If you have a blog, run a company, or are just trying to make a name for yourself in your field, you’ll probably know that there are few tools like a book to assert your thought leadership, and gain new clients or followers.
Dubbed as “the new business card” by James Altucher in 2012, books are more powerful than ever. They carry a sense of authority, of “seriousness.” This is why so many bloggers offer them as lead magnets, or content upgrades or exit popups. People love books, and if you offer them a relevant one for free, they’ll give you their email for it.
Now, while everyone nowadays can write and publish a book, doing so still requires a lot of effort and dedication. And because so many people are doing it, you really want yours to stand out.
In this post, I’ll share three indispensable tools you’re going to need if you want to create a proper, professional-looking ebook, and a bonus one to make the process even simpler!
1. Evernote to write your book “on the go”
You’ve probably already heard of Evernote as a note-taking app, right? Well, it can be just as handy for putting your book together.
Writing non-fiction requires a lot of discipline to organize all your ideas into a solid, logical outline, and still incorporate a sense of narrative throughout the book.
But the first step is generally always to write down all your ideas. That’s what some people call a “brain dump”, you put everything that comes to mind – everything you think could go into your book – onto paper. Then, once you have all your ideas written down, you can start organizing them into sections.
That’s where the Evernote app comes in handy. You can create a note for each section, and paste the relevant ideas in it. It’ll help you visualize your whole book as you write it.
More importantly, the really cool thing about Evernote is that you can access it from any device, at any time. Say an additional idea comes to you during a commute, you can just pull out your phone and write it into the right note section.
Or say you’re on a plane, with no internet connection, you can still open Evernote and keep writing your book. Heck, it’s what I’m doing right now with this blog post, at 35,000 feet up.
Finally, contrary to Word, or Google Docs, Evernote will rarely crash on you, even with tens of thousands of words in there.
Bonus tool: Dragon
Dragon is one of the most advanced speech-recognition software out there and used by many authors I know to simply dictate their books (whether it’s into Word, Scrivener or Evernote).
So, if you’re one for speaking instead of writing, give it a try. It’ll cost you $75 for the basic version on PC (on Mac, only the $300 “professional” one is available) but might save you a lot of time.
2. Reedsy Book Editor for formatting
Alright, let’s say everything is now written and ready in Evernote. How do you turn it into an actual book that you can send to your subscribers when they join your mailing list?
First, let’s take a look at what “a book” really means. Technically speaking, books can be found in three formats:
- PDF (also the format used for printing it)
- EPUB: the most common ebook format
- MOBI: the format used by Amazon’s Kindle
Ideally, you want to send your subscribers your book in all three formats or let them choose their preferred one. That way, if they want to print it, they’ll get the PDF. If they want to add it to their iBooks library, they’ll get the EPUB. And if they want it on their Kindle, they’ll get the MOBI.
So the question becomes – how do you produce these three files and make sure your book is perfectly formatted and readable on every device?
That’s where the Reedsy Book Editor comes in. This tool lets you simply paste your book into it, apply some finishing touches, and then export the files you need – both for ebook and print. And the best part is, it’s 100% free.
The process is quite simple:
1. Copy and paste your book, chapter by chapter, in the Editor’s interface (this is the only time-consuming part).
2. Use the formatting bar to apply any finishing touches (links, endnotes, quote formatting, etc.)
3. Head to the export page, choose a template and select the files you want.
The process is quite intuitive, and you can customize your book with drop caps, images, captions, and more. For a full breakdown of its functionalities, take a look at this post on how Reedsy’s book formatting software works.
3. Bookfunnel for delivering the book
Alright, you now have all the files you need to get your book on your readers’ multiple devices.
One way to deliver your book is to set up an email automation that sends readers a link to download your book every time they sign up to your list through your lead magnet. The trouble with this is, a lot of Kindle devices won’t load .mobi files that were just received by email (instead of downloaded on the Kindle store).
So you will likely end up doing a lot of customer support and receiving technical questions from readers that you won’t know the answers to…
This is why a lot of professional authors now use Bookfunnel. It’s a smart solution that takes care of delivering the book – in the right format – for you.
The way it works is you sign up for an account, create a book, and then upload the different files for that book (EPUB, .mobi and PDF). Then, what you share with your subscribers is a link to a Bookfunnel landing page.
On that page, the reader will be able to indicate their preferred reading device. Then they’ll receive the right file along with instructions on how to get it on their device. Goodbye customer support!
Bookfunnel starts at $20 per year, though this plan will limit you to five books and 500 downloads per month. If you have a big following and expect more downloads than that, the $100/year plan should have you covered.
And that’s it! You should now have everything in place to start capturing leads with your brand new, professional-looking lead magnet.
Of course, there’s also more you can do with an ebook than just using it as a lead magnet. Even if you’re giving it away for free on your website, I suggest you also upload it to Amazon (via Kinde Direct Publishing) and other ebook retailers (via Draft2Digital or Pronoun) and make it available for free there as well.
The more ways and places people can come across your brand, the better!
Guest author: Ricardo Fayet is one of the founders of Reedsy, an online marketplace connecting authors with the world’s top editors, designers and book marketers. He likes to imagine how small players will shape the future of publishing and is the author of several free courses for authors as part of Reedsy Learning.