The hardest part of writing an ebook 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 ebook.
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 readers?
- Is your book dynamic and will it keep the reader’s attention?
- Does you book answer questions that are meaningful and significant?
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 (an read), the better your writing will become. The better your writing becomes, the bigger your sales figures.
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 “comma splice.”)
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.
Here below are some tips on overcoming writers block:
Ovecoming Writer’s Block
What is writer’s block?
Well, I just can’t think of a single darn thing to say. Oh well, I’m outta here!
Sound familiar? No! Oh, get real! We’ve all experienced this phenomenon when we absolutely have to write something, particularly on deadline. I’m talking about. . . . .uh, I can’t think of what the word is . . . oh, yes, it’s on the tip of my tongue . . . it’s:
Whew! I feel better just getting that out of my head and onto the page!
Writer’s block is the patron demon of the blank page. You may think you know EXACTLY what you’re going to write, but as soon as that evil white screen appears before you, your mind suddenly goes completely blank. I’m not talking about Zen meditation stare-at-the-wall-until-enlightenment-hits kind of
I’m talking about sweat trickling down the back of your neck, anguish and panic and suffering kind of blank. The tighter the deadline, the worse the anguish of writer’s block gets.
Having said that, let me say it again. “The tighter the deadline, the worse the anguish of writer’s block gets.” Now, can you figure out what might possibly be causing this horrible plunge into speechlessness?
The answer is obvious: FEAR! You are terrified of that blank page. You are terrified you have absolutely nothing of value to say. You are afraid of the fear of writer’s block itself!
It doesn?t necessarily matter if you’ve done a decade of research and all you have to do is string sentences you can repeat in your sleep together into coherent paragraphs. Writer’s block can strike anyone at any time. Based in fear, it raises our doubts about our own self-worth, but it’s sneaky. It’s writer’s block, after all, so it doesn’t just come and let you know that.
No, it makes you feel like an idiot who just had your frontal lobes removed through your sinuses. If you dared to put forth words into the greater world, they would surely come out as gibberish!
Let’s try and be rational with this irrational demon. Let’s make a list of what might possibly be beneath this terrible and terrifying condition.
1. Perfectionism. You must absolutely produce a masterpiece of literature straight off in the first draft. Otherwise, you qualify as a complete failure.
2. Editing instead of composing. There’s your monkey-mind sitting on your shoulder, yelling as soon as you type “I was born?,” no, not that, that’s wrong! That’s stupid! Correct correct correct correct?
3. Self-consciousness. How can you think, let alone write, when all you can manage to do is pry the fingers of writer’s block away from your throat enough so you can gasp in a few shallow breaths? You’re not focusing on what you’re trying to write, your focusing on those gnarly fingers around your windpipe.
4. Can’t get started. It’s always the first sentence that’s the hardest. As writers, we all know how EXTREMELY important the first sentence is. It must be brilliant! It must be unique! It must hook your reader’s from the start! There’s no way we can get into writing the piece until we get past this
impossible first sentence.
5. Shattered concentration. You’re cat is sick. You suspect your mate is cheating on you. Your electricity might be turned off any second. You have a crush on the local UPS deliveryman. You have a dinner party planned for your in-laws. You . . . Need I say more. How can you possibly concentrate with all this mental clutter?
6. Procrastination. It’s your favorite hobby. It’s your soul mate. It?s the reason you’ve knitted 60 argyle sweaters or made 300 bookcases in your garage workshop. It’s the reason you never run out of Brie.
FACE IT ? IT?S ONE OF THE REASONS YOU HAVE WRITER’S BLOCK!
How to Overcome Writer’s Block
Okay. I can hear that herd of you running away from this article as fast as you can. Absurd! you huff. Never in a million years, you fume. Writer’s block is absolutely, undeniably, scientifically proven to be impossible to overcome.
Oh, just get over it! Well, I guess it’s not that easy. So try to sit down for just a few minutes and listen. All you have to do is listen ? you don’t have to actually write a single word.
Ah, there you all are again. I am beginning to make you out now that the cloud of dust is settling.
I am here to tell you that WRITER’S BLOCK CAN BE OVERCOME.
Please, remain seated.
There are ways to trick this nasty demon. Pick one, pick several, and give them a try. Soon, before you even have a chance for your heartbeat to accelerate, guess what? You’re writing.
Here are some tried and true methods of overcoming writer’s block:
1. Be prepared. The only thing to fear is fear itself. (I know, that’s a clich?but as soon as you start writing, feel free to improve on it.) If you spend some time mulling over your project before you actually sit down to write, you may be able to circumvent the worst of the crippling panic.
2. Forget perfectionism. No one ever writes a masterpiece in the first draft. Don’t put any expectations on your writing at all! In fact, tell yourself you’re going to write absolute garbage, and then give yourself permission to happily stink up your
3. Compose instead of editing. Never, never write your first draft with your monkey-mind sitting on your shoulder making snide editorial comments. Composing is a magical process. It surpasses the conscious mind by galaxies. It’s even incomprehensible to the conscious, editorial, monkey-mind. So prepare an ambush. Sit down at your computer or your desk. Take a deep breath and blow out all your thoughts. Let your finger hover over your keyboard or pick up your pen. And then pull a fake: appear to be about to begin to write, but instead, using your thumb and index finger of your
dominant hand, flick that little annoying ugly monkey
back into the barrel of laughs it came from. Then jump
in ? quickly! Write, scribble, scream, howl, let
everything loose, as long as you do it with a pen or
your computer keyboard.
4. Forget the first sentence. You can sweat over that all-important one-liner when you’ve finished your piece. Skip it! Go for the middle or even the end. Start wherever you can. Chances are, when you read it over, the first line will be blinking its little neon lights right at you from the depths of your composition.
5. Concentration. This is a hard one. Life throws us so many curve balls. How about thinking about your writing time as a little vacation from all those annoying worries. Banish them! Create a space, perhaps even a physical one, where nothing exists except the single present moment. If one of those irritating worries gets by you, stomp on it like you would an
6. Stop procrastinating. Write an outline. Keep your research notes within sight. Use someone else’s writing to get going. Babble incoherently on paper or on the computer if you have to.
Just do it! (I know, I stole that line from somewhere?). Tack up anything that could possibly help you to get going: notes, outlines, pictures of your grandmother. Put the cookie you will be allowed to eat when you finish your first draft within sight ? but out of reach.
Then pick up the same type of writing that you need to write, and read it. Then read it again. Soon, trust me, the fear will slowly fade away. As soon as it does, grab your keyboard ? and get writing!