I was asked today how I create my ebooks.  They’re not perfect, but they seem functional and most people appreciate the designs.  What if I told you I used completely free products and services?

Here are the steps I take to create an ebook:

  1. I’m using Microsoft Word 2010 starter edition (preinstalled on a new laptop – I may upgrade)
  2. I start typing my content into a  blank document, but as I’m writing I assign styles (such as “normal”, “heading 1” “heading 2”, “Quotes” “Title”, etc)  I don’t play around with bold, italics or anything else.
  3. I create a folder on my computer with the name of this new ebook (I’ll be adding images, box shots, the Word version and a PDF)
  4. I add a cover page from the template options (Insert > Cover Page).  There are a lot of pre-set one, and others available online
  5. I change the style set (there are dozens of pre-set ones, and plenty of options to change colors and font styles)
  6. I sometimes modify the cover page color and the layout.
  7. I add footers / headers to give the document more depth
  8. I add in pictures from clip art & use the image editor to jazz it up a bit
  9. Sometimes I move the image to be inset within the text (dropdown menu)
  10. I add some information about who I am at the end (can be the bio from my website and a little picture)
  11. I print it off and do a rough edit for obvious grammar and typos.
  12. After implementing these changes I save as a PDF
  13. I open the PDF and change the preferences to “Audio” and listen to the entire ebook, editing along the way.  It helps me find words like ‘you’, instead of ‘your’ that aren’t often picked up in spell check.  But when you hear it read back to you, it’s very obvious.
  14. I use a snipping tool to capture an image of the cover page of my ebook & save it with a title like, “ebook_cover.png”
  15. I open Microsoft paint and create a side panel for my book and save it with a name like “ebook_side”
  16. Still in Microsoft paint I create another image for the back of my book (Usually another Snip from my book cover – the color/style will match)
  17. I go to http://3d-pack.com/ and upload the three images I’ve just created above and hit “create 3d-box”
  18. I save this image to the folder I created in Step 4 and then upload it to my website media library
  19. I also upload the PDF version to the media library
  20. I create a new page on my website (usually a short version of my book)
  21. I go to http://issuu.com , log into my account and upload this new file
  22. I access the Embed code for this ebook after it completes the upload & add it to my website
  23. I create a new list in Mailchimp for the signup of this ebook, and copy the embed code for my webpage
  24. I view it a few times to make sure the images are in the right position.  Write a little information about the document and make sure the links are clicking through.

That’s the steps.  There’s no extra cost or fees.   Just Microsoft Word and some free online tools.


update: also see “How To Make An Ebook For Free

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