Are you considering writing, publishing, and selling (or distributing) your very own eBook guide? If so, then this entire section is for you! This in fact is an “eBook” published in an online format.
This guide will tell you all you need to know about how to write, publish, market, and sell your very own eBooks for free! That’s right, this book could easily be sold for a lot of money, but over the next few pages, you will be able to read all of this information at no charge.
I hope you enjoy this guide, and if you find it helpful, please let others know by mentioning this site to others. I always appreciate any links or “facebook likes” to this site.
Here are the table of contents for this eBook:
- How to Write an eBook: Introduction
- Reasons to Write an eBook
- Preparing to Write an eBook
- Best Word Processor for eBooks
- How to Add Pictures or Screenshots in Your eBook
- Checking Grammar and Spelling in eBooks
- How to Add Links, References, and Footnotes to Your eBook
- Proofreading and Finishing Your eBook
- Convert Your eBook into PDF Format
- How to Get an ISBN for an eBook
- How to Copyright an eBook
- Best Ways to Sell eBooks
- How to Allow Digital Download of Your eBook
- Gimp Book Cover Image (creating an eBook Cover)
I would like to thank you very much for reading this guide and visiting this site. This guide is written in a way that assumes the reader knows very little (or nothing) about how to write an e-Book. After struggling to finish writing my first “how-to” e-Book guide, I realized that there are a lot of things that a beginner will struggle with when writing their first e-Book. Things such as how to actually write an e-Book, what is the best format, how to set up a website & allow instant download, how & where to sell & market the guide, etc.
Unfortunately, it was very difficult for me to find all of this information. I tried several books at the library, spent days & hours searching for different things online, and I could never find one great source or one e-Book that had all the answers I needed. I had to learn everything one step at a time, and consequently, it took a significant amount of time to finish my guide.
That is my primary motivation for writing this guide. I wanted to take everything that took me weeks of trial & error to learn & condense it into one helpful guide that contained everything necessary to write, upload, digitally delivery, & make money from e-Books. I specifically wanted to write about this topic because I felt very strongly about the future potential of e-Books to help people earn a living & share their talents & knowledge with the world.
You have made a great decision by reading this guide because you are going to save several hours, days, or weeks of online searches & digging. Instead, you can go to work immediately on your new project, and you will always have this guide as a reference. I wish you the very best of luck with your ventures!
An e-Book is simply a written document that has been converted to some kind of electronic or digital format (hence, it is an “electronic” book). At this very moment, you are reading an e-Book. They are typically called “books,” but they can just as easily be created in the same manner & called a newsletter, instruction guide, or anything else you want to call it.
There are different ways you can create e-Books (and different reasons why you may want to create one). Most commonly, you will write the e-Book using a word processor (such as Microsoft Word, Open Office, or WordPerfect). Then you convert the e-Book to a file format that is more widely accepted so that it can be viewed by a large audience. PDF’s are the most common format that you will find because almost every computer comes with a free PDF reader installed. Also, you can always download free PDF readers from a reliable website such as Adobe.com. However, I will discuss more about the formats & how to convert your guide in a later chapter.
What is the big deal about e-Books?
E-Books are the future! The e-Book industry is huge, and it is only going to get bigger. Almost every “real” book that is published today is also available for purchase online in e-Book format by either the publisher or an e-Book website. College textbooks usually cost around $100-$200 per “real” book. However, now even college textbook publishers are offering students the opportunity to buy e-Book formats for about half the price.
Why are e-Books so popular? The reason is that information is very valuable, and it sells well. After all, you have probably heard the saying that “knowledge is power.” That is absolutely true. Just right now, I can guarantee that there is a piece of knowledge somewhere in the world, that if you could learn & act upon that knowledge, you could change your life (or the world). For example, the cure for many diseases could be learned-that could save lives. Or there is some amazing business venture, stock tip, or invention idea, that if you knew about it & acted on it today, you could make millions. Crazy thought huh? It is absolutely true.
To demonstrate the value of knowledge, I am often reminded of a story I once heard about an engineer. An engineer named Jim once worked at a company with his partner Chuck. After several years, Jim & his partner had several differences in opinions & Jim decided to leave the company.
Chuck continued to manage the business & everything went well. Until one day an air conditioning unit broke down in large five star hotel. The customers were complaining, & Chuck’s engineering team worked for hours & could not find the problem.
Reluctantly, Chuck decided to call on his old engineering partner, Jim. He told Jim that he really needed his help, regardless of the price. Jim agreed to help his old partner.
When Jim arrived, Chuck had his engineering team follow Jim around to find out how he fixed it. As Jim walked around the hotel, he studied the air conditioning system & asked several questions to the engineer team. After a few hours Jim stopped, took out a piece of chalk, and marked an “X” on a component.
“Replace this,” Jim told the engineers, & Jim left. A few days later, Chuck received Jim’s bill for his service. It was a whopping $50,000. Chuck couldn’t believe it! Infuriated by the outrageous fee, Chuck immediately contacted Jim demanding he send an invoice with each cost itemized. Jim promptly responded with an invoice that read:
- Piece of chalk…………………………..$1.00
- Knowing where to put it…..$49,999.00
I always liked that story. I thought it was funny, but at the same time, we all know it has truth in it as well. Knowledge sells. Knowledge is valuable. E-Books offer a way to distribute & share any type of information or knowledge in a revolutionary way. Let’s briefly look at all the benefits of using e-Books:
From the author’s perspective: If you make an error or decide to change or alter the book, you do it with a click of the mouse & save it. There is no need to have a huge pile of book inventories to manage or ship. Instead, you have unlimited digital inventory that never needs restocking.
Also, you don’t have to try to “sell” your book idea to publishing companies, meaning you can cut out the middleman. You get paid every time you make a sell a copy, keep more profits, decide how much to charge, where to sell it, and much more. In other words, you have complete control & freedom to share your talents or knowledge with the world.
From the buyer’s perspective: They can download & view e-Books instantly (no waiting for a real book to come in the mail). They can save money by purchasing e-Books, because most e-Books are packed full of inside information that you can’t find in regular books. If the customer had to pay someone a consulting fee for this information (or attend a seminar or class), it would cost hundreds. Instead, e-Books almost always cost less than $50-$100 and they contain rich, important, and relevant information about a topic.
Reasons to Write and Publish an e-Book
As you can see, e-Books are going to be used even more & more commonly in the future. If you have not yet thrown yourself into the “e-Book” game, you need to get started! Money is one very obvious reason to write an e-Book, but there are several other reasons to write one. I’ll briefly cover some clever reasons on why you should write an e-Book, starting with the most obvious reason–money!
- You can make money– and sometimes a lot of it! Everyone has some knowledge on how to do something that is not commonly known. Or, you can write your own life’s story, a collection of poems, a novel, etc. You can then sell this information to people who are interested in your product. Many entrepreneurs & authors make a very comfortable living doing this. Always remember that you have the option of converting your e-Book into a real book at any time you wish! And not every e-Book you write has to be expensive. I have written simple 5-10 page e-Book guides on how to do something very simple & basic that I have successfully sold for as little as $2.99. You can sell it for any price you want. Most e-Books sell from $1.00-$100 depending on the quantity & quality of the information.
- You can build your reputation as an expert in a given field. For example, lets say you are a savvy computer programmer. You can write a book on programming or some simple tips on computer coding. I once read a story about a guy named Marshall Brain who wrote a “real” book about a certain type of computer programming. This programming language was relatively new, and became very popular in a short amount of time. As a result, he started getting calls from people who purchased his book asking for additional consulting advice. Marshall & his friend started a consulting business, and as a result became millionaires in only a few years. Establishing yourself as an expert or sharing knowledge can pay off nicely.
- Building website traffic–If you have a website or blog that offers general content or products for sale, then you probably will want drive traffic and/or monetize it with a pay-per-click company such as Google Adsense. If you want to drive more traffic to your site ( more traffic= more money), then you can write a simple “how-to” e-Book & distribute it for free (or extremely cheap). You can place links to your website throughout the guide, and tell the reader that they should refer to your website archive/articles for more information. You can sell it on eBay, and even offer resell rights if you really want to spread the e-Book & generate a lot of traffic. However, if you use this strategy, I would not offer too much information. Most e-Books that sell for less than $10 are either really short, really outdated, or really worthless (you get what you pay for). Anyway, this can really build a steady stream of traffic & increase your earnings.
- You can build your affiliate income. Another strategy of making money with e-Books is to place affiliate links inside the e-Book that relate to the material. In case you didn’t know, most major companies on the web will have what is called an affiliate program. An affiliate program is simply a program that a company (such as Amazon.com, eBay, Google, etc.) will use to help build their business. Usually, they give you money based on an action. EBay pays if you get people to sign up for an account, or if they bid on an item & you referred them. Amazon pays a percentage of purchases that were referred by you, etc. To join these accounts, you simply go to the company, fill out a basic application, and you are usually accepted instantly. You then earn money every time a person completes a certain action through your referral link (such as making a purchase or signing up with the company). Let me give you an example. Let’s say you have been successful with the Google Adsense program. You decide you want to write a guide on how to make money with Google Adsense. What you can do is log into your Adsense account & generate a referral link like this: Make money with Adsense & include the link several times in your guide. If a person clicks the link & signs up, you will make money from it. Sounds simple enough, right! As you can imagine the possibilities are endless with what you can do.
- Use an e-Book as an instruction guide. Let’s say you have a product that you want to sell that doesn’t have anything to do with e-Books. For this example, let’s say you made a website template & you are selling it. What you can do is offer a downloadable e-Book that contains the instructions on how to use or install the template. Or you sell a phone battery kit. Give a free instructional e-Book on how to install the new battery. This can increase customer satisfaction & ensure they know how to install or use your product.
- Use an e-Book as a promotion or bonus! Another great use for an e-Book is to increase your sales by using it as a promotion tool. If you sell an item, offer a free e-Book with it & it may increase your profits. Or, throw an e-Book in as a special bonus or free gift. Everyone loves free right? Even if you are selling e-Books, offer complimentary e-Books to go with it as a free gift. This gives the buyer an incentive to buy the product.
As you can see, the possibilities are almost endless. Not only can you use e-Books to generate a steady passive income in a variety of ways, but you can also use them to help sell other products, establish yourself as an expert, or to increase the customer satisfaction/assistance process.
Basically, if you are involved with the internet in any way, you should know how to leverage the power of e-Books to help you achieve whatever you want to achieve. Even if you do not want to sell your e-Book online, you can write your first “real” book in e-Book format. That will make it simple to revise your work & distribute it to publishing companies.
Choosing a topic for your e-Book
Whew! Well you made it through the first chapter! Now you should understand a few basic ideas about e-Books & how they can help you with your writings & entrepreneurial ventures. Now I will start getting in to the mechanics of writing an e-Book. We will get into the real “meat & bones” of actually selling the e-Book in later chapters. First, I would like to cover a few basics of how to get started writing, and tips to help you pick a topic & stay on track.
I assume that since you are viewing this guide, you probably already have an idea for writing an e-Book (or at least have an interest in how it works). But if you do not have an idea, or want a few tips with coming up with an idea for a second or third e-Book, then this section can help you.
You can write an e-Book about any topic in the world that you want to write about. As long as it is not something illegal or you are copying someone else’s work, then the sky is the limit. Do you know how to do something unique? Have you excelled at something? Have you had special experience or training in a certain field? Have you experienced a tragedy or illness in your life & want to help others overcome it? Have you figured out a loophole or business tip that you can write about? Do you have a rare passion about something? How about some delicious home-made recipes?
Any of these things can be a great subject for an e-Book to cover. Of course, you can write a fiction story, poetry, or anything else as well. Again, you can write about anything that you want to write about.
I will offer one suggestion, however. Find something that interests you, but also can help others. Don’t make the mistake of writing a junk e-Book to try & make a quick buck. You may be able to sell a few copies, but I can promise you that it will not turn out to be a huge success. Find something that interests you first, something you can write with passion or interest, and then try & find out how you can put information about that topic into an e-Book so that it can provide value to others. Then proceed to write the e-Book. If you write about the topics thoroughly, and cover what you advertised you would cover, I guarantee your e-Book will be more successful.
When you are trying to come up with an idea for an e-Book, stick to things that you know how to do, enjoy doing, or that at least interest you. That doesn’t necessarily mean you know absolutely everything there is to know about the subject. Does a person writing a history book know everything about the history of the world? No, they do not. I do not know everything, and you will not know everything about the topic you will write about either. The key is to write about something that you know very well, and you can supplement the rest of your writing after doing research.
Another thing you want to consider when choosing your topic is the marketability of your guide. Who is your main target audience? Does it have mass appeal? Is your topic going to be outdated in 6 months from now, or will it still be relevant 30 years from now? Are there other e-Books already on the market that cover the same material? Is there a demand for this kind of information? These are all relevant things you want to consider when choosing a topic.
For example, if you write a guide on how to use Microsoft Excel 2007, that guide will be outdated when the next version of Microsoft Excel is released. That does not mean you should not write about it. It just means that your time will be limited, and you should adjust your expectations according. It may very well be worth your time to write a guide on Microsoft Excel 2007, even if they came out with a new version the next year because you can sell it for that entire year, and you still may sell a few copies for a few years after that to people who use the older version of the software.
Again, even if you have a small market, the guide will be outdated within a year, and there are a ton of e-Books on the market already on the same subject, does not mean that you can’t be successful. I do not want to discourage your ideas in any way. If there is something out there already, you can make it better! Just keep all of those things in mind when coming up with a topic. Obviously, it would be best to pick a topic that has a large market, little or no competition, and it will not be outdated for the next several years. That way, you can enjoy greater success & a passive income for a much longer period of time.
Making Notes & a Rough Outline
After you have chosen a topic to write about, you can start making notes & a rough outline. Outlines & notes can be your best friend when you are writing an e-Book. You don’t have to follow any specific procedures. Here is how I usually do this process. I start jotting down all of the topics I want to cover in a rough outline format. By this I mean I would make a heading (usually the chapter title), and then jot down sub-topics that I could talk about (usually the sub-headings). I try to leave space between each heading & subheading so that I can jot down a few notes & ideas.
This process can take up to an entire day just for the outline. I keep a notebook & pencil on my desk at all times during this process. I will keep reading over the outline & try to think of any other material I need to cover. If I get a new idea, or realize that I missed something, I quickly jot it down on my notebook before I forget.
Making notes & a rough outline can really help. I have noticed from my own personal experience that the more detailed I make my outline & notes, the easier it is to write the e-Book. I can stay focused & I keep my ideas together as I write. This is a great thing for me, because I have a tendency to write a few sentences, then minimize the screen & check my emails, sales accounts, and then go get a drink of water, etc. (I think I may have a touch of attention deficit disorder or something =)). After you have made your detailed outline & jotted down some notes & ideas about your e-Book, you can begin researching any additional information you need to include or talk about.
Researching Information to Include in Your eBook
Adding supplemental research is a great way to fill any gaps of information you do not know about already. For example, let’s say you decide to write a book about how to make a website. Now, you may know how to make a website, but perhaps you have only done it one way & there are several ways it can be done. So to make your guide more complete, you can perform some research & find other methods or techniques of doing it (or at least briefly mention them). You can also find out things such as other website hosting companies that are reliable for website hosting so you can recommend more than just the one you use.
This is something that many authors will do when writing. A good example is someone writing a biography. They will typically gather information from various resources (sometimes even other authors).
So what exactly is “research?” When I am talking about research, I mean browsing online, reviewing books that have information you lack, and consulting people who know about anything you do not know about. You can then make more informed suggestions, or even give some of the steps of how it works in your own words.
I do not mean go & copy someone’s copyrighted work & pretend like it is your own. That is wrong & illegal. Instead, I mean gathering general information so that you can make your e-Book more complete. If you ever need to include very specific information or sources, then you could request permission from the author, or publishing company to paraphrase and include them in your references.
You must be very careful about ever using copyrighted work. It is a serious crime to use someone’s own work without their permission. That is why I recommend you know as much about the topic as possible. If you need to fill in information, you can perform research. However, do not violate a copyright, and make sure the information you are writing about is your original ideas. I will discuss more about copyrights & laws in a later chapter.
Gathering Pictures for Your eBook
Another process in preparing your e-Book is gathering any pictures you may want to use. If you already know that you will use certain pictures, it is a good idea to gather them & put them together for later use. However, you may want to get certain pictures as you write (such as screen shots).
Pictures can be a great way to give your reader a better understanding, especially if it is a “how-to” type of guide. In my first e-Book, I had literally no pictures (except a very basic & amateur looking cover on the first page). As I have learned more & more about writing e-Books, I have learned that pictures really add a great deal of quality. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and a picture is much easier on the eyes than trying to read 1,000 words.
You can include photos of anything relevant to your e-Book. For example, assume you want to write a guide on knitting certain patterns. It would be a great idea to show each stitching pattern in step-by-step pictures. You can include computer screen shots, pictures of specific steps, pictures of you or your family, and anything that can add value to your guide.
Thus far, I have not inserted any pictures in this guide (except for the cover graphic) because I am covering basic information. However, soon you will start to see various screen shots & other pictures as I go into more & more detail. I think you will see how these really help you to understand the material when I am describing a certain process. I will also be describing how I get those screen shots & other pictures & how to insert them into your e-Book quickly & easily. Again, this is a great way to add a more professional look, while giving the reader better insight.
Organizing Your eBook Guide
You can begin to organize & prepare your e-Book for writing after you have assembled an outline, notes, pictures, & research/reference articles. If you have spent adequate time preparing for your e-Book, then writing it is simply a matter of “doing it.” It will go by fairly quickly. It is a good idea to go over the outline, & brainstorm for any additional topics, points, or processes that you wanted to cover.
Again, you do not have to follow my way of doing it. I am merely describing how I do it because it has worked well for me. You are free to choose any method of preparation you wish. I would advise you, however, to spend a good deal of time thinking & scribbling ideas before you jump into the project. A general does not send out his troops without a battle plan, and you shouldn’t tackle an e-Book project without at least gathering ideas & organizing them in an effective way. Even if it takes you an entire day or more to come up with this, it can save time in the long run & help you while you are writing.
Choosing a Word Processor to Develop Your eBook
When you are ready to start typing your e-Book, you should select a word processor. A word processor is simply some type of software application that allows you to type, modify, and format text (in electronic format). There are several popular word processors that you can use to write your e-Book, and many times you will have at least one word processor already installed on your computer (depending upon the operating system you have). I will briefly discuss some of the most popular brands below. Any of these word processing applications will work well, and you can use any one of them that you prefer (it doesn’t have to be one of the examples listed below).
Popular Word Processor Applications: Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, Microsoft Works, WordPad, OpenOffice Writer, and Google Docs.
Microsoft Word– This is a very well-known word processing application. It does not usually come pre-installed on computers (unless you upgraded to this version). It typically comes with the Microsoft Office package, although it can be purchased separately. The cost can range from $89.99-$199.99. If you decide to purchase this software, you can find it at most retail stores or online. For more information about the software, visit Microsoft.com.
- Pros- It is well-known, with a familiar interface.
- Cons– If you do not have it installed, it will cost money to buy the program. It also does not have a built-in PDF maker (unless it is the newest 2007 version or newer).
WordPerfect- This is also a well-known processing application & it is somewhat similar to Microsoft Word. It also costs money (although many computers may have this one installed already). The cost is usually much less expensive than Microsoft Word, at around $59.99-$99.99. One of the benefits is that it usually has a built-in PDF maker. This helps when you convert your guide to a PDF (as described later). If you decide to purchase this software, you can find it online at Corel.com.
- Pros– It is also well-known, with a familiar interface. It may be installed on your computer. It also usually has a built-in PDF maker.
- Cons– Costs money if you do not already have it installed on your computer.
Microsoft Works & WordPad– These are less-sophisticated applications when compared to the software choices above. They have basic features, and usually one (or both) will come installed free on a typical Microsoft operating system. These can also be used to create an e-Book, although they may lack in some features. They do not tend to have built-in PDF converters.
- Pros– They are usually installed free on most PC’s.
- Cons– They do not typically have built-in PDF converters. They are much more simple applications that may lack desired features & effects that other processors use.
OpenOffice Writer– OpenOffice Writer is a free word processor application that you can download for free online. It has similar features to that of other more expensive processors (such as WordPerftect & Word). It also contains a built-in PDF converter that allows you to publish your document to PDF format.
- Pros- This is a free application that has many comparable features to the Microsoft Office suite. It also allows you to publish to PDF.
- Cons- It takes time to download onto you PC, has most features of other software but not all features.
Google Docs– Google Docs is a program that allows you to create spreadsheets, documents, presentations & more online. This is great for creating quick documents. It also has built-in PDF maker. The only problem is that you must be online, and you may be limited in the file sizes you are able to create (or publish to PDF). To access this free program, just visit docs.google.com.
- Pros– Great resource of applications that are free, and do not require a download. Google is a very reliable company.
- Cons– You may be limited on your file size, must stay connected to the web, and it does not have many robust features that can add quality to your e-Book (such as templates, tables, & more).
Again, any word processor will work. You do not have to have the best or most expensive application to create an e-Book. You can use any of the paid or free resources mentioned above. It is generally best to use a word processor with a built-in PDF maker, however, it is not required & I will go over the PDF converting process in a later chapter. Having a built-in PDF maker makes your life much easier if you ever need to make a correction & then re-convert to a PDF format. The important thing is to remember that when choosing you word processor, weigh the pros & cons of each option. Choose the application that you feel most comfortable using.
Also, if you aren’t familiar with using word processors at all, there are entire books dedicated to the subject. You can usually find a book for free at your local library (for example on how to use Microsoft Word). However, I will go over the basics of how to use a word processor to write your e-Book. Just keep in mind that there are other great resources if you need them.
Using a Word Processor for Your eBook
After you select a word processor, you can begin setting the margins, formatting, etc. This process may vary slightly depending on which word processor you use (also keep in mind that if you are using a free or less sophisticated application, some of these features may not be available). Here are some things you will want to “format” before you begin typing your first words: Margins, any background templates or borders (if any), header/footer (if any), font size & color, and paragraph & line spacing format. Choose these things wisely because this will directly impact the finished appearance of your e-Book.
I will now briefly show you how you can set each one of these properties. For this example, I will be using WordPerfect as a word processor (which is what I used to write this e-Book). This process will be very similar to other word processors that you may use.
First, I created a new document by going to the upper left-hand corner & selecting File–>New. This creates a blank document that you can use to write your e-Book.
Next, I set the margins. To do this, I select File–> Page Setup. I then set the page margins to the desired setting as pictured below. For most of my e-Books, I use 1″ margins on all sides and set the page format to “portrait.” Then select, “OK.”
After the margins are adjusted, I adjust the font color & size. To do this, click on Format–> Font. I then select the color, size, and style of the font (as pictured below) and select “ok.” For this guide I used Times New Roman style, with 13 font size, and black text.
Next, you can adjust your paragraph formatting. To do this, simply click on Format–> Paragraph–> Format. You will then be able to set the indent & paragraph spacing to your preference. For this guide (in it’s PDF format), I used a 0.400″ indent with 1.5″ spacing.
You can then adjust your line spacing in the same way as pictured below. Select Format–> Line –> Spacing. You can also adjust the height of the line and other things if you wish.
Next, you can insert a header or footer. This is optional, of course, and you can insert anything you want (such as a copyright notice, website address, name, or anything else). To do this, just go to Insert –>Header/Footer –> then select which one (a header or footer) and type your message. Then, you will see a header & footer on each page.
Another option you have is to insert either a border or a basic background template. This is something you can do to give your e-Book a better appearance. To do this, go to Format –> Page –> Border/Fill. You can then select various lines & shadows to create any style you want to use.
For this e-Book, I simply used a line border with a drop shadow. It only took a few seconds to create this & I like it because it is simple, not too busy or colorful, and it frames the text nicely. As you can see in the picture above, you can create all kinds of different borders, lines, colors, and shadows. Feel free to experiment around with the different styles & pick a style that you feel is appropriate.
In addition to the background page borders, you can also insert lines, tables, images, and other objects (if your word processor allows it). For example, let’s say you want to insert a table. Tables are good for inserting tabular data, or to display images along side of text, or to keep text separated.
To create a table, you simple use the table tool. You can either click on the table icon shortcut on the toolbar, or select Table–> Create from the tab menus. You can create as many rows or columns as necessary. You can also change the color of the tables, and the width & height of each cell. Again, tables are great for displaying tabular data, or if you want to insert a picture inside of a paragraph.
Horizontal lines can also be easily added. Just simply go Insert–> Line–> Horizontal Line. This can be a useful feature to separate text nicely.
You can make the line any thickness, or color that you would like. This is great if you want to separate a paragraph or group of images.
Images are also something you may want to add in your e-Book. Adding an image (or creating an image) is really simple & only takes a few seconds. First, I will tell you how to easily insert an image that you already have saved into your document. Then, I will show you an easy way to take images & screenshots from your computer.
To add an image that you already have saved on your computer, simply click in Insert–> Graphics (also may be called pictures or images)–> From File. You will then select the picture you want to insert by locating it on your computer. Then click insert. This will insert the picture into your document. You can then change the size, adjust the location (left, center, or right), or write a caption about the image.
To change the size of a picture, you can click the picture with your mouse. This will select the picture. You can then drag the picture to the size you want by clicking on the corner & dragging the picture with your cursor until it is the desired size.
Another way you can resize the picture is by placing your cursor over the picture & right clicking the mouse. Then select “image tools” (may also be called picture properties in other word processors). You can then change the pictures size. Depending on the word processor you are using, you can also usually adjust the alignment, add a border, and other things.
How to Capture & Insert Screenshots for Your eBook
It can be helpful to include screenshots when you are writing your e-Book. A screenshot is simply a picture of something that is on your computer screen. The pictures you see below are screenshots of how to do certain things on your computer (such as insert a picture, etc).
I see people using screenshots on their blogs, eBooks, and so forth all the time. Even large websites such as eBay.com, CNN, Google, and others utilize screenshots for tutorials and so forth.
Using screenshots is extremely simple. I will walk you through the steps of how to quickly & easily capture & edit screenshots using Microsoft Paint.
Microsoft Paint is a free graphics program that comes with Microsoft operating systems. If you do not have Microsoft Paint, you can use just about any kind of photo editing or drawing/graphics software. You can download OpenOffice.org’s Draw software for free. There are also other free applications you can find online just by searching on Google.
To take a screenshot, make sure you have your computer screen on the page, file, folder, software, or whatever–that you plan on using in your screenshot.
Next, find the button on your computer keyboard labeled “Print Screen.” It may also be abbreviated as Prt Scr. It is usually located towards the top right section of your keyboard.
When you are ready to take a snapshot of your computer screen, simply hit that button. When you hit the button, it copies the screen (although it may appear as if nothing happened).
Next, you will want to open up the Microsoft Paint program (or any program you are using). To find paint, you usually select the following sequence of keys on your computer: Start–> All Programs–> Accessories–> Paint.
After you open up the Paint program, select the edit box, right click on the white blank Paint window, and select “Paste” as pictured below. This will then paste the entire screenshot into Paint. (NOTE: If it the screenshot is not copied into Paint, you may want try again by pressing either the ALT key or the CTRL key while you press the Print Screen button. However, usually this is not required and pressing the Prt Scr button is all you need to do)
After you have copied your screenshot into Paint, you can save the entire screenshot, edit the screenshot, or do anything you would like to do with it. Many times, I do not use the entire screenshot. Instead, I will cut out a portion of the screenshot & save it (just like the picture above of Paint). Here is how I do this:
First, I copy the entire screenshot into Paint as I described above by clicking “paste.” This will paste the entire screenshot into paint. Most people don’t usually post entire shot of the whole screen. Instead, they like to zoom into the important part (such as a button, file, image, etc.).
Since I didn’t need the entire Microsoft Paint screenshot for the example, I cut out the portion I needed. I did this by selecting the edit box. I then pressed the right mouse key, and drew the edit box around the portion I wanted to save.
After I used the edit box to draw a box around the portion I wanted to use for my screenshot (as shown above by the small blue dotted line), I right clicked & selected copy. When I did that, it copied that small box. I then went up to the menus at the top & selected File–>New.
It asked if I wanted to save the changes to “untitled document.” I selected no, and then it brought up a new white blank screen in Paint. Then, I selected the edit box again, right clicked on the screen, and selected “paste.” After I did this, it pasted only the small box I needed to use as shown in the picture below.
After I copied this box into paint as shown above, I then drew lines with arrows and wrote the text. You can also add or draw anything you want. You can make a large arrow, write something, copy another picture, or anything.
When you are finished editing your picture, point your cursor to the lower right hand section of the white background. Here you will see a small blue box on the edge that you can select with your cursor & drag it until it only included the portion of the picture you want is visible. Remember to select the blue box above with your cursor & drag the window until there is no white background. If you leave excess white area in the background, it will also be shown when you save the picture. So to save only the part of the picture you want, make sure to drag the plain white background up to the point to where you want the picture to be saved.
When you are ready to save the picture, simply click File–> Save As. You will then be able to select a location, file name, & file type format option. It is important to save you image in a location where you can easily find it. I usually save it to my desktop. Then I usually name the image something like “image 1.” After that, you simply select the file format & click the “save” button as pictured below:
When you select a file type, you should choose a type that will offer good quality at the lowest possible file size. I usually save all of my pictures as either a GIF or PNG format. JPEG & Bitmap usually offer great quality, but the file size is very large. PNG usually offers great quality at a reduced file size. GIF can distort images if they contain a lot of colors, but this is also a good format for a low file size. The images were saved in PNG format.
Choosing a correct format is VERY important whether you are using screenshots or pictures from your camera. Again, you want you pictures to look great, but at the same time you must try to keep your file sizes low. You can try saving your picture in each format to see how it looks each time. Start with the best formats (JPEG, BMP) and then save in the other formats (PNG & GIF). Then compare each picture’s quality & file size.
You can view the file size by selecting the file, right clicking, and select “properties.” Choose the picture format that has a great appearance, but lowest file size. By keeping your file sizes low, it will reduce the overall size of your e-Book. You need to minimize the e-Book size because you want to offer fast downloads, and save on your website bandwidth.
After you save the image & choose the file type, you can insert the image into the e-Book by following the same steps outlined at the beginning of this section. Images & screenshots are an easy way to add quality to your e-Book & help explain your material. It may seem complicated at first, but once you do it a couple of times it is as simple as tying your shoes!
Your eBook Writing Style
Now that you know the basics about using a word processor, you can begin the task of actually writing your e-Book. This chapter will deal with some basic tips on your writing style, grammar, punctuation, editing, and more. Now, before I cover this material I have a confession to make…I am a lousy writer! Yes, I admit it. English was not my favorite subject in school, and I usually averaged a “B” grade on my school papers. You may also be a lousy writer, but I am here to tell you that it doesn’t matter! You can still write an e-Book & successfully sell it and profit from it.
I feel that the most important thing about writing an e-Book is that it communicates important & relevant information to the reader in a way that the reader can understand. With that being said, it does not have to be perfect.
I have read e-Books by authors that have sold thousands and thousands of copies online. I can tell you first-hand that they contained spelling errors, run-on sentences, and about every other error you can imagine. Even most textbooks I used in school had at least one error. So perfection is not necessary, but comprehension & coherency is necessary.
This simply means that your reader should be able to understand the material & read it in a way where it makes sense. If your grammar & sentence structure confuses or frustrates your reader, your e-Book probably needs to be edited by someone with more talent in that area.
Even if you need to get help with the editing of your e-Book, try to maintain your own unique writing style. After all, this is your e-Book, so it should be an expression of you. Let your own phrases, words, and style come through in your writing. I don’t know about you, but I get bored reading the same kind of writing styles over & over again. It is always a relief to find a more creative or humorous style when I read a book. It makes me feel as if I know the author’s personality. Anyway, the point I am trying to make here is simply that I recommend you use your own creative writing style when you write your e-Book.
Using Correct Grammar & Writing Habits for eBooks
As I mentioned before, your e-Book should be readable. This means you need to use proper sentence structure, capitalization, and spelling. If you do not use grammar very well, then there are books you can get from the library free of charge that can give you the basics on proper grammar. Since there are entire books dedicated to this subject, and since I am no expert on this myself, I will not go into too much detail about grammar. However, here are a few basics writing tips that can help you with your writing:
- Capitalize the first word in each sentence, and all proper names, companies, etc.
- Make complete sentences. Avoid using sentences that are incomplete, or sentences that continue to run on & on & on & on without a proper break.
- Use the same tense in the same sentence. For example, don’t use present tense in the first part of the sentence & then switch to past tense towards the end.
- Try not to end your sentence with a preposition (such as of, for, from, etc.). I have no idea why anyone would want to do that for!
- Try to avoid using a double negative. For example: You shouldn’t do that because it isn’t good.
- Separate new ideas into paragraphs. If you change ideas or begin a new topic, don’t be afraid to make it into a new paragraph.
- Make paragraphs relatively small. This isn’t usually what you are taught in school. But I have found that on web sites & e-Books, it is much easier for the reader if you break text into shorter paragraphs. I think the reason is most people skim & scan when they read. So it really helps them to have several short paragraphs instead of a couple of long paragraphs.
- Transition your paragraphs & sentences. Try to avoid going from one idea into a completely new idea. Instead, make a transition sentence on the last sentence of the paragraph that relates to the new idea you are going to introduce in the next paragraph.
- Avoid any slanderous, racial, offensive, cursing, or violent words or sentences. I never use curse words in any of my writing because I don’t use them in my personal life either. However, even if you do curse, try not to involve that in your writing because it could offend some people.
- Organize your e-Book in a logical way that makes sense. This means start at the beginning & stop at the end. If you write a book about the alphabet, don’t start at a, then go to f, then back to b, etc. Instead, start at the letter “a” and end at the letter “z.” Your e-Book should follow a consistent flow pattern of information.
- Try to keep your sentences to the point. Don’t use too many words to make your e-Book appear longer than it should be. Instead, come out & go directly to the point.
- Stay on topic! Again, if you wonder from point to point without following a good organizational pattern, the book will be confusing. Instead, break down your topics & organize them in a way that makes sense. Then focus only on that topic while you are writing about it.
- Make your writing “dummy” proof. For example, if you are writing a “how-to” guide, try to write it as if the person does not know anything about it. Try to go step-by-step so it can be easily understood by anyone at any level.
- Try to stick with a simple vocabulary. Obviously, if you use large, complex words in every sentence, some people may not have a clue what you are saying. If you make your vocabulary very basic, it will be understood by more of your readers.
- Try to avoid redundancy. Do not repeat things over & over. It is fine to stress something a couple of times, but do not repeat the same sentence or idea it too often.
- Save your work!!! This is EXTREMELY important. Save your work often. I usually hit the save button every few minutes to make sure it has been saved as I write.
- Back up your work!!! This is also very important. You should make at least 1 or 2 additional backups of your e-Book on a jump drive, CD disk, or on another separate computer. You an also email the file to yourself so that you have a copy online in your email account.
Correcting Spelling Errors in Your eBook
Almost any word processor that you use will have a built-in spell checker. This is great because it can be easy to misspell a word while you are typing. Thus, you should not have any problems with spelling errors.
Usually, when your word processor has a spell checker, it will automatically underline misspelled or unfamiliar terms in red. This indicates that the word is either misspelled or unknown to the word processor’s vocabulary. You can then simply correct the error by retyping the word. If you are unsure how to spell the word properly, you can usually right click your mouse over the red underlined word. It will then usually pop up & give a suggestion for the correct spelling.
If your word processor does not automatically underline words, then you can still run a spell check by going to the top menu & selecting: Tools–> Spell Checker. When you go into this menu, it will usually scan each word in your document to check for the correct spelling.
When the program finds an incorrect or unknown spelling, it will have a prompt box that suggests an alternative spelling. You can usually click replace (which means replace the incorrect word with the correct word, or you can click ignore. You usually only click ignore if the word is actually spelled correctly & the word processor just doesn’t recognize the word.
Just beware that there are a few things that a spell checker will miss. For example, words that have a similar pronunciation, but different spelling will be missed by a spell checker if it is spelled correctly. Here is an example: I went buy the barn today to get some hey. In this sentence, “buy” should have been spelled “by” and “hey” should have been spelled “hay.” Spell checkers will not pick up on these words that are spelled correctly, but used incorrectly.
Copyrighting & Plagiarism Concerns
The last thing you want to do is use someone’s copyrighted work as your own. If you do this, you are setting yourself up for a big disaster. Why? Because copyright laws are one of the most protected legal rights. They are very serious, and they can carry a hefty fine for anyone who abuses them. That is why I would recommend you only use your own ideas, and avoid even quoting something else unless it is absolutely necessary.
This means that you cannot take someone else’s work & simply rearrange it & call it your own. This is still copyright infringement. Also, excessive quoting, paraphrasing, and even detailed reviews could be considered copyright infringement. The laws on copyright infringement may vary depending on your location/country, however, work is protected on an international agreement basis.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is one very prominent (and recent) law regarding copyrights. It protects mostly digital media (e-Books, web pages, software, etc.) from copyright infringement. There are also many other copyright laws in effect that provide protection to an author’s original work. In addition, there are also instances where it may be acceptable to use certain things without the author’s permission. For example, if the copyright has expired, the work is usually considered to be in the public domain.
It is also important to keep in mind that words are not the only thing that can be copyrighted. If you plan on using any images or screenshots in your e-Book, you may want to make sure that it is permissible for you to use them because images can also be protected under copyright. For example, let’s say you want to take a screenshot of your Google account.
On Google’s website, they clearly say that you are allowed to take screenshots as long as they are not altered. Therefore, you would be able to include these screenshots in your e-Book. However, some sites may not want you to take a screenshot. They may say this in their terms & conditions. Other sites may not mention anything about screenshots.
Also, you must consider whether or not a screenshot or image would fall under one of the “Fair Use” policy for copyrights. Would it be an acceptable fair use to use the screenshot without requiring permission? These are all things you want to consider before inserting images in your e-Book. If you are ever unclear about whether or not you can use a screenshot, you can always contact the owner of the website, or seek the advice of a legal professional.
The bottom line is, remember to avoid copyright infringement. It is not worth the risk to try & use someone else’s work as your own (whether you do it intentionally or unintentionally). Again, if you are ever in doubt about whether or not you can use certain material or images, you can always contact the owner or seek legal advice.
Some copyright holders may permit you to use their work if you pay them royalties or flat fee. In some instances you may not necessarily need permission to use it at all (as in the case with an expired copyright or if your use falls under the “fair use” doctrine).
Using & Inserting Hyperlinks into Your eBook
At some point you will probably want to include hyperlinks in your e-Book. Hyperlinks are simply links that can be clicked, and when they are clicked it directs you to a web page or a location in a document. There are many reasons why you may want to use hyperlinks such as: Inserting links to products so you can earn affiliate money, using links to direct traffic to a website, use links to products that you discuss or to a page with additional information, and you can also use links as a table of contents within your e-Book so that each link will take the user to a corresponding chapter.
As you have already noticed, I have used links already inside this e-Book (as it is published online). Here is how you can quickly & easily insert a link to a web page. First select the word(s) you want to convert to a hyperlink. For this example I will use my website howtomakeawebsite.ws since I will be using this site to offer some additional bonus information & tools.
So I select the word with my mouse by clicking & dragging along the word until it is highlighted. Next I go to the top menu on the word processor, and click Tools–> Hyperlink. If your word processor does not have the hyperlink option under the Tools menu, then you can usually find it by either right clicking, looking under the Insert menu, or by looking at the icons under the main menu. The hyperlink icon button usually has a chain icon.
After you click the hyperlink button, it will ask the target. Just enter the full URL in this section. Then, it should highlight the word in blue & it will be clickable like the link above. This should stay clickable even when you convert the document to a PDF format. If the links are no longer clickable after you do this, you may want to make sure the PDF converter allows this feature.
If you want to create a link that takes you to another portion of your e-Book (such as a table of contents with links to certain chapters), then the process is slightly different. First, you have to create what is called a bookmark. This is where the hyperlink will take you when you click on it. For example, you may want to create a hyperlink for each chapter in the table of contents. So in the table of contents, chapter 1 will be a hyperlink, and when you click it, it will take you to the chapter 1 section (which is the bookmark).
First, you will need to create the bookmark. So go click on the word(s) you want to use for the bookmark (chapter 1). Highlight the word by clicking & dragging your mouse, and then click Tool–>Bookmark (or click the bookmark icon) on the main menu. Then a box will pop up & you will be asked to name the bookmark. Select a name (chapter 1) and click the “save” or “create” button. This will create a bookmark for chapter 1.
Now you will want to link to this bookmark in your table of contents. To do this, highlight the text chapter one within your table of contents. Then click the hyperlink button (or go to Tools–> Hyperlink or Insert–>Hyperlink depending on your word processor). Then a box will pop up asking you to fill in the hyperlink’s properties.
Select the bookmark option, and then type the bookmark’s name click the bookmark from the option field. This will create your document hyperlink, and when it is clicked it will take you to chapter 1. You can repeat this process for each chapter, or for any other parts of your document you want linked.
I usually have a table of contents with links on one of the first pages in my e-Books. However, you can create a separate sidebar table of contents section instead. To do this, you would click on Format–> Frames–> Table of Contents if you are using a program such as Microsoft Word. I have never used this format & I have only seen a couple of e-Books use this. I would not recommend it because it usually involves using frames. Some software systems & PDF converters do not work well with frames. Therefore, I would recommend making a table of contents page by simply using bookmarks & hyperlinks.
Adding a Legal Disclosure & Protection, Footnotes & References In Your eBook
To protect the reader & yourself from any potential harm, you want to take proper precautions. This means you should have a legal disclosure (either on your website, e-Book, or both).
Since my very first e-Book, I have always included a disclosure within the guide. I would highly recommend you do the same. What should your disclosure include? Well anything that could potentially happen (even if it seems impossible) that could in any way harm a person, or get them into trouble.
For instance, if you write a guide on how to repair a television, you better have a good disclosure warning about the potential of electrical shock, etc. Because worst case scenario, a person goes & takes a television apart after reading your guide & gets shocked to death, you are probably going to be blamed in some way. I would recommend you have a good disclosure to help protect you.
That, of course, doesn’t mean that writing a good disclosure will protect you in every circumstance. But it can help. If you are unsure about how to write a disclosure, you may want to consult legal advice. The point is, the last thing you want is to simply try to help someone by writing an e-Book, and then the whole thing turns bad when something goes wrong. So make sure the reader understands everything that could potentially go wrong, even if it is a one in a billion chance. You need to protect the reader, and yourself!
Also, in the disclosure I always like to remind individuals of my copyright notice. I will cover more about your rights under copyright law in another chapter, but it is a good idea to remind the buyer that your work is copyrighted & they may not reproduce, re-distribute, or re-sell it.
Of course, if you give resell rights to your e-Book to try to generate traffic, then you may want to mention something like “you may resell this e-Book as long as it is not altered in any way”-or something similar. You have complete control as an author on whether or not your work can be resold or not. It is up to you. Whatever you choose, I would recommend you disclose it fully in the disclosure at the beginning of your guide.
This also helps in the instance someone tries to illegally distribute your work. I have even seen authors offer a cash reward in their disclosure if anyone reports someone illegally distributing their work. That seems like it would be a pretty effective way to help stop copyright infringement.
Footnotes & References
Adding footnotes & references is also you may want to consider to place the final touches on your e-Book. For example, let’s say you quote from a piece of work or paraphrase something into your own words. It would be a good idea to include a footnote so that you can show your reference to the original work. You would do this by place a number or letter at the end of the sentence you are wanting to use with a footnote.
For example, if you want to give more information or show your source for reference for a sentence, you add a number or letter following that sentence like this. See how it added the little number one as a superscript, and then also provided a place to add the entire reference or additional information at the bottom of this page. How did I do that? Well it is simple.
Go to the top of your word processor. Then select INSERT–>Footnote/Endnote. That’s it! It will ask a number or letter, and you select it. Then you can add a caption or reference & it will place it at the end of your document or at the end of a page just like it did below.
Footnotes/Endnotes are great to give additional information or to quickly show a reference to something you writing about. However, I really rarely use them myself. I see them sometimes on web sites such as Wikipedia.org. I also haven’t really seen many in most e-Books I have read. Buy they can be appropriate for many instances. Of course, it is up to you if you want to use them, and how often you want to use them.
Adding a Header/Footer to Your eBook
You may also want to consider adding a header or footer. A header is simply a section at the top of each page that you can use to add text. A footer is a section at the bottom of the page that you can use to add text. I often use a footer, and rarely use a header. You can see my footer at the bottom of the page. It says, “ Copyright © ….”
To insert a header/footer, simply go to the top menu of your word processor. Usually, it is located under INSERT–> Header/Footer. You can then add the text or caption you want to say and boom, it will magically insert the header or footer.
You may want to use it to place a copyright notice, promote your website, add your name or the title of your e-Book, or anything you want. Many e-Books use either a header or a footer for one reason or another.
Writing A Conclusion In Your eBook
At the conclusion of your e-Book, you may want to summarize the entire book in a few short paragraphs. Of course, a conclusion is not appropriate for all books. For example, you rarely see a novel have a conclusion. But some books (such as a “how-to” type of guide), you may want to consider adding a conclusion.
Usually, (as you will see) I finish my e-Books by having a few short paragraphs summarizing the entire e-Book & the main message. I then finish it by saying a few final words or a personal message. After that, I have a section with links, any bonuses I include, references, any works cited, etc.
That is how I personally like to end my e-Books. Of course, you don’t have to do any of that. But it would probably be a good idea to summarize or at least conclude your e-Book with a final conclusion paragraph if appropriate (or two or three paragraphs).
If you decide to write a conclusion, a good way to write it is to simply mirror your main introduction. I once heard an old teacher of mine say it best. She said, “When you write, you write in three stages. First is the introduction, where you tell people what you are about to talk about. Second, you have the body where you tell them what you want to tell them. Third, you have a conclusion (or summary) where you remind them what you just told them.”
Again, this may not be appropriate for every type of e-Book or document, but it works well with certain types. I usually use some form of introduction & conclusion.
Adding a References, Works Cited, & Resource Page
After you have concluded your e-Book, you may want to include some additional information. You could create an index (like many “real” books have), you could cite any works you mention in your e-Book, you can have a section of useful links, or website links you mentioned, you can offer any bonuses or additional books/articles that may be of interest to the reader, etc.
Most e-Books that I have written do not have a “works cited” or “references” page. The reason is that I simply try to avoid using outside sources as much as possible & simply write from my own experiences.. Most e-Books that I have read have also not contained works cited.
This is typically because e-Books are usually written by an author that writes from personal experience & there may be no need for a reference or citation page. Also, research papers, essays, articles, and encyclopedias are much more likely to contain a works cited or reference page because they rely heavily on outside resources for validity.
However, if the need arises for you to cite references, you can use several free online sources that will place your references in a popular format such as MLA format. You can perform a quick search on Google for “cite references” or “MLA format.” A neat website that has a form that you simply enter information & it automatically converts it to MLA format is KnightCite.
Finish Your e-Book
Wow, you are almost there! By this point, you should have all of your words typed, pictures inserted, a cover image (we’ll talk about that later), any optional header/footers, any references, link, or anything else you want included in your e-Book.
It is important to go through your e-Book & make sure everything is displayed correctly. Check your links, proofread your work, make any changes, etc.
At this point you should spend time to make sure your book is ready to distribute. Because I am going to now tell you how to convert your work into a finished e-Book product. Once it is in e-Book format, you are ready to sell or distribute your work. So this is the real deal, so make sure it is ready! Of course, if you find a mistake you can always go back & edit your work, and many times & will occasionally update my guides & include new information or links I have discovered, etc.
How to Save Your e-Book
Thus far, I have covered the basics on why & how to write an e-Book. At this point, you should have a basic understanding of how to use a word processor to write your e-Book, & how to do things such as insert images. In this chapter, I will discuss the things you need to do to finish your e-Book & prepare it for distribution.
When you have finished writing or modifying your e-Book, make sure to save it. I have already mentioned the importance of saving your work & making back up copies. You should do this each time you make a change or add additional content.
To save your e-Book, you simply go to File–> Save As the first time you want to save it. You will then be asked the file name & location where you want to save your e-Book. I suggest choosing a location that you can easily find (such as your desktop). Then, choose a name for your e-Book & save it. Each time you modify your e-Book, you simply click File–> Save. It will then automatically save any changes.
Proofreading & Editing Your e-Book
When you have finished writing your e-Book, you will need to proofread & edit your work to fix any errors. This is very important. I usually proofread my e-Books about 3-5 times. I check for poor sentence structures, misspellings, redundancy, confusing sentences, etc. I want to make sure that everything flows together & makes sense. I would recommend you do the same.
After I finish my own proofreading & editing, I will then let a couple of family members look over the e-Book & make suggestions or corrections. It would be a great idea to keep a notepad & pencil during this entire process. I am constantly jotting down new ideas, suggestions, etc.
After my family members review my e-Book, I will then usually proofread it one more time. Then I will proceed to add any additional links, images, etc. Then, when I have the finished product, I will go over it in detail once more.
If you are a lousy writer, or you have the worlds worst grammar–don’t worry. There are things you can do to ensure your e-Book is well written. With the exception of my family members, I usually perform my own editing & proofreading. However, if you need help here are a few things you can do:
- Find a family member that has more talent in the grammar department! This can be a great help. I would recommend you get as many family members to view your work as you can. They can be great for giving a different perspective, making corrections, and adding suggestions.
- If you don’t have any family members that can help, then try a friend. You may have a friend that can really help you to edit your work.
- Take a trip to the library. As I mentioned before, there are many books on writing, spelling, grammar, etc. These are available for free at your library if you need some basics on how to become a better writer.
- If you have nowhere else to turn for help, try finding an English teacher (or a student majoring in English) at your local university or high school. Most teachers or students would be happy to help, and you could pay them a few dollars for their time. Since they are teaching this material on a daily basis, they should be able to offer some great help with your writing.
- You could also find a local editor to help you. Look up writing, books, or editing in your phone book. You should be able to find someone that could help you edit your work for a small fee.
Don’t get discouraged if you are having problems with your writing. There are plenty of great resources as I mentioned above that can help you overcome any problems.
Also, keep in mind that your book will not be perfect, regardless of how many times you proofread it. Even books that are published today contain errors, and I am sure this e-Book has its share of errors as well. It is not a big deal. Just do the very best you can & focus on writing a good quality e-Book that can add value in some way.
Before you actually convert your eBook into a finished PDF (or other format) document, it is always a good idea to have these things done:
- Have you proofread your guide several times & used spell check?
- Have you let a friend or professional edit or proofread your guide for errors?
- Have you inserted all links, disclosures, images, and references?
- Have you inserted your cover graphic on the very first page (optional)?
- Are you comfortable with distributing as is at this point?
If you answered “yes” to all of those questions, then you should be ready to finish your eBook guide and convert it into a finished product.
Which File Format Is Best for eBooks? PDF? Mobipocket Format? Website?
The type of file format you want to use depends exlusively on your personal preference, and where (or how) you plan on distributing your work. If you plan to market and sell this eBook from your own website, then you definitely want to use PDF format. The same applies to any eBooks you want to publish via sales channels such as Clickbank.net, eBay.com, Craigslist.org, CreateSpace.com, Lulu.com, and others.
Also, I should briefly mention that you always have the option to publish your eBook via a website. To do this, you would generally want to just write the entire thing using the website/blog software you use. You can use a spreadsheet for spell check, grammar, and so forth. But eventually you will want to copy that into the site. This would be considered in “HTML” format. This is only recommended for those who want to publish for free on their sites (like this guide you are reading now).
Anyway, back to the topic. PDF format is the preferred format in almost all situations. Why? Almost every computer comes with a PDF reader, and if not, they are freely available. This ensures that this standard format will be able to be viewed by almost any computer. That is a huge issue. You don’t want to write it in .Doc format because not everyone has Microsoft Word (or Open Office).
The other notable file format would be the Mobipocket format I mentioned above. This is only recommended if you plan to sell via the Mobipocket site. The good news is that they even allow you to convert your PDF to mobipocket format. So again, I would recommend PDF in almost every situation (unless you want it free on your site as content). For information on how to convert PDF to mobipocket, visit mobipocket.com.
How to Convert an eBook to PDF Format for Free
If you are using Open Office to write your eBook (recommended if you do not have Microsoft Word), then you can easily convert your document as soon as you are done. Here are the brief steps to convert your document into a finished PDF version:
- Click on the “FILE” button in the upper left-hand corner of the Open Office Writer Document.
- Select the “EXPORT AS PDF” option.
- This will cause a small window to pop up. You can then select the security settings, any possible encryptions, and also make any last minute formatting adjustments.
- When you are done making your final adjustments, encryptions, and settings, select the “EXPORT” button on the bottom of the small window pane.
- You will then be asked where you want to save your PDF, and also you will need to name it. I suggest you save it to your desktop (or a special folder) so you can easily find it. Make sure to name it something appropriate. Remember, your readers will see the name you saved it under (so you may not want to use, “cool-guy-99.”
Yes, it is literally that easy! Once you click the “save” button, Open Office will then convert your document to a finished PDF guide. You can keep this on your computer, and then it will be ready to upload and sell when you get to that point.
If you use another program (such as Microsoft Word), the process should be very similar. Newer versions of Microsoft Word (2007 and beyond) also have a built in PDF converting feature. So the entire process should be almost identical.
If you are using an older program that doesn’t have a built in PDF convert feature, you can always import it into the free Open Office program. Or you could download one of the various free PDF converters available online. Adobe.com also even allows a limited number of free online PDF conversions.
Final Thoughts on Converting Your PDF eBook
I would also like to stress a few things you want to be sure to do at this point. First, you absolutely want to ensure you backup your work. Burn the disk to a CD, jump drive, or backup hard drive. You don’t want to lose your work. I would also recommend you make a backup periodically as you are writing your eBook as well. Can you imagine your hard drive dying while writing a book, and losing everything? Yikes!
You also want to make sure that you take advantage of the encryption/password/security features that are available when you go to convert your finished work. This ensures that people will not be able to easily copy or edit your guide. Of course, if they do this it would be an infringement of your copyright and would be illegal, but you shouldn’t make it easy for them to do so. You wouldn’t leave your car doors unlocked in a bad neighborhood would you? I hope not. So don’t leave your PDF open for thieves to copy.
Also, at this point your PDF is technically “finished.” However, you can always add any new edits or information to the original document, and then convert it again to PDF instantly if the need or desire arises. So I would highly recommend you keep the original for editing purposes (and back it up too). Especially if you ever wanted to go back and add your ISBN or other information you may later want to share.
People often add revisions as information, dates, references, or hyperlinks become outdated. This is a good idea if you write on a topic that will change over time.
Copyrighting Your eBook, ISBNs, and Selling Your eBook
Some of the other things you may want to consider includes things such as how to copyright an eBook. This is especially important if you plan to use this commercially. Also, you may need to know how to get an ISBN for an eBook as well. Don’t forget to read our article about places to sell an eBook as well as marketing it and creating a sales page, which is a crucial part of the marketing process and translating visitors into sales (or readers). If you haven’t read how to make ebooks downloadable, then be sure to read that as well.