Creating ebooks is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge of your industry and establish your credibility. You can create an ebook about any subject you know about, and they can be just a few pages long or quite lengthy (if you’re using your ebook for marketing purposes, shorter is probably better, though). Plus, they’re cheap to produce and share with your target market. You may think you need a lot of software to write and design your ebook, but, in fact, many programs you probably already have (or can easily sign up for for free) are all you need for the research, writing, and design stages.
Below are 4 free tools that will help you with producing your next quality ebook:
If you’re not sure where to start, you may want to check out some popular books. The Amazon Best Seller List shows you what topics readers are interested in, and you can easily click on the books to view some of their pages. When you read parts (or all) of a few bestselling books, you can get an idea of how to write in a conversational tone, as well as how to add some design elements to your ebook. For example, you will likely find some examples of how some graphic designers have added text boxes, enlarged quotes, and pictures to enhance their messaging.
Traditionally when working on a book, you would likely have piles of notebooks and sticky notes covered in ideas, thoughts, quotes, or anything you thought might be useful to you. Rather than spending time looking for lost notes or trying to remember that idea you couldn’t write down because you didn’t have your notebook when you thought of it, Evernote lets you keep it all organized virtually with a system of notebooks and notes categorized however you want. One of the best things about Evernote is that it works across platforms, as well as both online and off, so you can make a note using the app on your smartphone, then have access to it on your computer. You can also include websites, images, and PDF files in your notes, and even snap a picture of a handwritten note, and Evernote will find your written words when you search for them. Plus, you can share notes and notebooks, so others that are helping out can check out your research and ideas.
3. Google Docs
After the research and planning phase, you’ll be writing your content. For the writing phase, you may think that Microsoft Word is your best choice, but there are some handy benefits of using Google Docs instead. Google Docs automatically saves your work, and you can add links from one document to another (ex. Table of Contents to chapters on separate documents), but the most useful feature is that you can share your work with others. Google Docs is great for collaboration because, if you’re working with other writers, editors, or researchers, you can share files in real-time and give other writers permission to edit the documents. When you can all add your notes, ideas, and edits to the same document, this is a great time saver because there’s no need to email new versions around; someone makes a change and everyone on the team can see it.
After you’ve organized your notes and written the chapters of your ebook, it’s time to put it all together. PowerPoint is excellent for this because quite a few people already have access to it, plus, it’s very easy to use. With PowerPoint you can easily create custom designs using various colours, fonts, and images, or you can choose one of the program’s templates to plan your ebook. (If you'd like to add some images for your ebook, Pixabay provides free images.) You can create as many pages as you want, which can all have similar themes, or you can make each page look a little different (although we would recommend at least sticking to the same colour scheme to keep your ebook cohesive). Once you have a rough idea of some of the images you’re using, you can add some text to each page using textboxes to create a professional and creative ebook your readers will find as attractive as it is informative.
We hope you find these tools useful when producing your next ebook. If you have any questions about ebook creation, or any comments about your experiences with making ebooks, please leave a comment or contact us.