I just finished formatting an eBook for my client, and we’re delighted with the results. We didn’t have much time, but we wanted it to look attractive, clean, and have clear navigation. With Hubspot as an inspiration, I focused on the following features.
1. Attractive Cover Page
Let’s say that you’ve already created content that your target audience can’t wait to get in their hands. Next, you’ve taken the time to select a gripping title for your eBook. Now you want an attractive cover page that makes it clear WHAT the reader is getting and WHO provided the content (you). You want a very easy-to-read, large font so that when you create a thumbnail image of the book, you can still read easily the title. A bold, sans serif font such as Arial or Verdana is a good choice. Use colors that complement your website, but will still stand out.
2. Table of Contents
You may think that a Table of Contents (TOC) is superfluous, but it separates the hastily-put-together documents from the people who took the time to add the finishing touches. It shows your audience where main topics are quickly, which is especially helpful if they come back to your eBook later. It’s even better if you link the TOC sections so that when the links are pressed, the reader jumps to that section.
Add the title of the eBook to every page of your document (except the cover). The header is an ideal place to do this. Consider adding a border line under your header message to give your book a pleasing, finished look.
In the footer, you can add your logo and/or your business name. Make sure that the logo image is a high quality image (300 dpi or better) so that the image is not blurry. Include a copyright symbol (©) and the year so that it is clear that people may not use your hard work as theirs.
Be kind to your readers who print out your document and add a page number to the footer that will keep them from mixing up the pages.
5. Easy To Read Fonts
Studies differ on which is more readable: fonts with or without serifs (AlexPoole). However, I’m sticking with what I learned in my graphics design courses in college: Sans Serif for headlines and Serif for body. This means something like Arial for a headline and Times New Roman for the body.
6. White Space and Line Spacing
Single-spacing for your document can be too dense and double-spaced has too little content on a page, so I prefer 1–1/2 spacing between lines. For readability, each paragraph will have about four sentences, which will force you to be concise. Remember to create a new paragraph for each new thought. Sometimes a single word will roll over onto a new page creating an orphan, which you can avoid by adding a page break.
An eBook is a perfect place to showcase your business branding. Do this by including your logo on your cover page. Another wonderful place for your logo, as mentioned above, is in your footer. Do make sure that your image is clearly readable and not smudgy. You may want to add your bio and a “call to action” on your last page of your eBook, and here’s another spot for your contact information, and if it works, your logo too.
8. Consistent Styling
Let me define consistent styling by saying that each section header will have the largest font and value (boldness). The next largest font will be the headings, and then the sub-headings, etc. Consistent styling serves several purposes including showing your audience that you have attention to detail. Tell me a profession where this is not important… really!
Secondly, consistent styling gives your book a framework helping your readers track where they are in which section. As I tell my students (I teach a college class for VAs on how to create business plans), neatness does count.
Lastly, consistent styling illustrates to your readers that you have a keen understanding of organization and logic to the points you are making. Word has built-in styles that you can use, or you can create your own.
I went back and forth on this one. If your eBook is a free offer for an opt-in form, you’ll want to have links to your website, and maybe several links to blog posts and such. Links look neat and tidy when they are a hyperlink like this. However, I think there are some people out there, like me, who like to print out their eBooks and get out the highlighter pen. Then they read a passage that has a link and they want to go there… NOW. This is an argument for including the full link as well, which I like to do.
I advocate adding graphics to:
- add interest
- create white space
- reinforce your points
- create a reference point
I recommend StockFresh (affiliate link) for purchasing graphics for just $1. (I’ve loved istockphotos.com for years, but they’ve recently raised their prices.)
Another way to create graphics yourself to illustrate your points, is with SmartArt graphic in Word 2007. See my separate blog post/video on making easy, beautiful graphics for your eBook.
If you’d like to take a peek at the eBook that I’m talking about, check out my client’s FREE 5 Step Formula (videos/eBook) for turning your website into a “Client Connection Machine.” Just head here, fill out the form, and get great content for free.
Kristy Schnabel is a Virtual Assistant with It’s Virtually Done Virtual Assistance Practice.
To get her FREE report “10 Ways to Increase Your Marketing Presence,” designed for entrepreneurs who’ve just started their business or need a boost, just head here.