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How to create an excellent nonfiction e-book

What is a nonfiction e-book?

A nonfiction e-book is a written document that focuses on facts. It contrasts with fictional stories.

It can be a memoir, a compelling biography, a coffee table design guide, a self-help book, or even a travel guide to Chile. As long as the content is accurate and none of it is fiction, it can be called nonfiction.

How to write a nonfiction e-book in 12 quality steps

Now we get to the heart of the matter. Let’s go through how to create a nonfiction e-book step by step.

1- Choose your idea for the nonfiction e-book

If you’re here, you possibly already have an idea for a nonfiction e-book. Or maybe even a few. It can be tricky if you have more than one idea that you think is important.

Having a general idea is delicate. But an important aspect is figuring out precisely what your readers are interested in. They want to know things related to what you are interested in. You need to conduct a survey. Ask people what problems they have that need solving and what they are interested in.

The trick is to find out what you want to write about, what you know about, and what they want to read about. Find the overlaps, and you have your idea. You can write your e-book about what you want to write about while helping people read about what they want to read about.

2- Do market research

You’ll do a little differently to ensure your e-book is hot in the market. While this isn’t necessarily “writing for the market,” it is making sure you can make some income from it.

If you’re not worried about it, you don’t necessarily need to do this, but we still recommend it to understand what e-books in your genre are doing regarding covers, titles, etc.

3- Determine your target audience

That is one of the essential steps for the longevity of your book. The better you can get a clear picture of who your avatar is, the better your e-book will do and the better reviews you will get.

Ultimately, you want to reach the point where you’re only targeting one person when writing your e-book: Your ideal target audience.

That will make the book concise and highly targeted, so it will better receive by the people who need it, and those who read it will rate it highly because it was made for them.

Steps to building an e-book’s audience

  • How old are they?
  • What do they do for fun?
  • What is their financial status?
  • Are they aware of their problem?
  • What have they already done to solve the problem, but it didn’t work?
  • Where have they looked for help with this problem?
  • What kind of style do they have?
  • What does their vocabulary look like?
  • FYI, what is their name?

These questions can assist you in getting started, so you know exactly who you are writing for, what kind of writing/style they respond to, and what problems and objections you should expect to encounter when writing your nonfiction.

Read more: How To Create An E-Book For Your Business To Attract More High-Value Customers

4- Schedule time to write your e-book

It probably won’t get done if you don’t mark it on your calendar.

Creating a nonfiction e-book isn’t something you can shrug your shoulders at and say, “I’ll do it when I do it,” because you and I both know there are a million things that could get in the way of that – like watching Tiger King on Netflix.

But when you give it a place on your calendar, you show yourself and everyone else that it’s a priority and you’re committed to it.

5- Mindmap and outline your nonfiction e-book

This tactic requires you to sit down without distractions and jot down everything that comes to mind in your mindmap. That is not the time to think thoughts like “Is this necessary?”. No. Be crazy.

The point is to pull out everything you know about the main topic in the middle of your mind map.

Once you’re done with that, create your outline in the order you think should cover the topic. Once the outline of your e-book is done, it’s (mostly) easy to move on.

6- Choose the structure for your e-book

If your main goal is to tell a story, you need to decide how you’re going to tell that story. So you require to create a plot structure. Instances of plot structures are:

The conventional three-act framework

Here you tell the story in sequential order. The middle section, or confrontation act, describes the protagonist’s journey and the obstacles and characters he encounters along the way. In this part, you can also introduce an antagonist.

Throughout the confrontation act, build tension. The antagonist does not have to be a natural person but can instead be a significant challenge: e.g., societal beliefs or a process/issue that needs to be figured out. Finally, you get to the last part of the resolution after the climax. You tie up loose ends and emphasize what you want the reader to take away from it all.

Manipulate time

This structure is especially effective when there is a risk that the reader will lose interest in the buildup and want to know what happens next.

➢ The circular structure

That is where you start your story with the climax, generally at the end. Then you return to the beginning and middle, describing what led to that climax. At the end of the e-book, you repeat the climax and tie up loose ends.

7- The Parallel Structure

In this structure, you tell two or more stories simultaneously. Each tale has its beginning, middle, and also end. You can weave the tales together or tell them independently, but you need to connect them at the end.

For nonfiction, it may make more sense to divide your e-book into sections or chapters that correspond to the topic. However, you can still build an overarching narrative by letting one step or principle lead to the next.

8- Write a strong e-book introduction

Copywriting is about salesmanship in writing. An e-book introduction is how you sell your e-book. That has more to do with copywriting than anything else.

And that’s what your introduction needs to be. Why else would people buy the e-book? Why else would they read the whole book?

Now for your introduction

  • State the trouble you are trying to fix
  • Present the solution you have for this problem
  • Affirm your credibility and show why you can solve the problem
  • Show the benefits of solving this problem
  • Give your reader proof of how and why it works
  • Make them a significant promise, a significant, bold promise
  • Warn them not to wait to read it.
  • “Look Inside” can get them to buy!

9- Write your nonfiction e-book in order

Now it’s time to create your outline. That is important because it will help you cover everything you want to say. An easy way to create an outline is to follow these steps:

Write down the essential parts of your book’s structure. If you choose a narrative style, these are the beginning, middle, and end, regardless of the order in which you want to tell them. For nonfiction, write down the different main topics you will cover.

Now think about each part individually. Take down all the points you intend to cover in that part.

Look at all the sub-points and consider what you can combine, what you need to break up into different points, which points can be sub-points of others, and so on.

Decide in what order you want to cover each sub-item. There may be overlap, so you need to decide where to cover the subpoint in more detail and where you want to touch on it.

Determine how much space you want to give to each sub-item. That will help you avoid going over something unimportant in the grand scheme.

Keep in mind that your outline is not set in stone. During the writing process, you can always make changes if necessary. You may come across something in your research that you haven’t thought of and would like to include.

10- Research nonfiction e-books

Should use research to confirm and validate your own experiences, not as a starting point for writing. It will come across as a lot more authentic and authoritative this way.

11- Edit your e-book yourself

That is the part you will both love and hate. Revising your first draft can be emotionally draining because you want it to be perfect the first time.

It can feel like a setback, but that’s why we revise it ourselves!

First, you pulled out what you needed. You need to chisel away the superfluous, sharpen the message, and implement your solution. That is the part where you put it all together.

12- Choose a title for a nonfiction e-book

You may be wondering why this item is so far down the list. More people come up with the title before writing, don’t they?

The main reason is that so much can change from an idea to an outline to a finished product. So instead of trying to fit your e-book to a title that may not work, write the e-book and then come up with a compelling title that embraces and sells the book’s content.

Here are our general tips for choosing an e-book title:

  • Make your title searchable.
  • Make it clear and concise: Your reader must know what they’re getting.
  • Write 5-10 main titles, and then choose your five favorites.
  • Solicit their feedback in writing groups or from friends/family.
  • Don’t write the subtitle until you have the main title.
  • Make sure the subtitle more accurately describes the content of your e-book; using keywords that people search for is also highly recommended.

Writing Techniques for Nonfiction e-books

Nonfiction can be just as exciting as fiction, maybe even more so because you know what you’re reading about happened. Some readers avoid nonfiction because they think it’s just a collection of boring old facts with nothing exciting happening. That’s just because they haven’t read a good nonfiction e-book yet.

So, as a nonfiction author, how can you get your ideas across so that your e-book earns a place on everyone’s list of favorite e-books?

1. Remember the story

For you, as a nonfiction creator, the challenge is not only to tell a story but also to choose a story that will captivate your readers. What you find interesting is not necessarily something that will appeal to readers. So it would be best if you think objectively about the story. Is it interesting to you because it is you, or is it interesting because of the story?

2. Set the scene

Any story – even if it’s true and not particularly exciting – becomes instantly more compelling when you set the scene. You want to draw your readers into the story and make them feel like they are right there with you: They won’t feel much if you say you visited the bank manager. You will, however, feel like you are part of the action when you describe the bank manager’s office:

  • The dull colors of the walls and furniture
  • The glare of the computer
  • The slickness of the mahogany desk
  • The smell of the cleaning supplies
  • The sounds of the traffic outside
  • The dry taste in your mouth

When describing the scene, make sure you don’t just focus on how things look. Draw on all five senses.

3. Bring your personalities to life

One of the aspects that every outstanding tale shares is the lifelike characters that occupy it. Every person you talk about in your e-book is a character. Your viewers wish to know about each of these personalities. What do they look like? What are they using? What do they sound like? What are their quirks? The bank manager you talk about in your book will sound more like a natural person when you describe his sensible haircut, starched white shirt, plain tie, his formal way of speaking, and how he keeps using his middle finger to push back his glasses.

4. Beware of TMI

TMI: too much information. Setting the scene and describing your characters is essential, yet it can also detract from the story if you give too many irrelevant details. That’s one of the quickest ways to lose your readers. So think critically concerning what you include in your summary. It needs to add to the atmosphere, but if you need more than a paragraph or two for it, it’s overkill.

6. Use simple language

Although it might lure you into bragging about your large vocabulary, remember that you are trying to communicate effectively first and foremost. If no one understands the words you use, how will they understand your message? Simplifying your language will help you get your message across better. It also makes the text more entertaining, as if you were speaking directly to the reader – and your book won’t be boring.

Using simple language doesn’t mean you’re trivializing your message. You can still explain complicated concepts. However, you are now doing so in a way that your readers are more likely to understand.

Some of the basics for using simple language in your text are

Use the active voice

It is more conversational than the passive voice and easier to understand. On the other hand, the passive voice can make your book sound like it was written by a little gray man in a gray suit in a gray government office. Indeed, there are times when the easy voice makes even more feeling. Nonetheless, if you utilize it too often, you’ll time out your viewers to sleep.

Use editing software

Try using an editing program like Grammarly, which helps you catch grammar errors quickly. That is especially useful for emails written quickly and sometimes containing apparent errors.

Avoid jargon

Just because you understand the definition of a term doesn’t indicate your readers will. If there is an easier or even more common synonym for the term, utilize it. If you can not avoid vocabulary, explain what the term indicates.

Likewise, remember that slang is a form of jargon. For instance, if you state something is “unwell,” your readers might interpret it as unfavorable instead of the “amazing” you meant.

Utilize shorter sentences

Adhere to the essence of each sentence. To prevent dullness, you can vary the size of your sentences. Nonetheless, try to limit them to no more than twenty words.

Avoid nominalizations

Nominalizations are nouns we form from a verb: “use” from “we,” “education” from “form,” and the like. Nominalizations make your text sound overly formal. They can also be challenging to understand.

7. Think about your research

Nonfiction may tell a story, but it’s ultimately about facts. To be credible as a nonfiction writer, you need to be able to back up those facts. Even writing a memoir, you need to get the facts right. Do you have the correct dates? Are you sure about the timeline of the occasions? Did the building on that particular road exist at the time you are writing about? In the age of Google, there is no excuse for refraining from the research study.

8. Search for deeper truths

Nothing in this world is just so. There is constantly a reason why things are the way they are. Digging for the story behind the story can give you more insight into your message. And when you understand the message better, you can explain it better to your readers.

9. Add the finishing touches

You’ll need to have the e-book proofread, source your illustrations, have the layout and cover design done, and have a final check by an editor.

10. Publication – The final result

After that, we come to the final step, publishing. If you are creating an e-book, I recommend self-publishing. With e-books, you can create a PDF file that you can sell through your website.

The Bottom Line

You have the concept, you have the strategy, and you have written the e-book. Now you need to publish it. Since this is a nonfiction book, we recommend self-publishing via a PDF file on your website.

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