How to Design a Great Ebook with Zero Design Skills
By this time you probably understand the value of creating a free ebook offer to build your email list. If you don’t, you should read this article and get on it!
You know that you need to design an ebook… but there isn’t a lick of design skills in your body! Okay, I hear ya. It’s hard to design when you don’t know what the f*#% to do. I’ve been doing graphic design and branding for well over 8 years. With a little guidance, I think you’ll find that you don’t need to know how to design to make a beautiful ebook for your online biz!
With a little help of course from this article!
#1 Make an Outline & Write the Ebook
Okay, the part that you can do without any design skills: outlining your ebook. Create an outline for the content that you’re going to cover. Then, write the damn book! Just sit down and get it all out on paper. To be honest, the design part is probably easier after you’ve written the actual material.
#2 Use Software that Will Make Designing Easy
I recommend using Pages (if you’re a Mac user) or Canva.com.
Canva has loads of presentation templates that are incredibly helpful to use if you have zero design skills. Plainly, select a template from the menu (first select “Presentation”). You’ll be given a series of well-designed templates to choose from. Yes, they are meant more for presentation designs, but you can totally use the templates for your ebook designs too. It’s easy to add more pages right in the document, paste in your text and more. Canva even has an entire library of images (many are free and some just cost $1 each) as well as icons, and more.
Pages (the program for Mac users) is really easy to use too—though doesn’t give as many templates and easy-peasy options as Canva. However, if you can add a few different elements onto the page, designing an ebook can be easy in Pages too.
Let’s cover the basics…
#3 Layout the Cover
Designing covers for ebooks are easy. I like to place a big photo over the cover, and some simple white text on top with the title. If you’re wondering where to get amazing photos to use, I’ll cover that too.
Here are a couple photo resources that I like to use:
Death to the Stock Photo:
Death to the Stock Photo has free monthly packs emailed to your inbox. I choose the premium plan because they offer more photos, more often. At $15/month I feel like it’s a no brainer.
Unsplash has free photos from the public domain. They’re easy to search and easy to download.
If you’re looking for even more photo resources, check out this article on 12 killer stock photo resources. Most of them are even free!
#4 Layout the Template for the Ebook
I like to use a single-page template. I’ll use the same page for the entire ebook. It’s simple, easy and fast.
I’m going to give you an example of a really easy design so you can get started. There are lots of ways to effectively and beautifully design ebooks. I’m just going to cover a simple template so you can get something out there and started in a beautiful way. Feel free to experiment, and search more design trends to play with design.
I like to take the same photo that we used on the cover and place it as the background on the page.
From there, I will add a white box on top of the image, leaving the image as the border.
This is the basis of your page design.
Then, place your logo in the corner, and contact information in the footer. This way people can find you and get in touch!
Choose a header font for your titles. This can be something simple or decorative depending on your brand. Then choose the type that you’ll use for the rest of your ebook for the generic text. This should be something simple, and easy to read. Some great fonts I can recommend are Gotham, Helvetica Neue, Bookman Style, Avenir Next, Bodoni 72.
Layout the Cover
Take a big beautiful photo and plant it right on your cover. Afterward, create a black box and lay it on top. Then take the black box and drop the opacity of the box to 10-20%.
This is the base for your cover. Then you’re just going to place some larger text on top, centered with the title of your ebook. It’s pretty simple! Remember to place your logo on the cover too!
Things to keep in mind while designing your cover:
You won’t want the text to compete too much with the top image. There are a couple ways you can handle this.
- Create a black box on top of the image (that covers the full image). Set the opacity of the box to 10-20%. This will create a black overlay that will allow your white text to pop more.
- You can use an image that is lightly blurry too. This helps remove the competition between the text and the photograph. Simply, either add a 5 point blur to the photo you have currently, or use a photo that has been blurred.
(PS. if you want this awesome guide, you can download the Freelance Designer’s Success Guide here.)
Add Your Content
Once you’ve got the entire layout ready to you, simply add your content! Add the text from your ebook, and wrap it up! Remember to add a call to action at the close of your ebook with further contact information or what people can do or take for next steps.
Export your ebook to a PDF file. And if it’s a workbook, take it into adobe acrobat and convert the pdf into a workable interactive document. It’s pretty easy.
I hope this helps you create your first ebook from scratch without design knowledge!
Have any other tips to add? Let us know in the comments!