Writing Tips for E-book Authors
Find Your Subject Matter
If you are a one-book author this article is not for you. However, if you a prolific writer who loves the written word and can easily write every single day you might like to consider producing e-books as a hobby or an income source.
But what will you write about? Some writers have a particular genre which they are reluctant to step out of, and that's fine. If you're this kind of writer you already know your subject matter. Now you just need your audience and we'll deal with that soon.
However, if you're the type of writer who can write about literally anything you can really have some fun with determining your subject matter. Search sites such as Goodreads to find popular groups. Likewise, investigate Facebook reader groups. What are people in these groups talking about? What do they want to read? Once you know this you can download a few e-books in these genres to really get a feel for what these books are all about.
I have ghostwritten many books set in California in the late 1800s and I can assure you that I knew nothing about the subject prior to receiving this assignment. But a love of research, combined with an excellent memory, has allowed me to write successful stories based on this era and I enjoy writing them. What I have learnt (or learned - I have recently discovered that some people take a particular issue to the very valid word "learnt") enables me to shape a very believable environment for my characters which the readers of this style of books appreciate.
Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter Book Groups
Writing the Books
Now the tricky part - getting the books written. Series often do very well in the e-book category and writing a series can also enable the writer to get their work out to their audience very efficiently. For example, a standard 80,000-word novel feels like a hard slog when you first begin typing but if you cut this down into eight 10,000 words e-books to make a series it doesn't feel quite as daunting.
Let's cut it down again. Divide your 10,000-word manuscript into 8-10 chapters and you're only looking at approximately 1000 to 1200 words per chapter. Writing 1000 words in a short time is very achievable and viola! Before you know it you're onto the next chapter.
How you plot your book will depend on whether you're a plotter (plan it out beforehand) or pantser (the plot is as much a surprise to you as the reader). I find the process which works best for me is to write the first three chapters in each 10,000-word portion and then type in an idea, sentence, or phrase under the remaining chapter headings to give me a focus for each subsequent chapter.
Edit the Books
Please, edit your books. There are so many terrible books out there which could be so much better if someone had only taken the time to check characters, story flow, spelling (learnt or learned?), grammar, and tenses.
If you can find a good beta reader (I have unfortunately discovered that many people don't know how to be a beta reader - to get the script back with "I loved it" and no further feedback does not help me at all) then you should enlist their help to point out plot gaps, parts of the story that need more information, or any glaring inaccuracies in your story.
We are focused on being productive and efficient when writing these books but it will do you no favors if you release a book which is difficult to read or poorly constructed. Take the time to complete the editing phase.
I love book covers! If you're the creative type you can make your own but if not you will find plenty of people who are able to design a book cover and often for a very reasonable fee. Try sites such as Fiverr (but do read the advertiser's reviews to ensure they can produce what you are hoping for).
I have also found that book covers are very subjective. While one person loves a certain cover another person will pull a face and say "meh". But keep these main points in mind and you'll be fine:
- Ensure your cover in some way reflects what your book is about
- Ensure the title and your name as the author is easy to read
- Don't go for anything too graphic (sex or violence) or you will limit where you can advertise your book
Free Book Cover Design Sites
Market and Sell Your Book
Remember those Goodreads and Facebook groups you joined before you started this process? You may find that some of your new friends are anxious to read your e-book or e-book series. And if they like it they might review it (and we all know that reviews equal sales).
I recommend using a book download site such as Bookfunnel to create a free downloadable book to pass on to people who may be interested in reading and rating your book. Bookfunnel also allows the collection of email addresses which of course is very useful for sending out newsletters and keeping your readers up to date with new releases.
Create a website if you don't have one. Wordpress is a great place to start.
And then sit down and begin on the next series!