240 How To Create And Sell An Ebook

By Leslie Samuel | Business Building

Dec 02

Creating an eBook is a great way to dive into selling digital products. And, it doesn’t take as much technical expertise as building a course.

If you’re a blogger who creates written content, think of it as creating a little more of that content and putting it together as a nicely packaged PDF.

By creating and selling my Physiology Study Guide, I’ve been able to add a nice source of revenue to my blog.

But how do you create a high-quality eBook? Keep reading.

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Ebook Creation: The Content

The content of your eBook is the most important part. This is where you deliver the value.

If you’re trying to teach your audience something with your eBook (like I’m doing with my study guide), you want to start off by asking the following questions:

  • Who is my ideal target person?
  • What EXACTLY is my audience trying to accomplish and how is the content of my eBook related to their goals?
  • What struggles will they encounter as they try to reach their goal(s)?
  • How can you best create content that helps your ideal target people accomplish their goals and overcome their struggles?

Once you’re very clear on the answers to the above questions, start writing.

The Software

Word-processing

Word processing software

When it comes to creating an eBook, the software part is very simple. You can use WHICHEVER Word Processing program you are familiar using.

Some options are:

The programs listed above have similar functions that allow for the basic Word Processing tools necessary to create an awesome eBook.

I’m partial to Pages on the Mac because I think it’s the sexiest Word Processor in existence. It makes me look like an expert when it comes to design.

The Formatting

Formatting is important when it comes to your eBook; it can help you deliver your message in a clearer way.

If you were to lump the entire eBook together as one long continuous paragraph (one extreme), it would be absolutely ridiculous to read.

On the other hand, if every sentence has bolded, italicized and underlined words (another extreme), this too is a bit much.

Finding the perfect balance of bold, italics, and callouts can lead the reader to important concepts, making your eBook easier to read.

Here are some tips to help make your eBook more of a joy to read:

  • Keep your paragraphs relatively short.
  • Use bold and italics strategically to emphasize key phrases and words that will help portray your message well.
  • If there’s a certain statement or quote that you REALLY want the reader to focus on, use a callout (shown in the image below) to highlight that statement/quote.
call_outs

Tips to make your ebook fun to read

 

When it comes to formatting, remember to KISS your book: Keep It Super Simple. When looking at an entire page, consider whether your choice of elements helps deliver a clear picture of your message, be mindful of distracting elements.

Linking To Content

One of the great features of eBooks is that you can insert links to relevant content. In my case, I have over 100 videos on my biology blog, most of which relate directly to content in the eBook.

In fact, my eBook is basically the content that’s available for free on my blog, packaged into an eBook that makes it more convenient for readers to consume.

So to enhance my eBook, I have links throughout the entire document pointing to relevant videos on my site. It’s my way of going above and beyond what you can do with a regular book.

Linking ebook content to your blog

The Images

The beauty of an eBook is that you aren’t limited by the use of images. Paper texts are a financial challenge because of the cost of printing color photos. With eBooks, you can use images to enhance your eBook without the added financial burden.

Colorful images were EXTREMELY useful for me since my eBook covers complex topics like the function of the brain, and it’s individual neurons, how muscle contractions happen and how blood flows through the heart.

05_11_colorful_images

Use images that enhance your ebook

It’s much easier to understand these concepts if you can actually see pictures illustrating the topics I cover.

When choosing images, you want to make sure you have appropriate permissions to use each photo. The last thing you want is a lawsuit for copyright infringement.

The best way to make sure you are getting high-quality images and have the rights needed to use those pictures is to invest in, and purchase, Royalty-Free Images from a trusted Royalty-free image site.

The site that I currently recommend is 123rf.com, this site offers awesome images for $1. However, if budget is an issue, you can always use some Free Image Sites.

123rf

Awesome images for just $1 each

The Format

Your eBook should be delivered as a PDF file; PDFs are great ways to keep the formatting consistent, regardless of the device used to consume content because the file type is universally accepted.

Most Word Processing programs can convert a file to PDF by going to “File” > “Export” (please note: the wording may be slightly different depending on which program you’re using) and then select that you want to export as a PDF.

Save the file to your hard drive and you are good to go.

Gumroad_Leslie

Human Physiology for Regular People by Leslie Samuel

Selling The eBook

There are MANY ways to sell your eBook, and I won’t cover them all here. However, I will talk about the one that I use, and, which in my opinion, is one of the EASIEST ways to sell an eBook.

The site that I use is Gumroad. I use it because it takes the headache out of EVERY step.

You simply upload the file to the site, give it a title and description, set a price and upload a cover image. Gumroad then takes care of EVERYTHING else and gives you a URL that you can use to sell the eBook.

Once you link your bank account, it will direct deposit the money from all sales to your bank within two days.

It’s a beautiful thing.

Your eBook

So there you have it. With these instructions, you can go ahead and create an awesome eBook. Questions for you: Have you ever created an eBook? If so, what’s it about (feel free to link it below). And if you haven’t, do you plan on creating one?

Let me know in the comments below.

Infographic

05_11_Create-Sell-eBook_Infographic

How to Create and Sell an Ebook

 

 

  • Mary Lahti says:

    Leslie, this is wonderful. No, I have never created and Ebook. I’ve jotted down many an idea. Yes, I do plan to create an Ebook and can’t wait to have fun with it. It won’t be immediately but your instruction is great. Thank you again for sharing these steps. You’re VERY giving! Oh, now take this time to stand up, take a nice deep breathe and stretch! Get that blood circulating. Have a good day.

    • Michael S says:

      I tried pdf format a few years ago. The problem I found was that the screen size doesn’t adjust to fit the device you’re displaying the content on. So you have to scroll from side to side as well as up and down. Not very user friendly. Or does the latest Acrobat allow this?

    • That’s true, which is why you need to think about your font size when you are creating an eBook to try to use a size that’ll work well even on smaller devices. It’s not perfect, but it works 🙂

    • You are very much welcome Mary. Oh, and I’m standing up right now and walking. I’m using a treadmill desk 🙂

  • Petrice says:

    This was fantastic, clear AND straight to the point. I feel like I know exactly how to proceed now. Thanks alot!

  • Alisn says:

    Hi Leslie, great article – always interested to know the “how” you get things done:) I hevent come across Gumroad before so have a look at this.
    Cheers
    Alison

  • Phil elmes says:

    Nice, encouraging post, Leslie. Couple of thoughts: have to agree with Michael. .pdf format might do for less ambitious efforts, but with the many freeware options out there it’s probably best to learn the protocols and put together a really nice cross platform document.

    For those familiar with WordPress, there’s an excellent free plugin that will “do all the heavy lifting”, all the way thru everything but cover design/art. (Think that’s what I’ll be using–even if I can’t recall the exact name at the moment.)

    Google “ePub” to get a good idea of available freeware options.

    LOVE YOUR INFOGRAPHIC!

    • Thanks for your comment Phil. You’re right, it isn’t perfect, but it works. In fact, there are many people who make good money with PDF eBooks. At some point, I will explore other options. But for those who are simply trying to put an eBook together, PDFs can and do work.

  • Tom Miller says:

    Wonderful way to explain the strategy through infographics. Infographics are the best way to explain anything easily. Thanks for sharing. Keep on writing.

  • Ben Shideler says:

    One of the options for ebooks is a site called leanpub.com. you link your rss feed and it will pull the articles you have already written into the book.

  • From here to Gumroad! Thank you!!! I have the PDF and am ready to market my Fix It…Write, with one worry: Will most screens enlarge. I know my phone does, but how about tablets. This is handwriting instruction and I want users to finger trace some large letters. Advice will be much appreciated!

    • Once you create a PDF, it’ll be the way you formatted it. My recommendation would be to make the font big enough that it can be clearly legible. Tablets do enlarge. Although, having people trace stuff on a touch screen wouldn’t work very well because the screen would constantly be moving as they move their fingers.

  • Rodlie Ortiz says:

    I created a little ebook titled “Why Every Leader Must Blog.” I actually created it last year and offered it on my blog, but noticed that it wasn’t enough to entice people to sign up. So now I want to create another simple product where I can offer both of them.

    By the way, I’ll be writing my first blog post where I feature this ebook and invite people to subscribe. Not sure why I hadn’t done that before. I’ll be doing a $50 amazon gift card to people who sign up to receive the book. And they can be given another entry in the giveaway if they tweet or share that page. Will launch that on monday. #FingersCrossed

  • Simon Deacon says:

    Hi Leslie

    Thanks for a great post.

    I created an ebook ‘How to get an A in maths’ but would like to give the first chapter free, and then sell the remainder. Do you have any advice on how I can do this? I’ve looked at Gumroad but think it only offers a straight sales page… is there a way of using the free first chapter to build an email list?

    Any thoughts or ideas would be really appreciated. Thank you!

    • Hi Simon. Here’s how you can do it. Create 2 PDF’s – one with just the first chapter and the other as the entire book. Use your email list for giving away the first chapter free, and sell the entire thing on Gumroad. That should work just fine 🙂

  • Tony Cordingley says:

    I have created an ebook and put it on Amazon Kindle, but people only seem to download it when it is on a “free” offer… despite it being available for only £0.99 in the UK!?
    Basically, having and creating an ebook, or some software, is a very tiny part of the process. Advertising is the real challenge!!
    If you don’t know how to effectively promote your ebook, software, website or blog, it doesn’t matter how much effort you put into it, or how good it may, or may not, be!
    No traffic = no sales! 🙁
    Talking of promotion and traffic, I found this website in a video on Clickbank and very happy I did too! Great website, full of valuable info… and great article too… very helpful, thank you Leslie! 🙂

  • Elvetha Derrick-Telemaque says:

    Thank you Leslie. This is exactly what I was wondering about. Now I am on my way.

  • Johnny says:

    Thank you and your instruction is easy to be understood.

    May I ask something a bit technical please.

    1. Since we may not have all the devices for testing, what papersize would you recommend on the word file before the PDF conversion? For example, would 4.5 inch wide be OK for most of the mobile phone readers?

    2. What other publisher besides gumroad you may suggest? Simple process is for sure however should I assume all internal design would not be taken care by the publisher?

    3. How does the publisher promote the book within their networks? I realize even Amazon may not have its branch in each country.

    4. Let say my book in English version is selling fine, does any of the publisher comes with a supplementary service for translation so that it may be available to non-English readers? Or I have to get a translation and sell it as a second entity?

    Thank you very much again for your guidance.

    Best regards,

    Johnny.

    • Hi Johnny,

      1. If you’re doing a simple PDF download, it doesn’t matter too much what the dimensions are. I wouldn’t go above 8.5 x 11 though just in case someone wants to print it.

      2. I’ve only used Gumroad for this, so I can’t give any other suggestion. I’ve checked out others, but Gumroad is the easiest.

      3. They don’t. Promotion is up to you. Unless you went with Amazon. If you did, if your book sells well and has good reviews, it gets additional visibility.

      4. Once again, that’s all up to you.

  • Esme says:

    Hi Leslie, great info – thanks! The steps you provide make it easy, but I’m stumped with a bit of the technical side of creating the PDF to be secure and not allow copy / paste / editing. Struggling to find those elusive settings… how do you safeguard your product?

    • Hi Esme,

      I never try to secure PDFs. Here’s why. Whenever you focus on trying to protect your digital assets from people who do “shady things”, you ALWAYS end up making it more inconvenient for your actual customers. For example, lets say that I’m REALLY interested in your eBook. I love it so much that I want to save specific excerpts from it. I go to copy it to save it to my Evernote file. I can’t, because you focused on the people who try to do bad stuff.

      I always say – focus on providing value for those who care. Yes, there are others who will do things like copying and pasting to use for unauthorized purposes, but it takes too much energy to focus on them and the return is VERY low.

  • ilayaraja says:

    after publishing my ebook, how can i protect it from theft? i mean if some one copy my ebook content and upload it on site means they will get traffic on google search or they may sell my ebook too… what is the solution against ebook copying and theft. please help me

  • Kate says:

    Thanks – awesome blog!
    Q: How to we get around buyers redistribuing the e-book? I imagine they can simply send it to or put it on dropbox for someone else to grab a copy of the PDF?

  • onome says:

    Hi, leslie i am a Nigerian and as such i dnt have a paypal account hw then can i receive my money from gumroad?

  • James Wetu says:

    Thank You for sharing as well as introducing Gumroad. i found it very easy to use. I just need to learn more with time!
    Yes, I have just developed my first Ebook! Coach yourself Into Success, and i am eager to see the progress!

  • Oroh Gerald says:

    Thanks for Sharing.
    Please do I have to have an ISBN number before I sell my eBook?

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