Writing E-Books - Basics

- Earning YOU a Residual Reward

How to write an ebook - ebook coverCredit: by Shannon Walker

by Shannon Walker

As an expert in my field, I am quite often asked to repeat the same information several times or clients flatter me with compliments such as “You should write a book about “X” subject.

Recently, one of my clients jokingly said, “Gee, you know a lot about writing Ebooks.  You should write an Ebook about “How to Write an Ebook.”  To which I replied, “I just might take you up on your offer!”

This article is the beginning of my “How to write an Ebook” journey and my Goal for the New Year.  Each of my articles will offer insightful information to assist you with writing your own Ebook. 

There are several reasons you may be considering writing an ebook.  A few reasons why you may wish to write an ebook include:

1)      Writing an ebook provides your clients with relevant information.  For example, a realtor may create a book titled, “The Homebuyers Guide to Selling – Tips For Staging Your House to Sell Fast.”

2)      In addition to offering information, writing an ebook strengthens your authority with your audience.  For instance, there are many realtors who say they can stage your home to sell but how many of them have a book on how to stage your house properly?

3)      Finally, writing an ebook presents an opportunity to generate additional revenue for your business

The purpose of this article is to provide a rough idea about how to write an ebook from start to publication.  This is not an in depth discussion on each area but rather an overview of what is involved in writing an ebook. 

Other topics will be included in subsequent articles.  Let’s get started!

Step 1 – Ebook Topic Research

There will be those of you who already have an idea in mind while others will want to write an ebook but do not have a topic.  In either case, I would highly suggest researching the commerciality of your subject.  By commerciality, I mean whether or not your topic will have a) enough organic searches (traffic) to find your ebook and b) are people who search for that topic willing to buy? You may have the best ebook ever on widgets. It may have taken you months to develop. However, if no one searches for widgets or buys widgets then your ebook investment is lost. 

 A common way to research ebook topics is by investigating keywords.  Keyword research allows you to see how often people search for your subject and what they type into the search engine to find those results.  For example, people looking to buy dog food may search for “where to buy dog food” or “buy dog food online”.  Both of these keyword phrases will have different search results. 

Two Common Ways to Research Keywords Include:

  1. Google Adwords – Google Adwords is free to use.  However, can be a bit confusing to use as a beginner and requires calculations to determine the commerciality of keywords. 
  2. Market Samurai – Market Samurai is a robust keyword tool that will provide you with easy to understand keyword data and suggestions.  There are several keyword programs available; however, none of them have the large library of video tutorials about keyword research and how to use their product.  To check out Market Samurai, visit Market Samurai (my affiliate link). 

TIP: Save yourself time, money and frustration; make sure that your subject (keywords) has enough traffic and commerciality to make it worth your time. 

Once you are satisfied that you found the perfect ebook topic, it’s time to move onto the next step, creating your ebook outline. 

Step 2 - Start Your Ebook with an Outline

By starting your ebook with an outline, you will break down your overall idea into bite sized pieces that are much easier to accomplish.  In addition, utilizing an outline facilitates your material to be presented in a logical manner to your audience and helps you to visualize where you will need to transition from one idea to the next. 

(I am sure that my grade school teacher is gloating somewhere about my “Create an Outline Prior to Writing Soapbox”.) 

By the way, if you’re not sure how to outline your subject, start with a brainstorming exercise. 

Step 3 – Writing Your Ebook Content

Once your outline is finished, find a quiet nook in your house or office and write as much as you can without editing or proofreading (this will come later).  Make sure to tie your ideas together with personal examples and insight.  Also, include citations from other works used. 

For citation styles, there are many online sources.  I tend to use MLA, which is a bit more casual.  Other common citation styles include Chicago and APA.  (To be covered in more detail in a subsequent article.)

Step 4 – Editing Your Ebook Content

Calling on Friends, Colleagues, Husbands and Children! 

Congratulations!  You have finished writing the content for an ebook and it’s time to edit your work.  Depending on the level of understanding required, you will want to find the right people to lend a hand with revising your work.  If your subject is advanced, you may require someone in your field to assist you with reviewing your material.  Otherwise, if it’s a beginner idea, you will want to find someone who can understand your thoughts without prior subject knowledge.

In addition to enlisting others to help you, there are two tips that I would offer.  First, let the material rest.  When you work on material for any length of time, it can be easy to add words that are not actually there.  Also, the idea may be more materialized in your mind than comes out on paper (or your computer monitor as the case may be.)  By walking away for a couple days and returning, you will give your mind a chance to reset.  You will see things you may have missed the first time around.  The second tip is to read your material out loud.  Yes, the children will think that you have gone mad.  Don’t fret!  Their English teacher will ask them to do the same at some point in their schooling. 

Step 5 – Organize Your Ebook

Now that your ebook material is revised, it’s time to create your table of contents, index and other searching features.  For those of you using a word processor similar to Microsoft Word, you will be able to automatically generate a table of contents and index with your headings throughout your ebook. 

In addition to the TOC, ebooks offer something that print text does not – hyperlinks!  You may decide to use hyperlinks to tie various ideas together within your book.  Or, you may wish to redirect your audience to an external source—such as your website for related products and information.  Another strategy for ebook hyperlinking involves using affiliate links to complimentary products.  For example, in this article, I discussed keyword research and the software (Market Samurai) that I use for my research.  The above link is an affiliate link.  While affiliate links alone are unlikely to make you rich, they do offer another stream of residual income. 

Step 6 – Selecting your Ebook Cover

Honestly, I have seen a lot of professional and not-so-professional ebook covers.  This is your 10 seconds to sell your work.  If the art or text on the cover does not appeal to your potential audience, they will move onto the next ebook.  Therefore, I would suggest hiring someone to create your ebook cover (if you are not a designer).  If you are unable to hire someone, there are resources online to help you build a professional looking ebook cover.  Take the time to add color and headlines; it will make a big difference. 

Step 7 – Selecting Your Ebook Title

Over the years, I have discovered that it is much easier to settle on an ebook title once the work is completed and you can see the bigger picture.  For example, you may have developed a common theme or example that takes life throughout your ebook writing that lends itself to becoming the title. 

One tip I can offer here is to make sure to include your keywords from your research in your title / subtitle.  This can help make a big difference in how people will find you via organic searches.

Step 8 – Finding an Ebook Publisher

Once your ebook is ready to sell, you will want to find your audience.  One way to find a buying clientele is through a publisher.  You don’t necessarily need a publisher.  However, to maximize your ability to reach an audience, using a service with an audience helps to improve your chances of selling your work. 

There are a couple options for publishing.  One option is self publishing, which allows you to receive a small royalty on an item when it’s printed and shipped.  Another option is to sell your ebook on a service such as Kindle in electronic form only.  The royalty for selling ebooks via another site can be upwards of 70% of the purchase price.  Finally, you may wish to sell your ebook via your own website or a website specifically for your ebook using an online shopping cart.  This offers the highest royalty.  With this said, the set up cost must be considered as well when balancing which option works best for you.

In conclusion, the process of how to write an ebook is very manageable once you break it down into smaller sections.  Hopefully, I offered time and money saving tips in this article to get you started on your Goal for the New Year.  Good luck on Writing your Ebook!

 ©2012 Original Work by Shannon Walker. All Rights Reserved.