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From idea to bestseller: Mastering the art of writing an ebook

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Published by Abhishek Raj

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So, do you wish to write an ebook that will spellbind your readers and top the charts? Awesome! But how do you make sure your ebook stands out amongst millions of publications? Don’t worry, that’s what my blog post today is all about — helping you master the art of writing and publishing your first eBook! This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire step-by-step process from planning, writing, editing, publishing, to marketing your ebook like a pro. Let’s stay tuned…

Why should you write an ebook?

Before we begin our guide, let’s first understand the benefits of writing and publishing an ebook.

  1. Wide global reachability – Unlike traditional publishing, where your work may be limited by geographical boundaries, ebooks can reach readers all around the world with just a few clicks.
  2. A source of passive income – Once published with the right marketing strategies in place, your ebook can potentially generate revenue and earn you royalties for many years.
  3. Much easier to update – Compared to traditional publishing, ebooks are much easier to update, even when your book has already been published.
  4. No limitations on your creativity – Writing an ebook gives you the freedom to express your creativity without the constraints imposed by traditional publishers. You enjoy complete control over the tone of your content, story, and style of your ebook to align it all together with your vision.

Now, I will walk you through the following detailed step-by-step guide for launching your first e-book….

Steps from writing to marketing your first ebook

1. Choosing a topic for your ebook

Goes without saying, selecting the right topic for your ebook is fundamental to its success. Isn’t it? Ideally, you should choose a topic based on this famous Venn diagram from the book – Ikigai:

Image by Freepik

The common shaded area of these four intersecting circles must be the topic for your ebook.

How would you do that?

(i) Take a pen and notebook. Lock yourself in a quiet corner and start jotting down ideas based on your passion and past experiences. Additionally, think about the problems or challenges that your target audience currently faces and plan how your ebook could provide value to them.

For example, let’s say you are passionate about the fitness industry and have extensive experience in providing weight and nutritional training to your clients. Begin by jotting down your personal experiences and expertise, such as specific workout routines, nutritional tips, or mindset strategies that have yielded positive results for your clients. Next, consider the problems or challenges that your target audience (fitness enthusiasts) might be facing. Are they struggling to stay motivated at the gym? Do they find it challenging to follow a healthy diet plan? Take note of these issues and think about how your ebook could provide valuable solutions.

(ii) Next, conduct thorough market research to substantiate the demand for your chosen topic. How would you do that? You could look for existing ebooks and books in your niche to assess the level of competition and identify gaps that your ebook can fill. Additionally, you could analyze customer reviews and ratings on those ebooks and books to understand what readers are looking for and how you could differentiate your ebook from the rest.

Remember, writing an ebook is a task done for the sake of pleasure, not for its reward. So, it’s essential to select a topic that you are genuinely passionate about. Afterall, your readers will eventually assess your level of enthusiasm for the chosen topic just through your writing. So, be mindful of your passion and expertise for the topic you’ve chosen.

2. Conducting research for your ebook

Sure, you are going to write your own tips and experiences in your ebook. But when you mention some related facts or figures, those have to backed by credible sources. You could rely on information from reputable sources such as academic journals, industry publications, and credible websites.

Bonus tip:

To add depth and authenticity to your ebook, consider conducting interviews with experts and veterans in your field. These interviews can provide unique insights, real-life examples, and expert opinions that will help you enrich your ebook content. You could use cold emails to reach out to such personalities. Even if 1 in 5 replies back affirmatively, consider it an achievement!

Remember that conducting interviews not only enhances the quality of your ebook but also helps build solid relationships with industry leaders. Who knows, their single tweet or shoot-out for your newly launched ebook might attract thousands of their fans to read your ebook? That’s indeed a possibility!

Lastly, make sure to track your sources accurately and cite them properly at the reference page or bibliography at the end of your ebook.

3. Creating an outline for your ebook (Index / Table of Contents)

I know you are super excited to start writing your ebook now. But wait, before you start writing your ebook, it’s very important to create a detailed outline first.

3.1 What is an outline and how to write one for your ebook?

An outline serves as a roadmap for your writing and ensures a logical flow of topics, sub-topics, and ideas. It essentially provides a framework or structure to your ebook.

To delineate an outline for your ebook, start by defining the key sections or chapters of your ebook based on your chosen topic. Break down each section into subtopics or key points that you want to cover. Pay close attention to the logical order of these sections because once set, they become the founding pillars for your writing and rearranging them later becomes a challenging task.

For example…

Suppose you’re writing an ebook titled “Effective Weight Loss Strategies.” To delineate an outline for your ebook, you could begin by defining key sections or chapters, such as “Understanding Weight Loss Fundamentals” , “Nutrition and Diet Planning”, “Physical Fitness and Exercise”, “Lifestyle Changes” and “Sustaining Long-Term Results.”

Example for writing an outline for ebook

Under the section “Nutrition and Diet Planning”, you could break it down further into subtopics like “Calorie Intake and Macronutrients”, “Healthy Eating Habits”, “Meal Planning” and “Understanding Food Labels.”

Similarly, within the section “Physical Fitness and Exercise,” you could include subtopics such as “Strength Training,” “Cardiovascular Exercises,” “Flexibility and Mobility,” and “Creating an Exercise Routine.”

Quite interestingly, the Outline of your ebook also serves the purpose of Index or Table of Contents.

4. Writing and editing your ebook

With your outline ready, it’s time to start writing your ebook now.

4.1 Writing your ebook

You could start writing your ebook using any word processing software such as Microsoft Word or even Google Docs. Begin your writing by focusing on one section at a time, ensuring that each preceding section flows seamlessly into the one that follows. Write in a candid or conversational tone to maintain the interest of your readers and keep them engaged. Use clear, concise language by avoiding any technical jargon or terms that may confuse your readers.

As you begin writing, keep in mind the outline of your ebook. Each paragraph you write should build upon the previous one, creating a cohesive narrative that guides your readers from one section to another. Further, use transition words and phrases to connect ideas and ensure a smooth reading experience.

4.2 Editing your first draft

Once your first draft is ready, set it aside for a few days before revisiting it for proofreading. Editing helps you refine your content, improve clarity, and eliminate any grammatical or spelling errors. Read your first draft as if you’re one of your readers. Sit comfortably at a quiet place and read it aloud to identify any gaps with regard to awkward sentences or areas that require further improvement. Consider seeking feedback from beta readers or hiring a professional editor to ensure the highest quality of your work.

5. Designing the cover and formatting your ebook

A visually appealing cover can significantly impact your ebook’s success. Do you know why? Because your ebook cover is the first thing that gets noticed by your potential readers. It’s therefore essential to invest time and effort into creating a professional and eye-catching cover design for your ebook.

5.1 How to create a cover for your ebook?

Designing a cover image for your ebook is very easy. You can design the cover image yourself for free using Canva — a very popular web design platform for the creators. However, just be sure of the guidelines pertaining to image dimensions for your cover picture. It varies from platform to platform. For example, if you’re planning to publish your ebook on Amazon Kindle, then the ideal dimensions are 1600 (width) x 2560 (height) px. Similarly, if you’re planning to publish your ebook with Apple ibooks, then the recommended dimensions for book cover are 1400 (width) x 1873 (height) px.

To start designing your ebook cover in Canva, just signup with your Google account and click on Create a Design button. Choose custom size and enter the required dimensions for your ebook cover. Refer the screenshot below:

Custom size for ebook cover in Canva

Canva has an impressive repository of text, graphics, images, and other design elements. So, if you want, you can design your ebook cover from scratch. However, if you are looking for some inspiration or just want a quick head-start, just type in “ebook covers” in the design search bar and choose to edit the desired template.

Designing ebook cover in Canva

If you don’t find Canva user-friendly, you can consider these Canva alternatives to design your graphics.

Once your design work is finished, click on the Share button and then further download your ebook cover in desired format.

Here are a few tips that you should keep in mind while designing an ebook cover yourself:

  • Use high resolution graphics, bold typography, and vibrant colors to grab attention
  • Ensure that the title and author name are easy to read
  • Select a color scheme for your cover image that aligns with the topic of your ebook. For instance, if your ebook is about vegetarian cooking, consider incorporating colors like green, which symbolizes the abundance of vegetables, or opt for earthy brown and light-yellow tones, representing the natural hues of grains and legumes.

5.2 Formatting and exporting your ebook

Once you have your cover design ready, you should start formatting your ebook to make sure it not only looks visually appealing but is also comfortable on the eyes of your readers. Pay attention to the font size, line spacing, and overall readability to ensure a comfortable reading experience for your readers. You could choose ‘Times New Roman’ or ‘Arial’ font family with a font size of 10 and line spacing of 1.5. The objective is to maintain a clean formatting to make it an enjoyable reading experience for everyone.

For images or infographics, make sure that they are uploaded in full resolution and in their original size.

Finally, when you are satisfied with your ebook, it’s time to export it into one of the compatible file formats. For example, Amazon’s KDP requires you to upload your ebook in either Doc, ePub, Mobi, or KPF (Kindle Package Format). These requirements vary from one publishing platform to another. So, make sure you read such requirements from your publisher carefully.

6. Publishing and distributing your ebook

Now that your ebook is ready, it’s time to choose your publishing and distribution platforms. Choosing the right platform ensures that your ebook enjoys wide coverage and popularity.

There are broadly two types of publishing platforms for e-books:

  • Self-publishing
  • Traditional publishing

6.1 Self-publishing platforms

When you decide to self-publish a book, you take complete charge right from writing, editing, designing, finding distribution channels to marketing and promoting it yourself. Self-publishing your ebook is relatively quicker and less formal compared to traditional publishing where you need to find agents who then link you to various established publishing houses.

Some of the popular self-publishing platforms are:

6.2 Traditional publishing platforms

In traditional publishing, you just remain the author of your ebook. All other tasks in the value chain such as cover design, editing, distribution, marketing and publishing are handled by the publishing house itself.

Traditional publishing is a little tedious and time-consuming process as the publishing house first assesses your manuscript or story for suitability, which can take anywhere between 1 to 2 years. It is then typically followed by several rounds of editing, re-editing, and designing. While this way of publishing may certainly take longer and require additional steps, it offers the advantage of established distribution networks and marketing support.

HarperCollins, Macmillan publishers, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster are a few popular traditional publishing houses that you can consider.

7. Promoting your ebook

You can’t afford to ignore this final step if you choose the self-publishing route for your ebook. If you have some online presence in the same domain, be it in the form of a blog or a YouTube channel, you already have an added advantage.

Make an announcement about your newly launched ebook on your blog or YouTube channel to directly reach out to your loyal readers and audience who are already interested in your content. These groups of people are more likely to purchase your ebook since they already trust and value your content. Having a decent following on social media accounts also helps to create the buzz around your new ebook.

If you do not have any organic online presence and do not mind spending some money on promotion, then you can consider running targeted advertising campaigns on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or Google Ads to reach potential readers who may be interested in your ebook. Use a compelling ad copy, eye-catching visuals, and bold call-to-action buttons to encourage clicks and boost your conversions.

Bonus tip:

If you neither have organic reach nor money for promotion, you could still promote your ebook by reaching out to influencers, bloggers, or podcasters in your niche and make a compelling offer to provide guest posts, interviews, or exclusive content that adds value to their platforms. This simultaneously provides you with an opportunity to promote your ebook.

What’s your story?

Phew. That was a long read, I know. Apologies, I couldn’t make this comprehensive guide shorter. However, I am sure that by following the step-by-step roadmap outlined in this guide, you can eventually master the art of writing a great ebook. So, did you ever try to write an ebook or plan to write one after reading this post? I look forward to your thoughts in the comments below.

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About the author
Abhishek Raj is the founder of Budding Geek. He is an inveterate blogger with a decade of experience in the internet technology & online marketing industry. Abhishek takes pride on being featured in some of the top industry websites like Marketing Land, Social Media Today, LifeHacker & ProBlogger.