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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.

Ebooks are Magic?

Ebooks are a magical invention that lowers the barriers that have historically kept aspiring authors from publishing their work and connecting with an audience. Anyone with access to a computer and some free tools can easily create and distribute (for free or for profit) an ebook of their content. The results may be magical, but the process of making an ebook is not magic.

Creating an ebook is only slightly more involved than producing a document in a word processing program. In fact, your word processor is exactly where the whole process will start.

Step 1: Writing Your Ebook

For this article I am going to assume that you have already researched your topic and created an outline for your topic. If you need help with the planning phase of your writing, there are additional resources on this site to help you get going.

Open up your favorite word processor (Open Office, Microsoft Word, and Google Docs all work fine - I generally use Open Office). Paste in your outline and start fleshing out your ideas. If you aren't already in the habit, start using the styles options in your software to change the look of your paragraph headings instead of manually setting fonts and font styles and sizes. This will greatly speed up the formatting of your ebook later on.

Step 2: Creating a Virtual Cover

One critical factor that many aspiring ebook authors overlook is the need for a virtual cover for their ebook. People are visual by nature and they are used to browsing for books by looking at the covers. Amazon's online store prominently features cover graphics fro every book (and books that don't have them look cheap.)

A number of ecover resources are listed on the resources page to help you with this task if you are not a gifted graphic designer. You can also checkout this article on creating killer ebook covers.

Step 3: Format Your Ebook

Formatting your ebook is simply a matter of setting the fonts for your document, adding headers and footers to the pages, adding 'boilerplate content' like disclaimers and title pages, and creating a table of contents.

There are several articles on this site that will guide you through the design aspect of creating your ebook. Pick larger fonts without serifs for your main fonts - at least 14 pts. People will be reading your book off a screen and larger fonts reduce eye strain.

If you properly used the style tags in your word processor to set the fonts for your headers and main body text, the process of setting fonts and creating a table of contents can be done very quickly.

Add your cover graphic to the title page.

 Step 4: Exporting Your Ebook

The final phase making your ebook includes creating the final document from your wordprocessor to the appropriate format for delivery to your audience.

Most ebooks will be delivered as PDF (Portable Document Format) files which preserves the look of your original document and can be accessed on most computers and electronic book readers. Nearly all current word processors include an export to PDF option that works perfectly.

Avoid setting security passwords or printing restrictions on your PDF document. Thieves can easily get around them and they only serve to frustrate your valid readers. The only restriction I generally recommend is to prevent changes to the document.

PDF documents will also allow you to set a wide range of meta data about your ebook. You can publish without this information, but it is best to fill out as much detail as you can.

PDF files can be viewed on the Amazon Kindle, but if you want to sell your documents through the Kindle Store,  you will need to go through a few extra steps. Read the article on publishing your ebook on the Amazon Kindle for more details (the process isn't that hard!)

In the early days of the web people often used ebook compilers to create stand alone executable files that contained their ebook content. This is not recommended anymore. You will radically restrict the audience who can or will view this type of ebook.

Now That Your Ebook Is Made

That's it. Only 4 steps and the whole thing can be done with little or no investment in new tools (there are open source options for nearly everything - check the resources page.) So, don't let the process intimidate you. You can do this!

Once you have your ebook complete, it is time to focus on marketing and distribution.

If you have unanswered questions about how to make an ebook, please leave a comment below and include your question. We actively monitor the comments on this site and will get you the answers you need to accomplish your publishing goals.

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