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
“Elegant Web UI Design Techniques: Flat Design & Colors” by UXPin
“The Future of Data” by import.io/David White
“17 SEO Myths You Should Leave Behind in 2016” by HubSpot
“Data-Driven Content Marketing” by Hana Abaza
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
“The Power of Visual Storytelling” by NewsCred and Getty Images
“Content Ideas” by Kapost
“The Beginner’s Guide to SEO” by Moz
“Data + Design” by Trina Chiasson and Dyanna Gregory
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
“The Field Guide To Human-Centered Design” by Design Kit
“The Freelancer’s Bible” by Route1 Print
“The Experience Optimization Playbook” by Optimizely
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
“Building your Company’s Data DNA” by Optimizely
“Everything You Need to Know About Visual Content” by Column Five
“Product Management” by Intercom
“Data’s Untold Story” by RJMetrics
“Urban Exploration Photography” by Neil Ta
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
“An Introduction To Facebook for Business” by Amanda Sibley for Hubspot
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
“Designing Brand Identity” by Alina Wheeler
“Koo Roo: Creative Aid Booklet” by Nicole Smith and Richard Tapp
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)
“Content Marketing Best Practices Among Millennials” by Yahoo/tumblr/DigitasLBi/razorfish
“Color Inspirations” by Darius A. Monsef
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
“Content Strategy: A Guide for UX Designers” by Liam King
“The 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks and Ideas” by Jessica Meher for Hubspot
“The Conversion Marketer’s Guide to Landing Page Copywriting” by Joanna Wiebe for Unbounce
“The Guide to Wireframing” by UXPin
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
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
“The History of Graphic Design” by Jacob Shourd
Feeling inspired by all these awesome e-books? Log into Visage and let your designer freak-flag fly.