Creating an eBook

EBooks provide access for aspiring writers to become published authors. It is becoming a usual process for authors to start with an eBook then progress to printing books. EBooks empower writers to publish and distribute their work, but they also strengthen the opportunity to get a contract with a publisher. However, to be successful with eBooks, it is important to design an eBook that follows the traditional style of a professionally designed book. Using Microsoft Word you can create professionally structured text for your eBook and enter into the digital publishing world with a polished product. Sherre’ L. DeMao, author of 50 Marketing Secrets of Growth Companies in Economic Times shared some ideas on how to create eBooks at a teleseminar and I have received permission to share some of her suggestions in this post.

Consider creating a document style template for your eBook. Authors are mainly focused on getting the words on the page but are not mindful of how the text is presented on the pages.  Here are some ideas to help you create a traditionally published look. Pay close attention to the design of books in your genre; although there are no strict requirements to follow when designing an eBook use your favorite authors’ book designs as a guide.

Some of Sherre’s recommendations are:

  • Set the right and left margins at least to .75.
  • Set the top and bottom margins between .5 to 1”.
  • When creating your style template avoid using too many different fonts. Choose a few and use them throughout your eBook’s design.

There are several facts to be aware of when selecting a font for eBooks, website content or email marketing. I’ve learned in my Internet Technologies course that there are a small group of fonts that are accepted by the most popular browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Chrome) on the Internet. If you select a font that is not universally recognized, your eBook or content will change to the default font on someone else’s computer and this might affect your text design or pagination for your eBook as well as website content and emails. One way to avoid this is to use the accepted fonts. I have listed them at the bottom of this post. If you decide to use a font that is not on the list below be sure to email the font to your proofreader/editor to ensure your document will display as you desire. When selling your eBooks on electronic readers such as Amazon’s kindle the same rule applies. The company will advise you how to submit your eBook and if it they accept it as a Word document, Sherre’’ advises to send the fonts with the document.

Microsoft Word is a popular program that most people have on their computers so I liked Sherre’s tips to structure your eBook text with this software. However, using a graphic program or hiring a graphic designer is Sherre’s suggestion for the cover of your eBook. Your book’s cover – electronic or physical should be eye catching and the way to receive that kind of appeal is by using a graphic program or hiring a graphic artist.

These steps are intended to get you thinking about the look of your eBook as you create it. Being aware of these logistics will help you make an eBook that has a traditionally published design and will increase your chances to get noticed by professionals in your industry and possibly a publisher or agent.

List of acceptable fonts for browsers:

  • Verdana, Geneva, sans-serif
  • Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif
  • Courier New, Courier, monospace
  • Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif
  • Tahoma, Geneva, sans-serif
  • Trebuchet MS, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif
  • Arial Black, Gadget, sans-serif
  • Times New Roman, Times, serif
  • Palatino Linotype, Book Antiqua, Palatino, serif
  • Lucida Sans Unicode, Lucida Grande, sans-serif
  • MS Serif, New York, serif
  • Lucida Console, Monaco, monospace
  • Comic Sans MS, cursive

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