How to Write an E-Book

On May 15, 2011, in How to Write, by lesley

I’ve written quite a few eBooks, usually for clients.

So I was a little troubled when I read a post recently on SteveScottsite which said that the ebook was dead.

Troubled partly because if true, this would not be good for my income, but also because I couldn’t think of any way it could be accurate.

There is a source of information I really trust when it comes to books, and that’s Amazon. And Amazon have been saying for a while that they sell more books for their Kindle, than they sell in print. And what do you read on a Kindle?

Essentially, an e-book.

Let me say upfront that I am a huge Kindle fan. I got one of the very first models and now have both a Kindle 2 and a Kindle DX. I read a lot, and being able to download a book and carry a whole library with me wherever has made a huge difference. I can also get by with a much smaller handbag!

Yes, I know you can read Kindle books on an i-pad, but I’ve done the glare test. Believe me if you’ve any desire to read while sitting in the sun, or lying on the beach, you need a Kindle. Sun or no sun, it works. And since I live in Florida and enjoy reading on my sunny balcony, it’s perfect for me.

But whether you’re into Kindle, or you use your computer, or any other type of electronic  reader, what you get from an ebook is something you can’t get from a paper book, and that’s instant gratification.

When a client asks me to put together ideas for an ebook or article series, I can download an ebook (or two) on the subject and look through the tables of contents to see what sort of subjects are covered, this helps me put together a proposal on almost any subject, even those I know nothing about.

The strangest thing about them, is that they can sell for more than print books, yet they haven’t had the peer review most publishers insist on. There’s no question that there are a lot of very disappointing ebooks out there, so how do you avoid producing another one?

Instant gratification is the reason many people bother with e-books, with the Kindle format you can download a sample, usually the first chapter or so, before you decide to buy, so you have to be sure your writing and production are publication quality. The same applies if you sell through Clickbank.  If you begin with waffle or bad spelling and grammar, or worse still, both, then it’s likely your reader will just want a refund, and quickly.

The way to write an ebook is to learn how to write a book. The format doesn’t matter until you get to publishing. At the writing stage they are the same, all you need to think about is your use of other media, and again that’s more of  a publication issue.

When you write fiction, you don’t usually start by writing a book. You start with a story, in some cases a very short story of 500 words. That’ a beginning, middle and end, all in a single page. A challenge in itself!

In the same way, articles and blog posts make an excellent foundation for an ebook (or print book). If they’ve got good, informative content, you can write an introduction and link from one to the next, and if you’re re really into advance planning, a series of blog posts requires even less work to turn into a book, you’ve done all the planning and research to produce the articles.

But why should you bother? For some reason, ebooks still don’t do the same for your reputation as print books do.

You can do a lot with an ebook because of its low production cost. Here are are my ‘top ten’ reasons to write an ebook.

  1. Turn your ebook into a course of which the ebook is part.  Courses sell for a lot more than books, and once you’ve given the course once, you collect testimonials, wait a while and do it again.
  2. Give it away to your readers in exchange for joining your email list. It’s boring, but it works.
  3. Sell it on Amazon in Kindle format.
  4. Sell it through Clickbank and on your website
  5. Give it away as a bonus to people who buy something else from you, or perhaps signup for webinars.
  6. Sell the book through affiliates and give a very large commission
  7. Read the book out loud and turn it into podcast – people love to learn while driving.
  8. Sell the rights to your book – let others sell it as their own.
  9. Turn it into a print book using a print on demand service like Lulu or Createspace.
  10. Become a genuine expert. All experts start out knowing nothing. When I wrote my first book I was pretty convinced I was an expert in the subject, but boy, was I wrong! On the other hand, by the time I’d finished the book, included all the examples and verified what I’d said, then I was worth listening to.


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2 Responses to “How to Write an E-Book”

  1. Thanks for the link! :)

    I think the guest post Paul wrote was more agreeing with you. That the REPORTS of the death of the ebook are greatly exaggerated.

    Like you, I love the Kindle. (can’t beat that anti-glare)

    What a marvelous format for ebooks. In fact you can ALSO put your blog on the kindle.

    I did it with SSS, though I keep forgetting to do any promotion about it. But it is there for .99 a month (the amazon minimum)

    Books may begin to disappear (a sad day) but ebooks will live on and on

  2. lesley says:

    Steve, thanks for coming by, don’t know why your comment got spammed, but it’s here now. I’m glad you love the Kindle I’d be lost without mine – I love books, but I’m very much a fan of the electronic index. Being able to search through text makes it so much quicker to find what you want!

    I didn’t realize you could put a blog on Kindle, that something a few clients of mine will want to know – thanks for great information as always.