Kindle Publishing Challenge, Part 1: Mindmapping an eBook Outline
Today as part of a Kindle Publishing Challenge started by Tiffany Dow, I created a rough outline for my eBook. Tiffany shared an instructive walk-through video on how she gets ideas and prepares her outlines. She has her method pretty much down to a science, and the video is worth watching. But by the time I saw it, I’d already come up with an outline using a different approach: By mindmapping it on paper first.
What, paper? Why not work out a proper list on the computer?
Because when typing, it’s way, WAY too easy to interrupt the creative process by stopping to edit yourself. When you’re working with a pen and paper, the only way to move is forward. You don’t have the luxury of being able to stop and fiddle with what you wrote. The best you can do is scratch it out and try again. In general, I find that writing on paper muzzles the inner editor who wants to muck with things before the time is right.
The act of mindmapping anything on paper is a rather messy and disorganized… um… I mean, a creative and free-spirited process. It’s like the right side of the brain feels free to play without being self-conscious. The left side of the brain doesn’t interrupt, because it would be like trying to tell a little kid that his drawing of a house looks like a lumpy piece of cheese. It would be just plain mean.
Afterwards, I used the scruffy pieces of paper as a guide to create a tidy outline in a text document. The left side of the brain was appeased.
But before any kind of outlining for a Kindle eBook could even begin, I had to choose a topic. Tiffany’s method involved going into the Amazon Kindle store and digging deep into the categories to see what kind of books are selling (which also led to building the first outline). I just wrote down a list of possible topics, narrowed them down, and decided on blogging–specifically setting up your first blog. Yeah, there are probably 1,001 eBooks like that already, but I’m not fretting, because:
1. I’m using my own voice and experience to make it unique,
2. it’s a topic I’m genuinely knowledgeable about and have plenty of experience with,
3. it’s a topic I have strong opinions about,
4. it’s a topic I believe people I know personally could benefit from learning about,
5. it’s a topic people continue to ask questions about (in forums, Yahoo answers, etc.),
6. and finally, it’s a topic I feel comfortable publishing under my real name (as opposed to, say, trying to establish myself as an expert on how to potty train your kitty).
So what’s the best method for coming up with a topic and writing an outline for your eBook? I’m pretty sure the answer is: The one that works for you and gets the job done!