Six Steps to Take Before You Write An eBook

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Magnifying glass dude Johan2011 123 RF Stock PhotosMost writers simply begin writing the moment they come up with an ebook idea they feel is worth pursuing. However, it’s best to wait a moment…or a few moments…to focus and evaluate that idea.

This helps your book have a chance of succeeding in the ever-more competitive ebook market.

To give your book a good start, take the following six steps before you write an ebook:

1) Get clear about your book’s subject

To accomplish this task, write a pitch for your book—a 50-75 word elevator speech. This helps you hone your subject.

2) Determine the benefits your book will provide 

benefits almagami 123RF Stock PhotoList 5-15 benefits your book will provide to readers.  These are the reasons why someone would purchase your book—what they are looking for, want to gain, or need.

Also write a short paragraph about your ebook to go with the benefit list.

Consider this back-of-the-book copy (if you were to also produce a printed book) or metadata for your book. What might you say or write about your book that would make someone carry it to the register or hit the “buy” button?

3) Conduct a market analysis

analysis on paper Alexskopje DreamstimeDetermine who your reader is and how many of them exist. Where can you find these people? Are there enough potential readers out there to justify writing your ebook? Market research tells you if enough potential buyers exist for your ebook.

This also helps you know for whom you are writing. With this information, you can better target their needs. (You might need to revise what you’ve done in step 1 and 2 after completing this step.)

4) Study the competition

Ensure the ebook you want to write will be unique and necessary compared to the other ebooks already published in your niche or category. There are a staggering number of books published each year.

Before you write a word—or publish an ebook, study what other authors have already written and published, and then angle (or re-angle) your ebook so it is different—and fills a need no one else has filled.

This helps ensure readers purchase your ebook rather than an established title or a book by an established author. (Again, you might need to go back to previous steps and revise after completing this one.)

5) Evaluate your potential content

Evaluation list alexskopje 123RF Stock PhotoCreate the structure of your ebook by producing a table of contents. Then look critically at this outline to determine if it makes sense and provides unique and necessary content targeted to your audience. Also evaluate if you will have enough content. If not, make adjustments.

6) Flesh out your content 

Write chapter summaries based on your outline. This helps you get a good feel for what you plan to write.

You can then re-evaluate your content and re-angle or add or subtract content as necessary based on any previous steps.

Once you have completed these six steps, you are ready to begin writing. Your table of contents and chapter summaries make a great writing guide – one targeted to your market. Your pitch and list of benefits also helps you stay focused on your topic and the promises your books makes to readers.

Write the book you have planned out and you will keep those promises, namely to provide the benefits you have described for readers in your target market. This will produce a successful book!

Nina Amir
Inspiration-to-Creation Coach and author of "How to Blog a Book, Write, Publish and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time," inspires people to combine their purpose and passion so they Achieve More Inspired Results. She motivates both writers and non-writers to create publishable and published products, careers as authors and to achieve their goals and fulfill their purpose.
Nina Amir
Nina Amir
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  1. Hi Elizabeth! If you can’t think of benefits, that means you don’t know the value your book provides to readers. Think in terms of back-cover copy. What would someone read there that would make them unable to leave the book behind? What do they need that you will provide? Your whole book has to revolve around value…benefits…promises made to readers that you will keep about how you will transform them, their lives, their businesses, etc., in some way. Answer the questions (from their point of view): What’s in it for me?

  2. These are are excellent steps, Nina, and it would be so easy to skip one and pay the consequences later. I would also add that it’s worthwhile to consider whether or not your idea would lend itself to a series. These can leverage your overall results by being able to refer to others in the series.

    • When I work with clients, I always have them consider this! We work on spin offs, series, sequels. It is a great way to leverage what you write.

  3. Thanks for your comment. It’s amazing how many people…not just authors…do no planning. Some succeed, most do not. Then they wonder why.

  4. I like the idea of writing an elevator speech for your book. It fine tunes what the book is about and like you suggest, it helps in future promotion of your book.

    I learned to write the table of contents first from Tiffany Dow. I think I’ll add writing a summary too.

    I tend to have a hard time identifying benefits for some reason. I tend to gravitate toward features instead. Do you have any tips on how I can train myself to see benefits instead?

  5. Hi Nina: You are absolutely on target. I emphsize to my small business clients, “If You Don’t Plan to Succeed — You Are Planning to Fail!” Thanks for your valuable insights.