Writing your own ebook is a great way to build authority, and above all, a great way to help a lot of people.
If it’s so great, why don’t more people write them?
The answer is simple: confusion.
Where do you start?
And how do you ensure that there’s demand for the ebook you want to write?
Those are just two of many questions you might have.
It’s a confusing process at first, but it gets a lot easier once you’ve done it a few times, trust me.
Let’s go through five simple steps to writing your first awesome ebook, shall we?
Step #1: Find A Demand
You could write your first ebook for the hell of it, but if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you probably want other people to read it, right?
Ok, cool, just making sure
Let’s take Passionate Living as an example. It was my second paid ebook. I kind of stumbled onto what people wanted, because my readers kept asking me the same questions.
Then, to confirm the demand, I e-mailed my e-mail list and asked them what their biggest problem was, and that is how I got the framework for Passionate Living.
If you aren’t receiving feedback from your readers yet, other great ways to find problems to solve is to go to forums in your niche, and see what questions people are asking.
You can also go to Amazon and take a peek at what books are selling, and what content is in those books.
A lot of hours went into the research of those books, so it’s a fantastic place to get ideas.
Step #2: Outline
I outline obsessively, because it gives me focus.
It lets me see if anything is missing, and it helps me look at what I’m creating from a big picture view.
Your outline will change as you create your ebook, so don’t freak out if it happens.
I know some can write without outlining, but I’m not like that.
And if you’re just starting out, you should definitely outline.
I like to outline as much as is humanly possible. I like to write down the chapters, sub-headings, and notes on what the sub-headings will contain, if possible.
If not, I just leave it.
If I don’t have this structure, I find myself worrying about if I’m missing something, or if I’m writing too much in one chapter, and not enough in another.
In summary: outlining keeps me on track, and gives me focus.
Step #3: Freewrite
When I’ve got my outline in place, I start freewriting. It’s not exactly freewriting as it is defined by Wikipedia, but a more controlled form of it.
Freewriting means writing without editing. It means getting everything from your head and onto a piece of white, shiny digital paper.
When I’m doing the first round of writing, I do my best to get out of my own way, and not pay attention to how I’m wording things.
My main focus is on getting everything out.
This is how I write most of my articles.
If you’re trying to edit while you’re writing, you’ll end up pulling your hair out. I think this is one of the main reasons why most people have trouble writing.
The magic happens when you’re editing and rewriting, so don’t worry about getting it perfect right off the bat.
In fact, I recommend you write, and wait 24 hours before editing.
One of the reasons my writing has improved over the months is because I’ve started letting my articles simmer until I edit them.
Step #4: Stay Focused
When you’re creating your ebook, it’s easy to keep adding, perfecting, and in general, never release what you’ve created to the world.
That’s why I always have an outline, so I know when I’m done.
If I find something I can add, that’s cool, but I never go overboard, because the outline should already contain the bulk of what I want to say.
It’s really easy to fall into perfectionism, and delay releasing your ebook. You can always keep adding more if you want to, but you have to kill perfectionism, and get on with it, even if you think your ebook isn’t perfect.
One solution is to outline your ebook well.
Another is to stay aware of the ways you try to avoid putting your work out there.
It’s scary, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Step #5: Convert & Design
I write my ebooks in Microsoft Word, and I convert my documents into PDF in Adobe Acrobat, which isn’t free, but no worries, there are great free options out there, such as Cute PDF.
I personally think design matters, a lot, but in the beginning you might not want to spend a few hundred dollars on a nicely designed ebook, and that’s okay.
However, there are cheaper alternatives out there. If you just need a simple ebook design, you can easily find someone to do an awesome cover for you + a few banners for under $100.
If your ebook is going to be up for sale, or an e-mail sign-up incentive, it’s important to have something that looks great.
If you want to do it yourself, then there are plenty of tutorials all over the web that you can search for.
I’d rather spend my time doing what I do best, and pay someone like Charlie to take care of the design.
Keep It Simple
Remember to keep it simple.
What helps me get things done is that I don’t get caught up in worrying about stuff that I’m not good at.
This doesn’t mean I don’t worry about it, because I do, but I keep going.
For example, when writing my first ebook, I knew that it wasn’t going to be perfect. I accepted it, and created it anyway.
It turned out fine, and I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback, which just goes to show you that what you think is perfect, may not be what other people even want, or need.
The good thing about writing an ebook is that it’s so easy to start. All you have to do is open a word document and start writing (and outlining, of course).
When you’re done, you’ll figure the rest out.
One step at a time, my friend. One step at a time
Image by Lucas