How to Write Your Information Product
By Stephen Bucaro
How to write depends upon which device you're writing for. I don't mean which eBook
reader device, I mean whether you're writing for a conventional paper-bound book, for
an eBook, or a text message to your friend. If your "texting" your friend, then
texting contractions like LOL, TMI, and BFF are okay to use. But if you're writing
anything else - including an email to a stranger - never use texting contractions.
One reason you don't want to use texting contractions in an email to a stranger
is because many of the contractions are not well known, for example TMI (Too Much
Information) and STFU (Shut The F Up). The reason contractions are used in texting
is to save work for the fingers. But there is absolutely no reason to use texting
contractions when writing articles, eBooks, or conventional paper-bound books.
Another thing you never want to use in writing are smiley faces. Smiley faces are so
80's, and they weren't cute then and they're not cute now. Today smiley faces are not
even used for texting. If you use them, everyone will think you're an out-of-touch
old geezer. But still today some people send me email messages containing smiley faces.
Another consideration when writing is paragraph size. The grammar rule for
paragraphing is that it's a group of sentences related a single thought. The problem
is, large blocks of text are hard on the eyes when reading with an electronic device.
Actually large blocks of text are hard on the eyes when reading print on paper too,
but at least with print on paper it's easier to follow along with your finger or other
When writing for the web or other electronic reading devices, keep your paragraphs
short. Some people take this too far and make each sentence a paragraph. Maybe
they're getting paid by the square inch rather than by the word. Depending upon the
length of the sentences, a paragraph should be three to four sentences. I'm not
saying you should totally disregard the paragraphing rule, but if a single thought
creates a large block of text, you should look for a place to paragraph it.
If it comes to choosing between creating a hard to read large block of text or
violating the paragraphing rule, I'll violate the paragraphing rule. It's really
not that definite as to what's a single thought. Actually a sentence could be
considered a single thought, or an entire article could be considered a single thought.
A similar consideration is white space. Allowing some white space makes reading
with electronic devices a little easier on the eye. When I say "white space" I don't
necessarily mean "white", I mean "background color" or areas without text. Those
people getting paid by the square inch rather than by the word tend to leave too
much white space. Other people can't stand to see white space, they think it's a
waste of screen space.
If your sectioning, chaptering, paragraphing, leaves a little white space, you
are not obligated to fill it with something. Don't throw in an image or some
unnecessary text just to fill white space. Screen space should be filled only
with content that is reliant to the topic.
Another consideration when writing is the language level. You have to understand
that the average American reads at the eighth grade level. Think about the reading
level of your audience. If your writing is for the average person, use plain
simple English. Some writers, who want to seem more intelligent, use a Thesaurus
to replace simple words in their writing with bigger words. Maybe they're trying
to win a Pulitzer.
Try to visualize the average reader in your eBook's audience. If the topic of
your writing is theoretical physics, maybe your average reader reads at the
Doctorate level. If the topic of your writing is how to start a home business,
maybe your average reader reads at the eighth grade level. Sometimes a Thesaurus
is good, if you're looking for a word with a more precise meaning. But usually
you can get a more precise meaning by using simple but more words.