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I'm in the middle of changing my website with a brand-new custom look.
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How to Make an Ebook. Part 1: What Should I Write a Book About?

[First Post in a Series on How to Make an Ebook]

You want to write an ebook to give away as a gift to your readers. Or you have so much information on a subject that you think you could write a really good how-to ebook if you only knew how to write an ebook.

Your blog is your best starting point. If you have a blog that you’ve been posting in for a while, you have a goldmine of material to use for your ebook. 

Many people use the material they have already written for their blog. They take a group of former posts from their blog. Rearrange them. Add a little to them.

And voila! An ebook!

Well, that’s all well and good for other people; they know what they’re doing.
You, on the other hand, haven’t written an ebook before and don’t know where to start looking in your blog for the right posts.

Let me give you some help here. 
It’s easier than you think.

Go thru your blog and put every post into a category like: dessert recipes, teaching kids summer games, travel, facebook advice, motivational suggestions, or some other categories that make sense for your blog.

If you see all of your posts going into 2 or 3 categories, you’ve made the categories too general.

For example if you find all of your posts going into two categories called recipes and crafts, you need to narrow your categories. Example of narrowing the recipe category would be:
·         Quick desserts for weeknights
·         Recipes the kids can help with
·         Picnic side dish recipes

You want to make those categories as narrow or specific as possible and still have enough posts in them. I’ll tell you why later.

Now look at the lists in front of you. If you have categories with less than 5 posts, toss those categories out.

Find a category where your posts got a lot of reader comments. A lot of reader comments tells you that this subject is one your readers like.
Based on what’s in the post or what some of your reader comments said, are there other posts in the category that will go with the high-comment ones you found? Keep doing this until you can find 10 to 15 posts out of the ones in that category. These will be the base of your ebook.

How many posts you use to make your ebook depends on the average length of your posts.
·         If you write shorter posts, you will want to use a larger number of posts, like 15, to make your ebook.
·         If your average post length is longer, you may only want 10 posts in your ebook.
·         If your posts are very long, you may only use 5 posts in your ebook.

Now, I mentioned earlier that you wanted to make the category as narrow or specific as possible. The reason for this is to get more interest in the book. You already know that your readers like this topic because they already left you a lot of comments on it.

If you were offered two cookbooks that you couldn’t see the insides of, which would you choose?
 “Recipes from My Kitchen” or
 “Quick desserts for weeknights that my readers love”
I’d choose the quick desserts for weeknights because I have a better idea of what I’ll be getting.

So by having a very narrow category for your ebook, you are providing your readers with a better idea of what’s in the ebook. And by using posts that your readers have already commented on, you know that they like them.

Why would anyone want to read blog posts as a book?
So if you go to all the trouble of gathering these posts and putting them into an ebook, why would anyone want the book when they could just go back through your blog and find all those posts themselves?

See that’s the thing about readers on the internet, they want quick and convenient.
If they have to dig through your blog’s archives to find a post here and another one there, they are going to go somewhere else for the information. Somewhere that the information is nicely bundled up and ready for them to grab it.

If you are the website that has that information all nicely bundled up for them, then they are going to get it from you. If they like the ebook and it’s designed to remind them of where they got it, they’ll be back again to see what other good information you have on your site.

Come back for the next post in this series where we’ll talk about what to title your book and why.

If you liked this post, please sign up for my email newsletter at the top right of this page so you don’t miss any of the posts in this series.

Comparing Smartphones to White Castle

Today I had White Castle for lunch. Those mini-burgers, the size of a dinner roll, that I will go out of my way to get when the carving hits.
Looking at the packaging printed with “celebrating 90years”, I mentioned to my husband that I remember when they celebrated their 50th.

He just looked at me and said: “You’ve had a long term relationship with them, haven’t you?”

I blinked at him a few times as I thought about that. Yes, White Castle and I have had a very long term relationship. Or to put it another way, I am extremely loyal to that brand.

Like most families I knew growing up, we didn’t go out to eat very much. When we did, it was a fast food place where my sister and I would split a burger. Since neither one of us could finish a burger on our own my mother didn’t waste the money buying us each one.

When we stopped at White Castle, the burgers were small enough that we could finish them so we each got our own.

Unknowingly, White Castle had filled a great desire in my 6-year old heart: to have my own burger I didn’t have to share.

This wasn’t a need. I had plenty to eat splitting the other burgers with my sister. It was a very strong want. And because they were able to fill that want so well for those grade school years, they have gotten over forty years of brand loyalty from me.

Sometimes finding a Need and filling it isn’t the best way to create brand loyalty. Sometimes the best way to create brand loyalty and repeat customers is to find a Want and fill it.

We’ve gotten older but the want of not having to share is still there. It’s no longer about a burger but it could be about an iPad or a smartphone. How often have you watched your husband or child playing on a smartphone and wished you had one of your own?
But then you talk yourself out of it because it’s just too complicated. And you don’t need your teenager rolling his eyes at you if you try asking for help.

If only a smart phone company would put out a manual that truly explained the features of their phone in a way we could understand. They don’t realize that when we find something we like, we tell other women about it. So filling the want we have, for a smartphone we can understand, not only gets them one loyal repeat customer but several of her friends as well.

When comparing smartphone companies to White Castle, the smartphone companies still don't understand what our want is.

Why does my Android battery die so fast?

Ever wonder why other people's phones last all day and your android phone battery only lasts a few hours?

Did you know there could be 10, 20 or even 30 apps running on your android phone that you didn't know about?
These apps running in the background are eating up your phone's memory and killing your battery.

But why are all these apps running in the first place?

Many of these apps like Facebook, Twitter, weather and news feeds turn themselves on to check on the latest information so they will have it ready for you as soon as you open the app. Once they turn themselves on, they stay on.

So now that you know apps could be running in the background, how do you find out and how do you turn them off?

You need a free app called “Advanced Task Killer.” This app will show what is running on your phone and let you choose which to close.

Go to the Android Market, pick the search symbol (the magnifying glass) and type in Advanced Task Killer.
Choose this app, click FREE then INSTALL.
Once this install is complete, you want to put a widget for this app on your phone where you can easily see it. Probably best to put it on the background screen you see each time you turn your phone on. Go to this screen.
At the bottom of the screen click the upside-down triangle inside a circle. This is your “app drawer” which contains all the apps you've downloaded to your phone that are not easily seen on your background screens. Put your finger on the Advanced Task Killer widget and hold your finger down until the app drawer disappears and your background screen shows up. Without lifting your finger, move the widget to where you want to see it then pick up your finger.

Now the app is installed and ready to use.

Click on the Advanced Task Killer widget to open.
All of those apps listed are currently running on your phone. Some of these you may want to leave running. If you do want them to stay running, remove the check from the box next to them. After you've gone thru the list and turned on and off checkmarks, hit the large grey bar at the top of the screen, “KILL selected apps”.

All of the apps that can be closed, will be closed.
At least, they are closed for the moment.

Why only for the moment? Remember at the beginning of this tutorial, I said the apps turn themselves on to check for new information. So whatever time period they are set up for checking is how long they will stay closed. If you have a news feed that is set to check for new headlines every 3 minutes, then it will only stay closed for 3 minutes. If that isn't okay with you, there is probably a setting inside that news feed app where you can change the time.

Another option many people do is to hit the Advanced Task Killer every time they use their phones. This ensures that the least number of apps are running at any time.

If you have any questions about this tutorial, please leave a comment.
If you found this tutorial helpful, please let me know with a comment below.

Am I the only one who gets choked up seeing the flag go by in a parade?

I love 4th of July parades.

I particularly love them in a small town.

For a number of years I lived in a small town where the parade route was from the firehouse to the church which was about 3 football fields away.

The parade had our town firetrucks and those from 2-3 neighboring towns. There were also the local boy scout and girl scout troops and a hay wagon turned into a float by a local youth group. Our town wasn't big enough to get the band from the regional high school so we just did the police and fire sirens instead.

Out in front of the parade was a police car with sirens blaring escorting the Color Guard with the American flag. (I can't believe I'm getting tears in my eyes just describing this!)

To me, this type of homespun parade is so symbolic of what America is about.
Folks gathering to celebrate an important event together without corporate sponsorship or high-tech displays.

This is hometown America.
Happy 4th of July! Hope your parade inspires you.

Just came across this video of the fourth verse of the National Anthem.
Does it get you choked up as much as the first verse?

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