Nowadays people expect from books that they are good to read and provide valuable information. For you as a writer it is important that it doesn’t cost anything to create. This article provides tips on how you can create an ebook for free.
Ebooks are around for quite a while now. Most of these ebooks are presented now as books, guides or reports as the phrase ‘ebook’ is somewhat devalued. Since the purpose of the ebook is to sell it as (part of) an information product, it is important that, whether you call it a book, guide or report, it is attractive to your intended audience.
There are a lot of formats around for ebooks. The most widely supported format is still Adobe’s Acrobat PDF. Unless you are targeting a very specific platform, for instance mobile platforms or iPads, PDF is the best option to start with.
Next you need the tools to create the ebook. On Windows you have two main options. If you already have the latest version of Microsoft Word then you can just save your document as Pdf. Or if you have Word 2007 you can download a free add-in that allows you to export/save as Pdf. See link at the bottom of the article.
Of course these solutions are not completely free but in case you happen to have Word and it’s your word processor of choice then it makes sense to use it. If you have an even older version of Word then you can go for a Pdf printer driver. This is a piece of software that creates a printer that does not print to paper but prints to a Pdf file. That way, any program that can print (including your older version of Word) can also create a Pdf file.
A good free pdf printer driver is Pdf Creator that you can download and use for free at SourceForge. See link section below.
Make sure you untick the options to install the toolbar unless you want to create Pdf’s from websites and are not bothered by the terms & conditions.
The other option is to use either OpenOffice or it’s spin-off LibreOffice. I personally use LibreOffice but ultimately the choice is personal. With both programs you get the Writer program that is some ways reminiscent to older versions of Microsoft Word. You don’t need a Pdf printer driver. The great feature of Writer is that it’s easy to use the Export to Pdf feature. You can decide if you just want to go to the main website and install OpenOffice/LibreOffice as normal or if you prefer, install it as a portable application from PortableApps.com.
The next thing you want is a nice layout that is optimized for screen reading. This means that rather than go for A4 you can make the paper size a bit less, for instance A5 (148.5 x 210 mm) or 6 by 9 inches. Your font should be a non-serif font such as Helvetica or Verdana.
Spend some time learning how to create a header and footer, a title page with a nice image and a table of contents that can be generated automatically. It sounds like hard work but there are plenty of lessons on various websites and YouTube available. It’s these processing parts that make your book easier to read, more consistent and professional looking. In the long run you will find it easier to maintain and create new documents and ebooks.
Let someone else read it for feedback. Most people find it hard to spot their own mistakes but easier to find someone else’s. It helps to reduce or even prevent those embarrassing mistakes.All you need now is your content.
We’ve seen that if you are in posession of a version of Word there are free tools that will help you convert the document into a Pdf ebook. On all other platforms and even on Windows you can use OpenOffice or LibreOffice that will do the job perfectly well.
Links used above:
That’s how to make a ebook for free.