The Extensive Guide to Prewriting Your Ebook
It’s easier to know where you’re going if you have a destination in mind. The same is true when it comes to your writing, and yes, your writing has a destination. Once you’ve established it, you have the perfect foundation on which you can build your ebook. This is why figuring out that aim is the first step in writing, and it comes in the prewriting stage.
However, establishing your aim is not all there is to the prewriting portion of your writing journey. You’ll also need to determine who you’re writing for. Then come up with an idea of the sort of content you want to include, and a solid plan ie. an outline.
Identify Your Ebook’s Objective
Figuring out a solid reason for your ebook’s existence is the way to coming up with good content for your ebook. There are many questions you can ask yourself to help you come up with your objective. First and foremost, you need to ask yourself “What do I want the ebook to accomplish for me?” From there you can go on to other questions, such as:
- What do the readers want to read?
- Will this ebook serve more than one purpose?
- What can I do to increase my website traffic and overall exposure?
- What can help widen my reach?
- What can I do to get new leads?
- What can help me boost my brand’s image?
How about we show you how answering those questions will help you get on your feet? Let’s walk through a couple of objectives so you can see how they affect the content. The two we are going with are:
- I want to share my expertise and establish my credibility.
- I want to help fill a need for my audience.
Share your Expertise & Establish your Credibility
You’re someone who loves what you do and wants to prove to others how well you do it. In that case, your ebook can help you do that. The ebook can be solid and shareable proof that will help you impart your knowledge, and in turn, prove your credibility to your potential customers. So how can you do this? Well, by writing something you’re very well versed in.
- Write about a topic you’ve studied or taken courses in or even apprenticed for. You have the years under your belt, so the writing should come easy.
- Write about specific tricks of the trade your experience has taught you. It can be a health-related myth that people have bandied about for years but you have the evidence to disprove.
- Write about something unique you’ve honed yourself that has gotten good reviews. Maybe it’s a recipe you developed that has elite people drive all across town to come to taste it. You can even show reviews or thank you notes from your restaurant-goers or fans.
- Write about something that you’ve developed and others appreciated so well. Maybe it’s a pretty impressive app that a celebrity caught wind of and thanked you for.
Whatever the case may be, you can use it in your ebook. Take advantage of anything that makes you stand out and feature it in your ebook. If you received any awards or recognition, add that in. If someone famous has made use of your products, definitely mention that. If you have certification or valid experience that helps your cause, don’t hesitate to make your readers be aware of it.
Help Your Audience Out
There’s a service you feel you can provide better than anyone else in the industry. Whether it’s solar-powered battery chargers or a fusion mix of Nigerian and Italian food, you’re one of the only ones out there who can do it. So why not use it to your advantage? You can create ebooks to explain this innovative revelation or your journey to accomplish this fete. An ebook will be a great way to help your customers learn more about what you do. But that’s not all, it can help you share some tidbits about the products and how to use them. Or in the case of food, some personally honed recipes and how they differ from the original ones. Show your readers how you stand out with your ebook.
Determine the Target Audience
Now that you have a good driving cause, the next thing you need to do is, figure out your target audience. After all, what’s the point of an ebook that no one wants to read? In order to consider what the audience would want to read, there are a few things to focus on.
- Are you going local or global?
- Are you targeting a particular age group or gender?
- Are you targeting people working in a specific field with a specific income?
- Are you on the lookout for people with particular interests?
Once you’re able to answer all of these questions, you’ll have pinpointed the audience you’re targeting. As such, it will become easy for you to tailor your content to better suit them and their interests.
Once you’ve established the objective, you now have the perfect goal you can work towards achieving your ebook. While the first step was quite a vital one in the large scheme of things, it was only the first one with more yet to come. Such as finding ideas within your given topic to write about.
So, how do you do that?
The first thing to do would be to write down all the points you want to write about in your ebook. Anything that comes to mind that you feel would be essential or add clout to your ebook is fair game. Even if it’s random and scattered all over the place. Keep a notebook or note jotting method nearby, you never know when inspiration will strike.
One method of brainstorming that’s effective is mind mapping. It not only helps generate ideas, but it also helps trigger your creativity and keep your thoughts going. If you don’t know how to create a mind map, you can refer to this article here. There are also apps, such as MindMup, Scapple, Mind Meister, iMindmap and XMind.
If you have a particular genre in mind to write about, do some market research and see what others are doing. You can learn from both the ones that are flourishing, as well as from the mistakes of the ones who didn’t make it. So, research hard and take notes along the way of what to do and what not to do.
The best way to generate ideas is by figuring out what people want to know or learn more about and see which falls under your jurisdiction. How to do that? Well, it’s easy to head on to where they ask the most questions. Websites such as Quora, Yahoo Answers, and Reddit can come in real handy there. Look for questions you can answer and you’re good to go. You can even head on to Google Trends and see what the most searched things are, that will also help you out.
Look Within Your Company
Sometimes the answer we’ve been looking for has been inside us all along, philosophical, right? In any case, when it comes to your business, the likelihood of knowing what your customers want to read is right there. All you’ll need to do is to refer to your customer service or marketing departments. They’re the ones that spend the most time in the field with your customers. They know what your customers like, don’t like, what they’re curious about and basically anything that might interest them.
Plan the Ebook’s Content
This is the point in which you can apply what you learned back in English class. Planning out your ebook. Whether you want to do that by creating an outline or a mind map, that’s up to you. Both hold various advantages. They will give you a clear image of where you’re going with your ebook. Additionally, they’ll help you stay organized and stay on point without accidentally straying into entirely different territory.
You can think of the plan as your trusted guide. If you miss something or get lost on what to write, you can go back to it and figure out where you went wrong. But at the same time, it’s okay if you realize later on that you’ve forgotten something and want to add it as you go along.
Determine the Structure
Something to keep in mind while writing your ebook is how you want to structure it. There are two different structures you can use, block and point-by-point. It will help if you have a clear image of how you’re approaching the topic you’re going to talk about in your ebook. In that case, there are five different types of writing you can choose from depending on the purpose of your ebook.
Problem and Solution
This type of writing is used if the purpose behind your ebook is to help tackle a problem in the market or a problem your readers might be facing.
Say you run an online security business. Your ebook can discuss all the vulnerabilities people may have online and how to protect against them. This type of writing can work with either structure. You can point out each problem in a chapter with its solution then go onto the next (point-by-point). Or you can point out all the problems in one chapter, then all the solutions in the next (block).
Cause and Effect
This type of writing is used to discuss something that happened and the effect that it had. Let’s say your ebook is meant to help writers create interactive ebooks. After all, with the increase in the use of ebooks in every walk of life, people need to adapt to that. So the structure here can also be either point-by-point or block.
Compare and Contrast
This type of writing is used to compare different options. If you’re selling a product and want to show your readers how this product is better than the rest out there in the market, this one’s for you. Like with the other two, you can use either point-by-point or block structure.
Definitions and Classification
This type of writing is used when going in-depth to explain a term or concept and how it can benefit the reader. So, let’s say you’re writing an ebook on SEO. The purpose of this ebook will be to explain, in detail, to your customers what SEO is and its importance when it comes to their businesses. This will help them have a clear image of what you as an SEO specialist or digital marketer can do for them. The structure here will be point-by-point.
This type of writing is used to give readers instructions or ways to do something. Maybe you can hand out some tricks you’ve learned, or recipes you’ve come up with. Whatever your business, you can help spread some knowledge with an instructional book. The structure here will be different as the explanation will be in the form of steps and examples to help give your readers valuable input.
Create an Outline
Have you ever seen an artist get to work? The first thing they do is sketch an outline so that they more or less know what they want to draw, and where. The outline isn’t meant to do anything but give the artist a helping hand. The same is true of an ebook’s outline.
Here’s the basic structure of an outline:
- Key Points
This is the most basic outline for the ebook, the bare minimum that needs to be met. Don’t worry, there’s more to it than that.
So, the normal starting point would be the “Introduction”. In an article that would refer to a paragraph or two, in an ebook, that would mean an entire chapter. The introduction is meant to help the reader get a basic understanding of what they’re about to dive into with regards to your ebook. Depending on the type of ebook you’re writing, it can also be referred to as the ‘Preface’, ‘Foreword’ or ‘Prologue’. To figure out the difference between all four and which suits your ebook, you can refer to this article to understand what each option’s purpose is.
The outline’s key points are a little complicated because they won’t be in just one point like with the introduction. The key points refer to every chapter you’ll have in your ebook. So here you’ll need to jot down each and every idea that you’re hoping to write about as a heading. In addition to that, you can have subheadings with all the possible things to address within the heading’s topic.
So, if we’re going for a photography book, it can be something like this:
The Basics to Photography
- Buying the Right Equipment
- Taking the Perfect Shot
- Editing Your Final Photos
And the list can just go on until you have listed all the points you want to write about.
The conclusion, much like the introduction again, can encompass various other things. It can include the ‘afterword’, ‘epilogue’, and ‘endnotes’.
While this is the basic outline, there may be other things that you might want to include in your ebook. You might want to add a table of contents, an acknowledgments page, footnotes, etc.
Keep Track of Visuals
When it comes to using visuals inside your ebook, it’s better to take note of the visual aids you’ll be needing after you write your book. Whether it’s images, illustrations, videos, charts, or other interactive content, it will be easier to find and use it if it’s all in one place.
Establishing a well-defined objective is an essential starting point when it comes to writing an ebook. It will help ease your writing process. In addition to that, you need a well-developed outline. It’s the sound structure you’re building your ebook on. If it’s jittery and not properly set-up, all the steps afterward will falter and fall apart. Following that with the right ideas is like adding the right base to your structure.
So what we’re trying to say is, the entire prewriting stage is important, don’t skimp out on it.