Hi, babe! Normally I talk about infographics, but today I’m coming at you with a different kind of content (though still informative and still visual). Today, I’m talking about ebook design. More specifically, turning an existing blog post into an ebook.
Now, don’t be intimidated. Ebooks are not nearly as intimidating as they might seem to be. They’re not exclusively trained designer territory, as long as you have the right tools and a basic understanding of the creation process.
An ebook can be a valuable asset to your blog for a handful of reasons:
- It makes your content seem more legitimate.
- You offer readers something tangible to take away from the post.
- You create an opportunity to add readers’ emails to your email list.
- You have another kind of content that you can share with different networks.
In this article, I’m going to walk you through the basic steps for how to create a beautiful ebook.
How to Create a Beautiful eBook from Your Pre-Existing Blog Content
1. Select and edit your ebook content.
Pro-tip: plan your blog posts and ebook at the same time. This will ensure that they are complementary content. For example, how-to posts are easily repurposed into ebooks because they are like guidebooks in both format and content.
You need to decide whether you want to use the exact same text in your ebook as in your blog post (the quick route) or if you want to add/embellish your ebook with added introduction, further reading lists, or anything else (the longer route). Both routes are totally acceptable.
One thing to consider, though, is what will offer readers the incentive to spring for your ebook after reading the post. For example, a couple of months ago, my team worked on a blog post and accompanying ebook compiling tips from 46 industry experts on content marketing and SEO. While the blog post consisted of the 46 quotes and an accompanying infographic, the ebook contained additional text including an introduction and a Takeaway Tips section at the end. The additional text offered readers an incentive to download the ebook on top of just reading the post.
There is no minimum or maximum length for an ebook, so don’t stress about the page count. It could be anywhere from ten pages long to sixty pages long. If your ebook is longer than around fifteen pages, though, it’s a good idea to create a table of contents to make locating different sections easier.
2. Choose the right ebook template.
Unless you’re a design master, knowing where to start with an ebook design is overwhelming. But don’t worry, there are ebook templates out there to make your life easier. Venngage, HubSpot and UberFlip all offer easy to use templates. You could also use Microsoft Word, but Word can be a bit clunky and awkward to use.
Things to consider when picking an ebook template:
1. Landscape or portrait? Landscape layouts are preferable if your ebook is going to contain lots of charts and visuals to accompany your text, as landscape offers you the space to put them side by side. Landscape also fills computer screen better, so I find I prefer reading landscape ebooks on my computer.
Portrait, on the other hand, is an intuitive translation of a blog post since many blogs have a more narrow design. In this case, your ebook would follow a very similar format to the original blog post. Portrait is also easy to use on mobile.
2. Customize your template. Don’t be afraid to change the color scheme to match your branding, and be sure to include your logo. While templates are there to get you started, you ideally don’t want your ebook to be generic–you want it to be yours.
3. Pick the right color scheme and font style. HubSpot has a great guide for creating color schemes. As a general rule of thumb, white or light, neutral background colors are the easiest to read. Pick two or three accent colors and leave it at that–simpler is better. The goal is to make your text easy and pleasing to read.
4. Break up your text. Don’t overburden your pages with too much text stuffed into one spot. The great thing about an ebook is that you can take your time to highlight specific passages and quotes (you could have an entire page dedicated to one quote). Use lots of white space to allow the elements on the page to breathe.
3. Picture this.
Visual content is extremely effective. Consider if there are places where you can cut down text and use an image instead to communicate a concept. Images will also help keep readers’ attention–this applies for any kind of content, blog, ebook, or other.
4. Decide if you want your ebook to be interactive.
By interactive, I mean having embedding links. Because ebooks are, well, electronic, it’s a great opportunity to link to other useful articles, and back to your own site. If your ebook is also pushing past 30 pages or so, it’s helpful to make your table of contents interactive by linking to the different sections.
You can easily make your file interactive in both Word and PDF.
5. Save your ebook as a PDF.
PDF is your best bet because it’s universally recognized by PCs, Macs, and ebook readers. If you are using Word, you can simply save the file as a PDF. If you’re using a different program, however, you may have to save the pages as individual files, which you can then compile into one file. This can be done easily using Adobe Acrobat or another PDF merger.
6. Release your ebook and blog post as a package.
This might be a give-in, but you should include the download link to your ebook in your post. Place it right near the top of the post so that readers will see it, even if they don’t read your entire blog post (unless your blog post is quite short). This gives readers the option to download the ebook to read later.