Before You Begin
If you’re curious about writing and publishing an ebook, then this post is for you. Hopefully, it will provide you with some of the essential information you need to get started and give you some helpful tips along the way. Just remember, it’s never easy being a rookie. You’ll probably face a lot of obstacles and challenges which are normal when you’re just beginning. But, with a little patience and effort, you’ll be able to succeed. So let’s get started.
Create A Back-up Plan
In case you do happen to miss a deadline or two, having a back-up plan is essential. You never know what could happen. Your computer could crash, or you could lose all your work in a sudden burst of inspiration. Having a back-up plan is crucial for all writing projects — be it an ebook or any other form of literature for that matter. And, if you don’t have one already, now is the right time to create one.
While it’s certainly not the most enjoyable task, copying all your work to another computer is a necessary evil. Thankfully, there are automated backup solutions available which can make the process much easier. You simply need to install the software on your computer and then activate it. Next, you’ll need to give it a name (I call mine “My Books”) and set a destination folder (I use my desktop). Finally, you’ll need to point your ebook-writing software (I use Calibre) to your My Books folder. From there, all your backups will be maintained and you can restore them at any time should your data disappear. I highly recommend reading the included documentation and learning the basic process before you begin.
Make Sure You Have Everything
There are quite a few essentials you need to have before you begin writing. In order to avoid any unpleasant surprises later on, make sure you have everything before you start. These include:
- A reliable internet connection
- A computer or laptop (For writing and researching purposes.)
- An external hard drive
- A place to store all your work (such as on a cloud server or in a Dropbox account.)
- A headset or microphone for computer use
- A good set of speakers
- A comfortable desk
- A place to write (a room, a desk, or a table.)
- A chair
- A cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate
- A nearby restroom
- A sense of humor
Having all of these items makes sure that you’ll be able to write without any distractions and that your work will be stable and error-free. Plus, it just makes the whole process more enjoyable. So don’t rush into buying any of these items. Take your time and save up for them. It’ll be worth it in the end.
Create A Plot & Description
An excellent way to improve your writing experience and the quality of your books is to create a plot and description for each chapter. This will help you to develop a framework for your story and keep the events in proper sequence. So, let’s say you have a chapter called “Pride & Prejudice” and you decide to use Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as your example. You can use the following as your basic outline for the chapter:
- Setting the stage (A brief description of the settings of your story.)
- Chapter One
- Chapter Two
- Chapter Three
- Chapter Four
- Chapter Five
- Chapter Six
- Chapter Seven
- Chapter Eight
- Chapter Nine
- Chapter Ten
I like to create a detailed plot and description for each chapter so I can easily find my place when I’m writing. It also means I can quickly go back and edit what I wrote without having to search for the chapter heading in the text. In addition to this, having the details about Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in my head makes it much easier to write. The above plot and description for chapter one worked perfectly for me and helped me to develop a clear picture of what was going on in the novel. It also allowed me to easily find any missing details when I was writing.
Research The Genre You’ve Chosen
Before you start writing your book, you need to decide on the genre. This is important because it will dictate the type of content you need to include in order to succeed. Most genres have specific formulas which must be followed in order to be considered part of the genre. In case you’ve decided on a historical fiction novel, for example, you’ll need to do a lot of research on the era and time period you’ve chosen. You’ll also need to do research on the individuals and events which make up your story. Be careful not to confuse what you learn with what you know in advance. Always try to find additional information when you can, and make sure to update your findings as you go along. It’s a good idea to read widely and deeply in books on your subject matter, particularly those which are considered expert opinions. In addition, Wikipedia is an excellent tool for learning about any subject, and it’s always available at the touch of a button.
If this is your first time ever writing a book or if you’re particularly nervous about getting started, then it might be a good idea to start small. Begin writing a short story or an outline for a longer piece. It doesn’t have to be perfect, because, at this stage, you’re not expected to be. Just get the words on the page and start building your story from there. As you write more and more, you’ll become skilled at it and less likely to stumble over your words. Plus, anything you write now will be useful later on when you decide to expand your book’s scope. Short stories are great for this, because you usually have more freedom with fewer words. Think of the horror genre as an excellent place to start. There are plenty of famous horror short story writers, and many of them have begun their careers by writing for, or contributing to, periodicals and anthologies. If you’re particularly interested in horror, then begin by reading the work of Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, among others.
Join A Society Of Authors
If you’re looking to get your work published, then you might want to consider joining a society of authors. There are several organizations which have groups of authors who get together to promote each other’s work and to network with other professionals in the field. Some of these groups may also offer you editorial assistance or representation in your chosen subject matter. Just remember, not all societies are created equal. Some have more professional members than others, and it’s important to do your research before joining a society. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if an author association is right for you, but, as a writer, joining a society of authors is a great way to get your work noticed.
Decide On An Ending
Choosing an ending for your book is an important step to take, particularly if you’ve decided on a series. Even if you’ve only written one book, it’s still good practice to establish a clear ending. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time finishing what you’ve started. Just because your story is going to be in sequence doesn’t mean that it has to end in a cliffhanger. Simply decide where you’ll leave off and make sure everything is wrapped up in a satisfactory manner. Once you’ve decided, the rest of the process will be much easier. You can also use the ending to establish some suspense should you choose an epistolary or dramatic ending. This will depend on your chosen genre, of course, but it’s always a good idea to leave your readers guessing as to what might happen in the future. Even if it’s only one or two scenes which leave the reader guessing, it’s still good story-telling.