Monday, November 3, 2008

Five Simple Steps to Writing an Ebook

Writing an ebook does not need to be a daunting task. This simple step-by-step procedure will help kick-start your creativity and keep you on track.

Writing the book.

It's the dream of every writer.

But how do you turn it into a reality?

Do you start writing the moment you have 'the idea'? Do you test the concept with others? Do you produce an outline first?

Whichever approach works for you, the best way to start and ensure you finish the book is by having a developing a strategy that works, and sticking to it.

Best-selling author Stephen King in his recent 'On Writing' autobiography suggests the same thing. He says that a writer should commit six days a week to their craft, and set a daily target of 1000 words.

Like me, no doubt you need to earn an income while you're writing an ebook, so I'd suggest the following adaptation which served me well:

1. Commit yourself to a routine.

Write in your spare time (eg five nights a week). Make it a regular time (eg 7:30 - 9:30 pm). You'll find that as soon as you get serious about this routine, it will take you no time to switch off from your day job and turn on to your writing job. Forget about waiting for the muse to give you the inspiration. This is a luxury no professional writer can afford.

2. Set yourself a daily target.

Start with a low target of maybe 100 or 500 words. These must be 'quality' words, so allow for time to edit what you have written in the one session. But, once you've edited them once, don't continue to rework existing words from previous sessions. You should be dedicating the bulk of your time now to creating not editing.

3. Get tough with yourself.

If you can't get motivated, whatever word target you set and didn't reach, should be added to the next session and so on. If you keep on your own back, you'll make sure the book is written on time and the content remains on target. Remember, your ebook isn't a labor of love, it's a commercial enterprise. Treat it like a business.

4. Raise the bar.

Within a short period of time, you will find that you can easily reach the initial word target. That's when it's time to raise the bar. Lift it to 500 words a day or whatever figure is just a little out of your grasp. Again, as in the beginning, you may find it difficult to reach this new goal. But don't let yourself off the hook. It won't be long before this new level is easily attainable and then, guess what, it's time to raise the bar once more.

5. Set a date for completion.

Once you're into the process, you should set deadlines for completion of the writing, editing, epublishing and Web site development.

I used this simple process to write my first ebook. I started with a daily target of 500 words, struggled for a little while, but toward the end of the project, I was knocking out up to 4000 words a day.

You will find that, as you progress with your ebook, it will build momentum. You will also find that even though you are writing twice as fast as when you started, the finished product will probably be twice as good.

Remember one last thing ~ enjoy the moment ~ writing ebooks is supposed to be exciting, fun and fulfilling.

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