Why do people love e-books so much?
- They are handy – you can download an ebook and open it with a click in a blink, and send it to your friends immediately.
- They contain links to wonderful resources, which can be easily followed.
- You can totally read them in the dark. Or on your iPhone
- You can search your favorite word in the entire book
- They make awesome freebies, and we have all heard about subscribers and e-mail marketing
- You can win a lot of money by writing the right e-book
A Digression: It would have been weird to want to discuss e-book writing, if I hadn’t had the relevant experience. I have written two books for the web, one of which is on a boring subject, but it turned out quite readable. It is called “The Ultimate Guide to Phone Lookup” and it is written for those detective souls, who want to know about us, ordinary people, primarily. The other book sounds awesome, I know; it is called “How to Meet Ladies” and it is written in the course of two weeks, on the subject of how can guys get lucky. Nowadays, I think it could have been much better, but that’s the thing with us authors – we are ever evolving. Expect some samples from those two e-books.
What should you write about?
Man, I wrote an e-book about Phone Lookup. There are no limitations to what you write about, but if you want to create something of artistic and practical value you should set your own limitations. The best advice is to write about what you know, namely your passion. Well, if I could speak without any preparation for half an hour on a subject of my choice – that would be Love, ain’t it grand! But, that still is quite a broad subject.
How to narrow down the topic?
I have a technique I have found useful in my writing career. I call it “The Box Exercise.” Basically, you are supposed to draw a box on a sheet of paper. Write inside the box everything your book is going to be about. Write outside the box everything your book is not covering. It’s a great exercise and it should orientate you about your main subject. Here is a sample of what’s in the box for one of the books I am working on.
The Box Exercise
How do I write my Table of Contents?
Well, there is a hack for that as well. There is a website called the Title Generator and it can totally help you with your writing assignment. Looking up the word “love” in its search engine will generate 700 titles which contain the word love, and you might come upon gems such as:
- The Truth About Love
- A Guide To Love At Any Age
- Why Most People Will Never Be Great About Love?
With some intervention from you, those titles can eventually look as:
Basically, my idea is that after a little arrangement and fixing they can perfectly constitute your table of contents. And if you write a post on each title, that could become your book.
The next step: E-Book Research
Well, if you can speak from your personal know-how that is precious. However when you get stuck on a subject there is always:
- Free Books
Generally, you want your ebook to be packed with facts – people dig facts. Also – quotes, links – all kinds of information is trendy, even statistics. You have to learn how to research the right way. Focus on your topic, then list your ideas on it, then search for related online information. It’s very important – the new information should be organized around your own ideas, as all of us strive for unique content. While outlining your book – make sure you know at all times how your reader may benefit from your expert coverage of the chosen topic.
Shape your introduction
You are drawing a mental picture of what is your reader to expect from your e-book. Now your first line is crucial.
A digression: Here is a small collection of my favorite first lines in literature:
Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.
—Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1955)
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
—Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1877)
There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.
—C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
But what is different in writing Non-Fiction? The main responsibility of the introduction is just the same – to hook your readers. It also must state a thesis and the main points you are going to cover.
All travelers share that stupor and admiration induced by the most beautiful city in Tuscany. If you are lucky to spend a peaceful moment with the timeless charm of Siena, be sure to start your adventures from Piazza del Campo. There people come together and enjoy life without rush and with a ravishing cup of coffee.
Only from reading the first paragraph it becomes crystal clear that this book will be about the charms of Siena. Don’t ever leave your reader wondering what the book’s purpose might be.
How to Write the Actual Content?
You can totally use the snowflake method. It is created for fiction writers, but it is still applicable. You put into words the heart of each chapter. Then you make an outline, and afterwards you add flesh to the bones. You break down each topic you picked for the content into smaller topics and write on each of them.
Here are some things you should consider during the actual process of writing the book:
- While you write, keep promising to the reader. In his masterclass on Writing, Dan Brown, the bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code says: “Suspense is all about making promises to your reader, telling him: “I know something you don’t know, but I promise to tell you, if you keep going…” In a non-fiction book – you promise the reader that you are going to resolve his problem.
- Write with samples. Whenever you make a point in your writing, think of a story, or a fact to support it with. This gives life to your book.
- When you are writing a book with advertising purposes, consider using Bayan R.’s Thesaurus Words That Sell. It consists of lists which can adorn your e-book and make it more readable and exciting. Here is a sample:
- Now imagine you are writing an e-book on Interior Design, generally speaking. How wonderful would it sound packed with colors such as these, that you don’t even know exist? What if they match your brand colors in a magical way? That is not even the full list of the colors and you are already inspired, so I highly recommend Bayan R.’s work.
- Write in style and focused on the audience. Imagine who you speak to – talk directly to your audience and even in their own slang. Here is a sample of writing especially for boys in their 18-20s:
Are women sane? To wait for Prince Charming! Do they have reason?
Women are cheesy by nature and, in general, more capable of creating beautiful fables about provocative men, who are also romantic, unbelievable, smooth, lyrical lovers, handsome, sexy, absolute in all aspects. But dare not acquit them! They spend their entire time looking for the Prince Charming – instead of…noticing you. Even though you are…handy!
- Format your e-book in a pretty and easy-to-use fashion: make lists, attach pictures, use bold text, italics, highlight the key words, use cool fonts – you can do anything with the text. Consider formatting your quotes in a special way – say textboxes of different kinds.
- In the text insert content which entices your readers to consider whatever you are selling – whether it is a book, a course, or just a link to your blog newsletter. You want to have your entire content linked together, in case someone is looking for you.
- When you are finished with the text and the final revision, you have to convert your word.docx into a pdf format. That happens from the File menu in Word – you need to click on Save As, and choose PDF in the type options. Voila – you are all set. Don’t forget to add your cover file in the beginning of the document.
The Revision Process
There is one best rule concerning revision: if it’s boring to you – it will be boring to your reader – that is 100% true. Read your ebook carefully, even read it aloud and to another person and rephrase anything that doesn’t sound right and quite sane. In the end of revision, you should be thrilled with your own writing. Congratulations, you are now a proud author of an e-book!
Get Creative – Make a Cover for Your E-Book
Now, don’t laugh too much, but this is the cover of How To Meet Ladies designed by me. You shoudn’t do this alone at home!
Here is another cover I tried to make for a fiction book, and it turned out quite like a perfume box. And when somebody said that to me I felt insulted.
Now, given my personal experience, I believe unless you are really great at design, you should outsorce your cover to a professional you can trust.
Generating ideas is the most crucial part of any writing task. While most ideas come with research, here is a list of idea-creating items:
- You can always hunt for interesting facts on the Internet
- Etymology of words, especially names
- Quotes from literary texts, poetry or songs
- Folklore and fairy tales, fiction in general
- Non-Fiction on your subject
What Kinds of Ebooks Are There?
- Books related to novel information – for example researching a new product or idea.
- Books about a successful person, or a best-selling author – someone who excels and you can learn a lot from his story. Memories and biographies are trendy.
- Interview books with famous people in a certain industry
- Self-Help books are always popular
- Books on Dieting, Health and Fitness
These are among the most profitable and sought after niches for e-books. But I am quite certain you can come up with something new and unique – the book no one but you can write.