The following is a guest post by Ashley Gadd. Ashley has written hundreds of books for myself and others on Kindle. Many of them best sellers. Ashley exactly knows what it takes to craft a best selling book for Kindle.
When you combine talent and hard work anything is possible. Ashley has a lot of practice under her belt and these are the 7 best tips for anyone looking to craft a best selling Kindle book.
7 Steps to Writing a Best Selling Kindle Book
Writing a best seller doesn’t have to be as hard as many people make it out to be. You can write a best seller in fiction or nonfiction if you know what makes it happen. I’ve worked as a freelance writer for a few years now, and I’ve wrote various bestselling books for various clients. From herbal medicine to erotic romance there is always something you can do with a wonderful topic and a creative imagination. I never thought that I’d get into the world of writing, but when things settle in, you can find a way to do anything you set your mind to. The first thing you need is a clear topic and a clear title.
A subtitle is usually important as well, even if you aren’t using it for your books. Luckily, as a freelancer that was never an issue. My clients would usually provide the title and subtitle to the book, but I had been asked to help out with temporary ones in the past. When writing a best seller, you’ll usually be trying to publish it on an online platform, such as Kindle Publishing, which is exactly where many of my clients come from. Once you have this, you have everything you need to get started with the seven steps below.
Step #1 Make a Clear Idea
I have to say idea instead of outline because not every writer will write the same. Personally, I find that more than a basic outline is to stiff, and it doesn’t give you any room to add when researching, especially if you’re going off of a word count. When you have your title and niche, then you already know what you’re writing on. The moment you’ve cleared a subtitle, then you know what needs to be in it. You want to find a niche that isn’t flooded but has enough competition that you know there will be traffic and customers.
When you have a clear idea you can start to set up your book with the right formatting. For example, if you’re publishing on Amazon you’re going to want to use a Kindle friendly format. As a ghostwriter, I always use the format that my client gives me so that they are one hundred percent happy with the finished product. This makes everything simple and easy, and next you’re going to want to start browsing.
I use Kindle Unlimited to browse, but going through search engines like Google.com can help as well. It’s usually just a little more time consuming. You want to know what information other people are using in the market, and even if you don’t have Kindle Unlimited you can look at Amazon books. The free previews will usually give you an idea of what the competitors for the same niche are putting in their books.
If you’re planning to write on “Fantasy Football” for example, you’ll find that many people will be putting in theories on how to win, dos and don’ts, and often what players are trending for that year. If you’re working on “Herbal Remedies”, you’ll find that there is often at least ten different herbs, their uses, or the categories they’re used for, such as colds, acne and cough. This gives you a better idea of what you’ll want to add to be competitive, but never base your table of contents on it. Not completely.
You need to pick out what you feel your competition has in most of their books, such as a certain number of herbs or certain types of ailments. You’ll want to put some of the herbs down, but make sure not to copy the chapter titles. Afterwards, you’ll want to jot down herbs that you think would work. If you don’t have anything in mind, you’ll find something during the research stage of your book. That comes next.
Remember that people don’t actually want the same material in every book. Your customers are going to want to give your customers information in this book that differentiates it from the rest while keeping it competitive. You can also look through reviews on top rated books. Click through the negative reviews to find out what people didn’t like so that you don’t make the same mistake. Overall, I find that this process only takes about a half hour to get a good idea of what you need after you have your title and/or subtitle.
If you’re spending more time, you’re spending too much time and overthinking. You’ll find that your table of contents should always be tentative. You’ll find when you research, you start to know your topic a little better, and so you’ll get a better idea of if a chapter is redundant or should be changed to something that offers a little more substance. That isn’t something you’re expected to know for certain at this stage.
Step #2 Do Some Research
Moving to step two you actually do have to do a little more in-depth research, but it’s not as hard as you might think. As mentioned before, if you have Kindle Unlimited you can use this as your research method. It’s usually best that you use this because it’s only $10 every month. You can download as many books as you want as long as you return some when your library gets full.
You’ll have more information in these books than you will any website, and they’re usually your actual competition. This allows you to gear your book in the right direction. You can start to write as you do your research. In fact, I suggest it. I believe that a best seller requires a lot of editing, and as a writer you need to allow for creativity and to go with the flow. Many people try to see writing as something incredibly rigorous, and it doesn’t quite work that way if you want it to be fun, engaging, and informative. No one wants to read a book that is dry and hard to understand. You have to aim your book at the general audience while providing helpful material, and this means that you need to write in both an intelligent way and in an average way. This is hard to master if you’ve compiled your research first, but by not doing so you’re allowing freer flowing thought into your writing.
For example if you’re writing about garlic then you’re going to want to write down the information you find. Remember to make it interesting. You probably don’t like reading the origin country or region of garlic, and you probably don’t like reading about how garlic grows. However, you may find it interesting that garlic has different variations, including black garlic, which has its own medicinal benefits.
You found this interesting, and so you’d want to add it because its information that can help your readers and keep them intrigued. So read about black garlic, and add in important details as well as summarize some other points while you read. I find it’s easier to have a small Word document open in the corner of your book and write, switching pages or websites as you need to.
Now you can go chapter by chapter, but don’t try to stick with that if it’s not working. You’ll find that sometimes you really do need to figure out how to skip around. This is where having your table of contents is usually best. Hyperlinking your table of contents isn’t only good for my clients, but it also helps me to quickly jump around in the document so that I can add information where it’s needed. Remember that if you’re stuck on a topic, it doesn’t mean you can’t still have a best-selling book.
I’m not the best with sports, but I’m able to write on it. All you have to do is willing to be flexible, and know how much information needs to be compiled. If you’ve written before, you know how much research it takes to write one thousand words on a particular topic. I try to go by one thousand word chapters give or take, so each point in your book will need that much research. I find that I need at least 4 website pages or articles to make 1,000 words, but I may only need two or three small chapters in a small book. Yes, you could get your information from as little as one or two of those chapters, but in doing that you’re opening yourself up to getting flagged by PlagScan because it’ll come out too similar.
When you’re on a roll and don’t want to skip to another chapter during research even though you found something that will go in another, then use your clickable table of contents to skip to it and make a note of the page, chapter and book it’s in and go back to writing. This will save you on research time. There’s another important thing you need to remember, and that’s when researching you do actually need to take a break.
Look away from the screen, even if just for a few minutes. When you look at the screen to long and try to write down your thoughts, you’re going to start to write it a little too identical or similar to what you’re looking at. This will get you flagged, and at that point it’s plagiarized and you aren’t going to be making anything. That’s why looking away for a few moments during the process so that you can put your own spin on everything you want to write down. Editing later will help as well.
Step #3 Beat Writer’s Block
Beating writer’s block is a must when you want to write a best seller. Getting psyched out will keep you from writing a book that sells well. If you’re psyched out about your writing, it’s not going to happen. Even if you do end up able to write, you’re most likely going to end up writing stiffly, which isn’t good for your tone. Writers block pops up on anyone, and it doesn’t matter who you are. You can be a literature professor or just a normal every day person. You’ll still suffer from writers block when trying to write something.
It doesn’t matter what it is, but you’ll find that when your name goes on something, it becomes even harder to write clearly. When you’re a ghost writer, it’s a little easier. You can put your all into it without worry because if your client doesn’t like it, they’ll tell you and you’ll rewrite it. There’s a bit of a safety net, but if you’re writing it yourself then you won’t know until it’s already out and published. This can be too much for many people. That’s why you need to prepare for writer’s block and know when it’s happening.
There are warning signs to writer’s block. Procrastination is one of them. You may procrastinate until closer to your deadline, and you need to realize this early. It’ll only add more stress and cause the writer’s block to get worse. You need to try to find a way to get over it, and a good way is to listen to music or take a break as you need it.
Keeping a schedule also helps a lot of people, as you’ll know when you should and shouldn’t be working. Personally, I keep to a schedule but I also make sure to take breaks when necessary. Listening to music also helps because you aren’t solely concentrating on your writing in a well lit room where all you can do is think and panic. Your mind is also preoccupied in just the right way.
Step #4 Stick to a General Tone
You need to think about what type of tone you want, and usually a conversational tone will work better, but it can’t be too conversational. In this article you can see that I’ve made it personal. I use words like “I” and “you”, and this really helps you to connect with your audience. Sadly, some books don’t allow for it. Some books you need to make sure that you are a little more technical, but it’s not likely.
You need to be able to connect with your general audience if you want to do your best. Summon up all your writing skills and act like you’re talking to someone that you want to impress but you aren’t going to be spending too much time on. Keep it simple where people can understand. You don’t want to go over their head with vocabulary they may need to double check. This isn’t the SATs and it isn’t a business proposal, so don’t treat it like that.
It just won’t end well if you do. You need to internalize that you’re writing for the average person and express yourself from there because average people are your main audience. You aren’t looking to impress a college professor. Not everyone has mastered the English language with a University degree, and that’s exactly why you need to keep it light and informative. Even if your audience does know all of those super fancy vocabulary words that you memorized to impress your clients or professors, they have better things to do than to rack their memories for the definitions.
Dumbing it down is a common phrase, but you need to be careful of that as well. Your audience isn’t dumb, and if you’re trying to “dumb it down” you may go a little too far. This is why you need to make sure that you’re acting like you’re speaking to someone. Often saying what you’re typing out loud will work if you’re in the quiet. It’ll keep you from using words even you have a hard time pronouncing, and it’ll keep you from talking down to your audience like they’re a child. If you’re trying to teach your audience to do something, feel free to give examples that you’d give to your friends when trying to explain. Examples will help anyone grasp a new concept, so don’t feel afraid to use them.
Step #5 Add Meat Not Fat
When you’re trying to make something long enough you’re more than likely tempted to fluff. Adding some fun facts is a good way of fluffing, but it’s not necessary always. You certainly don’t want to drag sentences out and bore your audience. If it’s awkwardly phrased, you don’t look impressive, you just look like a bad writer. This is why you need to be careful of how you fluff, and try to add as much substance as possible. For example, if you’re writing one thousand words, so let’s say a chapter, you can fluff about one hundred words if necessary, but more than that and it’s likely you’ll lose your audience.
Always get to the point and add facts around it when working with nonfiction. Talk about how garlic is an herbal antiviral, and feel free to explain what that term means if you haven’t covered it already. However, don’t say that garlic is an antiviral and start quoting off statistics that everyone will find boring. Yes, it is informative fluff, but it’s still not the meat of what you’re trying to tell people. Instead give them helpful fluff if you want to add anything.
Taking the garlic example, a lot of people will tell you what garlic is capable of as far as boosting your immune system, but most people don’t like the taste of garlic cloves. Most people also don’t know that you can soak garlic cloves in honey for a few days and they taste mostly like honey and double the amount of medicinal benefits. Telling people how to do that would be a great addition to the chapter and the book as a whole, so try to think outside the box and find the information that people actually want to read about and learn when searching for the subject. You may get a little fluff in there, as you may find a few things are awkwardly phrased, but you can take care of that sort of fluff later on. It doesn’t have to be right away.
So when you’re done writing your book, you’re going to want to go over everything and add anything else you’ve found. With your clickable table of contents you should be able to add in notes wherever you want while working, so this shouldn’t be hard. So if your first chapter isn’t a thousand words off the bat, don’t worry. It will get there.
Step #6 Let It Flow Naturally & Revise
I don’t know how much I can stress this because it needs to be stressed. A lot of writers try to force everything, and that’s going to ruin it. It’s the same reason you don’t want writers block, and it’s the same reason you can’t keep your tone too stiff. You’re going to have to revise your work. There’s no getting around it, but you can keep your revisions to a minimum if you know what you’re doing.
Let it flow naturally, and throw in a few opinions if you feel you have to, but you’ll probably be editing those out of a nonfiction book. For example, this blog post is all about my opinion because it’s designed to be like that, but a nonfiction book based on herbal medicine cannot be about your opinion. It has to be about facts, but you can promote it a little if you want, but if it doesn’t look right then just take it out. Put your opinion in the description to help sell it if you feel you need to state it anywhere at all. Usually you don’t.
However, you may want to sneak your pinion in if it’s a recipe that you know personally. Remember the example about the honey garlic? That’s actually pretty delicious, and when writing about it you can say that “This garlic-y goodness is both tasty and healthy”, and that’s an opinion that is acceptable to your readers. Now don’t say that “garlic is the best herb to cure any illness” because that’s not based on fact at all. It’s not something you really know, but you’re trying to present it as fact. To keep it flowing naturally, just remember you’re supposed to be presenting the facts, and you don’t need to know everything.
In fact, you shouldn’t know 100% on everything you’re writing about if you’re going to write about something interesting. I find when you’re just learning more about a topic you’re already interested in, you’re going to write better and more naturally. There’s no reason to pretend you know, and that’s why you’re doing research. The research never really stops, especially when keeping this step in mind. You’ll be researching until the very end, and that’s okay.
Revise each and every chapter as a quick revision, and you’ll find it’s a lot less overwhelming than going back to edit all at once. Even though that will still need done. It’ll still be easier. Breaking something into parts is always easier than trying to tackle the whole without a plan. If you’re looking over a single thousand words it’s easier than looking over ten thousand or twenty thousand. You’re going to catch more of the basic mistakes as well, such as a missing word or comma. When you’re trying to edit all at once, you might miss something. This will also count as you making sure that you’ve edited more than once.
Edit. Edit. Edit, especially if you aren’t all there when you’re writing. If you’re distracted, popped open a beer, or just sleepy, then editing becomes even more vital to your work. You lose your reader’s trust if you have an obvious mistake in your work. You’ll want to do this once more when you’re done as well, even if you’ve edited and revised each and every chapter along the way. Editing takes less time each time if you do it more often because you have less mistakes.
Step #7 Wrap it Up With Bonus Material
This is extremely important when you’re trying to write a bestselling nonfiction. Simply put, everyone likes bonus material. They already know they’re going to be getting a great book if you’ve had promotions and reviews that are promoting the quality material you’ve written, but when they find out you’re willing to give them more, the book seems even better. This is one reason that many publishers will offer a free book for an email sign up, but as the writer you can offer something as well.
I always try to end the books I write with bonus material such as health recipes with the herbs that I’ve mentioned in the book. You can make many healthy smoothies to boost your immune system for examples. Tips and tricks if you’re trying to teach them a skill is usually a good way to go as well. if you’re trying to teach them about jewelry making, tell them about a great way to get better prices, decrease their error margin, or even just which stones work best with which materials when you’re doing wire wraps. There is always something that you can provide your readers as a thank you for reading all the way through.
As a ghostwriter, my clients don’t have to ask me to add this bonus material, I’ll just do it. However, since I provide them with a clickable table of contents, they’ll see it’s there when I start the job as well, since it’ll be the last chapter. This bonus material also gives you a great way to wrap up your book in an intriguing way. Even when you’ve written a wonderful book that’s informative, engaging, and just fun, it means nothing if you can’t wrap it up.
Your wrap up is the last impression that you can make on your reader, and it’ll sometimes mean the difference between a good review and a bad one. You need that last impression to be a good one, and it shouldn’t be an issue if you have a plan to add your bonus material. Just remember to actually wrap up with a small paragraph in the beginning and tell them why the bonus material you’re giving them should actually help.
“Now that you know the top ten herbs that can help you kick the cold, fight acne, and boost your immune system, these smoothie recipes are sure to help you sneak them into your life. There’s no reason to deal with that earthy, undesirable taste when you have fruit, a blender, and a little time to spare. Take actions, and stay healthy. You have the knowledge, and these recipes are here to help.” Is one example. Here you’re still basing it off of herbal remedies, since it seems to be where a lot of Kindle Publishers seem to find a niche, and this is a great way to make your reader feel like they’re ready to take action.
So Now You Know
You can apply these steps to anything that you’re writing, but nonfiction is usually best. It’s important that you make sure that editing is done right when you do it. These methods are easy to apply to your writing process, and it saves you the time of outlining, stressing, and rewriting when it just isn’t necessary. There’s just one more tip to give, and that’s to start writing right away.
Procrastinating won’t help you get your best seller out there. There is always an excuse why not to write, but you need to find the reason you should. It doesn’t matter if it’s because it’s your dream job, you want to work from home, or you feel it’s a message you need to get out there about a certain topic. All you need is one reason, and the more you have, the easier it is not to procrastinate. So find your reason, and just get started. Everything else comes after.
If you want to know more or hire Ashley to write one of your books click here to get in touch.