How to Write an Amazon Kindle eBook – Part 3 (Writing and Editing)

I’m writing a Kindle eBook. (Update: the book is now published on Amazon here)

This is part 3 of a multi-part series that explains the entire process I’m going through. Click here for Part 1 and click here for Part 2.

After choosing a title for the eBook and starting your marketing efforts, the next step is to write and edit your eBook.

 

Writing the eBook – Approach

I’m a slow writer.

When I first started out writing the book, “slow” was an understatement.

I kept procrastinating because I felt overwhelmed.

Staring at a blank screen wasn’t fun.

However, I did two things that helped me write.

First, I decided I’m not writing a book.

Instead, I approached it as if I’m writing a series of emails to a friend who I wanted to help out with managing their team. This removed the psychological barrier of intimidation.

The second thing was that I leveraged content that I had already produced.

I had my blog posts on The Couch Manager blog, the emails I sent out to my newsletter subscribers, and the content of my Managing & Influencing Virtual Teams course.

I took some of the best content from all those 3 sources and used them as a starting point for my book.

 

Writing the eBook – Tools

I used both Scrivener and Microsoft Word to write the book.

I could have used Microsoft Word on its own, but I had heard so many good things about Scrivener that I wanted to give it a try.

Apparently, most best-selling authors, including Tim Ferriss, rely heavily on Scrivener because it has amazing features that makes it much easier to write.

I couldn’t agree more.

Scrivener was so easy to use and had some absolutely phenomenal functions. I don’t think I’ll ever write another book without it. The best feature was that I could easily move different chapters around and consolidate others through the corkboard function. Plus, having a “bird’s eye” view of my book chapters in the margin gave me satisfying feeling of control.

This also helped me boil down the number of tactics from 27 to 17 because I started to notice some overlap among the different tactics from the initial list.

So the sub-title ended up changing to “17 Tactics That Get Things Done with Your Remote Employees.

Here’s a screenshot from Scrivener while I was writing my book. The margin on the left helped tremendously in assessing the flow of the chapter titles.

 

Scrivener

 

After I was done writing the book, I used the export feature in Scrivener to create an MS Word file.

I did that for 2 reasons:

  1. I wanted to hire an editor to edit the book, and most editors are already familiar with Microsoft Word
  2. Amazon accepts Microsoft Word (.doc) files to their Kindle Direct Publishing platform, and I wanted to prepare it for the Kindle format anyway.

The total length of the book was a little over 10,000 words.

 

Editing the eBook

The next step was to hire an editor for the book.

I went on Elance and submitted a proposal so that different freelance editors could submit their bids.

A few days later, I started getting different quotes from editors.

The quote fees ranged between $150 and $550.

I then picked an editor who I was impressed with (that cost me somewhere in the middle of that range), and within a week, I had a freshly polished book that was ready for publication.

The editor was awesome – he went back and forth with me on a couple of questions that I had, and actually suggested a few modifications for the tactic titles. He even helped prepare the formatting for uploading to Amazon, which saved me some time.

Most importantly, he also suggested I modify the title of my eBook, which is something I didn’t expect.

 

Modifying the Title of the eBook

The original title I chose for the book was:

Influencing Virtual Teams: 17 Tactics That Get Things Done with Your Remote Employees.”

However, my editor’s suggestion was to change the title to:

Motivating Virtual Teams: 17 Tactics That Will Inspire Your Remote Employees to Excel”

Hi justification was that the word “influencing” was a bit vague and that the word “motivating” was stronger. He also thought that “inspire…employees to excel” would be a better phrase choice than “get things done with employees.”

This made me re-think the title, even though I was pretty much set on it. The title is, of course, a very important part of the book – it’s the two second pitch that makes people interested in it and eventually buy it – and I didn’t want to take this potential modification lightly.

So to help out with the decision, I simply asked my friends on Facebook and readers on my blog which title they thought was better. I also ran two ads on Facebook with the different titles to see which had a higher click-through rate.

The results were as follows:

  • The majority of my friends and most of my readers chose the newer  title: “Motivating Virtual Teams” over the original one
  • The Facebook ads were split at nearly 50-50 with the click through-rate, meaning both of them worked.

So technically, the “Motivating” title won because my friends & readers chose it.

However, after sleeping on the decision for a couple of days, I didn’t feel very comfortable changing the title.

That’s because I already had people who signed up to my email list who were interested in the original title (check out Part 1 to see how I did that).

Plus, even though “motivating” and “influencing” could be considered synonymous in some aspects, the reality is that they are different topics.

In other words, it was going to be a different book, and I didn’t want to go back and change the content to reflect the “motivating” aspect of virtual teams.

So I decided to stick to the original title and move forward with it.

 

Next Step

The next step after writing the book and editing it is to design a professional cover.

I actually hired an elance designer to do that – which I’ll tell you all about in my next post.

Cheers,

Hassan

P.S. – That post is now out. Click here to read it.