How to Write an E-book in Just 14 Days - PDF

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How to Write an E-book in Just 14 Days By Jennifer Mattern From 1 Copyright / Terms of Use: Legal Notices All information contained herein is copyright 2008 by Jennifer Mattern.
How to Write an E-book in Just 14 Days By Jennifer Mattern From 1 Copyright / Terms of Use: Legal Notices All information contained herein is copyright 2008 by Jennifer Mattern. Some rights are reserved. You MAY NOT sell this e-book for any price. You MAY NOT upload this e-book to any server or service for distribution. You MAY NOT publish this e-book or any portion of this e-book. You MAY NOT break this e-book down into articles or excerpts for publishing in any medium. You MAY NOT edit the e- book in any way (including the removal or alteration of any hyperlinks herein). You MAY distribute this e-book freely via or other methods that don t involve hosting the e-book itself online in any way. You MAY distribute print copies of this e-book freely as long as all credits are left intact. You MAY NOT link directly to this e-book s.pdf file on my server to distribute it via a link, but you MAY link directly to the download page at You MAY NOT rewrite the content contained within this e-book or create other derivative works from its content to be sold, published, or distributed in any way without the expressed permission of the author. Disclaimer: All information contained in this publication reflects the personal views of the author, at the time of publication. While the author has made reasonable efforts to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, it is possible that typographical or contextual errors have been made or that information has changed since the date of publication. The author shall not be held liable or responsible to any person or entity regarding loss or damage caused by, or allegedly caused by, the information contained in this e-book either directly or indirectly. The purchaser / reader acknowledges that the author has compiled this e-book for general informational purposes only, and is not engaged in offering legal, financial, or other professional services or advice. If further information is needed, it is suggested that the buyer / reader consults with a qualified professional. 2 About the Author Jennifer Mattern is a freelance business and Web content writer (self-employed full-time predominantly in PR writing, Web copywriting, and business Web content writing). She began freelance writing in 1999, and first started writing for the Web in late 2004 when she launched her first website. She has served as a writer and / or editor for Web content networks including, Suite101, and All Info About. She has been hired to write business-oriented Web content, Web marketing and sales copy, press releases, and other business documents for sites belonging to clients ranging from large corporations to new site start-ups and company blogs. She has run approximately two dozen websites and blogs of her own since the launch of her first site, including,,,, and She is the author of multiple e-books, including Press Releases Made Easy (free download) and Launching a Successful Freelance Web Writing Career, the first in her Web Writer s Guide e-book series through You can find out more about her online freelance writing services, or access free downloads, at 3 Table of Contents Introduction.. 5 Section I: Before You Write Your E-book Is E-book Publishing Right for You?.. 7 Should You Write a Free E-book?.. 9 Finding E-book Ideas: Choosing a Niche for Your E-book.. 10 Planning and Outlining an E-book. 13 Choosing the Best E-book Format. 15 Benefits of PDF E-books 17 The Best E-book Software for the First-Time Author.. 18 How Long Should an E-book Be? 19 Should You Offer E-book Resell Rights? 20 5 Factors to Consider in Pricing Your E-book. 21 E-book Delivery Options 24 E-book Marketing Basics.. 26 Should You Use Affiliate Marketing to Sell Your E-book?. 27 How to Design an E-book Cover.. 29 Using Testimonials to Sell an E-book 30 Section II: You Can Write an E-book in 14 Days! The Plan Day 1 Getting Started. 32 Day 2 Basic E-book Outline. 36 Day 3 The Extended Outline. 38 Day 4 E-book Formatting. 40 Day 5 Start Writing.. 43 Days 6 & 7 Continue Writing. 44 Day 8 The E-book Introduction 45 Day 9 E-book Editing 46 Day 10 File Conversion & Pricing 47 Day 11 The Sales Letter. 49 Day 12 E-book Covers & Launching Marketing Preparation 51 Day 13 Distribution & Affiliates 53 Day 14 The E-book Launch. 55 Conclusion Introduction Write an e-book in just 14 days? I can hear you now thinking Yeah right! This is probably just another guide telling me to rewrite PLR content and try to pawn it off on readers as my own. Nope! My aim is to walk you through an efficient process for writing your own, completely unique, e-book or report in as little as two weeks. This guide is based on the 14-day E-book Writing Challenge from my All Freelance Writing blog, with all the background information and 14-day plan in one place. Why 14 Days? Two weeks is an achievable goal for writing an e-book. Too many people think e- book writing has to take an insane amount of time, so they never pursue their project, or they look for shortcuts instead of publishing something that s truly their own (which will generally monetize best, and do the most to help them build or expand their image in their target niche). I wrote my first e-book in just 5 hours, so I know it can be done in 14 days no matter what your schedule is like, if you set realistic goals for yourself (such as targeting a 50 page e-book as opposed to a 200+ page e-book), you can make this plan work for you, and without making a huge long-term commitment. How to Use this E-book The first half of this e-book is filled with background information that will help you familiarize yourself with the e-book writing, publishing, and marketing process. You can read these in advance, or jump right into the plan. The second part of this e-book is the actual 14-day e-book writing plan laid out for you. Don t worry too much if you didn t read the background sections first. Each plan page will link you to the relevant background pages as-needed. If you really want to pursue a huge e-book, don t worry if you can t finish in two weeks this plan can be adapted to any timeframe that works for you! 5 SECTION I Before You Write Your E-book In This Section: Is E-book Publishing Right for You? Should You Write a Free E-book? Finding E-book Ideas: Choosing a Niche for Your E-book Planning and Outlining an E-book Choosing the Best E-book Format Benefits of PDF E-books The Best E-book Software for the First-Time Author How Long Should an E-book Be? Should You Offer E-book Resell Rights? 5 Factors to Consider in Pricing Your E-book E-book Delivery Options E-book Marketing Basics Should You Use Affiliate Marketing to Sell Your E-book? How to Design an E-book Cover Using Testimonials to Sell Your E-book 6 Is E-book Publishing Right for You? Have you toyed with the idea of writing an e-book, but find the process a little bit intimidating? Will investing time into writing and marketing an e-book really be worth it? How can you determine if e-book publishing is right for you? Reasons to Consider E-book Publishing There s more to writing an e-book than making money. Here are a few e-book publishing motivations. See if any apply to you: Writing an e-book can offer you a semi-passive income stream. Writing an e-book can help you build authority status or solidify your reputation as an expert in your niche or industry. Writing an e-book can help you market your services or other products by spreading virally (usually through free e-books which are passed along from reader to reader or sites to their readers, exposing your name, links, etc. to your target market). Common E-book Publishing Myths Myth: No one reads e-books. Fact: Many people turn to e-books (especially in technology and business-related niches) every day, because they offer instant gratification for those wanting to learn about something (while having the information already organized in front of them). If no one s reading e-books in your niche, chances are that they don t have options, or no one s currently effectively marketing e-books in that area. Myth: No one takes e-book writers seriously. Fact: That may have been true years ago, and I m sure there are still some diehard print publishing advocates poo-pooing e-books. Those folks are also seriously behind the times. It s true that there are a lot of poor quality e-books out there, but there simply isn t a huge stigma attached to e-book writers the way there used to be. The key is building your reputation with your market as much as possible before writing your e-book. 7 Myth: There s no money in e-book writing. Fact: There s actually quite a bit of money in e-book writing. In this day and age, people don t just want information. They want it fast! E-books fill that need where print books simply can t. Because of that, e-books are sometimes even able to be sold at a premium, often for much more than similar print publications. How much you can make depends a lot on your marketing abilities. Myth: It s too hard to market an e-book. Fact: If you re already marketing other products, services, your business, or yourself, you already have the basic skill set. All you have to do is adapt it to an e- book. With e-books, you even have the added benefit of affiliate marketing opportunities, where you can let others sell your e-book for you, taking a lot of the marketing out of your hands. Myth: An e-book will take forever to write. Fact: If you can write articles, you can write an e-book. E-books don t have to be over 100 pages. My own first e-book was just 18 pages long, and took only a few hours to write from start to finish (Press Releases Made Easy is now 20 pages in its latest release, and is available for free download). The greatest thing about e- book writing is that it can be broken down into much smaller parts (think of your e-book as a collection of articles that have to flow together). Breaking it down into smaller goals can help you fly through the e-book writing process. You just have to stop thinking about the total length, and think about each section separately. Have some of these myths or fears about e-book publishing crossed your mind? I hope you ll take the time to re-think your concerns, and give e-book publishing a serious try if one of the motivations above applies to you. Remember, there s never any harm in trying something new. You may just be surprised at how successful e-book publishing can be. 8 Should You Write a Free E-book? People write e-books for several reasons. One of those reasons is to make money. So why would any e-book author be willing to give their e-book away for free? If you re planning to write an e-book, how should you decide whether to charge for it or give it away? It really comes down to why you re writing your e-book in the first place. If your primary goal is to make money through the e-book sales, free e-books obviously aren t for you. However, if your goal is to use the e-book to market something else (your blog, website, a larger e-book, another product, or your services), or just to help build your reputation as an expert in the niche, writing a free e-book could be a good idea. Here s why: 1. Free e-books naturally can give you more exposure, because anyone can get their hands on a copy. 2. If you haven t already built a reputation in your niche, people may not be willing to pay you for what you have to say yet anyway. 3. Free e-books have a better chance of spreading virally. Most paid e-books don t grant the buyer the right to distribute the e-book to others, while free e-books often do. Using a free e-book as a viral marketing tool simply means that your e-books will get passed around via word of mouth (or the Web s equivalent). Even if your primary goal is to make money from your e-book, don t necessarily snub free e-books. You may find that offering a free shorter version or excerpt actually promotes the sales of your primary e-book. 9 Finding E-book Ideas: Choosing a Niche for Your E-book So, you ve decided to write an e-book, have you? Well what are you going to write your e-book about? One of the most difficult parts of e-book writing is finding your e-book idea (or the niche for your e-book). We often have a general idea about what we want to write about. We can use a tool like the Adwords Sandbox to help us narrow it down to a specific topic (and even e-book title), based on search volume (it s a better idea to write an e-book on something people are searching for, because it shows they re interested in the topic, than to write an e-book that no one may want to read). Let s do a walk-through on choosing a niche for a few general topics. Let s also assume that we know people love how-to style pieces (they do - it s why how-tos, guides, etc. work so well in headline writing). But first, the basic process: 1. Visit the Adwords sandbox 2. In the box labeled descriptive words or phrases, type how to and then your general subject matter (such as how to write, how to dog, how to jewelry, etc.). 3. Leave the synonyms box checked. 4. Type in the letters from the image (you should only have to do it the first time you search each time you visit the site). 5. Look through the results provided for something specific that interests you, and has a relatively high search volume. If it also has high advertiser competition (people are paying more for ads for those keywords), that s going to be a good thing too. It means you may have better luck monetizing articles and such that you write on your site, blog, etc. to help promote your e-book. 10 And the examples: Example 1: Let s assume you know you want to write an e-book on some aspect of writing itself. Type how to write in the descriptive words or phrases box, and follow the rest of the instructions above. Here are some of the ideas that come up with a high search volume (compared to other how-to topics on writing) and high advertiser competition: How to Write a Novel How to Write a Book How to Write a Cover Letter How to Write a Business Plan How to Write an Essay How to Write a Business Letter How to Write a Screenplay How to Write a Resume How to Write a Love Letter How to Write a Children s Book Example 2: In this example, let s say you know very generally that you love dogs, know a lot about them, and want to write an e-book about dogs, but you aren t sure how to narrow that down into something workable that people will really want to read. Follow the steps above again (this time typing how to dog ), and you ll get some of the following ideas: How to Potty Train a Dog How to Stop a Dog from Barking How to Stop a Dog from Digging How to Draw Dogs How to Choose a Dog Breed How to Make Dog Treats How to Build a Dog House How to Teach a Dog to Fetch How to Make a Dog Bed How to Leash Train a Dog Example 3: Now let s say you re interested in jewelry, and you know you want to write an e-book about it, but you re not sure how to narrow that down. Again, 11 follow the above instructions, this time using how to jewelry. You ll find these ideas and more: How to Make Jewelry How to Wire Jewelry You ll notice that you don t get many results here. That means it s time to narrow down your search on your own a bit. In this case, let s assume you want to go with making jewelry (you could also go with something more like how to choose jewelry ), so type in how to make jewelry for the following additional results: How to Make Beaded Jewelry How to Make Silver Jewelry How to Make Wire Wrap Jewelry How to Make Costume Jewelry What you ll notice is that these say no data in the search engine volume column. In this case, you may want to run the phrase through the free keyword suggestion tool from Wordtracker just to see if anyone s actually searching for it. While tools like the Adwords sandbox can help you choose a niche for your e- book, don t let it do it all for you. Go into the process with at least a vague idea of what you want to write about, and then use tools like this to help you narrow it down. If you re not truly interested in the subject matter, you ll have a harder time writing the e-book in the first place. Also understand that using the how-to method is a great start, but you should embellish those phrases for your e-book title if you want to increase interest or sales. Here are a few possible title examples, from sample search results above: How to Write a Resume (That Will Land You Your Dream Job) How to Write a Novel (in 30 Days) How to Write a Children s Book (That Sells) How to Write a Love Letter (That Will Win Any Woman s Heart) How to Build a Dog House (in a Weekend) How to Make Costume Jewelry (That s Safe for Small Children) Hopefully you get the idea, and you ll use these tools to help you choose the perfect niche for your next e-book. 12 Planning and Outlining an E-book After you ve chosen a niche for your new ebook, and you have a good idea of what you want to write about, what s next? Some e-book writers may simply jump right into the e-book writing. Personally, I m a note-taking, outline-loving, organizational junkie. If you re even a little bit like me, you may want to plan or outline the content of your e-book before you sit down to write. We all have our own outlining styles, but here s my process. Feel free to use it when writing your own e-books, or alter it to meet your needs: Step One: Make a very general list of the main topics you want your e-book to cover, and the sub-topics within each. These don t need to be in any kind of order yet. I find that 3 5 index cards are perfect for this step. Step Two: Make a list of any general pages (like a title page, about the author page, etc.) and any addenda pieces you may want to include in your final e-book. I also put these things on their own 3 5 index card. Step Three: Organize your note cards (or other notes) by placing them in the order you want them to appear in the e-book now. I usually do this by simply arranging my index cards, and then I create an outline on paper based on it (because if I don t, I m bound to lose a card or two, and I just like being able to scan a single sheet of paper). This outline should end up being very similar to your final table of contents. Step Four: Make a list of any asides you may want to include. I personally don t like to use stock images in e-books, and instead prefer to break things up visually with more useful content (I don t like buying padded e-books with a lot of unnecessary pictures, so I don t use them unless I have to - such as important screenshots). I used a lot of asides in my Press Releases Made Easy e-book (such as blocks of tips). Step Five: Here s where you can get more detailed if you want to by actually outlining specific points for the e-book content. I only do this for sections where there s something very specific I want to cover or say, and I m worried I ll 13 otherwise forget. I go back to my index cards for this part, and use the back of any section cards I need. You could have all of this done earlier and put into your overall outline if you want to. I just prefer to keep that outline mimicking the table of contents, so I don t add a lot of detail there. When outlining your e-book early on, it s important not to worry about things like total page counts, or page numbers where information will be found. If anything, worrying about page counts will probably prove to be more overwhelming than productive. If you want to write approximately a 50-page e-book, thinking about it simply in terms of 50 pages can make it feel like a larger project than it really is. This is why I always make note of the smaller pages in the e-book not only does it help me remember to include basic things, but it makes the project seem a little smaller in scope. Here are some of the basic e-book elements that will be included in your final pag
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