How to Write a Successful Ebook

Self-publishing your own ebook can help you boost your website traffic, improve your credibility, and generally give you the satisfaction of sharing your knowledge with a vast audience. Today’s technologies make it extremely easy to self-publish your own ebook; all that you really need is a word processor (software like Microsoft Word) and an ebook compiler (software like Adobe Acrobat Writer). Beyond that, the sky’s the limit.

Once you’ve purchased an ebook compiler and begun creating ebooks, you’ll have a continuous inventory right in your hands. Even better? If you decide to sell your book, you’ll pocket almost 100% of your profits for each sale. Interested? Keep reading.

The Information Age

We hear it all the time: we’re in the midst of the Information Age. Both victim and perpetuator of the era, we’re surrounded by information in a dizzying array of formats from the television to the Internet to our cell phones and even game systems. As you probably know already, the Internet is all about information. Users (including ourselves) want information right now, easily accessed and targeted to our specific needs.

Ebooks are considered to be the “perfect” online product because they fulfill Internet users’ needs – in one ebook, a user finds the information they desire and they can access the information immediately.

Before you even begin writing an ebook, think about what you have to offer. In our lives, we build up a wealth of information that others might like – and often we don’t even realize we’ve built up the knowledge. What are your hobbies? Where do you live? You are an expert in a variety of things, believe me – your first task is to figure out what you have knowledge in that you can package into information for others.

Successful Ebooks

All successful ebooks have one thing in common: they were written with the reader in mind.

Once you’ve decided what areas of information you are an expert in, think about your potential customers. You must provide your potential customers with the information they desire, or your ebook will fade into the cyber shadows. Learning what your readers want is pretty easy, especially if you’re writing on a subject that you are interested in yourself.

Start out by visiting some online discussion groups in the area of your interests. Take some time to sort through the posts and really read all of the questions. When the same questions are posted in several discussion groups, this is a good indicator of something you might want to focus on. Forums, message boards, newsgroups, and email discussion lists are all great places to get a first-hand look at what your readers need. It’s easy to forget that basic knowledge is something everyone strives for once you’ve become an expert at something you do. Going through the questions of “beginners” is a good reality check, and a great place to start gathering ideas.

Most successful ebooks have another thing in common: they are clearly written and easy to get through.

After you’ve determined the focus of your ebook, you’ll want to sit down and break your subject into several different “areas”. Each area will represent a chapter, so about ten areas are a good guide to work with. For example, if your ebook is focusing on using Adobe Photoshop for the beginner, your areas (chapters) might look this:

Introduction to Adobe Photoshop
Photoshop Toolbar
Photoshop Windows & Palettes
Understanding Selections
Understanding Brushes
Understanding Color Tools
The Layer Effects Dialogue
Filters and Actions
Saving for Photoshop & for The Web
Installing Plug-Ins

Basically, I’ve broken down a huge topic, Adobe Photoshop for Beginners, into very distinct pieces. Not only does this help me keep the book focused on my topic, it helps the reader get through the ebook better and makes writing it much easier. With these pieces, I can write one chapter at a time without thinking – oh, when am I going to fit this piece of information in?

Writing your Ebook

When you start writing, remember that reading text on a computer screen is more difficult than reading it on a printed page. It causes eye strain and takes longer to read. To help your reader out, use shorter sentences and smaller paragraphs. Don’t overwhelm the reader with information they don’t need – give them all of the information required for the chapter you’re writing, but please keep it clear and simple.

Double-spacing between paragraphs also makes reading easier. It helps the text look less intimidating by using plenty of white space. With white space in mind, make sure that you leave adequate margins on all sides of your “paper”.

Finally, make sure that you use a simple font like Arial or Verdana. These are called “sans-serif” fonts because they have no extra lines or curlicue effects that will make reading them more difficult. Where appropriate, break the page up a bit with bold headlines and colored sentences for impact. A solid page of black text is both boring and intimidating. You might also take a look at using stock photography.

Most of these tips will come into play after you’ve compiled your information though. First, just go through and write out your chapters. Then, start from the very first page of your book and look at how “heavy” your pages feel. Break up paragraphs and other bits as necessary.

It’s extremely important that your ebook is comfortable to read, and pleasing to look at. You don’t want your reader frustrated – even online, word gets around fast and your book will seem unprofessional, reflecting badly on you.

If you take writing your ebook one chapter at a time and include relevant information – things that your potential readers have been asking for, and tips that you wish you would have known when you began in your subject – your ebook will be flying off the virtual shelves in no time, and you can sit back with a bit of well-deserved prideâÂ?¦ for a few minutes before you dive into your next one.

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