In this article I'm going to give you some tips that you may find useful to use on some important sections of your ebook. When you are physically writing your ebook you are more than likely using a word processing program, like MS Word for Windows. This is a powerful piece of software that allows a variety of formatting and graphic enhancements to plain black text that will bring your pages to life.
You can highlight major sentences or individual words to immediately draw the reader's eye right to them. Boldface, underline and italics all have their uses and greatly enhance the look of black and white pages. Do not go crazy with this, though, or you will lose its effect on the reader. Just emphasize what you want the reader to notice the minute the page is turned.
Graphics are a personal choice that you might consider. If a chart or screen shot would improve your presentation because of the information it illustrations, then use it where it is needed. Photos can also be added, but are really only effective if they add some understanding to your content. A family picture of your last vacation or a picture of your dog would be totally worthless in an ebook on how to become an Internet marketer, for example. It would actually divert your reader's focus away from your message.
Clip art, like line dividers, colorful icons, small characters may or may not be useful for adding meaning to your content. But, they may have a place if used to indicate the end of a section, chapter or page. Again, do not go overboard with this type of clip art.
Another decision you have to make is whether or not to use a colored font for your text, chapter headings and sub headings. Your consideration here absolutely has to be for your reader's eyes. Since you do not know how your audience will be reading your ebook, it might be a good idea to stick with black text on
a white background.
If you do not, you may eliminate your older readers who can not easily read screen text that is not heavily contrasted. Others may want to print your ebook out for easy reading in their favorite armchair. They might not be able to afford to print 40 or 50 pages with colored text. Occasional text highlighting would not force the same burden on them. Also considering your reader's eyes, single spacing is hard to read both on screen and in less than maximum lighting for a printed copy. A good solution is to use 1.5 line spacing, which is easy on the eyes. To find this option, click on FORMAT in the Word toolbar at the top of the page. On the drop down menu, click on PARAGRAPH and change the line spacing.
Use a simple font and size that is easy to read … nothing fancy here. A popular selection is Verdana 12 point. There are others just as suitable and the choice is yours. If you have some ebooks on your hard drive, open them and see what font size they used. Pick one you like and use it.
All enhancements, graphics, text options or font colors should ONLY be used if they do something to increase understanding of your message, to improve your presentation or focus the reader's attention on an important point. Do not just use them because you like them. Two useful sections of each page that are often overlooked are the Header and the Footer. These sections can be accessed on the View menu in MS Word. Click on View and scroll down to Header and Footer and click the link. You can toggle between each one when you need to. (Use Help for specific instructions)
A lot of ebook authors put the ebook's title in the Header, centered and using a nice font. This is professional looking as long as it is in a font size no larger than the font size used for the body text. If a large, gaudy font is used in either the Header or Footer, your ebook will start to resemble an ad or sales page and put your reader on guard on the first page. Tasteful is the operative word here.
The Footer is the place to put the page number and a link to your website, EBay store or other ebooks you are selling. These two blank sections on every page in your ebook are ideal places for the information you want to burn into your reader's mind. In both, use a sedate color or black. Center the text so it looks well placed and professional.
One of your last decisions to make is what format you will use for your finished ebook. There's three to consider and they all have their benefits.
MS WORD from Microsoft is a very popular word processing application that saves documents in .doc format. It would be the same format you use to save the ebook you are writing. The drawback with using this format to deliver your ebook is that it is not protected at all. Anyone who buys and downloads it can change it, split it up. put a different cover on it and claim ownership … the same way you edited your paragraphs and pages when you were writing the original.
Another final format is to make your ebook EXECUTABLE (.exe) so it can only be read online when you are connected to the Internet. Your document would have to be converted to HTML before you could put it online. It would actually be a webpage that loads a separate webpage every time your reader "turns the page." The conversion process needs some software like FrontPage or Dreamweaver to do it.
By far the most popular ebook format is ADOBE PORTABLE DOCUMENT FORMAT (.PDF). It is not computer specific and can be read by both PC and Apple / Mac users. This format protects your ebook so the content can not be changed. It can be beautifully shaped to be a pleasure on the eyes.
The reader version of Adobe Acrobat already installed on your computer will not convert your document to the PDF format. You can buy a professional copy or download a free software product that will convert your document to .PDF format. The only item left to consider in this overview of final decisions is your cover. Colorful graphic depictions of
ebooks have become commonplace on the Web. The icon is used on sales pages. A larger version of the web page icon can be used on the front page of your document, with your signature as author, copyright notice and whatever rights you are granting your buyers. You can also have a full page graphic designed that fills up all the space between the margins. All of these graphic cover options cost money and can be very expensive. A cheaper designer might be found in a high school or college computer lab or graphics department. It's your decision.
Another way to get a passable cover, if using a designer is out of your budget, is to use a simple graphical frame or page border with your title and information mentioned
above centered inside the border in a fancy, colorful font. Using the search term, "page borders," Google returned 3,700,000 websites that had something to do with page borders. A good number advertised "free to download."
I hope this article has helped you understand that your presentation and design are just as vital a part of creating your own ebook as the actual writing.