Want To Format Your Own Ebooks With Utter Ease In PowerPoint? Convert Our Ten-Step Simple Plan Into A No-Fail Template For Your First And Future Ebooks
Knowledge Commerce solopreneurs may not have thought of PowerPoint as the perfect tool for creating ebooks. If you haven’t given it a thought, you should. PowerPoint is among the easiest formatting software for ebooks that you can convert into a downloadable PDF in a jiffy.PDFs are among the most widely read ebook formats.
At Solohacks Academy, all our ebooks that we offer free or sell online via our website, are created and formatted in PowerPoint/PDF. You can see tons of them in our library.
With PowerPoint, you can make your first ebook your template, so the ebooks you create in future can just fit into the same format – this keeps your brand consistency intact, while also speeding up your publishing time.
There are many other formats for ebooks like EPub, Mobi, or Amazon’s proprietary formats like AZW/AZW3 eBooks. But the simple PDF is universally readable without any special reading devices. Importantly, it retains all the formatting you create – and anyone can open and read a PDF ebook in seconds on any browser. That’s why formatting with PowerPoint and publishing as PDF is such a powerful combination.
1. Set the dimensions of your ebook: ideally 600px width by 800 pixels
Chances are you may have used MS PowerPoint before just to make slidedecks or presentations. But did you know it’s one super-easy way to create ebooks? And further, did you know PowerPoint can be used to create ebook cover designs in a jiffy?
I use PowerPoint all the time for my ebooks, and I have created at least 60-plus ebooks so far. See a small collection my branded ebooks below. I want to show you how I create and format ebooks with PowerPoint – so the next time you try it out on your own you can do whatever you like with the features that PowerPoint gives you.
So here we go then. We need to start with the right size for your ebook – my favorite size is 600 pixels width by 800 pixles height. This size is a vertical format (unlike the horizontal slide format that PowerPoint gives you by default). So let’s begin by changing our slide dimensions in PowerPoint.
As shown in the image below, open a new blank presentation in PowerPoint. Click DESIGN on the top menu (Point 1), then select SLIDE SIZE (Point 2) and in the drop down box select CUSTOM SLIDE SIZE (Point 3).
NOTE: You can click on the many images below to see enlarged versions of them. Don’t be overawed that it’s such a long article. It’s detailed enough for beginners. But if you already know PowerPoint, you’ll run through it all at speed.
This will open a dialog box where you need to enter width and height of your desired slide dimensions. Never mind if the fields show dimensions in inches. Just go ahead and type 600px in the width field and 800px in the height field (Point 4). (Ignore if Powerpoint changes your dimensions to inches.) Just click on the OK button as shown below (Point 5).
This will lead to one more dialog box asking if you want to MAXIMIZE or ENSURE FIT. Click ENSURE FIT as shown below (Point 6).
This will now give you a slide of your ideal vertical orientation and size. Select the two default text boxes and delete them, as shown in this last image below (Point 7).
That’s it, you now have a bare canvas to style into your ebook cover design.
2. Designing your ebook cover can be done in PowerPoint – or with Photoshop
In a previous article, I have fully explained how to design your ebook cover in PowerPoint, without the need for any other photo-editing software. Check out that article if you want to design your ebook cover in PowerPoint.
On the other hand if you have a software like Photoshop, you can produce something close to a professional masterpiece, if you know how to use Photoshop.
You don’t ever need the full version of Photoshop. It’s way too costly and way too full of features you won’t ever need. Instead I use Photoshop Elements (as lite version of Photoshop) which is rather easy on the wallet. There are often many deals on it, and the price I bought it at was close to $49.99 at my time of buying. It’s a one-time buy.
If you’ve got Photoshop Elements, all you need to do is to create a 600px by 800px ebook cover design and save it as a .jpg file. Make sure you use a powerful image as the hero of the ebook cover, keep the title clear and crisp in a contrast color, and use the bottom space of the ebook cover design for the author name, using your brand color palette. See that the fonts you use for the cover design are also your brand fonts.
Then bring the created cover image over, and insert it into the first slide of your PowerPoint.
To do this, click once on the slide background, then select FORMAT on the top menu, and then click on the radio button PICTURE OR TEXTURE FILL. It will prompt you to select a picture from your computer and you can select the .jpg version of your ebook cover created in Photoshop Elements (Point 8).
Your ebook cover is done.
3. Plan design continuity for the inside and back pages of your ebook in PowerPoint
The inside pages of your ebook and the back cover could carry over the front ebook cover design just for continuity. I do this very simply for the inside pages by right-clicking the space below the cover slide in the left panel, and then choose to “create a new slide”. In the new slide, just create top and bottom narrow rectangular blocks that take some colors from your cover design (Point 9). In this case I have chosen just simple black blocks to go with my cover design.
The white space in the middle can be used for the content of the ebook. I can create any number of inside pages by just clicking on the left panel under the second slide and selecting “Duplicate Slide” … thus adding “duplicate slides” of the first inside page.
For the back cover I have just selected my brand color green (as on the ebook cover) and used it as a flat background SOLID FILL color (Point 10).
I’ve added in my brand logo and name, my website URL, my brand tagline, and a copyright notice in small font … all as just text with a bit of variable formatting to make the different details stand apart from one another. That’s about all you need on a back cover of an ebook.
4. Put in a copyright notice and author bio pages at start and end of the ebook
If you intend to sell the ebook (rather than give it away free), it’s imperative to include a “pirates beware” text immediately after the front cover of the book. Remember to mention the copyright of your ebook, and add the legal statement that discourages pirates and book thieves (Point 11).
You can take the statement from here. It usually goes like this:
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, or otherwise circulated without the copyright owner’s prior written consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser and without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any other means without the permission of the copyright owner.
Feel free to use the same phrasing … most books do, and it’s legally vetted copy.
A good question to ask here is whether this statement really discourages book thieves. It probably does not. But if you were to sue someone later for book-piracy, it helps to show that your book contains an explicit notice against piracy.
Similarly, on the page just before the back cover of your book, remember to add an author bio with contact details for the author. Here is how I do it (Point 12).
5. Get to the ebook introduction page immediately – don’t frustrate readers
Most people suggest that the first page of the ebook should be the contents page, but I beg to differ. I prefer to put my “Introduction Page” before the “Contents Page” This is because I don’t want the eager reader to lose interest with a lot of administratively-important pages without getting into the meat of the book. I don’t want to tease the reader into wondering, “Where does this book actually begin?”
For the introduction, I will not start with a title that says “Introduction”. I would rather start with a point that sums up the proposition of the whole book, followed by a few paragraphs of explanatory “overview text”. I would also sneak in a hyperlink somewhere on that page to my website URL.
Nobody has said I should do all this. It’s just grown as a template I use out of my own experiences of what works and what doesn’t. Save yourself the pain of experimentation by riding off my template.
So here’s what my “Intro Page” looks like usually (Point 13):
6. Reserve space for a couple of “forewords and blurbs” from big endorsing authors
Again, if you plan to sell your ebook, it’s a great idea to get a few influencers to write good “forewords” for your ebook. This places your ebook instantly in high company. It also justifies the value of your ebook considerably.
If you want people to give you good “foreword”, limit yourself to one or two forewords at the most. Send a copy of your completed book to the prospective foreword-authors, with enough time for them to read it fully, and then write their forewords. Most people who write forwards like to elaborate on the points you’ve emphasized in your ebook, and endorse these points. So it’s important to give them sufficient time to digest your ebook contents before they frame their words in applause of it.
One very important thing here: don’t send your foreword-request to many A-listers, hoping to feature only the first two to respond. The others will be miffed for life, if they are asked to contribute but never published. Never make enemies of any A-listers.
It would also be a good idea if you should tell your foreword-writers that they could write, for say, “1000 words or so, if possible, before Dec 9th”. This kind of gentle hint about the length and deadline you expect gives them an idea of when and how much to write, and what to prioritize. This is especially important if you intend to have at least two “forewords” by different authors. You don’t want each of them writing an unending thesis.
Here’s what a forward could look like (Point 14). Remember to give contact details and a photo of your “foreword authors”.
7. Plan the Contents Page of your ebook giving due indents to chapters and sub-topics
After your Introduction and the Forewords, you can include your Contents Page. The importance of a Contents Page is two-fold.
- One, it gives readers a way to understand the topics/chapters you’ve covered and the sub-topics under each topic/chapter. Your thought-flow and its hierarchy is clear.
- Two, in an digital book (like an ebook), page numbers are not strictly necessary. You can hyperlink the content page items to their relevant sections of your book.I much prefer this method over giving page numbers, because you can then edit your ebook more easily in the future without having to re-array all the page numbering.
Make sure to title the page as “Contents” because that is most commonly understood way of explaining what the page contains. People sometimes get creative with titles like. “What this book contains …” or “What we have for you in this book …” This sounds offbeat, but if people are searching in your book, they are most likely to search for “contents” and may not arrive at your Contents Page.
So, here is a sample of how my Contents Pages usually look (Point 15):
8. Plan your fonts for sub-headings, cross-headings, text, blockquotes and bullet points
Most first-time ebook writers don’t know the differences between sub-headings and cross-headings because these are all jargon typically used by advertising copywriters and authors and editors. Whatever the names you give them, you should know how these stack up against each other in your ebook, so you can give them the right weightage.
Separating the text in your ebook with the right weightage given between any important separate topic-points in the book has two benefits:
- It tells the reader the relative importance of the section he is going to read in the content of the whole ebook.
- Separating out the sections with the right weightage of headings allows breathing space to the readers when we authors jump from one point to another.
It doesn’t matter also what font you ultimately use. The idea here is to just decide how the hierarchy or relative importance of the headings of various types stack up against each other. The aim is to follow a standardized pattern throughout the book.
Some writers say your titles should be at least 14 pt size, or your text passages of 10-12 pt size. But ebooks can be enlarged or made smaller on the browser you use. So text sizes in ebooks don’t matter as much as they do in printed books. What matters more is the relative font weights and colors of the headings of different kinds versus the text.
For font colors use a maximum of one or two of your brand colors – or colors that go with your ebook cover design.
Here is an image to show you how I delineate my different types of headings from each other and give them different weightages and colors.
You could also plan how you will use bullet points, what kinds of bullets you will use, and how you will handle quotations to make them stand out from the rest of the text. For quoted paragraphs, usually, it’s a good idea to indent the paragraphs slightly and put them in italics and within inverted quotes. That way they look like passages additional to your own opinions.
9. Plan for all the inclusions, charts and CTAs in your ebook – and for standardization
When you are using charts and graphs from various sources to illustrate your text, it’s hard to find consistency. Every chart and graph will tend to look different, and if there are many in your ebook, they can mess up the look and feel of your carefully formatted text if you just use them as they are.
But even if you cannot alter their colors and contents, you can surely bring in your own standardization to the inset images you use. You can make them all of an even size, or you can give them all a colored border of a certain thickness so they all look in harmony with each other. You can also standardize the way you number or caption them.
In addition to images, you may like to intersperse your writing with source-attributed statistics and quotes (if they are really relevant), and also with Calls-To-Action (CTAs) that help people take some next action or engage with your business, beyond just reading your ebook. For instance, a CTA can lead to another offer, or your evergreen webinar’s registration page, or even a product landing page.
Key points to remember about Calls-To-Action in ebooks
One thing to remember with in-ebook CTAs is that they have got to do two radically opposite things. Firstly, they have to fit in with the rest of your book. They can’t be too different from the context in which they are shown. Yet, contrarily, they also have to stand out in some way, so they are seen as separate from the core contents of the book. You’ve got to achieve these two opposite ideas, strange as it may seem.
Here’s an example of how HubSpot achieves harmony in its CTAs despite the dichotomy inherent in these situations. Every Hubspot eBook dedicates at least one page (nearer the end of the ebook) to a Call-To-Action that makes sense in the overall context of the book, and yet is distinct enough from the rest of the book to attract special attention. In this example below, the use of reverse coloring – black background with white lettering – helps create contrast with the rest of the ebook. But the orange color (a brand color of Hubspot visible on the cover design) is used for the highlighted text in the CTA. Thus both coherence and difference are created.
Image courtesy: Hubspot
10. Last details to take care of before converting your ebook into a downloadable PDF
There’s one thing left to take care of, before you save your ebook in PowerPoint and then convert it into a PDF. Most people are unaware that there is a hidden-from-view column to fill with the title of your ebook, otherwise when you see it as a PDF it will say something like “Created with Powerpoint” or just give the URL of the ebook on your server. You want to avoid this. So here’s what you need to do. See the diagram below.
With your ebook open in PowerPoint, select FILE from the top menu, and then INFO. Once on the Info Page, you have a field called TITLE. Click next to it and a field will open where you can type in the exact title of your ebook (Point 16).
Once you’ve done this step above, you need to save the ebook as a PDF. To do this choose FILE from the top menu and then EXPORT. Then click on CREATE PDF/XPS DOCUMENT. You will get a button to click called CREATE PDF/XPS. Click that button, and it will ask you to name your file and location and save the PDF (Point 17).
Notice that I have two options on my computer to save the PowerPoint ebook as a PDF. One, is the standard CREATE PDF/XPS DOCUMENT option I described above. But I also have a CREATE ADOBE PDF option there. That is because I have a paid Adobe Acrobat account that allows me to add some extra protection to my PDF when I create it – such as preventing copying of the text, disabling editing without a password, etc. Such features make it a bit more difficult for pirates to pinch from my ebook.
So What Are Your Thoughts? Do Share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of Knowledge Commerce solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
This post is part of a series that elaborates on “How To Create Ebooks And Sell Them Via Knowledge Commerce“.
Other related posts you may like to read are these:
- How To Choose Ebook Topics For Your Niche … 10 Swell Ideas
- How To Choose Ebook Titles For Your Niche … 10 Great Ideas
- How To Research Content For Your Ebook … 10 Easy Ideas
- How To Design Your Ebook Cover In PowerPoint … 10 Steps
- How To Write An Ebook Like A Pro … 10 Insider Secrets
- How To Protect Your Ebook From Piracy … 10 Clever Tips
- How To Promote Your Ebook Across The Net … 10 Routes
- How To Price Your Ebook For Long Term Profits … 10 Smarts
- How To Write Your Ebook Fast And Flawlessly … 10 Shortcuts