GUEST POST from Fox Emm of Blogging Onward
Have a blog? You know it’s important to create high-quality content readers want to bookmark and share with their friends and colleagues. But why stop there? If you have enough useful posts, you can easily make them into eBooks without adding much additional content. EBooks can be used as incentives for people to sign up for your newsletter or, if you add “bonus” content, you may sell them to grow your passive income stream.
There are a variety of ways to create eBooks, but I’ll cover how to make your blog posts into a book using Microsoft Word. (The same principles apply when using other programs, but this is the easiest way I’ve found that requires very little design background.)
1. Choose Posts Carefully
I’m sure your blog is full of great posts your customers and readers would love to check out, your eBook must be focused. Decide on the topic you’d like to cover within the eBook, and go from there. Great topics for content upgrades include: how-to articles and information collections, but you know what your audience likes.
2. Open a New Word Document & Create a Cover
The first page of your eBook will be the front cover, so keep that in mind as you design. If you’re artistically inclined or make your own blog graphics, you can insert an image into the first page of your Word Document and have it fill the screen for your cover. If you’re not, use these guidelines to make a basic cover for your content upgrade:
- Hit return fourteen times and align the text to the center.
- Change the font size to 72, choose a legible font and font color.
- Type the title of your eBook and hit return 1 time.
- Change the font size to 36 and type ‘By’ and your name, your blog name, and/or your business name.
- Go to the “insert” menu and select “break” and then “page break” to skip to the next page.
3. Create a Table of Contents
If your eBook will cover more than 10 subjects, include a table of contents to help readers keep track of where they can find certain information. (If you’re creating a shorter project, then skip to number 4.)
- Make sure your font size is still 36, and the text is still centered.
- Type ‘Contents.’
- Hit return four times.
- Change the font size to 28, and begin a centered numbered list containing the names of each of your blog posts.
- Insert a Page Break at the end of the table of contents to reach a new page.
Don’t worry about page numbers just yet. If your book is less than 50 pages you don’t need to include them at all. You just want to be sure readers know the order of the topics you’ll be covering.
4. Add Content
This is the fun part. Set your font size to 38 and enter the title of your first blog post, then hit return and change your font to 12 for standard reading. Now you’re ready! Open a tab with your first blog post in it. Select and copy the first blog post you intend to use, then paste it into the Word document. If the formatting from the blog carries over to your Word document and you don’t want it to, you may select “paste text only” or highlight the text you’d like to change and make individual changes in Word.
If you’d like to include images from your blog in the eBook, download them onto your computer. You may insert them by using Insert -> Pictures -> Picture from File, and selecting the images you’d like to use. You may drag them around, resize them, or make more changes once they’re copied into your book. After each blog post, insert a page break before starting to copy the next round of content. Rinse and repeat for every post!
5. Write Additional Content
If you’re going to be publishing your eBook, you’ll want to add some additional content so folks who already read your blog feel like they’re getting something extra. The easiest way to add more content is to add an introduction and conclusion to your book.
Introduction: The introduction doesn’t have to be more than a few hundred words. It should be an overview of what readers can expect from your eBook. You can discuss why what you’ll be teaching is important, and who you are or why you know enough to write a book on the subject. You can mention your website or services in passing here, but this isn’t a place to make a hard sell. The main purpose of this section is to provide value, not to make a sales pitch.
Conclusion: The conclusion should wrap up your content and tie the book together. Thank folks for taking the time to read the book, and if you don’t intend to put an author’s note into the book, this is the place to plug your company, blog, or website to let readers know where they can find additional content.
Author’s Note/About the Author: If you’ve put together a long eBook that justifies an author’s note (a dozen chapters or so), then include one. This should have details about your website or business, kind of like the “about” page on your website.
Chapters/Posts Not from Your Blog: If you intend to sell the eBook you have written, you’ll want to add additional content to justify the cost. Charging people for information you already provide for free on your website isn’t the most ethically sound action, and many readers will resent it. Fit the new chapter(s) you write in wherever they make sense/flow within the context of the rest of the book. You may also add worksheets or a workbook section of your book (depending on the topic) in lieu of writing additional chapters. The opportunities are limitless.
6. Make it an eBook
The best format for your eBook is a PDF. If your book will contain a lot of images or photographs, you’ll want to export the PDF in higher quality, which will result in a larger file size for the download. If you don’t feature a lot of images in your eBook, then you can get away with exporting at a lower quality, which will give the book a smaller file size.
Ta-da! Now you have an eBook you can send to your newsletter subscribers, new customers, or giveaway in your next blog post. I recommend hosting your downloads through Dropbox so they don’t leech your website’s bandwidth. If you change the last digit of the sharing link from Dropbox from a 0 to a 1, your visitors will never know they didn’t get the file directly from your website.
For more information about how to write better or improve your website/blog, check out BloggingOnward.com
Fox Emm is a freelance writer and editor with Blogging Onward who lives with two tiny Chihuahuas and a Corn Snake in rural Virginia. When she isn’t copywriting or ghostwriting for business owners and organizations, you can find her writing horror entertainment reviews or short stories that will make your skin crawl.