So, you know you need to write an ebook. Everyone tells you it’s a great way to collect opt-ins and raise your brand profile. And you know they’re right.
But you’re stuck. It all seems so overwhelming. Perhaps you even have a topic idea (and it’s good, too), but you just have no idea how to start.
We totally get it.
As a team of virtual writers – we’ve been there too – but we’ve all tackled this process enough to know that it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Follow our best practices to tackle your first (or next) ebook like a pro.
Focus your subject matter. One of the easiest ways to get overwhelmed is to try to write a definitive guide for your industry. Here’s the good news — the best ebooks aren’t definitive! They’re focused, easy-to-read, and provide practical, immediately applicable information. Here are some writing prompts to get you started.
- Tips & Tricks of….. (Solving a Problem in Your Industry)
- How to Guide
- Mistakes to Avoid
Map it Out. Take some time to overview before you start writing. Give yourself the space to get all of our ideas down on paper (or on an electronic mind map). Start with your main idea or outcome in the center of the paper or mind-map, then add the ideas you want your reader to learn or achieve around that central idea.
Here’s the secret sauce tip: write down everything – even the things you don’t think are important. Don’t worry about organization at this point, just write it down. This is also your research time. Find links, stories, anecdotes, etc., etc. and capture them all in the map.
Pencil it in. Next, take all of the ideas and begin to organize them (a really handy tool for these last two tips is Mindmeister). At this point, you may realize you’ve tried to pack in too much. Save the information for a future ebook, and pare it down. The best industry ebooks are under 5,000 words – so keep this in mind as you’re finalizing your plan. When you’re done with this step, you should have a clear outline that could double as your Table of Contents.
Get to Work. Now, it’s time to start writing. Some authors (many of us included) find it easiest to write the first paragraph and the last paragraph of the book first. This can help solidify for you the outcome of the project. If you need to, cherry pick chapters from your outline that are the easiest to write. This helps you combat writer’s block and keeps you “in the groove.” Sometimes, getting into the “groove” of writing is hardest part of a project like this. So make sure you’re writing every day – you gotta get those writing muscles conditioned.
Appeal to The Masses. When you’ve completed the writing and editing, now it’s time to get the ebook ready. First – design a great cover with something like Canva, and make sure you choose a copy font that is easy to read on an electronic screen (hint: sans serif fonts are the most pleasant, according to some experts. Second – include a letter of introduction. Third – publicize your creation! Create a landing page where people can download the book, then use social media, social advertising and email marketing to let people know it’s there.
Writing an ebook is a long-term commitment. Give yourself 30 days per ebook to research, outline, write and design. Trust us – it’s time well spent.