Here’s the brutal truth about writing an eBook:
There are WAY too many authors today who believe that writing what they think their audience cares about is enough.
If only it were that easy…
If you’re serious about attracting an audience of a substantial size and actually selling your eBook, you need to be very careful about what and how you create.
Otherwise you risk using the cooked spaghetti method: throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall and praying that it sticks.
Well, today I’m going to show you a technique that almost guarantees that you will know how to write an eBook in 30 days that will sell.
Keep reading to learn how..
How to write an eBook?
Now look, this post is 2000 words long and I know you’re busy. Click the big button below to download the short version of this step-by-step guide to writing an ebook in 30 days.
Days 1-2: Pick Your Topic
You probably have some sort of idea in your mind already. Something you thought about last winter and now keep returning to every now and then.
Well forget about this idea.
Chances are, you would enjoy writing about it, but do you know for sure that it’s something that your audience will buy? Because if it’s not, you just wasted your time writing something no one needs. And that is not the risk you should be willing to take.
What you need is a exceptional eBook idea.
Idea that is specific.
And useful at the very same time. You’re reading industry blogs and following relevant discussion on forums. Are there any issues that surface time and again?
Ask your audience what they are looking for and get some ideas that way. Give them a couple of variants, if you struggle to choose between two or three different topics. You can set up a simple survey and tweet it to your followers.
Days 3-4: Create an Outline
Before you start writing, you need to get organized.
“You need to put all those wonderful ideas down on paper in a form you can use,” writes Andy Ingermanson on Advanced Fiction Writing. “Why? Because your memory is fallible, and your creativity has probably left a lot of holes in your story — holes you need to fill in before you start writing.”
There is no one foolproof approach to creating an outline. The best is the one that works for you, so choose wisely.
#1: Draw a mindmap.
You can use a tool like bubbl.us to do it without ever leaving your favorite browser. Put the main idea or the outcome you wish your readers to achieve by reading your book in the center. Then add things they’ll need to learn to get there as separate elements. Connect these ideas using lines to try to create a logical structure. Write down every single piece of information, regardless of how important it is in the grand scheme of things. There’ll be time to get everything in order later on.
#2: Write a list.
Make a bullet-point list in Evernote ( Word will do too ) for everything you can think of that needs to be in the book.
“Don’t worry about organizing it at this point, just brainstorm,”suggests author Lisa Nowak“Take walks. Talk to other people. Do whatever is necessary to generate ideas.”
#3: Examine other eBooks.
And books. White papers or reports. Anything really. What subjects are mentioned in most of the outlines? Anything you should add to yours?
Days 5-25: Start writing (!)
Not surprisingly, the majority of the time should be spent on the actual writing.
Let’s assume that you’ll try for approx. 70 pages, with a couple of images here and there. This means you should be writing 750 words per day.
And it’s a good number too.
“250 words per page is considered to be the standard accepted number of words per page. So, three standard pages are about 750 words,” points out Buster Benson on 750words.com “It really just comes down to the fact that this amount of writing feels about right.”
If you don’t have any experience with writing regularly, this all may sound a little overwhelming.
Think about it this way. If you pull this off, one month later you’ll have your very own eBook.
Here’s a couple of tips on how to keep writing those 750 words a day every day for the next 21 days.
Write out your likely barriers.
Author and blogger Roby Blair would likely agree. His blog post, “Write Every Day in 2014: 14 Steps for Forming A Writing Habit” encourages you to ask yourself:
“Where are you going to mess up? Come on, you’ve been living with yourself for the last few decades. You’ve got a pretty good sense of what’s likely to keep you from succeeding.”
“Rather than pretending you can just “do better this time” or “will through it,” acknowledge and accept these barriers. Are you likely to sleep in? Feel burnt out and unable to write? Will your kids distract you? Write out the most honest possible descriptions of your likely obstacles,” he writes.
Figure out the best time of the day to work on your eBook.
If you find that 6 am is the perfect time to get some writing done before the start of the day, do it then. If you feel that 10 pm works best for you, stick to this time. The best option is the one that suits you personally.
Turn off distractions when you’re writing.
Turn off the Internet. Seriously. Do your research first and then leave everything else till the very end. If you do your research as you go, you’ll end up constantly switching back and forth.
Got other programs running in the background? Shut them down.
Turn off your cell phone and notifications. You don’t need to be talking to anybody while you’re writing.
Clear your desk. No papers, devices, chargers, nothing. Remove the visual clutter from your workspace completely, so that it’s not even a subconscious distraction.
Make writing your priority if it’s important to you.
Set a timer for 25 minutes, then write as much as you can until the alarm goes off. Take a short 5-minute break and start again. You can learn more about this approach here. If you don’t have a timer, you can use one of the pomodoro apps. Just google it.
Don’t stop writing.
When you think you need to google something, look up a link or find a picture.. don’t. Highlight the area that needs your attention with yellow marker or just include something like <!!!> in the text of your document, so that you know later that this needs your attention.
Don’t edit while you write.
Even if it’s the very first paragraph that you can’t get quite right. Remember that you don’t have to start from the beginning. And you will write faster if you separate writing and editing stages.
Another neat trick you can try is to:
“Copy your LAST sentence at the end of every writing day into an entirely new document. Then spend a minute writing out some directions for yourself about what you want to accomplish the next day,” says Daphne Gray-Grant on Publication Coach. “The next day, work only from this fresh document. This way you can’t be lured into editing your work before you finish writing it.”
Keep writing every day.
Try to create a habit of writing every day. While certainly hard at first, it will yield high rewards after.
Kevin Purdy on Lifehacker suggests that you…
“Stop writing mid-sentence to ward off writer’s block.”
The same approach can be used to continue writing every morning or night for the next 21 days.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. This is what one of the most successful comedians of all‐time, Jerry Seinfeld, did to write his jokes every day for years.
It’s quite simple really. Every day that you complete your writing task, you get to put a big red X over that day on your calendar.
“After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”
This certainly has worked very well for me, so it should work for you too.
Days 26-28: Edit your eBook
Ideally, you would want to take a little break before putting on the editor’s hat. But since you’re on a deadline here, you’ll have to dive right into it.
For some people, this is the hardest part of writing. After starting to write, of course. But you’ve already gotten through that stage. In fact, you’re at the finish line.
So instead of waiting, print the whole thing out and look at your eBook like you didn’t spend the last 21 days writing it.
You can always just transfer it to your iPad or Kindle if you don’t feel like using that much ink and paper.
Now read it and pay special attention to things like:
- Any information that appears twice or even more;
- Material that you wanted to include, but didn’t;
- Chapters or sections that would read better if re-arranged.
Don’t spend too much time trying to perfect every word; there will be time for that later on.
Fix any typos that you discover during this stage, but don’t get overwhelmed with it.
Spend this time on deleting inessential parts, re-ordering sections and adding any quotes or stats that you left to fill in later.
Then read the whole thing out loud. Yes, really. I know it’ll take a lot of your time. But it will help you spot the issues you would otherwise miss.
Days 29-30: Proofread and make final changes
Some of you may think that by now your work is practically finished. Not by a long shot. Now is not the time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Not yet. Your work during this final period is what differentiates your eBook from the pack of unprofessional ones that appear in the interwebs every day.
So get your eagle eye on.
“Read your work backwards, starting with the last sentence and working your way in reverse order to the beginning. Supposedly this works better than reading through from the beginning because your brain knows what you meant to write, so you tend to skip over errors when you’re reading forwards,” writes Mignon Fogarty on Grammar Girl.
“Always proofread a printed version of your work. I don’t know why, but if I try to proofread on a computer monitor I always miss more errors than if I print out a copy and go over it on paper,” she continues.
“Paragraph spacing, text wrap, indentations, spaces above and below a bullet list or between subheadings and text, and so on. Leave this for the end because contents may shift during handling,” warns Leah McClellan on Writetodone.
Now you try it
I hope you can see the potential in applying these techniques for writing your eBook.
Yes, it takes hard work to create something great.
But by following this strategy, you already know that you will get a finished eBook in 30 days.
I want you to give this approach a try and let me know how it worked out for you.
Do you know any good tips on writing? Have I missed anything out? If you have a question or thought, leave it in the comments section below.
P.S. Writing an ebook is a long-term commitment to say the least, so why not download this guide with a calendar to help you stay on track while you write?