by Glenn Dietzel
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This article was printed from Teachers.Net Gazette,
located at http://teachers.net.
Getting Started on Your eBook
Step 1: You Start With an IDEA
All learning comprises three areas: attitudes, skills and knowledge---ASK is the acronym to which we refer. Every experience in your life---whether successful or unsuccessful---makes you both human and a potential author. Reflecting on these experiences during relatively stress-free times will present numerous ideas for you---awakening the author within you! eBook authoring ideas are about possibilities…desires…goals…eBook authoring ideas are about dreams coming true for you!
Dan Poyter, self-publishing expert, states the ultimate reason for becoming published is to demonstrate one's expertise in a certain subject area. There is nothing better than the credibility of a book or eBook, according to Poynter, to accomplish this. Becoming a published author is the foundation for business and increased publicity as it gives you credibility. Depending on the scope of your eBook, it can even provide you with the equivalent of a PhD!
From where do ideas come? Ideas which inspire you to take action can come from a host of places and sources. A relaxing afternoon on the beach, a trip home from work listening to your favorite music, a motivational tape or speech, an early morning run, or a problem that you have solved are all possible sources of inspiration.
Inspiration involves utilizing the creative, right-side of your brain. The process for generating ideas for possible eBook topics is known as reflective thinking. This equates to the "R" in the B-ALERT system of Canfield, Hansen, and Hewitt from their book, The Power of Focus. These authors present this acronym to provide a framework for focus and balance as one strives for personal and professional excellence.
Reflection and idea generation related to an eBook topic is an intensely personal activity. The process of reflection allows you to think personally about ideas and experiences as they relate to you. You must actively create a proper mood so as to remain as objective as possible. A relatively stress-free environment is of paramount importance, particularly because reflective thinking is the "stuff" of which dreams are made.
Reflection is a two-pronged process. Firstly, it involves thinking in the present about your past and for your future and includes your expertise, interests, goals, and passion. This is the essence of dreaming---something that comes easily for every child; however, the exciting possibilities that dreaming provides are gradually lost/and or tempered by the rigors of life as one grows older, gains more responsibilities, becomes more affected by the negativity of others, and places more limitations on oneself.
Secondly, reflection involves recording your thoughts, which is the doing part of thinking. We conceptualize our thinking using mental pictures, but use words to describe our thoughts. By taking the time to record your thoughts in this tangible manner, you allow your brain to fully contemplate your dreams. Our brains are capable only of considering ideas that are specific and concrete.
There are few of us who haven't said to ourselves at one time or another, "Some day I'd like to write a book about …" or, "I wish someone would have provided me with information about ____ when I was first starting out." Or, "Now that I've reached this point in my career (hobby, role, interest, etc.) I'd like to share my experiences with others." Whatever you choose as a topic for your first eBook in particular, choose something about which you already are a self-proclaimed 'expert'!
Increasing your value in the marketplace as an eBook author will give you many tremendous psychological benefits including a heightened self-esteem and self-confidence. Ultimately how can you put to words the feeling of creating a greater sense of meaning and purpose as you offer your expertise to an international online community of educators? Mitch Axelrod asserts, "When you become one of the best at what you do, you will become one of the most valuable and important persons of your generation."
As you record your ideas from the RaW™ Stems (Reflective and Writing Stems) stated in the previous paragraph, consider the following potential catalysts as you narrow your focus and select the idea for which you are most passionate:
- A speech or keynote address;
- A committee report;
- A teaching experience;
- A life-long interest;
- An article or series;
- A research project;
- A thesis or formal paper;
- A perceived need;
- A professional need;
- A personal need;
- A personal experience;
- A significant emotional event in your life;
- A tragedy, disaster, problem…; and/or
- A personal dream or vision
Alvin Toffler states, "Of all the resources for creating wealth, none is more vital or versatile than knowledge." As educators, you have the knowledge that other people globally want or need and will pay for this. eBook technology offers you the ideal forum for you to organize and sell your expertise. Many educators have already begun this journey. When are you going to begin?
In next month's column, we will look at Step 2---Reflection--- of the eBook authoring process.
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