E-books can be great sources of information. When you write one you will experience that euphoric sense of accomplishment and enter the ranks of professional published authors. It's not all that hard either.
First, you need to decide what format you want your e-book in. The two most popular formats are HTML and PDF. So far, PDF has been the choice of most e-book authors, but HTML is gaining ground.
If you know your topic you can kick out a 50-page e-book in no time. But should you write it yourself? It depends. How much time and money do you have?
There are advantages to having your e-book ghostwritten.
- You can be doing something else while the product is being produced
- You can play the role of editor and director while other people do the work
- Or you can take a vacation
If you do decide to hire a ghostwriter to handle your e-book project for you, you'll want to keep a few things in mind:
- Give the writer a thorough outline - You have to operate on the assumption that the writer will include only what you put into the outline. I recommend that you, as the expert, write the outline for your e-book project. Make sure everything you want included in your e-book is in the outline. Do it this way:
Don't experiment - Stick to the tried and true methods, especially on your first e-book. I made the mistake of switching from MS Word to Open Office, an open source word processor. It was a great program and made PDF conversion very easy (easier than MS Word); however, formatting graphics proved to be a nightmare and I ended up spending twice as long as I needed to on the project. For PDF e-books, use MS Word and CutePDF - This is the best way. Do all of your writing in MS Word and convert to PDF using CutePDFs professional edition. It costs less than $50 and is more than adequate for the job. You have to format all of your links in CutePDF rather than MS Word but if you do it in Word first then you'll see the blue underlines where the hyperlinks are supposed to go and you can use that as your guide once you open up CutePDF. Be clear with your ghostwriter about who will do the conversion - You can do it yourself or let the writer do it, but be sure you have an understanding before you start the project. Some writers charge extra for this service and some don't offer it at all. Make sure you know what you're getting. Don't pay too much - The Internet has brought down the fees for writing services. E-books, especially, do not have to cost an arm and a leg to produce. However, if you want excellent writing, you'll have to pay for it. Just don't overpay and make sure you get samples of your writer's work before you hire him. Finally, don't bite off more than you can chew - Be realistic about your expectations. Does your topic need a 500-page e-book? Will your readers read that much? Keep in mind that people don't read for long stretches at a time on line so a large e-book might work against you. If it's your first e-book, you might be better off keeping it short and building off of that.
- Start with chapters. Those are your broad topics.
- Next, add sub-chapters or section headings. Make sure your outline is written so that each point is a heading and all the writer has to do is keep those headings and write each section according to you guidelines.
- Include graphic notes. What graphics do you want and where do you want them? Be specific.
- Chapter summaries. Do you want them? Be sure you state how you want them handled - bullet points, paragraphs, sidebars, etc. All of it has to be in writing and outlined if you want it in the book.
E-books make great information products. You can give them away for free and build your mailing list or sell them for the information. Many information marketers have made good money selling e-books online. You could be the next one.
Allen Taylor owns and operates an Internet marketing company with his wife in South Central Pennsylvania. In addition to publishing and editing The Content Letter ezine, he manages blogs and the e-book production process for clients from all over the world.