How to Write a Book PDF: A Step-by-Step Guide
When new authors first sit down to craft their masterpiece, there are certainly many questions looming. Especially during those initial stages of the writing process, when getting the words from your head to the page can be a significant challenge. Therefore, it’s not surprising that when many authors begin to write their book, they focus on the writing process itself and not necessarily the formatting or publishing of their work.
Even so, when you are writing a book, it’s imperative to consider the full journey that lies ahead. This includes the process of writing itself. But it also includes the end game when it comes to publishing a book.
For instance, how do you want readers to be able to access your work? Should you publish an eBook, a printed book, or something in between?
There is a myriad of options and answers to these publishing questions. One option that is affordable, easy to read, and retains all the formatting and design elements of a traditional book is a PDF.
Short for Portable Document Format, a PDF is a file format first developed by Adobe in 1993. It is commonly used throughout the internet and beyond to share essential documents of all varieties. It makes accessing these documents – like a book – an easy one or two-click process.
So, how do book PDFs work? And how do you get from a great idea to a printed work that you can be enjoyed and shared with readers worldwide? It starts by understanding the basics of PDFs, writing and publishing basics, and the in-between steps.
First, it’s important to understand the distinction between a PDF and an eBook.
An eBook is a book that is specifically designed and formatted to be read by e-readers. The formatting for an eBook can adapt and change. The readers have the option to adjust the font size, typeface, and other elements to align with their preferred viewing options. Similar to a webpage, which can be altered and changed to fit a specific screen size.
eBooks are fluid with inconsistent and ever-changing designs. This means that the typical formatting elements of a traditional book such as page numbers, cover design, margins, and more – are generally left out of the finished eBook.
A PDF is also an electronic book, but with some noticeable differences. With a PDF, the overall layout and design are essentially cast in stone. So, the work will look more or less the same regardless of whether a reader accesses the book on a desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Because a PDF is a hard set file, it can also be easily downloaded and stored on any device. Allowing readers to access the book regardless of whether they are connected to the internet. In essence, a PDF could be considered a bit of a happy medium between an eBook and a printed book. For instance, it has all the formatting elements of a printed book but can be accessed anywhere and anytime.
There are a number of benefits to opting to write and publish a book PDF. For one thing, as the name implies, PDFs are portable.
Another significant benefit of a book PDF is the publishing costs. While a reader or author can certainly print out a PDF, it is not necessary. The author or publisher can save countless funds on printing while still retaining the essential formatting details and overall design.
A PDF is also a great option for books where the overall design and formatting are important to the author. For example, if your book utilizes different fonts, styles, images, and footnotes, that does not translate easily in an eBook format. A PDF copy of your book is a great way to retain the exact style you want, regardless of how your readers access your work.
Finally, PDFs are wonderfully easy to share in a multitude of ways. They can be a link or a downloadable file, and they can be accessed both on and offline. As a result, you can grow your audience to new heights simply because your book is easy to find, download, and share.
Although there are many benefits to crafting a book PDF, there are a few drawbacks to consider. As the format is static, your book may be difficult to read for those who are not technologically savvy. While you can zoom in or out of a PDF, it can sometimes be tricky to use from smaller devices, like smartphones.
As a PDF is essentially a file and easy to share, it can also be difficult to track and manage your book sales. For example, if you send your PDF to a friend as a link or a downloadable file, they, in turn, may share it with a dozen other people without your knowledge.
A good way to curtail this problem is to make your link or PDF file password protected and trackable. For example, you can post a PDF as a link on a website or blog. You can then count page visits or encourage your readers to pay a small fee to sign up for your site to access your book PDF.
As the PDF is the final, published version of your work, writing your book PDF is no different than writing any other book in the publishing sphere. Regardless of how you decide to print or share your finished masterpiece, there are a few tips to help you make the writing process easier from start to finish.
Many writers find that the biggest challenge of writing a book is fleshing out an idea into a full-length novel or story. Using an outline is a great way of keeping you on track from start to finish.
Begin with a generalized outline that covers all the major plot points. As you work, see if you can whittle it down into more specific elements, such as chapters or important turning points. A specific and detail-oriented outline will serve as your road map of what to write and what to write next. It will help keep your story flowing smoothly from the first page to the last.
Many authors attest that one of the best ways to keep the creative juices flowing is to have a dedicated writing space where you can focus on your words and your work. Find a quiet corner of your home or office where you can eliminate any distractions and simply focus on the writing at hand. Multiple interruptions throughout the writing process can easily lead to writer’s block. Or worse, giving up on your book before you’re had a chance to see it through.
Another big obstacle for authors is consistently putting in the time to write. But if you slow down or start to procrastinate, you may find that your delays become indefinite.
A great way to conquer time management (and ensure that you keep writing) is to create a writing schedule. You don’t have to be super strict about your schedule, either. Simply decide an appropriate amount of time to write regularly.
For example, block out 20 minutes of writing time a day, or 10,000 words a week, and then stick to it! Losing motivation is one of the biggest hurdles for both new and renowned writers. So take every precaution possible to stay focused and on track.
Writing may be a solitary process. However, you’ll likely find that a little bit of support goes a long way in staying motivated. It also helps to make sure that your book is the best it can be.
Join an online or in-person writers group to share your words as you go. Or enlist the services of a book or writing coach for an extra boost of expertise as you start to develop your story.
Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on your work, either, even if it’s still unfinished or unpolished! A fresh set of eyes can help you identify possible issues with your story. For example, a plot point that seems out of place or a character that needs further development. This will allow you to address potential issues before you are finished.
Edit, edit, double-check and edit some more. This is one of the most important steps in any author’s writing process, especially for those creating a printed work or PDF. Remember that your final work cannot be changed with a PDF book as it is a hard set file. Because of this, you will want to ensure that it’s readable and free of any spelling or grammatical issues before you go to print.
Again, when it comes to the editing process, a second pair of eyes can be a big help to catch the little errors you may have missed. Enlist the help of a bookworm friend who can read and critique your work. Or hire a copyeditor to review your finished product and ensure it is error-free before it goes to press.
As stated, your PDF is also different from an eBook because the overall formatting is set in stone. For this reason, be sure to consider how your work should look and feel, stylistically, from start to finish. Pay attention to all those little details, such as font size, margins, or leading – which is the space in between the lines in your work.
For inspiration, just open up some of your favorite books and copy their styles. You can also enlist a freelance copyeditor or graphic designer to help you do the heavy lifting with some of the trickier aspects of formatting, such as the book cover design, chapter headings, index, and more.
You’ve finished your final page, reviewed your book from cover to cover, and are ready to create your PDF. The good news is that this last step is typically easy and can be done in a matter of minutes!
If you are using a traditional word processor, like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, simply “Save as PDF.” Voila, your book is ready to be shared with the world! Once it has been saved as a PDF, you can then share the book as a standalone downloadable file. Or add it to your website or blog as a link.
When it comes to PDF books, your marketing initiatives will fall in line with marketing for any other type of book. Use social media to your advantage and consider creating a stand-alone blog post or website for marketing purposes.
Feel free to share your file with traditional publishing houses or partner publishers if you’d prefer that an outside company tackle the book sales. All of the same marketing rules apply. The main difference between a PDF book and any other type of book is that your potential worldwide readers can simply access your work in a different way.
Remember that regardless of whether you choose to write a book PDF, eBook, or traditional printed book for your final work, the writing process steps and beyond basically remain the same – only the format is different.
Explore all your options for publishing your book. Weigh the pros and cons of the different book formats available. And above all else, focus primarily on simply getting your story onto the page.
Writing a book is an endeavor to be proud of, no matter how your audience eventually reads your story. So keep motivated, keep writing, and you’ll create something you can be proud of, no matter how you share your words and inspire the world!
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