5 Critical Facts on How to Write an eBook
WordPress.com, a popular blogging platform, reports on its website that its users produce 500,000 new posts daily. That’s a lot of writing, and it seems only natural that many of those bloggers should decide to write an eBook out of their blog posts. You’ve probably caught yourself thinking, “I wrote 52 weekly blog posts last year; why can’t I write an eBook?”
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Indeed, as blogs cover every subject imaginable, I’ve seen some amazing ebooks emerge from blogs. But beware; it’s not as simple as you might think, especially if you want to produce a high-quality publication that meets industry standards and promotes you in the best light. Here are some pointers to help you achieve the best results.
- Pick a theme for your ebook and stick with it. Although your blog contains posts on all sorts of themes, your ebook needs a focus. Ask yourself: What do I want my ebook to be about? Who is the audience? What do I want to tell them? Which posts seemed to strike a chord with my readers? Is there a demand for ebooks on that topic? Once you have picked your theme, select the relevant blog posts and figure out what your chapters will be.
- Don’t include every blog post. Don’t feel compelled to include every blog post you have ever written, all ten years’ worth. At some point in your blogging career, you will have repeated something that you wrote previously; it’s impossible to guarantee unique material every time! Try and cut out any repetition. Creating a list of chapters—as per the previous step—will help. Use only your best posts.
- Change it up and add new material. I have personally received first drafts of ebooks that are simply a series of blog posts pasted into a Word document, with chapter titles dispersed arbitrarily throughout. This won’t fly with your readers, who shouldn’t realize that all your material came straight from your blog. To achieve this goal, you must avoid reprinting every blog verbatim. Go through the blog posts you intend to use and ask yourself how you could say some of it differently. Ensure that each post flows seamlessly into the next by writing some transitional paragraphs. You may even need some new chapters which require original writing. And don’t forget to write an introduction and a conclusion.
- Make sure your references are still valid. You may need to include a bibliography or reference list at the end of your ebook. Many bloggers don’t look much further than other online resources for references. If you fall into this category and have been blogging for a long time, check that the links to your references are not out of date. Your reference list must include more than just the url. At a minimum you need the entire url of the specific page (and not just wikipedia.com as one author gave me as the reference for much of her work!), the actual name of the website, the article name, the author’s name, the date written and the date last updated.
Why You Should Hire a Professional Editor When Writing Your First eBook
I’m not going to beat around the bush; an editor will be critical to the ebook’s success and you WILL need to spend money on this service. An editor will:
- Check the order, flow and consistency of your material and point out any issues.
- Make sure that you stick to your theme.
- Highlight repetition.
- Check for mistakes in terminology or logic.
If you hire an editor to do a substantive edit, he or she may:
- Suggest an alternative order for your chapters and sections.
- Rewrite sections to improve the flow.
- Cut out and smooth over repetition.
- Help write any additional material
- Review your work on how to write an eBook
Also, let’s be frank; a prolific blogger does not necessarily equal an excellent writer. Writing a blog is much different than writing an ebook. An editor will smooth out your writing, correct your errors, fix your typos and check your grammar.
Editors will also work with you from the outset to help your organize your material; you may save money as the editor should theoretically have less work to do on the final manuscript.
If you are interested in self-publishing your ebook, there are a number of companies that can guide you through the process and provide you with professional services. Most of these companies offer free consultations, and it’s a good idea to take them up on their offer. Good luck with becoming an eBook writer!