How to Write an eBook in a Day

In the last 2-3 weeks I have written 14 nonfiction eBooks. How is that possible? The faster you write, the more books you can have available for Amazon and and the more opportunities you’ll have to build your readership. Here are a few tips that helped me create my nonfiction eBooks so quickly: 1. First of all, write what you know. Only pick a topic that you know a lot about and that you do not need to do any research for. Pick a topic that is very specific. For example, instead of writing a book on “How to Bake” it will be about “How to Bake Cookies” or more specifically, “How to Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies for Diabetic Kids”. 2. Brainstorm topics, every single aspect of the topic that you think people should know. For example, if you’re writing a book on how to wash a dog, you might write: “How to Wash a Dog” How to know if your dog is dirty How to get your dog in the bathtub What types of soaps should you use How to dry your dog without soaking the bathroom. 3. Write those lists of topics until you cannot write anymore, then organize them in an order that you think they naturally should flow. 4. Next, use Audacity (which you can Google) to record yourself talking about each topic. It’s free. This will take at least 1-2 hours of your time, perhaps more depending on the how extensive you want to make your book. Remember, an eBook doesn’t have to be long. It can be as short as 20-30 pages and that’s something you can achieve with 1-2 hours of audio. 5. Now, you need to have your book transcribed and this doesn’t have to cost a lot. For as little as $5 per 20 minutes, you can have your eBook transcribed. I suggest going to, or to look for someone and make sure whoever you choose has many 5-star ratings. Then, interview them until you find one your comfortable with. 6. Finally, you’ll need to edit and proofread the book. You can do this yourself or hire someone from the sites listed above or even have an intern do it. If you start in the morning, and you line your transcriptionist and editor up ahead of time, you too can have an eBook ready in a day.

This was originally written by me exclusively for Rick Frishman’s Newsletter. Feel free to copy and spread it as you wish. I only ask that you give me full credit.


Writers Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Not Yet)


Writers don’t like to hear this but landing an agent or a book deal isn’t going to solve all your problems.  Believe me, I’ve been there.  I was living off of Ramen noodles in my Miami studio apartment before I landed a book deal.  I had been self-publishing and ePublishing my first novel and I knew if only I could get a book deal then all my problems would disappear.  That’s what a lot of writers believe, but that’s just not true.


You need to, in your mind, separate your passion from your money-issues. You have to because if you do not, the desperation will eat you alive. You must find happiness first and anything else that happens is just gravy. You’ve heard it before, and it probably sounds cliche but there’s a reason why 99% of the successful writers say the same thing.


That’s why, in most cases, it’s best that someone not leave their day job until they’ve not only sold their book but are doing extremely well.  If you jump ship, before it’s time, then your desperation to make a living will eat at you and it’ll be counter-productive.


Nothing’s more unattractive to a potential agent than a desperate aspiring writer. Oh, they won’t say that to you or say it on the record, but it’s what agents tell me behind closed doors.


But how do you do it, when you hate your job or your co-workers and rent’s due tomorrow and you have nothing else you can depend on but you’re writing?


Here are a few tips that helped me during that time:


1. Get a job, any job; even if it’s one you hate and be grateful for it.  Understand that what you do for a living is not a reflection of who you are or where you’ll end up in the future.


2. Stop pretending you need to have all day in order to write. Let’s be honest 90% of the time you’re staring up at the wall or checking Facebook or your email. If you calculate how much time you’re actually writing, it may only be 2-3 hours tops.  That said, you can certainly carve out 2 or 3 hours before, during and or after your job to do your writing.


3. Use the job you hate and the employees that drive you up the wall to motivate you. One thing that helped me when I was dealing with situations like that was to think in my mind, “Just you wait! One day I’m going to have a published novel,” and I allowed the things they did that irritated me to motivate me to get out of there. (By the way, those ex-co-workers are still at that job that they hate)


4. Count your blessings. I know people hate to hear this. They want me to tell them to just quit their job, risk it all and everything will fall into place just like it did for me in my situation. But when you have a family to support, you have to be a little responsible.  Oh, there will come a time, and you’ll know it, when you need to “hold your nose and jump” like Jeff Foxworthy told me, but it’s not yet. Make a list of all the great things your job provides and write something new about it on that list everyday. It might be the fact that you get free Xerox copies or a check so that you can eat while you write. At my last day job, we had a lot of dead time when there were no clients, so I’d use that time to write.  Then, I thought to myself, “Hey, they’re paying me to write!”


Don’t worry, if you focus on doing your job and writing the best novel of all time, you’ll know when to quit your job. You’ll know it, without a doubt.


Writers: Stop Chasing After Them


If an author was to ask me for one piece of advice, one thing I’ve learned so far, being deeply involved and intertwined with the book business, it would be the same advice I’d give filmmakers today, stop chasing after them.


Them, meaning, agents and publishers. Why? What’s the point?


The best thing you can do is:


A) Write a dynamic book that will have people talking about it.


That’s it.


Most people haven’t gotten past that point yet. Oh, there’s some beautiful writers out there but they’re not writing scenes that would get people talking.  If you’ve finished a novel, you’re already way ahead of the game because I’ve seen some amazing writers who can’t even finish a novel and yet they’re trying to get an agent.  Finish the damn thing first.


Then, ask yourself is this particular scene something that people would want to share?  A friend of mine used to run the video department at and his job was to find viral videos all day. I asked him one day, “what’s the secret to a truly viral video?” He answered, “That’s easy. Ask yourself, ‘is this a video I’d want to send out to all my friends and family?'”


I say the same thing with novels.  But how do you know if you’ve created something that is buzz-worthy or share-worthy?


You know if you’ve shared it with a friend and they went ahead, without you asking, and shared it with everyone they know.


If they didn’t, then it wasn’t buzz-worthy, no matter how beautifully it was written.


If it wasn’t, and your goal is to create a phenomenon, go back to the drawing board. No matter how well you wrote that scene, go back and rewrite it or toss it out and come up with something people would want to share. Sometimes it’s something that goes right to your heart and touches you deeply, sometimes it’s something hilarious you’ve written or something that they just don’t see every day.


It doesn’t mean what you wrote previously sucked, it might have been beautifully written but it wasn’t something that people wanted to share. And if that’s your goal, go back and rewrite it.


That’s why it bothers me when people ask me if I’ll post something of theirs on my Facebook page, maybe it’s a video they created or a new book they wrote or something. If it’s share-worthy enough, you don’t need to ask anybody, they’ll post it on their Facebook page without you even asking them.


A friend of mine and client, who also happens to be one of the bestselling nonfiction authors of all time, told me the process they went through with each of the short true stories in their first book. If the story wasn’t buzz-worthy enough, they’d work on it and re-edit it until it was. He knows what he’s talking about, they’ve sold over half a billion (not million) books.


Here’s my point:


If your book is share-worthy enough, then you won’t need to chase agents or publishers, they’ll chase after you.  Trust me, otherwise, they wouldn’t be asking people like me to recommend new clients for them. These agents are actively looking at the bestsellers charts on Amazon, Smashwords, and for new authors. They are looking at the blogs and seeing what people are talking about.


You don’t need a publisher to get your story in the hands of “the people”. Putting it on Amazon,, Smashwords, is free.


Why did 50 Shades of Grey work? Because it was naughty. It was something that moms across America were shocked about and read under their digital covers with their digital flashlights.  Make something share-worthy, and everything else will fall into place.



Being Appreciated

“I want you to know I haven’t forgotten what you did for me. I’ve sold over 35,000 Eighth Scroll e-books now. It is a good foundation to the beginning of what I hope someday will be an established reputation. Really, Jeff, you are appreciated.” — Dr. Laurence Brown, Author of The Eighth Scroll


It’s so nice to be appreciated. I got that note this morning from a client of mine who started out only having sold a couple hundred copies of his book on his own but after I did a campaign for him he’s racked over 35,000 copies of his eBook. I’m proud of him. It was a controversial book but he had a goal, realized he couldn’t do it on his own and reached out to someone who could. Lucky for me, that was me.


I think about that as I’m now on my sabbatical, finishing up the last few interviews and projects I’ve obligated myself this month into and slowly phasing into exclusively writing my own novels. I’ve been going through all kinds of energy changes lately after reading the book, “The Code to Joy” wow! Go out and get it today. It’s really been eye-opening for me and it’s helped me as I’m going through a phase adjusting to my new life as an author-only.


I do have a wonderful charity project I’m working on the next few months and two more clients I’ll continue to work with but new clients, not at this time.


It’s funny because once I shut that door, I’ve been offered quite a few great opportunities from major literary agents and publicists who have clients they’d like me to work with. Isn’t that the way it always works?


Meanwhile, I’ve zeroed in on the exact two stories I’ll be writing after I finish clearing my plate this month and I’m super excited about them.


I’ll be telling you more about them as the time gets closer. And by the way, we (my team and I) just finished with the second draft of about 20, yes 20 new eBooks that I’ll be putting out to help aspiring authors. They will all be free, like the last one, or at the most, 99 cents.  Stay tuned!

The Most Exciting Time of My Life

This is by far, the most exciting (and scary) time of my life. I’ve been hinting about this for awhile but I’m going to take a risk, just like I did about 5 years ago when I began the business helping other authors. I’m making preparations to be truly a full-time author. This means that if you email me, you’re likely going to get a notice from my assistant that I’m on hiatus working on my latest novel which I’m super excited about.

It could be weeks before you hear back from me, which is unusual for me.  As most people know, I make it a personal duty to respond to emails and Facebook messages usually within 24-48 hours.

This means after this month of fulfilling my obligations, I’m going to do less and less interviews with people so that I can focus on this novel.  I still have a small handful of private clients I’ll work with and that I’m totally passionate about but I will not be taking on any new clients, no matter how big or how much money they offer me.

For the last almost 5 years or so I’ve spent a career helping new authors take the first step in landing agent, self-publish and market their books, as well as working with high-profile people on their campaigns and have done so very successfully. But I’m finding that the more time I spent helping other authors, the less time I spent doing my first love, which is writing.  That is why we decided it was best that I pull the plug on Gatekeepers Post completely. Rather than redesign it, I felt it was best to just move forward. The time and energy it took running a site with over 500 bloggers quickly ate up my own writing time. But I’m proud of our achievements. I’m proud of having some of the biggest names in the industry blog and be on the editorial board.

This also means, although I love it, I’ll be doing less and less interviews and articles.  Oh, sure I’ll finish my obligations for this month of April 2012 that I promised but after that you’ll only see a handful of interviews from me from time to time so that I can focus on writing this novel.

I will be making available a number of new eBooks for aspiring writers in the “For Writers” section of my website and will blog on there from time to time about the industry or about tips and most likely my eBooks will be 100% free or next to nothing, like 99 cents to get.  For now, they’ll only be available here on my site and not on Amazon or until later but know that you are welcome to download them, send them to your friends and of course, use what you learn in the books as you wish.

It’s scary for me, taking this risk to write full-time as every major change is. My first dream was to be able to quit my day job and work on what I was passionate about and I accomplished that about 5 years ago. Now, my next dream is to make a transition into being a full-time author.

So, although it may seem that I have disappeared a bit from the public scene and from the book publishing industry for awhile, know that I’m nose-to-the-ground writing in my cave. But nevertheless, don’t worry, once I emerge, I’ll come out with something I’m proud of and that will make a splash.

We are just at the brink of the tremendous changes for authors and those in the book publishing industry. The industry will look nothing like it does now in a few years and I cannot wait to embrace it.

The Latest News about Gatekeepers Post


Dear GatekeemhYupoOpers Post fans,

After much thought, we have decided it was time for Gatekeepers Post to end. It was an   amazing time and our traffic continued to increase month after month. We began with a bang and soon I found that the responsibilities of being an Editor-in-Chief quickly consumed the time I spent doing my first love, writing. So, although it was sad for me to move forward, I’m excited as well about this new author-only chapter in my life I’m moving into. If you’re looking for great book news sites, I highly recommend: Publishers Weekly,     Publishing Perspectives, GalleyCat and


Best Regards,

Jeff Rivera

A Vacation Away from that Place!

We had a beautiful time in Las Vegas and now we’re going to do what my good friend, Tree likes to say, “Take a vacation away from that place!” so we’ll be enjoying the beach doing my type of vacation which is to relax. We had by far, the best vacation ever in Las Vegas and now that Mercury in Retrograde is pretty much over, we can all begin to heal, think about where we want to focus our energy and take steps toward that. I can feel it. Can’t you feel that Mercury in Retrograde is starting to let up? (Knock on wood)

One thing I’ve decided to do for sure, after I clear my plate this month with the obligations I’ve promised to fulfill, is to focus on my novels. I have some truly wonderful ones I’m dusting off and it’s time to start rolling up my sleeves and rewrite and polish them. Some of them, I’m so excited about I can hardly stand it but I will tell you more about those as I get them completed.  I can feel, this is a true new chapter in my life and I’m embracing it with both arms.


This is by far my favorite Maya Angelo poem and I wanted to share it with those who really could hear it about now:

Still I Rise


You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.


Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.


Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.


Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops.

Weakened by my soulful cries.


Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own back yard.


You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.


Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?


Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

Maya Angelou

Our Vacation

This vacation is absolutely amazing.  We had the opportunity to surprise some of my friends and family in Nevada and it’s times like these that you get a chance to really think about what matters no matter what’s happening in your life. I certainly had time to do that and though part of me wishes that I had a few more days extra, it’ll be nice to get back to the routine of things.

I have a few more obligations to clear up and then after that, I’m going to completely clear my plate and work on a special project I’ve been tinkering with a lot lately that’s going to help a lot of people and I’m very excited about it. I’ll tell you more about it as it gets close to completion.

I’m so much more interested in hanging out with all my nieces, nephews, sister and brother than any of the cool things I do with my career. I just wish I lived closer to them. I always said I wanted to have 12 kids when I was little and now I have 12 nieces and nephews.  So, in a way my dream came true.

We’re having, by far, the best vacation together we’ve ever had and I’m so grateful to everyone who made that happen for us.  Thank you so much universe, God, All That Is. I pray everyone gets a vacation at least once in their lives as magical as ours. Just a few more days so I’m enjoying every second of it.

Geo and my mom got to meet for the first time and really hit it off which is so cool because whenever your girlfriend or boyfriend or partner meets your family, you always worry if they’ll get along so thank God they did. A sigh of relief.

Anyway, thank you so much for everyone’s love, support and best wishes with us on our vacation and I’m sending it right back to you.