The tools you need to write, edit and sell your e-book or digital product

I did it, I launched my own e-book, on my own website. It took planning, writing, editing and all my free time of the past two months. However, “The Smart Girl’s Journey to Financial Bliss” is now live on https://greenzenfit.life/shop, and with a bit of promotion work, it will bring me some passive income and help me achieve my saving goals faster.

Publishing an e-book is something that anyone can do, and it’s a reasonably sized project for people who want to dip their toes in the sea of passive income possibilities. It’s big enough to give you a sense of accomplishment and test the whole process from idea to market. It’s also small enough to fail quickly and move on without wasting too much time in case the book is not profitable.

I tested and used several tools throughout the process and here are my recommendations.

1. Writing

If you want to make things easy for yourself, choose a tool that it’s made to write in. After trying Canva and Adobe InDesign, I settled for Microsoft Word on a Windows system (the Mac version of Word has fewer features than the Windows one). I needed to edit the text easily, for example changing the font for all my section titles at once or adding the drop letter at the beginning of the chapter.

If you’re familiar with Adobe’s tools (Photoshop for example), InDesign might be a good option for you. Unfortunately, I couldn’t understand how it works and how to use it. It’s not free, but it offers a 7day free trial, so you have time to give it a go. If you work on a Mac, Pages is also an option.

2. Grammar checker

All writing tools have a spell checker, to point out typos and sometimes a basic grammar checker. As a non-native English speaker, I was very nervous about verb tenses, my style of writing or getting some common phrases wrong. Of course, there is always the option of sending your manuscript to a proofreader. However, there is a cheaper and more flexible alternative out there – Grammarly.

Once you get an account, you can settle for the essential features, but for serious business, I’d recommend the Premium version. It highlights where you need or don’t need a comma; if a word doesn’t fit next to another or inside the phrase; overused words; if your sentence is too long; phrases that lack a verb or subject; wrong verb tenses. It also finds some other typos that a standard spell checker wouldn’t. For example, “you” instead of “your” would not be picked up by the spell checker because the word is still correct.

The best thing about Grammarly? You can install the Chrome plugin, and get advice wherever you type on the Internet. They have plugins for Microsoft Word and Outlook too, so your emails are covered! I love it; I’m much more confident since I got it.

3. Printables and creatives

If you need to design a book cover, Facebook ad, social media post or your e-book contains worksheets/printables, Canva is the most accessible tool out there. Even if it has a premium option, I’ve been using the free version for a year now, and I don’t feel the need for more. It’s effortless to use and contains hundreds of templates, so you don’t even need to be too creative. I also use it for blog post images and Pinterest graphics.All the tools you need to write, edit, grammar check and sell your e-book or digital products

4. Putting the book together

Once all your text, images and printables are ready and saved as PDF, you can use a Mac to merge them. Open the PDFs in the preview, view thumbnails, drag and drop the pages around and save as a new document. If you don’t use a Mac, you will need Adobe Acrobat, which is not free. Maybe ask a friend with a Mac to help you? 🙂

In case you’re thinking about selling your book on Amazon, you will have to follow their instructions and provide the e-book in the format they require for Kindle. I opted for selling the book on my website, so I can’t help with more than a link to Amazon’s article.

5. Selling the e-book (or anything else)

Firstly, you need to be able to accept payments. I went for a service called Stripe, which is free to join. Here is where you list and price your items and set up your payouts.

Then you need to set up a sales page, a checkout page and (optional) a thank you page. I did it all with LeadPages, a drag and drop tool that helps you create landing pages, subscription boxes and much more. I managed to design the whole funnel in one single day because it’s straightforward and LeadPages has loads of templates.

The templates are well designed and optimised for conversions. That means you don’t need to put too much thought into how to colour the text or where to place the buttons; it’s all there for you already.

LeadPages also has integrations with Stripe and most email marketing tools and the ability to send files. So when someone clicks submit at checkout, LeadPages will send the PDF file and if you want, save the email address into MailChimp/Drip/ConvertKit.

There is plenty of documentation to get you started and their support team answers in up to 24 hours.

Tempted to write an e-book but still don’t understand how this all fits together? Download my PDF guide here! (Powered by LeadPages)

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. 

2 Comments

  1. really neat! I use libre office to write things (it is free). . . but I have never finished a book I started and am not really devoted to doing so (I have other hobbies I prefer putting my time and energy in, but maybe one day I’ll finish one of my books).

    1. Author

      It’s all about priorities. I really wanted to get it done for two big reasons: I wanted the experience of delivering a freelance project and I wanted to have something to sell.

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