So if you're thinking about self publishing, why not start with an educational eBook?
In the "old" days not so long ago, it was difficult to get published with only the option of the traditional route - and with that came the same old problem I always encountered when trying to find my first job - if you won't employ me (publish me), how will I ever qualify for that thing you call "experience"?
Writing and publishing an eBook will ensure you become a published author thus your portfolio is up and running. It will help you establish your brand and you can begin to position yourself as an expert in your subject matter. There is very little risk so consider it a one-time investment and if you already have a blog and post regularly, the content is just sitting there waiting to be used.
Everybody is writing about writing. You need to find a niche and fill the demand. This is easier said than done, but with a little mind mapping and thinking time, something is bound to shine through. It just needs creativity and your own personal writing touch! Once you've found an idea, introduce it on your blog and through your social media and see what kind of response you get.
An eBook should have structure. Ideas need to be presented in an organised way so the book flows. With this in mind, don't take your blog posts as they are and simply drop them in as chapters. There needs to be transitions between the different topics and be sure to include fresh content as well.
You still need to hold your audience's attention just as you would with a story, so keep the writing tight and succinct because this type of eBook is created to teach your readers. Once read from virtual cover to cover, I imagine your text will be referred to over and over (if it was a success) so it should be "skim presentable". What do I mean by this? Make the information pop off the page - use headings, subheadings, bullet points, colourful text blocks, photos, illustrations, diagrams. I'll always remember when studying for my Science GCSEs, we had these new "bitesize chunks" textbooks to revise from. They gave me a fighting chance because they brought the boring details to life and I ended up with a double B. I honestly thought I'd failed in all three exams. I'm no scientist!
If you use industry specific terms, make sure you explain what they mean. Give your eBook substance so that it packs a stimulating informational punch. Throw in facts and examples and try to present the details in a fresh, original and exciting way.
Most informational eBooks are 50 A4 pages or less so if you set yourself deadlines, it could be published and on the virtual shelves in next to no time. A lot of people write in MS Word and then release as a PDF, and if you keep the size to 2MB or less, readers can email it around easily. Of course, you can put more time, effort and money into your project and make it a proper looking book should you wish, but if you're determined to keep your first attempt simple, a PDF would be the way to go. And there's no rule that says you can't re-release the original text with additional content in the future...
The beauty with eBooks is you can hyperlink to any references thus making the book / text come alive for your readers. Interaction is key. Hyperlinks are especially useful in your table of contents. The other point to consider when writing the text is using key words you can later exploit in your SEO endeavours.
Get an ISBN for your book so people are more likely to take you seriously.
There are many many outlets for selling your work - Amazon (KDP) and Smashwords to name just two. Each have their pros and cons and experimenting will help you find what works best for you. For example, Smashwords will allow you to download different formats for your book and sell copies on your website.
Next up we'll be looking at a typical plan for writing, launching and selling your informational eBook.
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.