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A Step-By-Step Guide To Turning Your Articles Into An E-Book
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Recently we were talking about how to get double duty out of your articles by turning them into an e-book.

For one thing an e-book is a great lure to add to your resource box (“grab the free e-book on this topic at my website!), it is a great way to show potential customers that you really know your stuff, and if that wasn’t enough, it stretches the usefulness of your marketing content.

If the idea of writing/assembling anything resembling a book scares you, breathe easy–this can be as simple as you want it to be.

First let me say that there are 2 approaches you could take–a “before the fact” approach and an “after the fact” approach.

A “before the fact” approach would mean using the following steps as a game plan for writing an e-book based on your articles before actually writing any articles. The “after the fact” approach would be for anyone who already has a library of articles on a specific topic that they just need to organize into e-book form.

You can go either way with this–whether you’re new to article marketing or a veteran with a storehouse of articles.

If you’re doing the “before the fact” approach, the following guide can be a great way to write articles in a strategic way. There’s nothing like looking at your outline for writing inspiration and then knowing exactly what topics you need to be writing about.

If you’ve doing the “after the fact” approach, it’s very satisfying to see that your previous hard work wasn’t just for one piece of content. This is why I always stress quality with article writing–if your articles are of a high quality they are extremely versatile and can fulfill more than one role in your marketing game plan.

Let’s get started:

1) Choose the topic of your e-book.

Now, of course the topic of your e-book is the topic of your website, just as all articles should be on the topic of the website you’re trying to drive traffic to.

But what you need to do is laser beam in on a specific subject that is broad enough to be worthy of an e-book, but yet narrow enough that you can thoroughly cover the topic without this project becoming a Herculean task (unless that’s what you’re into! :-) ).

So, organizing an e-book is a little different than writing an article–obviously your topic can be more in depth and possibly broader.

Just as an example, I’ve recently assembled an e-book, and I started off with the main idea being a general how-to about article marketing.

At this point it might be helpful to decide how many pages you’re aiming for, whether it be 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 pages or more. If you know about how long you’d like your book to be, that should help you gauge how much information you can cover.

If I could give some advice, you might want to err on the side of underestimating the amount of content you will cover in your e-book, as that will help you focus in on a tight topic. If you find that the topic is too tight (if the book isn’t long enough even after you’ve thoroughly exhausted your topic), then you can always add more content and flesh things out. For a first e-book, though, it can be sort of overwhelming to get grand visions of what you can accomplish. Things can end up taking longer than you imagined, and you can then run out of steam.

2) Craft a working title for your book.

Now, some folks like to wait til the end to craft a title, but I think at least crafting a working title (one that you can change later if you like) goes a long way towards directing the focus of the book.

Oh, and you need to pick a title that is kind of catchy, something that your readers would see and think, “I want to know more about that!”

For example, I decided the title of my e-book would be:

“How To Attract Massive Publicity To Your Website With Article Marketing: 9 Essential Lessons For Any Online Business Owner”.

3) Write a general outline

When I was writing my most recent e-book, I created an outline of the info I wanted to cover, and I ended up with 9 main areas that I wanted to go over in the 40-50 page e-book.

I worked on my outline until the book had a good flow, switching topics around and adding in things I wanted to cover.

This is all before doing any writing specifically for the e-book or finding any of my articles to re-use. For me at least, it all starts with organization.

I find that by taking some extra time on the front end to organize the order of the book by topic and in outline form, it saves me time on the back end. Once the outline is complete, it’s downhill from there, because it’s basically plugging in the information that I’ve decided to cover.

4) Gather (or write) articles to fill in the topics in your outline.

After finishing your outline, then you can start assembling your content. If you’re an article marketing veteran, most likely you already have much of the content that you’ll need for the e-book. You can look through your previous articles and then either use the article in full or pick the appropriate parts to use.

For my e-book, most of the content I used was material I had written before, and it was just a matter of collecting the articles, arranging them in the order that made sense in the context of the book, and also tweaking the content so that it was appropriate for the book so that each section flowed into the next seamlessly.

If you’re new to article marketing you can use your outline as a guide for writing the articles that are necessary for your book. Just pick one of the topics on your outline, and then write a quality article that would be suitable as an article and also for the book.

Keep in mind though that your articles you’re using in article marketing are limited in length–you need to keep them under 1500 words. If you think there’s more information on the topic you’d like to include in the book–that’s great! Feel free to flesh out the article to any length you like when you add it to your e-book.

5) Add a section that is about you and your business, products and services.

What?! Add something promotional???

Yes, I know–I’m always cautioning you against writing about yourself and your business in your articles, but in your e-book you are allowed to have promotional references. Just don’t make them too many or your readers will feel like they’re reading a sales letter and not an educational book.

I would put this section towards the end of the book. After you’ve demonstrated your expertise to the reader and given them confidence that they can move forward in this endeavor (whatever endeavor you’re teaching them about), they might be more in the mood to enlist your services.

Also, feel free to link through to some of your articles on your website or on an article directory. It depends on the organization of your book, but you may have chapters where you publish the first few paragraphs of an article and then use a “Read more” link to lead to the full article on your site or on an article directory. That’s a great way to bring traffic into your site.

6) Use footnotes for URLs.

If you have links in your book, you would hyperlink the text you’d like to link, but in addition to that I would add a footnote that listed the full URL. The reason why is that if someone prints a hard copy of your e-book (and I encourage my readers to do that since it makes for easier reading), then as they’re reading the hard copy they will be able to see what website you’re directing them to. It’s just a courtesy to the reader, it really doesn’t take that long, and it makes your e-book look professional.

7) Write an introduction.

Most likely you do not have an article that would be suitable to use as an introduction to your e-book, so you’ll need to write an intro. It can be as long or as in depth as you like, but basically what I do is just:

  • Tell why the reader should be interested in your topic.
  • Tell them in general what the book will teach them (keeping it short and sweet).
  • Tell them to print a hard copy of the e-book or report and to read it in a comfortable place where they can take notes as needed. Especially if your book is longer than just a few pages, it’s easier on the eyes to read the book like, well…a book!
  • If you have links in your e-book, you might advise the reader of that at the beginning so that they can stay within range of the computer and can quickly click the links to see what you’re directing them to.

8 ) Write a conclusion.

  • Briefly summarize what you’ve told them in the book. For example (and this is from my e-book):

“As you’re finishing this report, you now know pretty much everything you need to know in order to make a strong start with your article marketing campaign. You know what types of articles to write, how to submit them, how to make a strong resource box and title, what to expect after you start article marketing, and lots of tips and tricks for taking things up a few hundred notches as you strive to make your articles even more effective.”

  • Put an invitation for questions at the end of your e-book. Yes, you want to invite further contact with your readers–that’s the point of the book! Tell them that if they have any questions to contact you, and you’ll be happy to help.
  • Give your contact details. An email address is usually sufficient but feel free to add whatever contact method you prefer.
  • Give the reader a final invitation to visit your website. Perhaps the reader doesn’t have any questions, but just wants to buy your product or enlist your services. Help them out by giving them a link to your website.

9) Put the title of the book in a header.

When I say “header”, I’m referring to headers and footers. The area of at the top of each page that is just outside the margins of the printed work is the header area, an the area at the bottom of the page is the footer.

This way the title of the book is visible from every page.

10) Add page numbers in the footer.

11) Create a title page.

On your title page you will need:

  • Your logo, if you have one
  • Your title (duh, right?)
  • Your name
  • Your business name (after all, the e-book is a marketing tool for your business)

Here is how my title page looks:

title page e-book

12) Create a copyright page.

There is no set in stone phrasing for a copyright page, but in general it will contain:

  • The title of your book
  • Presented by [your business name]
  • Published by [your company or business]
  • The address of the publisher
  • Copyright date and location followed by “All rights reserved”
  • Possibly add a part specifying how many hard-copy versions the reader may print and for what purpose (for example, “a single hard-copy version of this course for your own use only”)
  • Whatever qualifications, etc you’d like to add

You will likely want to add in other info, and of course please talk to your legal adviser about the copyright page to be sure that it suits your needs.

13) Put your e-book in chapter form, with a table of contents at the beginning.

Most word processing programs have an easy way to create a table of contents. Try looking at “Insert” from the menu of your document and you will likely see “Table of Contents”.

14) Convert your e-book to a PDF.

Most word processing programs will have an easy way for you to do this. I’m working on a Mac and I just go to File => Export and then it gives me a choice as to whether to export to a PDF, a Word doc, a Rich Text File, or a Plain Text doc. There is probably something similar if you’re working in Word.

15) Decide how you’ll use the e-book.

That’s the fun part, right? When you’re done with your book you can use it in a number of ways.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Make the e-book available as a free download on your website, and then use it as a lure in your resource box for your articles.
  • If you have a list management system, you can have a sign up box at your site and then capture their email address before delivering the report. You can then follow up with them by email so they visit not just once but potentially several times over the course of your relationship with them.
  • Send a free download link for the book to the folks who are already on your list.
  • If your e-book is really good, you might be able to sell it as a product.

Was this helpful? I hope so!

Have any of you ever used your articles to make an e-book, and if so, how did you use the e-book?

P.S. Oh, and if you’d see one of the ways that I made use of my e-book and see how it’s structured, you can find it here (look at the right side of the page for the “free report”).


NOTE: Please be aware this content may now be outdated. For the latest quality content on how to build massive publicity for your website, please go to The vWriter Blog - Helping Businesses Grow Traffic, Build Engagement, and "Be Everywhere"


12 Responses to “A Step-By-Step Guide To Turning Your Articles Into An E-Book”

  1. Schan Ezan says:

    Wow, I was just thinking the same thing. To write an e-Book by gradually submitting the contents to an article directory. In fact I had just submitted my first post today. But it is still pending for approval, so I couldn’t share the URL with you. I’m submitting to Bukisa, so that I can have some residual income from there too. And when the e-Book is ready, I plan to use it as a free giveaway for my subscribers.

    By the way, how come this blog post was not announced in your normal email announcement. Luckily I checked my Google reader and found it.

  2. Steve Shaw says:

    Hi Schan,

    Thanks for stopping by. I apologize–I’m not sure why this post didn’t come to you via email. It looks like the other posts are coming through fine so perhaps there was just a one time glitch on the day that this post was published. Glad you found it! :-)

  3. Jack says:

    http://www.instructables.com
    If you submit your article there, it can auto change you article into PDF doc.
    Then you can download the PDF and save as a ebook.

  4. [...] A Step-By-Step Guide To Turning Your Articles Into An E-Book Get More Marketing Mileage Out Of Your Articles–Turn Them Into An E-Book! [...]

  5. [...] How To Turn Your Articles Into An E-Book Article Distribution Service (SubmitYOURArticle.com) [...]

  6. Writing an ebook for beginners is a big task.

    Breaking it down into small segments & using articles you wrote is a smart why to accomplish this.

    Thanks!

  7. Thanks For This great Tip,
    Just a nice knowledge and idea to add
    to lots of ideas i have learnt on creating ebooks through different ways.

    Thanks

  8. Liana Carbon says:

    Wow! This was really helpful! I loved your step-by-step approach, which takes the daunting aspect away. Very manageable this way. Can’t wait to get started!

  9. Rajesh says:

    Thanks again Steve for this beautiful and informative article. This will help us (newbies)a lot for establishing in article marketing. So carry on your good work.
    Regards,
    Rajesh

  10. Gail says:

    Thanks Steve.Another extremely useful article and information I plan to use in the not too distant future.

    An ebook is on my list..and this article has more useful instruction than most, as to how to go about it.

    Many Thanks
    Gail

  11. Dr. Alex says:

    Another great article, Steve. Setting out to write an ebook can be a daunting task. Writing little pieces of it in the form of 400-700 word articles is a really smart way to go about this. Thanks for the awesome advice!

  12. Jan says:

    Really helpful article Steve; thanks for sharing.

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