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Lessons Learned from Designing an eBook

Lessons learned from designing my own ebook. Blog Beautiful: 50 Tips + Fixes to Make Your Blog Glow. from DesignYourOwnBlog.com

Lessons learned from designing my own ebook. Blog Beautiful: 50 Tips + Fixes to Make Your Blog Glow. from DesignYourOwnBlog.com
Now that it’s been almost a month since the launch of my latest eBook, Blog Beautiful: 50 Tips + Tricks to Make Your Blog Glow, I thought I’d share with you some things I learned from the creation process.

This post contains affiliate links marked by a (*) which means that at no cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through my link. I appreciate your support always and you can read my full disclosure here.

Give Yourself a Lot More Time than You Think to Get it Done

Back in September I started the free 30 Day Just Ship It Challenge* and one of the first tasks is to pick a launch date. Knowing that it would probably take me a little longer than 30 days, I initially gave myself a deadline of early November. I figured that would be enough time to get it all done.

Well, my launch date was December 30th and even then I was cramming to get it all done!

What took so long?
Besides the fact that I kept changing my mind on what to write exactly, there are essentially five phases you have to consider:

  1. Writing the rough draft
  2. Editing that draft (at least once, if not more)
  3. Designing the cover
  4. Creating a landing page
  5. Formatting the book with proper layouts, font sizes, images, etc.

Phase 5 was by far the longest for me. But that’s mostly because I’m a designer and I wanted it to be perfect. Your eBook might be more text and less images and therefore may make Phase 5 the quickest part for you.

Decide if You Want Portrait or Landscape

I prefer to work in landscape because I like to align things side by side in my eBooks and the wider width allows for more of that. But if your eBook is read more like a book with lots of text, then you’ll definitely want to opt for a portrait version because that will make your line-lengths shorter, thus easier to read.

Design Your Cover in Canva

I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on the cover of my eBook and I mostly did it all in Canva for $1! I bought the image of the girl from Canva. It would have been free, had I used one of my own photos.

Lessons learned from designing an eBook while creating Blog Beautiful: 50 Tips + Fixes to Make Your Blog Glow. An ebook by DesignYourOwnBlog.com

I used the custom dimensions option when creating a new project in Canva and set it to 1024 × 768. Or use 768 x 1024 if your eBook will be laid out in portrait.

Keep the design consistent with your branding, at least the colors. It doesn’t have to completely mimic your blog only because your blog design can change. Your book design probably won’t after you release it. So you have a little leeway on this. You’ll notice my eBook uses a teal/aqua color and Open Sans font, both used in my blog. But it ties in with my branding because it has a soft, feminine design that matches what my blog is all about.

Full disclosure: I saved my layout without text and brought it into Photoshop* to finalize it, but only because I wanted to use a font that wasn’t available in Canva. Again, that’s me being the designer. Hopefully you’re not as picky as I am and can get through this phase more quickly.

Making the 3D Cover

Once I designed my flat cover, I went in search of a 3D template I could use to superimpose the cover on so that it actually looks like a book. I’ll tell you right now, it’s almost impossible to find landscape book cover templates! Why is this?? They are almost all portrait. So that’s something to consider too.

I searched all around Creative Market* for some and finally did find this one* that I thought was perfect because it still has that flat design look.

Carry the Colors and Fonts From Your Cover into the Rest of the eBook

I used the script from my title in the chapter titles, etc. I decided to keep a simple easy to read font for my text (Open Sans) and this is the same font I use for body copy in my blog. The same color and font rules apply for the book as do for your blog.

Decide What Program You’d Like to Use to Layout the eBook

There are multiple options for this and I will admit, I haven’t tried most of them, but in my research this is what I discovered:

iBooks Author (free app for Mac)
I hear this is super easy to use and they have nice looking templates that save you from creating your own. The only problem is that you can only save your eBook as a PDF and/or sell it on iTunes. According to the terms, you cannot create a Kindle version, so it’s something to consider should you wish to offer your eBook on Amazon in the future.

Keynote (Mac) or PowerPoint (PC or Mac)
I used PowerPoint to create both my eBooks. I just figured it was the easiest for me because I had used it before. I researched how to create a template (master slide) so that I could add certain things that would appear on every page only once: pagination and copyright. I then created a couple of different layouts that I used throughout the eBook.

I still had some issues with the templates so just beware that you may fight with it a bit like I did.

Word
I hear that people create their eBooks in Word, but I would advise against it. First Word can be a huge pain to lay things out correctly. Second, it may or may not convert well into a PDF.

Here are some other programs you can consider.

Final Format

I opted to just go with a PDF. I didn’t want to bother with Amazon or the iTunes bookstore. In the future, I may reconsider but for now, that was all I wanted to offer. You’ll want to take this into consideration before deciding which program to use.

Research eBook Layouts

If you’re anything like me, you have a gazillion eBooks saved on your hard drive somewhere. Open up each one and take a second look at the ones that catch your eye. How are they laid out? How much text is on each page? What kinds of images are being used and how big (or small) are they?

You Must Have a Landing Page

I created my eBook landing page using a free WordPress plugin called Parallax Gravity Lite. Be warned though that you’ll need to know CSS to really customize it. I hear a lot about LeadPages these days so it’s worth checking out. Or you can just create a new page in your blog.

Ready to Write Your Own eBook?

If you know you’ve been wanting to write an eBook, but have been worried about where to start and how to do it, may I recommend to you a super awesome course that will walk you through the entire process of creating an eBook from conception to launch and even post-launch?

Then you MUST check out BookBoss: Write + Launch a Profitable eBook in 90 Days or Less* and get in on the special launch pricing now! Read my review here.

Over to You!

Have you ever written an eBook? Do you plan to? Got questions about my process? I’m all ears! Share in the comments below.

And won’t you please share this with anyone you know who’s thinking about writing an eBook? Click on a handy button below.

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