I have just published a book — AI-Powered Ecommerce – Elevating Customer Experiences, Optimizing Operations. This post is to share the experience while it is still fresh in my memory, with the goal of encouraging more people to contribute their experiences and knowledge.
I am going to talk about my expectations and reality, what surprised me, obstacles, and tools that I found useful in the process.
- First of all, it always takes more time and effort than you think Despite the fact that I have had already a lot of materials from work on an online course AI in E-Commerce, as well as multiple articles, I found that the content written for one form needs substantial changes before it can be used in the book.
- Content in the book is less visual than in online training and needs to be more descriptive.
- The fact that AI is a rapidly evolving domain has also slowed me down. There were so many new and interesting publications and announcements every week, so it was difficult to stop exploring them and extending the scope of the book.
- The book needs a good structure and flow, and it was not easy or obvious which path to take. Rather than organizing the content around different AI technologies, I decided to structure it around the varied facets of the eCommerce business domain by breaking it into two parts: AI’s impact on internal operations and shoppers’ journeys and experiences.
- While doing research, I saw many new innovative products and functionalities released or announced by emerging startups and established eCommerce giants. As I am not associated with any vendor, I decided to use them as examples to show AI possibilities and help readers envision and craft their own solutions. In the future, I would prefer to have more examples coming from merchants vs. vendors, but it was too early in technology adoption.
- I personally don’t like it when a business book goes on and on about ideas that can be easily expressed and explained just in a couple of paragraphs. After the book was ready, I went through it several times to cut the clutter. At least 25% of the content was gone.
- I was planning to do 2 editing passes but ended up with 5. It takes time and could become boring to re-read what your own writing
Now about Tools and the process
- My main writing environment was Notion. I used it for both collecting articles and sources (very easy with Chrome plugins and iPad app), and creating the book content itself. What really helped was Notion’s collapsing headings and how easy it is to do references and move blocks around.
- However, Notion is not the best for formatting, and I used MS Word for that. Before submitting the book to Amazon, you need to convert the Word doc into ePub. There are free tools that allow you to do it online.
- There is a lot of information on Amazon’s requirements online, including formatting, just go and watch these videos.
- For the book cover, we used Canva, and I got great help from my daughter @AliceVax who is a talented UX designer. Designing a paper book cover is a bit more tricky, but Amazon has good tools to determine the size and text position and generates a template for you
- Amazon’s publishing process is straightforward and easy to learn. Review and approval take 2-3 days.
If you have an inspiration to write a book, feel free to reach out. I will be happy to share more.