MF 424 : Writing series: how to create a short form ebook (postscript)
Today, I add some final thoughts on writing a short form book, including creating categories on KDP, ideas for short form books, and why you may want to consider this as your first book venture. More at www.bemovingforward.com.
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Postscript on ebooks
Review and recap on Kindle Create
As discussed on last week's episode, Kindle Create is a great finishing and formatting platform for ebooks, especially short form ones.
However, it's not perfect. Today, I want to clarify two quirks that I mentioned on MF 423.
Bullet points that are pre-formatted don't always translate well into Kindle Create. I discovered this while creating the ebook version of The Poshmark Guide, which has bullets and lists throughout the chapters.
Sometimes, Kindle Create would fail to recognize a bullet or add an extra bullet symbol without any text. The problem is that you can't edit the bullet symbols -and- you cannot edit the text within a bullet as they both become hard coded (see top half of the picture below).
My solution and workaround was to simply type each bullet line as plain text, separated with a hard return. From there, I would manually format these within Kindle Create using common symbols such as (*), (-) or numbers and letters for numeric lists. While a bit tedious, it was easier than importing documents with pre-formatted bullets.
Top: pre-formatted bullets on Kindle Create vs. Bottom: manually formatted bullets.
If you decide you want to pre-format your bullets, you'll have to do some trial and error to make sure they translate correctly on Kindle Create. If there's a formatting error or typo, that means fiddling around with the source document and re-uploading until it's correct. Otherwise, it may be easier to simply leave your bullets unformatted and add the symbols in manually on Kindle Create.
The same holds true with footnotes. While not as relevant for short form books, for longer books or books that contain references, footnotes are also hard coded into Kindle Create from uploaded source documents. Since these are harder to do manually, I recommend double checking the translation on Kindle Create and adjusting your source document until they format correctly.
Footnote symbols and text are also hard coded on Kindle Create.
In addition to publishing ebooks, you can create collections on KDP. While I mention this on last week's write-up, I didn't on the episode so I wanted to make sure to communicate that point this week. KDP allows you to create collections for books that are part of a series.
For my dad, since his books focus on teaching fundamental sewing skills, we created a collection called the "Sewing Education Series." The books are housed within that collection.
This is a great tool to allow the reader or customer to discover other, related books. As with books themselves, you can create copy for collections and add books you publish to them. This provides enhanced organization and visibility on the platform for fiction and non-fiction authors. You can also create different collections for different series.
Ideas for short form ebooks
As covered on this series, short form ebooks are an alternative for budding or aspiring authors to accomplish getting their first book done and out there. It's much simpler than a traditional long form book and can serve a different purpose when it comes to teaching a specific skills or lesson. Below are some ideas for short form ebooks:
Teaching a skill or lesson (eg sewing, auto, home repair, data entry, cooking, organization, etc.).
Adapting prior content (eg podcast episode or YouTube video).
Creating a mini-bio in the case of a student or professional looking to advance their career.
Publishing short stories, poems, etc.
Think in terms of short, bite-sized content with a singular purpose.
Finally, I want to wrap this miniseries with a look at the "why." Why do a short form ebook?
You've attempted to write a book before but couldn't finish it
Many of you may have tried to write a long form book but for whatever reason couldn't get to the finish line. Maybe it was lack of time or life getting too busy. Perhaps, you lost momentum along the way. Or, maybe you finished the first draft but didn't know what to do next and it's sitting in your hard drive. Whatever the reason, don't let that stop you from trying again. A short form book can be a pathway for you to rethink what a book is and to actually get your first one done. Alternately, you may want to take the content from your prior attempts and split them up into small books that you can house within a collection.
A presence on a massive platform
Amazon is not only one of the biggest ecommerce platforms but one of the most prolific search engines in the world. In fact, Amazon eclipsed Google a couple of times within the past five years as a go to search engine. Additionally, Amazon often ranks at or near the top of search engine results broadly speaking. Having a digital footprint on Amazon may give you added credibility and visibility when it comes to your business or career.
You have something to share or teach
Finally, you have skills, experience, and lessons that you've gained throughout your life, whether in school, the real world, on the job or elsewhere. What you know can benefit someone else who hasn't had the benefit of your education or life experience. Share it.
As we close this series, I want to leave you with three parting thoughts when it comes to writing a short ebook.
Don't overthink it.
You have the subject matter knowledge, and now a roadmap to get your first book done and out there. I wish you much luck and success with it.
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