Offering a free ebook on your blog is still the easiest way to gather emails in your sleep. People sign up to your list and they get the ebook as a free PDF in an email or instant download. Creating an ebook is not hard if you already have tons of blog posts. The trick is knowing which blog posts to use and then how to put them together to look like a great piece of digital content.
But wait; What is an ebook? Well, it’s essentially a digital book that anyone can read on a computer, a tablet or a phone. Sometimes they look like real books just digital and other times they are highly visual with lots of graphics and images. The direction you wish to take depends on you and your brand.
Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take to achieve the design of a great looking ebook you can give away (or sell) on your blog. Roll up your sleeves and let’s get to work!
Which blog posts to use
A good size for a free ebook is between 30 and 60 pages. Anything more than that is too long as a freebie. Might as well charge money for it if its longer than 100 pages. Depending on how many visuals you use per page, they can have anywhere from 300 to 500 words each. Let’s say your average blog post has 1500 words, then you would need to use around 6 to 10 blog posts to create an ebook.
Remember that you can also add or take away text, there are no rules saying that you have to keep the blog posts exactly as you published them.
To choose the actual blog posts you want to use, concentrate mainly on your categories. Which category has the most blog posts with the most views? Which of your blog posts offer the best content?
Select your best posts which follow a similar line or can be united with a bit more writing to make them flow together. Make a list on your notebook so you can keep track of what you will be doing next.
Getting the content organized
If you wrote your articles on Word or Google Docs first, then half the work is done for you. If you wrote straight into your blog then you will have to copy the text from there and into a document app.
Once you have all the text from all the blog posts in ONE document, it’s time to proofread the entire thing. Errors you might have missed the first time around, information that might be outdated, or links that are broken; those all need to be fixed.
Keep the title of each blog post as an H2 heading and use the document outline to be able to see everything as a whole. These titles will probably also need a spruce up so they fit better together. These will essentially be the chapter titles which will then make up the Table of Contents.
You can use the same images you used in your blog posts originally but it wouldn’t hurt to improve on them a little. Consider creating some graphics like charts or small infographics to visualize the information you are presenting in the book. Turn bullet lists into tables or processes into flowcharts.
You can choose a tool like Visme to create these graphics or create them while putting the ebook together. Visme is also a great tool to build the book if you want to have complete control over how the pages look. I’ll give you more suggestions in the next section.
For images, you can use stock photography but make sure to edit it somehow so it doesn’t look like all the other versions of that same photo somewhere else. A great site for good looking images is rawpixel.
Putting the ebook together
Now that you have your content and your visuals, it’s time to put the book together.
Here are some tools you can use:
Some of these have great templates that can help you get started with your ebook. If templates are not your jam, just use a blank canvas.
Depending on if you will use a template or a blank canvas, here is a great tip to keep the copying and pasting on track and avoid duplicating paragraphs. When you copy text into the ebook maker, change the color of the font in the original document. That way you will know what you have already copied into the ebook pages.
When putting the pages of your ebook together you need to maintain a visual balance. Keep to a color palette (your brand palette would be the obvious choice). Use no more than two fonts (better if it’s your brand fonts). Use a grid to keep sections aligned, maintain an equal margin on every single page.
Make sure the pages flow visually from one to the other, it’s the only way your readers will actually pay attention to your content.
After you’ve put all the content into the design, leave it for a day or two. Getting away from it will give you a better understanding of what it should look like. If you want a second opinion, show the draft to a friend or colleage.
After the pages are finished, it’s time to add a Table of Contents, an author bio and the cover. In the ebook the right order would be:
- Table of Contents
- Author Bio
When all those pages are added, that’s when you should place page numbers on the pages, starting with the first chapter. After adding the pages, insert them accordingly in the Table of Contents.
Once the design is finished, download the ebook as a pdf. You can share it that way or make it into an .epub so your readers can see it on their Kindles too.
You know you want to pin this!
Are you ready to make your own ebook now? Let us know in the comments if you have any questions! If you’ve made one already, can you give our readers some tips?