Writing a ebook from scratch...need advice!

by ecopac
37 replies
Hi all

I am looking into writing an ebook on a subject that I am very knowledgeable in, and there is nothing like it out there anywhere at the moment.

I've written a brief overview of what I want, broken it down into paragraphs and then sub paragraphs so I know I will cover all the content I need to.

So now I need to know how I actually go about writing it, getting a cover made and then publishing it!

My questions are?

- Do you just write the book in MS Word or similar?
- Where could I get a cover made?
- As well as selling on the Kindle store, could I upload the file somewhere and put a link to it on my site where people could download a PDF and pay via Paypal (for those who don't own a kindle)? If so, where would you recommend I upload it to?
- How do you go about pricing an e-book?

Sorry for the newbie questions, I've never done anything like this before!

Thanks for any advice!
#advice #ebook #scratchneed #writing
  • Profile picture of the author MovingAround
    Hi,

    My advice:

    - MS Word, OpenOffice or LibreOffice (there's a few more but the first 2 are the best IMO).
    - Fiverr/free ebook creator (very generic cover)/contact a graphic designer
    - Yes. If you enrol the book on KDP, remember that the book that is sold elsewhere cannot be cheaper than the Kindle book.
    - For Kindle: 70% commission between 0.99-9.99 USD. 35% on the rest of price points.
    For non-Kindle: up to you but do your fair amount of research first.

    Hope that was of help.
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  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    The writing of the book is most important so let's start with that.

    1. Sit down and open Microsoft Word.

    2. Start writing and do not stop. Don't go back over things. Don't re-read things. Just sit down and keep on writing until you are done. Once done you can go back over and make necessary edits or even better, just shoot it over to a ghost writer who can then fix any mistakes and gel everything together nice and quickly.

    You will get things done much quicker this way.

    3. Once the file is ready, use this free online PDF converter to turn your Microsoft Word document into a PDF document: http://createpdf.neevia.com/pdfconvert/

    There are plenty of places to look for ecovers. Fivver and also the Warriors for Hire (http://www.warriorforum.com/warriors-hire/) thread of this site. Personally that's where I would go. Plenty of great and affordable designers in this forum and even better that we are supporting one another.

    Most importantly, concentrate on getting the book finished and out there and don't strive for 100% perfection. Things can always be improved upon later but a report sitting on your computer will never make any sales.
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      Originally Posted by WillR View Post

      The writing of the book is most important so let's start with that.
      Actually, it's more important that you have a market for the book and a plan on how to reach your prospects.

      An all-too-common mistake is to write the book first and then look for buyers. It's good that the OP hasn't started yet.

      @ecopac, what research have you done? Do you know who your buyers are?

      If so, how will you get your book in front of them? Just releasing it on the Kindle platform won't be enough. Can you reach enough buyers with the marketing budget you have? Are you building a fanbase? What problem does your book solve? Are there other successful books in your market?

      These are just some of the questions you should address before typing the first word. Some of the answers might even help you with writing the book.


      Frank
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      • Profile picture of the author WillR
        Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

        Actually, it's more important that you have a market for the book and a plan on how to reach your prospects.

        An all-too-common mistake is to write the book first and then look for buyers. It's good that the OP hasn't started yet.
        Frank,

        The OP asked a number of questions:

        - Do you just write the book in MS Word or similar?
        - Where could I get a cover made?
        - As well as selling on the Kindle store, could I upload the file somewhere and put a link to it on my site where people could download a PDF and pay via Paypal (for those who don't own a kindle)? If so, where would you recommend I upload it to?
        - How do you go about pricing an e-book?
        I simply said that out of all of those steps/questions, getting the actual book written is the most important. They never asked about the marketing side of things. Yes, ofcourse having a market for your book is vital but it was never something asked by the OP in their original post -- so I assume they have that covered.
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        • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
          Originally Posted by WillR View Post

          The OP asked a number of questions:
          Will, I wasn't getting at you, but the OP also stated he was starting from scratch. How many times have we seen threads along the lines of "I've spent xx months writing my book, now how do I market it?".

          It's a common mistake and gets the whole product creation process bass ackwards.

          I was just trying to help the OP avoid it.


          Frank
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        • Profile picture of the author barry500
          Google keyword tool will give you some idea at least as to popularity of subject.

          In terms of writing and researching this will be down to you. If you are not the world's greatest typist, you can record your thoughts and outsource the work, from there you simply need to edit and check that everything on the text is correct.

          For book cover and publishing advice I would urge you to join the Kindle group on this forum - for a very small investment you will have access to the best practice and ideas from people who have educated themselves on Kindle writing and marketing.
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      • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
        Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

        Actually, it's more important that you have a market for the book and a plan on how to reach your prospects.Frank
        ^^^ This. Big time. In fact, the first half of this sentence is especially important. Do you know there are people who actually want to buy your information? I ran into a pretty clever SEO guy a few years back who had a really slick way of determining whether a market was worth going after.

        He'd take the prime keywords for the topic and plug them into G. He wanted to see between two and three million "results." Do a search and you'll see what I mean.

        But that's not the main thing. He absolutely needed to see four or five Adword ads for the majority of the keywords. This told him there was enough interest in the topic to go further but not enough competition to make it impossible to crack the market.

        Now you SEO folks don't jump all over me. This method might be totally useless these days. I only bring it up because this guy was a fiend at creating successful sniper sites and this was his method for to evaluate the feasibility. And I know, sniper sites are also dead as we once knew them.

        If you take anything from this post let that be you need to know there are buyers before you spend a lot of time writing. There are probably better ways to find that out than I described.
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      • Profile picture of the author Shannon2011
        Know your market first, then write your book. What are their needs and wants.

        I'm on a MAC and I use Pages for all my e-books.
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  • Profile picture of the author ecopac
    Thanks Guys

    Just a quick question, is there a way of finding out how often your subject matter is searched on the Kindle Store, a bit like Google Keywords?
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    • Profile picture of the author WillR
      Originally Posted by ecopac View Post

      Thanks Guys

      Just a quick question, is there a way of finding out how often your subject matter is searched on the Kindle Store, a bit like Google Keywords?
      I wouldn't have a clue about Kindle, sorry. But I would guess Google Keywords is still going to give you a pretty good idea of how popular a subject matter is. If it's more popular in Google chances are it's more popular in Kindle as well.

      Maybe there are easier ways though...
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  • Profile picture of the author andyjbenson
    Originally Posted by ecopac View Post

    Hi all

    I am looking into writing an ebook on a subject that I am very knowledgeable in, and there is nothing like it out there anywhere at the moment.

    I've written a brief overview of what I want, broken it down into paragraphs and then sub paragraphs so I know I will cover all the content I need to.

    So now I need to know how I actually go about writing it, getting a cover made and then publishing it!

    My questions are?

    - Do you just write the book in MS Word or similar?
    - Where could I get a cover made?
    - As well as selling on the Kindle store, could I upload the file somewhere and put a link to it on my site where people could download a PDF and pay via Paypal (for those who don't own a kindle)? If so, where would you recommend I upload it to?
    - How do you go about pricing an e-book?

    Sorry for the newbie questions, I've never done anything like this before!

    Thanks for any advice!
    Hey Buddy!

    I use open office (similar to word) you can download it for free but it has a build in PDF converter which is great. Once your finished all you do is hit the PDF button and its all done!

    Your questions on Kindle have already been answered but yes get it on KDP. Cost's nothing to load it up! Pick your territories, and set your price and KDP take a royalty cut on each sale.

    As for getting an ebook cover done, I use a guy on fiverr who is awesome. Search for RROXX he charges $5 for an ebook cover and you have various 3D image options (paperback, hardback, Wirobound etc) He will also give you a 2D image with it.

    He also does sales banners which are equally awesome in quality at 2 for $5! No Brainer if you ask me!

    Hope that helps!

    Andy Benson
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  • Profile picture of the author Velant
    Originally Posted by ecopac View Post

    Hi all

    - Do you just write the book in MS Word or similar?
    MS word is fine.
    Originally Posted by ecopac View Post

    Hi all

    - Where could I get a cover made?
    Search for e-cover creator software or look at warrior for hire section here to find people who does it inexpensively - you'll find a lot, just check their reviews first.


    Originally Posted by ecopac View Post

    - As well as selling on the Kindle store, could I upload the file somewhere and put a link to it on my site where people could download a PDF and pay via Paypal (for those who don't own a kindle)? If so, where would you recommend I upload it to?
    Create a buy button in your paypal account and put in on your site. Hyperlinking ebook cover would probably work best.


    Originally Posted by ecopac View Post

    Hi all
    - How do you go about pricing an e-book?
    Thanks for any advice!
    Depends on length, but in any case I would start cheap like $7 and capture their emails to later promote other products to them via email marketing.

    Good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
      Originally Posted by Velant View Post

      Depends on length, but in any case I would start cheap like $7 and capture their emails to later promote other products to them via email marketing.
      I agree with most of what you said. But this is way off. The price of a book has little to do with the length. It has everything to do with the value of the information. No one knows what this book will be about or how valuable the info will be so no one can legitimately suggest a price.
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  • Profile picture of the author RatRaceWatch
    The best program to at least design an ebook is Mac pages, I used it to design the inside pages of our ebook on Manifest Income and it turned out great, I will probably be doing a tutorial series soon.
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  • Profile picture of the author ecopac
    Thanks for all the great advice.

    I am able to market the book via my website on the same subject, I get over 25,000 hits a month on it so could easily pop a banner up etc on my site. I also have an email list of 1,500 people so of course I could market it to those too.

    I have looked into what I am writing, and there really isn't anything out there like it at the moment and I think people will pay for the information I am writing about - well I hope at least. Of course it could mean there's no market there for it, but I'll never know unless I try!

    Thanks again for all the advice
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Gram
    Write the book in Word. No need to convert to mobi or pdf or anything else...those actually tend to mess up your formatting on the Kindle anyway.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kenster
    Originally Posted by ecopac View Post

    Hi all

    I am looking into writing an ebook on a subject that I am very knowledgeable in, and there is nothing like it out there anywhere at the moment.

    I've written a brief overview of what I want, broken it down into paragraphs and then sub paragraphs so I know I will cover all the content I need to.

    So now I need to know how I actually go about writing it, getting a cover made and then publishing it!

    My questions are?

    - Do you just write the book in MS Word or similar?
    - Where could I get a cover made?
    - As well as selling on the Kindle store, could I upload the file somewhere and put a link to it on my site where people could download a PDF and pay via Paypal (for those who don't own a kindle)? If so, where would you recommend I upload it to?
    - How do you go about pricing an e-book?

    Sorry for the newbie questions, I've never done anything like this before!

    Thanks for any advice!
    Most people do eBooks in Word to start and then transfer over to a PDF to deliver.

    Get a cover, graphics, and any other small freelance stuff from Fiverr. If you are making it a bigger, badder product, look to pay more from a more experienced freelancer (generally the more you pay, the better the quality)

    I would sign up for an affiliate/payment platform like JVZoo or WarriorPlus or Product Pay and just handle everything that way!
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    • Profile picture of the author DeePower
      Which comes first writing to the needs in the market or finding a market for the book?

      Just for fun I put "how to teach a dog to swim" in google with quotes got over 20,000 results. Popping it into Google AdWords keyword tool generates 700 searches a month.

      "Plants with red leaves" generated nearly 28,000 results. Google AdWords shows 3,000 searches per month.

      There's a market for nearly any subject it's reaching the market that's the challenge.
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      • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
        Originally Posted by DeePower View Post

        "Plants with red leaves" generated nearly 28,000 results. Google AdWords shows 3,000 searches per month.

        There's a market for nearly any subject it's reaching the market that's the challenge.
        That number of searches doesn't necessarily equal a market, unless you also know what the people typing in "plants with red leaves" are spending their money on.

        But you're right - having the means to access a market cost-effectively is a great starting point.

        Frank
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      • Profile picture of the author Paul Gram
        Originally Posted by DeePower View Post

        Which comes first writing to the needs in the market or finding a market for the book?

        Just for fun I put "how to teach a dog to swim" in google with quotes got over 20,000 results. Popping it into Google AdWords keyword tool generates 700 searches a month.

        "Plants with red leaves" generated nearly 28,000 results. Google AdWords shows 3,000 searches per month.

        There's a market for nearly any subject it's reaching the market that's the challenge.
        I'd definitely find a market first, start branding yourself and integrating into that market, and then write to the needs of that market.
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        • Profile picture of the author DeePower
          Paul said "I'd definitely find a market first, start branding yourself and integrating into that market, and then write to the needs of that market."

          Maybe it's the difference between Internet publishing and offline publishing. I've had four books published by major publishing houses, okay so one of them was a mid-size publisher LOL. I agree that platform -- what you call branding yourself -- is important in selling a book proposal to a publisher, but it's not the most important factor.

          Dee
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  • Profile picture of the author MovingAround
    I agree with first researching the current demand of the niche, but don't disregard the possibility of you yourself creating the demand of the niche and thus totally dominating it in the near future.

    Also, take into account G's Keyword tool yields the average for the last 12 months in search results, which makes it difficult to pick up trends unless there's enough data on the Google trends graph.
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  • Profile picture of the author jgant
    I published a kindle book. I used MS Word 2010 version which made it super easy to format for kindle (Amazon has step-by-step instructions on this here). I avoided paying for formatting software.

    If you go kindle KDP select, you can't sell/publish your book elsewhere. The advantage to KDP Select is people can borrow your book (you get paid) and you earn higher royalties. I believe Amazon also promotes it more if you generate some decent sales. You can also schedule promo days (giving it away to get some traction and reviews).

    Most kindle books sell for $2.99 to $9.99, but you get access to the Amazon market and it will likely convert better because it's sold on Amazon (not a sure thing depending on a sales page you come up with selling it as a PDF). Your royalty in most markets in KDP select is 70% if priced above $2.99.

    The biggest advantage to going the Kindle route in my view is that if you have a blog and wish to establish yourself as an authority in the niche, it's nice to post your book with link to Amazon saying you're a published author in Amazon.

    Also, if you're building a list, you can place links to your blog/squeeze page in your kindle book. I've attracted quite a few subscribers this way.
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  • Profile picture of the author tomerep
    You must figure out how to keep your writing engaging. Write with a casual, conversational tone rather than a formal tone such as textbook diction. Reader's respond to the feeling that you are having a conversation with them.

    Break up the length and structure of your sentences so you don't hypnotize your readers into sleep. Sentences that are all the same length and structure tend to be a good aid for insomnia!
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    • Profile picture of the author entry
      Find out what your markets problems are and provide solutions in your book.

      You would use a graphic designer to create graphics.
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  • Profile picture of the author clever7
    You should try to be clear and use short sentences.

    Now, about what you said:

    I have looked into what I am writing, and there really isn't anything out there like it at the moment and I think people will pay for the information I am writing about - well I hope at least. Of course it could mean there's no market there for it, but I'll never know unless I try!


    Don’t start writing anything before making a marketing research. You will find many interesting documents that will show you that when you are trying to sell something different that doesn’t exist already online, you have to find those who will care about your product, the reason why they will buy it, and what are their desires and purposes.

    You may discover that those who will really care about your product are not the people you believed would care about this knowledge, but other kind of audience, for various reasons that you must analyze, so that you may learn how to write according to the style of this audience.







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    • Profile picture of the author LilBlackDress
      Originally Posted by clever7 View Post

      You should try to be clear and use short sentences.

      Now, about what you said:



      Don’t start writing anything before making a marketing research. You will find many interesting documents that will show you that when you are trying to sell something different that doesn’t exist already online, you have to find those who will care about your product, the reason why they will buy it, and what are their desires and purposes.

      You may discover that those who will really care about your product are not the people you believed would care about this knowledge, but other kind of audience, for various reasons that you must analyze, so that you may learn how to write according to the style of this audience.







      Yes you can easily do market research to get a good feel if something will sell.

      For non-fiction, there are even automated tools that will give you a quick picture of how books in that niche are selling. So you can see at a glance if it is worth your time.

      Not to say something totally different can't sell but there are indicators to help the "what will sell" book topic selection process along.
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  • Profile picture of the author ecopac
    Originally Posted by stacycoletti View Post

    so they will be wrote in the best possible way
    *written...
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    • Profile picture of the author GobBluthJD
      Originally Posted by ecopac View Post

      *written...
      Hilarious

      She certainly seems like a winner.
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  • Profile picture of the author LilBlackDress
    Originally Posted by ecopac View Post

    Hi all

    I am looking into writing an ebook on a subject that I am very knowledgeable in, and there is nothing like it out there anywhere at the moment.

    I've written a brief overview of what I want, broken it down into paragraphs and then sub paragraphs so I know I will cover all the content I need to.

    So now I need to know how I actually go about writing it, getting a cover made and then publishing it!

    My questions are?

    - Do you just write the book in MS Word or similar?
    - Where could I get a cover made?
    - As well as selling on the Kindle store, could I upload the file somewhere and put a link to it on my site where people could download a PDF and pay via Paypal (for those who don't own a kindle)? If so, where would you recommend I upload it to?
    - How do you go about pricing an e-book?

    Sorry for the newbie questions, I've never done anything like this before!

    Thanks for any advice!
    Yes I write my books in word and format using an instant formatting tool.

    I sell an affordable cover maker product and there are others on the market. Fiverr is also an easy place to get a cover.

    Yes you can sell it directly on yours site UNLESS you enroll it in KDP Select in which case you agree to exclusivity. In that case you can link to it at Amazon.

    Pricing will depend on the content, length etc. Many eBooks are around 2.99 and that is a good point of entry.
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    Pen Name + 8 eBooks + social media sites 4 SALE - PM me (evergreen beauty niche)

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  • Profile picture of the author Douriff
    I'm using Ganxy for my e-book, I cant tell the end results since I've just started, but before I uploaded on Ganxy I've checked some 5 other popular e-book platforms and decided Ganxy is very clean and simple, newbie friendly and looks great. You also don't need to mess with optin forms, from other sources, which is also great. very cool service. saves tons of time!
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  • Profile picture of the author d3communications
    The number one most important thing is to GET IT DONE. Don't stop for anything. Don't worry about how you're going to sell it. Don't worry about anything. Just write the book and get it done as soon as possible.

    If you're an expert, the quickest way to do it is to take about an hour and write every question you can think of about your topic. Then have someone ask you the questions. You answer each question. Record it. Transcribe it. Flesh it out a bit. Voila, you're done. Put it up on KDP (worry about the how later).

    After you have one book published, you can do it again and again, hopefully in niches that have rabid followings!

    Good Luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author owais211
    Banned
    I think outsourcing for writer services could work a great deal for you.
    Also for cover page,you can find someone out there who can design it for you.
    Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author twinkenterprises
    I'd use word to write it in. You can always make it a pdf later. There is a good site Self Publishing, Book Printing and Publishing Online - Lulu you can upload it to. It sells through there on kindle and pdf.
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  • Profile picture of the author lmgarcia
    great advice from all. I'm marking :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Geri Richmond
    Hi,
    I take it you have already researched the niche and found it to be profitable, right?
    You can get a cool ecover from Fiverr.com. There is a guy on Fiverr that is really good and I can give you that info, as well. I have some free training on publishing an ebook on Amazon, but you will have to PM me, if you want the info.
    Good luck with your ebook!
    Geri Richmond
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  • Profile picture of the author KevinChapman
    I write all mine on google drive documents then I use myecovermaker.com to make the cover.

    Pricing it is quite hard, maybe see if there is anything like it on the market and that could give you a rough guide?

    You seem really organized so the best advice I can give you is to just get on with it! Once you started writing, especially being the expert you are it'll come easy to you!
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