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5 Steps to Successfully Write and Format eBooks for Amazon

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A blank screen stared back at me. How in the heck do you do this eBook publishing bit?

I’d put off publishing an eBook for this very reason. For at least 3 years. People told me it was easy; my experience said something very different.

I am tech allergic so if I’m able to write and format an eBook just about any blogger can.

After publishing my 15th product (Blogging from Paradise: How to Retire to a Life of Island Hopping (Part 2) now on Amazon)– between books and eBooks – on Amazon the other day I figured it’s time to share how I went from confused, newbie self-publisher to seasoned self-publishing veteran. Worries about how to write and format eBooks handcuff most aspiring eBook authors. If you give into this fear you’re leaving so much money, authority and branding juju on the table.

Let’s dissect how you can effectively write and format your eBooks today.

Step 1: Why? (Set Your Intent)

I published my first Blogging from Paradise eBook with this intent in mind; to free me and to free you. If you don’t get this one right all else goes to custard. Writing something that frees you and your audience will attract to you the inspired ideas, people and circumstances you need to create a widely-read, prospering eBook.

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Stay away from writing just for money or fame. Focusing on those outcomes alone poisons your creativity and dampens your inspired spirit. Write to free yourself and to free your audience. Watch magic happen before your eyes.

Step 2: Tell Your Story and Write Your Passion

I love sharing my blogging tips. I love traveling. Blogging from Paradise was born.

I also enjoy sharing my whacky travel stories. So I decided to develop analogies between how my travel stories help you become a better blogger.  I may explain how being nibbled on by a Wild Man in Nepal taught me a blogging lesson or perhaps how petting three, 400 pound tigers – in their cages – inspired me to grow as a blogger. No one else on earth can tell my story. The same rings true for you.

Tell your story. Link your personal experiences in to your niche and please, make sure to write your passion. If you need to do research, use reputable sources to fact find. I myself have about 7 year’s worth of experience to call upon, blogging-wise, so this store combined with my blogging stories is all I need to publish eBooks. In your case you may need to dig a bit deeper but if you’re writing about your passion the words will flow smoothly.

Step 3: Write 500 – 1500 Words a Day for Your eBook

My eBooks span 15,000 words. I find that to be the perfect length for my audience. This means I can finish the first draft in approximately 15 days, give or take a few days if I’m flying from New York City to Bali. If that’s the case, I can finish the first draft in much less time. 22 hour flights are best spent creating a brand-building, income generating eBook (at least that’s what this globetrotter thinks).

If you feel like 1,500 words is too much chop down daily writing sessions to 500 words. This means your 15,000 word eBook will take about a month and a half to write. No worries. Just make sure you ship, as Seth Godin says. Reach that 15 K limit and get down to the nitty gritty.

Step 4: Re-read and Hand it to a Third Party for Proofreading

After finishing my first draft I re-read the eBook. I add a bit more spice if needed. Perhaps a colorful travel story or 2 could be added.

I also hand the eBook over to my eagle-eyed wife Kelli for proofreading. She’s obsessed with spotting any errors – in a good way – and corrects my muck ups. I then re-read it to prepare myself for the last phase of the process; good old formatting.

Step 5: Formatting

Before we dive into practical tips I wanted to stress that I promote my eBooks solely on Amazon. The related Kindle Select program offers authors a multitude of ways to reach into new, growing, targeted audiences. With that in mind we’ll discuss how to format your eBooks for Kindle.

This document saved my life. Or, it helped me format my eBook more easily. Read it, it’s a keeper.

– Simple Formatting Guide from Amazon

Save your eBook in Word. Good. You’re ready to move on now to make your eBook Kindle ready.

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Justify Text

I justify my text. This makes for better reading and easier scanning. Click the Justified icon on Word, located between the Align Right and Numbering icons near the top of your file. Your text should appear in block form now.

Insert Page Breaks

For proper formatting insert Page Breaks between chapters. I simply press Control + Enter to break between chapters. This one’s a must; without proper Page Breaks your chapters will run into one another, making for a sloppy read.

Tag Chapter Titles and Sub Sections

I use H1 tags for each chapter title and a few h2 tags for sub headers within each chapter. Using headers make for easier reading and allows you to set up a dynamic table of contents if you so choose.

Set Up a Dynamic Table of Contents (Optional)

You can do the dynamic table of contents bit if readers want to reference a particular chapter or sub section. Insert a Page Break after the title page. Now you’re on a new page, before chapter 1.

Now, you may see a divergence here. I use Open Office now (instead of good old fashioned Word), so I simply click “Insert”, “Indexes and Tables”, and “OK” to set up a Table of Contents. Word users may click, “Insert”, point to “Reference”, then click “Index and Tables”, then click the “Table of Contents” tab and “Show Outlining Toolbar.” H1 tagged content shows up as a chapter in your table of contents and h2 tagged content pops up as a section of each chapter.

If your eBook is 7K to 15 K words or so it’s not imperative to use a dynamic table of contents since the read will be a bit easier and shorter. Your choice.

Add Page Numbers in the Footer Field

Don’t forget to add page numbers! Click, “Insert”, “Footer”, then left click in the Footer area, and click “Insert”, click “Fields”, click “Page Number” and you should be all set. Again, this is Open Office so Word may vary slightly.

Save as Filtered HTML

Save the doc as Filtered HTML. Click “File”, “Save As”, click the drop down arrow by “Save as type” and click “Web Page, Filtered”, then click “Save”.

Have a Cover Designed

Find a good web designer to create a quality cover. Amazon demands the longest side of your cover – length or width – be 1100 pixels wide.

Now you’re REALLY ready to roll. Your eBook is Kindle ready. Set up an account on Amazon, and happy selling!

Your Turn

What tips can you add to these steps?

Are you having a tough time writing and formatting your eBook?

Where are you struggling?

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Ryan Biddulph is the owner of Blogging From Paradise. He's a blogger, author and world traveler who's been featured on Richard Branson's Virgin Blog, Forbes, Fox News, Entrepreneur Dot Com and Neil Patel Dot Com. Ryan can help you become a full time blogger with his eBook.

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4 Effective Tips for Boosting Reader Engagement on Your Blog

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If you want your blog to be successful and bring good profits, you need to ensure that your posts not only attract traffic but engage the readers. To do this you’ll need to experiment with content formats, open dialog with the audience, involve influencers, and above all, understand your audience’s exact wishes.

From online videos to content creation and social media, there seems to be an endless supply of new traffic out there and different ways to pull users back to your site. With all of this in focus and on the minds of bloggers everywhere, we wanted to highlight some of the best ways to boost content engagement, using many of the preferred mentions we’ve already highlighted.

4 Ways to Boost Your Blog Content Engagement Rate Fast

Post videos

Even if you don’t run a vlog, you need to post an occasional video because that’s the ‘hottest’ type of content today. Check out an aggregation of video marketing statistics offered by Forbes to see why exactly your blog needs more video content. Note that social videos generate more shares.

Live video streaming is also greatly popular today, so be sure to launch an occasional Facebook Live session to share something interesting with your followers. Then post a recording of the stream on your blog so those who missed the airing will be able to enjoy it anyway.

Research your audience in great detail

To boost reader engagement on your blog you need to understand what motivates your targeted audience to actually get into your content. You’ll need to not only consider the analytics data that will show you which of your posts are most popular. You also need to search for information on your targeted audience, such as what kind of posts are generally more popular with them.

The more precise you are in developing targeted content, the higher the reader engagement rate will be. This means that if you seek to create a diverse readership base, you might need to consider launching several websites. In that case, you’ll need to use specialized software and a hosting service that allows you to run multiple blogs. This will make managing them easier, so you’ll be able to focus on creating several posts. Bear in mind that you might be able to apply the same basic content strategy to all your blogs, even if they differ in subjects.

The differences in those strategies and individual posts will be dictated by the data you get from a detailed study of targeted audiences.

Get more influential persons involved

Influencers of any kind can help you boost reader engagement on your blog because if they promote your content, their loyal readers will want to read it themselves. You can also generate more traffic and engagement by mentioning various celebrities and popular bloggers.

A perfect example of this can be seen in one of our expert roundup posts, where 73 different online marketers and bloggers took the time to share their expertise on social media.  The benefit here wasn’t also just for our site. Each of the experts got a lot of exposure out of this, and the audience loved the content as well.

However, you’ll need to be careful if you choose to use mentions. For celebrities, you should research laws and regulations surrounding the issue. You need to be 100% sure that you won’t be sued for mentioning someone’s name or other information in your post. When you mention bloggers, you’ll need to consider those rules too as well as give them a heads up about doing this.

Having various opinion influencers popular with your target audience is a great boost to your blog and personal brand. This will also increase your reach as you’ll get an indirect contact with the influencer’s audience.

However, attracting influencers is a big challenge, especially for a blogger. You can use the tips from Neil Patel, a true marketing guru. Think carefully about how to adapt them to your situation.

Post engaging graphics

Much like with videos, you should post relevant graphics to boost reader engagement because this type of content is popular and shareable. Infographics are particularly effective for this, so be sure to create some. It will be best if your infographics have some original data on relevant topics. But, even simple step-by-step instructions can generate decent shares and likes.

Your every post should contain several images by default as they promote reader engagement and memorization. Be sure to add .GIFs as well, because these graphics are in trend now.

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Best Search Engine Marketing and SEO Practices to Follow in 2018

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Marketing often requires four basic factors: first, there should be people with unsatisfied needs; second, these people should have the desire to be satisfied; third, there should be opportunities for communication; and fourth, there should be an exchange of goods or services. A businessman with keen acumen for business opportunities would readily recognize these unsatisfied needs, build opportunities for communication with these people, and relay the service or product that could satisfy their needs. The important thing is that the prospective businessman is able to reach his target audience via good marketing strategies and tactics.

Understanding Search Engine Marketing

Marketing strategies have greatly changed since the introduction of the World Wide Web. As the Internet expands, it also provides good avenues for new marketing strategies and tactics. It also engenders new buying behavior among consumers, as contemporary consumers first search online for a product or service that they need before purchasing it. On the other hand, business owners are now required to create their own websites to be relevant online.

As highlighted in this article, writing for humans is always going to be the example to follow. It also means keeping the following SEO guidelines in mind when creating content:

  • Keep it unique. Avoid duplicating content that’s already out there. Ask yourself: what can I add to this ongoing conversation?
  • Do more research than competitor sites have done.
  • Consider all options: infographics, videos, podcasts, an interview, a step-by-step guide or even a new tool or template. 
  • Remember that longer content gets more links. If your page is supported by high-quality links, it will move up in the ranks. Although Google has stated that even a few sentences can rank, in general, you’re better off creating content that is at least 300 words or more.

One form of effective online marketing is search engine marketing. It involves website promotion aimed at increasing the visibility of your business site online. It is also designed to make your site rank higher on the search engine page results (SERP). However, this marketing form is wrought primarily through paid advertisement.

In 2007, for example, advertisers in the U.S. had spent 24.6 billion dollars on this type of marketing. Google, on the other hand, leads the pack of search engines that profited from search engine marketing. Furthermore, in the second quarter of 2015, Google got a sizeable 73.7% share of profits from search engine marketing as compared to 26.3% of Yahoo/Bing. Based on these data, search engine marketing appears to be a very profitable business that rakes billions of dollars of profit for search engines.

Social Media Marketing

Your online marketing strategies and tactics would never be complete without tapping into social media. Services like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Baidu Tieba, and LinkedIn have also been used for marketing. LinkedIn, for example, as an employment-oriented service can be used to promote your services and get more mileage for your online marketing efforts, but keep in mind that it is primarily used to establish professional networks.

Just take a look at the screenshot below and how LinkedIn can provide such great information for anyone looking for earnings and jobs reports within any specific niche market. Not only will these same results rank and appear within the search results, they are also heavily shared through social media as well.

Search Engine Optimization

Aside from search engine marketing which makes use of paid advertising, you can also make use of search engine optimization (SEO). Search engine optimization is another way of expanding the online visibility of your site without necessarily paying for online advertisements. Search engines have organic or natural page results, known as SERP, and you can influence these organic results through SEO.

Not many, however, are experts in SEO. Hence, if you are a businessman who doesn’t have the know-how on SEO, you should visit BestSEOCompanies.com and search for the expert that fits your needs. If you want a reliable and trustworthy SEO specialist, this website can really help you with its list of the top 50 SEO services that you can immediately hire.

Business websites that are ranking high in the SERP usually gets two-pronged benefits. First, if your site ranks high in the SERP, chances are casual searchers will click on your website, and you can turn them immediately into actual clients. Additionally, if you get more clicks and visits from casual searchers, the search engine will further rank your website higher.

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What Is the Chief Benefit of Going the Extra Blogging Mile?

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10:15 PM on a Sunday night.

After waking at 7 AM I did an hour of yoga.

I followed up with 4 hours of blogging work.

Toss in another 4 hours of blogging work plus a 1 hour walk and some R and R, and where I am late on a Sunday night. Going the extra blogging mile.

I love blogging. Working late on a Sunday does not feel like going the extra mile because blogging feels fun to me. But putting in a bit more effort when I feel tired helps me to help more people. Going the extra blogging mile also makes me memorable in the eyes of readers.

I know other bloggers who go the extra mile.

My friend Ronald at Web SEO Marketers runs a first rate blog.

Beyond his super content though, he goes the extra blogging mile in the relationship-building department.

A few moments ago I saw this update in my stream when I logged in to Facebook:

Buying the paperback version of my blogging eBook would have been awesome in and of itself. But Ronald snapped a selfie holding the paperback, noted how he just received my book in the email and tagged me to let me know he bought my book and he’d see me in paradise.

Brilliant!

He perfectly embodies how you go the extra mile relationship building wise. Compassionate, heart-centered bloggers think of how they can help folks out. Generous folks always stick out in your mind because we resonate with people who are kind, helpful and genuine in all they do.

Being Memorable Helps Expand Your Presence

I noted Ronald’s rocking blog in this post because he is a skilled blogger, because he shouted out buying my book on Facebook and because both factors make him memorable. I could not fall asleep until I wrote this post and shouted him out because it feels fun to spread the love and to help you guys understand the chief benefit of going the extra blogging mile; people will remember you.

If people remember you they will feature you, interview you, invite you to guest post on their blog, or they will hire you or buy your stuff. As your features, interviews and guest posts increase you will appear to be all over the place in your niche, growing your business slowly and steadily until your generosity and willingness to go above and beyond results in exponential growth of your online presence.

Alonzo Pichardo embodies this type of massive growth over the long haul by going the extra mile.

Check out his Instagram account.

His follower growth and overall engagement levels are staggering, with 55,000 followers receiving Alonzo’s update on the platform.

Alonzo continues to get so many followers because he gave so much of his time, skills and expertise over the past decade. He did not attract 55,000 followers after a week of going the extra blogging mile. He generously served folks for a decade and continues to help folks even if doing so takes him late into the night, becoming more memorable to more folks around the world.

Be Patient

Be patient and persistent in creating value and building bonds. Good things take time.

You may not make a penny through your blog for 6 months after doing the right things with the right energy but you will succeed over the long haul. Every kind act is rewarded over time.

Keep helping people. Focus on the process, not on outcomes. Stay up late to write the guest post, linking in to your blogging buddies to increase their exposure. After you purchase a book, take a selfie and tag the author on social media. Think of how you can impact humanity in a generous, significant way, one friendship and one generous act at a time.

Go the extra blogging mile.

Accelerate your blogging success over the long haul.

 

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