A blank screen stared back at me. How in the heck do you do this eBook publishing bit?
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I’d put off publishing an eBook for this very reason. For at least 3 years. People told me it was easy; my experience said something very different.
I am tech allergic so if I’m able to write and format an eBook just about any blogger can.
After publishing my 15th product (Blogging from Paradise: How to Retire to a Life of Island Hopping (Part 2) now on Amazon)– between books and eBooks – on Amazon the other day I figured it’s time to share how I went from confused, newbie self-publisher to seasoned self-publishing veteran. Worries about how to write and format eBooks handcuff most aspiring eBook authors. If you give into this fear you’re leaving so much money, authority and branding juju on the table.
Let’s dissect how you can effectively write and format your eBooks today.
Step 1: Why? (Set Your Intent)
I published my first Blogging from Paradise eBook with this intent in mind; to free me and to free you. If you don’t get this one right all else goes to custard. Writing something that frees you and your audience will attract to you the inspired ideas, people and circumstances you need to create a widely-read, prospering eBook.
Stay away from writing just for money or fame. Focusing on those outcomes alone poisons your creativity and dampens your inspired spirit. Write to free yourself and to free your audience. Watch magic happen before your eyes.
Step 2: Tell Your Story and Write Your Passion
I love sharing my blogging tips. I love traveling. Blogging from Paradise was born.
I also enjoy sharing my whacky travel stories. So I decided to develop analogies between how my travel stories help you become a better blogger. I may explain how being nibbled on by a Wild Man in Nepal taught me a blogging lesson or perhaps how petting three, 400 pound tigers – in their cages – inspired me to grow as a blogger. No one else on earth can tell my story. The same rings true for you.
Tell your story. Link your personal experiences in to your niche and please, make sure to write your passion. If you need to do research, use reputable sources to fact find. I myself have about 7 year’s worth of experience to call upon, blogging-wise, so this store combined with my blogging stories is all I need to publish eBooks. In your case you may need to dig a bit deeper but if you’re writing about your passion the words will flow smoothly.
Step 3: Write 500 – 1500 Words a Day for Your eBook
My eBooks span 15,000 words. I find that to be the perfect length for my audience. This means I can finish the first draft in approximately 15 days, give or take a few days if I’m flying from New York City to Bali. If that’s the case, I can finish the first draft in much less time. 22 hour flights are best spent creating a brand-building, income generating eBook (at least that’s what this globetrotter thinks).
If you feel like 1,500 words is too much chop down daily writing sessions to 500 words. This means your 15,000 word eBook will take about a month and a half to write. No worries. Just make sure you ship, as Seth Godin says. Reach that 15 K limit and get down to the nitty gritty.
Step 4: Re-read and Hand it to a Third Party for Proofreading
After finishing my first draft I re-read the eBook. I add a bit more spice if needed. Perhaps a colorful travel story or 2 could be added.
I also hand the eBook over to my eagle-eyed wife Kelli for proofreading. She’s obsessed with spotting any errors – in a good way – and corrects my muck ups. I then re-read it to prepare myself for the last phase of the process; good old formatting.
Step 5: Formatting
Before we dive into practical tips I wanted to stress that I promote my eBooks solely on Amazon. The related Kindle Select program offers authors a multitude of ways to reach into new, growing, targeted audiences. With that in mind we’ll discuss how to format your eBooks for Kindle.
This document saved my life. Or, it helped me format my eBook more easily. Read it, it’s a keeper.
– Simple Formatting Guide from Amazon
Save your eBook in Word. Good. You’re ready to move on now to make your eBook Kindle ready.
I justify my text. This makes for better reading and easier scanning. Click the Justified icon on Word, located between the Align Right and Numbering icons near the top of your file. Your text should appear in block form now.
Insert Page Breaks
For proper formatting insert Page Breaks between chapters. I simply press Control + Enter to break between chapters. This one’s a must; without proper Page Breaks your chapters will run into one another, making for a sloppy read.
Tag Chapter Titles and Sub Sections
I use H1 tags for each chapter title and a few h2 tags for sub headers within each chapter. Using headers make for easier reading and allows you to set up a dynamic table of contents if you so choose.
Set Up a Dynamic Table of Contents (Optional)
You can do the dynamic table of contents bit if readers want to reference a particular chapter or sub section. Insert a Page Break after the title page. Now you’re on a new page, before chapter 1.
Now, you may see a divergence here. I use Open Office now (instead of good old fashioned Word), so I simply click “Insert”, “Indexes and Tables”, and “OK” to set up a Table of Contents. Word users may click, “Insert”, point to “Reference”, then click “Index and Tables”, then click the “Table of Contents” tab and “Show Outlining Toolbar.” H1 tagged content shows up as a chapter in your table of contents and h2 tagged content pops up as a section of each chapter.
If your eBook is 7K to 15 K words or so it’s not imperative to use a dynamic table of contents since the read will be a bit easier and shorter. Your choice.
Add Page Numbers in the Footer Field
Don’t forget to add page numbers! Click, “Insert”, “Footer”, then left click in the Footer area, and click “Insert”, click “Fields”, click “Page Number” and you should be all set. Again, this is Open Office so Word may vary slightly.
Save as Filtered HTML
Save the doc as Filtered HTML. Click “File”, “Save As”, click the drop down arrow by “Save as type” and click “Web Page, Filtered”, then click “Save”.
Have a Cover Designed
Find a good web designer to create a quality cover. Amazon demands the longest side of your cover – length or width – be 1100 pixels wide.
Now you’re REALLY ready to roll. Your eBook is Kindle ready. Set up an account on Amazon, and happy selling!
What tips can you add to these steps?
Are you having a tough time writing and formatting your eBook?
Where are you struggling?
1 Mental Block that Plagued Every Blogger Who Ever Blogged
Unless you are the Dalai Lama, you, at one time or another, became highly attached to a single blog post. I do not care who you are. 8 figure bloggers allowed their fears to attach them to a blog post. 8 cent bloggers allowed fear to attach them to blog posts.
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Now, the happiest, most successful bloggers face, hug and release this fear, for sure. But every blogger allowed fear to goad them to TRY LIKE HELL to drive traffic or profits to a single blog post. Or, being human and foolish, we allow fear-attachment to goad us into thinking that publishing a guest post on a blog with a million member community instantly leads to millions of dollars in blogging profits.
I recall being featured on Virgin Dot Com. Floored and humbled, for sure, but I was kinda detached about the feature, being more grounded in love and gratitude, and less fear-attached to any single platform, post or opportunity.
Happy, successful bloggers own this fear-attachment, let it go and adopt an abundance mentality. While most bloggers publish a single post and try to SQUEEZE as much out of it as possible, due to fear and attachment, I developed an abundance mentality and published 700 posts on Blogging Tips Dot Com. Heck; I have published 70 guest posts on the blog of Enstine Muki. For most bloggers, publishing 70 guest posts in total is quite a feat. I published 770 guest posts….between 2 blogs alone.
How am I so prolific?
I have largely conquered the fear of trying to GET as much traffic and profits as possible through any single blog post. I blog from an energy of love, fun and abundance, mainly, not fear, tension and scarcity. Few bloggers have mastered this mindset; only the happiest, most detached bloggers become so prolific, it makes our heads spin.
You Are Human
Of course you become a little attached to any one blog post. This is not a problem. But you need to be honest; the attachment is fear, and as the attachment and fear grow, you move from abundance and worldly success, to scarcity and blogging struggle.
A Good Mindset for Abundance Mentality
Alonzo Pichardo wisely advises to publish content, and let it do what it does. I agree. I never check metrics. Genuinely; if blogging is energy and if I am having fun, I reached my goal. Increasing success is imminent. I trust my feelings, not inanimate numbers on a screen. This is the abundance mentality in action.
Why this Mindset Prospers
I appear to be in a million places at once because I never attachment to any one post or video. Per Alonzo, I let the content do what it does. Not being shackled by stats, I keep creating, expand my presence, appear to be all over, and see greater success. Meanwhile, most fear-scarcity bloggers write a single post and waste their time and energy:
- trying to GET as much as possible through it, promoting it in thousands of places over the next 30 days
- obsessively checking post metrics every few minutes, or, every hour, after publishing the post
- panicking and bailing on proven strategies when a single post does not meet their expectations
All while this crowd makes all these mistakes, I am publishing hundreds of pieces of content over the same month, and also, meeting tons of new bloggers through genuine blog commenting, enjoying the ride.
Publish a post, promote it in a few spots, then move on to the next post, video or blog comment.
Develop an abundance mindset.
See increased blogging success and enjoy the ride.
5 Lessons Learned from Publishing 700 Posts on Blogging Tips
We have hit 700 posts on Blogging Tips together, guys.
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Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing these posts.
I took a few mini vacations from writing but published 1 guest post daily on this rocking site for many months on end. Helping you has been fun, freeing and fulfilling. Here is to the next 700 blog posts.
I learned a few clear blogging lessons during this guest posting run. Rather than call myself “The Cal Ripken of Guest Posting” – feel free to use that – I reckon we’ll dive into the success tips.
1: Avoid Setting Goals
I never could have written 700 posts if I TRIED to write 700 posts. Sounds quite impossible. But holding an intent to help people blog goaded me to show up daily, for writing and publishing. Blogging is simple but highly uncomfortable sometimes. Focus on the process, not goals or outcomes, to have fun helping people, to detach from outcomes and to become highly prolific.
2: Follow Your Fun
I have fun blogging about blogging. I make room for fun daily. 700 posts later, I am just getting started.
Follow your fun. Make work, the reward. All else will feel like extra, meaning post frequency and traffic and profits feel like no big deal if you blog mainly to have fun helping people. Fun-loving bloggers keep on creating and connecting their way to greatness. Everybody else struggles, getting bogged down, struggling and quitting because they do not enjoy the ride.
3: Spot Reader Problems
Writing and publishing 700 posts on a single blog – I published 1,400 plus posts on Blogging From Paradise in addition to hundreds of guest posts on other blogs – requires you to be skilled at spotting reader problems. Blog post = problem solved. Expand your awareness. Instead of running around rough shod all day long, devote time and energy to identifying common problems suffered by your readers. Nailing down problems supplies you with an endless flow of blog post ideas, helping you become prolific.
Moss Clement does a sensational job in this regard, which makes him incredibly prolific.
4: Brand Yourself Clearly
Zac Johnson recently noted how much he loved my travel photos. Folks have been enjoying my eBooks and paperbacks, sales increasing no doubt because I brand my paperbacks and eBooks freely through images I use on Blogging Tips
Never ignore opportunities to brand yourself and your blog clearly.
Many years ago I rarely if ever worked my travel photos into my guest posts on this blog. These days, every featured image consists of travel photos of me, or, travel photos of my paperback, sitting in some exotic location like here in Ortahisar, Turkey.
Be you. Brand you. Brand yourself clearly to boost sales and to increase your blogging success.
5: Nudge Out of Your Comfort Zone
I do feel pretty good but tired now. At 1:45 PM Turkey time. I have worked for about 3 hours, have walked the dogs for 2 hours and feel ready for a nap, after the rare late night out, being up until 2:30 AM last night. But I nudge out of my comfort zone to write and publish this guest post. Do you believe I felt comfortable writing and publishing 700 guest posts on one blog alone over the prior 3 years? Of course not.
Success unfolds exponentially outside of your comfort zone.
All traffic, profits, comments, social shares and heck, any success, expands quickly as you nudge out of your comfort zone daily. Many days, I feared I’d not have enough time to write and publish a post on Blogging Tips. 1 short week ago I spent nearly 20 hours offline, as I traveled from Oman to Turkey during my birthday. I still managed to write a Blogging Tips post on waking the following day; all about doing fun, freeing but sometimes uncomfortable things to accelerate your blogging success.
Adopt this mindset: 1 day at a time, and 1 moment at a time. Seemingly jaw-dropping feats unfold 1 moment at a time.
3 Gateway Activities Leading to Increased Blogging Income
Most bloggers crave a blogging income boost.
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Some bloggers have yet to make a penny. Other bloggers want to take it up a few levels from their current full time income.
Foolishly, most bloggers focus their attention and energy on an income stream itself to increase blogging income. Can an advertisement make money? No. Ads are inanimate objects. Ads cannot do anything. Skilled bloggers who publish helpful content and build strong bonds make money through ads, but the ads themselves, are completely worthless.
Stop focusing on trying to make money via a specific income stream itself. People obsess over Google Adsense, affiliate marketing and other ways to make money, for increased blogging income, never realizing that the blogger makes the money, not the income stream. Stop obsessing over income and focus on simple, generous activities that lead the way to increased blogging profits. Think of a bridge, linking you to greater blogging profits. You cross the bridge through your commitment to these activities.
Specific gateway activities lead to blogging income. If you want to make more money through blogging, focus on these 3 strategies.
1: Comment Genuinely on Blogs
I commented genuinely on Blogging Tips for weeks. Zac invited me to guest post on this blog. I published nearly 700 guest posts here, boosting my blogging profits through this rocking guest posting gig. Blog commenting served as the gateway activity that bridged me to my increased blogging income. I did not get paid to comment, but genuine comments opened the door for guest posting, and guest posting increased my blogging profits.
Publish genuine, personalized comments on top blogs from your niche. Make friends. Observe how opportunities for prospering multiply around you, through both blog commenting and the bonds you build via this gateway activity.
2: Promote other Bloggers on Your Blog
Guys; this is such an easy gateway activity for boosting your blogging profits. Promote other bloggers on your blog. Look for nothing in return. Be generous. Be genuine. Be helpful.
Photo break; here I am enjoying lunch the other day in Turkey.
How it works: promote other bloggers on your blog via a link and mention. Over time, and through persistent promotion, some of these bloggers befriend you. Blogging buddies:
- promote you
- endorse you
- purchase your products
- hire you
all leading to increased blogging profits.
This is by far the easiest gateway activity for profiting IF you generously, patiently, persistently and genuinely promote other bloggers on your blog, expecting nothing in return.
If you are a travel blogger, promote The Roaming Renegades today. This duo publishes helpful content and engages freely via social media.
3: Practice Writing
Weird, right? Writing is the #1 skill for increasing your blogging income, yet few bloggers practice writing offline, only writing when publishing posts. Bad idea. Advertisers, prospective customers and potential clients need to see that you write skillfully before paying for advertising or investing in your products and services.
Write persistently offline to shine online. Write 500 to 1000 words daily in a Word document. Practice your writing to engage in a critical gateway activity guaranteed to increase your blogging income. Plus, you will stand out from the masses of bloggers who never practice writing offline.
Blogging is simple but sometimes, uncomfortable. See the journey through by focusing on these core activities. Income does not increase by trying to boost your blogging income through channels, forcing cash out of these streams. Blogging income increases for generous, skilled, committed bloggers who give much of their attention and energy to these core, gateway activities.
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