Do You Have an eBook in You? {Psst! I think so!}

The whole reason I’m writing this series is because I’m certain there are a lot of books not being written or stories not being told because their authors:

  1. are intimidated by the publishing process
  2. feel like their story doesn’t matter ‘enough’, or,
  3. they don’t think they have the time

I was a poster child for all three excuses, but I did it anyway. So I’m here to coerce–oops, did I say that out loud? I meanencourage you.

In this series, I’m going to tell you how you can publish an eBook even if you’re a total non-geek like me. I’m going to explain that you don’t need to worry about whether you’re the salesman type, because sales are all about relationship anymore.{ Have you got friends? Do they have friends? Good, then you’re set.} I’m going to tell you what I’ve learned about cover design so you can DIY. And I’m going to define what is a successful eBook so you can see just how close you are to the awesome experience of publishing your own successful book.

But none of that will do you any good unless I can convince you that you have a story that’s worth the effort.

And maybe I can’t do that–maybe the Holy Spirit is the only one who can speak to your spirit and give you the eyes to see the unique beauty of the path He’s led you on. I pray that He does, because I KNOW you have a story.

Writer/bloggers all over (from Lisa-Jo to Jeff Goins) are trying to convince us that we all have a story worth telling. Why? Not because they will make money, get famous, or increase hits traffic to their blog. But because they were brave enough to stand up and tell their story, and it has made all the difference, for them and for the people God has used their story to impact.

Maybe you still feel your story is too small or not worth the effort. Maybe my friend Gretchen’s words can convince you otherwise…

Sometimes, writing our story is the best way to focus on the good memories.  Other times, writing out our story is the only way to process the hard times.

Sometimes, our own story hurts so much to write that we need to lose ourselves in another’s story for a while.

Sometimes, reading another’s story brings our own back into perspective.

Will you do that for me? Allow me to lose myself in your story to be refreshed and gain perspective on my own journey?

Practical Tips for eBook Content:

‘Best of Posts’ from your blog. This is like a gift to your readers as it puts all your best stuff in one place, for them to savor and recommend to friends. Gypsy Mamma just did this, and I love her for it.

A Series from your blog. Have you written a popular how-to, motivational, or devotional series? Or a serial story or memoir? It can get a little tricky navigating through a long series on someone’s blog, even if all the links are correct. Do your readers a favor by compiling content in one convenient download.

A Topic that’s too big for your blog. Do you have something on your heart that threatens to take over or doesn’t quite fit with your other blog content? Assign it the room it needs in an eBook. (This was one of the reasons for my eBook–I don’t consider myself a real food blogger, yet I had lots to share on that subject for a while. Now it’s all in a tidy package I can refer to without it dominating my content)

A Cookbook. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. :) If you regularly get asked for favorite family recipes, you might have a well-loved cookbook up your sleeve.

Your Story. Because story matters. I see stories everywhere I look, and long for them to be told…

  • That widowed mom of 4 boys? I just wanna know what gets her through a day.
  • My single friend, nearing 30, who exudes contentment? I want a peek into the beauty of her heart.
  • That couple who has strong relationships with all of their children, now in adulthood? Do tell!
  • You–that one whose strengths don’t seem like super powers, but who looks super human to me? I’m standin’ here in line.

You each have a story to tell, lesson to share, skill to teach, and an ebook is a perfect way to tell your story.

OK, here’s where I get a little demanding, ’cause I’m downright determined to encourage at least a few of you to take the plunge. I want to know what you would write about IF you wrote an eBook. Don’t worry–this is not a contract to publish, it’s just a brainstorming session. Share your idea/storyline/motivation/concept/dream in the comments. Doing so will encourage and validate the next reader, and the next, and the next, until we all begin to believe our story is worth sharing…

Other Posts in This Series:

Cover Story {The God Factor in Self-Publishing}

All posts in the series can be found via this tag: Path to Publishing. Share it and encourage another writer friend! :)

Freedom

Real Food Burnout

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Comments

  1. says

    I loved this blog about writing so much I reblogged it on my site. I wrote your email address for the credits. So I hope more people come your way. Thanks for being an inspiration for me. PS I have started swishing coconut oil due to your blog. I am hoping for the best. Thank you Meghan

    • says

      Dear Meghan,
      Are you aware that reblogging is a violation of copyrighting and also poor SEO strategy for both our blogs? I appreciate your desire to share my words but would really prefer if you would do so with a link to my blog, not copying my entire post. Can you do me and you a favor and remove the post please? Thanks for understanding! Trina

  2. says

    I would love to venture and try writing my own ebook! I have a fun blog called “Coffee at LuLu’s which allows the reader to have an experience with food, hospitality, decorating and stories. Traffic has increased but I believe a new marketing plan is in order. Writing this ebook may give me the push I need to remarket. Would love to join your community for encouragement.

    • says

      Oh, Jackie! I’m glad you’ve got the ‘ebook bug’–this is going to be a great adventure! You will learn so much and be able to give so much to your readers.

  3. says

    IF I were to write a book or ebook (notice the hesitancy? Yes, I’ve been through the whole writing, publishing world before with “A Song for Your Honor”) I think my heart would quietly, carefully speak of what I have observed through my journey of loss and life. Of losing those dearest to me and discovering that it was a worthwhile investment into eternity. Of how the three little ones I carried but never got to meet makes my heart long more for heaven. Of eternity, and how it changes my view of today.

  4. Diana says

    Hello All!

    I am so glad to have found your site. I love Real Fast Food. I would have paid twice the price for the Nut Butter Brownie recipe alone. I’m not kidding!

    I have been thinking a lot about my “second act” in life, and what that might be. I have a sneaky suspicion that finding your ebook and blog might have been more than a coincidence. It is more like a well-timed hint from someone much wiser than I.

    Raising three boys, (now teenagers) on good, healthy, home-made food, I have amassed quite a collection of great recipes, if I do say so myself! Some of them have been passed down from family, others are my own versions that have evolved over the years.

    Now that my oldest is away at college in a house off campus, he is constantly asking me not just for recipes, but how to make them: simplified for beginners. I am in the process of breaking down the basics of Thanksgiving potluck dinner that he is hosting for 25! I have also been approached by several moms who say they are clueless in the kitchen but they want to improve their families diets and rely less on take-out and frozen food. They are overwhelmed by the amount of recipes on line and don’t know where to start.

    I guess my question is, do I have to have a blog first in order to write an e-book? Thanks so much for the inspiration. Keep it coming!

  5. Linda says

    I am totally inspired, always felt I have a story to tell….but I don’t even blog or know where to begin :/

    • Trina says

      Oh, Linda! I’d love to hear your story.
      Where to start? By choosing a blogging platform. My friend Gretchen can help you choose, depending on what type of writer you are–check out her post http://gretchenlouise.com/2012/07/why-friends-let-friends-use-blogger-and-wordpress-com/
      Then, start writing. Keep your posts short (500 words) to keep your audience’s attention, and give God an opportunity to bless people through the sharing of the story He’s given you. Eventually, once you have made some progress and a few friends, you can work toward a book. But a blog is a great beginning.
      Oh, and don’t forget to send me the link. I shall be your first comment. ;)

  6. says

    I’m in the beginning stages of putting out an eBook.The content of the book is taken from two talks on Hebrews 3:12-13 I gave at a retreat.

    The chapter on verse 12 is “Cultivating a Believing Heart.”

    The chapter on verse 13 is “Cultivating Spiritual Friendship.”

    “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

    My passion is for discipleship and these two verses sum up perfectly what our responsibility for one another is. I’ve lived in intentional Christian community for 12 years and have a lot of experience in mentoring relationships and my own growth as a result of others’ investment in me.

    I’m in the process of editing, adding content right now. The cover is almost finished.

  7. says

    My idea for an ebook comes from the blog I write. It’s mostly about the unique life I live being married to a man who is paralyzed. My husband is a quadriplegic, because of a gymnastics accident he had on a ministry missions trip in high school. We were email pen pals for 8 years before finally meeting in person. Two years after that, we were married. I had a hard time adjusting to life and marriage while juggling disability. We are Christians, and rely on God to get us through. The blog has already touched so many other wives of men with disabilities, and created community on our blog’s Facebook page. That makes me SO happy! What connects more than anything is my blatant honesty. I think I’d like to try to turn some of the best “real” posts into an ebook.

    • Trina says

      Wow, Dana–I definitely want to hear more of your story! And I think an ebook would be a great idea. Just think what a gift it would be (to people like me!) who have only just come upon your blog or heard of your story: a collection of the best of your blog so far so I could jump right in and get to know you and hear your journey. I really hope you will do this!

  8. says

    hanging head in absolute shame…perhaps getting up at 5 a.m. isn’t such a good idea after all.
    respectOr…truly, I had a public school education when it meant something better than SOL’s.
    If I’ve made other mistakes, let’s keep it a secret; my ego is shattered as it is.

  9. says

    Hello Trina – it takes me a while but, eventually, I catch up…somewhat. I just responded to your LinkedIn request and followed you to your blog and, in particular, this post. In the past month, several dozen people have asked me to write a book. The book’s title was Wife to Widow: Preparedness Training. Dave, my husband, died in November last year and what I’ve learned, the hard way, is of importance to anyone breathing. There’s so much one can do to make it easier on themselves, if they are the one left behind, or others. It doesn’t matter if one is single or married, male or female, no matter the race…death is no respecter of persons and being ready to go means life is easier on someone when death occurs.
    My other possibility is Thistle Cove Farm Epistles; A 40 Year Dream Come True.
    Thank you for your encouragement, to all of us. Thank you for contacting me via LinkedIn.
    BTW, a comment to Erin…but not sure how to get it to her…Teresa, a preacher’s wife vegan, reads my blog and I could connect the two. Sounds like they have something in common.

    • Trina says

      Sandra, so glad you stopped by! Your books both sound intriguing. I do hope you keep working on them!
      Oh, and Erin is an IRL friend–I’ll mention that contact to her–thanks!

  10. Erin says

    No idea on titles, but I’ve been tossing around two different book ideas…

    1. Joy in childlessness. I would love to share the hope, contentment, and sheer JOY that a woman can find in a period of time, or life, of barrenness/infertility. Not sure if I currently have enough content for this one.

    2. Vegan lifestyle from a Christian viewpoint. I have yet to find a vegan cookbook that does not include some form of ungodly theology, vulgar language, or animal rights activism permeating its pages. I’d like to create a unique, balanced, unprocessed-foods, thrifty living guide to implementing vegan eating, personal care & cleaning, without it becoming some kind of obsessive, militant lifestyle. Is there even a market for this in the world of “Nourishing Traditions”???

    I don’t love writing, so I’m not sure I could labor through to the end if I began writing a book…

    • Trina says

      Erin, thanks for sharing your ideas! My thoughts…
      1–this sounds like a lovely book. I’ve seen the joy in your face, so I know your testimony to be true.
      2–I agree that a lot of the health lifestyles are motivated by theology I can’t swallow, despite their good advice. A new voice from a Christian perspective would be refreshing. But, to answer your question, I don’t think the Nourishing Traditions world would be your market. Meat is a big part of that diet :)

      I will say, you do have a gift for editing ;)

      • Erin says

        Thanks so much for your encouraging words, Trina. I’m not sure what God has in store for the future regarding e-books, blogging, or anything else for that matter. :-) I’m trying to simply look for, and wait for, the doors to open as He sees fit.

        To clarify my earlier comment: I realize that animal products and by-products are a huge part of the Nourishing Traditions diet. In the circles I visit, though, I rarely hear of anyone NOT following that particular way of eating. I’m wondering if there is any market whatsoever for a book on vegan eating among Christians interested in more natural living. Kind of a rhetorical question I guess…

        P.S. Is it wrong that I love editing? :-)

    • says

      Erin, have to jump in and say I truly hope you do write that book! Sure, it’s a niche market, but it’s something people in that situation of considering veganism or playing with veganism but put off by some of the rhetoric in other vegan books would appreciate.

  11. says

    I have my “Do Not Be Afraid” study, once it’s done, that could be turned into a book. I also have a dream of fiction, but still learning so much there. I don’t know that that would make a good ebook though, would it?

    • Trina says

      Fiction or non-fiction–self publishing is an opportunity for both! I don’t have an eReader, but I know if I did I would really be into all the new fiction available for easy download. I love that you are exploring fiction. Jerry Jenkin’s book is perfect for you then!

  12. says

    I am so glad you’re doing these posts. I’ve been reading a couple of the e-book sources you recommended and they’re so inspiring and helpful. I hope to go the route of offering both e-book and self-published book. I have started two. The first is based off my blog – the story of Lilly and her 17 month journey with full Trisomy 18. (Since so few of these kids make it for long, there is just not a lot written out there. A family’s practical story – with a child that actually survived birth – is really needed!) The other idea came to me last month. It is about the adventures of LillyBear at Chincoteague, Va. (LillyBear is a bear that was made with two of Lilly’s blankets, after she died.) As my family and I sightsaw around Chincoteague and Assateague islands, I took LillyBear along and took her pictures in many places. I wrote a short story in a blog post but now decided to expand it into a book I can sell. (And then use all the money I make – OK I’m hoping someone will actually buy a copy! – to help with my donations to a local hospital of boxes of things prepared for angel parents.) So many ideas, so little time! Though I am now using the kids afternoon quiet time hour for my writing. I LOVE IT! :)

    • Trina says

      Lisa, I love your ideas and what motivates you. I agree, you have a unique story and definitely something special to offer your readers. That’s great that you’ve made a designated time for your writing. My book was mostly written in the afternoons, as well. :)

      Oh, I just finished reading “Misty of Chincoteague” to the kids–we are now dreaming of a trip to the islands to see the wild horses! Um, yeah–I would buy that book for so many reasons. :)

  13. says

    I actually have an outline, introduction, and first few paragraphs of an eBook. But I cannot get motivated to finish. Feel like I don’t have the time and other things are taking priority over it. I need to get in the mindset that of one step at a time. Even if I only write one paragraph a day, eventually I will finish!

    Its called New Life Stewardship (gee…wonder where that came from!) It just expounds upon the idea behind my blog so readers can better understand it. I can’t really get it tidied down to a blog post.

    Mary Beth

    • Trina says

      Mary Beth, just wanted to encourage you with something I’m learning–sometimes ‘writer’s block’ or utter lack of motivation for a subject is simply a sign that it needs time. The writing itself can help you process and mature your message, but sometimes you have to let it sit a while (like a batch of dough rising). I’m sure your book will be wonderful, despite or perhaps because of a season in which you let it rest.
      Just me thinking….:) I have like 5 book ideas in the stage you described, and no longer fight it but instead put my energies where my heart is at the moment, ’cause I believe that’s one of the ways God directs my writing…

  14. says

    I just published an e-book (Grace and Fresh Ink) and I would have loved a series like this while I was doing it! It was an amazing journey.
    It’s in the telling! Sharing our stories is so important! Now, I am tentatively putting my feet in the water again, with plans for an Advent devotional/journal…

    • Trina says

      Katharine, I’ve been seeing your book around–I’m gonna have to check it out. I love the title. Thanks for adding encouragement and inspiration in to the conversation!

  15. says

    love love love this series! ironically, not long before you started it my for years “I might write a book about it someday” had been surfacing…It is definitely one of those “too big for the blog” and actually too big for ME…but I’m starting to realize it might actually be part of God’s plan for me…

  16. says

    My dream? (*whispering in case someone were to hear me*) I actually have dreams of two different books. One is to write about what I have learned through the journey of losing my sister-in-law (my brother’s wife and mommy to a baby boy) to breast cancer when she was 26. The other would be a book of essays. Essays about God in various parts of life, culture, all aspects of this world around us.

    And yes, I do get nervous and cringe-y (is that a word? can it be?) when I say those things out loud. :-)

    • Trina says

      I am intrigued by your book ideas and feel you’ve given me a gift just in entrusting your hope in a whisper to me here. Thank you for sharing with us.

  17. says

    I actually AM writing an ebook – took a break from it to check out your blog and reply here :)

    It’s a compilation of posts from my blog, about worry and trust and training our minds to think rightly. Still trying to come up with a title, though :) Any advice on titles and/or covers?

    • Trina says

      Elizabeth, I recommend asking your readers for title ideas–they know you and your heart and your style, and they would love to be a part of the project! Tweet and fb “Help me name my ebook?” You can follow up with a poll of the favorites, and let people vote. You still get to pick the one you like, but it may help the process.

      Cover design is the topic of a future post (the whole series is written! I just don’t have time this summer to post more than one a week. Hang in there!

      I’m roooting for you! Thanks for sharing your ebook project. Sounds great and very worthy of the effort.