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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 November 19, 2019

                    Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

                    Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

                    I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

                    How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

                    Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

                    So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

                    1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

                    Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

                    For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

                    Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

                    “When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

                    2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

                    These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

                    This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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                    But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

                    Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

                    For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

                    There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

                    3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

                    It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

                    Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

                    4. Use Your Phone Wisely

                    Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

                    If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

                    5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

                    If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

                    In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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                    One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

                    6. Use a “To Don’t” List

                    We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

                    But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

                    Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

                    7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

                    When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

                    Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

                    “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

                    And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

                    8. Be Concise

                    Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

                    One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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                    Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

                    • Making new contacts
                    • Talking about yourself at a job interview
                    • Meeting people at conferences or parties
                    • Phone calls to new clients

                    9. Ask the Right Questions

                    “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

                    How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

                    When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

                    Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

                    Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

                    10. Learn as Much as You Can

                    You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

                    Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

                    “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

                    11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

                    No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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                    If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

                    What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

                    Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

                    12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

                    As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

                    But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

                    The Bottom Line

                    The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

                    Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

                    More About Working Smart

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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