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10 Things You Need to Do to Make an Awesome Ebook

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If you have a meaty subject that needs to be simplified or explored in an easy-to-digest format,  an e-book may be the right medium. E-books are great tools for many reasons. You’re not limited the way you are when writing for print. There’s no page limit, no color limit, and your ideas don’t have to fit on a 6 x 9 page.

But don’t be fooled; not all e-books are created equal. Your readers need good content delivered in the right package, which means design is as important as content. So, what makes a great e-book? We’ve combed the internet to find the best examples of e-books created by everyone from huge companies to college students. The result? A collection of great e-book examples and 10 important tips to remember when creating an e-book.

1) Make an Eye-Catching Title Page

It doesn’t matter how hackneyed the expression is: People will always judge a book by its cover. E-books are no different. The cover-page design is your first introduction. It should make a kick-ass first impression and set the design tone for the rest of the e-book. 

Let the content of the book drive the design, and don’t be afraid to be a little out there.  

“Web UI Design for the Human Eye” by UXPin                          

Web UI Design Ebook

“Elegant Web UI Design Techniques: Flat Design & Colors” by UXPin

Elegant Web UI Ebook

“The Future of Data” by import.io/David White

The Future of Data Ebook

“17 SEO Myths You Should Leave Behind in 2016” by HubSpot

17 SEO Myths Ebook

“Data-Driven Content Marketing” by Hana Abaza

Data-Driven Content Marketing Ebook

2) Remember Visual Hierarchy

This tip is as relevant for the cover as it is throughout the entire book. Alternating the size of your copy, headlines, and graphics is an awesomely sneaky way direct your readers’ attention to the most important information.

It also helps readers differentiate between main sections and pull quotes or tips.

“Service Design + Lean UX + Disruptive Design = UX Strategy?” by Mona Patel

Service Design Ebook page

“The Power of Visual Storytelling” by NewsCred and Getty Images

Power of Visual Storytelling ebook

“Content Ideas” by Kapost

Content Ideas Ebook

“The Beginner’s Guide to SEO” by Moz

Beginner's Guide SEO Ebook

“Data + Design” by Trina Chiasson and Dyanna Gregory

Data + Design Ebook

3) Keep Design and Branding Consistent 

If the design of your cover page got readers to download your book, it’s worth a shot to keep that design consistent throughout your e-book, especially if it’s relevant to your topic.

Just like for kids’ birthday parties, themes are super cool.

“SEO Experts Reveal The Truth About Marketing” by Salesforce

SEO Experts Reveal the Truth Ebook

“The Field Guide To Human-Centered Design” by Design Kit

Human Centered Design Ebook

“The Freelancer’s Bible” by Route1 Print

Freelancer's Bible Ebook

“The Experience Optimization Playbook” by Optimizely

Experience Optimization Ebook

4) Make Custom Graphics

As we’ve said before, your brain loves infographics. Incorporating custom graphics into your e-book is a great way to break up copy and drive your point home in a more visual way. It’s cliche because it’s true: A picture’s worth a thousand words (and takes up less space).

Want custom graphics in your e-book but don’t have enough time or experience to design them? We can help with that.

“The Joy of Data-Driven Storytelling” by Leslie Bradshaw

Joy of Data Storytelling Ebook

“Building your Company’s Data DNA” by Optimizely

Building Your Company's DNA Ebook

“Everything You Need to Know About Visual Content” by Column Five

Everything About Visual Content Ebook

“Product Management” by Intercom

Product Management Ebook

“Data’s Untold Story” by RJMetrics

Data's Untold Story Ebook

“Urban Exploration Photography” by Neil Ta

Urban Exploration Photography Ebook

OK, so this book doesn’t necessarily feature infographics, but it does feature custom images taken by the author/photographer.


5) Reference External Links

If you’re publishing an e-book, it’s obvious you’re a skilled writer, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other skilled writers out there. If you have a great online resource that you want to share with your followers, include an external hyperlink in your e-book. (Let that source know, too, and hopefully they’ll promo your content to their followers.)

It’s also perfectly acceptable to provide external hyperlinks to other content you’ve produced.

“Top 25 Social Media Strategies” by Buffer

Social Media Strategies Ebook

“An Introduction To Facebook for Business” by Amanda Sibley for Hubspot

An Intro to Facebook Ebook

6) Preserve White Space

Say it with me, “white space is your friend.” Sometimes with design, less is more. The next time you’re piling icons and filters into your e-book, think like a minimalist. Your readers will thank you.

“How to Produce Better Content Ideas” by Mark Johnstone

Produce Better Content Ideas

“Designing Brand Identity” by Alina Wheeler

Designing Brand Identity Ebook

“Koo Roo: Creative Aid Booklet” by Nicole Smith and Richard Tapp

Creative Aid Booklet Ebook

7) Use Color Wisely

As useful as white space may be, color is great, too. Use color to guide readers to different sections or to highlight key pieces of information. (This also helps extend your brand’s visual language.)

“Pixel Perfect Precision” by Ustwo (could also be under white space)

Pixel Perfect Precision Ebook

“Content Marketing Best Practices Among Millennials” by Yahoo/tumblr/DigitasLBi/razorfish

Content Marketing Practices Among Millennials Ebook

“Color Inspirations” by Darius A. Monsef

Color Inspirations Ebook

8) Make It Shareable

Ideally, your readers are going to be so stoked on your content they’ll want to share it with all of their followers. Why not make their lives even easier and include links allowing them to immediately tweet your content?

You can also link to Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, and Google+.

“Three Types of Thought Leadership” by Linkedin

Three Types of Thought Leadership Ebook

“Content Strategy: A Guide for UX Designers” by Liam King

Content Strategy Ebook

“The 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks and Ideas” by Jessica Meher for Hubspot

Lead Generation Tips Ebook

“The Conversion Marketer’s Guide to Landing Page Copywriting” by Joanna Wiebe for Unbounce 

Conversion Marketer's Guide Ebook

“The Guide to Wireframing” by UXPin

The Guide to Wireframing

9) Provide Downloadable Resources

You know what’s even better than a share option? A download option. This e-book from Pressly not only gives tips but includes downloads of spreadsheets to be used by readers.

“Create, Curate, Dominate: How to Nail Content Marketing (or screw it up)” by Pressly 

Create, Curate, Dominate Ebook

10) Make It Unique

Last but still very important:e unique! Your e-book is a representation of your brand. Think strategically and creatively about how best to use your visual language and inject personality via fonts, layout, and anything else that can help you visually communicate.  

“Intercom on Jobs-to-be-done” by Intercom

Jobs to be Done Ebook

“The History of Graphic Design” by Jacob Shourd

The HIstory of Graphic Design Ebook

Feeling inspired by all these awesome e-books? Log into Visage and let your designer freak-flag fly.