Simple Guide to Writing “How To” eBooks
Every coach should write at least one eBook during his/her career. It demonstrates your knowledge and commitment to your coaching niche and strengthens your position as a thought leader in your area of expertise.
Saying that, I know it’s never fun to start with a blank page (especially when you’re writing a whole book!) so here is an outline you can use. It’s a gift from me to you.
By the way, all four of my eBooks follow this basic structure. It works.
The Topic and Scope
One of the easiest (and most useful) eBooks to start with is to document your own coaching program. If you have not clearly defined your own coaching program yet, here is an article to get you started (How to Create Your Own Coaching Program).
Professional-Looking Cover with a Catchy Title
You’ve got to have a professional looking cover. Covers sell.
You can get ideas by searching for your topic on Amazon and seeing what the top 20 book covers in your niche look like. Borrow a layout from one, font choices from another, colour schemes from a third. Mix this with your own ideas and words and you have something that is uniquely yours.
Also, this does not have to cost a fortune. Many people would probably disagree with me but you can do it yourself with a simple word processing program. Check out this mock up (right) that I’m working on. It’s been done using MS Word, of all things (shh…don’t tell anyone!).
How to Create A Catchy Title
Everyone loves “How to” titles. So here’s your title, “How To <Blank>”.
You fill in the blank by asking yourself this question, “What do people gain when they complete the steps I’ve selected for the scope of my eBook?”. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes for a minute, imagine you’ve done all the steps and sub steps you’ve taught them and write down the main benefits, lessons and insights that you pick up.
Keep it simple and straightforward. Focus on the most obvious 1-5 things that stand out to you. Simple and clear is good. More people will relate.
Example eBook Titles
- How To Discover Yourself (in 3 hours)
- How To Feel Happier
- How To Have a Better Marriage
- How To Raise Confident Children
- How To Get a Promotion
- How to Start a Coaching Business (in 6-weeks)
After the cover, you need to have some basic copyright and publishing information in your eBook. It offers a level of protection to you by informing readers what they are and are not allowed to do with your intellectual property.
It’s much easier for me to just give you the text and let you fill in the blanks. So, here you go…
<enter eBook Title>
Publication date <enter date>
Written and published by: <enter your name>
<enter ink your your website, optional>
Version <enter version number e.g. 1.0> ©Copyright <enter year> <enter copyright owner>
All rights reserved.
This publication may not be reproduced without written permission from the author. Please feel free to contact <enter your name> <enter contact method>
You may store the PDF on your computer and backups. You may print this book for your own personal use.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this book is based on the author’s experience, knowledge and opinions. The author and publisher will not be held liable for the use or misuse of the information in this book.
Special thanks to <enter any thanks you’d like to give>
Table of Contents
All major word processing programs let you insert a table of contents. You definitely need this. It looks great and provides a helpful overview of the eBook for your readers.
Message from the Author
A message from the author is an optional page but I like to do it. I write it like a letter to the reader so it gives a personal touch. It should be one page or less (unless you decide to roll your message and the Introduction, mentioned below, into the same chapter).
Ideas to get you started…
- Briefly introduce yourself and include a photo
- Tell the reader why you’re excited that he/she is reading your eBook
- Explain how the reader can connect with you if they have any questions
- Sign off with a sincere message from the heart and include a scan of your real signature
Introductions can be very helpful to readers by setting the context for the steps and getting them excited about what’s in store for them. Below are a few ideas on what you may like to include in your introduction.
Ideas to get you started…
- Set the context for the eBook. For example if it is book 2 of a series, of 5 eBooks, mention that. Or you could mention how it fits into your larger coaching offering.
- A very brief, high-level sentence or two about what the book is about
- What reading this eBook and doing the exercises will do for the reader
- How to best use this eBook. For example, here’s what I say (feel free to use it as a starting point for yours)…
“The book is divided into six main chapters that each need about 30 minutes to complete. Relax; most of the time is needed for you to complete the self-discovery exercises that are included in each chapter – great to do while sitting in a comfy chair, at a café or in a park.
I highly recommend taking a moment, right now, to block out 30 minutes in your diary every 7 days for the next 6 weeks so that you actually have time to do the legwork that is needed to get this job done. Or, if you prefer to get it all done quickly, one 3-hour session or two 1.5-hour sessions should do it.
Booking time in your diary is your first test. Let’s see if you are prepared
to develop the discipline needed to obtain what you are searching for.”
The ‘How To’ Steps
Each step in your ‘how to’ process will be it’s own chapter. You should have at least 3 steps and no more than 10. This will make up the bulk of the content in your eBook.
If you need some help figuring out the steps your should write about for your particular coaching business check out, How to Create Your Own Coaching Program.
Ideas to get you started…
To start each chapter, I recommend writing down the answers to these questions. You’ll uncover helpful material that will resonate with each of the different learning styles.
- Why is this step important?
- If I were to define this step as if it was in the dictionary, how would I define it?
- What examples and/or stories can I tell on this topic?
- What statistics are out there on this topic?
- What does someone need to be/do/have to be able to complete this step?
- Are there any exercises they need to do?
- How can I test readers to make sure they ‘get it’?
- What is the ideal picture I can paint for a reader – the state they will be in once they have achieved this step?
It’s now time to tie up the whole eBook and send your readers off with a glow and wanting more. The wrap up or close does just that. Give your final heart-felt words of inspiration. A few paragraphs to a page should suffice.
If you’re stuck on this one, try doing a future pace (i.e. paint a picture of where they should be now that they have diligently read your masterpiece).
This section is optional. It’s where you add any worksheets, templates or samples that help readers but don’t really belong inside your chapters.
As an example, in three of my eBooks I do not use the Appendix at all. In one, however, I have a full life planning template section which is about 10 pages.
So use the appendix if you need it.
Just Start Writing
No more “Where do I start?”.
I’ve just given you at least 10 pages worth of material. Copy, paste and start filling in!
Imagine, you could have your first eBook written and edited in the next two weeks if you choose to. Your diligence will bring you that much closer to becoming a true thought leader in your niche, sought out to teach, coach and present on your subject of expertise.