I had been writing a weekly email series of bite sized tips and quotes for around three years when one of my audience suggested that I put them all into a book. I decided that, rather than put all of them into one book, I would do a series of shorter ones, so the content was more targeted and easier for my audience to read. There were a variety of lessons that I learned while doing so, which I would like to share with you and hopefully save you some time should you decide to write one too.
Before you write anything, you must decide who your audience is. I decided that I wanted to speak to stressed mums who felt guilty every time they went to work and left the children, but who also felt guilty when they were with the children and not at work. I felt they needed some support and moral encouragement, which then gave me the title of what I wanted to say. From that, you can write the introduction, which tells them why you decided to write the book, who it is for and how it might help them in particular. If you can relate it to your personal experience, then so much the better; in my case, that was how I felt 11 years ago.
The second thing you must do before you start writing the content is to decide on what you want the e-book to do for you; for example is it to market yourself as an expert or to get yourself known as a writer? In my case, I wanted to get more people to subscribe to my weekly email newsletter, so they can only download the e-book after subscribing.
Next decide what you want to say and break it down into manageable portions – ideally three to five, as most people will be able to remember them. Be selective about what you want to say, you don’t need to tell them everything you know about that subject, but you do want them to remember what you wrote and come back for more…so you have to write another one!
This should then flow very neatly into your actual written content. Keep it concise as people are busy, but make sure you add value to their lives, as then they will come back for more. We all know that a picture paints a thousand words, so use great pictures and photos, making sure they are copyright free. There are many websites such as www.pixabay.com which will let you download high quality photos without needing to pay for a licence.
Often a quote will illustrate the point you want to make much more effectively than lots of words, because they are concisely eloquent. The best way to find great quotes is to google ‘quotes’ and then go to images, rather than a specific website; extract the quote and then insert it into the photo you found previously, using a website such as www.pablo.buffer.com . Don’t use the Google images themselves, as they may be copyrighted.
It is really important to get someone to proofread it for you, as when you have written something yourself, your eyes tend to fill in missing words, so this is a vital step. I am very lucky as my daughter is excellent at proofreading; I would also recommend sending it to someone else by email, so you can make sure it still looks the same on Windows and Apple, for example. Not all computers have every type of font and it is embarrassing if squares appear instead of letters!
This is your original work, so make sure you copyright it; you can do this very simply by adding © and your name in the footer on every page. Once you have finished the content, you need to write a brief summary about who you are and why you decided to write the book. I also suggest you put in all your social media links, how to download it and any other information you might want people to know. To begin with, offer a free download to increase your audience size.
Once you are happy that everything is correct, the message is right and there are no grammar or spelling mistakes (take particular care with apostrophes!), then you can save it as a pdf. This has two advantages, firstly no one can change it (although there are tools now that can copy sections of a pdf), but also the formatting shouldn’t change.
Once you have completed it, then tell everyone about it.