Sunday, September 10, 2006
The hardest part of writing is the first sentence.
When you look at the whole project, it seems like an
impossible task. That's why you have to break it down
into manageable tasks. Think of climbing a mountain.
You are standing at the foot of it and looking up at
its summit vanishing into the clouds. How can you
possibly scale such an immense and dangerous mountain?
There is only one way to climb a mountain ? step by
Now think of writing your ebook in the same light. You
must create it step by step, and one day, you will
take that last step and find yourself standing on the
summit with your head in the clouds.
The first thing you have to do, as if you actually
were a mountain climber, is to get organized. Instead
of climbing gear, however, you must organize your
thoughts. There are some steps you should take before
you begin. Once you've gone through the following
list, you will be ready to actually begin writing your
Beginning Steps to Writing an ebook
First, figure out your ebook's working title. Jot down
a few different titles, and eventually, you'll find
that one that will grow on you. Titles help you to
focus your writing on your topic; they guide you in
anticipating and answering your reader's queries. Many
non-fiction books also have subtitles. Aim for clarity
in your titles, but cleverness always helps to sell
books ? as long as it's not too cute. For example,
Remedies for Insomnia: twenty different ways to count
sheep. Or: Get off that couch: fifteen exercise plans
to whip you into shape.
Next, write out a thesis statement. Your thesis is a
sentence or two stating exactly what problem you are
addressing and how your book will solve that problem.
All chapters spring forth from your thesis statement.
Once you've got your thesis statement fine-tuned,
you've built your foundation. From that foundation,
your book will grow, chapter by chapter.
Your thesis will keep you focused while you write your
ebook. Remember: all chapters must support your thesis
statement. If they don't, they don't belong in your
book. For example, your thesis statement could read:
We've all experienced insomnia at times in our lives,
but there are twenty proven techniques and methods to
give you back a good night's sleep.
Once you have your thesis, before you start to write,
make sure there is a good reason to write your book.
Ask yourself some questions:
* Does your book present useful information and is
that information currently relevant?
* Will you book positively affect the lives of your
* Is your book dynamic and will it keep the reader's
* Does you book answer questions that are meaningful
If you can answer yes to these questions, you can feel
confident about the potential of your ebook.
Another important step is to figure out who your
target audience is. It is this group of people you
will be writing to, and this group will dictate many
elements of your book, such as style, tone, diction,
and even length. Figure out the age range of your
readers, their general gender, what they are most
interested in, and even the socio-economic group they
primarily come from. Are they people who read fashion
magazines or book reviews? Do they write letters in
longhand or spend hours every day online. The more you
can pin down your target audience, the easier it will
be to write your book for them.
Next, make a list of the reasons you are writing your
ebook. Do you want to promote your business? Do you
want to bring quality traffic to your website? Do you
want to enhance your reputation?
Then write down your goals in terms of publishing. Do
you want to sell it as a product on your website, or
do you want to offer it as a free gift for filling out
a survey or for ordering a product? Do you want to use
the chapters to create an e-course, or use your ebook
to attract affiliates around the world? The more you
know upfront, the easier the actual writing will be.
Decide on the format of your chapters. In non-fiction,
keep the format from chapter to chapter fairly
consistent. Perhaps you plan to use an introduction to
your chapter topic, and then divide it into four
subhead topics. Or you may plan to divide it into five
parts, each one beginning with a relevant anecdote.
How to make your ebook "user friendly"
You must figure out how to keep your writing engaging.
Often anecdotes, testimonials, little stories, photos,
graphs, advice, and tips will keep the reader turning
the pages. Sidebars are useful for quick, accessible
information, and they break up the density of the
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!
Good writing takes practice. It takes lots and lots of
practice. Make a schedule to write at least a page a
day. Read books and magazines about the process of
writing, and jot down tips that jump out at you. The
art of writing is a lifetime process; the more you
write (and read), the better your writing will become.
The better your writing becomes, the bigger your sales
In an ebook that is read on the screen, be aware that
you must give your reader's eye a break. You can do
this by utilizing white space. In art classes, white
space is usually referred to as "negative space."
Reader's eyes need to rest in the cool white oasises
you create on your page. If your page is too dense,
your reader will quit out of it as soon as their eyes
begin to tear.
Make use of lists, both bulleted and numbered. This
makes your information easy to absorb, and gives the
reader a mental break from dissecting your paragraphs
one after the other.
Finally, decide on an easy-to-read design. Find a font
that's easy on the eyes, and stick to that font
family. Using dozens of fonts will only tire your
readers out before they've gotten past your
introduction. Use at least one and a half line
spacing, and text large enough to be read easily on
the screen, but small enough so that the whole page
can be seen on a computer screen. You will have to
experiment with this to find the right combination.
Of course, don't forget to run a spell and grammar
check. You are judged by something as minor as correct
punctuation, so don?t mess up a great book by tossing
out semicolons randomly, or stringing sentences
together with commas. (By the way, that's called a
Last of all, create an index and a bibliography.
That's it! You've written a book! Now all you have to
do is publish your ebook online, and wait for download
request from your website visitors.