Writing an eBook tips and advice?

20 replies
Hi guys,

I am going to start writing my first eBook soon, and I was curious if anyone had any tips or advice they could offer in terms of the content and structure of an eBook? Also, any advice you could give if you have written one before, and ironically, any of the best eBooks you have read on the TOPIC of writing an eBook?

Thank you much,

SS
#advice #ebook #tips #writing
  • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
    1. Avoid filling it with fluff. All substance, no cotton candy. Don't worry about how long it is.

    2. Make the Table of Contents link to the various chapters, so people don't have to keep scrolling up and down.

    3. Go easy on the images! Nothing is more frustrating that wanting to print out a good ebook, only to have it suck up all my printer ink.

    John
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    • Profile picture of the author Corwinnx
      We just recently started adding embedded videos into the pdf documents and our clients loved it!

      Zeus, I never thought about how that would affect 'printing.'

      Warmest Regards,
      Marcus
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      • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
        Originally Posted by Corwinnx View Post

        We just recently started adding embedded videos into the pdf documents and our clients loved it!

        Zeus, I never thought about how that would affect 'printing.'

        Warmest Regards,
        Marcus
        Hey Marcus,

        What program do you use to embed videos in PDF? And what video formats are supported? That's a cool idea!

        John
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        • Profile picture of the author Caragui
          Originally Posted by Zeus66 View Post

          Hey Marcus,

          What program do you use to embed videos in PDF? And what video formats are supported? That's a cool idea!

          John
          John,

          I use Acrobat 7 Pro to imbed videos tp PDF documents. The prof version has many extras not found with other PDF converter softwares.

          The file tend to increas though coz of the imbedded videos but if printing is not a consideration, it's pretty cool to want direct from the PDF.

          Carlos
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  • Profile picture of the author Kekoa
    My best advice to you is to "just write it" (stolen from the nike ebook department). Don't buy any ebooks teaching you how to write ebooks, you already learned that in 7th grade, trust me.

    Clear thought out chapters, with the content of the chapter describing the title of it is my best suggestion.

    Let me just show you what I do...

    First page - title, image of ebook cover, by line (by Kekoa Chung)

    2nd page - about the author, related products/upsells

    3rd page - copyright notice, rights (resell, plr, etc)

    4th page - table of contents
    example:

    How to make money on WF .................................................. ....... 6
    How to make money on ebay .................................................. ..... 9

    On the chapter pages - title, and then description underneath it.
    example:

    How to make money on WF

    Making money on the WF is simple, this is how to do it....

    (Go right into the meat, do not add a bunch of fluff. Your customers will love you for that, and will buy from you, again and again and again.)

    That's my simple formula.

    Oh yeah, also, remember its not about how nice the design is, or how cool your graphics are. It's about the content, the meat. You could write it on toilet paper for all i care, the CONTENT is what matters. PERIOD.

    Aloha.
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  • Profile picture of the author crissanteiro
    1. Pick a niche.
    2. Find the keywords that rank high in your niche.
    3. Find out if these keywords are making money.
    4. Create your chapter titles by addressing 5 or 6 questions that people in your niche are asking. You can go to Yahoo Answers and find out.
    5. Find articles in Ezine articles and other article directories that deal with these topics that you have selected.
    6. Gather the above information, and put it in your own words.
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  • Profile picture of the author kf
    My favourite writing quote:

    Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. ~Gene Fowler

    Spend time putting together a detailed outline. It will save you tons of time. Get your main topics and then the points you want to cover in each and just keep drilling it done. The more detailed the outline, the easier to do the final writing. Also, when something comes up in your research, or a thought about another section when you're writing, you'll know exactly where to put the note for later.
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  • Profile picture of the author eaglechick
    I would say study e-books you've already downloaded. Pick a model that appeals to you. Follow that model.

    Zeus is spot on - images serves no purpose.

    Take Kevin up on his offer. Seen the advice he posted - looks good to me.

    Do thorough research and do'nt let something hang in the air - explain the next
    move/step if applicable.

    Not too long. Depends on the topic, but I would say no more than 20-30 pages or break it up in 2 volumes if needed.

    Good luck on your venture - keep us posted.

    GO FOR IT!
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe Fier
    I just finished writing my first ebook and got all of my content ideas from what people were saying online.

    I looked at my blog's comments and took notes of the concerns and frustrations people were having with internet marketing (or whatever your niche is). I also frequented Amazon or other book store sites to read the comments of related texts to get a feel of what people enjoyed reading.

    This method is the best way to get into your readers' heads without having to pay a cent... just a little of your time.

    I highly recommend trying it. Your writing process will become very enjoyable and your readers will LOVE IT!

    Joe
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    • Profile picture of the author eaglechick
      Joe is right - many e-books can be written on the frustrations and
      questions of fellow warriors. If you can solve a problem answer
      a question in depth and to the point you are halfway there.:confused:

      Keep going.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    OUTSOURCE!

    Dont spend weeks writing an ebook yourself! Use your time wisely!
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  • Profile picture of the author TracyNeedham
    Hi SS,

    I recently did a free audio on 9 Secrets to Ebook Success that covers the Talk It Out process I've used with clients to write ebooks quickly and easily.

    The thumbnail version is you:

    --Map out what you want to say--introduction/agitation of the problem, your story, and step-by-step through your process for solving it
    --Record yourself talking through it on a free conference line or Audacity
    --Get it transcribed
    --Edit, polish and add in the other necessary items to make the ebook sell for you-- next steps (where you put in what you want to plug), your bio, and the legal disclaimer stuff.

    1-1.5 hours of recording usually turns into about 20 pages when you add everything in.

    If you're interested, the free audio has more details & it's at www.myebooksecrets.com.

    Tracy
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  • Profile picture of the author darktemplar
    Wow!

    Thank you guys so much for all of your replies! I've taken all of your advice to heart and have started the outline process, crafting my story, table of contents, etc. Sadly I don't have enough money to pay someone to write it, it's also something I want to do myself! I will look at the free audio when I get time also. "Just write it." helped me a lot! Thanks again everyone!

    SS
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  • Profile picture of the author GarryMSayer
    Lots of great advice here already and a big subject with lot of different opinions and strategies.

    So....

    Hope I'm not too late with my contribution to this great thread...

    1. Find and choose a market where people are already spending money - if you get this wrong then all of your efforts will be in vain, with pain and frustration your closest companions. You can find buying niches quite easily by doing searches on amazon and/or ebay.
    1. Take a look at the prices other digital products in that niche sell for. This works in two ways.
    • this will help give you a guideline as to what price to sell your product for.
    • you can also bookmark these sites as potential affiliates or JV partners as these people already have a list of buying customers.


    'SORT' - An Outline Template that works for me.

    The outline for each subject you write about should contain the following:

    SUBJECT - Self explanatory i.e. the Title
    OPTION / OPINION - Your personal opinion, multiple choice option, relevant consideration or warning.
    RESOURCE - any product, skill, asset or other item that would be useful for achieving the goal.
    TECHNIQUES - the actions or processes that make up the actual path your customer needs to take to meet the goal.



    A great template for Creating the Content from your Outline is by ensuring each chapter and sub-heading meets the following criteria:
    • Shows HOW TO
    • Explains WHY
    • Reveals something to ENHANCE UNDERSTANDING
    • Brings JOY
    • Informs in order to help the customer AVOID PAIN

    Also if you find it difficult to write then as already suggested just speak and record or alternatively do what I do and use Dragon Naturally Speaking.

    One time I created a 3000 word report in about two hours using Dragon Naturally Speaking 10. It's a great tool but initially requires a bit of patience; persevere with it and you can really crank out tons of content in a short period of time.


    If I've caused information overload then I apologise, but I just wanted to share this information because personally I have found it extremely helpful in creating ebooks and reports.

    I can't take credit for the systems though.

    Cheers to Paul Myers for the 'SORT' template, Vince Courtney for the 'CONTENT CREATION' template and Dragon for producing such user-friendly and powerful software.

    You are all stars.
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    • Profile picture of the author TracyNeedham
      So Garry, you've had luck with Dragon 10? I have 9.5 (the basic version I guess) and no matter how much I tried, it was a complete nightmare--both in terms of transcribing what I said and messing around with my other computer programs. I was so disappointed.
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      • Profile picture of the author GarryMSayer
        Originally Posted by TracyNeedham View Post

        So Garry, you've had luck with Dragon 10? I have 9.5 (the basic version I guess) and no matter how much I tried, it was a complete nightmare--both in terms of transcribing what I said and messing around with my other computer programs. I was so disappointed.
        I think it takes a while for Dragon to get used to the nuances and inflections (if that's the right word to use) in your voice and accent. Even now Dragon probably transcribes for me at about 95% accuracy, but it's a lot more accurate now than it was when I first started using it. When Dragon does transcribe incorrectly it is always straightforward for me to edit.

        I've not noticed it messing around with my other installed programs and software - well not that I am aware of anyway. :confused:

        I just think it's great software that enables you to 'crank out your content' quickly, effectively and very accurately. If I could put an affiliate link in this post I would do and sleep very soundly tonight.

        It's a real shame you had a bad experience with it Tracy.
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  • Profile picture of the author Karen Connell
    A very simple thing that makes my life easier when I buy an ebook is numbered pages.

    I always print out anything that I really want to read and if it drops off the printer table (as has happened so many times in the past!) it's so much easier to collate if the pages are numbered.

    Karen
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    • Profile picture of the author GarryMSayer
      Originally Posted by Dhrousha View Post

      A very simple thing that makes my life easier when I buy an ebook is numbered pages.

      I always print out anything that I really want to read and if it drops off the printer table (as has happened so many times in the past!) it's so much easier to collate if the pages are numbered.

      Karen
      This has happened to me several times. Numbered pages is an essential component of any book but something that is overlooked by a lot of ebook authors.

      I've always wondered why?
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  • Profile picture of the author coryjean
    I found that creating a table of contents helped me to stay more organized...Heading1 for chapters and Heading2 for subjects off of the chapter ...I spent so much time trying to find information in my book as I was writing it until I added chapter headings and subheadings and it gave the book more order...

    Plus just write....write a lot...and when you get sick of writing, go back and proof read and edit. You'll be surprised by how many typos and unfinished sentances wind up showing up when you really proof read your stuff! And nothing turns someone off more than a poorly proofread book!
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