Learn how to make an ebook and increase your business’s exposure with this practical guide that walks you through the key steps for creating an ebook from start to finish
As tablets and e-readers continue to rise in popularity, more people turn to ebooks over hardback and paperback versions. Today, you’ll find ebooks in every area of life. Businesses use them to acquire leads, educators rely on them to share up-to-date content with students, and authors publish fiction and non-fiction ebooks. Although you may have downloaded and read ebooks, you may wonder how to create an ebook.
Yes, making an ebook can be overwhelming. It takes compelling writing, visual appeal, and solid research, and this is why we have created this guide, to teach you everything you need to know about how to make an ebook from start to finish in a simple step-by-step process.
The 11 Steps for Creating an Ebook
- What is an Ebook?
- The key elements of a well-designed Ebook
- The 11 steps for creating an Ebook
- Step 1. Know your audience and choose your Ebook topic
- Step 2. Outline your ebook chapters
- Step 3. Find an Ebook writer
- Step 4. Provide the writer’s guidelines
- Step 5. Choose the visuals
- Step 6. Find an Ebook designer
- Step 7. Find a beta reader
- Step 8. Send the Ebook to proofread
- Step 9. Convert the Ebook to the right file type
- Step 10. Choose your publishing venues
- Step 11. Publish your Ebook and share it with the world
What is an Ebook?
An ebook is a book in digital form that can’t be edited, should be reflowable, and can be read on digital devices such as dedicated e-readers, smartphones, desktop computers, and tablets. It can consist of text, images, or both. You may hear ebooks defined as an electronic version of a printed book, but that’s not entirely accurate because many ebooks don’t have a printed version.
Let’s take a closer look at the qualifying elements of an ebook.
Can’t be edited
Once an ebook is released, many people can gain access to it but they shouldn’t be able to change it (just like you can’t change a paperback book). If this requirement isn’t met, the ebook could end up a jumbled mess far from the original. Being so, ebooks need to be in a format that doesn’t allow editing without the author’s permission.
Should be reflowable
Ebooks should also be reflowable which means they adapt to the end user’s screen. In other words, the words, images, line breaks, chapters, etc. adjust to perfectly fit the device being used. While this makes for an ideal user experience, there are some exceptions to this rule as many ebooks are in PDF form which is not reflowable.
Accessible on a digital device
Lastly, ebooks have to be formatted properly so they can be accessed by a variety of digital devices. While there are many options, authors most commonly use the following three:
- EPUB: Short for electronic publication, this is the most supported ebook format. It’s reflowable and accessible on a variety of devices from computers and phones to e-readers (aside from Kindles).
- AZW: Created for Amazon’s Kindle readers, AZW files are only accessible through Kindle’s devices or apps. They have helpful features like annotations, bookmarks, and highlights.
- PDF: Short for portable document format, PDFs are created by Adobe and are often used for ebooks because they can’t be edited, and they hold their format. However, they aren’t reflowable which can make them difficult to read on various devices.
As long as a book is available in a digital format, accessible on digital devices, and not editable, it is an ebook. However, it should be reflowable as well for the best user experience.
Why should a business make an Ebook?
Today, ebooks are in wide use among online marketers, and this for mainly two reasons:
Generate new leads
By offering an ebook download in exchange for an email, you can gain permission to market to new targets and encourage them towards a sale. Every time someone downloads your ebook, you convert a website browser into a named prospect who has the potential of becoming a customer.
Because ebooks don’t require a printing process, they are often faster to produce than hardcopy materials. Also, you can update and re-publish ebooks with ease to ensure that your books always contain the latest trends and insights.
Ebooks can position your brand as a knowledge leader in your area of focus. Instead of merely saying that you are a thought leader, you can showcase your expertise through in-depth content. You can also educate people on valuable professional skills while keeping some insights in reserve to help build a business. No doubt, ebooks can be some of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal.
The key elements of a well-designed Ebook
Exceptional ebooks are the product of thoughtful planning and careful attention to design. Your ebooks need to be engaging, visually appealing, and reader-friendly.
Before you start writing an ebook, you should have a comprehensive brand style guide that details colors, imagery, iconography, and font choices. With that in hand, you can create ebooks that are eye-catching and reinforce your brand identity.
You can also infuse your brand presence into these 14 critical elements of ebook design:
#1. A descriptive title: Often, the title is the first thing people consider when deciding to read your ebook. It has to be both attention-grabbing and give an accurate preview of your ebook content. If needed, you can use a subtitle to convey more details about your ebook. Your title and subtitle will be prominent features on your ebook cover.
#2. A captivating cover: Yes, people do judge books by their covers. That’s why your ebook cover needs to be compelling. Ideally, your cover should feature your title, subtitle, and visual elements, such as photos and/or icons that illuminate what readers will find inside.
#3. An ebook description that sells: While appealing visuals may gain potential readers’ attention, they will still want to know why they should download your ebook. Hook them with a powerful ebook description— which can appear on the ebook itself or wherever you are promoting it and should clearly convey the value of your ebook. You can use a cliffhanger approach that tells part of the story but leaves readers with a question so that they want to know more.
#4. A heavily visuall grabbing introduction: Even though ebooks are full of rich content, people are more likely to scan through them first before diving in to read. Cater to this need by creating a visually-compelling introduction that hits the highlights of your content but entices people to read more. And remember that Amazon and other ebook sales platforms let readers see the introduction before they buy. Create intros that tell stories, reveal a big secret, and paint a clear picture of what people will gain from reading your ebook.
#5. Powerful chapter headlines: When engaging with digital content, people are accustomed to navigating in a non-linear way. They may skip ahead to chapters that interest them most, then circle back to pick up any ideas they missed. Address this tendency by providing clear, engaging chapter headings that let people know what’s covered in each section.
#6. Product/service call-outs: Most marketers use ebooks as a tool to capture contact information for new prospects. Although many ebooks are primarily educational, you should still spotlight your products and services in a subtle way. How? Use visual callouts that are separate from the main text to provide facts about your offerings in a less-promotional way.
#7. Printer/mobile-friendliness: Although many readers will peruse your ebook on an electronic device, some may want to print it for offline reading. Keep your designs contained to single pages and print them yourself before you publish. Also, double-check how your ebook looks on different devices, including mobile phones and tablets. You don’t want to alienate potential readers by creating an ebook that isn’t print-friendly or usable on their preferred device.
#8. Author page: Typically, you’ll want to include a page to provide some background about the author. If you’re the author, what makes you qualified to share expertise on the topic? Readers will want to know, and an author page is an excellent way to boost the credibility and value of your ebook.
#9. Table of contents: A critical element in every digital and printed book, a table of contents outlines chapter or section headings. A quick glance at the table of contents lets readers know what to expect and helps them navigate quickly to topics of interest in your ebook.
#10. Colors: Your ebook should use colors from your brand palette in chapter titles, callouts, graphs, icons, images, and more. But don’t overwhelm your readers with too much color. A selection of four or five coordinating colors can boost visual appeal without becoming a distraction.
#11. Professional visuals: Although you may be able to cobble together decent graphics for presentations or other materials in a pinch, you don’t want do-it-yourself visuals for your ebook. Engaging a professional to create quality ebooks will elevate the appearance of your publication and grant you more esteem in the eyes of your audience.
#12. Testimonials, quotes, or stats: Data and quotes draw readers’ eyes and are powerful visual elements to use in an ebook. Sprinkle stats and quotes throughout and use authoritative, recognizable sources. Your own research or testimonials from your customers can be potent proof-points that help you build credibility with readers.
#13. Social sharing buttons: Make it easy for readers to spread the word about your ebook with social sharing buttons. Link to popular networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, and/or LinkedIn on each page to motivate sharing.
#14. A final call-to-action: What do you want readers to do after reading your ebook? Do you want them to reach out for a consultation or make a purchase? Tell them. At the end of your ebook, include a clear call to action that entices readers to take the next steps.
The 11 steps for creating an Ebook
Step 1. Know your audience and choose your Ebook topic
Before writing your ebook, you should know your target audience well. What keeps them up at night? And how can you solve their problems?
For business ebooks, think about your ideal customers and determine topics that address their most pressing problems. If you speak directly to your audience’s needs, they’ll be more likely to download your ebook and gain value from the content. And they’ll start to view you as a knowledge leader. Look at ebooks as an opportunity to dive deep on a topic your prospects care about and motivate them to get in touch with your sales team.
Step 2. Outline your ebook chapters
Once you’ve chosen a topic, start sketching out your topic in an outline. You can think of your ebook as a short course on your topic that caters to individuals with a beginning to intermediate knowledge of your topic.
For your outline, create a list of chapter titles that clarify what each section will contain. It can be helpful to delineate subsections to ensure you cover all relevant points. A more detailed outline also helps writers and editors who work on your book understand your intent.
Remember to focus on quality over quantity in authoring your ebook. Some ebooks only have three to five chapters but accomplish their goals. Others may need dozens of pages. Write as much as needs to be written, but don’t feel a need to pad your ebook to meet a certain length.
Step 3. Find an Ebook writer
Writing effective ebooks is a highly specialized skill — and most people need to turn to professional ebook writers. Ideally, you want a writer that has expertise in long-form content writing and knows fundamentals about your topic.
Your writer should be able to match the preferred style of your content — whether conversational or more serious. By hiring an ebook writer, you can trust that your project will get done by the deadline you prefer instead of letting writing fall to the bottom of your to-do list.