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How to Write Your First E-Book
by Brian Quinn
Writing your first ebook may seem like a daunting task. But like many projects, it won't seem so bad when it's broken down into manageable chunks. Not all projects are successful, so don't be too disappointed if your first ebook isn't a best seller. Whatever the outcome of your first ebook, you can at least say 'You did it'.
Like many things in life, what often seems impossible can be attained with the right attitude and the right equipment. It could be a marathon run, climbing a mountain or finding parking space at the supermarket.
If you want to play golf, you will need clubs, balls and some practice. There's no guarantee you will become another Tiger Woods but you will become a golfer.
If you want to write an ebook, you will need a computer, software and some directions. Assuming you have a computer and software or access to them, here are some directions.
Establish Your Reasons
Your reasons for wanting to write an ebook will have a major impact on your success. It may be for financial gain, promoting a business, advancing your career, education, self satisfaction or something entirely different. Whatever your reasons, write them down. It will help to motivate you if the going gets tough.
Choose Your Subject
There are countless subjects that you can write about. It's wise to choose something you have an interest in or knowledge of. It is worthwhile spending time on this. The more you know about your subject, the easier it will be to write about.
Choose Your Title
After you've chosen your subject, you'll need a title for the ebook. It's worth writing down a few different ones before deciding on the one you'll use. This will help to keep your focus and may give you some other ideas. The title should give a clear indication of the content in your book. A catchy title may help to sell it, but remember to balance this with clarity to keep it in context. I've written down two examples. Feel free to use them if you have a sense of humor.
A Clubbers Paradise - Golfing in Ibiza 20 Minutes Late The Future of Trains
Choose Your Audience
The subject and style of your writing will determine your audience. Decide who your desired audience will be. Age, gender, culture, social background and education are factors you may want to consider. What you write should be targeted at your desired audience.
Write Your Thesis Statement
Although it's possible to write your ebook without a 'thesis statement', it is not recommended. If you are unfamiliar with this term, there are many sources available that will provide you with all the details you need. Unfortunately, there are some differences of opinion that may lead to confusion.
The 'thesis statement' deserves a separate article of its own but for now I have written a general definition of a thesis statement for ebooks. This may leave the door open for criticism but is a small price to pay if it removes some of the confusion. More importantly, it will give you a base on which to start. Only use it as a guideline. If you want a more specific definition, Google is a good place to start your search.
A thesis statement is a sentence or two written to clearly show the reason(s) for your ebook and what you expect to write about.
Although I have referred to this as a general definition, keep in mind that your actual statement should be as specific as possible. Think of it as the foundation for your ebook. It should contain the following:
1) Your subject
2) Your opinion on the subject
3) A supporting reason for your opinion
4) The significance of 1), 2) and 3)
Create Your Document
Now that you have the foundation, you can begin writing. A standard application like MS Word is a good choice. While you are writing your document you can revise your thesis statement at any time up until it is published. This provides a good degree of flexibility.
Choose the format and layout of your document, including chapters, headings and introductions. Dependent on your subject, you may wish to add photographs, anecdotes or testimonials that keep the reader's attention.
Since an ebook is generally read from a screen, you may want to break up the text more than in a printed book. Experiment with a few different fonts and look at other ebooks for ideas you can use. Spell check and save your document regularly. MS Word has an auto recovery feature. This is useful if you don't save the document on a regular basis and later experience a system crash. Always backup your document. As a precaution you should also keep a copy on another media such as CD.
Choose Your Ebook Format
This is a personal choice. You may decide to create an executable (.exe) file or a Portable Document Format (.pdf) file. By no means an exhaustive list, here are some points to consider before you choose.
EXE files are compiled using an ebook compiler
EXE files may offer features that are not available with PDFs
EXE files can only be read on a PC
EXE files don't require any other software to be read
EXE files are easy to open, easily branded, and good viral marketing tools
EXE files may be susceptible to viruses although some compilers offer virus protection
PDF files can be created using Adobe Acrobat
PDF files can be created with several other 3rd party applications.
PDF files are an industry standard
PDF files can be read by both PC and MAC
PDF files require Adobe Reader to be read
PDF files are highly unlikely to become infected
More information on PDFs can be found on the Adobe website
Create Your Ebook
Create your ebook in your chosen format. Congratulations you are now an author.