10 Easy Ways to Make Your eBook Look Great

 

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.

3. Header

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.

4. Footer

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

serifs-sans-serifStud­ies 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.

7. Brand­ing

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.

9. Links

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.

10. Graph­ics

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.


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About Kristy Schnabel

Hi, I'm Kristy Schnabel, owner of It's Virtually Done. I'm a Social Media Strategist who helps women entrepreneurs "rock" their internet marketing with social media.
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2 Responses to 10 Easy Ways to Make Your eBook Look Great

  1. Louise Myers says:

    Com­pre­hen­sive list of tips for PDF ebooks — well done!

  2. Kelly says:

    Great blog post! Will def­i­nitely make sure to check out Stock­Fresh too because iStock­Photo prices are a bit too much sometimes!!

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