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20 + Free Resources to Create a Simple Ebook

20 + Free Resources to Create a Simple Ebook

If you’re building an online business, chances are you’ll need to create a simple PDF ebook at some point. And yes, you could outsource it, or buy fancy software.  But wouldn’t you agree that some of the very best ebooks get straight to the point, and offer you the answers to your questions with out the hype or drama?

A clean ebook (like a clean simple website) doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Today we’re looking at free resources (many you may already have installed on your computer) to help you create a simple pdf styled ebook.

Desktop Applications:

Whether you’re using a Mac of PC, chances are you already have Word, Pages, Powerpoint or Keynote already installed.  All of these programs will create clean simple PDF style ebooks with ease.  If you don’t have these products, check out Open Office as an excellent free alternative.

 

Microsoft Word

Create your document with graphics, header footer, Header 1,2,3, lists and insert a quote box here and there.  When it looks good enough (not perfect) go to File > Save as > and choose PDF from the drop down menu.

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My Simple Ebook Microsoft Word

    Open Office

    Much like Microsoft word, you can create and edit inside Open Office (free open source software) and then File > Export as PDF

    Pages

    Create your document and then choose Print > to PDF

    Powerpoint 

    Layout your content on slides (like you would for a powerpoint presentation), and include hyperlinks, images, key points then go to File > Save as PDF

    My Simple Ebook Powerpoint

      Keynote

      To create a PDF file that will be viewed only onscreen (not as a printed hardcopy), choose Share > Export and chose PDF as the file format.

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      My Simple Ebook Keynote

        Scrivener

        For Mac or PC.  Although not completely free, but it works for 30 uses – not a 30 day trial  – usually long enough to complete a full project.  Most often Scrivener is used for writing large books, Scrivener helps you gather all of your notes in one place and put the book together in an organized way.  You can then use the Compile feature to save as a PDF or most of the other digital formats (like epub)

          Online Applications:

          Skydrive

          includes simplified versions of Word and Powerpoint – Follow the same steps as you would in a desktop version, but instead of “Save as PDF” you’ll choose File > Print > Print to PDF 

          (Same steps in Powerpoint & Word on Skydrive)

          My Simple Ebook Skydrive Word

            Google Docs or Presentations

            Sometimes the formatting gets a bit tricky with Google Docs when you save as a PDF, but it’s worth giving a try with a simple 1 or 2 page document to see if it will work for your project

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            Google Drive Doc Presentation

              My Simple Ebook Google Drive

                PDF Escape.com

                PDFEscape as a completely free account where you can upload your word documents or create one from scratch (I recommend uploading an existing Word Doc, working in a browser can be tempermental).  This is a great tool to use for creating fillable PDF’s too

                   

                  Looking for Topic Ideas?

                  Not sure what to write about? Obviously the best solution would be to ask your ideal customer what she or he would like to learn from you. But sometimes that’s not an option. Here are a few other suggestions to get you started.

                  1. Go to Quora or Yahoo Answers and search for your main topic and read the questions people are asking. Your book could answer groups of questions you’ve found, or answer one big question people are asking.
                  2. Join groups on Facebook & Linked In and listen to what people are discussing.  Listen for the painpoints & what they’re challenged with. If you have a true solution to their problem, use that topic as inspiration for your book

                  Putting Your Content Together:

                  Pen and paper can be handy for putting together your ebook content, but if you gravitate towards aps and cloud options consider the ones below.  Most of them have iphone or android aps as well.

                  • Evernote – great for organizing many things in life, including notes you might be collecting for your next ebook. Tag, clip things from the web or forward things from your email account to be added later.
                  • Onenote – Onenote can be used in the same way as Evernote. Including phone aps and tagging to keep everything in one place.  Onenote is packaged with other Microsoft programs (“free” if you already have it installed)
                  • Mindmeister  – Use Mindmeister to gather your ideas and create a mindmap outline of your ebook
                  • Freeemind – Same as Mindmeister for building out your ideas in a mindmap
                  • Trello – great for organizing all kinds of big and little projects. Create a Trello board for your ebook and add in all the steps you want to complete, along with topics and title ideas
                  • Remember the Milk – use it in a similar way to Trello to keep your thoughts organized.
                  • TeuxDeux – TeuxDeux is a popular “to do list” and can be used to keep your thoughts organized and help you stay on task.
                  • Asana – usually used for managing small teams, but it can also work really well for projects for solo-teams. Create a new project and enter in tasks and due dates and start checking things off.
                  • Dragon Naturally Dictation for iphone (I believe it’s still free) – speak your book into your recorder and edit it later

                  Creating Covers and Graphics

                  After you’ve created your ebook you’ll want to create an image that will represent the ebook / report. It might be easier to have one designed on Fiverr.com for $5.  But if you’re up for creating one yourself, here are some free tools that will help.

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                  Gimp –  An alternative to Adobe Photoshop

                  Microsoft Paint.net (with the PSD plugin added) – this is my current “go to” plugin & if I can’t edit it in Paint.net then I know it’s time for me to hire an expert who can really take it to the next level.

                  Scribus  – the best way to explain this is “an open source version of InDesign”.   Scribus supports professional publishing features, such as color separations, CMYK and spot colors, ICC color management, and versatile PDF creation.

                  MyEcoverMaker.com has a few free options or one creation downloads of $4.95

                  free ecovers
                    So, there we have it! Tools and resources you can use to create your very own simple ebook.  What will you create? And, let us know in the comments below what I missed from this list? Do you have a great free resource that helped you create your ebook / ereport?

                     

                    Featured photo credit: Maria Elena via flickr.com

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                    Last Updated on March 31, 2020

                    How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

                    How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

                    Knowledge is essential to become successful in life, your career and your business. Without learning new concepts and becoming proficient in our craft, we cannot excel in our chosen careers or archive knowledge to pass down to the next generation.

                    But content comes in various forms, and because how we learn influences how much we know, we need to talk about learning styles. This article will focus on how to utilize visual learning to boost your career or business.

                    The Importance of Knowing Your Learning Style

                    Knowing your learning style enables you to process new information to the best of your ability. Not only does it reduce your learning curve, you’re able to communicate these same concepts to others effectively.

                    But it all starts when you’re able to first identify the best way you learn.

                    As a college student, I soon figured out that taking online courses without visual aids or having an instructor in front of me led to poor retention of concepts.

                    Sure, I got good grades and performed excellently in my online exams. However. I discovered that I couldn’t maintain this performance level because I forgot 80 percent of the course content by the end of the semester.

                    There are several types of learning styles known to mankind. To give an idea of how visual learning stacks up against other learning styles, here’s a brief mention of some of the different types of learning styles we have.

                    The four most popular types of learning styles are:

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                    • Visual learning style (what this article talks about).
                    • Aural or auditory learning style (learning by listening to information presented).
                    • Verbal or linguistic learning style (learning that involves speech and writing).
                    • Tactile learning style (learning by touching and doing)

                    But for the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on using visual learning to boost your career or business.

                    How to Know If You’re a Visual Learner?

                    When it comes to boosting your career, business (or education), a visual learner is one who would most definitely choose shapes, images, symbols, or reading over auditory messages.

                    I’m talking about preferring to read an actual map when navigating to a new place over listening to verbal directions. I’m talking about discovering that you actually have trouble remembering what your manager said at the meeting because there were no graphs or illustrations to support the points raised.

                    Most people who struggle with learning probably aren’t leveraging their best learning styles. The earlier you identify how your learning style can boost your success, the less struggle you will encounter with processing new information throughout your career.

                    However, visual learning in particular CAN 10x your career or business whether it is your preferred learning style or not. And here’s why:

                    Several studies have arrived at the conclusion that the brain retains more information with the help of visual aids. In other words, images are directly processed by our long-term memory which helps us store information for longer periods of time.[1]

                    While some lessons can be performed orally, several concepts can only make sense if you have an image with an explanation of sequences (i.e learning about the human DNA).

                    Visual learning does use a different part of the brain and visual cues are processed by the part of the brain known as the occipital lobe.

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                    By engaging more parts of the brain during learning, you’re able to have a fuller understanding of concepts and facilitate better interaction with your immediate environment.

                    How to Use Visual Learning for Success

                    Here’re 4 ways to use visual learning to boost your career or business:

                    1. Bring back the to-do list. Then add shapes and colors to boost productivity.

                    We live in an age where computers have taken over virtually every aspect of productivity and most human functions. But written lists are making a comeback, and with an endless number of important tasks to complete, having a to-do list of tasks in order of importance can improve your productivity.

                    While coming up with a list is initially challenging, adding colors and shapes to written lists that you personally write and manage gives you an extra layer of assurance and boosts aids recall so that you actually get stuff done.

                    I have tried this technique in my work as a registered nurse and discovered that adding shapes and colors to to-do lists helps me delegate tasks, recognize where more work is needed, and makes it easy to cross off completed tasks at the end of the day.

                    2. Add graphs, charts and symbols to your reports.

                    Yes, it seems like more work cut out for you. However, graphs enable you monitor the heartbeat of your business.

                    Graphs and charts help you trend your finances, budget, and pretty much any data overtime. With the help of free and premium software available on the market, it has become easier to take plain data and in a matter of seconds, have relevant information displayed in different shapes and images.

                    As an entrepreneur, you can make predictions and allocate funds wisely when you’re able to see whether your efforts are rewarded. You can use colors and charts to delegate actions to members of your team and track performance at the same time.

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                    And when broken down into monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual goals, graphs and charts communicate what ordinary text cannot.

                    3. Effectively brainstorm with mind-mapping.

                    Mind-mapping is not new but I don’t think it’s been talked about as often as we do to-do lists.

                    With mind mapping, you’re organizing information accurately and drawing relationships between concepts and pieces from a whole.

                    Think of a mind map as a tree with several branches. For example, the tree can symbolize healthcare while each branch stands for nursing, medicine, laboratory science, and so on. When you look at nursing, you can further branch out into types of nursing; pediatric, women’s health, critical care, and so on.

                    It’s an interesting relationship; the more ideas you’re able to come up with for your chosen subject, the deeper you get and the stronger the association.

                    Mind maps really show you relationships between subjects and topics, and simplifies processes that might seem complicated at first glance. In a way, it is like a graphical representation of facts presented in a simple, visual format.

                    Mind mapping isn’t only limited to career professionals; business owners can benefit from mind mapping by organizing their online learning activities and breaking down complex tasks into simple actions so that you can accurately measure productivity.

                    4. Add video streaming to meetings.

                    What if you could double the productivity of your team members by video streaming your meetings or adding flash animation to your presentation at the same time?

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                    When you offer video as an alternative method of processing information to colleagues, there is a greater chance of retaining information because we recreate these stories into images in our minds.

                    For organizations that hold virtual meetings, it can also be an effective way to enhance performance during if people can see their colleagues in addition to flash animation or whatever form of video is provided during the meeting.

                    Is Visual Learning Better Than Other Learning Styles?

                    No, that is not the point. The goal here is to supplement your existing dominant learning style with visual learning so that you can experience a significant boost in how you process and use everyday information.

                    You might discover that understanding scientific concepts are much easier after incorporating visual learning or that you’re able to understand your organization’s value when projected on a visual screen with charts and graphs.

                    The overall goal is to always be learning and to continue to leverage visual learning style in your career and business.

                    More About Learning Styles

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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