“E-Book” is short for Electronic a course in miracles—an organized set of content delivered in an electronic format. There are many different types of e-books including packaged executables, PDF, and formats for the handheld computer. As with so many of the original e-books, your e-book doesn’t have to be about Making Money or Internet Marketing—people are interested in many other things. What makes an e-book valuable to a wide audience is that it provides information that people cannot easily find elsewhere.
Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of writing numerous printed books and working on several electronic publications. From what I’ve seen, the e-book medium supports the greatest creative flexibility. Images can come alive, you can provide interactive forms and content, the user can access remote databases, and you can support dynamic updates whenever the content changes. There are, however, several steps involved in the process to properly develop and promote an e-book to your audience.
When developing an e-book, you have to perform several important steps to create quality content. Each step allows you to fine-tune your idea and the end-product so that readers will learn from and enjoy the content you provide.
Once you come up with the idea, you’ll have to create an outline or table of contents to develop the idea. The best way I’ve found to do this is to break the idea down into blocks of contiguous information—similar to assembling a pyramid. At the top is the IDEA with each successive level providing a more detailed sequence of points that ultimately explain the top-level IDEA.
The outline itself should be at least four levels deep so that you can understand what you’ll say for each section or chapter. Research each section and collect pertinent information so that you can develop a coherent outline and understand the depths of what it is you are writing.
The first draft is merely a “brain dump.” Follow your outline and write as much as possible about each section. Don’t worry about format, spelling, or grammar at this point, as you’ll focus on resolving those issues later.
A substantive edit is a review of the manuscript where you fine-tune the content. You have to make sure that the content is complete, contains pertinent information for the topic, and provides enough relevant information to explain the topic. At this point, you can perform additional research to verify the content or enhance the information for the reader.
Find some experts in your manuscript’s topic area and have them review it for accuracy and readability. This type of review ensures that the information is correct and that the target audience will be able to understand the content. Many times, experts will take credit in the acknowledgements as opposed to a fee, but this is something you’ll have to work out with them.
The second draft takes into account the information from your reviewers as well as changes you need to make based on your own review of the content. Once this draft is complete, take a day or two off to give your brain a break. This way, when you return to the manuscript, you’ll be fresh and able to catch any mistakes that you would’ve otherwise missed.