Don’t Write An Ebook Until You’ve Read This

November 30, 2008

If you’re planning to write an ebook, there’s something you should know before you begin. Otherwise, you may never finish your ebook and something that could have made you a decent amount of cash, will remain in your head, instead of in an ebook.

You see, I’ve written short information products in the past, but not a full length ebook. And I had an ebook inside me that was screaming to get out, so as I’d already reviewed the 7 Day Ebook, I decided to use it to help me write my own ebook.

Now, I just want to point out that I’m not attempting to write an ebook in 7 days. I’m sure it’s possible, if you want to work on your ebook full-time but I have too many things on the go and not enough hours to get them done. So I just want to write an ebook as quickly as possible, in the limited time I have.

And the 7 Day Ebook is a great guide but there’s one piece of advice in there that caused me to hit a huge stumbling block. You see, the 7 Day Ebook advises you to write the sales page, before you even begin your book. It says that doing this will get you excited and enthusiastic about writing the actual ebook.

It’s a big fat lie. If you’re like me and you suck at copywriting, it’s more likely to leave you feeling incompetent, drained and totally pissed off. The technique just doesn’t work, unless you’re a brilliant copywriter, who writes that kind of stuff on a regular basis.

Well, I don’t write sales copy often. And when I do, I have to keep a copywriting book open beside me. There’s heaps of great copywriting books available but I use Steal These Secrets the most. It’s not the cheapest option but it’s good. And I prefer using something that I can access on my computer, rather than having to leaf through a huge book to find what I need.

But a sales page isn’t something you can bang together in 30 minutes - and you shouldn’t try, if you want to make sales. And if you struggle with copywriting, as much as I do, you’d be far better off writing a rough version of your sales page, before writing your ebook. You can go back and write the sales page properly when you’ve finished the ebook, so you can give it the attention it deserves.

Aside from that one small point, I’m still finding the 7 Day Ebook really useful and I’m getting on far faster than I would have done without it. But you do need to realise that you will only complete your ebook in 7 Days, if you’re working at it flat out.

Have you written an ebook before? Do you have any great advice to share? Or have you considered writing an ebook? What’s stopping you from getting started?

Related Resources

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Has Someone Been Writing Crap About You?

October 6, 2008

If you’ve ever had your website content scraped you’ll know how annoying it is. But I was doing some reputation management and I found this site:

I checked the entry under my blog name and they had some well monetized bullshit that was supposed to be an excerpt from this blog. So I decided to see what they’d written about other folk too. Some of the entries were already there and others weren’t, so the site automatically “created” a listing. Trouble is, it seems anyone can edit these listings, so you don’t have a lot of control over your own stuff: - - Under Development - An 11 Pixel Studios Project.

Excerpt: Problogger will be a new type of blogging community. Offering innovative technology, fully customizeable layouts, image hosting, and many other features, Problogger is sure to breath new life into the blogging community. Check back for updates.

This Problogger guy sounds interesting. I’m looking forward to hearing how he’s going to breath new life into the blogging community - aren’t you?

Men With Pens: Men with Pens Web Content Writers and Freelance Writing Services.

Shooting from the hip: to react to a situation very quickly and with a lot of force, without thinking about the possible effects of your actions.

Ok - I guess James does that sometimes. But it isn’t what it says on the packet.

Steve Pavlina: Description: “Steve Pavlina is a blue-eyed, colorblind, left-handed, well educated, vegan, lucid dreaming, purpose driven, happily jobless, reality manipulating”………. “Simply put, Steve is one of life’s runaway experiments who goes around scaring people until they either ascend to a higher level of consciousness or flee naked into the desert screaming, The horror, the horror!

Well, it doesn’t mention anything about needing to run into the desert screaming in Steve’s new book. I wonder if I missed a chapter?

Dosh Dosh: The listing seemed pretty normal. The contact details were very odd though:

Does Maki run another site giving advice such as How To Wee At Sea and Snog The Instructor - Good Move or Bad Move, or is this just a practical joke?

I checked on the listings for other folk including, like Barbara Swafford, Vered DeLeeuw, Liz Strauss, Kelly Rigby and they seemed pretty normal. So, some folk are doing some sneaky editing.

On the one hand - I suppose it’s a good link baiting technique. If folk write crap about you, you’re obviously going to want to edit your own listing. And it does give you another inbound link to your blog. But on the other hand, it’s really nothing more than a sophisticated scraper site - a busy one at that and they’re making money by scraping together stuff from our sites and allowing anyone and everyone to edit them.

What do you reckon - would you amend your listing and accept the inbound link? Or would you ask for your listing to be removed, so this site can’t profit from it? Or would you think screw it - and go do some creative editing on your competitors listings?

What Are People Saying About Your Business Online?
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Social Media Leprosy And Other Problems
Swimming Naked, Biscuits & Sex On A Plane

Social Media Leprosy and Other Problems

September 18, 2008

Are you worried that you might be suffering from Social Media Leprosy, or some other unthinkable disease? Don’t worry, I’ve found the solutions to your problems:

Social Media Leprosy:
Do you have social media leprosy? Are all your contacts avoiding you like the plague? It could be that you’ve picked up bad social media habits, by following the wrong teacher. This happens a lot. A short while ago, I stopped reading a blog I’d been enjoying, because the blogger was inflicting huge amounts of social media spam on me.

Then a couple of days ago, it occurred to me that they may not even know they’re doing something wrong - they’ve just learned from the wrong person, so I decided to give them another chance. To discover whether you’re suffering from Social Media Leprosy, check out this post by Vincent Wright.

Frozen Balls Disease: Do you have a really great idea for a business, or some other project? Are you afraid to get it off the ground because you fear you’ll become that “F” word that we don’t mention round here? If so, take a look at Yaro Starak’s explanation on how he overcame frozen balls disease and launched a membership site.

Someday Syndrome: Are you doing what you really want to do with your life? Or do you keep putting things off until “someday”. Do you worry that you might have left it too late and your ship may never come in. If so, check out this workshop and start living the life of your dreams now.

Scriptorial Constipation:
If your writing sucks, don’t worry, I’ve found a couple of cures. First off, Ellen Wilson explains how cleaning the toilet will make you a better writer. And if that thought leaves you feeling all bunged up, Graham Strong shares heaps of ideas for unblocking yourself and getting those words onto the screen.

Are you suffering from any of these diseases, or other problems we’ve not mentioned here? Or can you suggest a cure for any other unimagineable disease?

Related Reading

Blog Marketing - Do You Make These Commenting Cock Ups?
My Blogging Mistakes - Were Yours This Bad?
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Image Credits

Social Media Spam by Phil Hawksworth
Frozen Balls Disease by House of Sims
Someday My Ship Will Come In by Savannah Grandfather
Writers Block by Miss Pupik

Freelance Writers And Business Bullshit

September 15, 2008

I’ve read a lot of articles lately suggesting that freelance writers should start a “proper business”. And some have even gone so far as to suggest that you should just outsource all your work to other folk and pay a manager to run it all. I believe this is complete bullshit & I think the “Everyone Should Start A Business” brigade have gone too far.

It’s apparent that many of these people have not actually done what they advise themselves - they’ve probably been reading too many books like the E-Myth or The 4 Hour Work Week.

Some Good Reasons Why Freelance Writers Should Ignore This Advice

1. I’m guessing that most of you are freelance writers because you love writing. So why give up and pay other people to do the work for you instead?

2. Starting a business, just to make more money - especially when it’s preventing you from doing stuff you love to do isn’t a particularly smart move. You’ll probably spend a lot of time resenting your business for taking you away from doing what you love - writing.

3. If you’re a non-fiction writer, there’s easier and more pleasant ways to create an automated stream of income. What about non-fiction books for a start? Once you’ve written one, you’ll benefit financially for as long as it stays in print. And you could probably write several in the time it takes you to set up a business that runs by itself.

4. You can still outsource and automate mundane tasks and even things like marketing, to free up your time to write. And if that marketing brings you more work than you have time to do, you could outsource some of it to other freelance writers and take a percentage of their payment.

If you do want to start a business instead of writing, then that’s different. And if you’re starting a business which will eventually run on it’s own, to free up your time to write later - prepare for a long hard slog. Few people are able to build a business overnight, which will run without them - you could spend several years trying to achieve that goal.

What do you think? Are you a freelance writer who wants to start a business? Are you doing it because you actually want to start a business, or for some other reason?

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