Last updated September 2020: It seems so funny—quaint, really—to read this account of my first e-book attempt. Since then publishing has continued to change, and I’ve revised the e-book that I describe below. I’d love to send you a copy of the newest version, so click here if you’d like a copy of the Sacred Pauses Group Guide.
E-book publishing is everywhere these days–as a faster and cheaper alternative to print publishing, for shorter-than-traditional-book-length manuscripts, as a thank you for subscribing to a blog, to introduce a new idea or product or service.
“This is the perfect time to write an e-book,” I’ve been told more than once.
Even media and marketing guru Seth Godin says that I should write an e-book.
Who am I to argue?
So I decided to create my own e-book, and here’s how I did it in four free and easy steps.
Step #1 – Write!
As I worked on the book manuscript that would later become Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal, I thought about writing a guide for group use as well. But between life, ministry, and writing, it was a challenge just to complete the book manuscript let alone an extra group guide, so it was only after the book was published that I was finally able to get a group together and write a guide for group leaders based on our experience.
Post-publication, I also started compiling a Scripture Index for my own use. One of the strengths of the book that readers mention to me again and again is how Sacred Pauses is grounded in Scripture. Verses from the Psalms appear at the start of each chapter, more Scripture is discussed in the text and sidebars, and references appear in the footnotes. A Sacred Pauses Scripture Index would bring this wealth of Scripture together in an easy-to-use reference and provide a great overview, so I decided to add it to the group leaders’ guide.
Step #2 – Format
Once I finished writing and compiling the Sacred Pauses Group Leaders’ Guide and Scripture Index, I could have simply distributed it as a Word document as my publisher did with the study guide portion. But not everyone uses Word, and over the last few months I’ve been reading about hybrid publishing that combines traditional publishing and self-publishing. So why not try a hybrid publishing venture of my own by pairing my traditionally published Sacred Pauses with a do-it-myself e-book?
For my experiment, I looked for accessibility across different devices. I looked for a process that was simple enough to do myself, and would produce an e-book that would look more like a book and less like a series of PowerPoint slides. Oh yes, and could I do all of that at little or no cost?
I finally settled on this free template designed for LibreOffice which is a free Office Suite that I used to create my e-book. I consulted Jean Hollis Weber’s Self-publishing using LibreOffice Writer. I googled a few details as I went along, but for the most part the template was easy enough to use on its own. I cut and pasted my Word document into LibreOffice Writer. I played with the style to suit my text. I added social media icons and sharing buttons as recommended by HubSpot. I proofread and proofread and proofread again.
Step #3 – Convert to PDF
Once my text was ready, I used the LibreOffice Writer “Export as PDF” feature to convert my document to PDF which can be used across devices. This was also easy to do, which was one reason I chose LibreOffice in the first place.
When I tested my e-book, all the links were fine in my Adobe PDF reader, but when I tried to use the same links in Kindle, I discovered that they were disabled, which is apparently characteristic of Kindle. So for optimum use of my e-book, a PDF reader is recommended.
Step #4 – Distribute
When I started blogging I simply went with the WordPress email subscription service, but I’ve recently decided to switch to MailChimp. I’ll say more about the whys and wherefores of that in another post, but for now, I’m offering my newly finished e-book to any new email subscriber or any current subscriber who switches to the new system.
To subscribe, all you need to do is click the box below, enter your name and email address, and you’ll receive a link for your free copy of the Sacred Pauses Group Leaders’ Guide and Scripture Index. For existing email subscribers, to eliminate duplicate mailings, simply unsubscribe from the WordPress emails.
That’s it! My e-book is now complete, and I’d love for you to see my first effort, so please sign up below and get your copy of the Sacred Pauses Group Leaders’ Guide and Scripture Index.
It’s not too late to go through it once on your own for Lent if you’re still looking for something to mark this season. And it’s ready to be used with a group at any time of year.
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7 thoughts on “How to Create Your Own E-Book in Four Free & Easy Steps”
April, thanks so much for this! You will see on my blog today (posting at 1 p.m.) that I am about to put my own eBook together. This will be a very helpful guide!
Good for you, Shirley, I’ve learned a lot with this first one and will follow your progress with interest to keep learning.
I recommend PressBooks. The above guide gets you to PDF, but PressBooks can export to ePub (most book stores), Mobi (Kindle), and more as well as PDF. I’m hoping to set up a MennoNerds installation of it you would be free to use, but probably not until late April at the earliest.
Thank you, Ryan! I will check this out!
Thanks, Ryan – I appreciate your expertise and look forward to trying PressBooks too.
Thank you so much April. I downloaded your Group Leader’s Guide and Scripture Index without a problem. Our group has just finished the chapter on Scripture reading. We already did journaling, but can adapt. I appreciate your work!
I’m so glad to know that the download went smoothly. And all the best adapting it for your group. Please let me know how it goes.