The truth about e-books
E-books are rapidly gaining critical mass. A survey in the US shows that 27% of readers read both physical books and e-books and a significant 7% claim that they read only e-books. In Canada, 28% of readers read e-books and 14% prefer to read e-books.
Why are e-books popular?
- E-books are more portable
- An entire library of e-books can be saved on one’s phone or tablet and do not take even an inch of physical space.
- E-books take up very little data on your storage device. More than twelve full-length titles will take up a megabyte of disk space.
- E-books are more convenient since they do not have a fixed font size. It is easy to change the colour or the type of background.
- E-books can have an inbuilt dictionary. One can look up word definitions on the fly.
- E-books also offer an excellent way to take notes regarding the text you are reading.
- Like all digital files, eBooks are also very convenient for sharing.
- E-books are also easier on the environment and leave little to no carbon footprint.
- E-books are cheaper to produce and, once created, require almost no cost for further production of copies of the e-book.
Tips to writing better e-books
Having established that e-books are there to stay and that e-books are gaining popularity, it is now time to shift focus to tips to write better e-books!
1: Choose a Topic
Write on a topic that (a) you are familiar with (b) enjoy writing about. What this does is saves you time, which you would otherwise have spent researching and it increases the chance that you’ll see your e-book through to completion. (c)To home in on your specialist topic, think of the magazines and blogs you subscribe to and get a clue from that. Once you’ve settled on the subject, revisit these resources. If specific topics keep cropping up, it shows that these are perennially popular topics and the core idea that they cover can form the heart of your e-book.
You can come up with alternate e-book titles or topics and survey your audience to find out which they prefer through SurveyMonkey or a Google Form. And the comments and emails that you have received may frequently touch upon specific issues or problems. Your e-book could address them.
2: Survey Your Readers
Already got a blog or an email newsletter, then you have a head-start in your first e-book game. This gives a ready-made audience for your book. If you have not started with a blog, research who your target reader will be and the best ways to reach them. The outcome of the research will influence the language of your book and the treatment of your book. Is the target audience mature/young adults or retired people, professionals or businesses, small-town residents or city dwellers? All of these targets will require a different treatment and type of language for your book.
3: Allot Time for Research
Writers of a first e-book may get stuck at the research stage itself, gathering more articles, thumbing through many books and jotting down material to use. It is wise to give yourself a fixed number of days for researching the subject of your book, after which you should plunge into writing the e-book. Or you can set a time for research before you move to the next chapter of your e-book.
4: Read Similar Books
This may sound obvious, but some writers of e-book rely only on blogs and articles and don’t turn to other books. If your topic is such that there are no books on it, your topic may be too obscure.
You don’t have to read everything in a book – the table of contents or the index may help you find the most relevant parts. These can also throw up ideas for your topic, which you may not have considered yet.
5: Fact Check
It may be possible that you already know some facts beforehand on the topic, on which you are writing. It’s advisable to cross-check all facts before writing them, to make your work contemporary and reliable.
Some authors may have made up the facts and statistics to suit them. Do your research thoroughly and rely on original studies, government publications and other reputable sources of information where possible.
6: Develop an Outline
Developing an outline for the book that you will write is essential in successfully writing a book. It would be best if you gave this step enough attention and time, it will make the task of writing easier as it will help in clarify your thinking.
Your outline should include:
- People don’t like reading a book without any breaks. A chapter allows you to give your book breaks. It will enable you to change tack, like going back and forth in time, developing different parts of the story in different chapters.
- If it’s a non-fiction book, look at developing subheadings, sub-sub-headings etc. Developing subheadings will help with better organisation and understanding of the topic being dealt with in that chapter, e.g. if you are writing about the anatomy of a Hand (main heading), subheadings will be wrist, phalanges, metacarpus).
7: Write Distraction-Free
Writing your first e-book requires your full involvement and attention hence it is recommended that the time and the area where you are planning to write should be distraction-free. Choose a time where you will not be disturbed by members of the family or outside calls and the surrounding is relatively quiet. Keep the area free of phone interruptions
9: The next step is to edit and edit your book
This is an important step and is often overlooked or underplayed. Editing the manuscript improves its readability. No matter how good a story is, if the reader does not have an error-free reading experience, the reader will hesitate to recommend the book to others. Even though you may have been editing your work as you wrote each chapter, final edits by the author followed by a professional editor are a must.
10. Apps that can help you write an eBook
11. Prepare to publish your book
Once writing your first e-book is done, the process is not over by far. The next step is for you to publish the book. Look at either free self-publishing, paid self-publishing or traditional publishing. Let readers benefit from a well written and produced eBook.
12: Prepare to Sell/Market Your Book
No one wants your book to succeed more than you – a lot of your time needs to be spent in thinking of ways to create awareness about your book and market it well. You need not wait to complete your book before starting to market it!