EBooks are an excellent business-building tool. They can be used as a giveaway to build your email list, as a product to sell and as a bonus for a larger product or service. They build credibility and help position you as an expert in your field. If you’re new to writing an eBook, it can seem like an overwhelming process. Here’s how to break it down and make writing your first eBook manageable.
Step #1 Choose and Research Your Topic
There are a variety of methods to decide on the topic or subject matter of your first eBook. Here are a few to help you narrow it down:
1. Write what you know.
2. Write about what interests you.
3. Write what is popular.
Once you’ve established a topic or subject matter that you’d like to write about, it’s time to determine if there is a market for it.
Utilize the Internet. You can find information about your market and their needs by visiting online chat rooms, forums, newsgroups, blogs, and survey sites. A forum on gardening might give you a dozen ideas about problems that gardeners need help solving and then you have your e-book topics! You can also participate in the forums and ask people their biggest problem.
Keyword research. Another method for researching your topic is to search online for the keywords associated with your topic. This will not only tell you how much information is already available on your topic, but it can also give you an idea of the demand for information. The free Google Adwords keyword tool is a great place to start. Freekeywords.wordtracker.com is helpful too!
Find a niche. For example, scrapbooking may be too broad of a subject to write on, however organizing your scrapbooking materials or beginner’s guide to scrapbooking may be a more specific niche which makes your book more appealing and more beneficial to readers.
Step #2 Outline.
Outlining your book by chapter and then by key points for each chapter makes it easier to write and it keep you on point. One easy way to outline is to assume each chapter is 10 pages. If you want your book to be 100 pages then you know you need 10 chapters.
Write down the ten to twelve most important topics to address in your book. Each one will be a chapter. Then take each chapter and write down 5-10 questions related to the key topic. For example if your chapter is titled, Buying Your Scrapbooking Materials five key questions might be:
1. How much do scrapbooking materials cost?
2. Where are the best places to buy scrapbooking materials?
3. What are the essentials?
4. Can you save money and materials by joining a scrapbooking group/club?
5. What are the different types/qualities of scrabooking materials?
When you sit down to write you can then give each question a page or two and you’ll quickly have your book.
If you are having a hard time getting an outline started, try this tip: record yourself onto a tape recorder. Talk through what you know about your scrapbooking topic as if you were explaining it to a friend. Play it back and transcribe what you said. Now you’ve got a rough outline all done, it just needs to be put in order and polished up a bit.
Step #3 Write, edit, and polish.
Dedicate a specific amount of time to complete your book. If you want to have your book completed in a month and you know you’ll have about 100 pages then you know you need to write about 30 pages a day. 100 pages is a lot for the first time, though. If you’ve got that much information, go for it. If you don’t, remember most ebooks are closer to 60- 75 pages in length. Still too much? Start with a mini report instead. Mini reports are especially good as give-aways with other products.
Give yourself the same time goal for editing and polishing it. A good rule of thumb is to write it first without worrying about any editing or sentence structure then go back and clean it up. You’ll write faster, and better, and you can always outsource the editing for a fresh pair of eyes.
That’s it. Writing a book is really a process of defining your topic clearly, making sure there’s demand and then planning and following through on your plan. Follow these three steps and you’re sure to have a book in no time. As always, remind yourself of your goal and purpose for your ebook on a regular basis, as you will get distracted and tempted down many a rabbit trail along the way.