For Wannabe eBook Authors -
5 Key Questions

eBook Authors: Find out what it takes to be successful...





By Paul Jackson

Are YOU ready for the eBook authoring adventure? Do you have what it takes to author an eBook? Is there an eBook author inside of you? Are you not sure whether or not you have what it takes to write that book that’s been living inside of you for years? Are you reluctant to start writing your eBook, fearing that you won’t complete it?

Let’s examine your attitudes, skills and knowledge that you bring to the eBook authoring process. Let’s look at some key questions you can ask yourself to see if your "readiness" for embarking on this authoring adventure is obvious.

The following questions are not meant to cover everything you should know about yourself before beginning the authoring process but they will give you a good idea where you stand. You may be surprised at some of the criteria mentioned.

This is not your conventional assessment of what it takes to author an eBook. Criteria like knowledge of the subject area, experience with the problems addressed in the eBook, familiarity with members of the target market for your eBook, and previous work done on your eBook topic are assumed.

This is a reflective look at what you should and could bring to the eBook authoring process. It’s the non-conventional criteria that will be addressed here.

Remember that we are talking about eBooks not pBooks (standard published books) and therefore the attitudes, skills and knowledge you require are different. eBooks are a marriage of creative writing (for non-fiction primarily) and eBook technology. Your eBook is designed to be viewed on a computermonitor. Your eBook is very much like a living web page. You have at your disposal for use in your eBook the wonders of internet, web and eBook technology. Writing is but one part of the eBook authoring process.

Every step of the eBook authoring process is affected by the fact that eBooks are inventions of technology, software programs, creative writing and the World Wide Web among other aspects.

Consider: The Ten Steps of eBook Authoring:

I Idea
II Reflection
III Commitment
IV Big Picture
V Chunking
VI Writing
VII Editing
VIII Publishing
IX Marketing
X Celebrating

There is not one step in this process that will not require a different way of thinking compared to the conventional ideas of writing a book. That’s not to say that there is no carry-over from pBook to eBook. There is much in common but it is also necessary to approach the writing of an eBook with a much different audience in mind that the one who would normally purchase your book at a book store.

As an example, the fact that your customer will not be able to physically touch your eBook before purchasing it means that your "Big Picture" idea of a jacket for your pBook now becomes a look at an eBook cover graphic digitally reproduced but no less appealing than your standard pBook cover. In fact, cover design for eBooks is sometimes even more important than for a standard book.

Another example is the technological expertise of your target market. eBooks don’t require any special skills to use them properly but it does require that your target market have access to a computer, know how to download information from the internet, and regularly seek answers to their questions from the web.

All of these issues and plenty more make the eBook an interesting, exciting, worthwhile, and rewarding venture into authoring. Add to this list the fact that your expertise level will be enhanced in the same way a standard published authors’ would be but at a much reduced cost. You have complete control your eBook all the time. You make much more money selling eBooks than standard book unless you are already a well-known author. You can become a published author quickly and inexpensively while maintaining control of all aspects of the eBook authoring process. You can share your expertise with a world-wide audience 24/7.

Leave a written legacy of your knowledge and expertise. Author an eBook.

5 Key Questions

Question #1

Do YOU relish the opportunity to share your expertise, knowledge, and skills?

The excitement generated when someone downloads your free eBook or purchases your "expertise" makes your work well worth the effort. eBooks provide an opportunity, at a very reasonable cost, to target a world-wide market of people sharing your interests.

The Internet is the number one source of instant information. Your eBook should be written to address the needs and problems of your target market. Your objective in writing your eBook is to share what you have learned with others. You will be seen as an expert. Your job is to help people solve problems by sorting through the glut of information available to your readers and get right to the heart of the problem.

Readers want instant solutions to problems. They want the delivery of the eBook answers immediately without leaving the office or home. Readers appreciate the time you have taken to help them solve their problem. Making contacts with "like minds" is a bonus, especially for the author.

Do you have something about which you are passionate? About which you have experience? About which you have gained insights and knowledge that would be of value to others? About which your wisdom would best be shared before it is lost forever?

So the very first question you have to answer is do you have an interest or area of expertise that you are anxious to share with others. Your passion for the subject will carry you throughout the entire eBook authoring process.

Are you interested in sharing your knowledge, skills, attitudes, and passions with the world?

Question #2

Are YOU willing to continue along the road of life-long learning? Are you willing to improve your computer literacy, word processing skills, and Internet savvy?

Regardless of where you currently stand in terms of your knowledge, skills, and attitudes regarding computer and Internet technology, you will have plenty of opportunities to improve in these areas. The option is always yours to learn what you need to know yourself or turn the step over to someone who does. A big part of the adventure is learning how to enhance the message in your eBook through the best techniques available to you. The Internet is all about information. Information sells if packaged well. Information sells when the purchaser sees the benefits of the purchase to enhance his/her life, solve problems or prevent mistakes.

By simply learning more about your word processing software you will have taken a big step! Purchase a good instruction manual that has plenty of pictures, is bright in color and uses the actual images you will see on your computer monitor to help you learn how to do things. The average person using word processing software has only a superficial knowledge of what the software can do. Now you have the opportunity to use this new-found knowledge in the best of all places - your eBook.

eBook technology, properly used, enhances your enjoyment in presenting the material and your audience’ s reading enjoyment as well. Consider for example that every single web page in the entire universe can readily be placed into your eBook for easy reference. There is no need to reproduce tons of material when a link from your eBook to a web site will do the same thing. Not only that, but the reader doesn’t have to wade through material they already know. They can choose to follow the link or not. Another marvelous use of eBook technology is that the reader who leaves your eBook to visit a web page can just as easily come back to your eBook.

Color is another example of eBook technology at its best. You have the entire palette to use in your eBook. Your eBook comes alive with color. There are no limitations unlike the standard pBook where adding color means added costs and added costs mean higher prices and higher prices mean fewer sales. You get the picture.

Considering this question about your personal learning curve, look at your decision to author an eBook as an opportunity to embark on a tremendous learning experience. You take on the role of both teacher (eBook author) and learner (eBook author) with one experience.

Do the "learning" possibilities excite you? You will learn as much about yourself as you will about eBook technology and computers if you have the courage to take up the eBook authoring challenge.

Are you a life-long learner?

Question #3

Are YOU willing to do the research required for your eBook?

It is very probable you already have a fair amount of information readily available for the content of your eBook. This can come in the form of personal experience, articles written by you, web site resources, books and videos on the subject, workshop materials you have presented, and seminars or training sessions you have done.

Research skills will be necessary to make your work accurate, relevant and up-to-date. One of the most amazing aspects of eBook technology is the fact that you continuously update the information in your eBook with relative ease. It won’t require producing an entirely new product and tossing out the old books. All that’s required is an electronic update of your current eBook. And it costs little or nothing to produce your new eBook. In fact it costs so little you could even afford to give all previous purchasers a copy of the revised eBook for free! There are virtually no distribution charges.

This "up-to-the-minute" research is a two-edged sword. As the author charged with providing your readers with accurate information using the Internet and sorting through that information to find what is truly relevant, you also have the obligation to keep your eBook updated. It’s not a problem as an eBook. Your reputation will be enhanced among your readers. Their trust in you will make up-selling other products and services so much easier. You’re credible and incredible!

Research isn’t just about providing your target market with valuable information. You must also be prepared to do your market research as well. You must be willing to spend time "where your target market hangs out". This means getting to know the right people, the right places, and the right things that will help sell your eBook. In most situations, eBook authors are also active members of organizations, subscribers to magazines and periodicals, attendees at conferences and workshops that your target market is likely to frequent. You are a member of "the group". This is called marketing research for sales and distribution of your eBook.

Of course, there are the technical aspects of the entire process that will also require some attention on your part such as ePublishing. Publishing in the traditional sense is usually done after a contract is signed and the publisher takes over the entire process. No so with eBooks. You are the one! Don’t worry. It’s not that difficult. Remember, like any other aspect of the eBook authoring process, you can always hire someone else to do it!!! ePublishing or compiling is the term used to convert your book created using word processing software into a format thatbecomes an electronic book (eBook) so your reader can make best use of it. There are many formats to choose from. Adobe Acrobat - Portable Document Format (PDF) works with all platforms. Like all of the eBook formats available to you, Adobe provides a free Reader so your eBook can be used.

Research in its various forms should be considered part of the dues you must pay to successfully author an eBook. One aspect of eBooks that most appeals to authors and readers is that the writing style is informal and the annotations and formal references used in University papers isn’t required. In fact, your readers will welcome that fact that you can talk to them person to person in your eBook and they will get the message. The research component in this question is more behind the scenes but it’s an important consideration when embarking on writing an eBook.

Is research a dirty word for you or does it excite you?

Question #4

Do you see yourself as a team player?

Success in anything is seldom accomplished without the help of others. One of the most important methods of leverage is working cooperatively with others to accomplish a particular goal. It makes success quicker and easier. It's all about synergy-the concept that one plus one does not equal two but eleven! Working together with your team you can accomplish more and do it faster than trying to do everything yourself.

In eBook authoring there are many opportunities to work with others. In fact, it would be safe to say that it is impossible that anyone could do it alone. Consider these aspects of eBook authoring that may require the assistance of others.

Mentors can make a tremendous difference to your personal success as an author. Mentors can provide the emotional support you require to keep you on task and encourage you to reach your goal. Mentors can help with specific skills that you may be lacking like learning how to more effectively use your word processing software. Mentors can be experienced writers with whom you can share ideas and experiences. Mentors can be ‘experts’ in your topic that provide you with insights you might otherwise have not thought about. And mentors can also be your proof-readers and editors when your draft copy requires ‘outside’ approval and scrutiny.

Technical members of your team may be required to help you design and operate a web site in order to sell your eBook. Technical expertise is often required to compile or ePublish your book from the word processing software to eBook format. Graphic experts can help you design your eBook cover along with other graphics used on your web site or for promotional purposes. Banners on sites and logos for your eBook sales and ad copy many also require outside assistance.

And don’t forget those people who form your inner circle of friends, relatives and immediate family. Without the support and encouragement of these people your eBook authoring experience will become more work than adventure.

The last step of The 10 Steps to eBook Authoring is Celebrate. It’s no accident that this step is included. The celebration is a team celebration. Without a team, you will not succeed. If you are not a team player, you will find the authoring experience a difficult, in not impossible one.

Are you a team player?

Question #5

Is the entrepreneurial spirit alive in YOU?

Whether or not you have previous entrepreneurial experience you will be able to see how the self-employed and small business operators make money. As an author you will become a smallbusiness. Your active involvement in all aspects of the process is essential even though you may not be doing some things like compiling your finished eBook. Learning the business of writing,publishing, and marketing your eBook is fascinating.

It doesn’t matter whether you plan to give away your eBook as a bonus for purchasing other products or services or use it to advertise your expertise or sell your eBook as a product, your entrepreneurial skills will need to be addressed. Once more, your attitudes, skills and knowledge will be tested. The learning curve will appear once more. You will become a self-employed author operating a small business just like thousands of other small business owners. Be prepared for this unique adventure. It’s exciting.

Time is your biggest investment in the authoring process. Some money will need to be spent to publish and market your eBook. eBooks can be written, published, marketed and sold for an investment of a few hundred dollars at most. Recouping your expense will be much easier than any other form of publishing - self-publishing, standard publishing through a company contract, or print on demand. Should you choose to sell your eBook you will generate life-long income in the order of 40- 95% ofthe selling price of each book depending on the methods you choose to reach your customer. In addition, your eBook authoring, related speaking engagements, and workshops qualifies you for tax benefits as a self-employed person. An option always remains open to you to publish your eBook in standard paperback or hard cover format.

eBooks are the "doors of opportunity" for anyone wishing to enhance their current careers, establish themselves as an expert in their field, or begin a new career. Published eBooks put the author in a unique position to build a business around this one eBook or other eBooks related to the first one. Business opportunities are generated by your status as a published author. You will have the opportunity to conduct workshops, host teleseminars, produce other products, provide additionalservices like consulting or coaching, facilitate training sessions, do keynote addresses and of course write other eBooks. Your eBook can become the center of your new entrepreneurial universe.

Does the entrepreneurial spirit in you lead you to eBook authoring?

There they are! Five questions worth your reflective consideration. Five questions that will help you decide whether you have what it takes to author an eBook.

The decision is yours. Let the journey begin! It all starts with an Idea!

About the Author

Paul Jackson, a published eBook author and retired educator, clearly appreciates what it takes to author an eBook. His experience as both a writer and an instructor helping people realize their dream of authoring a book qualifies him to ask these very important questions. His business, eBook Authoring Services, at http://www.ebookwritingandpublishing.com is a great starting point for aspiring eBook authors.

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