Break It Down, 5 Tips For Writing An eBook

I’m very glad my eBooks/eGuides/(whatever you call them) are selling! I wrote 3 different Guides in the month of December and put them up for sale as soon as they were proofed.

My website where I sell them:

Now I’m getting questions about how I did it. Not the “how did you come up with the content” questions, but how did I actually make myself do it. Here’s how.

Tip #1

If you are working full-time during the business-day, sacrifice your nights and weekends. I did. I was working as a “freelancer,” so I didn’t have a typical 9-5 job, but if you’ve done freelance, you can identify with the fact that you’re still just as slammed. I was working all day on projects. So I had to write during the off-times. Yeah, that stinks, but that’s the way it is.

Tip #2

Find a proofer. In my case, it was my wonderfully patient, extremely intelligent, beautiful wife. If you aren’t so fortunate to have such, then hire it out. You can find someone that balances your sense of individualism and personality while also fixing all your run-ons and grammatical errors. I know I had a ton. I didn’t get this blog post proofed so I probably have errors in here.

Tip #3

Enjoy writing. Like me. If you don’t, hmmm, you’re going to be in for a world of hurt.

Tip #4

Break it down. I knew I wanted to write a Guide on how to create  a website because I get that question all the time. It helps that I actually know how to do that really well too. But there are a ton of different ways to do it so I found myself struggling with how to present it. After some thought, I figured it out.

Beginner Guide – for non-technical people just getting started, maybe an online store

Intermediate Guide – for non-technical people wanting to build something more flexible, like a powerful blog

Advanced Guide – for highly technical people wanting to do something fun and different

Then, inside each guide, I broke it down into Chapters. I didn’t start writing until I had some sense of an idea on how it was going to flow.

Tip #5

Just start writing. After you’ve got an idea of what you want to write about and how it’s going to be structured, just start writing. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just get going. Once you start writing, I think you’ll find that it starts to flow pretty easily.

I’d be curious as to what strategy you employed. Best of luck and tell me about your eBook/eGuide (whatever you call them) when you’re done.


Shopping List Madness

Want to see what what was intended by Apple with iOS7’s new design? Check out my friend’s iPhone app that was released today. Stellar…beautiful colors, tasteful and appropriate animation, simple and easy to use, intuitive, but also has cool new AirDrop, AirPrint and other sharing features.

Many props to Eric, nice job…had to shout it out. It’s in the AppStore right now, download it and give it a run. He’ll appreciate your support and feedback.

1 Overview 2 Shopping Lists 3 Action Menu 4 Every Item 5 Pasting Awesome

What is Jotalicious? (from the press kit)

Jotalicious is a beautifully-designed shopping assistant that turns plain text lists into color-coded checklists of awesome.

It works the way a shopping assistant on your phone should – you create lists just like you are jotting a note to yourself and Jotalicious organizes your lists into sortable, taggable checklists. When Jotalicious finds the name of a place next to an item in your list – for example, “Fresh Herbs @Farmers Market” – it automatically tags and adds the item to a virtual shopping list for that place too.

If typing is just too old school for you, use your device’s voice dictation feature to speak your lists into Jotalicious – say the phrase, “New Line” to separate each item on your list and Jotalicious does the rest.

It’s good to share, and with Jotalicious it’s even better. Jotalicious is on the spot with AirDrop, AirPrint, text message, and email sharing support. You can send text copies of your lists to anyone or you can share a “jot”, which can be imported, complete with tags, by other Jotalicious users. And all of those text lists people send you – or lists you find on your favorite blog or elsewhere – can be pasted into Jotalicious to create new lists effortlessly – just copy text and paste awesome!

Jotalicious is shopping list bliss – after you dictate, paste, or jot your first list, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Stream Videos Easily

There’s a whole host of benefits when hosting videos on YouTube, but sometimes you want to just DIY.

Like Amazon and other massive cloud providers, it’s crazy easy and crazy scalable (these guys have way more stuff than you have stuff) for you DIYers.

I’ll show you how easy it is with a very simple example, all other deets stripped out for readability…


First, tell Google you’re about to upload a video.

In fact, Google doesn’t care what you upload, so call it a big ol’ Blob for lack of a better name.

from google.appengine.ext.webapp import blobstore_handlers

blobstore.create_upload_url('some URL of yours')

Next, when your web site user selects a blob/video off their computer, tablet or phone, handle it.

class SubmitNewPropp(blobstore_handlers.BlobstoreUploadHandler):
def post(self):
inputUploads = self.get_uploads()
inputUploadedHybridFile = inputUploads[0]
blobkey = str(inputUploadedHybridFile.key())

Now that you’re done with that, let’s show it to the user.

Create a HTML5 tag.

<video width="420" height="420">
<source src="/servevideo/{{ blobvideokey }}" type="video/webm" />
<source src="/servevideo/{{ blobvideokey }}" type="video/mp4" />
<source src="/servevideo/{{ blobvideokey }}" type="video/ogg" />
Your browser does not support the video tag.

And of course, you have to be able to handle that request since the user has asked for it.

Serve it up

class ServeVideoHandler(blobstore_handlers.BlobstoreDownloadHandler):
def get(self, resource):
resource = str(urllib.unquote(resource))
blob_info = blobstore.BlobInfo.get(resource)

And this isn’t just theory, I’ve done it using Google’s stuff. But who am I to tell you, go try it for yourself and let me know if you have any questions.