All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
In our last blog we talked about how easy, affordable, and convenient it can be to author your own book if you publish it as an e-book versus a traditional printed book. You can delegate the production part of that process to a graphic designer who will handle the technical aspects of putting it all together with the right format, font, graphics, and visual style. But you can also use some very user-friendly software packages to manage that part of the project yourself, if you want a more hands-on involvement.
That can give you a greater sense of personal satisfaction that it was a truly DIY book. Plus it can save you money since you may not need to hire a professional designer…or you can hire them for fewer tasks and less hours, while you do the other work yourself. Here are some helpful tips and information to know if you think that you may want to take that route and get involved in not just writing an e-book but also helping to produce it.
PowerPoint Is Not Just for Office Presentations
Most people don’t realize that if you know how to make a compelling PowerPoint presentation – a skill that many would-be authors learned in the business world – you can leverage that to create an e-book. The key is to save it as a PDF file, which is the most common way that e-books are formatted. So you can use PowerPoint software to add text just as you see in an ordinary book…and place visual images wherever appropriate. Pick a font size and style you like, arrange headlines or chapter names and perform other tasks until the manuscript you laid out in PowerPoint is the way you prefer. Then just save it as a PDF file to use for your e-book.
Other Software Options
Other e-book creators rely on Google Slides or Google Docs, and that is a great way to go if you are collaborating with other writers or editors and want to have shared access to the manuscript). As you may know if you’ve ever used a program like Google Docs, multiple people can review, edit, and revise the same document. You can even all log on and be there to do those tasks all at the same time. Meanwhile, one of the most highly regarded software programs for laying our your e-book manuscript to make a book is iBooks Author, from Apple. The program was specifically designed for the production of e-books.
Off-the-Shelf Production Templates
One of the advantages of using software like iBooks, PowerPoint, or Google Slides is that these packages offer many predesigned templates. Instead of making multiple decisions regarding such things as font style, ink color, and image placement you can just plug your text and pictures into one of the templates. They already look professional and that can save you tons of time and energy. Explore the various templates offered and then see which one suits your preferences the best while also doing the best job of showcasing the particular subject matter than you are covering in your e-book.
Keep Your Readers Engaged by Incorporating Variety
But if software sounds too intimidating, don’t let that discourage you. You can even use something as simple and basic as Microsoft Word…and then save the final draft as a PDF file. Just don’t forget that one of the goals as a book publisher is to ensure that your readers stay engaged. You’ve probably read long-winded articles that were not broken up by subheadings or pictures, and you know how boring that can get. People have very short attention spans, so to keep them reading give them smaller sections of text to digest, and divide the text up with photos, photo captions, charts if those are appropriate, and by using subheading, bullet points, and other techniques to break up the page and keep things interesting.
Images are Worth 1,000 Words
While pictures are worth 1,000 words, they don’t have to cost you thousands of dollars. You can use stock photos from dozens (if not hundreds) of different sources that you’ll find on the Internet if you just search for “stock photography.” Some of these are copyright free so you can use them without paying a cent. Millions of them – which were taken by professional photographers – can be used for a very inexpensive one-time fixed price. Browse through hundreds of different categories and price ranges to find images that will bring your e-book to life, and then download and use the ones you like best and find most affordable for your book budget.
Let the Layout Assist the Writing Process
Another benefit of using images, charts, or strategically-placed blank space (like between chapters) is that the more of those elements you include in your e-book layout, the less writing you have to do in order to create a good-sized book with lots of pages. You’ll notice that some book authors only write about half of the book. Then they just fill in the rest with images…or use tricks like double-spacing and larger, easier-to-read font in order to make the book appear larger. Those are all valid approaches to take when it comes to the production of a book, and they can help you both as the writer of the e-book and as the person who is publishing it yourself.
One of the biggest innovations of the past 15 years is e-books, and not just because they are so convenient, portable, and affordable. The invention of e-books also broke down many barriers to would-be authors who used to find it impossible to get published. Now, instead of having to convince a publishing company to invest their money to print your book – which is especially difficult if you are not yet an established or famous author – you can write it and have it published without hassles, almost immediately. Here are five tips that can help you if you want to write an e-book and get it published and sold.
#1 E-Books are Easy Books
You don’t have to get permission from any editor or publisher because you call the shots yourself as a self-published author. That also gives you more leeway if you start selling your books to retain more of the revenue…whereas with traditional books the distributors and bookstores typically take a huge chunk of that for themselves. Once you have your e-book produced, you then have access to a worldwide audience of readers, too, which is why even some of the world’s most well-known authors have started writing books for e-book distribution instead of going the traditional route with ink and paper publishers. It’s easier, faster, potentially more profitable, and you can promote to readers everywhere. You can reach those readers more efficiently, and it is extraordinarily cheaper when compared to old-fashioned publishing. #2
#2 Focus on What You Know and Love
Rather than trying to reach beyond your comfort zone, just focus on a topic you love, a skill you know, or an area of expertise that you have mastered. Or just try telling an interesting story in your own voice. There are people who published e-books while working as house cleaners, for instance, and their books taught other people how to professionally clean an office or home and then turn that know-how into a career. You might know how to fix cars, for instance, and just by explaining how to troubleshoot common problems you may have enough valuable content to write an e-book and start selling it around the world. People who have a green thumb have written successful gardening books, and those who know how to cook have written popular cookbooks. Others have succeeded by writing children’s stories, sci-fi novels, erotica, detective stories, or romance novels.
#3 Publish Books Even If You Aren’t a Writer
The sky’s the limit. Pick any genre that suits you and start writing. The key is to tap into whatever your passion or expertise happens to be, and then share that with readers.
If you aren’t a trained writer, that doesn’t have to be an obstacle. Many people hire ghostwriters or editors to help them handle that part of the process. You can find lots of good writers who will use your rough draft and then polish it up and make it sound totally professional. There are even people who can take recordings of you talking and transcribe those audio notes into a book. Many people who publish their memoirs, for instance, use that method. If it is a how-to book, and if you know how to teach that skill to someone else, then chances are you can create a book of those lessons and tips. Just speak to your readers the way you would talk to a friend, and then type it out as your manuscript…or dictate to a writer who can put it down on paper in your words and make it sound totally professional.
#4 Technical Considerations
One of the recommended formats for e-books is PDF files, because they are easy to create, you don’t need expensive software, and they maintain their visual integrity over many different digital platforms. If you write a book and save it in PDF format, for instance, all the features should show up whether you view it on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. It’s also important to remember that old saying “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” But in this case, keep in mind that people do…so you want your cover to attract them enough that will open the book and explore it. That’s when a professional graphic designer may be useful and worth hiring. They can bring the book to life by giving a beautiful, compelling graphic exterior.
#5 Promoting and Selling Your E-Books
Once your book is ready, it’s just a matter of giving it exposure to potential readers. There has never in history been a better time to do this, easily and inexpensively. You can sell e-books on Amazon.com, which is the largest consumer products platform in history – which was launched as the world’s biggest-ever bookstore. You can also upload your titles to Free-eBooks.net, which is one of the leading global distributors of e-books. More than 20 million people have downloaded books by authors from the site and other operated by its parent company, Paradise Publishers. The distribution network reaches people in major languages in dozens of countries. Each month tens of thousands of readers visit Paradise Publishers sites, and that gives you one of the largest audiences possible. That success and outreach is reflected in the data that shows that Free-eBooks.net and other sites under the Paradise Publishers umbrella such as its Spanish-language site, consistently rank at the top of Google’s search engine results. That could be e-books that you authored, popping up on those popular searches…so if you have creative ideas, don’t hesitate…start writing!