How to Create the Perfect Ebook or Digital Download – part 2
I hope you enjoyed reading part 1 of this article. There are a few more steps to creating your perfect digital ebook download.
“We all judge books by their covers, and it’s no different with a company’s business material.”
2.1 Apply your brand well.
I already mentioned this in part 1, but it’s worth mentioning again: use your logo, but use it well. It just needs to make your document recognisable; it shouldn’t overpower the contents. Balance is key 😃
Suggestion: Determine a minimum size of your logo that means it is still clear and legible, and use this on each page of your ebook. It can be more prominent on the cover, if you’re adding one (see point 2.4 below). Your designer may have provided you with a guidelines document for your brand when they designed this for you; this should include details about how to use your logo, fonts and colours at the very least.
2.2 Use a maximum of 3 fonts.
We all like variety. We want to keep things interesting. But this kind of thing is so easy to overdo… And before you know it, it can become confusing or overwhelming for the reader. We all have our own preferences for fonts, depending on how easy they are for us to read (serif, sans-serif, etc.), but we can adapt to others too – as long as we don’t have to adapt too often.
Suggestion: If you don’t have brand guidelines, choose a clear and readable font for your main body text, a nice one for headlines that looks good in larger size (but is still readable), and perhaps a fancy one for pull quotes. Use them consistently throughout your documents. Many fonts will have a variety of weights; use them to emphasise keywords in bold, for example (good for SEO, you know).
2.3 Use a maximum of 3 colours.
It can be really tempting to use a lot of colour (or color, for our American readers 😃 ), to make part of the text stand out more, or make a document more visually appealing, But using too many colours can actually have the opposite effect; and visual overload doesn’t help people get to the end of that document.
Suggestion: Again, if you don’t have brand guidelines, choose colours that you feel genuinely communicate what your business is about, and ensure that the colours you choose combine well together. Remember – you don’t need to use all of them, all the time; you’ll probably use one or two primary colours for most of your documents, and you can add to the colour palette when needed. If you want to emphasise certain bits of text, use bold and italic rather than a different colour.
2.4 Include a cover.
You probably want to dive straight in to the good stuff when you create an ebook. Understandably so; you’re excited and can’t wait for people to get into the nitty gritty of your knowledge and ideas. But it can be a little intense to see a first page full of text; best prepare your reader for what’s to come. And what better way to do this than adding an attractive cover?
Suggestion: Adding a well designed cover can help make a document look professional, and it gets the reader excited about what they’re about to learn. Keep it simple; use a to-the-point title, and a strong, relevant image that drives the message home. Put your name on it too, as well as our business name and logo, but not too big (they know it’s yours; they’ve signed up already!). Always view your cover at thumbnail size to ensure that all the relevant bits stand out, and are legible.
2.5 Use headers and footers.
Suggestion: A common format is to have the logo and/or business name in the header, and the website and contact details in the footer of the document. These will then appear on every page. Use a format that works for your document, and ensure the size of the logo doesn’t overpower the content – after all, that’s why they’re reading it 😃
2.6 Keep the layout varied and interesting.
Suggestion: Use headings and subheadings that stand out, as well as short sentences, and short paragraphs; white space is highly underrated. To emphasise a certain message or section, you could break up the text by using appropriate images, or creating an infographic to show data in a creative way. Also, you could use pull quotes and bulleted lists to make things more visually varied and interesting. Remember: when using images from the internets, make sure they are royalty-free and/or that you have permission to use them, or you may get yourself into some serious doo-doo…
2.7 Use a grid.
Suggestion: Ensure to set your margins so you have plenty of white space around the content of the page – this makes it easier on the eyes, and also ensures nothing gets cut off when someone prints your document. Also, keep your content far enough away from the headers and footers; the content should be self-contained, as it were. You could consider using a 2 or 3 column grid, especially if you’re using a slide format. The possibilities are endless! 🙂
2.8 Ensure the text is legible.
Suggestion: Consider who your book is aimed at. How do these lovely people like to read? On a laptop? On a tablet? On a phone? Printouts on paper? A combination of the above? Either come up with a compromise to ensure your document is easily readable overall, or consider preparing different versions of it (e.g. one for print, one for screen). If you are preparing it for screen use, make sure it’s readable on a medium sized tablet – that way, you’ll know the text size will be fine for a laptop or computer. (If it’s for use on a phone, you may need to rethink things a little!)
2.9 Use the best orientation.
Suggestion: Consider how you’re creating the document, what’s most convenient to you, and the flexibility of use. There’s no right or wrong, necessarily; tools like Google Slides as well as Word will have a selection of templates and sizes to choose from to get you started.
2.10 Again; be consistent.
Suggestion: Use styles to make your text consistent throughout. It may be a bit finicky getting it all set up properly to start off with, but once you’ve got it, you’ll be unstoppable! And the good thing is that, if you decide to change your fonts, simply changing the style will update it in the entire document. Check through the file thoroughly to ensure things still are where you want them to be and there’s no reflow. If something doesn’t fit, consider starting the paragraph on a new page instead; this is also a good idea for new chapters, and perhaps subchapters where the spacing is awkward or too tight.
2.11 No double spaces after a full stop, please.
Suggestion: I think that’s reason enough not to do it, but the choice, of course, is yours 😉
This may seem like a lot to take in. Just remember:
“It doesn’t have to be fancy to look professional. Simple is often best.”
Was this helpful? If so, you can get a free checklist download [coming soon] to guide you along and keep you on track when creating your next freebie or sign-up incentive:
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