Non-Fiction eBooks: The Anthology eBook

26 Feb
February 26, 2015

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As we wrap up our exploration of fiction eBook alternatives, one non-fiction eBook that can have you published in a relatively short period of time is the anthology eBook. Whether you obtain the rights to a collection of interviews that were conducted with your favorite musical artist, or collect a number of essays you previously wrote on related topics and tie them together, you can create and publish an anthology eBook rather quickly.

Collaborating on an Anthology eBook

Making an anthology can be even easier if you invite friends, colleagues, or fellow authors to contribute. Before you begin, however, you should determine how you will invite authors to contribute, how you will determine which contributions will make the final edit, and if you want an editorial partner to help you put the anthology together.

If you do want an editorial partner to help you, the two of you should decide together the genre and subgenres. You both should also discuss and put in writing how you will share the costs and profits from your endeavor, and clearly delineate who will be responsible for what tasks throughout the project.

Before You Publish Your Anthology eBook

Getting people to contribute, whether it’s for an anthology of political poetry or essays on motherhood, won’t be difficult, but you should be clear with contributors that submissions aren’t guaranteed to be included and that their only compensation is the visibility of being included. This will prevent you from having issues later when a contributor decides that he or she should earn money off the sales of your anthology. Be sure to have each accepted contributor sign a written contract releasing the rights to you for the appearance of their contribution. You may wish to consult an attorney to obtain the proper guidance.

As you can see from our series, there are a number of non-fiction eBook options to choose from that will have you published in no time. From How-To and Recipe eBooks to Travelogues and Memoirs, there is no limit to what you can write in the non-fiction arena.

What other non-fiction eBook genres would you suggest?

Non-Fiction eBooks: The Academic eBook

24 Feb
February 24, 2015

file000527564214As we explore the variety of options available to indie eBook authors, one form of non-fiction eBook that is quickly becoming more popular is the academic eBook. The growth in online e-learning tools for “Generation Z” is exploding, and theirs will be the first generation to be more comfortable in a digital environment. Academic eBooks open an entire world up to the indie author, because there are virtually unlimited numbers of topics one can pursue.

If you’re interested in academic writing, start with what you know. Did you complete a well-written thesis for your master’s degree or dissertation for your PhD? Transform your own academic reesearch into an eBook on your specialty topic. Are you knowledgable in certain academic subjects because of your own studies or passions on the topic? Share your knowledge.

What makes an eBook an academic eBook?

The biggest difference between traditional non-fiction eBooks and academic eBooks is that academic eBooks are designed for learning. Therefore, additional elements should be incorporated into your chapters, such as summary sections, questions, and possibly, defined vocabulary sections, depending on the target age of your student and the subject matter of your academic eBook.

Academic eBooks have the potential of being much more engaging than their print counterparts. To achieve this, consider adding:

  • Links to supporting sources, news articles, and videos that enhance the educational value of your topic
  • Links to offline supporting resources, such as PowerPoint presentations, lecture notes, and exercises that make the eBook attractive to educators
  • Images, graphs, and other visual resources that help educate the reader

Not everyone who wants to be an author is capable of writing fiction, but non-fiction opportunities abound. What will you write now?

Write a Non-Fiction eBook: The Travelogue

20 Feb
February 20, 2015

travelogueNot everyone has the opportunity to travel to interesting and exotic places, but if you are a global traveler, your experiences can be turned into a fascinating non-fiction eBook in the form of a travelogue. This image-intensive non-fiction eBook format can take a variety of forms, from sharing stories about your own adventures to providing guidance for those who wish to follow in your footsteps.

Consider combining your travel writing with another non-fiction eBook genre, such as how-to or a recipe eBook. Catchy titles like “How to Travel Europe on a Shoestring Budget” or “The Food and Folklore of Chile” might attract an entire niche of readers. Ultimately, a travelogue provides readers with a good way to learn about a place they might want to visit or a place they want to enjoy but that someone else visited.

Elements of a Good Travelogue

When you’re writing about your travels, you should:

  • Clearly describe locations, buildings, and people important to your experience
  • Include research or background on the area you’re writing about
  • Share details of your experience while there
  • Provide tips or advice for those planning to visit the area
  • Include images wherever possible

Steps for Writing a Travelogue

AcademicHelp.net offers great advice to get you started. They suggest these steps:

1. Decide on the purpose of your travelogue.
2. While traveling, take notes.
3. Take as many pictures as possible.
4. When you return home, take time to review your recordings.
5. Create an outline of your travelogue.
6. After you’ve completed the outline, write the full travelogue.

Read their full guide here.

Getting Real: The Non-Fiction eBook Memoir

18 Feb
February 18, 2015

memoirAs we explore additional non-fiction eBook ideas that can help you get started as an indie author, one worth exploring is the memoir. Everyone has a story to tell, and the memoir lets you tell the one story you’re an expert at knowing: the story of you.

There are good memoirs and bad memoirs. Good memoirs pick out the interesting pieces of life and blow up the detail. Poorly written memoirs are monotonous, chronologically-driven, detailed-to-the-point-of-boring snoozers. If you want to write a memoir that will be interesting to readers, consider:

  • Picking a moment or period in your life in which you were experiencing a specific challenge or struggle
  • Focusing on an inspirational moment in your life where you learned some key piece of life knowledge worth sharing
  • Exotic experiences, such as international travel or unique experiences you had

Think of your reader as you write. The perfect memoir is a careful balance of detail and highlight – not so much minutiae that the reader is bogged down in unecessary detail and not so many broad strokes as to leave the reader wondering what really happened.

You can turn any life experience into a good memoir, even if the experience was not pleasant. It’s the story of your survival, adventure, or gained knowledge that keeps people swiping to the next page.

What’s your story?

Quick and Easy: The Non-Fiction Recipe eBook

13 Feb
February 13, 2015

recipe eBookWe’ve been talking about the types of non-fiction eBooks that might help a new indie author break into self-publishing. One area that has a lot of potential, a sort of sub-genre of the how-to eBook, is the non-fiction recipe eBook. Given the prediction that cookbooks will become extinct because of eBooks and apps, now may be the best time to publish your non-fiction recipe eBook.

Perhaps you’ve been gathering recipes for generations or you just love improvising in the kitchen. Recipe eBooks are extremely popular, helping would-be cooks not only fuel their inspiration but do so without cluttering their kitchens with a stack of print books.

If cooking and creating are in your blood, a recipe eBook can help you share your gift with the world. You can categorize recipes, and depending on how many you have to include, either create a series of non-fiction recipe eBooks, or create sections of one eBook for each category.

Categories of recipes to consider putting in your non-fiction recipe eBook include:

  • Appetizers and party trays
  • Entrees
  • Soups and salads
  • Desserts
  • Crock pot recipes
  • Casserole dishes

You can also add a creative touch to your recipe eBook by including a story about the history of the recipe or giving credit to a relative or ancestor who first created the recipe. Include pictures of the foods you create and even of the people who created the recipes.

Non-Fiction eBooks: The How-To eBook

10 Feb
February 10, 2015

How To non-fiction eBookWe’ve been talking on the EditionGuard blog about the benefit of writing non-fiction eBooks for those indie authors who feel fiction is not their forte. One of the most popular forms of non-fiction eBooks – and one for which  indie authors can find it very easy to get published – is the how-to eBook. The how-to eBook does exactly what it says: It teaches the reader how to do something. That “something” can be anything from “How to Dry Flowers” to “How to Build Your Own Greenhouse.”

The great thing about the how-to eBook is that everyone knows how to do something that is worth teaching to others, so you can start with something you know. From introducing a special crochet pattern to teaching belly dancing, your unique skill is valuable when shared with others who want to know how to do the same thing.

If you want to publish an even more marketable how-to eBook, or if you want to write an entire series of eBooks even if they exceed your own knowledge and require research, you can select topics based on what people want to know. Using tools like Google, a variety of news websites, and even Pinterest for inspiration, you can discover what people want to know more about and tailor your eBooks to meet an existing need.

Even if you’re not the best writer in the world, a how-to eBook can be a great non-fiction eBook option, because it can be written to be image driven and include embedded video demonstrations.

What special knowledge do you have to share with the world?

 

Non-Fiction eBooks: The Writing Process

06 Feb
February 6, 2015

E-learning.  Tablet pc and textbooks. Education online. 3dBefore we begin exploring the specifics of each genre of non-fiction eBooks, there are some basics that apply to any non-fiction eBook project you undertake. The most important factor as a non-fiction indie author is voice. Instead of having characters to fill up scenes, your voice is going to be front and center and therefore critical to the process.

Finding Your Voice as a Non-Fiction eBook Author

Writing non-fiction can, in some ways, be a more restrictive playground, but it doesn’t have to be. Just because you have to stick to facts doesn’t mean those facts have to be presented in a boring manner. Personality – voice – plays a huge part in keeping your non-fiction from becoming naptime fodder.

If you’re just starting out as a non-fiction indie author, choose a topic you are passionate about. That will help you find your most authentic voice. Whether you’re trying to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field, or if you simply have a great real-life story to tell, choose to write something you can put your heart and soul into.

Know Your Reader

As important as it is to have an authentic voice in your non-fiction, it’s equally important to know who might be reading your non-fiction eBook. Are you reaching out to potential leads for your business? Will your story resonate with the opposite gender? Will an older or younger audience be more likely to enjoy the eBook? Knowing who you’re writing for will also help inspire how you write. Picture the ideal reader as you’re writing, and you may find it’s easier to get the words out – like having a conversation.

Do the Research

If you want to be trusted, be sure you have your facts straight. Do the research. Double check details. Be accurate and clear – and if you can’t be, be honest about why. If you’re writing about your childhood, for instance, and the details are fuzzy, let them know that what you’re sharing is how you remember it, even if it’s not completely accurate.

Share Details

Readers prefer longer non-fiction to shorter. While you shouldn’t add unnecessary padding to your eBook (this is not a college paper) you should include as much detail (times, places, people, smells, colors, feelings) as you can to bring the experience to life for your readers. If you’re writing a recipe eBook and there’s an anecdote behind the recipe, share that story. If you’re writing a how-to eBook about repairing jet engines, still find a way to share relatable stories, history, or information that give the bones of your eBook some meat.

What other factors do you think authors should consider when writing non-fiction eBooks? What would you add?

Alternatives to the Fiction eBook

04 Feb
February 4, 2015

ebookYou may have a desire to become an author and truly feel you have an eBook inside you, but maybe fiction isn’t your forte. If you’ve tried to make your way through characters and story arcs and simply aren’t getting anywhere, maybe you’re destined for the non-fiction world.

Writing non-fiction can be a great way to establish yourself as an indie author, because you can publish eBooks on topics you either already know a lot about or have a deep desire to learn about. In this month’s blog series, we’ll explore some of the major types of non-fiction eBooks whose sales are performing extremely well.

Of the top 20 non-fiction eBooks on The New York Times Best Sellers list (as of the writing of this post), the majority were autobiographies and biographies, but non-fiction eBooks find success in a number of genres, from how-to eBooks to recipe eBooks. In fact, according to BookScan, the top five non-fiction genres are reference, general non-fiction, health/fitness/medicine/sports, religion/bibles, and biography/autobiography/memoir.

Non-fiction is underrepresented in eBooks, comprising less than 20% of sales versus more than 50% in their print counterparts. This doesn’t mean that non-fiction has no place in digital publishing; quite the contrary, we believe it means there is a huge opportunity for the non-fiction indie writer to break into digital publishing.

In the coming weeks we’ll explore different non-fiction eBook genres and how best to approach writing and marketing.

Anatomy of an Author Blog, Part Two

30 Jan
January 30, 2015

1453428_10152055749742664_159123381_nWe’ve been discussing the importance of an author blog for indie authors. Last time, we talked about the tools you need behind the scene to make your blog function well. Today, we’ll discuss the anatomy of author blog content that will help your blog be more successful.

Content

While everyone tells indie authors that they can use their blog to sell eBooks, you can’t use your blog as a blunt instrument that just says over and over again, “buy my eBook.” Your blog should be a window into your life, personality, and art. Share parts of yourself that your readers will enjoy.

Title

Whenever you’re writing, whether it’s a blog, an article in a magazine or even an email, the subject line is the most important element. People decide whether or not to keep going based on the subject line, so it’s easy to lose half your audience before you even get started.

Body

People read best online (whether they’re accessing your blog from a phone, tablet, or computer) when paragraphs are broken up and there are subheadings to keep them reading. Be sure to design your blog to be easy to read by doing this.

What should you write on your indie author blog? Write about you. Write about your experiences. Write about traveling. Write about the authors who influenced you. Write about writing. Write about the experience of self-publishing. Write about other hobbies you have besides writing. Share small vignettes into your life. Write about anything. Just don’t write “Please buy my eBook.”

Call to Action

At the end of every blog, you can include a little bio that has a link to your eBooks. Only in this subtle, non-pushy way should you mention your eBooks in your blog. Your blog should be a way to share a piece of yourself with your readers, a way for them to get to know you.

Do you have an author blog? Share your blog with us on our Facebook page.

 

Anatomy of an Author Blog, Part One

27 Jan
January 27, 2015

wordpress-logo-680x400As an indie author, your author blog is one of your best marketing tools for promoting your eBooks, engaging with your readers, and sharing insights into your personality. But to make your author blog work well for you, it helps to design it properly. In this post, we’ll discuss the tools you need behind the scene to make your author blog work. In the next post, we’ll discuss what you need to include in your content.

Platform

We recommend WordPress. It’s easy to use, search-engine friendly, and quickly customizable. There are several free and premium responsive themes to choose from that will ensure your blog will be read no matter what device your reader is accessing your site from. If you aren’t a fan of WordPress, alternatives include Wix, Tumblr, and Blogger.

SEO Tool or Plugin

SEO doesn’t carry the same power it used to, at least not in the traditional sense of stuffing poorly written articles with keywords. But search engine optimization tools are important. They help you make sure you have a proper title and excerpt that Google can pick up in its search and work behind the scenes to increase your visibility. In WordPress, the two most popular SEO plugins are Yoast and All in One SEO Pack.

Social Sharing Tool

One of the ways you can leverage from the marketing potential of your blog is by making sure it reaches a wider audience. You do this by making it very easy for people to share your content, providing them with social sharing buttons. If they like what you’re writing, they can simply click a button to share it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or any number of other platforms.

Click To Tweet

Another very powerful tool that can help expand your audience is Click To Tweet. This tool embeds clickable tweets right in your blog. You can grab a sentence or phrase, add a hashtag, and make it incredibly easy for readers to share your content.

What other behind-the-scenes tools do you think are necessary for the perfect author blog?