How to Create an Ebook

ebook2How to Make an Ebook

In B2B online marketing, knowing how to create an ebook is a valuable skill. Ebook marketing is an inbound marketing technique that uses free, downloadable ebooks. B2B companies create ebooks with the goal to provide valuable content to their clients. An ebook, while not as exhaustive as a whitepaper, can engage wider audiences and provide an entertaining breakdown of complex industry concepts.

Creating an ebook, however, comes with its own set of challenges. The best ebook examples require painstaking data mining, research, outlining, and multiple drafts before the final product is complete.

Taken as a whole, ebook creation can be a daunting task. That’s why the Sprint Marketing team has collected a list of ebook tools along with eight basic steps on how to create an ebook. But before delving into the “how” of making ebooks, it helps to understand why ebooks are so critical to your overall online marketing strategy.

 

Why B2B Companies Use Ebook Internet Marketing

Despite the challenges, many companies create ebook after ebook. Rather than resorting to aging strategies that involved intrusive outbound tactics, these companies realize that in the current market, customers want easy-to-digest content. Whenever they have a problem, they turn to a search engine for a solution. And, since search engines want to connect these users to quality content that will answer their questions, an ebook is also a good way to attract more website traffic.

Here are three more benefits that ebook-publishing companies enjoy:

  1. Ebooks generate leads. Free ebook marketing strategies are an effective way of attracting interested customers who are willing to exchange a few pieces of personal information for quality content.
  2. Ebooks build brand confidence. By producing helpful content and providing it for free, you strengthen your claim to be a provider of solutions and an expert in your field.
  3. Ebooks provide value to clients. When creating ebooks, make certain their topics are relevant to your potential clients’ needs. The ebook may be free, but it should present your prospects with the solid value of a real solution.

What Are the Types of Ebooks?

With the ebook market expanding at a frightening pace, it’s important to recognize the fundamental differences between various types of ebooks. The two largest categories of ebooks include:

  • Fictional ebooks. These tend to either be the electronic version of printed trade books, or they are the sole publication of chiefly independent publishers.
  • Nonfiction. These ebooks are more suited for B2B companies’ purposes. They can be how-to-guides, problem-solving tracts, trend-tracking studies and strategy guides.

Recommended Ebook Software and Tools

Having the right tool can expedite any project, ebook writing included. These ebook tools range from basic but customizable programs with a broad array of tools to specialized software tailored to help with narrow aspects of ebook creation.

  1. Microsoft Word. Word has many features that simplify creating an ebook. Implementing and updating your ebook formatting is easy, and it takes little effort to create an ebook template you can then use for future ebook creation. Word also gives you several file format choices when it comes to publishing your ebook. You can either create pdf ebook versions, or Word’s defaults (like docs, docxs or rtfs) are readily accepted by downloadable or online converters.
  2. Microsoft PowerPoint. Like Word, it has many of the same features when it comes to formatting, creating a design template and providing a variety of file types for publishing. There are even free ebook templates online that utilize PowerPoint.
  3. Scrivener. This program is especially useful for organizing that initial draft of your ebook. It imports Word documents and then divides them into files you can rearrange at will. This provides an arena where you can organize your thoughts and break the project into manageable parts.
  4. 99Designs. Creating an ebook draws on both writing and graphic skills. The design aspects of ebooks, particularly the ebook cover, are critical to an ebook’s overall presentation. On 99Designs, it’s easy to create a contest where designers come to you with professional-grade covers for your ebook.
  5. Other ebooks. There are an increasing number of free ebooks that provide guidelines and tips on how to create an ebook.
  6. ClicktoTweet. One of the most practical ways of promoting your ebook is to provide social share links or buttons. All a fan has to do is click on the link or button and they can plug your content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. ClicktoTweet allows you to create a Tweet (make sure it contains a link to your ebook) and then changes it into a link that the reader can click on in order to share your ebook on Twitter.

The 8 Basic Steps to Making an Ebook

Writing an ebook isn’t difficult. Though it looks challenging at the beginning, all it requires is breaking the process down into manageable steps. At Sprint Marketing, we’ve outlined eight basic steps to creating an ebook. These eight ebook steps also include benchmarks and suggestions on how to create a better ebook.

Step 1: What’s the Big Idea?

This can be the most difficult step: deciding what to write about. Choose a tight, narrow focus for your topic. Don’t write a broad overview on a topic. Get specific. Brainstorm ideas with your team and pick the ones you’re excited to write about. If you have several good ideas, select one and shelve the others for later.

Your ebook ideas should focus on:

  • Your audience: What needs or pain points will your prospective clients have?
  • Your value offer: What solutions or advice can you provide?
  • Your research: What data points or studies or statistics do you have that might shed light on the subject?

Step 2: Researching Your Ebook Topic

Once you’ve settled on a topic, discuss what you want your ebook to accomplish. Is it strictly for lead generation? You also need to determine what the big takeaway should be for your audience. What value does your ebook provide?

Additional ebook research is necessary to expand on the initial topic and flesh out your findings and statistics. Don’t just provide numbers and data. Offer readers educated and valuable conclusions based on those findings. Your insights are what will set your ebook apart from others.

Step 3: The Ebook Outline

Brainstorm ideas before you begin your ebook outline. Don’t worry about organizing them yet. Just get down all the possible thoughts you have on the topic. You probably won’t use all the ideas you write down, but throw them on there so you can get a sense of what might prove valuable to your customers and what is better left out.

Once you’ve thoroughly hashed out your ideas, organize them. Group them together into a list and look for opportunities where ideas can build on each other. At that point, break them into chapters, sections, pages, or however you’re organizing your ebook. Pair up these sections with the statistics you want to spotlight.

Step 4: The Ebook Draft

Once your map is drawn, you’re ready to start on your ebook draft. Just like in your initial brainstorming session, the first draft is where you just get all your ideas written down. Muzzle your inner editor and just finish the draft.

Ignore the desire to format as you go. Leave all of that for the editing step. It’s easier to decide on formatting issues once you have a completed draft in front of you.

Hold off on writing both the introduction and the conclusion until after the body of the ebook is done. Summarizing your thoughts is much simpler once you have all your thoughts down.

Step 5: Editing the Ebook

Editing your ebook should also be done in stages. During your first sweep through you should:

  • Pay attention to the style and tone of the draft. Does it flow the way you want? Is it consistent throughout the draft?
  • Check for words or phrases that are repeated too often. Writers often lose track of these during the writing process, but your readers will notice.

 

During the second phase, look at the big picture, such as the overall structure of the ebook.

  • Decide if the sections you’ve established work where they are or if they need to be moved.
  • Check for sections or chapters that may be too long or too short.
  • Gauge paragraph length. Too many extensive paragraphs can lead to eye exhaustion in your reader. Break paragraphs into shorter, more digestible chunks when possible.

 

Your last sweep should deal with formatting.

  • Italicize and bold text.
  • Insert page numbers, along with headers and footers.

 

As you choose between ebook formats, remember to use the white space on each space to train the reader’s eye on where to focus. By doing so, you create a more visually pleasing ebook.

Step 6: Packaging the Ebook

Now that you have the text and formatting set, it’s time to dress the draft up. Add details like charts and images. It is tempting to go overboard on ebook graphics, but remember that too many visuals can distract readers. It’s better to direct their attention with one or two powerful, pertinent images that reinforce the point you’re making in the text.

Other components to add at this stage would be the:

  • Ebook cover
  • Table of contents
  • Appendix (or appendices)

Step 7: Publishing the Ebook

Publishing your ebook typically involves saving it in the correct format, such as pdf, and uploading it onto your website.  Be aware that there are several platforms for publishing ebooks. Ebooks for mobile devices are also in demand, making mobile-friendly formats another factor to consider as you prepare your ebook for publication.

Step 8: Marketing an Ebook

Your ebook marketing strategy should be primed alongside the creation of your ebook. Pay particular attention to what channels your ideal client might use. Are they more disposed to using search engines to find solutions to their problems, or do they comb through social networks?

When you market your ebook, we recommend the following venues:

Website Landing Pages

Your website should play a central role in your ebook marketing plan. Prepare a landing page, or landing pages, to promote your ebook. These will allow you to direct interested traffic to a page dedicated to promoting and downloading your ebook.

The landing page should feature a short lead-capture form that the prospect must complete before the ebook becomes available. In the form, only ask for personal information that is necessary to download the ebook, such as the prospect’s first and last name and email address.

Email Marketing with Ebooks

Your database of leads is another promising resource for marketing your ebook. This database is comprised of prospects who have already expressed interest in your company’s content. Send emails promoting your ebook and provide a link back to the ebook landing page.

Social Media

Sharing content fuels much of the success of social networks. Promote your ebook across a variety of social channels like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Always include a thumbnail image of your ebook so clients have a visual representation of your offer.

Guest Blogging

Search for opportunities to write guest articles for high-profiles blogs and other online publications. Start by identifying a few in your sphere of influence (start with those that receive the most backlinks). Email them a request to publish an article on their website. Editors are typically very willing to exchange an expert article for a link back to your latest ebook.

Get Your Own Free Leads Analysis to See How Sprint Marketing Can Improve Your Ebook Creation Strategy Today

Sprint Marketing can show you how to create an ebook and implement a successful ebook marketing strategy. While ebooks can increase web leads, infographics can enhance your social media standing. Let us teach you how to create an infographic and how to run an infographic marketing strategy. Get your free leads analysis today.