Monday, November 30, 2015

How to Create a Simple Nonfiction eBook Outline

Every writer has an outlining method that works for her or him. Some writers swear by mind mapping software and other writers use pen and paper to plan out their books. I use Text Edit on my Mac. Text Edit is just a simple word processor program with fewer bells and whistles than MS Word. And word processor program will work.

Basic Outline Layout


When planning out your nonfiction ebook, you will need a comprehensive outline. Here is my most basic outline structure:

Title
By Author

Introduction
-What this ebook is about.
-How this ebook benefits the reader.

Chapters 1 thru ? Subject of chapter.
-Overview of what this chapter is about.
-Meat of the subject.
-Conclusion of the chapter.

Conclusion
-Recap of the benefits or steps mentioned in the book.

Bibliography or Recommended Resources

Other Books by Author

Chapter Titles


While researching the topic you will be writing on, you should be able to come up with the names of your chapters. For instance, if I was going to write a book about bread baking, I could list my chapters as: Tools for Baking Yeast Bread, Flours Used in Bread Baking, Bread Baking Techniques, White Bread Recipes, Grain Bread Recipes, Holiday Bread Recipes, International Bread Recipes. With this basic list of chapters, I can begin to fill in and alter my outline. It would then look like this:

Baking Yeast Bread
By Author

Introduction to Bread Baking
-What this ebook is about.
-How this ebook benefits the reader.

Chapter 1 Tools for Baking Yeast Bread
-Overview of what this chapter is about.
-Basic Bread Baking Tools
-Tools to Try Out
-Conclusion of the chapter.

Chapter 2 Flours Used in Bread Baking
-Overview of what this chapter is about.
-Meat of the subject.
-Conclusion of the chapter.

Chapter 3 Bread Baking Techniques
-Overview of what this chapter is about.
-Meat of the subject.
-Conclusion of the chapter.

Chapter 4 White Bread Recipes
-Recipes

Chapter 5 Grain Bread Recipes
-Recipes

Chapter 6 Holiday Bread Recipes
-Recipes

Chapter 7 International Bread Recipes
-Recipes

The Benefits of Baking Bread
-Saving Money
-Family Traditions
-Healthy Ingredients
-Starting a Home Bakery

Bibliography or Recommended Resources

Other Books by Author


Notice that as I filled in the chapter titles, I was also able to begin adding sub-topics under the chapters. If I were to continue my research, the outline would become fuller and, before long, I would have an entire blueprint of my ebook filled with notes.


No fancy software is needed to create a nonfiction book outline. Just divide and conquer your book subject into chapters and subtopics, and you are all set.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

How to Find More Time for Reading

Studies have shown that the wealthy read more books than those in the $35k and below income range. Do you think that they read more books because they are wealthy or that they can contribute some of their wealth success to their love of reading? According to the experts, reading self help books, educational books, and career related books is what gives people a boost in their income. So why not make more time for reading? The worst that can happen is you become smarter than you already are.

Schedule Reading Time


Everyone should have a basic schedule of their daily routines, from going to work to when they eat their meals. Eke out a 30 minute time slot in your days to dedicate to reading.

Read Before Sleep


Read a chapter or two before you go to bed. Most people have a bit of free time before they go to sleep at night. Use that time to get some reading done.

Borrow Library Books


If you want to light a fire under your butt, borrow some library books. Library books have a due date, so you’ve got to read them before they are due back.

Book Stashes


Keep books stashed in different places. Keep one in the bathroom for when you have a few minutes to sit. Keep a book or two in the living room and in you car. Any time there is a free moment, take the opportunity to read a page or two.

Speed Reading


Learn how to speed read. There are many books and articles available that teach speed reading. Find a technique that works for you and increase the amount of reading you do.

Digital Books


Always on the go? Start reading digital eBooks. Download books onto your phone and read them whiner a free moment presents itself.

Stop Reading Junk


Cut out reading social media feeds and click bait articles. If you want to learn about money or wealth building “tricks,” turn to books instead. You will get more in-depth material from books than from social media.

Audio Books



Buy or borrow audio books for your commute. Many public libraries carry audio books and you can borrow them for free. Audio books are a great way to catch up on what everyone else is reading. Self help books are also great for long car rides.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

How to Increase Your Writing Word Count in 10 Easy Steps

Looking to increase your word count? Get yourself motivated and prepared with these ten easy steps to writing more words on a daily basis.

1. Write When You’re Most Creative


Writers are creative at different times of the day. For some, mornings are the best time to write. Night owls feel their most creative at night. Discover when you feel the most creative and schedule your writing time to coincide with that time.

2. Be Organized


Keep your work area and your notes organized. Organize your area each day, after you have finished your writing so that you are prepared for the next day. Avoid organizing right before you begin writing because you may get sidetracked with other tasks. When you sit down to write, you want to focus solely on writing.

3. Think About What You Are Going to Write Before You Start


Take a moment before you begin writing to decide on what you will be writing. Briefly skim over what you wrote the day before and think about how you are going to progress.

4. Remove Distractions


Eliminate all distractions. If necessary, wear earplugs to block any noise. Put up a Do Not Disturb sign. Put your cell phone in another room and turn off the television.

5. Set a Timer


Time yourself and see how many words you can complete in a half hour, 45 minutes, or an hour. Give yourself 5 minute breaks to stretch and move about.

6. Keep a Word Count Log


Keep track of how many words you complete in a day. It can be a simple log you keep on a wall calendar or on a sheet of paper. You don’t need any extravagant system - that will only waste your time.

7. Challenge Yourself


Challenge yourself to write at least one more word that you did the day before. Always push to exceed your minimum daily word count.

8. Use Writing Time Wisely


Use your writing time only for writing. Set aside anything else that is not directly involved with writing. This includes social media, writing lists, or organizing papers.

9. Avoid Multitasking


Never multitask when you are supposed to be writing. If you have research to do for the book, focus on that before writing. If you are working on writing, don’t stop and begin researching a fact you need for the book. Instead, type in a bunch of Xs and come back to it later. Don’t try and write and catch up on your favorite television show. Use television only as a reward for completing your work first.

10. Take Mini Breaks When Necessary


When you find yourself struggling for the net word or plot twist, take a quick mini break. Make a cup of tea or take a brisk walk outdoors. Do some stretches and then get back to writing.

Friday, November 27, 2015

How to Live Life to Become a Successful Writer

Sometimes you just need to begin living the life of a successful writer to become a successful writer. Here are some of the most common traits of authors who’ve made it.

Avoid Put-Downs


Successful writers learn early on that putting themselves down is counterproductive. They learn how to speak to their inner self in a helpful and respectful way. They also avoid others that put them down and people who exert a negative influence on their lives.

Have a Plan


Have goals and have a daily plan to work on your writing. Successful writers work on their writing pretty much every day. They have long-term book writing goals and they have a set amount of work that they do each and every day.

Don’t Dwell on Obstacles


Don’t waste time dwelling on the obstacles you face. Instead, face each obstacle head on and eliminate them or work around them. Many of the obstacles we face are put there by ourselves. We create our own excuses for failure. Focus on your goals and create the roadwork to success.

Move Past Failures


Every person makes mistakes. The difference between an unsuccessful writer and a successful writer is that successful writers learn from their mistakes. If a book flops, they uncover the reasons why and aim to never repeat those mistakes again. Successful writers also don’t let failures get in the way of their larger goals. They keep getting back up, they keep on writing, and they eventually work themselves into success.

No Such Thing as Perfection


There is no such thing as perfection. Successful writers work to write at their best, but they understand that aiming for absolute perfection is impossible. Do your best and continue to make improvements to your writing.

Ignore the Haters


People are going to hate, no matter what. There are people who hate Shakespeare, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Stephen King. Do you think Stephen King cares how the haters feel towards his work? Absolutely not, and neither should you.

Celebrate Others Success


Don’t be a stingy, jealous writer. Celebrate on the success of other writers. Learn to be gracious and giving. People will love you for it.

Take Care of Yourself


Your health is paramount. Take care of yourself by eating healthy and getting exercise. Spend time with the people you love and have fun nights or fun days. Experience the healing power of laughter.

Embrace Change



The publishing world has experienced a great deal of change since the birth of the internet. Writers are now maintaining websites, blogging, and self-publishing their own books. The old methods for getting a book on the market are dying and writers are learning to embrace new technologies and new mediums. Keep up with the growing changes and experiment with different book mediums.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

How to Make Writing a Daily Habit

When you first start out, writing everyday is a task. Over time, as you keep to your writing schedule, it becomes a habit. It will be something you automatically settle down to do, without dread or regret.

Here is what you need to do if you want to turn writing into a daily habit.

1. Decide on a Habit


Choose the habit you want to build. For this article, we are focusing on making writing every day a habit. If you are already writing every day, you can change your goal to writing x amount of words or pages a day.

2. Part of Routine


Schedule writing time into your day. Plan on making it a part of your every day activities. If you have a daily planner, choose a block of time to write and try to keep it at the same time every day, including weekends.

When writing becomes part of your routine, you will find that you begin to do things that will trigger yourself to prepare to write. Some writers will go out for a jog, come home, and begin their day of writing. Other writers will practice breathing exercises to prepare for their writing. Find and develop a trigger that will put you in the mood to write.

3. Start Small and Build


If you are just deciding on making writing a daily habit, start small. Plan on writing for just one hour each day or writing x amount of words each day. 500 words a day is a good goal for beginning writers. For those who have a little more experience, up the daily word count to 1,000 words a day.

4. Stick to It


The most important thing to do when forming a new habit is to stick to it. Don’t start off by giving yourself days off. Plan to work on writing every single day, including holidays. This is not meant to be a punishment, but a way to form a new habit.

5. Form One Habit at a Time



Only tackle one habit at a time. If you are working on building a writing habit, don’t start building another habit in some other area of your life. When you tackle one thing at a time, you are far more likely to succeed than if you tackle two or more habits at a time.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

How to Overcome Stress Headaches When Writing

Writing is a stressful job. In fact, newspaper reporters have the 8th most stressful job in the United States.

Constantly faced with deadlines, even self published Kindle writers can feel the stress build up into an excruciating headache. The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to de-stress and possibly eliminate the stress headache.

Take a Break


You need to get the book done now, but your head aches and you can’t focus. You’re not getting any work done, so it is time to simply step away from the keyboard and take a break.

During your break, do something different for at least 15 minutes. You can start a load of laundry, wash a few dishes, or do some stretching. When you are done, sit down and refocus. Decide on what you must do, how you are going to do it, and then get back to work. Write for another 45 minutes and take another 15 minute break.

Learn to Breathe


Stress not only causes headaches, but it can cause shallow breathing. Learn how to breathe properly by inhaling to the count of 4, holding for 2, exhaling to the count of 4, and then holding your breath again to the count of 2. Let your belly expand and contract while breathing, and keep your shoulders still to prevent chest breathing.

Whenever you feel the tension begin to build, take a few minutes to just breathe. You will immediately begin to feel more relaxed.

Take a Shower


Take a warm shower or a bath at the onset of a stress headache. This will help wash away the tension and it will give you time to de-stress and refocus.

Dim Your Computer Screen


Bright lights can cause headaches. If you are going to be writing on your computer for any length of time, dim your screen. You don’t need a bright screen to work on writing and some writers go as far as to turn their screen to dark so that they will not get distracted by the urge to do rewrites while working on a first draft.

Other Tricks



Have a cup of coffee, tea, or a glass of soda. Get some caffeine into your system to help fight off the headache. Wear sunglasses while you work if the surrounding light is too bright. Finally, do some stretches and exercises. While moving around might be the last thing you want to do when you have a headache, it is proven to help decrease the pain of headaches and can relieve them entirely.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How to Prepare to Write a Nonfiction Book

There are 3 phases to writing a nonfiction book: preparation, research, and writing. To succeed in writing your nonfiction book, you cannot skip any of these phases.

Deciding What to Write


Deciding what to write can be the hardest part of writing a book. There are so many interesting topics to choose from and you have to decide which idea is best.

Keep a List


One of my tricks to always having something to write about is keeping a list of ideas. On my Mac, I keep a long list of ideas in TextEdit. I also keep the list on paper as backup.

What this list does is hold all my random ideas for books and articles. Sometimes the items on the list are just one or two words of something I want to look into. Sometimes I come up with a great title and write it down. A few of the items are paragraphs of ideas that I just had to get out of my head.

I add to this list night and day, anything and everything that comes to mind.

Check Out Your Subject


After you have chosen something to write about, your next step is to check out the subject on Amazon.com. How many books have been written on the subject? Check out the reviews of books similar to the one you plan on writing. How well are these books selling?

You will also want to visit the Google Adwords tool and do searches on the keywords of your subject. If you want to write a book about writing nonfiction, you will do a search on "writing nonfiction". Study all the keywords that show up in your search. Get ideas for possible chapters in your book. How popular is your subject?

Decide on a Title


After this initial research, you should now have an angle for your book. Now you need to choose a title. When writing and publishing nonfiction as an ebook, such as on Kindle or Smashwords, your title should reflect exactly what your book is about. Avoid abstract titles. Search Amazon.com to make sure no one else has published an ebook with your title.

Pen Name or Real Name


Decide if you will be writing under a pen name or your real name. Either way, search the name on Amazon to see if the name is already in use.

Prepare Work Area


Finally, prepare your work area for your project. Remove anything that is not directly related to your project. Grab the necessary books for research purposes. Remove all clutter and distractions.


You should now have a clear idea and purpose for your book. You are ready to move onto the second phase of your book: research.

Monday, November 23, 2015

How to Research for a Nonfiction Book

The three phases of writing a nonfiction book are preparation, research, and writing. After you have finished preparing for your book project, it is time to sink your teeth into the research phase.

Researching Online


Online research is often the first step to researching material and ideas for a nonfiction book. You will begin by searching for articles on your subject in search engines. You will read through the articles you pull up, take notes, and maybe come up with a few chapters or subsections to add to your outline.

You will also want to conduct a search on Google Books (http://books.google.com/) and you will want to check out the The Online Books Page (http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu). Both of these websites can help add a wealth of information to your book.

Library


Public libraries are a great resource when searching for mainstream topics. You may also want to check out any local college or university libraries. I have spent countless hours doing research at the Kutztown University library and I don't know what I would do without this wonderful resource.

Used Book Stores


Used book stores tend to have a lot of out of date books, but there is almost always a gem or two in the stacks. I usually go to the local Goodwill store that sells books for 25 cents a piece and buy a stack of books for current research and future research.

Talk to People


Depending on the subject of your book, you can also contact people in the industry and give interviews. You can include the interviews and what you learned from individuals in your book.

Do It Yourself



Finally, one way to gain a wealth of information about something is to go out and do it yourself. For example, if you are writing a book about a type of business, the quickest way to gain insider knowledge about that business is to work for one or set one up. Use yourself as a guinea pig to gain a new perspective and knowledge for your book.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

How to Write a Book About Yourself

Think you’ve had an exciting life? Many people do, and the common reaction is, “I should write a book about it.”

Anyone can sit down and write an autobiography, but unless you are famous, not many people will want to read about your life. Here are some ways you can create interest in your book and how you should approach the task of writing it.

1. Focus on What’s Interesting


People don’t want to read about your life starting at your birth and ending at the present date. Instead, focus on one important chapter of your life. An example would be the start of your drug addiction and all the ups and downs you experienced while hooked. End it with yourself in rehab getting clean. You could also start with how you became incarcerated, your experiences in the prison system, and what you are now doing to improve your life.

2. Embellish


That’s right. Embellish your story, but don’t lie. If you were to tell your story exactly how it happened, step by step, you will bore your readers. Instead, use your adjectives and verbs. Show, don’t tell your audience what happened.

3. Create a Timeline


Your first step to preparing your book is to write out a timeline of the events you want to cover. This is sort of like outlining.

4. Learn Plot Structure


Like it or not, to be a best seller, you will have to work the events into a plot structure. The most common plot structure used is the W diagram. When people sit down to read your book, they expect the introduction of you, the main character, and the setting. Something has to happen that sets up the reason for the rest of your story. You will then take the reader through all your ups and downs, and you will end with a conclusion to your story.

5. Characters


You can’t include everyone in your book. To tell your story, you may need to cut out some of the background people. This means that I, the reader, do not need to know the name and life history of the neighbor whose only line in the book is “Good morning.” Trim out unnecessary characters.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

How to Write a Book That Inspires People

Inspiring people through writing can seem like a difficult task. How do you convince people to do the right thing, the healthiest thing, and the best thing? These seven tips on inspiring people will help you focus on what you should share with your readers.

1. Be a Real Person


Absolutely no one is perfect. When writing a book that is meant to inspire others to do things, such as lose weight, go green, or change their perceptions, never portray yourself as the perfect individual. Show your readers your faults and how you strive to overcome them.

2. Lead by Example


Give as many examples as you can uncover. Why does your method work? How has it changed you? Show your readers what you are doing differently and how it has forever altered your life. How has your method or technique changed other people’s lives?

3. Don’t Brag


As a little girl, I was sent to camp one summer. It was there that I met my first braggart. The boy would always interrupt conversations stating that he did that, he had that, he’s got better, and he’s the best. None of us wanted to be around him. We would run and hide if we saw him coming up the trail towards us.

Don’t be a braggart. Keep things real and honest.

4. Identify Hurdles and Give Solutions


No one lives a perfect life and everyone faces hurdles. Identify the hurdles your readers may face and provide them with actionable solutions.

5. Keep Positive


If you want to inspire people, never take a dive into anger, hate, and resentment. Remain positive and determined, even in the face of adversity.

6. Give Hope


Provide your readers with hope. There will be days when your readers will feel like they just can’t do what you are suggesting. They need a boost in confidence to keep on going. This can be true of any group of people, from dieters to weight lifters to investors. Focus your readers on their own inner strength to help them pull through their darker moments.

7. Show the Rewards



The easiest way to inspire readers is to show them the rewards. Show them the open doors and the possibilities. Assure them that not even the sky is the limit to their abilities.

Friday, November 20, 2015

How to Write a Nonfiction Book in 24 Hours - Step by Step

The first thing you need to know about writing a non-fiction book in 24 hours is that these hours are divided up into days. For example, you can write your book for 8 hours a day for 3 days or you can work on your book for 4 hours a day for 6 days. If you’re nuts, you can work for 12 hours over two days and experience the wonderful thrill of a burnout. The choice is yours on how you divide the hours, but you CAN write a book in just 24 hours. Here’s how.

Hour 1 - Find a Topic


For this blog post, I am going to go through the actions of writing a book in 24 hours so that I can better explain the process to you.

Step 1: Find topics that interest you. I like business, self-improvement, and self-reliance, so I am going to visit a few of my favorite websites on these topics and see what articles they have up.

Step 2: Make a list of ideas.

Step 3: To get a better idea on how well your book ideas will sell, go to Amazon.com and search for books similar to your topics. Make note on how well these books are selling.

Step 4: Sign into Google AdWords Keyword Planner. Do a search on keywords related to the topics on your list. See what has the highest monthly searches and make a list of the words and phrases people use to search for these topics.

Step 5: Choose your final idea.

Step 6: Make a list of potential titles for your book. Search Amazon.com for these titles and remove any titles that are already in use. Choose one title from those remaining on the list.

Note: I did all of this in 28 minutes and 1 second, but I have also been writing Kindle books for about 2 years. If it takes you longer than an hour to do all this, that is fine. You will get faster in time.

Hours 2 - 6 - Research


I chose a subject that interests me greatly, but I know little about the subject. When I am writing about something I know, I usually begin naming the chapters of my books and adding notes to each chapter. For the sake of fairness to my readers, I chose a topic that I can’t break down into chapters until after I do some research.

I am now setting my Apimac Timer for 5 hours and beginning my research.

Note: I used all of the allotted hours to research my book. Depending on your subject and how well you know it, you may use less or even exceed these hours.

Hours 7 - 8 - Outline


After you’ve done your research and taken your notes, it is time to organize your notes into an outline.  Cut, paste, and rewrite your notes into chapters. Name the chapters.

This step normally doesn’t take me that long because the research is done and I am merely organizing notes into chapters - putting everything into place. Occasionally I will find that I need to look up or double check a fact, but it doesn’t take longer than a minute or two.

Hours 9 - 20 - Writing


If you’ve done the research and the outline, writing the book becomes the easy part. You already have all the facts written. Now you just have to add your personality to the text. Add your personal thoughts and experiences to the mix.

With all your notes in place, typing 1,000+ words an hour should be a breeze

Hours 21 - 24 - Editing and Cover Design


After you’ve finished writing your book, it is time to edit it. Reread your book out loud and correct any mistakes you find. Reword sentences and entire paragraphs. Make sure you’ve answered all possible questions related to your subject.

Design your cover. If you have no desire to design your own cover, order a cover from one of the many Kindle cover designers available online immediately after you’ve decided on the name of your book.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

How to Write a Recipe for the Internet and Ebooks

From 2008 to the present time I have been the Bread Baking Guide / Expert on About.com. When I first got the job to write about bread baking, I had no idea about how to write a recipe. It was only by following About's guidelines and studying other recipe books that I learned the best way to write recipes so that the beginner can understand it and the steps involved.

Recipe Title


Each recipe needs a title so that the reader can readily identify it. In paper books, recipe names can get crazy, such as Aunt Mildred's Slop. However, when creating recipes for the internet and for ebooks, you will want the title to describe the recipes, such as Sour Cream and Chive White Bread. You do this because you will want your recipe to show up in a search for "chive bread recipe" or "using sour cream in bread recipe".

Introduction


Whether you are writing your recipe for the web or for an ebook, you will want to introduce your recipe. In a sentence or an entire paragraph, tell readers what is special about this recipe. Is it easy enough for beginners? Is it a recipe for special occasions? Does it use the freshest ingredients while they are in season or is it a recipe that uses prepackaged ingredients to make it simpler for busy moms?

Yield


If you are writing a muffin recipe, tell the reader how many muffins the recipe makes. A bread recipe requires you to tell how many loaves the recipe makes and what size, such as "makes 3 small, round loaves". With other dishes, you provide the reader with how many servings the recipe yields. For example, a soup recipe might yield 6 servings (enough for 6 people). If you are unsure as to how to write up the yield for your recipe, study published recipe books and see how they present the yield for dishes similar to your own.

Time


There are two times you will want to mention in most of your recipes: preparation time and cooking/baking time.

Preparation time is the time it takes you to prepare the item to be cooked or baked. If there is no cooking time, such as with salads, the preparation time is the time it takes you to make the entire item.

Cooking or baking time is the amount of time it takes to cook or bake the item. If the item is not cooked or baked, you can skip this time.

Tools


I don't list the tools needed on my bread baking site because I include that information in my instructions. However, if you are writing recipes that need special tools, such as candy recipes, you may want to include a section that lists what is needed to make the recipe.

Ingredients


Writing a thorough ingredient list is the most tedious part of writing out a recipe. First, you will need to remain consistent when writing all your recipes.


  • Use proper measurement abbreviations: lb, qt, cup, Tbsp, tsp, oz, etc.
  • If your recipe calls for eggs, list what size egg is used.
  • List the kind of sugar needed: granulated, powdered, brown, ect.
  • Provide alternative ingredients. For example, "2 Tbsp soft margarine, butter, or lard".
  • List the ingredients in order of use.


Directions


The directions are where you put the bulk of your information. Things to remember are:


  • Include preheating temperature if baking.
  • Include tools that are being used: wooden spoon, medium bowl, small saucepan, etc.
  • Name each ingredient as it is added.
  • Make the instructions step by step so that even a beginner can follow through the recipe with success.


Put Together


When your recipe is finally put together, it will look like this:

Recipe Name

This is recipe name. It is an easy recipe you can make for family dinner on every blue moon that falls on a Thursday.

Yield: 4 servings.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Tools:
This is where I would list any special tools needed to make the recipe.

Ingredients:
1 cup this
1/2 cup finely chopped that
2 Tbsp soft stuff
1/2 tsp mush

Instructions:
1. Place this in a medium saucepan.
2. Add that and stir.
3. Add stuff and mush. Mix.
4. Cook over medium heat for 45 minutes until that is cooked soft.
5. Remove from heat and serve while hot.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How to Write Great Non-fiction Kindle eBook Titles

When it comes to non-fiction, your title is what sells your book. Your title tells potential buyers what to expect from your book.

Some writers have a difficult time coming up with a good title to use. They can get caught up in word plays or want to appear clever when titling their ebook. Avoid these two traps when writing non-fiction ebooks for Kindle. You want to choose a direct title that tells the reader exactly what the book is about.

What Question is Answered?


The easiest way to come up with a great non-fiction ebook title it to ask, "What question does my book answer?"

Examples:

You just finished writing an ebook on building birdhouses with kids.
The question your ebook has answered is, "How to build birdhouses with children."
The best title for your ebook is Building Birdhouses with Children.

You want to write an ebook about growing strawberries in the backyard.
The question your ebook will answer is, "How to grow strawberries in the backyard."
The best title for your ebook is Growing Strawberries in Your Backyard.

The Value of Subtitles


Adding subtitles to your title helps get more traffic to your ebook. Adding subtitles is like adding SEO (search engine optimization) value. You can add more keywords to your ebook by adding a subtitle. The best way to do this is to think of what other phrases potential readers might be searching for.

Example:

Building Birdhouses with Children:
Easy Birdhouse Patterns and Instructions

Growing Strawberries in Your Backyard:
Beginners Guide to Starting and Maintaining a Strawberry Garden

Both of these subtitles add more depth as to what your ebook is about, so when someone searches on Amazon for a book on strawberry gardens for beginners, your book will show up in the search results even though strawberry gardens for beginners is not the actual title of your book.

Make It Easy to Be Found


The purpose of your non-fiction ebook title is to be found. You want your book to be shown in the search results when a potential reader types in keywords, such as "easy birdhouse patterns" or "growing strawberries for beginners." Present your ebook title as an answer to the reader's question and add a subtitle to include other keywords a reader might use to find a book on your subject.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Does Every Blog Book Read the Same?

I read a lot of books on writing, blogging, and SEO. Sadly, they all sound the same. I scrounge through book after book, from hardcopies to Kindle books and I cannot find a single new or unique idea within them. It is all a rehash of the same old crap and all of that crap is available for free online.

Yesterday, I skimmed through 5 Kindle books on blogging. Each had the same, tired old advice. None of them actually covered how to write a blog post, but there are other books sitting in my account on that subject.

Each of the 5 books recommend guest posting. Guest posting used to work, but it doesn't amount to crap these days.

Each of the books blathered on about SEO. SEO can only get you so far, and you can ignore SEO entirely and just focus on writing good content. Good content will automatically bring in good traffic. No need for bells, whistles, or those horrible spinning gifs from the 1990s (flashing back to the horror that was Geocities long ago).

Tomorrow I plan on finishing up the last of my Kindle books on blogging. I will be banning myself from reading another blog book for the next year or two. There is nothing new or delicious in these books anymore and content is being rehashed by internet newbies.

I miss the days when the internet was vibrant and new and each day brought some exciting discovery. And yes, I still hear the call of ICQ in my sleep and wish I could slap someone with a wet trout. That is how long I've been cruising these halls.

How Writers are Making Money Online

Every day more and more people are deciding to start writing and make money online. When they hit the search engines to find out how to make money online they run into a lot of outdated information and many, many scams.

There are many ways to make a little money online and there are a few ways to make a lot of money online. I know because I have been writing online since around 1997/1998 when I started my first website and began writing for other websites, many of which are now defunct, gone, and vanished.

Almost 20 years later and I am still writing online and I am doing it full-time. I am going to share with you everything that I currently know about writing and making money online in this one post. Ready?

1. About.com - Earnings = Medium


In 2008, I was hired by the New York Times to write for the bread baking section of About.com. I am still there at http://breadbaking.about.com. Back then, the earnings were very good. The earnings have dropped in recent times, but the amount exceeds what can be made on most content mills. If you are looking for a part-time income keep watch for the latest writing positions available at: http://experts.about.com.

Monthly payment is by check or direct deposit.

2. HubPages - Earnings = Low to Medium


I’ve written for the others, from eHow (now owned by Demand Studios) to Squidoo (gone), but HubPages is the only remaining content mill where there is still activity and you can still earn some money.

It doesn’t take much effort to get set up on HubPages and for you to start writing and publishing articles. It is a good springboard for people who are new to writing and it will teach you how to compose good online content.

The earnings are generally low. If you write a few articles that go viral and bring in good monthly traffic, you can earn a few extra hundred dollars a month. Some people claim that they earn more on HubPages than on their blogs and some claim the opposite. Personally, I earn more money blogging, but, again, HubPages was a good springboard for me years ago and, so far, the environment has been relatively stable.

Monthly payment is through PayPal.

3. Demand Studios - Earnings = Low to Medium


I wrote for Demand Studios for awhile and I walked away from the experience rather bitter. At this time, writers earn $11.50 for a short, 250 word article and $25 for a longer, 450 word article. The money is good when they actually have articles available that you can write. There have been many months where there were no articles available and available work is often sporadic.

Then there is the issue of the editors. Yes, there are a few good editors working for Demand Studios, but all you need is one asshole to ruin your earnings. Writers get one chance to rewrite an article. If the editor doesn’t approve your final edits, you get a mark against you and no money for the work. Too many marks and Demand Studios will drop you. If a writer complains or contradicts an editor, Demand Studios will drop you. As a writer, you shut up and do what you are told and if the editor wants you to put inaccurate information in an article, you have to decide on whether you want your name on a crappy article or if you are going to let the article expire so that no naughty points are added against you.

High stress job and not recommended. Payments are sent out twice a week to PayPal.

4. Fiverr.com - Earnings = Low


Yeah, I’ve heard about people making a living on Fiverr.com, too. Guess what? They aren’t doing anything that takes longer than 30 minutes to complete. On Fiverr.com, you offer a service for $5. Fiverr.com claims $1 from your sale and you earn a whopping total of $4 for your work. This is great news for people who are writing names in the sand, photographing the image, and selling them to buyers, but what does this mean for writers? Honestly, not a whole heck of a lot. Check out the site, see what other writers are trying to sell, and decide if Fiverr.com is right for you.

Payments are made through PayPal.

5. Amazon Affiliate Program - Earnings = Depends


The first affiliate program I joined was Amazon’s affiliate program. It was for my first website and the earnings were fracking awesome. When y2k hit, my sales took a major dive. With my new blogs, I’ve been building up my sales once again, but nothing is quite as beautiful as it was back in those early years.

I focus on linking to books, but many Amazon affiliates say that the best way to earn money via Amazon is by writing about and linking to high priced items.

Monthly payments are by direct deposit.

6. AdSense - Earnings = Depends


I joined AdSense many years ago for my first website and have used them ever since. I use my account for my blogs, including Blogger.com. I have found that AdSense works with some topics and not at all with other topics. My first website was an earth spiritual website and I got very few clicks. This blog is a writers blog and the clicks are pretty good. My research shows that health and medical blogs get even better clicks. So, the amount of money you can make on AdSense depends on your niche as well as where you place the ads.

Monthly payments are by direct deposit.

7. Kindle Books - Earnings = Medium to High


My top earner is publishing books on Amazon.com’s Kindle platform. In fact, I’ve been going full-time with writing and publishing Kindle books and I’ve been treating everything else like a part-time job.

The amount of money you can earn on Amazon.com depends on what you write about, how well it is written, your pricing, and your book covers (yes, covers sell books). The major downfall with publishing Kindle books is that it takes time to find that perfect niche where you are selling enough books to earn a full-time income, and once you find that sweet spot, you need to keep on writing to meet and exceed your earning expectations.

Monthly payments are by direct deposit.

8. Blogging - Earnings = Depends


I’ve already touched on blogging with AdSense and the Amazon affiliate program, but there are other affiliates you can test out when you run your own blog.

LinkShare - Sign up and choose affiliate offers that are related to your niche. I have earned some money through the LinkShare program and I have no complaints.

CJ.com - Again, when you sign up for this site, you can choose through a number of affiliate offers that are related to your niche.

ClickBank - A popular affiliate program for many. People claim that they make a lot of money adding ClickBank links to their content. I haven’t made any sales through them, yet, because I have only just started adding a few links to the courses they offer.

If you haven’t started a blog yet, you really need to get on the ball and find a niche that you enjoy. Write, write, write, and after 6 months of madness, you can cool your heels to just one blog post a day.

Diversity


The most important lesson I’ve learned from all these years of writing online is that it is best to create incomes from multiple sources. You should also focus on incomes that are passive incomes. For example, after you have written and published your Kindle book, the money you make from that book month after month is passive income. The same with writing for HubPages or your own blog - your articles and posts keep on earning you money.

Also, when you build an income from multiple sources, you are safe for those times when one source doesn’t earn enough or when a content mill goes under.

Why I Don't Have an Email Marketing List

Funneling, reverse funneling, and giving the squeeze. I don't care what you are calling it or how many zillions of dollars you have made annoying people with spam, I refuse to jump on the email marketing bandwagon.

As a consumer, I get annoyed with unwelcome email. If I don't recognize the email address, I delete the email and never open it. I don't care how tantalizing you make the heading or how *URGENT* you think your special offer really is, it's spam and it is trash.

Because I hate spam, I refuse to get on the email marketing bandwagon. Yes, I realize that there are suckers everywhere and emailing thousands of people will land you with a 2% return of suckers, I am still not game to your game.

It is not that I don't want to make money. I do. But I can't bring myself to fill people's heads with false hope, false promises, in the name of a buck.

Let the politicians pull that scam. I like going to bed at night knowing I am not going to hell for misdeeds.

Monday, November 16, 2015

4 Huge Mistakes I Made as an Online Writer

We all make mistakes as we learn a new trade. I entered freelance writing online back when the idea was fairly new. It was the 1990s, I was the first of my social group to buy a domain name and get web hosting. I ran a discussion list, reviewed books online for my website and a website that no longer exists. I took some risks, but never enough. I lost out on numerous opportunities that could have made me millions. Out of all the ups, downs, and sideways ventures, here is what I learned.

1. Not Jumping on the Bandwagon Fast Enough


It was only a few short years ago that a content mill jumped onto the scene and lit up like wildfire. Everyone was talking about their incredible earnings, but I felt I had enough freelance work on my hands so I ignored the opportunity. Then along came a slow point and I needed some extra cash. I went to the site and signed up. Within a week I was bringing in anywhere from $20 to $50 a day writing 8 short little articles within 2 hours of my time. It was fast, easy money for writing the stupidest crap imaginable, but I loved it. I contributed to the site every day and made a tidy some of money. Sadly, a few months after joining, the site went downhill. People were abusing the system. The site was losing money. Things needed to change. The money trickled up and now the site is no longer.

Lesson learned: Get in while the going is good because nothing lasts forever on the internet.

2. Not Keeping My Old Website


In 1997, I bought a new domain name and began working on the site. Back then I worked between doing my own coding and using Dreamweaver for some of the layout. I lived and breathed that site, day in and day out. Within a short about of time it started bringing in $200 to $300 a month from Amazon’s affiliate program selling just books. My friend told me about Adsense (he was bringing in over $10,000 a month with Adsense) and while I signed up, I was uncomfortable with commercializing my site. Forward a few years later and I was bored with the site’s subject altogether. Like an idiot, I thought I needed a break and asked a friend to keep the site on his server for me while I worked on other projects. Since I had done a lot of free work for his profitable website, he agreed to help me out in turn. Unfortunately, he passed away, left his site in the care of a lawyer and, although the lawyer was aware of the arrangement I had with my deceased friend, failed to return my site to me. I finally asked him to remove all my content from my site. He obliged and now has my domain up for sale. My PR ranking on my well seasoned site is incredible, but it ticks me off to no living end that I have to buy my site back when a tidy profit is still being made from the work I did for my deceased friend’s site - money being pocketed by the lawyer for its “care”.

Lesson learned: Never abandon a website you have had for over 2 years. Never trust it to a friend because life is uncertain.

3. Not Selling Out


You read that right: I regret not selling out earlier in my life. I was young when my writing career started taking off, but I was also a snoot. I thought I was too good to write for this publisher or that website. I wanted to write about the things that interested me at that time. Fortunately, not everyone is like me, but I lost out in the end.

Lesson learned: I should have sold out in my youth, when everyone seemed to want a piece of me. These days, I will write about almost anything, including subjects, like fashion, that I used to snub.

4. Not Investing During the Prosperous Times


Pre-2000, making money on the web was flipping fantastic. While I snubbed many great opportunities, I also accepted a good number of writing opportunities that brought me a lot of good money. Come 2000, the election of a new President, and no Y2K disaster, the internet died on January 1, 2000. My sales, clicks, and job offers went silent. I struggled to regain earnings and then the events of 9/11 happened in 2001. My earnings dropped to pitiful. I should have sold my soul and started writing political commentary, but I decided to proudly suffer.


Lesson learned: Invest while the going is good. Tuck aways as much money as you can and make promising investments.

Increase Your Writing Productivity by Letting Go of These 5 Things

1. Self Doubt


Stop doubting yourself and your abilities. If you are just starting out as a writer, there will be obstacles. The trick is to learn from these obstacles and overcome your personal doubt.

2. Anger


Carrying around anger might be good fuel for a character or two in a book, but it is not something you should carry with you each time you prepare to write.

Let go of the anger. Remember what it feels like, take note of it, but when you are writing, you have to let it go to increase your creativity.

3. The Desire for Inspiration


You could easily waste your entire life looking for that perfect inspiration that is going to propel you to write a best seller.

Have you ever heard the saying, “A watched pot never boils.”? If you are actively looking for inspiration, you probably won’t find it. Instead, keep your eyes open and make your own inspirations happen.

4. Comparing


Stop comparing yourself to other writers. You will probably never measure up. Instead, work on your own writing skills and create your own path to writing success.

5. Fear


People fear what they don’t know or understand. It can be a fear of death or a fear of heights. As a writer, you must dive head-on into your fears and the fears of others when writing.

Blogging While Camping

Camping has got to be one of the best ways to come up with nonfiction and fiction blog, article, and book ideas. When camping, you get to explore new areas, new sensations, new activities and survival skills, and you get to dream.

I’m talking about tent camping, of course. If you ever get the opportunity to rough it for a weekend or a whole week, take the opportunity.

Writing Essentials to Take


Start with the basics: pen or pencil and a paper tablet or two. When technology fails, these are the standbys.

Lighting. You will not only need flashlights while camping, but you should get a decent lamp for those late nights, when the woods are alive, and you can’t sleep.

Next, the technology.

Have you tried typing on your phone? I did it a few times the other year. Not the most productive way to type, but it worked in a pinch.

iPads work well while camping. They are small, easier to type on than a phone, and they take a shorter time to charge than a laptop. If you have a tablet that can take photos, all the better. You can take pictures on the spot for blog posts and articles.

Laptops are wonderful, although bulky. If something happens, it is more expensive to replace a laptop than an iPad or similar tablet.

Internet


Most campgrounds do not have wi-fi, but that is not a problem. Many fast food places offer their customers free wi-fi. Create a schedule where you spend time working on your writing and then spend a few minutes with a cup of coffee, uploading your posts or articles to the internet.


Of course, you could have blogged ahead of time to cover the days you would be without the internet and, upon getting home, get your new content online.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Article Template for "10 Ways to"

Many new writers don't know how to write a basic list article and other writers just can't get organized to get a list article done in one hour or less. One trick I have learned after years of writing and publishing articles is that you need a simple format. With a format you create a method that you can grow used to, and a template simplifies everything.

While I work almost exclusively in Word or TextEdit, here is the most basic template I set up for myself when writing "10 Ways to" articles. Click on the image to enlarge.


How to Use Template

When people use the search engine, they commonly type in "ways to" do something. Your article can be about almost anything: 10 Ways to Catch a Suntan, 10 Ways to Find Buried Treasure, 10 Ways to Wear Lipstick, and so on.

You can throw an adjective into the title, as well. 10 Amazing Ways to Remove Belly Button Lint, 10 Weird Ways to Lure a Frog, and 10 Unbelievable Ways to Make a Codpiece.

After you have chosen your title, you are going to skip the introduction. Introductions are written last because you don't know what you are introducing yet.

Break your article down into 10 parts with 10 different subtopic titles.

After you have written your subtopics down, you are going to skim the internet and possibly books for notes. Add one to four facts per subtopic.

And related facts that cover the subject of your article can be jotted in the introduction section.

Word Count


Long blog posts and articles do better on Goggle than the short ones. When you break an article down into 10 sections plus an introduction, you are giving yourself an easy way to create 1,000 word plus articles.

Plan on writing at least 100 words per section. Mathematically, the entire article would then be 1,100 words. However, one or maybe even two sections won't warrant a full 100 words. In those cases, that 100 word introduction makes up for the lost word count, ensuring that your article is, at the very least, 1,000 words long.

Making It Easier


I also find that breaking an article of blog post down into small bits makes it so much easier to write. The task doesn't seem as daunting and you will feel good about yourself and your article as you complete each little section.

How Writers Use Books for Inspiration

Writers read books for more than leisurely enjoyment. They study the works of other writers, learning plot dynamics and how other authors builds characters through description and dialogue.

1. Disagree


Writers will often choose to read books that they know they will disagree with. This disagreement can fuel the topic for another book that brings the matter into debate.

2. Copying Word for Word


The oldest trick in the book, when it comes to learning how to write, is to copy another book word for word. Write or type one of your favorite books. As you do this, you will be able to closely examine how the author switches scenes, creates dialogue, and builds the plot. By the time you are done, you may already have a plot idea for a book of your own.

3. Plotting


Some writers read books and write out the basic plot. Once you have a plot formula, such as the plot formulas used for romance novels, you can build your own book around the formula.

4. Reading to Learn


Writers immerse themselves in books. When a writer plans on writing an historical novel, her first job will be to read everything on the era available to her. She will also study other historical novels to learn what is covered and to determine the angle for her unique book.

5. Writing Styles


Every successful writer has a writing style that is unique. Writers study these styles, and sometime borrow them, as a way to build upon their own writing styles.

5 Basic Blogging Ideas for Beginners

1. Hobbies


Hobbies are one of the most popular things to blog about. Whether your hobby is collecting vinyl records, knitting hats, woodcarving, or hiking, you can build a blog around it. Include personal how-to’s, reviews, recommendations, and intriguing facts to fill out the blog and draw in readers.

2. Work Field


Blog about the type of work you do. Whether it is retail, customer service, computer engineering, or nursing, there are plenty of things you can write about that would interest readers without jeopardizing your job. Write blogs about the skills a person needs to do your job. Write how-to posts on different aspects of your work. Write tips related to your work and the educational requirements. The list goes on and on.

3. Local History or Events


Your town’s local history can be a fun topic to blog about and it would get you out of the house more often. The same goes for blogging about local events. Topics you could cover include haunted houses, historical buildings, famous people who lived in your area, inventors, fairs, concerts, and road shows.

4. Pets


You can blog about your pet, whether it be a grumpy parrot, a pernickety kitty, or a dog that thinks he is human. People love animal stories, reading how to articles that will help them with their pets, and just about everything cute. Take hundreds of photos and share them with your readers. Encourage your readers to share their own pet stories and photos.

5. Medical and Psychiatric Conditions



Do you have a medical or psychiatric condition? Want to share about your personal experiences with the disease, condition, or problem? While you can’t give medical advice unless you are a doctor, you can share about your feelings, experiences, and how you are coping. For example, if you have diabetes, you can write about your diet, share recipes, discuss setbacks and how you overcome them.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

How Writers Can Motivate Themselves in 7 Easy Steps

Whether you are just getting started on your writing career or you’ve been at this for quite some time, there are days when you can’t seem to get yourself motivated. Here are seven easy steps you can take to give yourself the daily motivations that you need.

1. Put a Plan in Place


What actions will you need to take in order to reach your goal? Write those actions down, break them into daily work bites, and make a list. Making a realistic, daily to do list is a very popular method for motivation.

2. Never Plan Your Day Down to the Exact Minute


One thing I learned while scheduling my time is to never schedule the day by the hour. Instead, write out what you need to do and for how long. For example, if I need to write a blog post tomorrow and work on my book, I will write on my to-do list blog - 1 hr and book - 4 hrs. I’ve found that if I schedule that hour blog for 11 am and then I miss it because my toddler needed extra care I will feel guilty for missing out on that hour and I can’t seem to rework my day’s schedule to fit that hour in. Here is how my to-do list looks for tomorrow:


  • 1 hr blog post
  • 1 hr blog post
  • 4 hrs book
  • 1 hr article
  • laundry
  • grocery store - grab list


I allow myself to do these tasks in whatever order I wish, knowing that as soon as the list is done I can kick back and watch an episode of a favorite show.

Of course, you will have to create a schedule that works best for you. If that means planning out ever minute of the day works best for you, then do it. It is always about what works best for you, the individual.

3. Create Routine Markers


At the start of your writing session, start doing something that triggers your brain into understanding that this is writing time. Athletes do this, as well as many famous writers. For example, you could sit down with a cup of coffee and read the newspaper each morning before you go into your office to write. You could on a hat, your magical thinking cap, right before you prepare to write. Create a prewriting routine and you will soon find it easier to get into your writing schedule.

4. Not in One Sitting


You don’t have to do all of your writing in one sitting. In fact, for some people working in short blocks of time and taking breaks works best. For example, you can sit down and work for 25 minutes and the give yourself a 10 minute break to do something else, like a quick spin on the exercise bike or you can fold the laundry.

5. Eat the Best Foods


What you put into your body affects your energy levels and even your mood. If you are a junk food addict, slowly make the changeover to healthier foods and test out different diets to see what works best for you. In my home, we’ve changed to a mashup of vegan and paleo since my youngest child was diagnosed as being allergic to both eggs and milk. Removing dairy from my diet has really elevated my energy levels.

6. Reward Yourself


I am big on rewarding myself for doing my work. They are huge rewards, just simple things that I enjoy. For example, if I finish all of my work, I allow myself to watch a television show on Netflix or Hulu. Sometimes I will bribe myself with gummy bears to do smaller tasks. Use whatever works for you.

7. Get Positive


When all else fails or as part of your morning ritual, go to YouTube and watch a motivational video or two. They can really help you change your life around.

Friday, November 13, 2015

People Blogging Their Debt Away

There is an interesting concept that pops up now and again on the internet. It is about people who turned to blogging to earn money and pay off their debt. It is an intriguing idea and one that, on a quick search, shows that a number of people are working on blogging off their debts.

What Are They Blogging About?


The most obvious answer to this is debt. People have turned to blogging about their debt online as a way to hold themselves accountable for what they need to pay off. They share posts detailing how much debt they have, how they got into debt in the first place, what they are doing to get out of debt, and money saving ideas, crafts, and habits.

There are many other people, I’m sure, who have started up blogs with dreams of getting out of debt and making good money forever after. They blog about various topics found across the web.

Does It Work?


The process of blogging about personal debt to get out of debt seems to have worked for some. But before you go rushing into this, there are some things you need to realize before you start.

1. It can take months or even years before your blog becomes established and begins earning money.

2. Initial earnings will be pennies.

3. It costs some money to start a blog. Don’t put yourself further in debt if you don’t have to.

4. You will make more money initially by writing and selling list articles to other websites. I get paid $45 to $250 per list article. That is more money than a blog will make initially.

5. You have to be dedicated. Skip a few weeks of blogging and your site pretty much goes dead.

Testing It Out for Free



Of course, if you have never run a WordPress blog before you might want to test out the waters, first. Sign up for a free blogging account that allows you to making some money on your writer. If, after 6 months of free blogging, you are going strong, consider moving the blog onto your own domain and website.

Write an eBook About Your Job Experience

Your Daytime Job Can Inspire Your Next Book


A few years ago, I did something completely out of character - I applied for a job at the local hospital and got it. For the next year, I was trained and worked as a Patient Safety Monitor. My work put me into one-to-one situations caring for violent, suicidal, and absentminded patients. Many of the patients in my care had already hit a nurse, thrown things, spat, attempted suicide, or tried to leave the hospital. I loved and hated my job, but it certainly gave me plenty of writing material.

Let me clarify something before I move on, I LOVED my patients. Each individual provided me with a lifetime of learning and understanding. I felt for them. I understood their anger, their confusion, and their addictions. I left my job because of the staff. And I will say no more.

Put Your Knowledge into an eBook


Whatever your job is, there is always someone who wants to know:


  • how you got your job
  • what are the educational requirements, if any
  • skills needed
  • what you do day to day
  • the pros and cons


I don't care if you work at McDonalds or in the government, there are people out there who want to know about your job.

Angle and Title


Your title is what brings people to your ebook page. Choose the angle of your book and let your title reflect it. For example:


  • the secrets of working at a fast food restaurant
  • what it takes to be a police officer
  • how to get a job in the post office
  • entry level jobs with Homeland Security


Whatever you do for a living, you probably know enough about your job to write about it off the top of your head. Use all of this to your advantage and write your ebook.