If you have a talent, skill or information others would love to tap into, then it’s time to put that to work for you and learn how to create an ebook.
Creating your own ebook is an awesome way to make money on the web and it offers some great passive income benefits.
But how hard is it to create an ebook?
Not as hard as you may think and today there are just no excuses. You don’t need to find a publisher to approve your book because you can write it, publish and promote it yourself. It’s more doable than it’s ever been. But believe it or not, most ebook writers never get their books published, or even completed for that matter.
There can be lots of reasons. People often don’t know how to get started. They have trouble finding time and focus, they don’t have the right tools or they let stumbling blocks get in the way of completion.
If that sounds familiar, use these steps to help you get serious creating your own ebook.
Collect Your Information Up Front
There’s a lot of information you can pull from your own expertise and experiences, but use other reliable sources as well. Use the web, library and other authorities on your topic.
I keep a notebook for all my projects and I keep them close at hand. When I have ideas or learn new things I jot them down, no particular order just get them down on paper.
To be sure your ebook includes all the information your readers will want to know, visit topic related forums and note what things people are asking. What common threads do you see? What problems do people encounter?
Visit Amazon and review related books. What common topics come up in each book. Read the book reviews and note what things people especially like about the books.
If you have an email subscriber list, send an email asking what topics are hot with your subscribers. You can even give them a free giveaway in exchange for their feedback.
If you already have a website, put a survey or poll on your site asking your visitors to respond to questions about your topic. I use Surveymonkey.com, and it’s free!
How To Create Your ebook Outline
Once you’ve gathered your data, it’s time to create your project outline.
Your outline will basically turn into your table of contents, so start with your main topics and break them down into sub-topics.
I create my ebooks using a word processor like Microsoft Word or OpenOffice.org. I especially like Openoffice because it has a PDF maker, which we’ll talk about in a minute, and Openoffice is completely free.
Create your outline and brainstorm each section until you’re happy with the results. Then you will need to go through each section and research each specific topic.
If you need help organizing your ebook outline, try Jonathon Ledger’s Write That Report. For $7 it’s completely worth the time it saves you with getting your thoughts and ideas organized into a logical format. I use it for all my guides.
How To Format Your EBook Contents
Once your book is completed, make sure you format it using the format options within your word processor by creating headers and sub-headers. This makes your book look professional, but you’ll also need these when creating your table of contents.
To create your table of contents using Microsoft Word, go to Insert > Reference > Index and Tables.
If you’re using OpenOffice, go to Insert > Index & Tables
Next, edit and proof read your ebook. This is the toughest part for me. I can read though my book 20 times and still find errors and change things. That’s where having another person or two review and critique it for you.
Always read through the book for grammatical errors too also catching improper word spellings like ‘there and their’ or ‘meat and meet’, etc. The things the spell checker won’t catch.
How To Get Your eBook Ready for Distribution
Once your book is completed. you’ll need to format it for distribution.
This can be done in one of two ways:
Format it as a PDF (portable Document File) or as an HTML document or .exe file.
I personally prefer creating a PDF. As I mentioned above, Openoffice will create a PDF for you instantly by clicking the create PDF button.
The downside to creating an Openoffice PDF format is that it doesn’t secure the document, meaning once the document is given to someone, they can easily copy it. Also any PDF that is in a file on your website is vulnerable to hackers finding it.
That may be OK if the document is something you are giving away, but if this is a priced product, it won’t be secure from the freebie seekers.
To get around that I use DLGuard to secure my books so that people can’t access it unless they pay for it first.
If you prefer to create your book in HTML format, Armand Morin’s Ebook Generator covers creating your complete ebook to completely securing it.
Getting It Done…
Writing your ebook and finding time and focus to get it done can be a challenge and it could take several months to complete. But don’t let that discourage you. Start with taking just 20-30 minutes a day. My best time is the morning so if there’s something I absolutely have to do, I know I can get it done then.
Start with where ever you are in the process, make a list of what needs to be done and task each thing out for the next several weeks or months.
If you don’t finish what you need to do in that 20-30 minutes a day, that’s OK, leave it to the next day, but something every day, no matter how small.
Stick to a schedule and you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done in just a few weeks. You’ll also be immensely proud of yourself and your accomplishment.