Is there a subject that you know something about? Perhaps you have experience in childcare, or know a lot about interior design or app programming. There is a writer in all of us, as the saying goes. Is there one in you?
Writing for a living is becoming so popular these days, with the emergence of a huge number of blogging sites, and the boom of ebooks, it seems like everyone is writing writing writing. Even for my website, I write every day, sometimes 1,000s of words. I even have an e-book too, see the form to your right. (shameless plug!)
Did you know you can make a really good income from writing ebooks and getting them published on a variety of ebook stores?
And there are courses to help you learn (more about this later in the ‘want to take it one step further’ section)
What is an ebook?
You most probably have heard about ebooks?
There are like mini novels. Generally they tend to be non-fictional focussing on a specific niche, but not always.
The length of the book is not really defined. It could be anything from 5,000 words to a full size novel. I would most I have seen are around 30 pages that focus in on a niche.. The feeling is the longer it is, the higher quality it is. High quality could be represented by around 80 pages.
Remember you want people to pay for your book, so it has to be long enough and high quality enough to be worth it.
How to write an ebook in 10 steps
Where on earth do you start writing an Ebook? Well follow these steps and it should give you some great food for thought.
Step 1: Choose your topic wisely:
Be very careful to pick your subject matter. First and foremost it must be about something in which you have some knowledge already. It doesn’t matter if you need to do loads of further research, that’s fine, in fact I don’t think anyone could just start writing and finish an ebook without research.
But think about your subject. Make sure it’s not too broad, but make sure there is enough depth for a 30 pager.
Step 2: Think about your target audience
This is key to get right from the start.
It will determine not only your approach but your tone of voice. It’s worth creating a persona that you can start building on. Create this person, give her an age, a name, a job, hobbies, where does she hang out, what does she like to do. It might seem like a futile exercise at this stage but it will really help you get a clear picture!
Step 3: Do your research
It’s worth checking that your topic has demand. If you find a popular area, you might think this means that you can’t write in this area, and that you need to find something that no-one else is doing, but not so. If people are writing books in this niche, then there is demand for it. Importantly, make sure you aren’t creating something that others can get for free.
A really good way to do research is to use Amazon Kindle Store and see what books are selling and what ones aren’t within your category.
Step 4: Define your structure
Make sure you have an outline.
Have a think about what are the key subject areas that you will need to cover within your topic. To start off the best thing to do, is just write everything down and you can create a structure when you know everything you want to include. Use it like a brain dump exercise.
Use Amazon again. Find any relevant ebooks in your niche. Often you can get a look inside and see the contents pages. You can use this to give you some guidance to your structure, although don’t copy them! As if you would
If you can’t access contents of the ebook, look at the full books on this topic. If you know this topic, then you might spot something that is missing. This could be where you can make a difference?
Step 5: Set a timing plan
Before you start any writing, get a plan together based on your schedule. Think about when you might have time to work, and schedule when you will complete each chapter. You could get this done in a month if you really set you mind to it. But be realistic as you don’t want to lose momentum just by not meeting unachievable deadlines. Nothing is more discouraging.
Step 6: Just start writing
You have to start at some point, so just go for it. Follow your timing plan.
It’s a good idea to work in bursts, and just simply time yourself for 30 minutes and then have a rest. This will keep your mind fresh and your ideas flowing. Stick to this as it can be tough to break when you are on a roll. You can even use a timer.
Depending on when you are most productive, it might be a good idea to write content at a certain time of day, and use any other additional time for reserach. You know what words for you best!
Try not to worry too much about editing as you go, you can do this at the end. You don’t want to break the flow with correction spelling and grammar. At the end of each chapter, this would be a good time to go back over and check grammar, spelling and flow.
Step 7: Your title
As if you would, but don’t forget this. Regardless of the content, this is the thing that will determine who clicks on your book to find out more. It could be a deal maker or a deal breaker.
I think leaving the finessing of the title to the end is the way to go, some may agree, some may not. It’s personal choice I think!
Step 8: Layout and formatting
You will probably have used Word or a similar program to write your content, but of course it can’t be published in this format. Online or not. You will need to create a pdf file.
The best recommendation is 8 1/2 by 11 inches which is standard in the US. And don’t forget it doesn’t have to be standard portrait, you could consider landscape, but bear in mind that readers will need a break in the writing so they don’t have to read so far from edge to edge. Consider maybe 2 or 3 columns. A few more tips:
- Don’t stuff your page with content.
- Think about the space around it.
- Make sure your margins are wide enough and that you are using too many words per page.
- Break up lines so that you don’t have such huge blocks of text.
- Think about breaking up your layout using maybe quotes or images.
You will need to double check your formatting when transferring from Word to pdf. Things are never THAT straightforward!
Step 9: Pictures or not?
There is no rule of thumb on this one, it’s entirely up to you. But if you do decide to use images, you have to be sure that they are professional looking and that you have the rights to use them. So it’s best therefore to go for royalty free images, and there are loads of good stock photography libraries out there.
Try pixabay, unsplash, death to the stock photo to name but a few. These free image libraries have some really good images to choose from and one of the cheaper image libraries such as dreamstime which have a great selection too.
So, you are trying to position yourself between a novel and a newsletter. So not too flashy with too many images, and not dull with just page after page of text. Don’t overdo it with colours, as it’s still a long read, so it needs to be catchy but not enough to give you a headache.
Step 10: Don’t forget the front cover
You will need a professionally designed ebook cover.
You can get these done pretty cheaply at freelance website places and i would recommend Fiverr.com, where you can get something really professional for a really low price, for you guessed it, a fiver.
Or if you have a little more money you could try 99designs.com who are super professional.
Have a look at my article about how to find a freelancer
So now we get to… selling your ebook
There are ways that you can sell your e-book yourself, if you have a blog or a website, but to be honest, that seems like the hard way, especially if you are looking at selling e-books in a business at itself, and if you are just starting out.
My advice would be to just look to third parties at this stage and THEN if you want to build a website later on to support your topic, then good idea. You can take this to a whole new level.
You should take advantage of all the excellent platforms out there in order to get published.
There are so many but of course the most famous and the best one to get listed on is Amazon Kindle Store or KDP (kindle Desktop Publishing). Once you get it right on Amazon kindle store, the others . This is an excellent article which gives you 20 websites where you can sell your ebook.
Want to take it one step further?
Although I have given you an outline of how to write an ebook above, if you are really serious about this, and really want to make some decent money, I would suggest getting some guidance from experts and some formalised training. If you get this information before you start, you could have a really strong passive income on your hands.
There is a course on Udemy which can help you with this. This one has great reviews and I have been through the content list and it sounds pretty awesome.
The course will take you through a lot more detailed information about how to write your ebook, and how to position it in the right way to make the absolute most of it, and to make it into a serious success, rather than just a hobby.
Then it goes through exactly how to get it published with Amazon Kindle. Once you have nailed this, the others are easy. Take a look at the course content. This could be the difference between make or break. If you are going to spend the time writing an ebook, why not make it a fantastic one from the start, one that could change your working life perhaps? And this course will give you the help you need.
Then you could write more.. and sit back and watch the money pour in!
Other Udemy courses, which are also excellent are these ones too, have a look and see what suits you
You can read blog after blog about writing an ebook but in my opinion you need structured learning, and if you are serious, I would really recommend this.
So will you go for it?
Well I hope that’s given you some food for thought.
I would love to know if this has peaked your interest. Was it something you were always considering? Or something you are maybe just starting to consider?
Apologies for the really long article, I seem to have gone into a lot more depth than I originally intended, but that’s what writing is about, you get on a roll! Anyway enough! Please share this article if you know someone who might be interested.
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