How to write for eBooks: factual, business-like, conversational?

Have you written and published an eBook lately, or are you thinking of doing one? eBooksHere’s what Anika asked me recently about how to write eBooks:

“I am used to writing fundraising bids which are factual and need evidence to support the relevant points. Do you think e-books are similar in approach – business like and factual or should they be a more relaxed style?”

We’re talking about different animals here, Anika

And that’s not because they are two different animals … it’s because one is an animal and the other is a huge herd of different animals.

With a fundraising bid the style and structure is pre-determined – as you say, factual with evidence to support the relevant points. One animal.

With eBooks though, there can be one of thousands of different styles and structures. All depends on the following:

**Does it inform, help, entertain, or what?
**Who are its target readers? How do they speak and think?
**What (in the case of a business or self-help eBook) problems will it solve for readers?
**If it’s to entertain, why will readers find it funny/scary/entrancing etc.?

Only when you have answers to those questions can you start thinking about the style and structure of the book.

writing style fo eBooksActually, it’s not about your writing style…

It’s about what your readers want to read; what’s in it for them; what value they will get out of it. That’s the style you need to use.

This is why it’s essential that anyone writing an eBook understands absolutely the audience for that book, and writes for it accordingly.

Where things can go wrong is when the author of an eBook (or any other book, for that matter) writes in terms of what s/he feels is right for them, without consideration for what the intended audience wants/needs to read.

Amazingly, many authors of books of all kinds still make this basic mistake.

Do your homework before you write your eBook

Check out eBooks that are similar in content to your intended one. You can soon see which are the good sellers by looking them up on Amazon. Download one or two of the popular ones and see what style has been used there.

If it’s a business or self-help eBook, talk to your own “tribe” of customers, contacts, colleagues etc. Ask them what would help them most regarding their topic. Note how they refer to it and discuss their own feelings about it: those are strong clues about the style and approach you should use.

Good luck with writing your eBook – and don’t hesitate to ask any questions here in the comments.

Sz

 

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