What not to do when writing an ebook: 5 things to avoid

“What not to do when writing an Ebook” is one of my most requested presentations. It is a presentation I wrote whilst going round Tatton Flower Show in 2015 with my mum, having learnt at 10 am that the presenter for my meeting 6pm that evening wasn’t going to make it.


I share with attendees what I got wrong and why writing my free ebook took me over 6 months and how they can avoid the pitfalls I made.


So what are these pitfalls?


Chapters of an ebook

I started writing, using Libre Office writer and I put a statement in bold on a page and then wrote about that. Then I’d put in a couple of line breaks before another statement in bold and then write about that.


Instead what I learnt is that if you start every chapter on a new page, you can then easily rearrange the chapters by just moving pages, rather than the fiddly copying and pasting of selected text, trying to ensure you keep alignments, indents, spacings etc all the same.

Formatting Chapter headings


Putting your chapter headings as statements in bold, is OK and does make them stand out.


However I learnt (towards the end but you can do this from the start) that if you select “Heading X” from the tool bar as the font format, then the clever computer (once you’ve told it) will learn that when you create an index, anything in Heading X is a chapter.


By using the same style of heading for all your chapters, the computer will automatically update the index with changes to the chapter ordering, the page numbers and any changes you make to the titles.


This (once I learnt about it) saved me hours as previously I was having to manually make all the index changes every time I moved something or changed a title.


Set times to write your ebook

Invoice daily

I started out thinking I know – I’ll write everyday between 9 and 9:30. This way I’ll get the ebook written in no time.


Wrong – what happened was I would sit at my desk between 9 and 9:30 every day staring at a  blank page with a cursor winking at me. I wasted so many 3o minutes looking at a blank page with a cursor as I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to write, I didn’t know what I was going to write about, I didn’t have any headings queued up to write about.


I learnt I was much better off writing when I was ready to write. Forcing yourself to do something at a set time can be counter productive.


Bullets for chapter titles

As I mentioned above, not knowing what you are going to write about was a massive hurdle for me. I spent hours (probably) pondering what I should and shouldn’t include.


Then I learnt the power of a notebook!


I bought a small book which would fit in my pocket. I always had a pen with me and when someone asked me a question, or if I had an idea whilst walking, shopping, making tea, actually doing just about anything – I could note it down.


Using this method of notebook and pen, it took me about 2 days of random bullet points to come up with my chapter headings.

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Worrying about correct formatting


I’d finally finished my ebook and was ready to publish it, or so I thought. I mentioned to the husband that I was ready to publish my ebook, he said “but have you got it into the right formats?”


“What do you mean” I asked


“Well Kobo need it in 1 format, Apple need a different format……” I think you get the picture.


He told me which software I needed to install and infact installed it for me.


I then spent 4 – 6 weeks trying to understand this software, trying to get to grips with changing how it was saved, exporting it out again, checking it hadn’t lost its formatting, changing something and resaving into the various formats.


I then went to the 4Networking forum for help. Richard Eaton responded and we booked in a time for a call.

I explain to Richard my dilemma and he said “Rachael, STOP! It’s a free ebook and everything can read PDFs. Export as a pdf and get it on your website. “


This is the best advice ever – don’t play around with formats and trying to save a free ebook as anything other than a pdf, phones / tablets / laptops / Kindles / Kobos can all read PDFs.


Export your document as PDF and get it out there. You’re done.


Now it’s your turn.

Have you written a free ebook?

What challenges did you face?

What did you learn that you can share with others?
I love hearing your feedback so drop a comment in the comments section, connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Linked In or simply give me a call on 07756 772950.

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