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In Association with Amazon.co.uk


How to Make a FREE E-Book

by ©Judith Tramayne-Barth



If you've been on the net for two minutes, the first thing you learn is there are plenty of e-books available for you to read.  Everybody and their sister has written e-books on the best way to Market, HTML tutorials, etc. and are offering them free.  Why?

DUH -- because they are an excellent vehicle to bring visitors to your web site, create instant credibility and tout your products in a non­intrusive way.  The bottom line here folks is the bottom line.  Free e­books, if done right, will bring you income.

Now this article is not going to do anything but tell you the simple way to create an e-book.  I believe in the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) philosophy.  Everybody thinks there is some special authoring tool you are supposed to buy or use, some magical way you are supposed to format (i.e., PDF, RTF, XML, etc.) -- well, I'm here to tell you it's a matter of choice.  Who's choice?

Yours, of course.  You're writing the dang thing.  True, you have to take your readers into consideration if you are selling your e­books but since this article is about free electronic books, I am going to talk about the easiest format to create it.  Use HTML.

What's that you say?  HTML is for creating web pages -- well listen clueless -- it's also used for creating e­books.  You have to have some type of viewer so why not use the one most people have.  Yes that's right, a browser which everybody either got when they bought their system or else they got ripped off.

By creating your e­book in HTML, you are not going to spend any money.  Get it?  Free means free both to the reader and you - the writer.  Now it's not as hard as you think.  It is definitely easier than a web page.  All you need to know is a few Basic things.

1) Use a text editor -- I use notepad or wordpad depending on the length.  If you have Windows 95 or 98, Click on Start, go up to Programs, Accessories then over to Notepad or Wordpad and click.

Note: I am showing you this method because why write your e­book in a word processor when you are going to convert it to HTML.  Save yourself a step.  Remember this e­book is free and is not going to be put in any other format.  (MAC users, you are on your own -- I know nothing related to MACS other than you might have something called "Simple Text" which does the same thing or so I'm told.)

2) Put the following in the blank part of either text editor you've selected:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN">

  <html>
      <head>
      <title>Name of your e-book goes here</title>
      </head>
      <body>

Don't put anything in your body tag if you want a white background with a black text.  Since I hate staring at a white screen for any length of time because my eyes grow tired, I use the following:

<body bgcolor="navy" link="red" vlink="red" text="#ffffc6">

I know, I know, a navy background with a off white or cream text sounds gross but most people who've read my free e­book have complimented me and told me their eyes do not get tired.  You of course, can change this to anything you like -- this is YOUR e­book!

Next, I put the following in so the browser knows I want my e­book to have margins on the right and left side no matter what size monitor the person is using.  I've been told by someone who owns a Rocket e­book, this table looks good on it also.  Not having one, I have to take their word for it.

<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing ="0">

   <tr>
      <td width="15%"></td>
      <td width="70%"></td>
      <td width="15%"></td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
      <td height="1000"></td>
      <td width="70%" valign="top" align="center">

If you need more height to accommodate your e­book, just increase the number in the table.  After this, it's a piece of cake.  I write using Basic HTML codes -- you know the ones:

   <hx></hx>

for Headers with the "x" changed from 1-7 to change size.  One being the largest font and 7 being the smallest.  Actually, I only use from h1 through h4.  The rest I've found are too hard to read.

   <p align="justify">
   <p align="center">
   <p align="left">

tells the browser how I want my text to be aligned.  I normally use <p align="justify"> for my paragraphs on a non­fiction e­book because with the table width I use, the margins are justified and I like this look.  I absolutely loathe ragged edges.  But, again this is a personal choice.

Don't forget to put your ending code </p> in because with the Open E­Book Standard, which will more than likely be implemented, requires you end or close all your codes.  So you might as well get used to writing for it now and save yourself the agony of putting them in at some future date.

And, I usually like my text in the following fonts:

   <font face="arial, helvetica, sans­serif" size="3">

But this is a personal choice and you can change it to whatever you want.  Specifying more than one font means your e­book will be seen in most browsers the way you intended.  If the user does not have the first font, they will more than likely have the second and the third choice just means use a generic font that isn't fancy.

Now you are ready to write your e­book. Just make sure when you start new paragraphs, you put in the <p align=xxxx> codes and your ending </p> codes.  After you're finished, don't forget to put in:

   </td>
   </tr>
   </table>

or the Netscape browser won't show your wonderful pearls of wisdom.  Finally you finish off with:

   </body>
   </html>

Hopefully while writing your e­book, you've been saving it.  If not Click on File, Save As, put your file name in and make sure you use the .html extension.

Every now and again, you will want to check how your e-book will look in your browser.  It's a lot easier to catch mistakes in it than looking at your text editor.

Speaking of text editors, if you hate notepad or wordpad then use 1stPage2000 by Eversoft.  Once you get used to this FREE program -- notice how I keep stressing free, you will save yourself loads of time.  Also you can build beautiful clean HTML coded Web Pages with it.

1stPage2000 can be downloaded at:

www.evrsoft.com

Another free program I like even better than notepad, wordpad or 1stPage 2000 is "EditPad".  It doesn't have the line limitations of notepad but has loads of features which are very useful when creating HTML pages.  You can find this free program at:

EditPad

So there you have it, all the information you need to create your free e­book to get you started on your marketing path to success.

------------------------------------------------

Judith Tramayne-Barth
Artist/Author/Sculptor
An Umbrella site for
Artistic Expression
http://www.trabar.com
A Good Read - Mystery e-book
and other articles worth reading:
http://www.agoodread.com

------------------------------------------------



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