Want to write a nonfiction ebook?
I was complaining about the three ebooks I needed to write this month to a writer friend — I write nonfiction ebooks in my marketing day job. Clients use them in many different ways: they print them, they offer them as PDFs from their websites, and they sell them as ebooks on Amazon.
Although I enjoy writing, some of the topics clients give me are… well, to be blunt, they’re boring. So my writer pal said: “you can write about anything — why not blog about how to write nonfiction ebooks? Lots of people need to write them.”
YOU can write a nonfiction ebook
Content marketing is huge, and nonfiction ebooks are an excellent way to market almost anything, including:
- Your blog/ website;
- Your books;
- Your social media profiles…
Here are some tips to help you to write your ebooks quickly and painlessly.
1. Avoid research until you’ve written your ebook
Research can be a huge waste of time in several ways.
Primarily, research is a waste of time because you always end up with way more material than you need, and a short ebook rapidly becomes a long ebook that no one ever reads.
To save time and aggravation, research when you’ve finished writing. Just put XXX in the typescript where the researched material will go, and carry on writing your draft.
If you absolutely MUST do some research before you start writing, make a list of questions to which you need answers, and then set a time limit of around ten minutes to research them.
2. Keep it short: it’s an ebook, so readers appreciate getting just the information they want
We mentioned “short”. Most of my clients will give away their ebooks as PDF files, so I aim to write around 2,500 words — around 25 pages.
For clients who’ll be selling their ebooks on Amazon, I aim for around 7,000 words. You can cover the solution to just about any problem in 7,000 words or less.
Which brings us to perhaps the most important tip…
3. Choose ONE problem to solve, and write a blurb
Aim to solve just ONE problem in your ebook. Otherwise it’s hard to target your audience, and your ebook risks being ineffective.
For example one of my company’s clients owns a gym and spa. She’s adding Ayurvedic massages for her spa clients. I could have written an ebook on Ayurvedic medicine and massage, but who cares? No one, that’s who. The topic is interesting, but it’s not solving a problem.
The gym owner was targeting clients who want to get fit and lose weight, so that’s what the focus of the ebook was: Ayurvedic massage, its benefits for weight loss, and ten healthy recipes. The client had the ebook printed; she says it’s turning out to be an excellent marketing tool.
Got your problem? Excellent, write your blurb
If the most important tip is to choose ONE problem, writing your blurb (book description) is the next most important. Your blurb functions as your mini outline.
So, as soon as you’ve chosen the problem you’re solving, describe your ebook. Explain the problem, and the solution your ebook delivers. Keep this short, to around 200 words maximum.
4, Expand on your blurb, to create a quick outline (nix the numerals)
Many writers hate outlines. I do too, if an outline is infested with Roman numerals. I like to create a mind map first, and then do an outline in Scrivener.
Your outline doesn’t need to be complex: just create a simple list of what you’ll cover in the ebook.
5. Count backwards from your deadline, so you know how many words to write each day
When is your deadline? Count backwards from the deadline, to work out how many words you need to write each day.
Using Scrivener? You’ll love the Project Targets feature. I use Scrivener for everything I write, and Project Targets is a big reason why. Once you’ve set your word count goal, and the date of your deadline, you can choose how many days each week you’ll write. Then Scrivener works out how many words you need to write each session.
Scrivener does you a big favor, because let’s say you miss a day. (You will, life happens.) Scrivener adjusts your word count goal each day, so you’ll keep your deadline.
Bonus tip if you want to write a nonfiction ebook to market your books: repurpose the content
The more formats in which you can offer your ebooks, the larger your audience. Consider creating a video, as well as an audio file, and excerpting snippets from your ebook for social media.
You can make the effort you put into writing your ebook go a long way. 🙂