Easy Book Creation
Do you want to spread your message to the world? Do you want others to see you as the authority on your topic? Do you want potential customers to pay more attention to you? Is your answer yes? Then how do we do this, you ask. We do it with a book. Books are the new calling cards. They are our brochures.
Books position you as the authority and expert in your topic. Books make fantastic marketing tools. Books get opened, read, and saved. A book is great for opening channels of communication. Books give you something to anchor yourself to. You can refer to them in your marketing and in your presentations. They make great gifts for a new or current customer. People do not throw them away. These days books are easy to create and publish a book. You can become a published author in no time.
The basis of Easy Book Creation is about sharing the lessons you have learned in your career, business, or life. Passing them on to your employees, clients, or the world. Using a book, you introduce yourself and your expertise to others. Books are lead magnets for your business. You are not writing your book to make money from royalties, though it is nice if it happens. You make money by giving your book away to potential clients. Treat your book as if it is your business card or brochure. A business, service, FAQ, how-to, or legacy book is simple to write and easy to produce. We do this with a technique I have developed called the Easy Book Creation method. Simple steps to take you from creation to publishing to success.
- Your book and the title focus on what you do and the services you offer.
- You are an author, not a writer, we are doing this pretty quickly.
- We make our books logical, informative and instructive. Focus on the subject matter you are proficient in. horizontally
- Your book crystalizes your ideas. The table of contents are the benefits you bring to the table.
- Your book is a lead magnet into your world.
- Your book’s content is used as an entry point for your products, services, consulting, etc.
- Your book is a call to action for your current and potential clients.
Write Your Biography or Legacy Book
In Easy Book Creation we are focusing on writing a business or services book. But this technique can also be used autobiographies and legacy books. It is a method of breaking your story down into small, easy to digest elements. Then fill in the details and connecting it all together.
1. Write Down Your #1 Best Tip, Most Frequently Asked Question or Lesson on or About Your Business, or Your Expertise.
A. Write down your #1 best business or experience tip or question.
B. Keep this to one sentence. No paragraphs just the tip, question or lesson.
This is the main tip or lesson about your experience or expertise that you want to pass on to your client or customer. This first pass is a quick exercise. You most likely know all of this right off the top of your head. I usually start this process by asking, “what is your number 1 tip?” Don’t do a lot of thinking on this, just write down your number 1 tip.
It is also the question you get asked the most. People see you as an expert in something. What is that thing. If you are having trouble figuring this out, carry a notebook with you and for a month write down every question you get asked. Every question. At the end of a month or two, organize all the questions you were asked. One of them will stand out. The rest of the questions will be #2-10. Add in some questions people should have asked you and you will have your book.
Write out your #1 best business, life experience tip, most asked question, or lesson. If you had to give one piece of advice on your topic this would be it. Don’t think too hard about this, just get it out.
At the recent Conference21 Summit I lead a session on the Easy Book Creation Method. Check it out here
2. #1 Was Your Best, Now Follow With 9 or so More.
You have written down your first best tip, frequently asked question or lessons on or about your business, or your expertise. Now follow with #2 and then 8 more.
A. Write down your #2-10 best business or experience tips or lessons.
B. Keep these to a sentence or two. No paragraphs just the lessons.
C. If you are short of ideas use the Google Top Ten tips in search technique. Amazon’s, See Inside feature and look at competing book’s Table of Contents or the Book Review technique to find and flush out your ideas.
These are the main tips or lessons about your experience or expertise that you want to pass on to the next person or might be useful to a customer. This will be the core of your book. This first pass is a quick exercise. You most likely know all of these right off the top of your head. I usually start this process by asking, “what is your number 1 tip?” Don’t do a lot of thinking on this, just write down your number 1 tip. Then write 9 more and you are done. You can always change these later, but these tips are usually the things you tell people all the time.
Tips to come up with your list
- Collect customer comments over a period of time, a month or two. This is a great way to pull together a list of a Frequently Asked Questions that can be converted into a book for your business. Look for the common questions and summarize them.
- Google the phrase, Top 10 Tips on XYZ, with XYZ being your subject. Other phrases that work well are, “How to…,” “Best of…,” “Number one way to…,” You will generate a good list of search results that you can use to fill in your own list. Instead of using the number 10, try 5, or 7, mix it up. This technique also works well in YouTube also.
- Using the Amazon “See Inside” feature you can easily look through similar books on your topic. Look at the Table of Contents for additional tips ideas. Take a look at the 4-star and 2-star Amazon book reviews. There is idea gold in these reviews. Pull all these together and you can create a business lessons book pretty quickly.
Making a How-To Book, photograph the steps for completing a process, write captions and longer descriptions, add your bio and any additional info and you have a book.
Pick-up the PDF Workbook with Worksheets and Self-Publishing Resources.
3. Write Out One Paragraph for Each Tip or Lesson
A. Write one paragraph for each tip, not two, just one.
B. We are not concerned with editing here, just writing out the paragraph.
This is a key part of the process of creating your book. For step three just write out one paragraph based on the tip or question. In step four we will expand it but the goal here is to expanded your initial ideas. The tendency at this stage is to start writing out the entire book, don’t do this. It is pretty easy to get bogged down and never complete it. We want to keep everything moving. So just one paragraph.
This is a good step to also look at the search results and sites you pulled up yesterday on Google from the 10 Ten Tips search. If you are a little low on ideas, see what others have written. Remember these are experiences that you have lived or work with. You should be able to write at least a paragraph.
Write out one paragraph for each of the above tips. Just write one paragraph, do all the 10 tips before moving on to Step 4.
4. Expand Each Paragraph to 5-10 Paragraphs, Flush it Out
A. Expand each lesson or idea to 5 or 10 paragraphs
B. Again no editing, just writing
C. The cooking timer method can be very effective here for getting done text.
In Step 2 we fill out each of the 10 lessons. Now we are writing 5 or 10 paragraphs for each one. Personal stories and experiences can add a great edition to your book. We go deeper. We aren’t writing a manifesto but quick lessons about our topic. We want our reader to come away with some great actionable lessons based on our experience. When this process is complete you will have the core content of your book done.
Write your book using MS-Word or some similar word processing program such as Google Docs, Apple Pages, or Scrivner.
Why write like this?
The reason I have you write in this horizontal manner is because I want you to stay on the same level at each stage. We tend to start writing our books by writing the first chapter, then the second and so on. We go vertical, start to finish. What I have found is that if we stay on the same level of the project we haven’t gotten ahead of ourselves. You can burn out by trying to complete every chapter, then trying to complete the next chapter.
I find that what you write in chapter 6, effects what you had in chapter 2. But because you didn’t go too far with the writing you can adjust chapter 2. You learn about your topic as you go and you adjust and correct. The book slowly grows stage by stage.
Cooking timer technique. Use the cooking timer method. Set a timer for 10 minutes and just write with no editing. You cannot stop until the time goes off. No correcting, no editing, no stopping. If you don’t have anything to write, start writing gibberish until something pops in. Write today, edit tomorrow.
Dictating technique. If you are stuck with the writing try dictating. Once you have your idea recorded, our phones work great for this, upload the file to Rev.com for transcription. Our phones and many programs like Google Docs can also transcribe our speaking.
Interview technique. A cool technique is to come up with your list of tips, lessons or frequently asked questions and then interview yourself. Ask the question and then dictate the answer. Or have someone else ask the questions and you answer. You can create your content very quickly doing this. Once you have given your answers, send the file to Rev.com for transcription.
Fixed time, chip away. In our busy lives it is hard to find the time to slow down and do something like writing. I know that if you schedule even 15 minutes every day you can pull all this together. I call it my chip away theory of project management. It is amazing what a little bit of time, scheduled every day will do for a project. Your mind says, oh this is writing time. At the end of a month you will be done.
Need more. Search in the three main engines, Google, YouTube and Amazon on the top 10 tips around your topic. This is a great way to flush out our lessons. Look at YouTube videos, related blogs and books. Look at the Amazon book reviews. Amazon book reviews are an excellent way to see what other topics on our book might have missed or subjects that need to be included. Look at the #2 and #4 star reviews. There is gold in the reviews. We are looking for experience lessons here.
5. Flush Out the Balance of the Book
The core of your book is complete. These 10 or so sections are your book’s chapters. The tips or questions are the chapter titles and the table of contents and the 5-10 paragraphs are the text. Now we add content around the edges.
Add an author bio along with a photo and contact info at the back of the book. Add a resource list at the back of the book, an intro for the front, a table of contents and any additional info that might apply to your book. If you offer products, programs or consulting, drop those in also. Give readers a call to action. We are talking 36-60 pages when done. This isn’t a manifesto.
A. Add your author bio including photo, contact info, resources, introduction, front matter, table of contents (the 10 points), legal info, copyright, title page.
B. Add in any products, consulting, programs, or additional info your reader might find useful. Add in back cover copy
C. Come up with your book title and subtitle, make this one of the last thing you do. Don’t fall in love with the working title. Your first main idea will form the title.
How long should this book be? This isn’t a manifesto but here are some guidelines.
- KDP/Amazon, for paperback you need to be a minimum of 24 pages, 36 works pretty nicely and 50-70 makes for a decent size book.
- Kindle/Amazon e-book shoot for around 8,000-15,000 words.
If you are a consultant, a tips book can be an essential part of your marketing. In the back, highlight your programs and services. Make this section very clear so readers can find it. Add in a nice photograph and be sure to have a Call to Action with contact info and web links. You want your reader to do something, contact you, hire you, invite you to speak at an event, or just make things clearer. Give your client a FAQ take-away book. The goal of a book like this isn’t for big sales, though that might be nice. The goal is to support your marketing and help develop leads. Customers love getting a free book, so be very open to giving them away. Sometimes you are selling this book, sometimes it is a free giveaway for signing up to your mailing list.
Another advantage of a book like this, is that it is very short. It is a quick read. You can deliver your message short and right to the point. People love short books.
6. Have Your Book Edited and Proofed
- A. Having your book edited is one of the most important steps in getting your book published. Credibility drops fast with a poorly written book.
B. Locate someone who can edit your book and send a copy to them. Could be a local freelance editor, a local reporter can be a good source, a teacher or someone on-line at a site like Fiverr.com or ODesk.com.
C. Locate a copy editor for spelling and grammar or a proofreader for final correction. All books need editing.
D. One of my favorite exercises to do with my books is to create a print mock-up of the book. When the book is just about complete, I create a PDF file and have it printed out at my local office supply store. I add plastic report cover and a spiral binding. I create a one-off version of my book. This has proven invaluable in creating my books. You will see things on paper you never see on the computer screen. You have a chance to fix problems.
E. Update and finishing editing your book.
All books need to be edited to fix spelling and grammar. Editors can also fix continuity between all the sections. Edit before you have the book formatted and then again after it is laid out and almost ready to go to publishing. It is amazing how many things we don’t see when the book is just sitting on our computer. Give the editor a printed copy to work from.
- Editorial Freelance Association, how much does an editor cost and where do I find them. Find a Freelancer and figure out what it might cost. https://www.the-efa.org/rates/
Online Editing Apps
Pick-up the PDF Workbook with Worksheets and Self-Publishing Resources.
7. Format Your Book’s Pages for Print or E-book
To self-publish your paperback or e
book you will most likely use KDP/Amazon.com. Books have two parts, the inside pages and the cover. You will need to create both. If you are going to print your book, the pages will need to be laid out and formatted. This can be done using MS Word or a page layout program like Adobe InDesign or Apple Pages. A common size for printed books is 6” x 9”. A local freelance designer can help with this stage.
If you are publishing an e-book then you can use the Word file you wrote your book in and a free app from Amazon called Kindle Create for formatting. I recommend you create both an Amazon print book and an e-book.
I also recommend that you create a PDF version of your book. You can use the same files from the print version. Take your final cover art and add it to the file so you have a complete book. PDF books make great lead magnets for your marketing. You can sell them from your website using a site like Gumroad.com. You can also email it to potential clients. You want to have all three formats. And if you really want to complete the package, read the book and create an audio version.
There are many ways to publish your book, but I highly recommend putting it up on Amazon as a paperback or e-book using their KDP/Amazon.com service.
A. Decide where and how your book is going to be published. Paperback, e-book, PDF.
B. Format the book insides for the appropriate platform
C. Set up a page template in either MS Word or Adobe InDesign to match the size you want for your book. 6” x 9” is very common.
D. Design and layout all the book’s pages. A local freelance designer can help with this stage, though you can do it yourself in a program like MS Word.
E. Print out a book proof and do another round of edits.
F. You are striving for a 36-50 page book. Remember we aren’t doing a manifesto, this is a short quick book.
KDP/Amazon Print Book Guidelines
These are just a couple of basic guidelines. There are many options and things you can do it would be hard to include them all. There are plenty of freelance designers and services to help your format and create your book.
Layout your edited book text, add in photos and or graphics. A good size for a business book is 6” x 9”. Margins should be 5/8” of an inch. Graphics need to be 300 dpi in resolution.
If you are setting your book up for print, add in a header with the book name and in the footer add in page numbers and maybe your web address. E-books don’t have headers or footers.
Basic Guidelines for Paperback Books
- Create your book interior in MS Word, Google Docs, or InDesign. Depending on the book, PowerPoint can also work well
- Set up your writing document page size to be the trim size of your final book. That way you can see how your content is fitting
- Amazon has a minimum of 24 pages, 50-70 makes for a nice book
- A book is either black/white or color. Any color anywhere creates a color book
- All graphics need to be 300dpi in resolution. Remember black/white or color.
- Try to size them to about the size they will appear in the book.
Kindle Create Formatting Guidelines for E-books.
Books come in four formats, print, e-book, PDF and audio. Most e-books are Kindles and are read on the Amazon Kindle e-readers or the Kindle app for phone or tablet. There are other formats and readers but Kindle dominates the market, start there first. E-books have become very easy to create. KDP.Amazon has a free app you download for Mac or PC called Kindle Create. It is fantastic. Kindle Create uses the MS Word file that you wrote your book in. You import the doc and format the book. It reads text and images. When done, hit publish and upload the files to KDP/Amazon. You will need two files, the inside text file and a front cover file. The cover is a separate file and is usually a JPG graphic. Canva.com is a great resource for creating your cover. They have lots of cool templates you can customize.
Basic Guidelines for Kindle E-Books
- Keep your original document formatting simple, no tabs
- Produce a clean, basic document
- Use Paragraph Formatting for global layout and spacing
- Work in a standard 8.5 x 11” document
- Every Kindle has a different screen size, Kindle reader, tablet, phone, desktop, watch, the text flows to fit. Your books can look very different on the different devices. That is the way it is.
- Format your book using Kindle Create, download for free from KDP/Amazon
- Add live http web links to your book. They work great
General Formatting Guidelines
- Avoid tabs and spaces for indenting paragraphs, Kindle devices can’t handle tabs
- Use Paragraph Formatting to adjust indents, Kindle Create can do this also
- No headers or footers
- No page numbers in your document,
- Kindle readers can’t read heads, footers or page numbers
- Do not use Returns between paragraphs, Kindle Create will remove them
- Use Space Before and Space After for spaces between paragraphs
- Use Page Breaks between chapters
Text Formatting Guidelines
- The person reading the Kindle device selects their reading font. If you have special fonts and such they are not going to follow through. Just work in the normal boring Arial/Helvetica, Times Roman, Georgia fonts.
- I usually set my typeface at 14 point, but Kindle Create is going to change it.
- The key for a successful e-book is to stay simple. Fancy design isn’t going to transfer through from your print book to the e-book. You can do it, but it is a lot more work. The goal here is to create a simple, readable book.
- Bold, italic or underline text use the format font menus in your program
- All graphics need to be 300dpi in resolution. Black/White or Color is fine.
- Insert images “Picture from file” do not paste
- Turn charts and graphics into artwork. This is important. Kindle Readers can’t read tabs. Charts get messed up. I screenshot any chart and turn it into a graphic. Again, the final art needs to be 300dpi.
- Use color images because why not
- Author pays for download, be efficient with images sizes
Image Guidelines Sizes
- All images need to be 300dpi in resolution
- For e-books, I have found an image that is 6 inches wide works pretty well.
- Image formats can be .GIF, .BMP, .JPEG, .PNG, I tend to use .JPEG. If your image has large flat color areas or black and while like a chart .GIF can work well.
- Prepare your Book, info for preparing e-books and print paperback books. Lots of information about creating your book at this page.
8. Create a Cover for Your Book and Final Proofing
Create a cover for your book. Every book has two files, a cover and the pages. For a printed book on KDP/Amazon, you will set up a full cover spread, back cover, spine and front cover. The final file to upload to Amazon will be a hi-res PDF. For an e-book on Kindle, create just the front cover. E-book covers are JPG files. A freelance graphic designer or someone on the freelance site Fiverr.com or 99Designs.com can also help you with this step. KDP/Amazon also has online tool called Cover Creator that you can use to make a cover.
A. Review books on Amazon and in stores for covers that you like. Use these ideas for inspiration and to guide the cover designer.
B. Find a local freelance designer to design and layout out your paperback cover. To help with design and layout ideas look at similar books in your market. Amazon is the perfect place to do this. There are many services that can help you produce a compelling cover. You can contact a local graphic designer, on-line services like 99Designs.com and Fiverr.com and most of the book publishing sites offer design and editing packages. Another great resource, especially for e-books is Canva.com. They have fantastic e-book cover templates that you can customize for your book. They have a free and paid service.
C. Test several ideas and titles with associates. Facebook is a great place to test different cover ideas and see what resonates.
D. If you are going to publish your book on Amazon, reduce your cover to a thumbnail size and be sure it is readable. Thumbnails is how books appear in search results. Be sure you can read yours.
E. Format the cover for the appropriate platforms. Paperback covers include the back cover, spine and front cover. E-books use only the front cover.
We do judge books by their covers. Your reader should know at a glance what your book is about. I follow the “Don’t Make Me Think” philosophy of usability author, Steve Kruge. Your book cover should have a title and if you need to give more clarity a subtitle. Subtitles are a great way to add in some important keywords and clarity to your title. Also add your name to the cover.
Paperback Cover Guidelines
The key for a paperback cover is that you need to create a single hi-res PDF document that has the entire cover, back, spine and front on one page. There are specific specs for laying out your cover and for figuring out your spine width. Your cover also needs to have the cover art bleed off the entire outside edge by 1/8” inch. There are plenty of freelance designers that can help you create your cover.
- Amazon has also put together some resources. https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201834210
Kindle E-book Cover Guidelines
- Amazon has some very specific specs for their e-book covers. You can read them here on the KDP site.
- In general what I usually do is create a cover that is 6” x 9” at 300dpi or 1800 pixels x 2700 pixels. I save the file in .JPG format
- Amazon also has a Cover Creator App that you can use to build your cover on line.
Pick-up the PDF Workbook with Worksheets and Self-Publishing Resources.
9. Prep and Output Book Files for Publishing.
Prepare your final interior and cover book files for KDP/Amazon. Paperback books have two hi-res PDF files, the book interior and the full cover spread. E-books also have two files, the interior book file created using the Kindle Create free app. Your text file is formatted in Kindle Create and a .kpf file is created for uploading. Your front cover file is in .JPG format.
A. Set up your KDP/Amazon.com book account. This is a free account and is where you will upload your book files, both inside text and cover. Along with the book files will be your book’s meta data. There are other places to publish your book such as Barns & Noble or Draft2Digital, BookBaby etc. But Amazon is the largest and the 800lb gorilla in the book publishing market. https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/
You will also need to add your financial information, tax ID/Social Security Number and bank account number for the royalty payments.
B. Write out your book’s meta data, the description, author bio, keywords and categories.
It is free to publish your book on Amazon. Once the files are uploaded and approved the book will be published and appear on Amazon ready to buy.
10. Upload Your Book Files to. KDP/Amazon for Publishing and Selling. Publishing Your Book
Both print/paperback and e-books are managed and published through KDP/Amazon.com. Once your book files have been uploaded and all the information is added you will hit publish. You are now a published author. After your book is published, Amazon will more it over to the Amazon sales platform automatically and you and the world can buy your book.
• A print paperback book, upload interior and cover files to KDP/
Amazon.com. You will have two files, the interior book file and the cover file.
• E-Book, upload interior and cover files to KDP/Amazon.com. You will have two files, the interior book file and the cover file.
• PDF Book, I also recommend creating a PDF version of your book. You can use the paperback book PDF file and then add a front and back cover. You now have an excellent lead magnet for your marketing, or a file that you can sell or give away on your website.
A. Upload your book to Amazon
B. Fill in all of the description copy, author, categories, keywords, and pricing.
C. For paperback books you will need to use either the free Amazon ISBN or you can supply your own. All physical books have an ISBN tracking number. Amazon e-books do not use ISBNs, some other services do. If you have one it is fine to use it.
D. Review the book using the Amazon online proofing feature.
E. Push the book live, and publish.
F. Amazon will review your files and let you know if anything needs to be corrected. This is not uncommon.
G. Amazon has excellent author prices. Buy some books and start handing them out.
11. Start Marketing, Selling and Using Your Book
You are a published author, congratulations! Launch and start marketing your book though the popular social media channels; FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, your website, and YouTube.
Use your book in your office, give it away to clients. These lessons also make great blog posts and videos. Start spreading the content around. Give your book out to current and potential customers. Make the book available on your website as a pdf download.
A. Announce and launch your book through the popular social media channels.
B. Give your book out to potential and current customers.
C. Make your book available on your website. Produce a pdf for use as a lead magnet to bring people into your email list.
D. Share your book out to the world. Use social media to highlight the book and to distribute your key tips.
You are a published author and are now eligible for Amazon Author Central. This is a free website Amazon gives to every author to highlight you and your book. Be sure to sign-up and add your information and link your book. Amazon Author Central is where you Author bio actually comes from https://author.amazon.com/home
- Publish and sell your book
- Add your book to your website
- Update all your online and offline bios
- Promote your book on and offline, social media, video, etc.
- Incorporate your new book into your general marketing. A book is an excellent tool for attracting new clients.
- Purchase author copies and give them to clients.
Pick-up the PDF Workbook with Worksheets and Self-Publishing Resources.