How to Create an e-Book in Seven Steps

Since publishing my new e-book, Creating Your Personal Life Plan, I have had several people ask how I created the e-book. Rather than try to answer these questions individually, I thought I would document the process here. You might want to try something similar.

Creating Your Personal Life Plan in Keynote

I first did this when I published my two previous e-books, Writing a Winning Non-Fiction Book Proposal and Writing a Winning Fiction Book Proposal. I used the same basic approach here.

One key thing to note is that I didn’t intend to create an e-book for sale. My sole purpose was to create a “premium” that I could use to build my e-mail subscription list. However, I still wanted the e-book to be excellent, so that it would add value to my readers.

The format of the e-book is a little unusual. It is landscape in orientation and resembles a “slidedeck” (or PowerPoint slideshow). I first got this idea from the ChangeThis manifestos. Other popular e-books use this format, too, including Digging into WordPress, Evernote Essentials, and Zen to Done.

Here are the seven steps I took to create the e-book. This, of course, doesn’t include the marketing, which I may blog about at a later time if there is sufficient interest:

  1. I wrote the manuscript in iWork Pages. I combined several popular blog posts I had written on life planning. I then created transitions and filled in the holes. I ended up having to add about 25 percent new material. You could also do this in Microsoft Word. I just personally like Pages better.
  2. I hired a professional editor. Once I was finished with the manuscript, I passed it along to Alice Sullivan to edit it. She used to work at Thomas Nelson. I didn’t feel that I needed a “substantive edit” (advice on the content itself); I just wanted a copy-edit (e.g., syntax, grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc). She corrected several grammatical errors and made numerous helpful suggestions.
  3. I decided what e-book features I wanted. I looked at several other e-books for ideas, including the ones I mentioned above. I decided that I wanted hyperlinks in the text, simple navigation to move to various parts of the book, an easy way to print the e-book, and a way to display it full screen. I also wanted to include a version number, since I wanted to update the e-book from time to time.
  4. I designed a template in iWork Keynote. I created a custom “slide size” of 792 pixels x 612 pixels. This prints out nicely on 8½” x 11″ paper. I then decided on a nautical theme. I selected a photo from iStockPhoto for the cover. I selected another photo for the background on the pages. I then determined what typefaces I wanted to use. I selected Requiem Display, Myriad Pro, and Gotham. I then designed several page styles that I could alternate to keep the design visually interesting.
  5. I composed the pages. This is where the real work kicks in. I had to cut and paste the content in, one page at a time, designing various elements and callouts. This probably would have been easier in Adobe InDesign, but I am just not as familiar with that tool. This process took me most of one Saturday to do. Caution: You don’t want to do this until the content is really stable. It’s a pain to go back and change it.
  6. I exported the whole thing to a PDF. Once I was happy with the design, I exported it as a PDF file. Well, technically, I printed it from within Keynote and chose the “Save as PDF” option in the lower left-hand corner of the Print dialog box. This created a really large file: over 10 megabytes! However, not to worry. I fixed this in the next step. Sort of.

    Life Plan Export to PDF

  7. Enhance with Adobe Acrobat Professional. This is also some heavy-lifting. The first thing to do is to optimize the PDF file. You do this under the Advanced | PDF Optimizer menu option. This reduced the file size from 10 MB to about 2.5 MB—definitely an improvement. Next I started adding links to the navigation elements and the in-text hyperlinks. You do this with Acrobat’s “Link Tool.” This makes it possible for users to jump straight out to Web pages, download files, and other nifty tricks.

There are probably many other things I could have done. Some are still on my to-do list (e.g., create an Amazon Kindle version). Hopefully, this will give you an idea of what is possible. I feel like I have just scratched the surface.

If you have anything that would improve my process, I would love to hear form you. I am planning several more e-books like this.

Question: Do you need to create an e-book? If so, what are the possibilities? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Craig Jarrow


    Thanks for tips! Very timely, as I am currently putting together 2 eBooks. :)

    I am also on a Mac. While I use Pages for some things, I use Scrivener for my book writing needs.

    Scrivener lets me quickly write different chapters and I find that it lets me manage the material better than Pages.

    I see you have mentioned Scrivener previously, do you use it for any of your projects?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Scrivener is a great program. However, I still like Pages better, only because I use Keynote so much and the interfaces are similar. Thanks.

  • bteeling

    It’s the librarian in me, but did you consider giving it an ISBN?

    I enjoyed the book. Thanks.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Actually, I didn’t, since I am just giving it away. But maybe I should re-consider. Thanks.

  • Henrik Wist

    I for one would have loved to see a kindle or epub version in order to read the book on the go. The PDF version is just a bit to big for reading on the Phone.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I hope to get to that soon. Stay tuned …

      • Steven Cribbs

        Cool. I would love to see a Kindle version as well (even though I haven’t plunged into the Kindle yet, I really have enjoyed reading in the PC and iPhone versions).

  • Uma Maheswaran S

    I make it very simple. I use MS Word to create the content and publish it as PDF.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Uma, thanks for sharing another way to publish an eBook!

      • Uma Maheswaran S

        Welcome Joe!

  • Paul

    I have been considering epublishing a manifesto through Scribd, but this may be a better solution. This post will certainly aid me either way. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Gregory Coleman

    Would you be willing to make a Nook version? I see you mentioned the Kindle. However, thanks for this book. I’m working on creating my LIFE PLAN! My wife is too.

    Go Win!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Perhaps. More likely I will create an ePub version, which can be loaded onto the Nook, iPad, and Sony devices.

      • Maria M.

        and Kobo too

  • Sandymyers08

    Thank you for sharing your resources with us. I enjoy your reading your articles.

  • Jasondbyerly

    This was a fantastic idea and very timely for me (both the life plan content and the behind-the-scenes post). I’m dying for you to go through the Kindle process so I can see how you do it. I need a succinct step-by-step guide just like this post you did today.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I will consider that. Thanks.

  • Anita

    You just answered my burning question. I’ve been trying to decide the best way to publish a small book in a hurry, since several people want the content.

    I’d like to offer it on my website. Can you specify the necessary steps to require an email login so I can build my customer database? BTW, the content of your book is fantastic!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I am not sure I can go into that much detail. I worked with an outside developer. I used MailChimp, which provides a lot of tools for bloggers. I do plan to write on the actual marketing plan. However, I think all the backend stuff is too technical for most people. If you can’t do this on your own, you may need to hire someone to help.

    • Cheryl Pickett

      If you have a really limited budget, you can use which is a free service. It creates a sign up box for your site. It also allows for the download to be on a thank you page of some sort, or the link sent by autoresponder. As Michael said, if you aren’t really techie, it’s not hard to find someone to handle that all for you.

      If you have a more in your budget, you can use Aweber. Same format, it has just been around longer, probably has better delivery and more options.

      Hope that helps :-).

      • Michael Hyatt

        I use MailChimp myself. However, I am on their paid service. You get more features, but it gets more expensive the more subscribers you gave. Regardless, I love it. I am very pleased with the flexibility and reporting.

  • Jeremy@confessionsofalegalist

    I read the book as well and even started writing a life plan. My wife and I have been discussing it and are trying to be intentional in our lives.

    Apparently in my own life plan, I need to set aside time to write a life plan.

  • Dan Fuoco

    I was wondering… Is there an industry standard for amount of pages in an e-book? I know online videos are typically shorter than videos on TV so I wondered if an e-book followed the same guidelines for web reading versus a tangible book?

    • Michael Hyatt

      No. I don’t think there is. Readers are not buying page count; they are buying value. My book proposal e-books are only 32 pages or so. Yet, I charge $19.97 each. I have never had a single complaint. (And I have price tested extensively. A lower price did not increase the sales.) In fact, I think brevity can be a feature. As a reader, if I can get the same value in fewer pages, then it requires a smaller investment of my time.

      • Loren Pinilis

        I agree with brevity being a positive. My initial reaction is often based off of page count – but after a few pages of large type that is poorly written, I change my mind. I feel much more satisfied with Ebooks that pack a punch.

        • Michael Hyatt

          I just read a 36-page e-book that was a total waste of time. I don’t find any necessary correlation between page count and value. Thanks for commenting.

          • Loren Pinilis

            Ha – Good point! Every e-book has to have solid content.

      • Jeff Randleman

        Could you share briefly, or in another post, how you sell your books? Do you use specific software, apps, or a firm? Thanks!

        • Michael Hyatt

          Yes, I use e-Junkie. That way, I can have the product page on my blog and people can click-through to purchase.

          • Jeff Randleman

            Thanks! This is probably my best option, since I already use them in connection wth Standard Theme…

        • Cheryl Pickett

          In the past, I’ve used to handle the download.

          • Jeff Randleman

            Thanks! I’ll check it out.

        • CindyRushton

          Jeff, this is a super question. I have used several shopping carts through the years. I also use ClickBank to manage and process all of my affiliate products. Those work great, but if you want something fast and easy to set up I just found a super plug-in for my WordPress sites. It is called WordPress E-Store.

          I am using WP E-Store to run my eStore at my sites:,, and Take a peek at them to see how I have it set up. It is easy to add a button to each page or post on my site. It is also very easy to configure it so that customers are taken to their downloads immediately. You can even set it up so that your customers are automatically added to your mailing list–mile is set up with Aweber. The best part is that you can use your favorite payment processor like Paypal or 1 Shopping Cart (or others). It is SWEET!

          I hope this makes sense. If it doesn’t, just let me know and I will try to describe it even better.

          • Michael Hyatt

            I’m going to give this a look. I am ready for something easier than e-junkie.

          • Jeff Randleman

            Great, right after I signed up in your affiliate program… :)

          • Jeff Randleman

            I’m making a mental note of this. I think I’m still a few months away from being ready to sell my book, but I know it’s coming. Thanks for the input. I’ve followed you on Twitter and bookmarked your site so I can remember where I found this advise. I’m notorious for forgetting stuff….

            After looking at your site briefly, I’d like to continue discussions with you about your resources and homeschooling. My wife and I are always looking for great helps in this area.

            I’ll visit you on your site for those discussions though. Thanks!

  • David Santistevan

    I’ve been planning an ebook for worship leaders for a while. This post is extremely helpful. The hard part for me (and probably all writers) is zeroing in the content and making sure it really meets a need in my community.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I agree: content is king. If your content is weak, you can’t overcome it with a slick design or fancy navigation features. That’s why it is best to focus on the content first and get that right before you start the design process.

  • Belinda Pollard

    I really liked the landscape format and the beautiful design elements. I hadn’t seen one done that way before, and it started a whole train of thought processes, since I am working on some ebooks myself. It’s great on a laptop screen, much better than a portrait format would be – no scrolling.

    I wonder how the “visual” design of the book will work on an e-reader when you get round to the e-pub and Kindle versions. I’ll be interested to hear how you end up resolving those issues. Thanks for being so generous with your ideas and discoveries.

    • Michael Hyatt

      One of the things I know for sure with regard to the potential of Kindle or other e-book versions: you have to design for the device if you want the reader to have the optimal experience.

      • Patti May

        What do you use to do the Kindle / other ebook versions?

        • Michael Hyatt

          I don’t know yet. I haven’t researched it!

  • Christin

    Oh thank you so much for this!! I highly recommend a Kindle version. ;-) I was wondering if I could read your e-book on a Kindle.

    I have been resisting getting a Kindle simply because I like to hold my books and turn the pages. (I love to read and am partial to books). However, when your e-book came out, I was very interested in reading it, but didn’t really have the ink to print it (I homeschool, so ink is a precious commodity), and I hate reading them on the computer (but will do it if I have to!) So, I told my husband, who’s been wanting a Kindle that I found use for one for myself. (So if he bought one, I would occasionally utilize it). “E-books”, I told him. E-books that aren’t offered in stores, I believe some have much to offer and a Kindle would be beneficial for this purpose [for me].

    Also, yes, I am actually thinking about writing an e-book. Unfortunately, I really don’t have the tools required for a quality e-book. (Such as the Adobe Acrobat Professional program). Trying to launch my blog as a business has not been easy. At this point I can’t even cover my hosting/domain expenses, :-/, let alone afford to buy programs to assist me further. All in due time. :)

    • Cheryl Pickett

      Christin, you can download the Kindle program to your PC for free. That’s what I’ve done. When you order a new book, it comes right to your computer, and you open it like opening a PDF basically. It’s not as convenient as actually having the device, but you don’t need to print and you can still get the Kindle editions you want.

      BTW, as mentioned above, you can easily create an file in Word and then convert it to PDF (which is currently considered a user friendly digital version) for free. Just Google “free PDF program” or similar and you should find it no problem. Again, it’s just a program you put on your PC, instead of sending your doc to the printer, you send it there and you end up with a PDF.

  • Crystal Collins

    Saving to my Evernote! :) I’m working on my first eBook now, so thank you for the tips!

  • Karen Jordan

    Yes, I’m thinking of putting together an e-book for my writing workshops–thanks for the tips. I also have your book proposals for a sample. And I would love to get your new e-book, Creating Your Personal Life Plan. But I’ve already subscribed to your e-mail updates. How can I get a copy? Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom with us online!!!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I sent a special preview link out to all my existing email subscribers before I offered the book publicly. However, if you email me at michael dot hyatt at gmail dot com, I will send you a link.

  • John Richardson

    Wow, what a timely article, Michael. I sat down with an editor friend of mine on Monday to plan out an e-book based on some of my popular blog content. I have used the Pages/Keynote combination in the past and it works well. Thanks for including your custom page size. This will be very helpful when users want to print the book. Like you, I have been interested in this format for years after seeing the great manifestos on Change This.

    One question I have… What is the easiest way to monetize/sell an e-book? Is there a particular service or company that you would recommend?

  • John Richardson

    Wow, what a timely article, Michael. I sat down with an editor friend of mine on Monday to plan out an e-book based on some of my popular blog content. I have used the Pages/Keynote combination in the past and it works well. Thanks for including your custom page size. This will be very helpful when users want to print the book. Like you, I have been interested in this format for years after seeing the great manifestos on Change This.

    One question I have… What is the easiest way to monetize/sell an e-book? Is there a particular service or company that you would recommend?

    • Loren Pinilis

      John, never sold an Ebook myself – but I’ve heard good things about clickbank and e-junkie. Clickbank is the more expensive option, but I’ve heard that it works well if you have affiliates. Clickbank also has an organized affiliate “market” where people can browse book titles and sign up to be affiliates. I’ve seen more and more people going to E-junkie though. If I were selling, I’d probably go with E-junkie. Much more inexpensive.

      • John Richardson

        Thanks Loren. I have heard of E-junkie and many bloggers have talked about it. I’m basically looking for something that is easy to setup and manage. I’ll have to check them out.

      • Michael Hyatt

        I use e-Junkie myself. It works well, though I am not crazy about the user-interface. It also has the ability to create affiliates. For example, I have an Affiliate Page for my e-books. This uses e-Junkie.

        I used ClickBank in the distant past (several years ago), but I haven’t visited it recently. I really think this space is begging for an easier solution.

        • Jeff Randleman

          e-Junkie tends to run better on a mac than on a PC as well. I use e-Junkie as an affiliate seller for Standard Theme. Haven’t made any revenue yet though…. :(

    • Jeff Randleman

      Great question. I’d like to know that too.

  • Mighty

    Such a helpful guide Michael. :) I’m also planning to release an ebook in my blog real soon. :)

  • Jordan Monson

    Hey Michael thanks for this. Some day I might try to turn my website into an ebook for the small community that’s developing there. I really appreciate this guide. I’m on a mac as well and never thought about these capabilities of Pages. So far I’ve just used it for story ideas and fun things since I need Word for my organization.

  • Patlayton

    I was waiting for this! I knew you would share it soon.
    I have a Bible Study that is 75% written and supports a woman’s conference I present. I NEED this.
    Now, I have to find someone who reads “computer techie” foreign languages who will do it for me. I’m hoping my Executive Assistant can work it into her Apple One-to-One appointments!
    Thanks Michael.
    I have passed the Life Plan book to everyone I know and have made a sample for my book table.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Pat. I appreciate you spreading the word!

  • Anonymous


    This is great! It is just what I was looking for!

    Thank you!

  • Joe Lalonde

    Thanks for the great information on how to create an eBook! I really enjoyed the read.

  • teitr

    Thanks for the information on e-book building. I just this week published my first e-book, Spiritual Warfare Training Manual and I used ebookit, a company that did it all for me. I’m usually a do-it-yourself kind of person so I will give it a go with my next one :) Thank you!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I have not heard of that service. Checking them out now …

    • Karl Mealor

      teitr, what was your experience with ebookit? Was it expensive? What are some pros/cons? Thanks.

      • Michael Hyatt

        You should visit the site, Karl. It looks pretty straight-forward. $149 for the conversion, not including cover design, which is another $50. That seems quite reasonable to me.

        • Karl Mealor

          Will do. Thanks to both of you.

      • teitr

        I really like that they get it ready for all formats since not all e-books are created equally. It can be read on Kindle, Nook, or any other e-book reader. The process was friendly, you get a proof to edit or accept as is, the entire process took six days from their end. From my end it was simply submit it, and wait :) The conversion and ISBN process took a couple of days.

  • Kerry Palmer

    Thanks for this detailed explanation. My mind is racing with many potential uses for this, especially here at school.

  • Kerry Palmer

    Thanks for this detailed explanation. My mind is racing with many potential uses for this, especially here at school.

  • CJW

    In regard to the following, what software and process did you go through to have your manuscript edited? Did the editor use iWork Pages as well?

    “I hired a professional editor. Once I was finished with the manuscript, I passed it along to Alice Sullivan to edit it. She used to work at Thomas Nelson. I didn’t feel that I needed a “substantive edit” (advise on the content itself); I just wanted a copy-edit (e.g., syntax, grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc). She corrected several grammatical errors and made numerous helpful suggestions.”

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, she had Pages as well. She didn’t initially, but she volunteered to buy it. (You can also download a trial copy, I think.)

  • Loren Pinilis

    Thanks for sharing what you did. Your Ebook looked so nice I actually figured you hired out the design.

    A few questions:

    1. Without disclosing anything confidential, what can you say about your editing costs? That step was particularly intriguing to me. Would you recommend Alice for first-time Ebook authors?

    2. Did you take printing (by your readers) into consideration when you designed your Ebook? I’ve heard people advocate keeping Ebook design very, very simple so that readers could print copies if they wished. But to me, the well designed ones like yours seem better all around.

    • Michael Hyatt

      My e-book manuscript was pretty clean, so I think Alice did it for less than $100. This totally depends on how long she takes, however. Your mileage may vary. Yes, I would recommend Alice. (Follow the link in my post to contact her.)

      There is definitely a trade-off on beautiful design and easy-of-printing. I think there may be a way to set up the e-book where the background images are not printed. I need to explore that some more.

      Great questions. Thanks.

      • Loren Pinilis

        Wow! That’s an incredibly reasonable price. My writing chops are probably not nearly like yours but still that’s very encouraging. I don’t think I’ll write an Ebook for some time, but when I do – you just got Alice another customer!

  • Michael

    Great read. I would really love to see a Kindle version of this. Thank you!

  • chris vonada


    This is a great idea to help me expand my audience for my writing… it seems like many times I have good material that I’m working on that is more than a blog post but wouldn’t fit into a book that I’m trying to put together, or I could put together several thoughts with transitions as you’ve done. Very helpful!

    Thank you,


  • Edwina Cowgill

    I had considered the possibility of creating an ebook; the process you went through sounds quite complicated.

    I would be very interested in reading about the marketing of your ebook.


    • Michael Hyatt

      It is directly related to your technical abilities.

  • Adam

    Great tutorial Michael! Bookmarked for future use. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Steven Cribbs

      Likewise. I just saved this into my notes for future use :)

  • Blair

    Thanks Mike. This will at least give me a starting point from which to work from. Your posts are always insightful. Many thanks for sharing.

  • jimmyproulx

    Great info on how to make an ebook. I downloaded your Life Plan book and loaded it to my Kindle. It shows up but is difficult to read. I am glad that you have plans for a Kindle version. Your post is very informative. Thanks. I bookmarked this one for future reference.

  • Janice D. Green

    I am about to self publish my first Bible storybook, The Creation. I created my own illustrations with hand appliquéd quilt block pictures. I am writer, illustrator, layout person, and publisher, but I’m on a shoestring budget. For that reason, e-books sound like an excellent match for me. I have Adobe software which I’m still learning to use to do all of the steps you named. I want to know how to go from a file in my computer to a file on people’s iPads and Nooks. The books will be in color, so the Kindle is out. To learn more about what I’m doing go to

    • CindyRushton

      Users of the iPad/iPhone can add any PDF file to their iPad/iPhone. All they have to do is:

      1. Download the PDF to their computer. Open that folder so they can see the PDF file.
      2. Open iTunes.
      3. Look on the left sidebar (in iTunes) for BOOKS. Click to open.
      4. Drag and drop the PDF file from the folder in the computer into the list of BOOKS.
      5. Sync the iPad/iPhone.

      Your PDF can be in full color. They look SUPER in the iPad. They are a little small for the iPhone, but that is a great reason t0 get an iPad. :)

      I have Michael’s new eBook in my iPad and it looks INCREDIBLE! (Great job, BTW!)

      Hope this helps!

      • Michael Hyatt

        This is great to know! Thanks.

  • Kelly Croy

    I was one of the ones who asked Mike this exact question. Thank you for sharing this Mike! You are an incredible resource. I would love to read this in iBooks and since you use pages you could export it in literally one click to the ePub format. Hope you decide to do that. Regardless you are awesome.

    • CindyRushton

      Kelly, I just wrote these directions for Janice. You can add Michael’s eBook into iBooks easily. Here are the directions again:

      Users of the iPad/iPhone can add any PDF file to their iPad/iPhone. All they have to do is:

      1. Download the PDF to their computer. Open that folder so they can see the PDF file.
      2. Open iTunes.
      3. Look on the left sidebar (in iTunes) for BOOKS. Click to open.
      4. Drag and drop the PDF file from the folder in the computer into the list of BOOKS.
      5. Sync the iPad/iPhone.

      Your PDF can be in full color. They look SUPER in the iPad. They are a little small for the iPhone, but that is a great reason t0 get an iPad. :)

      I have Michael’s new eBook in my iPad and it looks INCREDIBLE! (Great job, BTW!)

      Hope this helps!

  • Jim Whitaker

    This was definitely an interesting post. Part of me is like wow, here is a guy in the publishing industry showing us how to publish without the publishing industry. But then again, this is for a different type of market so I see this as more of a value added piece that you have given us. I will definitely consider this as a way to produce a e-book in the future. Thanks for the walk through.

  • Jeff

    another great example of the consistently quality material that you provide

  • Jeff Randleman

    This is excellent timing! I just started designing the presentation images for an ebook I am writing on Monday! I am also using iWork products to do this, simply because I didn’t know what else to use. I made my imges a bit bigger though, I may have to go back and reduce the dimensions before I get too far.

    This post has helped me immensely! Thanks for sharing! However, I do have one question: when you create an ebook, do you every go through a publisher, for production or management or marketing? The reason I ask is that I see so many ads for “buy this” or “use us” to created your ebook. I wonder how many of these are legit, or a scam… I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

    Thanks again!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I did it all myself, including the marketing.

      • Jeff Randleman

        Awesome! Thanks!

  • JD Eddins

    Thanks for sharing this. I shared on my blog earlier this year that one of my goals is to write a 30-50 page manifesto this year. Currently I am still in the planning stages of that work, but this will certainly be a resource that I return to again and again during the process.
    I hope to see the Kindle version of this resource soon.

  • Wayne Joubert

    Thanks, Michael. It took me four attempts to read it. Good, credible links to books and editors sometimes distract me the way squirrels did to Dug in the movie UP.

  • K.C. Pro

    Thank you for sharing this! I’m very interested in writing an e-Book this summer and have tagged this post as a reference.

    While I’m just starting to read through Creating A Personal Life Plan on my computer it’ll be awesome when it’s on the Kindle too.

  • Dylan Dodson

    Great insights. You seem to be very good at breaking down complicated things in to an easy-to-follow format!

  • Peggy Reeves

    Thank you Michael. I am almost ready to release my first e-book, so this information is very timely. I really enjoy pages but haven’t tried keynote. Your info is challenging but I also know it is high quality and very professional. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have been wanting to create an Ebook for a while now, but wasn’t sure how to get started. Thanks again.

  • Lynn Dean

    Excellent post! This is exactly what I’ve been needing!

    In 2000 I wrote a history curriculum for homeschool use. Because I used a ton of graphics, I chose to make it available on CD-ROM. (The original pages were designed in PowerPoint.) Until last year I was able to package it so that it worked well for both PC and MAC users, but changes in both PowerPoint and Explorer have created difficulties that I prefer to see as “opportunities.” Now is the time to convert to an e-book that can be downloaded instantly instead of mailing disks!

    This post gives me everything I need–Microsoft Word, horizontal presentation, embedded links, PDF conversion, and a way to optimize my many jpgs for a smaller footprint. Thanks!

  • Kristie Jackson

    Thank you for your faithfulness in sharing your knowledge. I am always encouraged by your posts. This one is of particular interest to me since I recently published my first e-book, I’m not a technology expert by any means, but there is enough valuable guidance around the web (if you are willing and able to invest the time) that I am extremely pleased with the kindle and nook versions of my e-book. PubIt! and Digital Text Platform both have step-by-step instructions, and community helps that are quite useful. But as I believe you’ve said before, quality content is only half the battle. I need to get myself psyched up and educated about marketing and self-promotion or revert back to focusing on acquiring a traditional agent and/or publisher. Both are daunting! And that leads me back to this blog. You are wonderful about telling it like it is (hard work!), and yet encouraging us wanna-bes to stick with it!

  • Chad Billington

    I’ve had a book I need to be writing, and this gives me some great thoughts on how to do it. Never thought of using Keynote to make a short book. I love this as I’m handy with it. Thanks.

  • Wayne Zeitner

    Good Mike. Only thing missing is Step One: “Get a Mac”!

    Steps 1, 4, 5 & 6 can’t happen on a PeeCee.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Do you mean to tell me that there are people who still use PCs? ;-)

      • Susan Bailey


  • Jacob Musselman

    Fantastic post! Thanks for sharing the process and your knowledge. I was wondering what you like about the landscape format. Why do you think that it is more engaging?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Totally subjective. It just gives you a bigger canvas to work with—more like a coffee-table book.

      • Jacob Musselman

        Great. Thanks. Love all the content you give.

  • SL Clark

    Welcome to the jungle; as you well know, print books are nothing like screen. So the burning question, how will you take this beautiful PDF and squeeze it onto a iPhone or Droid? Oh, and that Kindle version in black & white, with its ONE font?

    For those with MS Word and some patience, Smashwords distribution is impressive and free. They take a percentage of the sale from their partners, Apple, Sony, B&N, etc. However, your ebook will be challenged to look like a gorgeous PDF rich format.

    • Michael Hyatt

      The short answer is, I don’t know. I haven’t begun working on it yet. However, I will share my experiences with my readers.

  • Ashley Pichea

    I’m going to be starting on my own ebook, possibly as early as next week (haven’t decided yet if I want to focus on that or another project for April). Thanks for the “how-to” – it will definitely be helpful as I get ready to put it all together!

  • Lenin Almonte

    Thank you for the tips Michael. Excellent iniative!

  • Brandon

    Hey Mr. Hyatt! I took the plunge and joined WordPress! I really like it. My new site is:

    Check it out!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Very nice. Good for you!

      • Brandon

        Thanks! I’m glad you kept recommending it…It is so much better than webs. Webs is a lot easier to manage for beginners, but WordPress has so many more options!

  • JanetOberholter

    Great info – thank you!

    And yay for Alice Sullivan … I had her review my manuscript. Her suggestions were priceless … they weren’t easy, but once I did the hard work she suggested, my memoir became a much better book. I look forward to working with her again soon for copyediting, proofing and a proposal … after she gets back from cruising :)

  • Janice D. Green

    Is there anything different I need to know about doing children’s picture books as ebooks? I recently purchased Adobe CS5 and am struggling to learn it as I go. What is the next step for marketing the book?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I really don’t have any experience with children’s e-books. Sorry.

  • Vi Nesdoly

    I subscribed a few days ago and read your e-book yesterday. I was excited when I figured out how to add the pdf version to my Kindle, but wasn’t able to read it because the print was too small. So your idea to make a Kindle version is a good one as I’m sure I’m not the only person who doesn’t enjoy reading book-length pieces at the computer.

    As for the book you sent – it is EXCELLENT! and a very quick read (as the last half is mostly worksheets). You amaze me with your productivity and generosity in sharing the things you learn.

  • Brett Duncan

    This is very helpful. I just put together my first ebook, and followed a fairly similar path. Made it in Word, landscape. I crowd-sourced mine with 32 other authors, so the content collection seemed to be the toughest part.

    Also, I completely agree with the formatting being a real best of a project. I did all design in Word, which I know is not optimal, but I am most comfortable with it. Another thing I did was add links for all the links. Since most of the links weren’t going to sites I own, I wanted to have an idea of what type of interaction I was getting, and the link analytics via help me do that.

    Thanks for the tips.


    • Michael Hyatt

      That is a good idea on the links. I should do the same. Thanks!

  • TNeal

    Doing an e-book is an intriguing thought and your post helps pave the way. I skimmed your article which is unusual but, unless I need the info now, I tend to glaze over on technical stuff. And if you say this isn’t that technical, you prove my point. I don’t even recognize technical or not.

  • Cyberquill

    Having read your blog for a few months, it seems I’ve come across more steps already than the total number of steps leading up to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

    I hear Charlie Sheen is writing an eBook simply called Winning. I’ll tweet him a link to your post.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I’m not for everyone. ;-)

  • Audrey4j

    I’m putting together an ebook called R U Bullied? with answers for bullied teenagers. I planned to post a button on my blog/website and sell it from there, but I’m beginning to realize the potential here. Critiques are over the top encouraging, and this is a popular subject right now. I want to be prepared, should the Lord bless this little 50-page workbook encourager for teens. I know someone who can advise about legalities and format, but am wondering what else I need. I’m doing it in Word. Should I self pub as planned or go all out and contract with a publisher?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I can’t answer that question. It all depends on your goals, the size of your platform, and how broadly you want this distributed.

  • Anonymous

    I know you need a format for everyone but you can also create an epub format book straight from pages that can be brought directly into iBooks. Just a thought on another format.

    Here is a link on how:

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, probably. I just don’t have time at the moment to research it. It is probably something for this summer. Thanks.

  • iCHRCH (Rich Langton)

    Michael, thanks for another practical and easy to follow article. I’m sure you have encouraged not just myself but countless others to see that indeed they can easily and cost effectively turn their content into an ebook. I’m excited about the prospects!!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Excellent. I think it is really worth it. I have several more planned.

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  • NJ

    Recently I began scouring the ebook world. Looks like it is time to take the plunge.

  • Scott Arrieta


    Awesome overview on how to create an e-book. After reading your post, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it, so I signed up right away. The whole thing is really gorgeous. Have you thought about/are you planning on making it available in print? Maybe on-demand printing for a fee?

    I know there are hyperlinks and such, but I for one would be much more inclined to power through this and use it for continuous reference if I could have it in print and not have to run through a couple of buckets of toner.

    Anyway, great stuff.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I have considered it, but for right now, it is going to have to wait.

  • Deiric McCann

    Another wonderfully practical post Michael. I just finished an ebook in a more ‘regular’ book format – and then saw Powerpoint-like format in someone’s else’s work. It looks so much better – definitely worth the additional effort.

    On producing a Kindle/ePub version I worked with an excellent guy, Joshua Tallent of ebook Architects, who took the PDF files of my latest book and created both of these additional formats for me at a very reasonable cost (and with no hassle on my part). Highly recommended (by the way I have NO affiliate connection with Joshua – I’m just a very satisfied client).

    Great post, thanks

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for that lead, Deiric.

  • Dave Anthold

    Mike – this was a great post. I am in the process of writing my first e-book right now. It is going to be based around a recent missions trip (that I am currently on). I hired a designer to help me with the design aspects in InDesign which is great because of all the templates you can set up. You might want to check that out. I think it will really speed up your workflow.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, it is on my list. Is it true that you can embed hyperlinks and they will transfer over to the PDF?

      • Dave Anthold

        Yes I believe so. I am fairly new to InDesign so I am still learning, but as I recall you can embed the links with out any issues & they should transfer over just fine.

  • Daniel Decker

    Ahhh… wow, well done. I assumed you had a designer lay this out but kuddos on the DIY approach and showing others they too can do something quality like this.

    I’ve created ebooks too. Done some via more professional graphic designers and others on a BIY scale via PC platform using both Powerpoint and… as much as it pains me to say this… MS Publisher. Publisher is very easy to do layout in, add in the navigation, live hyperlinks and then export as a PDF. It optimizes the file too so the file size is good for downloading and sharing.

    While not as graphically appealing as yours, here is one that has good content that was done in Publisher:

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks. I am a wannabe graphic designer. For me, it’s like painting: very relaxing and enjoyable.

      I haven’t heard of MS Publisher for years. There doesn’t appear to be a Mac version available.

      I really just need to bite the bullet and train myself to use InDesign.

  • Dan

    Great points on writing an E-Book. I have my outline of my E-book ready and now just need to start writing. I have some one who will edit the book when I am done. My goal is about 40-45 pages. Short and sweet.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yep. It doesn’t need to be long to be effective.

  • Sheridan Voysey

    Two things:

    1) Thanks for modelling, Michael, the need for external editing. Someone of your publishing background may have felt the temptation to skip this step, but you didn’t. I’ve been pitched too many poorly (un)edited books to know we are all too close to our work to spot the mistakes.

    2) I would love to see a post on converting the PDF ebook to ePub/Kindle etc when you’ve decided which path you’ll take doing it. I’d love to know if there are home-based options, rather than going through third-parties.

    Thanks again for the great posts.

  • Krabbe Keblov

    thank you for sharing this – very useful to me. I just would want to know how many hours you spent, AFTER your material was ready, in creating your e-book.
    Best regards Lise Krabbe

    • Michael Hyatt

      Honestly, I didn’t keep track. I did it over a couple of weekends. It certainly took more time than I intended (don’t all projects!).

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  • Wtg

    Great book. And very helpful post.

    One of the nice things about e-book publishing is that you can edit ‘on the fly’ if you happen to find copy edits that were missed in the initial round. For example, Andy Stanley might appreciate it if you can make the correction to his role at North Point. It is Senior Pastor — not Senior Paster. The senior paster is probably a kid in their childcare program who probably wouldn’t really be all that interested in your book. ;-) Andy, on the other hand, really does a good job of pastoring.

    Make the correction to a version 1.1 and then all future downloaded versions will be sweet.

    Thanks for your empowering posts.

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  • Leah

    I hope people consider following your lead on hiring an editor for at least a copy edit and a fact check. Many ebooks on the web are full of typos and grammatical errors, and it doesn’t help the credibility of the authors in the least to have them circulating in public.

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  • Karen Lea Cline

    I am ready to inquire about the process of publishing and need information, does your company provide marketing tools and promotion?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Start with I would start by reading my post, “Advice to First Time Authors.” It provides step-by-step guidance.

  • George

    I need a software or kind of templates which can help me to create an E-book since I like to write finance, management and accounting articles as you can look at and  Let me know how can I get that stuff, I am waiting any response at

    • Michael Hyatt

      I don’t know of anything other than what I outlined in this article.

  • Anonymous

    Are you still planning to write about marketing the ebook? 

    • Michael Hyatt

      Not sure yet. I don’t know how many people it would really apply to.

      • Anonymous

        Okie dokie then. :) 

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  • Anonymous

    Hi Michael,
    I love your blog and I really appreciate the insight you share…you mentioned writing a follow up to discuss how to market your e-Book did I miss that post? Do you have other articles or advice on marketing a new book release overall? I am a marketer by trade but I am still learning the nuances of the publishing industry. Look forward to your counsel.
    God bless,

    • Michael Hyatt

      Now, I have not written that yet. It’s on my list. Thanks.

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  • Jonathan

    What about copyright and ISBN issues. I didn’t find either in your e-book. Are they needed? I am particularly wondering about the copyrighting. Can you just add the copywright symbol or is there an application to fill out somewhere?

    The e-book I’m considering creating will be a novella length story, so I don’t have ideas for lots of added extras, other than a few hyperlinks. I’m not against using extras, I’m just not sure what might be appropriate. I anticipate doing it in a pdf format, currently my story is in a Word document and other then my iPhone I don’t use Apple products–yet. Any suggestions for extras?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Your book is copyrighted from the moment you create it. This is the beautiful thing about U.S. copyright law. You can register the copyright, but that doesn’t grant you any additional rights. You only need an ISBN if you are going to sell it through other outlets like Amazon.

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  • Susan Bailey

    For those of you who might like to try your hand at actually producing an epub file of your ebook in Adobe InDesign, there is an hour -long video you can watch – it’s basically a bunch of slides and some demos. This is not for the faint-hearted – you will need to be familiar with InDesign to follow this (and be familiar with some basic CSS coding).

    Here’s the link to the video:

    There is no written resource anymore for this presentation (I created my own by stopping the video and taking screen shots of the slides and pasting them into Word)

    I’m going to dive in, wish me luck! Hope it works for you too.

  • Elise Adams

    Forgive a technical clarification—when you designed the template AND composed the pages you did this ALL in Keynote?  (Which would, you say, be possible in Word for us unconverted PC users ;-)

    I particularly appreciate your layout (after soaking up your content :-) in contrast to the PDF presentations I’ve seen out there that scroll down–page turning appearance seems to be a BIG step up to me. 

    So, from what I understand–you composed the template in Keynote and then added in the navigation etc. later on (after everything was tight and perfect) in Adobe Acrobat Prof.  Did I read that right?

    Thanks so much for your advice/participation on your blog–one of the things I love about visiting here :-)

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, that’s how I did it. I designed the template and composed the pages in Keynote. If I were on a PC, I would probably use PowerPoint.

      • Elise Adams

        GREAT!  Thanks for the quick reply–helps immensely! :-D  Have a blessed weekend!

  • Susan Bailey

    I have figured out how to create a .epub file using Adobe InDesign but my ebook has several color images in it (and color type). I’ve only formatted a quarter of it so far and it’s already pretty large at 1,404 kb. InDesign automatically formats pictures to a minimum size. Has anyone had any experience with ebooks with color illustrations (writing one, have had one published)? How are children’s books handled that are obviously heavy with graphics?

    Also, can someone suggest where ebooks can be submitted for placement on places such as Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Amazon? What’s the cost?


    • Michael Hyatt

      I’m sorry, but I haven’t.

  • Susan Bailey

    If you are good at tech stuff and can create your own ebook (.epub), Barnes &  Noble has a site called PubIt! which allows you to upload your book directly to their site and sell it. If it’s priced under $10, you get 65%, and over $10, 40%.  Here’s the link:

    For Amazon’s Kindle, here are instructions: Your book has to be in a different format, .mobi (haven’t figure out how to do that yet!)

    You need an ISBN number for your book, go to – $100 per book.

    There’s also a service called BookBaby (part of CDBaby) at – for $99 they will get you on all the important ebook sellers and convert your book as well. I think you can also get the ISBN number there too.

  • TRX

    Thank you so much, I was searching some ebooks from your site and i got it
    Ebook Download

  • Yuse Lajiminmuhip

    This is really cool advice. I never thought about using Keynote to layout an ebook. Great result!

  • TRX

    WOW, this is a really brilliant site.I am Sure happy I have found it.Some really brilliant stuff on this blog with some active comments as well.Keep up the good work you guys. Will be back later for sure.Computer Science

  • TRX

    That said, I love print books but read mostly ebooks on my Torch for many of the reasons listed: easily portable, have lots of selection at hand, can read in the dark easily.Programming

  • Rich Werk


    I am writing my very first E-Book and came across your tutorial and soo glad that I did!
    Your 7 steps in creating an E-Book is to the point! Thank you for sharing your steps with everyone. Your a Gem!

    Rich Werk

  • Anonymous

    This is a great post Michael. I’ve written an e-book which I intended to give to my readers. I’m going to completely revamp the look and feel and use some of the tips from here. 

    Apart from inspiring me to work on my ebook, the content of Creating Your Personal The Life Plan is amazing and I am going to work through the steps with the missus.

    Thanks a bunch….

    P/s I see in your latests posts that you’re also revamping your e-book. What would be the thinking process between deciding on the landscape format and your newer format?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your kind words. Yes, I am converting it to a vertical format. The primary reason is so it can be viewed more easily on e-readers.

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  • Nuruddin Abjani

    Thanks a lot for this post, Michael. 

    Needless to say, all your posts are beneficial to me at different times. I searched this one as I have decided to write my first ebook. And who else to look up to than the great Michael Hyatt!I am an old fan and keep sharing your stuff with my friends, students and family. Some of them have now become your fans and we share and discuss your posts among ourselves as well. You are making a huge difference in peoples lives. Just wanted to thank you and say: God bless you, always.NuruddinPakistan

  • Ccleahy


    I’m so thankful for your blog!  You provide the answers to the questions I have that no one else can answer!  I feel like I have a personal mentor!

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  • Joel Boggess

    Hi Michael,

    This blog came at the perfect time for my wife and I. We were getting ready to put together our second eBook and were looking into different formats.

    I think you know the ending of the story, we (let me say  this right – “she”) followed your guidelines step-by-step to get it done with a quick turn-around.

    Pei and I are so pleased with the look and feel of it and have gotten great feedback

    We’d like to share the eBook with you. What’s the best email to send it to? It’s an easy read. 

  • Karen Rilstone

    Thanks for sharing your process. I am working on my first e-book. ;)

    As a freelance copy editor, I was happy to see you mentioning the editing of your books. So much that I have read online, including web pages, is full of errors, which takes away from the content.

    Again, many thanks for all your suggestions.


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  • Lori Mercer

    Love your site! so helpful and informative. I just downloaded “Digging into WordPress” (already have your Lifeplan) and really enjoy the slide / graphical format as well. Wondering how this translates into the Kindle / Nook world where I’ve seen mostly text books.

  • Mike Thacker


    Great post. I used a similar process but started out in Pages. I’m not sure if you’ve sorted out how to get in .ePub and .mobi but I thought people who read from the bottom up might find my “current” process useful. As someone mentioned about a year ago you can Export from Pages directly to .ePub and .PDF.


    From there I pulled the ePub into Calibre to convert it to .mobi for Kindle. I’d like to find a better workflow for creating the .mobi but for now Calibre will suffice.

    Issues I’m currently working through:

    1) Links work everywhere except the PDF on Kindle. I’ll try your tip with the link tool in Acrobat.
    2) Having minor layout issues with the Title page and images on the Author and Acknowledgment pages.

    The result is my wife’s eBook (What God Wants You to Know) to be given away as a premium on her blog

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  • Irene Olumese

    Hi Michael, I found this website through Jeff Goins. I am glad to read the very useful information both of you offered. I have gleaned so much for your article and from the comments as well. It is timely as I am in the process of writing an ebook. Thanks for sharing so freely.

  • Bill

    I like this my son is designing an e-book and this really helped. Thank you!

  • Ken


    I have a book published from Destiny Image and it is also listed on Amazon in a eBook. But, you have inspired me to write another eBook as a giveaway on my website, blog and email blasts. Also I have just joined “Platform University” and I am looking forward to gleaning from the expert, thanks in advance!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Awesome, Ken. Welcome to Platform University!

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  • Paul Jolicoeur

    Thanks Michael, you are definatly a great resource I am writing my first e-book to give away for email subscribers.

    How to you automate giving the book to a person that signs up?


    • Michael Hyatt

      I hired a developer to set that up. Honestly, I don’t know the details of what he did. Sorry.

  • Laurenhaha

    I’m considering writing an e book… Taking my erotic blog and making it an erotic adventure documenting what I do in real life… With photographs… So more explicit material… Are there any legalities I should be concerned with ?

  • Josue Molina

    Found it. Need to look over this and get started.

  • jeanette

    How do I PROTECT my e-Book idea Michael?!

  • Kwin Peterson

    I just finished my first ebook and this post was invaluable.

    I, too, wrote the copy in Pages. About 20 minutes into building my masterpages in InDesign, I thought, “Why am I not doing the layout in Pages as well.” Pages in the “Page Design” mode worked great for Step 5; it allowed me to do some light photo editing, removed any problems with importing my text, and because it allows text boxes to link across pages, the inevitable post-layout revisions were much easier to deal with.

  • BVI-Shine

    Step-by-step process makes it so accessible. Thank you and Success forward

  • Patrick McNease

    Another timely post! @mhyatt:disqus, I have struggled with this idea because I always thought that I needed new content to execute this feature. A friend of mine told me that I had enough material to write an ebook and that I should pull from my most popular blog posts. This post really brings things full circle. I am honored to be a reader of your work. Stay blessed.

  • Jackie Bledsoe, Jr.

    How did you get the 3D eBook look? Was that a particular software, or did you hire someone?

    ps – On your “My Tools” page I sent a similar question prior to finding this post through search.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yep, I use BoxShot 3D.

      • Jackie Bledsoe, Jr.

        Three words: YOU. ARE. AWESOME!

        Thanks for your quick responses, Michael.

        • Michael Hyatt

          Ha! It’s my pleasure.

  • Scott


    As I’m composing my E-Book at the moment, I’m wondering a few things…

    – Due to the fact I’m creating mine on my Mac in Powerpoint, once I transfer it to a PDF, will people still be able to click my hyperlinks?
    – If I decide to sell the E-Book on Amazon, will people be able to click the hyperlinks from their personal devices (whether that be a Kindle reader, iPad, etc.)?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I don’t know the answer to either question. Sorry. With Keynote, I had to use Adobe Acrobat to create the links.

      • Scott

        It looks as if I transfer to PDF the hyperlinks don’t work. Seems you have to purchase Adobe pro. Oh well, might have to forego the links sadly!

  • Info-preneur

    So if you sell and ebook for a price, how do u keep people from stealing it and sharing with others? Do u add a disclaimer? Set up security before downloading? If so? Is there a step by step process for doing that? I think this is important step that many people miss when they explain exactly how to create and sell an ebook. Could you clarify for me and others like me?