This is the second post in my How to Write Your ebook series. In case you’ve missed the previous posts you can catch up here.
In this post we look at choosing a topic and planning your ebook outline. If you’ve already got a topic in mind, that’s great, but it might be worth checking against the next section as this has some tried and tested methods for successful ebooks.
Finding Your Topic
If you’ve been writing your blog for a while, chances are you’ve got a stack load of content that you could use towards an ebook, so let’s start there:
1. Old Posts – is there a topic you’ve written about a lot already that you might be able to base your e-book on? If you add some solid extra content to these posts then people will be willing to pay for stuff you’ve published before. But you need to work hard on adding extra material to make it more valuable (and attract a higher price).
2. ‘How To’ – ‘type e-books are probably going to be more attractive to potential buyers than other types, especially if you have experience of doing the particular subject you’re writing about. Most of the e-books that do well either lead people through a process, solve a problem or explain something.
3. Solve a problem – if you can solve someone’s problem for them and there’s enough people with the same problem, then chances are you’re going to make a nice income from your ebook. Once you’ve identified a problem you’re on the right track. You can centre everything around answering the problem. For example how to market your business with Twitter, How to prepare for a marathon etc.
So, give the topic some serious thought then you’re able to plan the outline.
Planning your outline
The most important part of writing your ebook is not the actual writing of the ebook, but the planning it out and the best way to do this is with a mindmap.
In case you’re not aware, a mindmap is a visual representation of your thoughts and it’s a good way to see how those thoughts link together. An example of a mindmap is shown below:
The more detail you put into the mind map, the easier it will be as you write your outline.
When you have grouped subjects you can then arrange them into chapters and sections that will be included in the ebook. Having a mindmap will also show you what’s missing from your ebook before you start or which parts seem out of order.
I personally use either a pen and paper to create my mindmaps or use the free software download from Xmind. There is a paid for Pro Version, but unless you need to be sharing and collaborating, then it’s probably good ensough for your needs.
I’ve spent a lot of time on my own ebook these last few weeks and I’ve now completed a number of the wrap around items (see next weeks post) for my own ebook. I’m in the process of selecting a title which I asked the readers of this site to help with. Some great insights from the readers has made a big difference in how I take this ebook forward. So I can’t recommned strongly enough speaking to your readers and asking their opinion when you hit a tough spot in writing your ebook.