Creating a Basic Structure For Your eBook

The best way to create a structure for your eBook is by developing a table of contents and then an outline. Jim Edwards and Joe Vitale co-authored an eBook titled “How to Write and Publish Your Own eBook in 7 Days”, in which they suggest that you write the sales page for your eBook first.

This will help you to focus on what your eBook needs to include to appeal to its target readership. Once you have your sales page–which is basically a list of the benefits that your eBook will provide to your readers–it’s going to be the basis for your table of contents.

The next step is to create an outline from your table of contents, with chapter headings and the points you want to make listed under each heading. Some people prefer to create a mind map instead of an outline.

A mind map is a graphic technique for representing ideas using words, images, symbols and colors. Basically, you write down your eBook’s topic at the center of a piece of paper. You draw branches leading out from the central issue, and smaller branches leading out from these. The branches are organic and free flowing, instead of being structured and rigid. The first level of branches represents the main benefits your eBook will provide to your readers and each will correspond with an individual chapter. Add only a few words per branch.

Then, from each main benefit you’re going to branch out into supporting facts, anecdotes, resources, and so on. It’s important to use color and images when creating mind maps to further stimulate both memory and imagination.

Another way to brainstorm a table of contents is to visit Amazon and use their “Search Inside This Book” feature to get an idea of the content that is usually included in books in your niche. You can also visit “Google Books” and take a look at the table of contents for the books in your niche for which a preview is provided.

Still another option is to write a table of contents in the form of a list of questions that your audience wants answered.

Finally, if you’re stuck deciding on what to include in your table of contents you can use “The Alphabet Method” suggested by Jimmy D. Brown in “30 Writing Tips for eBook Authors”. Basically, you go down the alphabet and think of events, people, items, and verbs that start with each letter. For example, if you’re writing a book on “How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night” you could list the following:

  • A – Atmosphere
  • B – Bath
  • C – Consistent bedtime routine
  • D – Diaper change
  • E – Eating/Nursing