5 Things You SHOULD NEVER DO When Creating Your First eBook

It’s done.

I finished my eBook.

For those of you who don’t know-because it totally happened like 50 years ago, like during The Great Depression, I’m not kidding–a while back I made a goal to create an eBook inspired by THIS blog, Courage 2 Create.

Yeah. This one. This little itty bitty cutesy blog you’re reading while you’re watching the current episode of Scandal. (Does anyone else get dizzy watching that show? Or is that just me? I swear…)

I know I know: it took foooooooever: I promised to write that eBook right around the time Floppy Disks were invented and America’s teen heartthrob was Zack from Saved By The Bell.

But it’s finally done.

And before I roll it out, I’d like to review what I learned from the process, as always…. because ya’ll know, I’m a blogger, and I’m addicted to numbered lists, bullet points, and “How To”s and I can’t seem to go a week without helping thousands of strangers across America with their problems. (It’s a disease really, this blogging thing. It’s madness I tell you. MADNESSSS! PURE MADNESSSSSS! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!)

Okay, enough of that [turns off “thunderstorm” sound effects that were playing in the background]. Let’s move on:

5 Things You SHOULDN’T Do When Creating Your First eBook

Here are my Top 5 DON’Ts to the ebook-creating process:

1.  DON’T expect it will be done overnight–especially if your goal is ambitious

You all know me: I think being ambitious is a good thing. But if you’re going to be ambitious, you should still be practical because ambitious projects take a whole lot more time, and a whole lot more work, and a whole lot more money, and a whole lot more involvement from people whose busy schedules need to be factored in.

I totally thought that writing an eBook that would help people finally cure their writer’s block was gonna take only a few weeks to finish.



There were a lot a problems, initially, and I won’t bore you with the details, but basically, the main one was that I ended up having to create an eBook in which about 50-60% of the content was brand-spanking new. Which was not my intention. (I was hoping that 90% would be taken from the blog and about 10% would be new. But that didn’t happen.)

There was also another problem too: half way through writing the eBook I realized that I was making something that was not just for writers–but for everyone… which leads me to:

2. DON’T Limit Your Target Audience Too Soon

The best way to do this is not to ask yourself: “who do I intend to help with this ebook?” but: “who is going to benefit from this ebook?” Because you may intend to help only expert chefs, but in the process of writing, you may have inadvertently found that your ebook could very easily help any aspiring chef, no matter what their experience.

In which case you now have two options:

1. You could just continue to write the ebook as is, purposely alienating folks who could potentially benefit from your useful eBook.


2. You can start from scratch and expand the scope of your eBook so it can include everyone who could benefit from your useful eBook.

Of course, any good-hearted person would go with the latter option, and that’s what I eventually did, but I could have saved myself a whole lot of time. I should have asked myself those questions initially, and then I would have realized from the get-go that although I had intended to help only writers, this eBook was going to be able to help a lot more people than just writers.


Although the term “crowdsource funding” sounds like cool, hip modern phenomenon of a “post-corporate” world… it really isn’t that at all.

“Crowdsoure funding” is just a fancy word for you asking strangers for money to pay for something that you haven’t made yet.

If that sounds like something that would make you feel really lame if you did it and would make other people think you were really sketchy for doing it, that’s because… well… it does make you feel totally lame when you actually do it and it does makes other people think your really sketchy for doing it.

Halfway through trying to “crowdsource fund” my eBook, the feeling of lameness totally permeated my being, but it was too late: I had already dug in. Then, both fans and close blogger friends of mine reacted to me in a way that I never saw them react to me before: they wrote me e-mails that were very polite, expressing their full support, but letting me know that they would not be helping me on the campaign. Even though they were trying to be nice about it, the subtext was clear: “OLLIN: WHAT THE FRAK ARE YOU DOING?”

And honestly, I don’t blame them: I wouldn’t have been involved in my campaign either if I was them.

(Not only did I try crowdsource funding, I sucked really bad at it: even though the cost of the eBook was based on actual quotes I attained from actual professional editors and designers, the total cost was way too much, and I still should have never made it my actual goal for the crowdsourcing project. I should have made a small reasonable goal that my readers could help me attain. Instead, I set the campaign up for failure by posting the ACTUAL cost of my ambitious project. Lastly, I ended up opting to do a fundraiser directly through my blog, trying to structure it like a Kickstarter campaign, which was another total mistake because I made it far too complicated for myself, and in the end, the campaign still failed to meet its fundraising goal. I felt like an idiot, but luckily, those who did donate encouraged me to finish the eBook anyway. So at least there was a silver lining in the end.)

I believe crowdsource funding is a fundamentally flawed system for funding creative projects, which would have made it bad in and of itself, but since my execution of the crowdsource funding model was deeply flawed as well, it ended up being double the mess.

My experience with crowdsource funding was so bad that I will never be doing it again.

4. DON’T try to make it perfect–just put it out there ALREADY!

It took me awhile to finally realize that maybe I should just stop trying to make the eBook perfect and just put it out there.

Eventually, that’s what I plan on doing in a month, and now I realize I should’ve done that from the very beginning.

Oh well.

(I’m a flawed main character, what can I say?)

5. DON’T forget to tell folks when the launch date is

Okay, this is not something I did, but something I almost did: which is forget to tell all my readers when my eBook is set to launch.

I  worked so hard on this eBook, and was so bruised from all the mistakes I made in trying to create it, and so embarrassed by how my failures and personal foibles delayed the eBook’s creation, that I reached a point that I just wanted to throw the final product up on this site and not really try to give the eBook the launch it deserved.

But that would have been a terrible mistake: after all, there’s no use stumbling near the finish line on purpose, right?

So, in the next month, I’ll be doing the best I can to make my eBook’s launch a success.

(Oh and I’m pretty sure I’ll be making a ton of new embarrassing mistakes in my first launch, and luck for you, you will all have a front row seat to all of it. At least, if the launch blows, it will be wildly entertaining.)

So here we go…


“The Courage To Live: How To Remove Your Obstacles and Start Following Your Passion”

will be launching right here, on this blog, on

December 2nd, 2013.

Yeah. For reals. Like really really. Like totally.

Save the date.

It will be the best thing since floppy disks, I promise.

much eLove,


Today’s Courage Exercise

Mark December 2nd, 2013 on your calendar. Tell all your friends and your family.

(It won’t be lame or sketchy. I promise.)

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2 comments on “5 Things You SHOULD NEVER DO When Creating Your First eBook

  1. starlyt61 says:

    Ollin, I am so happy for you. Your admission to some of the mistakes was a breath of fresh air. I am so afraid to show my writing as I am afraid it will effect my reputation. People will judge me if my grammar is wrong ect. Thank you so much. My calendar is marked. Bless you. 🙂

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