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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 February 11, 2021

                    10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

                    10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

                    Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

                    You have to work hard to develop the right skills

                    If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

                    1. Make your presentation short and sweet

                    With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

                    JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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                    2. Open up with a good ice breaker

                    At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

                    • Joking
                    • Tugging on their heart strings
                    • Dropping a bombastic statement
                    • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
                    • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

                    You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

                    3. Keep things simple and to the point

                    Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

                    4. Use a healthy dose of humor

                    Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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                    It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

                    5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

                    Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

                    6. Practice your delivery

                    Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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                    7. Move around and use your hands

                    Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

                    8. Engage the audience by making them relate

                    Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

                    9. Use funny images in your slides

                    Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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                    10. End on a more serious note

                    When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

                    As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

                    Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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