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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.

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Unless a guest expert is mentioned, the author is Ann Tucker.