come up with a topic that addresses a common fear and offers a way to relieve that fear, you just might have a winner off a topic.
Satisfy a Curiosity.
People wonder about stuff. This is why celebrity gossip is so popular and why reality shows are captivating for many. What’s it like to live in a family of 19? How does so-and-so run his business successfully? Who’s going to be wearing what at the Oscars? You get the picture. The bottom line is, we are intrigued by information that’s not readily available. If you have an inside peek into something the masses might like to know (and are free to share that information), it might be a good ebook topic.
How long should be my eBook?
Some people say that an ebook should be at least 25 pages long. Although you must think of an eBook in terms of quality and not quantity, 25 pages long seem reasonable to me. But if your topic can be sufficiently described in less than 25 pages you may not be able to sell it. Less-than 25-pages ebooks should be free of charge for your regular customers.
Choose a topic that fits with your established online identity.
If people know you as the woman who is an expert knitter, your ebook will be easier to sell if it has something to do with knitting. If however, everyone knows you as the expert knitter, but you write an ebook about investing in the stock market, it’s going to be a harder sell.
Use the right brainstorming and outlining tools
It is a good idea to use a mind map to put down your ideas on paper. Use Smart Passive Income’s Pat Flynn’s sticky note method to brainstorm. He wrote a whole book using sticky notes. Of course, if you’re more of a linear thinker, use an e tool like WorkFlowy. The system uses bullet points to create an outline. WorkFlowy is a website that makes lists. Once you sign up, you’re presented with a page that looks like a word-processing document. Just start typing your first list item, and there you go.
An alternative is using OneSpot to capture all your ideas & research
When you’re in the process of creating your ebook, chances are you’ll spend a fair amount of your time thinking about it. Over time, your ideas won’t come when you’re actually typing on your keyboard, but in the car, in the shower, at 2 am or while standing in line at the post office. I happen to have my best ideas just before sleeping at 1 am, so now I’m organized and I always keep my smartphone handy to write down those spurs of creativity… Of course, everyone is different… Designate OneSpot to be your capture spot and stick with it. OneSpot personalizes your branded content across websites, email, paid digital media and more. Many people use Evernote. There are other etools to make notes on the go like OneNote, Omnifocus, Trello, ActionMethod, or Basecamp. At the end, the best tool is the one that fits you.
When you use all those etools, after you sit down to write, you’ll know exactly where to find all your brilliant ideas. If you don’t use those etools, you may want to have miscellaneous and extraneous pieces of paper here and there and everywhere, or you’ll just plain forget all the great stuff that was about to make you millions. Poof. Gone. That would be sad.
Block out scheduled writing time
I don’t support squeezing “writing an ebook” into the cracks and crevices of your stressed life. Unless you’re a master at project planning and follow through, you will need to dedicate a dedicated chunk of time every day (or several times a week) to create your ebook project.
Keep track of your timeEven if you are the only one writing your book, you may want to track the time you invest each day. Why? Because you may want to know which of your income streams are generating the most money based on an hourly rate. With a work tracking tool, you can track anything by breaking down goals and ideas into actionable tasks, assigning work to teammates, and communicating to move projects forward. By making plans, responsibilities, and deadlines clear, work tracking empowers teams to deliver great results. Asana is a great etool for that. But you also have Mavenlink, TSheets, Accelo, ClockShark, WorkMax, etc…
When it’s time to write, do nothing else. Turn everything on your computer and smartphone off knowing you’ll be able to get to those things back as soon as your writing window is over. If noise bothers you, make sure your writing window happens when there’s little of it. If you have kids, wait until they are at school or when they sleep. Otherwise, put in earplugs or earbuds. If you need to clean up around your writing spot, do that first. You will be amazed at how significantly more productive you will be am when your writing surface is clear of clutter.
On the other hand, some authors like to get away to write. It is very well known that some of the best writers love to sit at a coffee table because they feel more inspired being around others… TS Elliott, Franz Kafka, Gertrude Stein, F Scott Fitzgerald and many other modern writers are used to working in coffee shops and cafes. The most famous is J.K. Rowling, who wrote much of her early Harry Potter novels in the Elephant House in Edinburgh.
Save, save, save… and in multiple places.
Before you start, create a folder on your computer in which to save all ebook-related material. You will most probably not write an ebook from scratch. If you browse the internet for ideas, graphics, concepts, keep all of this in one folder per eBook only. Under that folder, you can have subfolders like images, PDF from the internet, word files, etc…
Please, please, unless you are using software that automatically saves things for you, you will need to save your work every 2 minutes. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending 5mn crafting the best sentence ever produced by a human and losing it because your computer crashed or your cat jumped on the keyboard.
I also recommend you to create a backup folder to save your work, if possible, not on your desktop but on the cloud. Some of the best cloud storage solution are OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box, but they are dozens of them, at all prices from free, to $20 a month or more. Another idea is to copy and paste your text into an email and forward it to yourself. Archive your emails into folders, and you’ll always have an extra backup copy away from your computer.
Pretend you’re your target of your eBook
The ability to see things from your reader’s perspective is key. Sometimes we know a topic so well we forget that others may be seeing it for the first time. Things that are obvious to us are completely alien to our readers. That’s exactly the reason why you write your ebook, because your readers don’t know what you know. So, do some research about who your target reader is. Define them. Picture them in your brain. Anticipate their objections. Pretend you are your readers and think about what would most connect with you. If you are unsure how to do it, use an avatar. You can find how to do an avatar at AdGency.La
Don’t edit as you go
Just write it all out at once and accept that your first draft won’t be the best. In my life as a copywriter and graphic designer, I create works and let things stand alone for a couple of days. When I come back, I sometimes have the surprise to find a very good job (that really happens) or a really sloppy job. So, write your thing and come back later. Editing as you go is enough to drive anyone crazy and coming back to what you’ve written with a fresh perspective will provide you with much more openness to tweak your ideas and writing to make it better.
Don’t format as you go
By formatting I mean bolding, italicizing, adding bullets, creating headings, etc. That is the very last thing you need to go. Until the ebook is completely finished, you need to see it as a live product. Chapter 5 may become chapter one; chapter 2 may go to the trap and chapter 6 may be cannibalized by chapter 3. Formatting is basically all the stuff you would do to make your ebook look appealing and be readable.
Just write on a very basic text editor. Professionals recommend skipping a line between each phrase. In any case, clearly mark your paragraphs by skipping one or several lines, but other than that, save the formatting until the end. (use TextEdit on a Mac. You might have NotePad or something similar on your computer.)
Establish a writing habit
Unless you’re a master at project planning and follow through, I suggest dedicating a chunk of time to writing. That could be every day or several times a week. You must spend at least 30 minutes at a time. When I write, I spend at least 2 hours straight writing before I go and do something else. When you write an ebook, there were days and sometimes weeks when you may touch it. Life happens, you know? People sometimes feel discouraging by the sheer volume of work, and it’s a bit defeating. If you have a deadline, don’t feel stressed, especially toward the end of the project when you have to make up for lost time.
Use online tools for the basics
There are countless writing tools, but some of the ones I use are the character count tool, the word count tool. Word keeps track of this and displays your word count in the bottom left of your content box as you type. Don’t forget to use the spell checker. Check the words definitions quickly by simply looking for Google or any online thesaurus. A lot of people like Scrivener for Mac or Scrivener for Windows. Free options are Google Drive or Libre Office. My best-kept secret is Grammarly. I have been using it for the past four years now and would not go back to Word. Grammarly is a paying tool, but if you decide that you like writing, it will help you more than anything else.