Beginning to write an e-book. Any advice?

23 replies
I want to write an e-book.The problem is that i dont know how to start. Can anybody experienced give me a peace of advice?
#advice #beginning #ebook #write
  • Profile picture of the author Zodiax
    You have to believe that what you have to write is useful and of value to the world. When you have that belief in yourself than you will know exactly how to start.

    -GOOD LUCK!
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    Focus on topics you know. Begin there.

    Use social media to research which sub-topics are hot.

    Next, go to Kindle and figure out which niches have a lot of demand. Study the top 10 books of any subniche and you'll see patterns.

    If writing for Kindle, make sure you aim for 100+ pages.
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  • Profile picture of the author carot
    For your first ebook choose a topic you know something about and have a genuine interest in. Think of what you know that might not be common knowledge for others. Learn more about your subject and try to think of topics you hadn’t immediately thought about (you can do that by going to the Kindle store and just take a ‘look inside’ books on your subject). Preparation is key.

    Then create an outline of your book. Then write it. Then put it away for a few days. Reread it and see where there might be flaws. Edit it. Show it to people and ask for their advice. Those people shouldn’t be your mum or your best friend that won’t dare to give any negative advice.

    Enjoy the entire process. And learn from it. Then start your second book and make it so much better than the first one
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      To what's already been said, I would add this:

      If your purpose is to make money through sales of your book, you'd better focus on answering a specific need or desire of a profitable target market.

      In other words, before you write the book, have a purpose and a rabid audience in mind. Otherwise, you're just writing as a hobby . . . something that you want to do but without any income goals attached.

      Good luck to you,

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    What kind of ebook and why do you want to write it? You should go to the War Room and pick up a good free course on the subject.
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Originally Posted by markb29 View Post

    I want to write an e-book.The problem is that i dont know how to start. Can anybody experienced give me a peace of advice?
    Be sure to hire a proofreader.

    .
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  • Profile picture of the author TheJamesGun
    In my experience, e-books are a tough sell unless you have any one of the following:

    1) existing following in the niche you are talking about. If you are an "authority" on what you are talking about and recognized as such, you should be able to get leads right off the bat this way.

    2) money to market. If you aren't already an authority in what you're talking about, why should anyone believe you?

    3) Quality content. One of the big challenges to becoming an authority is the chicken-and-egg problem. How can you find people to follow you if you don't have content. And how can you get content out there if you don't have followers?

    Think about solving a few of those issues.
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  • Profile picture of the author Wage Mills
    use google.. youtube..

    and http://papyruseditor.com/
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  • Profile picture of the author Barry Unruh
    Here is a quick and easy way to do some research.

    Go to a forum that covers the topic you want to write about. Go down the list of thread titles and start writing down questions that are being asked repeatedly. Pay special attention to questions that receive a lot of views and get a lot of replies.

    Those are hot topics in your niche.

    Research how to solve the problems the people asking questions are facing.

    Organize the questions into categories, then sort them into a logical sequence. That is your book outline.

    Now write.

    P.S. Go back to Frank Donovan's post and follow his advice...CRITICAL.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    I concur with what both Frank and Barry recommended...hiring a proofreader/editor.
    I am not saying it because I can do it for you.
    I am suggesting it because no book writer worth their salt would believe their material is 100% free of errors. An objective second pair of eyes is ALWAYS useful.

    Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author markb29
    Thank you all for your great advice and support. I am glad to be a part of this wonderful community.
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  • Profile picture of the author ShannonWhite
    I would suggest going to Amazon Kindle and purchasing a few ebooks for an ideal layout. Breakdown you book idea into about 10 categories and use these as chapters. Expand on each of these sections and outsource any areas that you might have trouble with.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Snoopy always started with "It was a dark and stormy night..."

      Of course, Snoopy never got much beyond that.

      Go through the exercises above to pick out a topic.

      Now go through and do a brain dump. If it's a subject you know (and for your first book, it should be), just start writing down everything you know, questions you still have, questions other people might ask you, everything. Don't worry if it's a mess. It will be.

      Now go through and start picking things out and organizing them. Much, much easier than staring at a blank screen, waiting for your Muse to tickle you.

      If all else fails, just start typing. Even if it's "It was a dark and stormy night..."
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  • Profile picture of the author Iale
    Use conversational English. Learn to use punchy sentences.

    It's ok if they are short. Or if you violate simple grammar rules (like starting a sentence with "or / and").

    Of all the advice I could give to someone just starting out, the most important would be...

    "Just get started."

    Imagine someone who's about to take a morning jog.

    For sure, the first few minutes would feel "heavy".

    Heck, you might not even want to start at all... 'coz it's cold outside and the bed is pulling you back to sleep.

    But what do you do?

    You stand up and just take the few steps. Drag yourself if you have to.

    Just get started.

    And from there, jog the hell out.

    Of course, we're talking about writing here

    So, to put the context back to the subject... the advice would be to, again, "just write".

    Even if you don't know how to start.

    Even if you don't know where to pull your words.

    Even if you feel you're just spitting garbage on your monitor at first.

    Eventually, you'll get warmed up... and you'll find your rhythm.

    From there, continue writing.

    Never mind grammar. Forget about spelling.

    There's a time for editing. And you can hire someone to do the proofreading.

    Just get started.

    Finish your first book.

    Then another, then another, then another.

    And you'll feel you're getting better.

    Good luck

    ~ iale

    P.S. Finding a book or writer to model is always a shortcut, especially when just starting out.

    P.P.S. Here's one writing app that I think would make your life a lot easier (free, not affiliated): Hemingway
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Originally Posted by markb29 View Post

    I want to write an e-book.The problem is that i dont know how to start. Can anybody experienced give me a peace of advice?
    Find at least two topics you would like to write about and be an expert in (or at least a facilitator like the authors of Good To Great.

    Why? Because one of them might prove to be a total dud.

    Never create content unless you know there's a market for it, if your goal is to make money with it. You can do the dream projects later, when you have the cash flow to sustain them.

    Right now you need to write something people will pay to read.

    Based on what I've seen, people do not understand their real reason for doing things. They just do them. "Oh, it's popular to write a book; I'd better crank one out!" No. That is not a good reason.

    Yes, there ARE reasons to write a book and have it out there with your name on it--even if nobody ever buys or reads it.

    BUT

    You want to make some money with it, don't you?

    Then here's how you go about it.

    Take your topic and google "Amazon book [Your Topic] bestsellers"

    Whether it's sales and marketing, cooking, beekeeping, or air traffic control, you are going to get results.

    The bigger categories like cooking will give you a Top 20 list. The small ones will provide individual results. That's fine.

    Now you immediately have an idea of whether this is a broad or niche market.

    If there are no results, "fuggedaboutit". For now. Too small to be of use. You may return later and make a whopping surprise bestseller in that microniche, but that would be gambling and you cannot afford to gamble right now.

    When you have the option to jump into the category that has the Top 20 list, do so. That's a rushing river of leads who would like to buy your book.

    No, they are not all going to buy. Heck, they don't even know you exist yet. But much better to be in that rushing river than a tiny puddle.

    Now concentrate on the Top 10.

    Look at their titles. Do they have anything in common? Is there a Big Idea behind them? If you look at the Sales category, you'll see they concentrate on sales process PLUS one big point of view change that's like a lens focusing the rest of the content.

    In the "Sales" category, the word "sales," "selling," or "sell" comes up frequently. Not really a shocker there, but if it was the Beekeeping category we'd probably want to include a version of that word in our title, wouldn't we?

    If that's what's working for the Top 10, maybe you should be following their lead?

    Next, look at each of the Top 10's individual pages.

    Scroll down.

    All the way to the Reviews.

    Now read the reviews.

    Here's what you're doing: you're looking for PROBLEMS people say they had that this book SOLVED for them.

    It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that if this book solved their problem for them, and they're happy enough to say so, this was an important issue in their lives.

    "I bought this book because..."

    "I was looking for..."

    "I was having trouble with..."

    Look at this example from Neil Rackham's SPIN Selling:



    The reviewer plainly says WHY he bought the book. What situation he was in, and what attracted him to this solution.

    If you see two or more reviews saying pretty much the same thing, you've got a target market.

    And look at what else this little mining job of ours uncovers:

    Actual words and phrases used by people who want to buy this kind of content.

    THEY ARE GIVING YOU YOUR SALES COPY ON A PLATTER.

    Get a spreadsheet or Word doc open and copy and paste these phrases into there so you can move them around, mix and match, compare.

    Now you can focus your content, have a good title, and lay out your chapters in the right order to take the reader from where they are to where they want to be.

    Finally, cough up the $20 or whatever it is to join Bryan Kumar's Kindle subforum here on WF. Maybe you've missed this before. Inside are not only full instructions (and I don't mean just a couple pages) on how to run a Kindle book business, but also an active group of fellow writers to talk with.
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    • Profile picture of the author Randy McLean
      I concur with most replies here.

      1. Before writing the ebook make sure there is a market for it.

      "Whatever people are buying - I'm selling." - Marlon Sanders

      2. It also helps if you know a lot about the topic, then it will come easier.

      3. Identify the biggest problem and provide a solution to that problem.

      4. Start writing! Break everything down into bite sized chunks and go from there.
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      • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
        Aside from what everyone else has said, my million dollar question is Why Do You Want To Write an Ebook? Instead of a video or audio course.

        Here's why you might want to think seriously about my question ...

        - More people, especially Millenials and Gen Yer`s prefer them far more than an ebook.

        - They have a much higher perceived value than an ebook.

        - Even the word "ebook" is tarnished. Many savvy marketers avoid the word and use guide or manual instead.

        Something else you might want to consider.
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

          Aside from what everyone else has said, my million dollar question is Why Do You Want To Write an Ebook? Instead of a video or audio course.

          Here's why you might want to think seriously about my question ...
          Because ebooks allow access to humongous established marketplaces like Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes, Google Play, etc. They also can serve as lead generators, especially if you can make them valuable by themselves and resist the urge to make them a glorified sales letter.

          Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

          - More people, especially Millenials and Gen Yer`s prefer them far more than an ebook.
          Agreed, and important if that's your market. And having an ebook version doesn't preclude having a video or audio version.

          Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

          - They have a much higher perceived value than an ebook.
          That depends a bit on the market. Some markets, especially those heavily favored by IM GRQers, have so many "have a product in an hour" rough, unedited audios and videos that calling it a video or audio course is a red flag.

          Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

          - Even the word "ebook" is tarnished. Many savvy marketers avoid the word and use guide or manual instead.
          Again it depends on both the market and marketplace. While the notion of a $50 "ebook" on Clickbank might be (rightfully) tarnished, ebooks on the mainstream marketplaces I mentioned above tend to shine over shoddy "video courses."
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  • Profile picture of the author Saiah Davis
    Just to add to teh info provided above...

    After you've done your research and decided on the information you will be placing in your ebook...

    You can download open office (for free) if you don't have it already, add a disclaimer, table of contents, the content of the book and then select file --> export as pdf and save your book as a pdf file ready for distribution.

    For higher perceived value... you can turn the contents of the ebook into a video and grab the audio from the video and deliver your prodcut in 3 formats ebook, video and audio.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Writing a book is arduous and can take a long time to complete, but marketing it is much more difficult.

      Being a simple kind of a guy, I would just start by selling a book similar to what you want to write.

      If it flops, you've saved yourself quite a lot of time. If it's a winner, why mess around with what works?

      Seriously, an excellent book and training course is "Sell It Before You Write It, by Maryann Reid. Google it.
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  • Profile picture of the author sega001
    Focus on finding a need first that people want solved. So many authors want to write about topics that no one cares about except them. If you are writing a book for the fun of it then just create one topic and write about that.

    If you are wanting to make money off your book then it be best to study your market to see what pain they are experiencing and how you can solve those issues for them.

    Each solved problem can be a chapter. So your main topic can be about the main issue that needs to be solved and the chapters and be the steps on how to solve the big problem.
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  • Profile picture of the author RobinJennings
    Just write really valuable content, don't get bothered with flashy fonts, book cover and format, just write something that will help people..
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  • Profile picture of the author dsilvestre
    I'll throw my 2 cents in here. The process goes like this:
    1. Find a hungry and desperate niche
    2. Research their problems (use forum, answer pages, amazon search on what's selling)
    3. Focus on solving ONE AND ONLY ONE problem of that niche
    4. Write to your target audience (this will later on define your marketing plan as well)
    5. Provide actionable content: people can use your information right away

    That's all there is to it, really. You must provide a solution and it should be doable right after they finish reading it.

    So, let's go with the seduction niche as an example:
    1. Let's be honest here: who doesn't want to get laid? Yeah.
    2. On top of my head (no research): going out with friends and seducing girls
    3. For the shy people: how to approach any girl
    4. Audience: teenagers and young adults who have trouble beginning a conversation with a girl
    5. Ten ways to start a conversation or how to approach any girl in any scenario

    Cheers
    D.
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