Establish a Production Goal
In business, as in life, things that don’t have a deadline tend to go undone. You can save yourself a lot of heartache in the long run by setting a rock solid date for your ebook to go live.
Then, backtrack and figure out which milestones to reach each week.
If your firm has a larger marketing team with mature, repeatable processes, you can benefit from using a content calendar. Calendars keep things tidy and ensure nothing gets overlooked. Coupled with a communication suite like Slack, it’s easy to stay on task.
Speaking of which ...
Include All the Teammates You Need
In many cases, a solo contributor will do all the writing and editing for an ebook.
Most of the time, though, the author isn’t responsible for the illustrations, design, or final technical tweaks.
You don’t want your teammates to find out too late that they’re working on an ebook. Provide some notice to each person involved ahead of time.
One of the best ways to properly communicate roles to each teammate is by assigning their tasks to them when you present a finalized outline of the ebook.
This helps them see where in the content they need to create and add their contributions.
Use a Modular Writing Approach
When someone like Stephen King is writing a novel, every piece of the story has to connect to every other piece.
When things don’t quite fit together, untangling all the different elements can take weeks. Luckily, an informational product follows different rules.
Module-based writing yields chunks of content that can be arranged easily. It typically consists of a few module types, such as:
- Overview – brief description of the theme of the corresponding module group that follows.
- Concept – basic definitions and information that is easy to scan and read quickly.
- Task – steps showing the reader how to accomplish a goal.
- Reference – information that provides context for the information presented in the module.
With a complete outline, you have the scaffolding you need to break down your writing into chunks.
Every topic you cover should be self-contained, with the conclusion of each chapter serving to review the critical points and tie the entire work together.
Chapter wrap-ups with key takeaways are a great way to make sure your ebook flows, even if you write the individual chapters weeks apart. You can also use creative methods to inject more interest into the work.
For example, write a “frame story” that shows two clients – one doing things the right way and the other doing them the wrong way. That makes lessons more memorable as well.
Worried about having enough time to take on a huge job like this? Don’t jump into writing the most difficult sections that will make you slip at the starting line of the writing process.
Start with the Easy Stuff: Introduction and Conclusion
Your outline is your master plan, and the introduction and conclusion are the first steps you should take. These ground your work so you’re always heading for the finish line. Plus, having the last section done is a relief – it means your goal is reachable.
Your introduction needs to explain exactly what value readers are going to get from your work up front. You’ve got their attention at this point: Make a pitch that keeps them reading!
Keep your introduction centered on your reader and what’s in it for them, not your brand story or credibility.
You’re not selling yourself here; you’re establishing your relationship with the reader, indicating how you’re going to help them.
The rules for your conclusion are simple too: Your introduction says what you’re going to say, and your conclusion says what you just said. Just as in any client presentation, be cautious not to introduce new points. If anything raises a new objection here, you won’t have time to answer it.
Of course, your whole ebook should end with a call to action (CTA).
Your CTA should be aligned with whatever marketing purpose you crystallized in the early planning stages. It doesn’t hurt to offer your ebook audience a special incentive for sticking with it to the end as well.
Edit at the End, Not as You Go
Writing an ebook already requires a huge investment of time and resources. You don’t want to do double the work by not following an efficient editing and proofreading process.
It’s tempting to edit and proofread as you go, but doing this will slow down your entire writing process.
Your writing process should follow these four steps: