3 Ways to Improve Your PDF-style E-books

I’ve spent much of my time the last few months reviewing e-books, designing e-books, and teaching a workshop on how to create PDF-style e-books. I’ve been blown away by the depth of knowledge being shared by entrepreneurial women around the world. We are so generous with our knowledge.

I want all that knowledge that you’re sharing to have the biggest impact possible on your audience and bottom line. So, I wanted to share with you three areas in the e-book creation process where everyone could do little bit of tweaking: cover design, brand consistency, and content balance.

The next time you create an e-book do these three things:

#1: Spend more time on your cover

Your audience will judge your PDF-style e-book by its cover (even if you are giving it away for free as an opt-in). They will decide, based on how it looks, and what it says, if it’s right for them.

Do This:

Always create more than one cover option. Play around with different photos, illustrations, typography, colors, and titles.

Print these out and post them on your bulletin board for a few days. See which covers repeatedly draw your attention. Notice which titles roll off your tongue easily and stick in your head.

Put yourself in your ideal client’s shoes and think about how you want them to feel when they first see your cover.

Take your favorite cover options and do another round of tweaks. Repeat this process until your cover shines.

For more information on cover design read Judging Your E-book By Its Cover.
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#2: Stay on brand

Use the brand you already have to design your cover and interior pages.

You might think this is boring, but being consistent with your brand visuals, from your website to your e-book and beyond, increases brand recognition. This is a good thing, just ask Nike.

Do This:

Use your brand colors and typography throughout your e-book. Include your logo and any other design elements that you use on your website.

If you don’t know your brand colors and fonts, check with whomever designed your logo and/or website to get those. This is important information that you need to have on hand.

Examples of awesome e-books with consistent branding:

Mayi Carles: 5K Sales in 365 Days
Jessica Ainscough: Make Peace With Your Plate
Mindy Crary: Getting Started with Conscious Spending
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#3: Stop over-sharing

I’m sure you’ve read e-books where the first 10 pages are a mini-biography of the author’s life and you’re skipping through to get to the secret that was supposed to be revealed. Don’t be that person. Save your entire life story for your auto biography.

Your e-book is not about you! Your e-book should be helping your ideal client solve their problem.

Do This:

Put yourself in your ideal clients shoes and read your e-book like you don’t know yourself. Honestly evaluate how much of the e-book is about you and how much is devoted to solving your client’s problems. Read this post if you need help planning content for your e-book or freebie.

Tip the content balance in favor of your ideal clients: delete over-sharing. You can always add a link to your website “about me” page and invite your readers to visit your site to learn more about you.

One last tip for you under-sharers: You can’t help your ideal client solve their problem if you don’t give them some kind of action to take, or a way to contact you after they’ve read your e-book. Make sure to include your contact information in your e-book. You’d be surprised how many e-books don’t include this information.

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Want a review of your e-book or help getting started writing your first e-book?

Sign up for a free E-book Brainstorming Session.

Want to learn how to write, design, produce your own PDF freebie in iWork Pages or Word 2010?

Join Jewels Branch for a month or more and take The PDF Workshop.

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Have an a-ha! moment while reading this post? Tell me about it in the comments.

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16 Responses to 3 Ways to Improve Your PDF-style E-books

  1. Cathy Sykora October 22, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    Great post Christie. You helped me a lot with my e-book. I actually went back and revised one color because of #2…and although I should know about sticking to a brand…it sometimes slips. This one tip is worth a lot in more than just e-book publishing. I noticed that there isn’t a lot of biography in most people’s books. Thanks. ~Cathy

  2. Amber Goodenough October 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    Great tips Christie! I am so relieved to know that my first e-book hit most of the major points you outlined. Whew! Will try playing with different cover designs. Thanks!

  3. Natalie October 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    This a great post and I have printed it out to refer to while creating my first e-book. This post was a nice reminder to me to get my ideas out there. I look forward to connecting with you on this planning process soon.

  4. Sarah Steele October 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Hi Christie, A great post with some definite steps clearly outlined. I’ll definitely be referring to this when the time comes.

    Thanks. Sarah

  5. Kathleen Prophet October 24, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    LOVE this post! and you KNOW why! I am HOT on your trail exactly because of the expertise in the post! sighhhhhhh… I am an ARTIST! and design is soooooo important to me! I didn’t consider how important the cover is, though I always wanted to fashion mine beautifully. Also the carrying through of my brand… no doubt you mean font and yes, you did say colors, etc. I tried to carry some of this over, but am limited by my limited knowledge of ipages. Going to have to take your course Christie!

  6. Sarah October 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    I am currently revamping and revising my opt in free PDF guide. Your suggestions will certainly be of a MASSIVE help. My cover needs love and I plan to expand the content + create brand/ type continuity.

    Thank you for the suggestions!
    (hugs)
    Sarah

  7. Jacqueline Fairbrass October 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    Love your advice Christie. And the way you present is clear and concise. And yes, I hate it when I’ve got to wade through someone’s bio before I can get to the nitty-gritty…that made me smile. Keep sharing lovely!

  8. Ashley Taylor October 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    This is such an informative + helpful article 🙂 Something most of us can make use of or even just share with other entrepreneurs!

    Staying on brand is so extremely key.

    Thanks for writing this! Much enjoyed

  9. Megan Flatt October 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    Having just completed your AMAZING PDF course (really, people, you need to take this course),this post was exactly what I needed to review. I actually took notes. I love the part about printing a few cover options and looking at them side by side for a few days. Thats great advice that could apply to many different areas! Thanks for a great post (and an awesome workshop!)

  10. Jenn HaveHimYourWay October 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    These are excellent tips. I am in the process of creating something e bookesque for online dating done very well and I will keep all of this in mind. I especially like the idea about similar stuff for brand recognition. Genius!

  11. Jessica October 25, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    This post makes me want to WRITE an e-book even though I don’t currently have one! Excellent tips. From a frequent-reader’s perspective, I can attest to the validity of each point, especially #3!

  12. Bri Saussy October 25, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    As I prepare to launch my own e-book this is very useful and helpful information-thank you so much!

  13. Leah Shapiro October 25, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    Very helpful advice Christie! I hate when someone overshares and I have to wade through their bio!!!
    The cover art piece is importnat too….I definitely am a visual person and the cover influences me.
    I’ll keep these in mind for my next e-book.

  14. Julie Geigle October 25, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    I’ve been wanting to create an ebook of my free download “Manifesting Miracles” but it always falls on the back burner and really would there even be value in doing that? Now, after reading this post I’m inspired to rethink that idea and give it some juice. Thanks – great tips!!

  15. Lisa Claudia Briggs October 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    Christie this was great timing for me.. am retooling and adding to my existing ebook that i wrote 4 years ago plus adding multimedia.. great information and am checking out your posts that you linked to.. thank you..
    xox
    Lisa /Intuitivebody

  16. Abc General March 8, 2013 at 3:49 am #

    There’s certainly a great deal to find out about this topic. I really like all the points you’ve made.

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