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Today is going to be another busy day in the 14 day e-book writing challenge. You'll be tackling several tasks, and by the end you should have the first few pages of your e-book set up.

Reminder: Visit the official challenge thread to access all of the pre-challenge reading on e-book publishing, and for a running list of daily challenge tasks. If you can’t participate during these 14 days, you’ll be able to use the information in that post at any time later to challenge yourself as well.

Today we take care of formatting decisions, and we get into the actual writing:

Task Summary:

  • Choose your e-book format (for example, .pdf vs .exe e-books).
  • Choose basic formatting elements like fonts, font sizes, margins, etc.
  • Set up your basic e-book draft file in your favorite word processing program.
  • Set up your title page and other basic "common" pages in your e-book.

E-book Format

PDF is by far the most common e-book format, and it's the format this challenge information will be based on. If you're not sure whether you want to use a .pdf format (as opposed to an executable / program / .exe file), read The Benefits of PDF E-books to help you make your decision. If you prefer creating an EXE e-book, please take some time independently to look into e-book compilers.

Fonts, Etc.

You need to make some basic decisions regarding fonts and spacing issues for your e-book. Assuming we're going for a final PDF e-book, think about things like margins. What do you consider to be too much white space, and what wouldn't be enough? I like a simple one-inch margin rule, but you can choose what works for you. Take a look at a few free e-books first if you want to get a feel for how things will layout on the page.

You also need to decide on your main font (you may choose a different font for titling, sidebars, etc.). How do you think your e-book will most often be read: online or printed out? That could play a role in your font choice. Why? Because serif fonts (like Times New Roman, Georgia, etc.) are easier to read in print, while sans serif fonts (like Arial and Verdana) are easier on the eyes for on-screen reading.

After you choose your main font for your content, you also need to choose a font size. While font sizes can vary drastically between different fonts, I'd recommend not going smaller than 10 pt font or larger than 14 pt font.

E-book Draft File Setup

This is the easy part (no decision-making involved) - just open your favorite word processing software, create a new document where you'll write the draft of your e-book, set your font and font size choices and your chosen margins, and save your file. You can also set up a header / footer (with page numbers, your title, your name, etc.) if you'd like to (not a bad idea).

Basic Pages

You're going to set up a few of the most basic e-book pages today. This is not only just to get it out of the way, but because it will make you feel like you've already accomplished something by getting something down when you actually start settling into your writing process tomorrow. Seeing any kind of page count when there's a lot in front of you can feel like progress and serve as motivation.

Set up your title page first. Use your working title / subtitle (you can always change it easily later). Your title page should also have your byline. It doesn't really need anything else, but you can certainly add visual elements if you'd like to.

Set up your license / copyright / terms of use page. Include a simple copyright notification, and details on what rights the buyer / reader does and doesn't have regarding altering the e-book, selling the e-book, decompiling it, giving it away, etc.

Write a disclaimer page for your e-book.  Make it clear that not every reader will get the most ideal results (for example, if your e-book is on making $100,000 a year as a freelance writer, you should have a disclaimer stating that in no way do you as the author guarantee that anyone will make any specific amount of money in any specific amount of time and that results vary - you get the idea). You shouldn't publish an e-book without this. Look at any e-book for examples on wording (and of course write your own... don't just steal someone else's disclaimer). Disclaimers will vary pretty widely dependent on the e-book topic.

You can choose whether to set up a table of contents page now (based on your previous outlines), or you can save that for the end when you'll be writing your introduction. I'll personally be saving the TOC until the end.

Write your author bio. It should tell the readers a little bit about you, your qualifications to be writing in your e-book's niche, etc.

Thanks for sharing!
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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, NakedPR.com, and BizAmmo.com.

Jenn has 18 years experience writing for others, around 13 years experience in blogging, and over 10 years experience in indie e-book publishing. She is also an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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