Archive for August 15th, 2011

How to Make an eBook: Second of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

We’ve been talking about 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing to readers and prospective readers. Last time, we learned how to create a zine. Today we’re going to focus on the easiest, most common ways to make a chapter or selection from your book into an eBook that you can give away for free.

If you’ve already converted your book or published an eBook, you can probably skip this post, except to say that you might want consider cropping it to offer just one or two chapters as a free giveaway through your blog, website, or social media outlets.

All of these processes are done electronically, so the only equipment you’ll need is a computer and Internet access.

We’re going to discuss 4 of the most common methods of eBook conversion:

  1. PDF
  2. Mobipocket
  3. Smashwords
  4. Text files

The thing to keep in mind is that an eBook CAN be an exact electronic duplicate of a printed book, but it doesn’t have to be, and frequently is not. The popularity of eBooks is continuing to skyrocket, and with it a multitude of eReaders is becoming available. However, not all of them are equipped to handle graphics or fancy pagination, so a decent rule of thumb, at least for the time being, is that simpler is better when converting your writing into eBooks.

Before you begin any of these processes, make sure you:

  • Abbreviate your file to include only the chapter(s) you want to give away for free.
  • Double check that you have not inadvertently cut off any sections while you were creating your excerpt.
  • Give one last run-through for grammar and spelling errors you may previously have missed, especially if this is the first time you will be publishing your work.
  • Unless you will be using the PDF method to convert your chapter(s), make sure you’ve got it stripped down to a simplified file with few images and no fancy pagination.


PDFs are the best way to ensure consistency between the printed
book and the ebook conversion
, but they’re limited to use on a computer,
tablet, or smartphone that can read them –
and they won’t translate
for many eReaders.

Depending on how your computer is configured, once you’ve got your file
saved the way you want for the conversion, you may be able to hit “Print”
and select “Adobe PDF” as your “printer” option.

A second possibility if you’re saving from a MS Word 2007 document is to choose
the “Save As” command and then select the PDF option.

If you do not appear to have a PDF conversion mechanism of any sort already
installed, you can download a free piece of conversion software called CutePDF
that works quite well.



MobiPocket is the ebook technology employed by Amazon’s Kindle eReader.
Convert your MS Word files to .mobi files using the free Mobipocket eBook Creator. Download the software and follow the instructions and prompts.



Smashwords is a free online service you can use to convert your books
(or chapters) to eBooks. It’s quite a nice program because it will allow you
to upload to ALL of the major eReaders (including Kindle), but it requires
a VERY stripped down version of your text with next to no formatting.

The Smashwords.com site also gives you four pricing options:

  • FREE
  • Let the reader set the price
  • You set a fixed price for the book
  • You can specify that a portion of a book you have for sale is available
    for free

Visit the site and follow the prompts to upload your book.



The easiest way to convert a file that almost
anyone can read on almost any platform is simply
by saving it as a .TXT file.

1. In any version of MS Word, choose the
“Save As” command and select “Other Formats.”
2. Find the drop-down menu.
3. Choose RTF or Rich Text File, and hit


That’s it for our four simple ways to convert your sample chapter to an eBook. Once you’ve converted it, the next thing is to TELL PEOPLE it’s available. Announce it on Facebook. Send a couple Tweets. And, of course, let your mailing list know. You can even ask other authors, editors, marketers, literary types, and anyone who loves and supports you to help you get the word out.

Make it a personal mission to have 500 people read your free chapter(s) within a certain period of time. This means, of course, you’ll have to figure out how to know they’ve read it. One way might be to motivate your pre-readers to comment about your chapter on your blog by announcing that you’ll enter all commenters into a drawing for a copy of the finished book. This will do two things for you:

(1) Give you feedback on the book.

(2) Give you an idea of how many people the chapters are reaching.

Remember, these are just a few ideas. Put on that SBM* Thinking Cap and see what other wonderful ways you can dream up to get the word out about your free chapter(s). If anything awesome comes of this experience for you, please come back and share it in our comments section!

Make sure to check back on Thursday when we’ll be discussing Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature as a way to give away free samples of your work. 



*Savvy Book Marketer


Visit Write | Market | Design to download your Marketing Skills Evaluation. This will help you determine how close you are to SBM status, and where you may need a little extra boost.


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Thursday, August 11 How to Make a Zine: First of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 8 – 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing

Thursday, August 4 A Savvy Book Marketer embraces the idea of giving freely


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