Once you have your outline for your book, you can refine it and it becomes your table of contents. Once you have your table of contents, you have the structure for your book or ebook. All that’s left is what I call “filling in the blanks”!
I find it’s also helpful to create a structure for each chapter. If you’ve seen a “For Dummies” book, you’ll notice how each chapter has similar elements. For example, a typical structure for a how-to book would be…
1) Inspiring quote
2) Topic, lesson
3) Story, example of people living the lesson
4) More lesson
5) Action steps
How this would look in the example of our book on Overcoming Obesity would be:
1) quote: To say that obesity is caused by merely consuming too many calories is like saying that the only cause of the American Revolution was the Boston Tea Party. ― Adelle Davis, author
2) topic: Discuss your views on the subject, your expertise.
3) story: Talk about your own experiences losing weight or those of people you’ve worked with.
4) topic: More lesson, comments on the story you just told.
5) Action steps: Buy a journal you will use throughout this book to keep track of your meals.
Look easy? It is! This is how you create content, by filling in your template.
Have you written articles, blog posts, white papers, brochures, web content? All of these may have content you can draw from to write your book or ebook. Gather all the content you already have and see what you need to fill in. You can get additional content from doing research, conducting interviews, talking and recording yourself then having it transcribed, or just sitting down and letting your brain empty out through your hands and onto the page.
As a professional ghostwriter, I provide a valuable service for people who can’t seem to get organized to write their book or can’t seem to pull the content out of their head. I have several ways of working with people, each customized to their needs. Call me for a 20-minute complimentary consultation if you find yourself stuck at this point. My specialty is getting you unstuck and moving toward your goal of being a published author!
PS. Remember, if you live in the San Diego area, I’ll be speaking on Monday, May 23, at the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild. My topic is Turn Your Book into Your Business. The meeting runs from 6:30 to 8:30 pm and is at 3851 Rosecrans St. Visit www.sdwritersguild.org for additional information. Would love to see you there!
I know, it seems overwhelming. How can I write a 100-200 page book if I’ve never written one before? Well, there’s a first time for everything.
This is how you start…
You have the author motivation, maybe to share an area of expertise with as many people as possible. As an example, say it’s “how to overcome obesity”. Then you have the reader motivation for buying your book, maybe to “learn how to drop two pounds per week in a healthful manner, and keep it off”.
So, your book will take the reader from where they are when they buy the book—they can’t seem to lose weight—to where you want them to be when they’re finished reading the book: learning a healthy lifestyle plan to lose two pounds per week and keep it off.
Also, by the end of the book you want to make sure you’ve achieved the author motivation: to share your expertise. If for example, you specialize in devising vegetarian diets to overcome obesity, you’ll want to showcase that expertise in the book and have links to your website throughout the book. And, you’ll want information on your services and how to contact you at the end of the book.
This is the way you create your outline or table of contents for the book: taking the reader through the journey from where they are to where you want them to be.
When your book is done—and believe me, some authors never feel their book is done—you’ll have achieved the author and reader motivations. As a copyeditor, along with finding grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors, I confirm that the author has met these two goals.
And PLEASE, always get your book edited—with a professional copyeditor, not your spouse or next-door neighbor, although I’m sure they’re very competent.
If you’re sharing expertise, building your brand, wanting passive income—any of these great goals—you want a well edited book that meets the needs of a defined target audience, your readers!
PS. Please contact me for your free 20-minute consultation where I will help you with any editing or writing challenges. www.writersway.com/contact
I always like to begin a book project by asking my clients to clarify their two motivations:
1) the author motivation: why do you want to write this book or ebook?
2) the reader motivation: why will your readers buy this book or ebook?
Let me clarify what these mean:
Author motivation can include a variety of goals such as:
- make passive income
- share my expertise
- solve a problem
- spread my message
- promote my name and brand
- do what I love
- enjoy the prestige of being an author
You may have another motivation or several, so think about what it is, and write it down. As you move through the process of writing a book or ebook and confront challenges or distractions, you need to connect with your motivation to keep your forward momentum. (Don’t even think you won’t have distractions!)
Reader motivation has to be strong enough for someone to take out their credit card and click BUY NOW! Some might be:
- need a solution to a problem
- want more information on a subject
- desire to learn a new skill
- inspiration, guidance
- entertainment, escape
Why do you buy books? Why would someone buy your book, instead of someone else’s? This needs to be a strong WHY! Or you won’t achieve your author motivation.
So before you sit down to write your book or ebook, dig down and determine the author and reader motivation. Write these down and keep them where you can see them near your computer. They’ll keep you focused and pumped up any time you get writers’ block, overwhelm, or fear!
By the way, I have accountability coaching programs to keep you on track. Check them out at www.writersway.com/services.
PS. If you live in the San Diego area, I’ll be speaking on Monday, May 23, at the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild. My topic is Turn Your Book into Your Business. The meeting runs from 6:30 to 8:30 pm and is at 3851 Rosecrans St. Visit www.sdwritersguild.org for additional information. Would love to see you there!
Congratulations! Either you’ve written your ebook or you started the journey. I’m so proud of you. (If you’re neither of these, please call me ASAP and let me help you get started! Just fill in the blanks at www.writersway.com/contact and I’ll get in touch with you to set up our 20-minute complimentary consultation).
Once you finish writing your ebook and saving it as a PDF you’re ready to load it on your website (and other websites including Amazon) and start enjoying the fruits of your labor.
You say you’re not satisfied; you still want a print book? Not to worry. First take a few weeks, sell a few books and listen to the feedback. It’s easier to make edits in an ebook than a print book! Ouch! When you’re sure your ebook is just how you want it, you’re ready for the next part of your journey.
At this point, authors must decide if they want to find an agent and publisher or become a self-publisher. I can’t make that decision for you; you have to weigh the pros and cons of each. To boil it down, you have more control and more profits as a self-publisher. You have more prestige and less work to produce and distribute your book if you get a publisher.
In both cases you’ll have to do the bulk of the promotion! Sorry, that’s just the way it is. Most publishers only promote their top name authors, so if you don’t get people to buy your book, the bookstores will ship your books back to the publisher and you won’t earn any royalties.
Now if you decide to self-publish you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of using a POD (print-on-demand) press or the printer down the street (or in the Mid-West). My clients are doing both and everyone is getting a high quality book. You just have to do your homework. Ask other authors, join a writing group or organization, get online and do the research.
All new authors start from scratch and are pretty savvy after their first book experience. My favorite client, a 93-year-young crusader for healthy eating, is still learning after his sixth book!
I know you can do it. It’s a lot of work, a lot of fun, and fantastic rewards!
PS. Remember, I have four different coaching services to help you through your journey. Choose the one that’s best for you at www.writersway.com/services. My goal is to help you reach your goal—a published author!
You want it quick and easy! Don’t we all? I know you can do it. Look, I bought a 25-page ebook for $57. Do I sound dumb? The author sold me on the value, and I fell for the sales pitch. It could have been just the information I was looking for. Well, in that case it wasn’t and I was able to “return” it and get my money back.
You can’t really return an ebook. But anyway, all I’m saying is that it was 25 pages, and anyone who’s an expert on anything can write 25 pages in 25 hours or less. If you wrote for two hours a day for 12.5 days, you’d have a 25-page ebook done! If you wanted a 50-page ebook, write two hours a day for 25 days.
You say you don’t have the time for even that? Want to know how to find the time?
The quickest way to write your ebook is to decide on your topic, create an outline, and sit down and write. The best way to write an ebook is to follow this process; it might take a bit longer, but you’ll write an ebook that will sell:
- answer this question: what is my motivation for writing this ebook?
- answer this question: what is the motivation for the reader to buy my ebook?
- select a topic that will fill both of these motivations
- create an outline that will take the reader from where they are to where they expect to be when they finish reading
- turn your outline into the table of contents
- gather data you’ve already written or collected on the subject and plug it into the appropriate chapters; create new content where you need it
- weave all the content together, read it over to make sure it meets your motivation and the reader motivation
- have five people in your target audience read it; get feedback; make adjustments; get it edited professionally
- design your cover and interior or have it designed; save it as a PDF
This is pretty much the process for writing an ebook quickly. Of course there are more details, but this covers the basics. My ebook “Your Info-Product Success System” fills in the blanks and gives you a complete system for producing your first ebook. Check it out at www.infoproductsuccesssystem.com.
Email me or leave a comment if I can answer any questions.
However, I work with many reluctant writers, and frankly it’s much easier and a lot quicker to get your first ebook done than your first print book.
Want to know why?
Okay, here’s what I’ve found. I can motivate people to write a short ebook quickly and get it loaded on their website to start selling much quicker than they can get a print book done. Why? Because you write your ebook—anywhere from 25 to 50 pages (or more)—then save it as a PDF, put it on your website (or blog if you don’t have a website), hook it up to PayPal, and start having your ebook earn its keep!
Now with a print book, it’s got to be around 125 to 200 pages, or more, you’ve got to get it edited, have the cover designed, the interior formatted, a printer selected (on demand or brick and mortar), and a way to distribute those little gems. In my experience, this longer process scares a lot of aspiring authors back to the safety of their unfulfilled dreams. Well maybe not safety, but comfort zone.
And I’m not even discussing here those folks who want to find a literary agent or traditional publisher. That could be a really long haul—or never at all! (Been there…)
With an ebook you’ll still want to have it edited (please!), and a cover designed. You could format it yourself quite easily in Word—I do it all the time for my ebooks and those of my clients. But you have no printer issues and few distribution issues. At least, you don’t have to stock books in your garage and make trips to the post office to mail books.
Again, why ebooks? Because people are buying them—in droves. That’s a good enough reason for me!
P.S. If you’re not the do-it-yourself type, my ebook on producing an ebook might not be enough to get you going. In that case, check out my coaching services at www.writersway.com/services and select the one that will blast you out of your comfort zone!
I call April my “Ebook Explosion” month, because—well, ebooks are exploding! Statistics continue to report more ebooks are now being sold on Amazon than print books. If that’s not an explosion I don’t know what is. You can read an entire book on the 4X6 inch Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Reader, and more Kindle copycats than you can count. Then there’s your iPhone and other cell phones that can download books.
So what are you going to do about it?
What you’re going to do is to jump on the Ebook Explosion bandwagon. And how will you do that? By writing your first ebook, of course!
Now, if you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’m a champion of ebooks. I’ve even been working on coming up with a title, like the “Ebook Queen” but queen is so overdone. So I’m toying with the “Ebook Educator” because I teach how to write and sell ebooks through teleclasses, webinars, reports, ebooks, and I just sold a class on this subject to a local university where I’ll be teaching live in the fall. I’m really looking forward to guiding my students to complete their ebook in the six weeks of the course.
So what are you waiting for? Get that ebook out of your head and onto the computer page. Keep reading my posts, and I’ll give you tips to guide you through the process of writing your first ebook and joining the Ebook Explosion!
P.S. By the way, some of the other eReaders are Aluratek, BeBook, EnTourage, Kobo, Pandigital, Sharper Image, Spring Design, and ViewSonic. Where will it end?
P.P.S. If you want to get started right away—and you should—check out my valuable 63-page do-it-yourself ebook on how to produce your first ebook at www.infoproductsuccesssystem.com.
I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you’ve been planning for a while to write an ebook. So you put it in your New Year’s goals and that’s that. When February rolls around and you see you haven’t gotten started, you wonder why. Well, here are some reasons. First, you didn’t schedule time in your daily schedule to work on the ebook. Time you schedule for your own projects is as important as time you set aside for clients and loved ones. Second, you didn’t formulate a plan as to how to proceed with writing your ebook.
That’s because you’ve never written an ebook before. So you have no idea where to start and how to proceed. It sounded like a good idea, everyone’s reading ebooks, many people are writing them—why not you? I agree, it’s a good idea, a great idea. But you need a plan.
That’s why I write ebooks and teach classes on how to write books and ebooks, because most people have no clue how to do it. I’ll give you a few quick hints here to start you on your plan.
First do the research and brainstorm some subjects and titles. What other books are out there on your topic? How can you be unique? Check Amazon to see who your competition is. Second, create an outline for what you want to cover in your book or ebook; this will become your table of contents. Next, go to your calendar and block off 2-hour periods of time to write. You might even want to get an accountability partner, like myself or a friend or associate. Then sit and write at those designated times. Don’t worry about being perfect in your first draft—just let the ideas pour out of your brain and onto the page.
Hope this helps you move forward with your writing goals.
Andrea Susan Glass
We’re almost 2 months into the New Year, and I thought I’d check and see how you’re doing on your goals? Especially your writing goals. Did you start out the year committing to write one blog post/ week? Or one article/ month? Or 3 emails/ month to your list?
What about the book or ebook you said you would finally write this year? Have you gotten started on that? I meet many people with good intentions, who REALLY want to write a book or ebook, but never get started. Or get started, then stop, and never finish.
Do you fall into any of these categories? Okay, I know you got really busy. Your work started to pile up. You had household issues to deal with. We all have the same distractions. And guess what? They’re not going away, nor will they ever.
Distractions or “stuff to do” will always be a part of life. We have to learn to prioritize. If you really want to get that blog post, article, email, book, or ebook written, it needs to move up your priority list. Doing something for you—whether it enhances your business or personal life—is just as important as what you do for your clients and loved one. When we satisfy our own goals and longings, we’ve got so much more to give to others. Feed yourself first, and you’ll easily feed others.
So, let me know if you’re stuck with getting started on your writing goals. I’d love to help.
Andrea Susan Glass
For some people, writing is worse than getting their teeth drilled. I once read, “It’s more fun to have written than to write”. I can attest to that, especially when I sit down to write 4 emails, 12 blog posts, and 3 articles at one sitting. And then add to that a bunch of Facebook notes and various comments on friends’ notes and blogs.
Also, I’ve alluded to the fact that I often have difficulty writing from my heart, so I’ve been practicing more with these blog posts and emails. But whether you’re writing a blog post, article, email, Facebook note, or an ebook, writing from the heart is the key that connects you with your audience. They hear what you’re saying, but also feel your intent behind the words—your intent to provide value.
When you write from your heart, you connect with your target audience, and when you write with a purpose your writing is at its most impactful! You’re writing what you most want to convey, and you’re writing what you feel others will benefit from
Therefore, writing for both yourself and others is the key to effective communication. And when you’re writing from the heart, it can be a labor of love!
Andrea Susan Glass
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