How to Write an eBook in 10 Simple Steps
eBooks are becoming more and more prominent in this day and age of content marketing. The competition is becoming tougher every day as digital content consumption keeps increasing.
With increased competition, an increased number of writers are attempting to try their hand at ebook writing. But only a few writers actually succeed. They're the ones who do it the right way and fulfill their purpose.
Purpose of Writing an eBook
Bloggers, marketers, influencers, and entrepreneurs write and publish ebooks to achieve the following goals:
- Drive their sales
- Generate leads
- Increase traffic on their websites
- Incentivize their clients and customers
- Market their businesses to a large online audience
- Establish trust between them and their customers
- Develop a name in their market
- Make money as a side income
- Direct people to their service's landing page
Even fiction writers are starting to explore the arenas of digital sharing to expand their audience base. Most print books that are published today offer their readers the option to download an ebook version of their books too. So what's different about an ebook?
What's an e-book?
An ebook or electronic book is the digital version of a book.
It's a long-form of text that can be read on a computer, tablet, phone, or ebook reader. They have all the components of a print book. A front cover image, an author page, a table of contents, chapter title pages, etc. But all of it just exists in a digital form.
Since it exists digitally and is accessed on a device, the author has the liberty to add hyperlinks to websites, social media pages, and other clickable options that they would not be able to have in a print book.
eBooks Are Not Just Regular Text Files
eBooks are more than just text documents. They have dedicated file formats that protect them from getting edited and copied. These file formats provide extra features that make an ebook inherently different from a plain text document.
- Clickable elements
- Reflowable content
- Option to change font sizes
- Protection from piracy
- Videos and gifs
- Text-to-speech functionality
eBooks are widely written to provide information to the readers on a subject matter. They're non-fiction mostly. The increased number of people now entering the ebook market is due to the ease with which you can publish an ebook as compared to a print book via traditional publishing and all the additional functionality of an ebook over a printed one.
Moreover, if a reader still prefers a printed copy, they can always print the ebook they like.
Whichever reason you may have for writing an ebook, we're going to explore how to do it in the right way, so you can get the most out of your experience and minimize your chances of giving up halfway after wasting tons of your time and effort.
Here is a simple guide with priceless tips on how to write an ebook, whether it's your first ebook or tenth:
How to Write an eBook in 10 Simple Steps
Writing an ebook can either be a short, fun, and interesting endeavour if you know the what's and how's, or it can be a lengthy, boring, and time-consuming operation if you're unsure of every single step. We've divided the complete journey into 10 simple parts that anyone can follow to become the author of an ebook.
Purpose of Writing
Before taking on the demanding task, ask yourself why you're doing it. What is the real motivation behind writing an ebook? We shed some light on why other people are writing ebooks. Yours can either align with one of those, or you can have your own specific reason. Do you want to make money by selling ebooks? Do you want to plug your ebook on your website to compete with other bloggers? Do you want it to complement an online course you're selling? Do you want to start a fiction series?
A successful ebook
Recognizing the true purpose will help you determine if you've written a successful ebook or not. If answered right, you can even measure how successful the ebook was and where to improve next time.
Especially if it's your first ebook, you will have tangible goals to aim for with the second and third ebooks. And if you think you only need one ebook, then chances are that you're already clear on purpose.
Choose a Topic
Just like it's necessary to define the purpose as clearly as possible, you need to define a clear ebook topic to write on.
This ties with the purpose of your ebook. Do some preliminary research on what topics can help you accomplish your purpose. You probably already have an idea or two after getting clear on the purpose, but it never hurts to do some research.
You may find a different but better topic to write on to fulfill your goals. You may realize that your knowledge on the initial topic of choice is scarce. Maybe there are other topics that your competitors are using for the same purpose and doing better.
Leverage What You Already Know
One important piece of advice here: Don't pursue a topic you have no clue about. If you decide to write on topics that are trending and selling more in the market but you don't have the knowledge to be able to write an ebook over it, you're not going to succeed.
In contrast, if you have considerable knowledge, experience, and expertise in something, why not leverage that to write your ebook? Maybe you have written enough blog posts on a topic that you can consider yourself ready to write an ebook in that arena. Maybe your business specializes in something unique that no one else in the market has to offer.
Don't rely solely on either the trends or on your personal knowledge. It's always good to keep the options open, but don't be influenced. You'll realize the topic is not right for you when you start writing the book. And it's okay to retrace your steps, accept where you lack, and change the topic.
After you've settled on your topic, draw the chapter outline of your book. Keep in mind the purpose with which you're writing the book and all the necessary things you have to cover to accomplish that purpose.
Look at the big picture of your ebook and plan a strategy. Make sure the chapters have a connection with each other. When you're coming up with the names of the chapters and thinking about that connection, write down a brief description of the chapters too.
Since you're writing these descriptions with the big picture in mind, they can guide you later when you start diverting from the main purpose or go on long unnecessary tangents.
Extension of a Blog?
There's a popular misconception that ebooks are an extension of blogs.
eBooks are not the same as any of the short-form content like blog posts, newsletters, or articles.
The only thing common in them is that they're all informative, intend to provide knowledge to the readers about a certain subject, solve the problems of their target audience, and ultimately expect them to take action.
How the content for an ebook is written is completely different. A blog post offers partial knowledge to its target audience. But when the same readers pay for an ebook on the topic, they are looking to end all their problems without leaving behind any questions on the subject of focus unanswered.
eBooks are in-depth and offer more than just advice. They provide real information that a simple Google search won't be able to provide. So don't consider your ebook readers the same as your blog post audience. They may be the same people, but their intentions have changed.
If they wanted simple tips and ideas, they could find hundreds of articles on the internet without paying a dime. They're looking for something more - value.
Keep that in mind before you plot the complete structure of your book.
That brings us to our next step:
Continuing from the previous point, your ebook needs to offer its readers a considerable amount of value. Creating an ebook that provides value requires a large amount of research.
If the knowledge that your ebook offers its readers can be found on the first page of Google, then what's the point of reading your ebook?
You need to collect real information and plan a strategy to relay that information in a way that's compelling, engaging, and interesting for the readers. At the same time, it should also hint towards the end purpose with which you intended to write your ebook in the first place.
When you're researching to collect data for the ebook, make sure you're using authentic sources. At the end of the day, your aspiration should be to become an authentic source of information for your readers as well. That can't be possible if the information you have to share is not authentic or credible in itself.
Read research papers and journals on your subject matter. Take notes, copy the quotes you like, make mind maps, record voice notes, take screenshots, and compile them all in one place for easy maneuvering. The data you collect will be useless if you don't remember to use it at the time of writing.
Give Credits Where They're Due
When you're using statistics and data from someone else's study or research, give them their due credit for it. One of the perks of writing an ebook is that you can add hyperlinks to the source material. So if the readers are interested in digging deeper, they know where to go.
Adding links and citing sources will make your content richer and make you sound more authentic. It makes the readers believe that what they're reading is not just conjecture but actually concrete information that they can believe in.
Facts and figures enhance credibility
It is a known fact for content marketers that facts and figures catch more attention and enhance the credibility of the content. Adding figures of real-world data is a great way to support the points you're trying to make.
At the moment of initial research, you may not realize what kind of facts you need to enhance your content. When you actually get into the writing phase, the picture will become clearer.
However, don't limit your writing to include every fact that you've found. That's why we suggest you leave looking for facts when you actually need them.
The Writing Phase
After you've acquired enough research material to be able to confidently say that you can now write an ebook on the subject matter, don't waste a single minute. Start writing as soon as you can.
Don't waste time.
Writing a book is a tough, lengthy process. You need incredible patience to persevere through the writing phase. More than that, you need a lot of passion for the ebook to actually start writing.
First-time writers get lost in the research and turn it into an excuse to procrastinate. They decide to write the book, daydream about all the details of their dream ebook, follow relevant people on social media for months, read articles every day, tell everyone they're going to write an ebook on their topic, overthinking about ideas in the shower, and continue to beat around the bush but never actually sit down to write.
Even when they sit down to write, they end up surfing the web and checking their social media repeatedly until something else comes up, the day ends, and the task is successfully pushed forward.
Don't be that person.
Designate a Workspace
Designate a space where you can sit and write without being disturbed. This space should be free from all sorts of distractions. Do everything that it takes to rid your workspace of things that hinder your productivity.
- This space should have a comfortable seat where you can sit for hours, but not too comfortable that it makes you drowsy.
- It should be quiet and free of noise. Some people like to write in cafes and parks. As long as the ambient noise is not too loud, it's okay.
- It should have a power outlet in range for when your laptop runs out of juice.
- It doesn't have to be a dedicated room. Any corner of your home can work as your workspace if it fulfills the criteria.
Set Your Goals.
Setting goals helps make the task look less intimidating. When you tell your mind that you have to write a whole book, it sounds like a lot of work to the brain, so you tend to procrastinate. When you tell your brain that you have to write five hundred words today in the next 2 hours, that sounds more doable.
Make sure the goals you're setting are realistic. Keeping unrealistic expectations from yourself will set you on the path of failure before you even begin.
You need to figure out how much content you can dish out in a single day and still have room to do some extra research if need be. Divide the expected total length of your ebook with your daily goal, and you get the number of days it'll take if you consistently achieved your daily goal.
Mark the day you're supposed to finish writing the ebook on the calendar. Make sure to give yourself room to take some days off. That way, if you end up missing a day of work, you don't give up saying that you've failed. Again, setting unrealistic expectations puts you on the path of failure before you even begin. Know your realistic limits and be true to yourself.
Now that you have a plan of action ready, all there's left to do is to follow it religiously. It doesn't matter if you only write a hundred words in a day. The key is to be consistent. Do not make any plans when it's time to write. Log out of all social media accounts. Put the phone away if you have to. Do everything it takes to compel yourself to write.
One chapter at a time, finish writing the ebook so you can move on to the easy parts of ebook writing as soon as possible.
Edit and Proofread
After you've finished writing the first draft of your ebook, next comes the polishing part.
Edit After Writing
Do you notice how editing is a step that's separate from the writing? As it should be. Editing the content while writing slows down the writing process exponentially.
Humans are not good multitaskers. If you indulge in editing during the writing phase, your writing suffers. Divorce your editor from the writer while the ebook is being written. The time for the editor to shine is when the writer is done with their job. That's when the editor should enter the picture.
First, go through the ebook as a complete picture. You might not have realized, but your perspective may have changed along the way by the time you finished the ebook. Go through it, looking at the ideas in the big picture and how they're aligned together in your content.
After polishing the big picture, start focusing on every single word and go through the ebook again. Review the draft with a keen eye to fix any errors in the structure, composition, or grammar. Check if what you meant to write and how it sounds like are both the same thing.
Don't look at the ebook from the writer's eyes. Look at it from the reader's eyes. It's a simple idea, but practically a very difficult task. That's why most people suggest getting a professional content editor. What they can offer is way more than just a keen eye.
Once the ebook looks pristine and squeaky clean to you, whether you've edited it yourself or had it done by an editor, the last step is proofreading the content.
If your budget does not allow paying for an editor, it could still work if you edit the ebook yourself. But for proofreading, we never recommend the same person who wrote the piece. Your eyes may not be as effective in detecting the mistakes that you yourself have made. It's always that one word, that one comma, that one line, which robs you of your mental peace.
Running spellcheck tools on your content is helpful, but it's not everything a proofreader does. If you can't pay for a proofreader, try asking your friends, family, and colleagues to take a look at the ebook and give you suggestions. That is a great way to create an ebook free of errors and other possible regrets.
Graphics, Media and eBook Cover Design
After completing all the word processing and finalizing the text content, let's give your ebook some colors.
Graphics enhance reader engagement in ebooks just as they would in a blog post. When we say content, we do not just mean the words of a blog post. It also includes images, gifs, and sometimes even videos depending upon the kind of blog. Illustrations in conventional books are also often necessary to demonstrate hard-to-get concepts to the readers, especially if the potential audience is not well-versed on the topic.
As an ebook author, however, you would look at the task differently. Add graphics where required but make sure you don't overdo it. The images you add are meant to complement the text, not replace the text. Your ebook's main content should be the words.
Adding images is not as easy as insert a picture on Microsoft Word. There are a lot of factors to consider before adding every image.
If it's your first ebook, you may not be familiar with the do's and don't's for adding images. For example, if you plan to publish your ebook through amazon kindle direct publishing, you can only add static gifs to your ebook. So if you want to add animated gifs to your ebook, then you need to find an alternate. Do your research on how the guidelines differ depending upon how you're publishing your ebook.
Compare Publishing Options
This may be a good point to decide how you plan on publishing your ebook if you still haven't decided. For a self-publishing ebook author, there are only a handful of major options to choose from. If
Go to each platform's website and compare their publishing details, guidelines for adding images, and other media. Other than the publisher's website, you can also find detailed information about uploading images and formatting an ebook from people who have published multiple ebooks before and now have a website and lots of blog articles dedicated to helping out other ebook authors. Get their email address from their website and ask for tips. If the information is not available on their blog, they'll probably be happy to help you out. Just make sure you go through the blog first.
Amazon may seem like the best way to self-publish your ebook if it's your first ebook. But we recommend keeping your options open and not just settle on Amazon Kindle because everyone else is doing it. There are lots of things to consider before publishing. Do your research first.
After choosing the publishing platform, create an ebook complete with all the images and media (if any) in the format that your chosen platform will accept.
eBook Cover Design
Once the inner pages of the ebook are all finalized, the last and perhaps the most important image that you have to worry about is the cover design of your ebook.
People say that it's not wise to judge a book by its cover. But just like you would sell your book faster with a cover design rather than just a title on the cover, in the same way, an eye-catching cover design is essential in the process of creating an ebook.
Your cover does not have to be a stunning piece of art. Something that's creative and works well with the topic of your ebook should be enough.
Another crucial component of the cover other than design is the title of your ebook. Don't be lazy with the title. Your title is the only phrase to communicate to the readers what your ebook is about. We'll give you a couple of tips to help you come up with a title that catches the attention of your target audience.
Type down the topic of your ebook on the Amazon Kindle store and look at some of the ebook titles that appear on the top and have high numbers of downloads. Take some ideas from there to come up with your own list of titles. Conduct a poll for the followers in your email list or blog readers to see what your potential readers prefer.
If you don't have an email list, or blog, or even a website, use one of the social media platforms to run a poll. In fact, even if you have a well-developed email list, running a poll or taking the opinions of people on social media is still a good idea. The only difference between your website/blog and a Twitter poll is that traffic coming to your website/blog is going to be more serious about answering the survey.
After selecting the publishing method, it's now time to format the book. Why is selecting a publishing forum necessary to get started with the formatting?
Follow the criteria.
Each publishing platform has different formatting criteria. They usually have put together tips and guidelines on their websites for new time authors to take help from.
Use those guidelines to format your ebook according to the standards to make it publish-ready. Do not ignore or skip any element of formatting. It's easy to overlook those little things, but they matter.
Pick a File Format
eBooks are not regular PDF files, although they can be in the form of a PDF too. But ebooks generally occur in different file formats.
What Are the Different eBook File Formats?
You do not have to get a master's degree in each file format to create a successful ebook.
You only need to know which file format your publishing platform uses and then convert your PDF into that format. If you have the option to choose a different file format, then go with ePub. ePub is the most popular ebook file format in the market right now. Most ebook readers and apps can read the ePub format.
ePub also supports reflowable content, so your content can arrange itself according to the device it's being viewed on. Depending upon the content of your ebook, you can choose to keep a fixed layout. But it's always good to have the option of reflowable content for your ebook.
Once your ebook is all prepared and ready to be released to the world, all you have to do is select a publish date for your ebook on the publishing platform, and voila!
Market Your eBook
The option to set a date for release is so that you can promote your ebook and create some hype before you release it to the world.
Promote your ebook on your website. Leave a link to your ebook sales page in your blog articles. Announce it on your social media. Ask your viewers to sign up for a pre-booking offer in exchange for an email address. That way, you can also grow your email list market, and you know the people who have signed up are interested in your content.
Dedicated Landing Page
Make a dedicated landing page to increase the number of ways readers can access your ebook. Get your landing page designed by a professional, or, if not, spend enough time on it to make it look as appealing as you possibly can.
Choose the Right Words.
Make sure you don't sound too salesy on your landing page. It provides direct sales. Imagine if a potential reader clicked away because your landing page makes you sound desperate.
You want to look confident that what you have to offer does not need to push people to buy it. You just choose the right words to tease your ebook on the sales page. Let the value of your ebook do the magic.
If you have to push people towards your CTA, then maybe your ebook is not as complete as you think. Don't be afraid to go back and improve until your ebook is offering enough value to sell itself.
On a Final Note
Feel free to contact us for more assistance on your journey of becoming an ebook author. We provide free consultation and support for prospective authors.
We hope you found this blog post on how to write an ebook helpful, and we wish you the best of luck with your ebook.