Creating E-Books Archives

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I know exactly what is needed to publish a Kindle e-book, because I have already done it (7 books and counting.) To give you an idea of the process, let me describe the process I followed for my first book published on the Kindle. Read the rest of this entry

Killer Free E-book Creation Software

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Creating your e-book requires software. You need to plan out your project, then write it. Next, you need to format everything to give it a polished look and add a virtual cover. Finally, you need to convert the whole thing into a PDF document for distribution.

You could spend a lot of money buying the software needed to do all the work you need to get done. But, fortunately, there are plenty of free resources out there to help you get the job done.

Here are a few free e-book creation software resources to check out:

Mind Mapping Tools

FreeMind
Bubbl.us - Online mind mapping tool that allows multi-user collaboration.

Word Processors

OpenOffice - This free office suite includes word processor, spreadsheet, database, drawing, and slideshow programs.
Google Docs - This full office suite is completely online, so you don't need to download any software.

Image Editing

GIMP - GIMP is a full featured image creation and editing software package.
Splashup - Full featured online image editing tool.

PDF Creator

OpenOffice - One of the great things about this free office suite is that it has a built-in PDF conversion tool.
PDF Online - A free online PDF conversion tool
Free PDF Convert - Another free online PDF converter that converts many document types to PDF.

Do you have a favorite free resource you love to use when creating your e-books? Share it by leaving a comment below.

14 Tips for Killer Ebook Cover Designs

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C.L. Smith of HumbleNations.com has published an excellent article on book cover design for non-designers. Read the rest of this entry

Ebook Creation Secret – Layout Templates

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When it comes to creating profitable ebooks, speed is your friend. Why, because the moment you start slowing down in your ebook creation process you begin to lose momentum. Then, distractions start to appear and you lose your excitement for the project.

Check out our killer collection of ebook templates...

...Get the E-book Template 12-Pack Now!

So, any strategy or resource that helps the ebook creation process move more smoothly and quickly will help ensure that the project gets completed (the real secret to success is just getting the work done - most people don't.) One excellent resource that I use for every ebook is... Read the rest of this entry

Virtual Covers for Ebook Success

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Even in the digital world, we still judge books by their covers. Virtual covers are essential for the success of your e-book. Don't believe it? Well, check out books for sale on the Amazon website - ecovers are essential (even for Kindle editions.) Read the rest of this entry

Packaging Your Downloadable Ebook

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You can always distribute your ebooks as simple downloadable PDF files. But, if you do, you will be missing an enormous opportunity to promote your business and earn more money. I always recommend creating a 'download package' which is a ZIP file containing several files in addition to the ebook itself.

Your e-book will probably be delivered in PDF format and you could simply upload this file and be done with it. But, you have an opportunity to re-enforce your customer's purchasing decision, encourage consumption or usage of the product, and cross-promote other products. You can also slip in some unannounced bonuses too. The way you do this is to include several files into one single ZIP archive file for delivery.

Typically, I create a document labeled 'Read_First' which thanks the customer for purchase, recommends the next steps the customer should take to benefit from the product, states the rights that the customer has purchased to the product (this is particularly important when selling resale rights products or permitting others to giveaway your viral ebook), and usually includes a promotion as well. If you want to encourage customers to sign up for an email list, one good strategy is to offer an unannounced bonus and require them to sign up in order to get the download link for the bonus. The 'Read_First' file is the perfect place to announce the bonus.

Creating a 'Read_First' file is even more important when you are selling resale products that you have purchase the rights to distribute. Many resale products do not allow you to modify the content of the e-book, so you do not have the opportunity to add your own links inside. The addition of this extra file inside the ZIP file you deliver to your customer is your chance to build your business beyond a single sale.

If you would like to see an example of a download package for a resale product, check out www.InfoProductSeminar.com. This site promotes a resale product I purchased the rights to sell. Feel free to read over the sales page (its not my best work), but what I really want you to see is the exit pop-up and the product package I deliver with the free sample.

When you try to leave the sales page without purchasing, a pop-up window appears offering a free sample download – in exchange for your email address. Once you download that free sample audio, unzip the file and you will find a 'Read_First' PDF file and the audio MP3 file (the seminar is one of my favorites – I hope you listen to the first hour.) The 'Read_First' PDF file includes a special offer to purchase the rest of the seminar audios at an amazing discount that is designed to be so tempting that no one could resist purchasing.

Let's review what happens here. I tempted a visitor who wasn't prepared to buy with a free sample. And got his name email address in exchange. This gives me an opportunity to contact the visitor in the future with other information and offers. Then, inside the distribution package, I included a special offer in the 'Read_First' file designed to entice an order for the full audio seminar package. The 'customer' can sample the product, decide if it is right for them, and then take advantage of my special discount offer.

I could have easily used the 'Read_First' file to promote another product or encourage prospects to visit a specific website. The key element involved is to make sure to include some type of promotion and not to offer more than one (the more options you give the less likely your customer will take any action.)

It's worth going through the sequence on this website just to see everything in action. (For anyone who might purchase the full set of audio files - they are excellent - you will see the E-junkie e-commerce system in action - including the use of discount codes. And, you will experience how fast the download speeds are for large files. E-junkie is the primary e-commerce solution I use in my own business.)

How To Make An Ebook

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Frustrated first time authors, you are about to discover exactly what you need to know to learn how to make an ebook. So, you can stop searching the web, break out of the perpetual research loop that stops so many people, and get your ebook written fast. Read the rest of this entry

Creating Killer Cover Art For Your E-Book

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Sample Ebook Virtual CoverA quick visit to Amazon.com (or any other website that sells digital books) will clearly show that virtual covers are essential to selling your e-book. People really do judge a book by its cover - so you need to make it great.

There are a couple ways to get great cover art for your ebook. The first is to create it yourself. This is the most time-consuming of the options and most likely to end badly.

Creating Your Own Virtual Book Cover - Most Challenging Option

To make your own cover, use your favorite drawing, painting or graphics software. Draw a rectangle. Add a book spine and pages to give your rectangle three dimensions to look like a closed or partially open book. Fill your drawing with interesting colors or patterns. Add your title and author byline to the front and spine. Embellish and revise ad nausea.

The process sounds simple, but the devil (as they say) is in the details. If you don't have any graphic design experience, this is not going to be easy. The software alone has a steep learning curve.

Still want to try doing it yourself? Well, then you'll be wondering which graphics program to use - and there are many to choose from.

Some standard office programs provide the ability to create graphics, including MS Word. Trying to use one of these programs to make a cover for your e-book almost guarantees bad results. So, don't be tempted - it won't end well.

Professional level, but more complicated graphics software you could use just as well includes Macromedia Fireworks, CorelDraw, or (the gold standard) Adobe Photoshop. Professional cover art designers and graphics artists tend to use the pure, flexible, more complex, programs for their work and there is a very good reason. The results speak for themselves.

A more recent development in the area of DIY cover design is the advent of web-based tools like the ones at Fast E-Covers Online. No more purchasing and installing software - everything is online and you just log in and get to work.

Developing your cover from scratch is do-able, and even you could do it if you were so inclined. But I don't recommend the do-it-yourself approach. This is because, if you're short on software skills, artistic talent, or time or if you would rather focus your energies elsewhere, then there are more efficient ways to get cover art.

DIY Killer Cover Shortcuts

Shortcuts to the build-it-from-scratch approach include using templates, action scripts and style presets that 'plug-in' to a program like Photoshop and automate some of the steps, or using dedicated ebook cover art software.

Templates are available for purchase on the Internet, and some sites even offer free basic templates if you will link back to their site. Buying or borrowing templates will still require you to add your own text and additional graphic elements, so you'll still be investing some time, just a little less time than drawing each line of the picture from absolute zero.

You can also buy specialty ebook cover software from a number of web sites. I don't recommend this either. The software generally is a glorified set of templates, but gives you more choices and more freedom to change this and that. You will still have to do the work of designing your own cover.

If you do design your ebook cover art using free or purchased templates, or free or purchased software, you own the copyrights to the finished artwork and to anything else you design with the templates or programs.

Hiring An E-Book Cover Designer - The Best Option

To get the best results, I recommend that you hire a designer like Vaughan Davidson at Killer Covers to prepare your cover art. There are numerous reasons why this is a better option. When you hire a designer to create your ebook cover art, you will get the following benefits:

  1. You get full copyright and exclusive ownership of the finished artwork.
  2. Professionals with professional skills can turn around your project quickly. Sometimes in a matter of days.
  3. You avoid wasting time fighting with software to create your own artwork.
  4. Designers are familiar with what types of colors, fonts, and overall designs are better for marketability.
  5. An artist can likely also help you create matching graphics for your web page menus, headers, etc.

Artists who design ebook covers generally charge from $50 to $500. If your investment of, say, $100 results in an additional 100 ebook sales, wouldn't that be a good investment? YES! This is why I recommend professionally designed ebook cover art. The cost is completely offset with improved marketability and increased sales.

Cover Art Resources

A full set of resources for creating virtual covers for your e-book are listed on the Recommended Resources Page.

The Process of Book Editing

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RevisionsHere is the secret to self-publishing a book like a pro - editing!

Every great author has a an editor behind them helping to shape and refine their books for publication. One benefit provided by traditional publishing houses was that they connected each author they signed with an editorial team. It was one of many investments they made in an author to improve the chances of making a profit. Read the rest of this entry

How To Write A Profitable E-Book

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You know that writing a downloadable ebook is the plan for earning huge profits online, but it's you're having trouble getting started. The hardest part of writing is the first sentence. When you look at the whole project, it seems like an impossible task. That's why you have to break it down into manageable tasks. Think of climbing a mountain. You are standing at the foot of it and looking up at its summit vanishing into the clouds. How can you possibly scale such an immense and dangerous mountain?

There is only one way to climb a mountain: step by step.

Now think of writing your profitable E-Book in the same light. You must create it step by step, and one day, you will take that last step and find yourself standing on the summit with your head in the clouds.

The first thing you have to do, as if you actually were a mountain climber, is to get organized. Instead of climbing gear, however, you must organize your thoughts. There are some steps you should take before you begin. Once you've gone through the following list, you will be ready to actually begin writing your E-Book.

Beginning Steps to Writing a Profitable E-Book

First, figure out your E-Book's working title. Jot down a few different titles, and eventually, you'll find that one that will grow on you. Titles help you to focus your writing on your topic; they guide you in anticipating and answering your reader's queries. Many non-fiction books also have subtitles. Aim for clarity in your titles, but cleverness always helps to sell books as long as it's not too cute.

Next, write out a thesis statement. Your thesis is a sentence or two stating exactly what problem you are addressing and how your book will solve that problem. All chapters spring forth from your thesis statement. Once you've got your thesis statement fine-tuned, you've built your foundation. From that foundation, your book will grow, chapter by chapter.

Your thesis will keep you focused while you write your E-Book. Remember: all chapters must support your thesis statement. If they don't, they don't belong in your book. For example, your thesis statement could read: We've all experienced insomnia at times in our lives, but there are twenty proven techniques and methods to give you back a good night's sleep.

Once you have your thesis, before you start to write, make sure there is a good reason to write your book. Ask yourself some questions:

  • Does your book present useful information and is that information currently relevant?
  • Will you book positively affect the lives of your readers?
  • Is your book dynamic and will it keep the reader's attention?
  • Does you book answer questions that are meaningful and significant?

If you can answer yes to these questions, you can feel confident about the profit potential of your E-Book.

Another important step is to figure out who your target audience is. It is this group of people you will be writing to, and this group will dictate many elements of your book, such as style, tone, diction, and even length. Figure out the age range of your readers, their general gender, what they are most interested in, and even the socio-economic group they primarily come from. Are they people who read fashion magazines or book reviews? Do they write letters in longhand or spend hours every day online. The more you can pin down your target audience, the easier it will be to write your book for them.

Next, make a list of the reasons you are writing your E-Book. Do you want to promote your business? Do you want to bring quality traffic to your website? Do you want to enhance your reputation?

Then write down your goals in terms of publishing. Do you want to sell it as a product on your website and generate huge profits, or do you want to offer it as a free gift for filling out a survey or for ordering a product? Do you want to use the chapters to create an e-course, or use your E-Book to attract affiliates around the world? The more you know upfront, the easier the actual writing will be.

Decide on the format of your chapters. In non-fiction, keep the format from chapter to chapter fairly consistent. Perhaps you plan to use an introduction to your chapter topic, and then divide it into four subhead topics. Or you may plan to divide it into five parts, each one beginning with a relevant anecdote.

How to make your E-Book "user friendly"

You must figure out how to keep your writing engaging. Often anecdotes, testimonials, little stories, photos, graphs, advice, and tips will keep the reader turning the pages. Sidebars are useful for quick, accessible information, and they break up the density of the page.

Write with a casual, conversational tone rather than a formal tone such as textbook diction. Reader's respond to the feeling that you are having a conversation with them. Break up the length and structure of your sentences so you don’t hypnotize your readers into sleep. Sentences that are all the same length and structure tend to be a good aid for insomnia!

Good writing takes practice. It takes lots and lots of practice. Make a schedule to write at least a page a day. Read books and magazines about the process of writing, and jot down tips that jump out at you. The art of writing is a lifetime process; the more you write (and read), the better your writing will become. The better your writing becomes, the bigger your sales figures.

In an E-Book that is read on the screen, be aware that you must give your reader's eye a break. You can do this by utilizing white space. In art classes, white space is usually referred to as "negative space." Reader's eyes need to rest in the cool white oasis you create on your page. If your page is too dense, your reader will quit out of it as soon as their eyes begin to tear.

Make use of lists, both bulleted and numbered. This makes your information easy to absorb, and gives the reader a mental break from dissecting your paragraphs one after the other.

Finally, decide on an easy-to-read design. Find a font that's easy on the eyes, and stick to that font family. Using dozens of fonts will only tire your readers out before they've gotten past your introduction. Use at least one and a half line spacing, and text large enough to be read easily on the screen, but small enough so that the whole page can be seen on a computer screen. You will have to experiment with this to find the right combination.

Of course, don't forget to run a spell and grammar check. You are judged by something as minor as correct punctuation, so don’t mess up a great book by tossing out semicolons randomly, or stringing sentences together with commas. (By the way, that's called a "comma splice.")

Last of all: create an index and a bibliography. That's it! You've written a book! Now all you have to do is compile and publish your E-Book online, and wait for download request from your website visitors!

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