Your Process For Writing Ebooks?

by mguy
27 replies
I'm going to write my 3rd ebook. It's going to be the longest and most focused writing on my niche. The first two was just mashing up information and giving it form, but now I need to be specific on the things I need to hit. And I also gave myself a deadline.

What are steps you take for writing your ebook?

Start at outline???
#ebooks #process #writing
  • Profile picture of the author JoeRemington
    Break your key content into chapters
    There's a lot of different way you can break up your product into chapters but for the most part, the easiest and most relevant method is laying it out in chronological order.

    Step by step.
    Do this, then this and then that. Finished, job done and problem solved.

    If you're creating a product on how to lose weight without exercising then I'd do something like this.
    1. Working out how much you should eat
    2. Good foods
    3. Bad foods
    4. The best and the worse times to eat
    5. Breakfast
    6. Lunch
    7. Dinner
    8. Healthy Snacks
    9. Summarize and finish
    That took seconds to create and while I'm no expert on the subject matter I bet it's not far off. The chapters you choose will be based on your sub-niche and what your research has revealed.
    Short concise and actionable. That is your primary goal and if you can keep your chapters or key points in single digits that's perfect.
    Once you've decided on the chapters you're going to have it's time to go deeper and on the key points that go within each chapter.

    Chunk your chapters

    At the risk of repeating this you have to remember to stay focused on the problem and your market. What they want and what they need. It's just too easy to go off on random tangents like this one!

    Once you've outlined the chapters within your product it's time to divide up the research. While the easiest method is often to start writing your research up in your own words I prefer to create an outline for each chapter.

    That's what I mean by chunking your chapters. You're breaking each chapter into sections that ensure that the quality of your product is consistent from chapter to chapter.

    And it makes writing easy because it removes thinking and procrastination.

    There are several methods and one that is popular with article writers is:
    1. Tell them what you're going to tell them (intro)
    2. Tell them (body)
    3. Tell them what you've told them (summary)
    This would work fine for your product although you can do a better job without doing any extra work by adding a couple of points.

    For example in creating this product I have followed this info product guideline:
    • Short outline of what I want you to achieve by the end of the chapter
    • The principles of the method
    • The step by step guide showing you what to do
    • An action plan of what to do next
    This is good for the reader and good for you - the creator - as it keeps your writing on topic, to the point and you instantly know what to do. It works for the introductory chapter, the main chapters and the final conclusion of the product.

    Of course you can create your own and modify your methods, just remember to Keep It Stupid Simple (K.I.S.S.)

    Fill in the details
    With your chapters outlined and your info product guidelines ready to go, much of the hard work has already been done for you.

    If you use the guideline above you start by giving an outline to the chapter. Then you talk about the principles behind what you're doing.

    Then you work through the chapter - step by step. You flesh out and go into detail on each point and tell them what to do.

    Then you finish by giving them clear instruction on the actionable steps they need to do next. You tell them what to do now.

    When you flesh out your chapters you are moving your research from your notes into the relevant section of your product.

    What to do next
    It's vital that when you start to create the actual product and compile your research that you have a framework in place.

    This takes procrastination off the table and lets you get on with finishing the job in hand.

    1. Remind yourself what you want your customers to be able to do by the time they finish going through your product
    2. Outline the key points and turn them into chapter headings
    3. Create an outline for each chapter. A frame or skeleton you can flesh out (for example: outline the chapter, explain the principles, go through the step by step points and finish by providing the action steps you readers must do next)
    4. Keep it precise and to the point
    5. Repeat for each chapter

    Hope that helps you in your process.

    Make it a great day,
    Joe Remington
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    • Profile picture of the author Christopher Fox
      Originally Posted by JoeRemington View Post

      That took seconds to create and while I’m no expert on the subject matter I bet it’s not far off. The chapters you choose will be based on your sub-niche and what your research has revealed.
      Amazing how nobody has mentioned an important detail - know what the hell you are talking about.

      But since many aren't real experts in the field they, or their 'ghostwriter', are portraying themselves as, step two is to create a false identity, a fake name, a fake bio, a fake work history, etc. To lie about who you are and your true lack of genuine experience in the field, etc., in order to get money from people's pockets into yours, preying upon their emotions via copy, instead of appealing to their logic and reason.

      Err ... I mean step two is to create a Pen Name, like you're some kind of Samuel Clemens. 'Cept 'ol Sam didn't use his pen name to author books designed to get you to click a link in them to an affiliate page, or subscribe to his list, etc. And I can get pretty much any of Clemens work for free or less than $5.00.

      And he wrote fiction, billed as fiction. Not expertise from a non-expert, billed otherwise.

      That'll probably ruffle some feathers, but oh well. It is the truth as I see it.
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by Christopher Fox View Post

        Amazing how nobody has mentioned an important detail - know what the hell you are talking about.
        For some of us, this was a given. It's a shame that it even needs to be mentioned, but you're correct, it does.

        Originally Posted by Christopher Fox View Post

        But since many aren't real experts in the field they, or their 'ghostwriter', are portraying themselves as, step two is to create a false identity, a fake name, a fake bio, a fake work history, etc. To lie about who you are and your true lack of genuine experience in the field, etc., in order to get money from people's pockets into yours, preying upon their emotions via copy, instead of appealing to their logic and reason.

        Err ... I mean step two is to create a Pen Name, like you're some kind of Samuel Clemens. 'Cept 'ol Sam didn't use his pen name to author books designed to get you to click a link in them to an affiliate page, or subscribe to his list, etc. And I can get pretty much any of Clemens work for free or less than $5.00.

        And he wrote fiction, billed as fiction. Not expertise from a non-expert, billed otherwise.

        That'll probably ruffle some feathers, but oh well. It is the truth as I see it.
        Ruffle away...

        It will boil down to two groups, anyway.

        In the first group will be authors who :rolleyes: and agree with you.

        In the other will be those who get confused, and wonder what knowing your stuff and telling the truth have to do with making money...

        For the record, I count myself in the first group...
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  • Profile picture of the author oWriter
    Banned
    Every single thing that matters have been discussed above. Great advice JoeRemington.
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  • Profile picture of the author johnlagoudakis
    When I'm writing a book I plan out the chapter headings first.

    Once I'm happy that the chapters are in the right order and are going to cover everything then you're ready to start writing.
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    • Profile picture of the author lerxtjr
      I like the format of assembling details above, but let's face it...I'm hopelessly impatient and not much for planning. So, I developed a process of my own that's worked well for me over the years for 6 ebooks, 2 published books in bookstores around the world, and free reports and even blog posts.

      1. Stew - I have to wander around the house or go for a walk or a drive in the car for sometimes an hour or two to collect my thoughts on what I want to write about.

      2. Spew - With caffeine in hand, I write like crazy non-stop. Typos, poor sentence structure, bad punctuation, doesn't matter. The important thing is to get all my thoughts on paper for whatever chapter or "chunk" (as mentioned above) that I'm working on.

      3. Review - Once complete with all writing from start to finish, I go back and review what I wrote and change any jaw dropping grammar foul ups.

      4. Preview - This is where I finally let someone else take a peek at my work. It takes some guts at this stage because you have to be willing to make changes as others suggest or stand your ground and stay true to what you believe is right in what you're writing.

      5. WHEW! - The "whew" part is when you finally have reached the point where the writing is complete. There NEEDS to be this part or you will beat yourself up for the next five years over your writing and never get it finalized for editing and publishing. You MUST realize your writing will never be perfect and you have to allow yourself that stopping point.
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      • Profile picture of the author Lurk
        Originally Posted by lerxtjr View Post


        2. Spew - With caffeine in hand, I write like crazy non-stop. Typos, poor sentence structure, bad punctuation, doesn't matter. The important thing is to get all my thoughts on paper for whatever chapter or "chunk" (as mentioned above) that I'm working on.

        3. Review - Once complete with all writing from start to finish, I go back and review what I wrote and change any jaw dropping grammar foul ups.
        .
        I dont see how you can write a complete book with chapters like this. I was taught this method in college and it served me well for an essay, but, for a book I dont see the correlation because a book needs far more detail. Can you post a youtube explanation.
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  • Profile picture of the author lotsofsnow
    When I write an ebook, I start with the sales letter.

    In the sales letter I tell what I am going to deliver and then in the ebook I deliver what I promised.

    It's very easy and fast.
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    • Profile picture of the author SunnyDelight
      Originally Posted by hpgoodboy View Post

      When I write an ebook, I start with the sales letter.

      In the sales letter I tell what I am going to deliver and then in the ebook I deliver what I promised.

      It's very easy and fast.
      That's a great approach to starting an ebook and I can see how it's much faster. That's pretty much an outline right there for ya!

      Thanks for sharing my friend!
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    • Profile picture of the author MNord
      Originally Posted by hpgoodboy View Post

      When I write an ebook, I start with the sales letter.

      In the sales letter I tell what I am going to deliver and then in the ebook I deliver what I promised.

      It's very easy and fast.

      This works. I used to do it back when I was promoting seminars. The presenter would explain the topic, I'd write the promotion (which would typically include bullets on "what you will learn when you attend") and the promotion would become the basis for the presentation. Worked great!
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Tandan
    Joe's response is very detailed and very accurate. I would only propose a couple other things to consider:
    * even before you get to the outline / chapter-naming phase, write an introduction. Often simply in the writing of one you'll get a much clearer idea of the concepts you wish to present, plus it will give you more focus when you move to the outline
    * when creating the outline and chapter names, be flexible -- the book does not have to be written chronologically in the beginning. What I mean is you can draft the chapters in any order you choose, then re-arrange them when editing to give the book the best flow.

    Hope this helps!
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  • Profile picture of the author jbsmith
    For me, I outline based on starting with the final transformation I want to deliver for my reader.

    Ex. lose 20lb in 30-days, effortless meditation in 7-days, stop your dog from barking in 30-days, etc...

    From here, I simply create a chapter around each major step, tip or procedure that will eventually deliver that final transformation

    Each chapter outline is made up of questions that readers will ask on their way to reaching that milestone (for that chapter) which gives me a very detailed outline that I can then write to, outsource or conduct interviews to collect.

    Other tips...

    1. Add diagrams for visual learners
    2. Link to resources like video, worksheet, tool as part of the ebook where relevant
    3. Add in examples and personal experiences if possible
    4. Write in short sentences, staying on topic focused around answering the questions

    Jeff
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  • Profile picture of the author Romeo90
    For me, it is as much about keeping stuff out of the eBook that the reader doesn't require as much as it's about making sure the key content is in there.

    Joe's response is as descriptive as it gets, use his answer as a solid base.
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    • Profile picture of the author agmccall
      The author Douglas Adams once said, and I am paraphrasing

      "I take a lot of words and put them in a cunning order"

      al
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  • Profile picture of the author Rok Solid
    My 2 cents..

    I like to look in forums on the niche I'm writing about and pay attention to issues that come up regularly. This gives me a list of topics to write about (chapters) and ensures that I'm creating a book that already has some demand.

    Like Joe above I also like to have an end goal in mind. What will my reader be able to do once they've finished reading?

    One thing that I can't even imagine writing without is mind mapping. I've used a couple of different tools but now I've settled on Xmind. This allows me to compile my list of topics in the research phase quickly and without having to put too much thought into the order.

    Each topic usually inspires sub topics (ie content) and expands on it's own. I can then reorder as necessary.

    Then I write suing my mind map as my guide.

    I've also been using Workflowy a lot lately to divide up ideas and tasks into lists. This is also an excellent tool for writing.

    For me the tools are an essential element in my writing.

    All the best
    Ricky
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  • Profile picture of the author spearce000
    Like Hpgoodboy says above, start with figuring out how you're going to sell your e-book. Use the bullet points you're going to put in your sales letter as the chapter headings on your outline, then flesh them out, so that each chapter builds on the point you're making.
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  • Profile picture of the author mguy
    It's working so far guys. Except my outline was not followed strictly. I made an inital outline and found that it wasn't sufficient or just plain wrong... and now it had evolved. I still like keeping things focused with a rough outline.

    The book is roughly done at 60%, now gotta add the extra value into it.

    I like what HP said about writing the sales letter first. I think I will be writing that now even before I go any further. I assume the sales letter will list all the value that the book contains?

    Additional tips are welcome.
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  • Profile picture of the author absolutelee
    I'm actually in the middle of my first real book. I've outlined it. Then, I'm fleshing it out on my blog. I'll take those posts later on, add to them, and create the book.
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    I love writing ebooks. Here's how I do it.

    Take the central idea and blow it up into many different sub-topics.

    Take the most interesting sub-topic and find its most provocative elements.

    Write attention-grabbing chapter titles based on the provocative elements.

    Outline each chapter

    Write out the chapters interlacing the intro with previous chapters.

    Write the conclusions by previewing upcoming chapters.

    Using this method, the ebook pretty much writes itself. I've finished 2 ebooks for clients already. Quality and speed don't have to be mutually exclusive.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mateenyall
    hmmm,

    I brainstorm a bunch of topics, (keep adding to this whenever I think of more). When this starts getting long I start ordering.

    I start working on random topics/chapters till my ebook starts taking form and then eventually it finishes

    I try and start from the first topic and go down as often as I can but if I get bored then I just work on another topic till I have enough motivation to finish it off lol.
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  • Profile picture of the author trump7
    When I think about writing a book first I outlined it and make hints to write on different subjects in the book. So this way I can easily complete the book in short time.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      I start with a "reverse outline", starting with the objective being completed. Then work back systematically to the starting point I envision for the audience.

      At each step, I follow the same process - what's the end result, and how do I get there from the end of the previous step.

      Time to flip it back around the right way. Start at the beginning, and follow the steps. Did I leave anything out? Get things in the wrong order?

      Once I get that in order, it's a matter of adding stories, descriptions, checklists, anecdotes, etc.

      mguy mentioned not following the outline exactly. I've never had a book or other long project follow my initial outline exactly.

      This "work backwards and then forward again" works for me whether I'm doing non-fiction or a whodunit mystery thriller.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    I get in touch with one of my ghostwriters.
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  • Profile picture of the author Syed Raza
    You Should focus on G.A.T.E.

    G.A.T.E. stands for Goal, Audience, Topic, and Ebook scope.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dain
    I mind map.

    it's been a great skill in mapping my online business with clarity.

    I mind map the ebook for an outline so I know where I'm going.

    Then i sit down and write the whole thing in one sitting.

    Then go back and edit.
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  • Profile picture of the author cobra5106
    I'm not much of a writer, but here's a quick story of what happened to work for me:

    I gave a presentation to a group of local small business owners. (I created this presentation using a mindmap to basically outline what I was going to talk about).

    The outcome was such a success (received many leads and new contacts), that I decided to put the presentation into an ebook.

    Then I decided to take the same presentation and create multiple short videos from it. It was pretty easy since I still had the presentation fresh in my mind.

    So, at this point, I had an eBook, videos and a mind map.
    Then, for 1 last extra feature, I created audio files from the videos.

    So, at the end of all this, I not only created an eBook, but had videos, audios and a mind map to go along with it. (Not to mention a list of local business owners who had some trust in me).

    Note: I've repeated this process and continued to experience similar results.
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  • Profile picture of the author jamescanz
    Originally Posted by mguy View Post

    What are steps you take for writing your ebook?
    Create an outline

    Every chapter is a step of the system

    Once I have all of the chapters down, I simply add more details below the chapter.

    For example if the first step is "Getting the tools" notes below that would be...

    Email marketing, hosting, domain, OptimizePress, etc

    Then I do that for every chapter / step

    Makes writing an eBook an absolute breeze
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