You may not be a Pulitzer prize winning writer, but your ideas are unique and valuable. People are looking for the knowledge you have to share.
Simply go ahead and write down your thoughts and ideas.
Here's a quick method for writing your first non-fiction book. It is ideal for how-to books that will establish you as a thought leader in your niche.
1. 5 Steps to Creating Your Blueprint
Following are 5 easy steps to create a blueprint for your E-Book:
Step 1: Write a list of frequently asked questions about your industry - anything people ask you about your business . You can time yourself for 3 minutes to help the ideas flow and just keep on writing as many questions as you possibly can.
Step 2: Follow the same procedure, but now write down questions people should be asking you; questions you wish they'd ask you. Time yourself again for 3 minutes and keep on writing as many questions as possible.
Step 3: Out of the two lists from step 1 and step 2, select the top 10 questions and write each question on a single page of its own.
Step 4: Take each page (containing 1 question from step 3) and write the top 15 headings that come to mind in response to that particular question. Ask yourself the questions What, Where, How, When and Why questions to inspire you. Repeat the process with each page / question. You should end up with 10 pages, each containing one question and 15 sub-headings or topics you would like to explain.
Step 5: Starting with the page that contains the first question, go through all the pages and cross off the 5 least relevant sentences or headings on each topic. You will end up with 10 pages with a question each and 10 sub-headings on each page.
Now that you have your blueprint, you need to start expanding on each topic to write your book. I'm going to show you how you can finish writing your book in 2 weeks or less.
2. Writing Your Book from Start to Finish in only 2 Weeks
Once your blueprint is done, you can start writing. Find a quiet spot, brew a pot of coffee and put on some inspiring music, and let's get going:
Step 1: Open a new Google Doc document and rename it to reflect the name of your book, and the name of the chapter, ie. MyBook - Chapter 1. Then type up the question you will be answering (this could be the title of the chapter), plus the 10 sub headers on the first blueprint sheet. Repeat this step for each of the 10 questions. You should end up with 10 documents, each containing a question and 10 sub headers.
Step 2: Now it's time to start writing! Time yourself for 15 minutes while you write everything that comes into your head about the first sub-heading. Don't think too much, just write-write-write!
You will have to repeat this for each sub-heading on all 10 documents. If you stick to the 15 minute cut-off (which I strongly recommend), you can finish your book in 25 hours.
Step 3: Once you have completed the writing process, it's time to edit your book. Simply read through it and remove anything that's not that important, or redundant. Correct spelling, sentence structure, grammar and punctuation issues.
It may be worth your while to hire a professional freelance editor to complete the process at this point. After focussing on a project for an extended period, we tend to overlook mistakes, while some fresh eyes might bring a clearer perspective.
Once your manuscript is ready, you can paste it into a template (found on your publisher's website, or on Google) and start working on your cover.
3. E-Book Lengths
Every book has a different length and that does play a role in its perceived value. However, the number of pages is not really of essence, but rather the word-count. Then again, each word needs to be value-packed, not 'waffle'.
That said, here are some vague guidelines:
3000-5000 word E-Books
Have a series of short ebooks in mind for a marketing campaign or a course you are marketing? This is the ideal length of ebook to be read in a single sitting. Write the first killer ebook and give it away for free, or next to nothing to create an impact and as a unique value proposition and to start a conversation.
10 000-20 000 word E-Books
Many thought-leaders use this length of ebook to establish themselves as authorities in their fields. This is excellent for low-cost resources that explore key ideas - the perfect length for a shorter how-to book that can be read in 3-4 sittings. The length makes it possible for you to produce several of these every year and, if you choose to have it printed, you can do so without too much expense, particularly with a print-to-order publishing service. (link to publishing your ebook).
30 000 - 50 000 word E-Books
If you've had books published before, you can use this length with relative confidence. This is the length of the average traditional book and it can be printed or supplied electronically.
4. Pricing Your E-Book
Price is the one thing most people agonise over when they have written their E-Books. There are several ways to go about pricing your book, such as pricing it at bargain-basement prices to attract more sales, or charging over the top for perceived value. However, unless you're well-known for your expertise, nobody will buy an overpriced E-Book unless they know that you offer exceptional value.
The key to proper pricing of an ebook is getting paid what you're worth. You need to charge a reasonable value based on the value you produce, and that you can establish by asking yourself these questions:
- Who is going to read my book?
- What real value does it offer?
- How could I make it even better?
Now improve the deal by acting on the information you get from asking yourself those questions:
Is the book formatted better than that of your competitors? Does it offer value in terms of answer sheets, checklists, images or whatever else your readers want in the type of book you have written? Can you offer an additional audio or video download with exclusive information? Or a free consultation?
In terms of the value it offers, what would a person pay to receive the same information elsewhere? I know someone who just recently bought a Yoga instruction pack that contains a highly informative book, complete instructional DVD, 2 blocks and a strap for R200. This pack can be used over and over for years. How much would she have paid to go to a Yoga centre three times a week?
Think about pricing in terms of VALUE, but don't undersell yourself. Remember, as in the case of the Yoga box set, the author sold millions of copies, so you don't need to charge an arm and a leg - as long as:
- the reader gets more value than what they pay, and
- you make profits on quantity sales.
5. Publishing Costs and Royalties
Depending on whether you're going to create and distribute your ebook yourself, or whether you will be using one of the many e-book publishers online, there may be additional charges.
Some online publishers and sellers discount ebooks, and this will affect your royalty. In order to get a favourable royalty, you may need to set your book's list price at least 20% below the print price version.
If you publish a print-to-order book in addition to your ebook, there will be manufacturing costs involved too.
It's advisable that you check out the different requirements and royalty percentages of each publisher you will be listing with to ensure you get the best deal. Bear in mind the market exposure and marketing tools a bookstore offers before crossing them off your list due to poor royalty payouts.