27 Tips to Create Your Own E-Book

e-book

The era of paper books is not completely over; after all, it can be quite enjoyable to sit in the sun during vacation with a book in hand. However, the rise of e-books is unstoppable. Thanks to the internet, writing has become democratized; anyone with a computer can write an e-book on any subject. If you want to get off to a flying start with your first e-book, you should definitely read these tips. If you do it right, you can even earn money from it!

With strict privacy regulations such as the GDPR, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to gather a substantial mailing list. However, with an e-book, you can still collect many new email addresses, as well as share knowledge, expertise, and passions with your audience. Creating an e-book yourself is also very simple, provided you use the right tools and services. In this article, I will give you 27 tips for creating your own e-book that you can use for your business.

Why should you create your own e-book?

As an online entrepreneur, you need to work hard to attract customers, build an audience, and present yourself as an authority in a particular field. This can be done through blog articles, podcasts, explainer videos, or e-books. The barrier to compiling an e-book is relatively low; if you can write a little, you can get started right away. Video production or a podcast requires more hardware and software. By offering e-books, you can collect valuable leads, demonstrate your expertise on certain topics, and promote your own products or services.

Tip 1: Choose a clear topic for your e-book

You’re writing an e-book, not an encyclopedia. This means choosing a clear topic that appeals to your target audience, with a specific focus and objective. If you accidentally stray off topic while writing, you can delete those passages or save them for a future e-book. It’s best to start with a catchy title, as this will give you as the author a sense of direction.

It’s remarkable how many people say they want to write an e-book but can’t think of a topic. Don’t make the choice so complicated; look in the mirror and start from your own experiences. Are you a photographer who has been working with digital photography for years and has developed some very clever tricks? Write an e-book about it! Are you a chef and a true gourmet who has tasted all kinds of specialty beers in many countries? Pour yourself a glass, pour another one, and start writing an e-book!

Tip 2: Provide answers to the reader

A reader is looking for solutions, not questions. Let the title indicate that you provide answers to questions that your target audience needs answers to. For example, “How to quickly learn a new language” or “25 tips on PowerPoint for better presentations,” to name a few examples.

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Tip 3: People love lists

A title like “Learn how to make a podcast” performs less well than “10 essential tools for making a podcast.” Even if they are identical e-books, the title with the list will perform better. Although ‘listicle’ titles have become a cliché in online web pages, they still work.

Tip 4: Writing understandably is also an art

We all learned to write in school, but just knowing grammatical rules isn’t enough to write a readable e-book. You need to think about chapters, paragraphs, and a writing style that encourages reading. Not everyone can organize all the ideas swirling around in their head into a structured e-book. In that case, you can have the text later developed or corrected by a copy editor who can present all the information in an engaging manner.

Tip 5: Watch out for spelling and grammar errors

Language can be a complicated thing. However, there are plenty of tools that can help out, and you can certainly avoid simple spelling errors. Tools like Language Tool and Grammarly have free versions and are very easy to use. Your message won’t be taken seriously with many careless mistakes (so if you noticed any, please tell me about them 😉 ).

Tip 6: Ensure your e-book looks good

If you have no clue about graphic design, it’s better to outsource the layout. Most word processors already offer many sleek templates, but they may be limited in options. In that case, it’s better to provide a plain text file to a layout specialist than a document that needs “fine-tuning.” Adjusting a messy document often takes more time than putting a text into a good form. If you don’t have a budget for this, consider using Canva as mentioned in the next tip!

Tip 7: Structure, formatting, and layout of your e-book

The structure refers to splitting your story into chapters with subheadings so that the e-book is easy to follow and logically structured. Then look at the formatting; a readable font, clear colors, and a layout with additional visual material or drawings to illustrate the information in the e-book. You can do this in another program than the one you wrote the document in.

A great free program for designing your e-book is Canva.

e-book with Canva

Tip 8: Choose the software you feel comfortable with

It doesn’t really matter if you use Word, Pages, Notepad, or Google Docs. Text is text, and that’s where the focus should be. There are specific packages that help you navigate long texts better, or are equipped with stylesheets so you can adjust all headings at once. But anything that gets in the way of putting your thoughts on paper can break the flow of your e-book.

Writing requires the least from a computer; you don’t need a powerful gaming PC… unless you’re writing an e-book about video games, of course! Choose a computer that you can comfortably type on; it can even be a smartphone paired with a Bluetooth keyboard. You can type in Word, or choose Open Office as a free alternative, and even in Notepad or another simple notebook, you can write to your heart’s content. If you’re really old-school, you can write on paper and later scan it with text recognition (OCR).

Tip 9: Make backups!

Make sure you save multiple versions of your document, or you risk losing thousands of words and countless hours. Some word processors keep revisions neatly, but making a copy is still wise. You can choose how to make backups, but remember to regularly back up your writings so your precious words don’t get lost. Your PC’s hard drive can fail, so make an online backup. The internet connection can be disconnected, so make a backup on your PC. Make a copy of your work document regularly so you A: have a new backup and B: can always revert to an older version if you get stuck in the story.

Tip 10: Writing means cutting

This is a well-known piece of advice; inexperienced writers often fill pages with irrelevant information. This may be an interesting style when writing a novel, but for an informative e-book, every unnecessary letter is one too many. Make sure you don’t repeat yourself, and see if each chapter actually adds something to the rest. And don’t repeat yourself 😉

Tip 11: Stop writing

At some point, it’s enough; then you should stop writing. You can write 100 tips on removing stains from clothes, but if the reader gives up after 10 tips, you’ve written 90 tips for nothing. That’s why the focus from Tip 1 is so important. You can always write a sequel. Of course, the e-book must offer more content than an average webpage or blog article.

Tip 12: Compile existing information

Fortunately, you don’t have to start with a blank page. If you have a website or blog with separate articles, you can combine them into a nice e-book. Don’t just copy and paste; instead, use the original texts as a guide to write a new story. An e-book is a different medium than a website, and that requires a different writing style.

Tip 13: A picture is worth a thousand words

An e-book with only large chunks of text doesn’t look attractive. With graphs, illustrations, and photos, you can present the message more attractively. You can download free royalty-free photos via image banks like Pixabay; these images are obviously not exclusive. You can also hire an illustrator to create illustrations.

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Tip 14: Outsource graphic work

Through services like Fiverr, you can cheaply hire illustrators who will create beautiful illustrations for a few euros, for which you have the rights. Pay attention to things like specific terms of use, any additional costs, and file formats.

Tip 15: The cover of your e-book must look good

Although an e-book is delivered digitally, the cover is still important. This is what visitors see above the input field and the download link; if the cover doesn’t look professional, the chance of conversion is very low. Be careful with standard templates; it’s better to have a sleek cover designed. Of course, without spelling mistakes!

Tip 16: Subtly incorporate your brand into your e-book

If you use a logo, corporate identity, and color scheme for your business, also use them on the cover and pages of the book. But keep it subtle; your brand name or logo should remain small. It’s about the content; the corporate identity subtly emphasizes your brand and business.

Tip 17: Be careful with links

In an e-book, you can place hyperlinks, which is an advantage over paper books. But are you sure these links will remain active? For links to your site, you will need to set up redirects if you move, and you should be extra careful with external links. In general, it’s wise not to use too many links in the texts. You can also include footnotes with references such as the source you used for a specific passage.

Tip 18: Also be careful with videos in the e-book

In a PDF, you can link to YouTube videos, or in some formats, you can even embed video clips so they work offline. In both cases, be careful; external links can be removed, and video in the download leads to larger files.

Tip 19: Export in the correct format

PDF and ePUB are the most commonly used formats for e-books. Don’t distribute your e-book as a Word document or Pages file. Not everyone can open these files, and the formatting may look slightly different everywhere. For illustrations, vector images are preferred because they are often smaller in file size and scalable. Bitmaps such as JPG or PNG can become pixelated when enlarged. So pay attention to the correct resolution if you still use JPG or PNG.

Tip 20: Sell without pushing

The goal of giving away an e-book for free is usually to collect email addresses. You can also use it as a marketing tool for other services. Don’t push too hard on this; mention casually that people can contact you for more information or mention an online course you offer. A sales pitch should always add value to the reader. Make sure your offer is relevant to the topic of your e-book.

Tip 21: Promotions lead to conversion

You can reward the reader by offering a discount on products and services related to the e-book. This can be a general discount code or a personal code that the reader can redeem. If someone reads your e-book from start to finish, they are more likely to be willing to invest money in your offer, in addition to time.

Tip 22: Publish your e-book

First, choose a file format such as a PDF document (see also tip 19). A Docx or ODT file may not be accessible to everyone, and some formats may even contain viruses! Make sure your file is “clean” and reliable. You can take measures to make copying text more difficult, but complete security is impossible. However, you can place the entire e-book behind a button at publication. Optionally provide a free and freely readable preview and let the complete e-book be downloaded after registration or sign-up. There are different ways to distribute your e-book; the best choice depends on the topic, target audience, and your objectives.

Download the PDF reader here if you don’t have it yet!

e-book

The best way to offer your e-book is using email marketing software such as Mailchimp. This way, you do everything correctly, including according to GDPR legislation, and you can also set up an autoresponder to share more valuable information with those who have downloaded the e-book.

Tip 23: Let people know you have an e-book!

You’ve invested quite a bit of time and energy into a beautiful e-book, now you need to let the world know that the book is available for download. Use your own website, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and also create video commercials that you can publish on YouTube. In addition to the beautiful cover, you should also be able to explain the content of the e-book in a few sentences or even in a few keywords. You can also schedule a few quotes on your Facebook timeline or Twitter feed to share with your followers over a period of several weeks.

Tip 24: Make money with your e-book

Although most e-books are written to collect email addresses and later sell other products or services, it is indeed possible to make money with an e-book. For example, in the form of a comprehensive course book. You can then distribute a summary for free with the option to purchase the complete book or sequel. In that case, you do risk distribution with illegal copies. You can also offer a paper version for a fee for people who prefer to read a physical book, or link something else to the e-book, such as a video series in a restricted area such as a membership site, to make purchasing the e-book more attractive.

Tip 25: Consider a sequel

If your e-book proves to be successful, there will be a demand for more information. If you can already think of a logical sequel beforehand, you can quickly get started when the time comes. There will probably be chapters cut during the writing of your first e-book that will be interesting for a second part. Of course, you can also write a new e-book on a completely different topic.

Tip 26: “Keep your eye on the prize”

Writing can be addictive; at some point, the words flow like a waterfall, and you type until your fingers are sore. Very nice, but you won’t get rich quickly from e-books (there are always exceptions, of course!). They are mainly tools to give your business more visibility, and you can convey your authority with them. Use it as a marketing tool, and don’t lose sight of your actual goal. This applies to everything from which you won’t generate immediate income; always weigh the costs against the benefits.

Tip 27: Ask for feedback

Ask readers for their honest opinion about your e-book; you can mention positive quotes on your own website. Constructive criticism is also welcome; you can learn from it. In addition to feedback on this publication, you also build a relationship with the reader, and as an entrepreneur, you can benefit from that.

Conclusion

When publishing an e-book, consider the following points:

  • Choose a topic that suits your interests and/or knowledge.
  • Determine an objective: What do you want to achieve with the publication?
  • Come up with a title that clearly indicates which questions you will answer.
  • Ensure that the texts are easily readable, without spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Focus on the content first; the form comes later.
  • Make your e-book more attractive with images and illustrations.
  • Be cautious with external links to other online content. E
  • xport your e-book to standard formats.
  • Promote your publications via social media and other channels.
  • Make sure you enjoy the entire process yourself.

You are no longer dependent on publishers; share your knowledge with the whole world and publish your own e-books!

It’s up to you to really start with your first e-book. And when you start, you’ll notice that inspiration comes naturally, like a flood of words.

Good luck with your first e-book!

If you have any questions about e-books or other online stuff, feel free to contact me!

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