What I learned from writing an ebook
I wrote my free ebook, “How much does a website cost?” for three reasons. Firstly, because I love writing. Secondly, because I wanted to inform potential clients what is involved in a web design project. The third reason is to collect email addresses – my ebook serves as an incentive to sign up to my newsletter. Writing an ebook has been a wonderful experience and I would recommend everyone write an ebook at least once. I am already having ideas for my next ebook.
“How much does a website cost?” looks at the process of website design and development, and is aimed at potential clients. I, like many other web designers, have had calls from clients who give you a 30-second pitch of what they want and finish with ‘how much will that cost?’ Web design is more involved than you think. You must also remember that a website should form part of your overall marketing strategy and so there are many decisions to be made.
Writing the ebook also taught me a lot. Patience was the first thing I learnt. I had all these ideas bubbling around in my head, all the elements of a web design project clamoring for attention, and my fingers would not type as quickly as I wanted. Next came Planning. I found the most useful thing to do was to create a mind map of everything I wanted to include. This helped me to give my thoughts form and keep everything straight in my mind.
I then started to write my ebook. I started by writing the table of contents which gave the ebook and I an infrastructure from which to work before moving on to the main body of content. I quickly found that some parts of the book were easier to write than others. So I wrote the sections of the book in a different order than they appear in the finished product. I started in the middle, skipped to two thirds through the book, went back to the beginning and then wrote the ending. When writing a non-fiction ebook, I found that you do not need to write chapters in reading order as long as you are organised. It was better to start with what came easily. This not only gave me the motivation to write the more difficult sections but also made their writing easier.
What I found most difficult was to switch off the internal editor within me. I found that I wanted to stop and change a few sentences here and there, and correct spelling, as I was writing each piece. That was fine but then I would forget what I was going to say next. I quickly learnt to stifle the urge to edit as I wrote. It is a continual struggle but I am getting better the more I write.
When writing was complete I went back and edited my scribbles in the order the book is to be read. I edited the whole thing. I corrected errors, rewrote paragraphs and whole sections. When I got to the end, I edited the whole book again. And again. And again. On my fourth read through I read the book aloud. This I would recommend to all writers. I picked up on many mistakes in meaning that I would have missed had I not spoken aloud every word.
Make your subconscious work for you.
What I did next was… nothing. I didn’t touch the text for three days. I completely put it out of my mind and thought of everything and anything other than my ebook. I found that giving my subconscious time to process my work helps identify what I have missed or sometimes provides solutions to problems that I had not even considered.
My final edit took place about five days later. It helped enormously. I spotted spelling and grammatical errors that I had made and missed previously. I added extra information and even an entire additional section. If you can, leaving your work for a short period before going back to it is very worthwhile.
I cannot put into words the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment I felt when I had finished the main content of my ebook. The achievement I felt was inspiring and motivating.
A picture is worth a thousand words
No book is complete without pictures. From front cover to section and page, images are important and if used correctly can draw the eye and emphasize what you want to say. You can spend hours and hours studying image after image trying to find that one scene, subject or focus which accurately describes what you are trying to say. I hope I succeeded. I particularly like the front cover image which I felt was professional and underscores the title and how the client feels when contacting a web designer.
To format the ebook I used Adobe InDesign. I could have set up a page template on Microsoft Word but I like the flexibility of InDesign. There are lots of tutorials out there on how to use InDesign to produce an ebook which I would suggest you study before starting work.
I thought about how I read ebooks.
Setting up the format of the ebook gave me pause for thought. I thought about how I read ebooks, what I like about them and what I would do to improve. I usually read ebooks on my iPad and I always hold and work on my iPad in the landscape position so that seemed the best way to view my ebook. Computer screens are oriented in the landscape position too and so I decided to make full use of the screen real estate. An ebook oriented in the portrait position means a lot of wasted space when viewed on a computer monitor, space that could be put to good use for additional content. Make the most of what you have but it is important that you do so judiciously. Sometimes less is more.
Feedback from readers
Writing an ebook has been very rewarding and something I would recommend anyone to do in whichever industry you work. Not only are you sharing what you know with others but you learn new knowledge and skills throughout the whole process. I have received lots of positive and constructive feedback from my readers which is very motivating and has given me a real sense of achievement. My aim was to give clients the knowledge they need to engage a web designer in a new project. Clients need and want to know what they are paying for and why. This ebook tells them just that.
If you would like to download my ebook please do so by signing up to my mailing list by completing the fields below and following the instructions. I hope you find my ebook useful. I know I did.
Download my FREE ebook
Learn what is involved in a web design project and find out “How much does a website cost?”
Share your thoughts
Do you find my ebook useful? Does it help you plan your marketing and consequentially turn prospective customers into actual customers? I look forward to hearing your ideas and any suggestions on how I can improve my ebook. Thanks!