Self-Publishing an eBook: Part 1 – Write the Damn eBook

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

Publishing an eBook can open a myriad of doors for any writer. Whether you’re into freelancing or trying to get your foot in the door as a novelist, self-publishing can be helpful. Today, I’m starting this new series of posts that will help you write your own eBook and get noticed.

Hopefully.

Essentially, I am writing these as I go, so you will see the exact steps I’ve taken to get from Point A to Point B.

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Why Write an eBook in the First Place?

The reasons vary on why anyone would want to write a book. Some people love telling stories, while others may simply use the eBook as a marketing tool.

Either of these reasons is valid to the author.

What you need to ask yourself is why you want to write one. Are you looking to entertain the masses, or are you hoping for a major payday?

Though, most people I know who wrote a book for a paycheck really didn’t go far. That’s because, in many instances, the writing seemed forced and disconnected.

There’s a certain degree of passion that goes into writing a successful book.

I decided to write my first eBook as a way to help me understand self-publishing while teaching others. In my case, it’s a marketing device used to help generate content ideas for readers.

Plus, the book itself is about building success and dealing with the struggle of mental illness. So, it’s conceivably a bit more than just a marketing ploy.

How to Write an eBook

Perhaps the most difficult part of self-publishing is writing the actual book. Of course, that’s true with just about any kind of publishing, really. That’s because you are the one who has to come up with the content.

Everything else, like marketing, cover designs, editing…those elements take less amount of time and are often outsourced.

But writing, well, that’s an entirely different animal which is fed by your own level of motivation and determination.

Have an Idea of Your Story

First, have an idea about what you want to write about. Is it going to be fiction or non-fiction? Are you teaching someone how to do something or mostly writing for the entertainment value?

The overall structure of your eBook is going to set the tone for a wide scope of things later on. Especially when it comes to marketing.

My first eBook is simply an autobiography about how I got started as a freelance writer. It covers a bit of how I progressed, what I turned myself into, and the amount of depression and anxiety I had to face.

It’s my hope that it will be more inspirational than anything. One of those, “If I can do it, so can you” type of books.

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Use Writing Software Which You’re Most Comfortable

To be honest, my first books were written using Libre Office. It’s a free office suite of programs, including a word processor.

Imagine Microsoft Office without the visual flair and branding.

You really don’t need anything fancy to get started. Though, some word processors are tailored to help you write an eBook from the get-go.

For example, I’ve been toying around with Scrivener as of late. Not only is it helpful with the eBook, but I can write the audiobook, Despair, fairly easily.

My point is to find something you enjoy using that will give you the tools you want to use.

Keep Yourself Motivated to Write the eBook

One of the most difficult parts of writing your own book is keeping yourself motivated.

Sure, there are people out there who can easily whip out 100 pages in a month without breaking a sweat. But many of us just have a hard time with motivation to continue.

In my case, impostor syndrome plays a big role in holding me back a lot of the time. Thoughts like, “What makes me think I can be an author,” or perhaps, “It’s gonna suck anyway, so why write it” are things I deal with a lot.

If you do have such issues, know that you’re not alone. Many in the Writing Community on Twitter face the same dilemmas when they first try to write an eBook.

You just gotta find a way to keep the motivation high to finish writing. Don’t worry about what anyone else is going to think, especially since no one has read it yet.

Avoid Procrastination, If Possible

Another thing I am incredibly guilty of is procrastination. I guess part of this stems from the fact that I’d rather put the work into something that is currently paying me.

Then again, I do waste a lot of my time throughout the day. It’s easy to find other things to do in the house outside of writing.

I have a sink full of dishes, I better wash them. My lawn needs mowed, better get on that.

Should I paint the entire basement today? Why not?

Instead, realize that if you keep putting off the eBook, it will take much longer to write. Find the time to work on it every day until you’re ready to start publishing.

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Don’t Strive for Absolute Perfection

Remember, it’s called a “rough draft” for a reason. You don’t have to be perfect when first putting words out there. It’s going to be rough no matter how hard you try to be perfect.

As soon as you get the entire story written, then you can go back and make adjustments or corrections. Not to mention that getting that entire story done can fuel your desire to publish while feeling pride that you finished the hardest part.

No author can whip out a story without having to go back and edit. And that happens long before an actual editor gets ahold of the piece.

I know one author who spent four years polishing up her book before publishing. Now, you don’t need to go to that extent. But the point is that you need to finish the work before you can move on.

Should You Hire an Editor?

Once you’re done writing the book, it’s time to consider editing. Now, it’s usually never a good idea to edit the material yourself. This is because of how human brains are wired.

It’s easy to gloss over even the simplest of mistakes because your mind already thinks it’s correct. Especially if you try to edit the work immediately after writing.

Even after proofreading and having my friend give it a once over, I’ll still find a few grammatical errors when recording Despair. But, reading aloud makes your brain separate the content more thoroughly because you now have to process it for speech.

It’s a lot easier to find those small errors when you read the content aloud.

You can also use an editing program like Grammarly. Though, you’ll probably still want to scrutinize every suggestion and error it finds. No automated system is 100% accurate.

However, Grammarly has helped me a lot with Despair, VII, and the eBook. So, it may be worthwhile to still use the platform even if you hire an editor later on.

What About a Title?

Normally, I worry about a title after I’ve either finished writing or have the story planned out. Though, my stories rarely ever flow as I planned. That’s because I let the characters guide the narrative.

In other words, their interactions and conversations often change how I wanted the first idea to progress. It’s usually for the better, though.

Every author is different. Every story is different. You’ll have to decide how you work the titles according to your own process of writing.

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The Hardest Part of Self-Publishing is to Write the eBook

Writing out your book will more than likely be the most difficult aspect of self-publishing. It’ll take the most amount of time, depending on how much editing is needed.

It’s also the first step. One of hopefully many as you work to get your name out there as an author.

If you truly want to write and publish an eBook, don’t let anyone or anything hold you back. This includes yourself.

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Michael Brockbank

Michael has been a freelance writer since January of 2012. He has completed more than 8,000 jobs for a variety of clients ranging from animals to travel. Currently, he is the Content Marketing Team Lead of GreenGeeks Web Hosting.

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