Archive for May, 2008

Ever wonder how to get some neat looking lines inside your ebook template designs without a bunch of fuss having to create them first inside Photoshop?

Well wonder no more!

Because today, I’m going to show you how to do it, simple, fast, and above all. . .easy!

Let’s get to it. . . .

How To Add Simple Lines To Your Headers & Footers

The first thing you’re gonna want to do is open up either an existing .ODT OpenOffice Writer text document, or create a new one by opening up OpenOffice Writer.

Now, normally, when you open up OOo Writer, it will create a brand new text document by default. At least, it does for me :-)

Okay, once we have OOo Writer up and a text document, it’s time to add some snazzy lines to the Headers & Footers in our document.

For this tutorial, I’m gonna start off with a fresh new text document, and so this is my starting point:

Now it’s time to add a “default” Header & Footer:

From the top toolbar: Insert > Header > Default

From the top toobar: Insert > Footer > Default

Okay, now that we have our “default” Header & Footer inside our text document, it’s time to add a little bit of text to them. You can add whatever you want, or add nothing and skip this step. It isn’t necessary to add text to add the cool lines.

But, here’s what I have so far:


Nothing too spectacular, just some plain old text.

Now comes the fun part. . . .

Adding the lines. Yay!

To add a simple line that runs the length of either the Header or Footer, “Right Click” inside either the Header area or the Footer area.

From the menu that pops open, select “Paragraph. .”

And a new window will appear that looks similar to this:

And, if it isn’t already showing, like above, you will need to left click on the “Borders” tab:

Now we’re cookin’! Well, almost :-)

We’ll need to determine how our line will look inside our Header or Footer.

To do this, simply play around with the settings inside the Line “style” section:

You can adjust the width of the line, and the color from here.

The next thing we’ll want to do is decide on where we want the line placed. Do we want it at the bottom of our text line? At the top? Around the right and left edges? Both top and bottom? Or enclose the text completely with the lines?

We can do any of these things inside the “Line arrangement” section:

For this tutorial, I’m only going to add a line that runs along the bottom of my Header and Footer.

To do this, all you need to do is “left click” one time inside the bottom line area of the image shown inside the “Line arrangement” section:

You’ll notice that there is now a dashed line surrounding a solid line with arrows on either side. That means that this is where our line will appear within our Header or Footer. Pretty easy, right?

Towards the bottom of the “Line arrangement” section, you’ll see a “Shadow style” section. Use this if you want to add a shadow to your line. I’m not going to, but feel free to play around with those settings and see what you come up with.

For a basic, thin black line underneath your text, use these settings:

Line “style”: 0.05pt – Color: Black

Okay, if you are pleased with your line settings, simply hit the “OK” button and whammo! There’s your line, tucked right underneath your Header or Footer text:

Cool!

How To Add More “Stylish” Lines To Your Header & Footer

That’s terrific, but what if you want to add a “dashed” line inside your Header or Footer?

Well, I can tell you how to do this too!

Here’s how. . . .

First you’ll need to bring up the “Drawing” toolbar, if it isn’t already visible. Inside my copy of OOo Writer, it wasn’t, so here’s how to open it:

Go to “View” on the top toolbar and select: View > Toolbars > Drawing

And poof! It will show up:

When I first opened up my Drawing toolbar, it popped up at the bottom of my OOo Writer in the left hand corner, yours may too. Or, it may show up at the top on the right hand side.

Okay, moving on. . . .

If you haven’t already guessed, we’re going to be drawing our dashed line. But don’t worry, it’s easier than you think. If you can hold down a couple of keys and drag your mouse, you can draw a perfectly dashed line.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is select the “Line” tool from your “Drawing” toolbar:

Now, you will want to go to the section where you want your dashed line to appear within your text document.

In this case, it will be inside our Footer.

Go up to the left hand side of the Footer, while still having the “line” tool selected, left click and hold it down while at the same time holding down the “Shift” key and drag across all the way to the right side of your Footer.

This is what you should end up with:

I know it doesn’t look like much now, but let’s keep going.

Right now, you should have a solid straight line as pictured above, even though you can’t see it very well.

But, we’ll change that.

The next step is to “hover” your mouse over top of your newly drawn line and then “right click”.

A new menu will open up and from that menu, select “Line”.

Now, you should see a new window that looks similar to this one:

From here, we’re going to solely concentrate on the “Line properties” area of this window.

In the first drop down menu, pictured above it has the word: Continuous shown, you will select the following from it: Dashed (variable).

This should give you a nice looking dashed line.

Feel free to change the color of the line and the width of the line also in the options below the drop down menu section.

Once you’ve made all your adjustments, simply hit “OK”.

Now, to actually see your new dashed line, left click anywhere inside your text document main area.

Here’s what I ended up with:

Again, I made my dashed line thicker so that you could see my end result. Yours will probably look different.

Don’t be afraid to test out new things by playing around with all the settings and tools available inside OpenOffice Writer.

You may just surprise yourself with what you can do ;-)

Don’t Scrapbook? So What!!

Even if you DON’T scrapbook, you can get some awesome design elements that can be used commercially from quite a few “digital scrapbooking” websites. And many of them at really affordable prices for the packages.

I’ve actually found some pretty cool brushes, actionscripts, styles, and shapes all from, you guessed it, scrapbooking websites!

It really doesn’t matter if you don’t scrapbook, or if your ebook has nothing to do with the scrapbooking hobby, you can still get some brilliant stuff to add to your ebook templates for low cost.

And, with that said, here’s a list of the best places I’ve found:

Scrappin’ Freestyle
there’s better than 1000 different “commercial use” photoshop actionscripts, styles, shapes, and brushes here. a great resource.

DigiScrap Warehouse
another outstanding site that has plenty of “commercial use” photoshop styles, shapes, brushes, and more

Sophia Sarducci’s Warehouse
some really cool stuff here that can be used commercially in your ebook designs

Groovy Scraps
yep, another digital scrapbooking site where you can pick up some pretty cool commercial use PS elements like brushes, shapes, etc.

Eclectic Digital Designs
more digital scrapbook commercial licensed goodies

Hawksmont Universe
this dude is the coolest! he offers a nice selection of photoshop brushes that you can use commercially including beautiful flower sets, among others. this is one site you seriously need to bookmark!

I’m sure that if you use your imagination, you can come up with some pretty cool ebook template designs.

Now, get out there and get to work creating something beautiful!

I found another great resource where anyone can pick up terrific looking brushes, custom shapes, patterns, styles, gradients, etc., for super low cost.

And use them all commercially, which is always a great thing ;-)

So, anyway, the site is called www.GrahpicXtras.com and I’ve been thus far digging through the custom shapes, which look pretty promising. They have shape packages made up of clouds, circles, spirals, dots -n- dashes, faces, embellishments, sketchy, stars, and a whole bunch of others.

I’ll be going through the brushes section next to see what they’ve got.

Average cost for 1 set of custom shapes: $9.00 US

Average value of having such a resource: PRICELESS

And, here’s another terrific, and FREE, site for collecting some custom shapes for Photoshop:

LadyOak.com

Lots of free to download custom shapes that can be very useful and the site states you can use them in commercial designs, so there ya go!

You will have to register for an account there, but, again it’s free.

There you have it. 2 new resources for great commercial use elements for your ebook template designs with Photoshop!

For some people, designing the layout of how their PDF ebook looks is easier than writing their own unique content to put inside it.

Well, this short post is for them. And possibly YOU. If you are someone who is stuck when it comes to writing.

Most people will use PLR content for their ebooks.

What Exactly Is PLR?

The term ‘PLR’ stands for Private Label Rights. And you can find a ton of this type of content all across the web.

Having Private Label Rights content gives you tremendous freedom. Basically, you can become an ‘instant author’ by using something else someone else has written. It’s like having your own personal ‘ghost writer’ on tap.

What it boils down to is this. . . .

PLR author writes up content either as an article, pack of articles, or actual ebook on any given subject.

PLR author sells the content to others that are in need of it either because they cannot write themselves, or just don’t have enough time to do it.

PLR buyer purchases author’s content and is given a Private Label Rights license that allows buyer to claim content as his/her own without giving any additional credits. It is as if buyer has written the content themselves.

PLR buyer transforms PLR content into a new ebook product and resells to his/her customers with designated rights associated.

( Sometimes you can pass on Private Label Rights to your own customers, but you must always check the original authors Terms of Use, or License, that should be included with the PLR product )

But, like most things, you get what you pay for when it comes to quality. And good PLR is no different.

Suffice it to say that you need to be really choosy about the PLR content you decide to purchase. And be prepared to spend a pretty penny for the best stuff.

Now, with that said, here is a list of reputable PLR content sellers:

Gabor Olah’s PLR Wholesaler.com Site
a good option for both free and paid PLR content

Mike Collins’ Fresh PLR Content Site
focusing on specific niche subjects and offers article packages for them at low prices

Nichole Dean’s EasyPLR.com Site
a really big selection of both specific niche article packs and special reports for low cost

Bob Bastian’s Private Label Publishing.com Membership Site
a very good option at a low cost monthly fee for fresh new PLR content every month

JayKay Bak’s Unselfish Marketer Membership Site
my very personal favorite because not only do you get fresh PLR products, but Master Resale Rights products, services, and additional FREE memberships. it’s a #1 site for everything!

JayKay Bak’s Content Provider Pro Membership Site
a nice site providing ghost writer content for your ebook projects — here’s a quick hint, if you join the UnselfishMarketer.com membership site above, you’ll get this membership thrown in free

Once you have a good PLR product, it becomes simply a matter of copy + paste into your ebook document template. You may have to do some additional formatting such as setting the size and style of the font you decide upon inside your ebook so it’s more ledgible to your readers.

Sans-serif is normally best for computer read ebooks. While Serif is best for ebooks that are to be physically printed out and read.

Oh, and one last quick tip . . .

It is a really smart idea to run the automatic “Spell Checker” inside of OOo Writer once you copy + paste your PLR content inside your ebook because many times there are grammatical errors throughout it. And, you don’t want to sound like a total dummy to your loyal readers :-)

Does it seem that far of a leap of faith to believe that practically any static design you can create for a web template can be used as an OOo ebook template design too?

Well, believe when I say you can do this for any “static” web site design.

But, what do I mean by “static“?

By “static“, I mean any content that just sort of, well, sits there and looks pretty.

It’s content that isn’t interactive. Meaning, it doesn’t do anything, or allow your visitors to do anything with it.

So, if you have seen a “static“, or regular HTML based web site, and you think it would make a really cool ebook template design, chances are, you can recreate it.

HOW?

First of all, you need to create the actual static picture, or graphic with an image editing program. Like Photoshop, or GIMP, or Paint Shop Pro.

Then you save the graphic as a background image. Normally using the file extension: .jpg, jpeg, .gif, or .png.

You should only use a .png or .gif file extension if you plan on having a completely transparent background for your image. Otherwise, stick with the .jpg or .jpeg extension as it preserves the image much better with higher quality.

And, also, remember, when you recreate someone else’s designs, you have to make the design look much different than the original, and not just change a few colors. You need to have an end result that is unique, but inspired by the original. Otherwise you risk legal action.

If the design uses circles, use squares or triangles. If the design has daisies, use tulips or roses. I think you get the idea here.

I just wanted you to know that this is possible to do.

Especially for those of you that have already created your own original web site sales pages and wish to incorporate that design to your PDF ebook. You can do it!

And, later on, I’ll upload some tutorials showing you how.

Yeah, I know I called the post “How To Edit EZ Ebook Template Backgrounds”, but the tips in this tutorial will help you understand how to edit any graphical element in any of the EZ Ebook Template Packages.

So, without further delay, here’s how to do it — step by step.

We’ll start out editing one of the backgrounds from the first EZ Ebook Template Package. And, it’s a background that can be rather tricky if you’re brand new at this type of editing.

Here’s what the image looks like before we make any changes:

It’s important to understand that this, and a majority of the other graphical design elements included in the EZ Ebook Template Packages are used inside the actual ebook templates as .jpg or .jpeg images. However, they do come in 2 different forms inside your EZ Ebook Template Package. One is the standard .jpg or .jpeg format, and the other is the completely editable .psd format.

And, so, the .psd file is the file we’ll be working with in this tutorial.

So, we need to locate the .psd file for the image we want to edit.

The image we’ll be using in this first portion of the tutorial can be found inside the EZ Ebook Template Package #1 file folder, within an internal folder named “PSD Files“.

You will be looking for a file named: “side background 2.psd“.

To open it up and begin editing, usually, I will simply double left click on the file. This will bring up the image inside your existing image editing program. For me, this is Photoshop 7.0. For you, it could be something different.

And, if that’s the case, then what you will want to do is Right Click on the file and choose the “Open With” option from the pop up menu. And open the image with the image editing program of your choice that exists on your computer system.

Once it’s open, it’s time to begin the editing process.

Editing this background is pretty simple. But I’ll show you how to not only edit the text, but also, how to quickly change the color of the background too.

FIRST STEP: CHANGING THE TEXT

This is the first thing you should see when opening up your image inside Photoshop:

To make changes to the text, we’ll need to left click on the Text layer, represented by the big “T” shown above.

Once our Text layer is selected, we need to also left click, or select the Text Tool:

Once you have done that, it’s time to left click anywhere inside our text layer, like this:

You should see a little squiggly flashing line, as shown above. Obviously because this is a screen capture, it isn’t blinking, but inside Photoshop, it will be.

Then we need to highlight our text by left clicking, holding it down and dragging across our text. You should come up with something similar looking to this:

Now, all we need to do is type in our own text. Normally, this will be the title of your ebook.

You should end up with something similar to this:

And done!

Well, not quite. We still have to save our new image.

To save your image for use in your EZ Ebook Template, you will need to deselect the Text Tool inside Photoshop. Which is where you should still be at this point.

You can do that by selecting the “Move Tool” that looks like this:

Once that tool has been selected, simply click on: File > Save For Web. .

A new window will pop open that should look similar to this:

You’re going to want to make sure that you’re saving the image as a .jpg or .jpeg file. You select this setting from the drop down menu shown below if it isn’t already selected:

You will also want to be sure that the quality is turned all the way up to 100%:

Then, simply hit the “SAVE” button.

A new window will pop open that will give you the option to name, or rename your image.

It might be a good idea to give your edited graphic background a different name, such as “side background 2a”, so that you don’t get it confused with the original, in case you decide to resell the package :-)

If we want, we can also change the background and text colors of our graphic.

Here’s how to change the background color easily.

Left click the “Background” layer to select it, found at the bottom:

Next, you will want to select the “Paint Bucket” tool:

Then select the new color you’d like to fill the background in with using the color swatches either on the tool bar itself, or from the swatches palette. In this example, we’ll stick to the color swatches on the tool bar:

USING THE TOOL BAR COLOR SWATCHES

Double click on the color swatch and an new color tool window will open allowing you to select a new color:

Once you select a different color you are happy with, simply hit the “OK” button, and it will automatically show up in the tool bar color swatch.

Now all you have to do is select the “Paint Bucket” tool, and left click once anywhere inside the “Background” layer of the image. And the color is now changed:

You can do the same thing for changing the text color, but by using the “Blending Options”.

Here’s how to do it:

Right Click on the Text layer and select from the corresponding menu “Blending Options”.

A new window will appear that looks like this:

You will notice that the Drop Shadow, Inner Shadow, and Stroke options have already been set.

To make changes to those, simply left click on the corresponding options text. In other words, to change the Stroke settings, left click directly on the text “Stroke”.

You will see the window change to reflect this:

Here, you can change the width of the stroke line from “1″ to “3″, “4″, “10″, “16″ or any width you wish. Remember, the width is calculated by pixels.

You can change the color by double clicking on the Fill Type color box/swatch.

Do the same things with all the Blending Options pre-selected to see what you come up with.

The last thing to do to change the color of the text entirely, is to add a new Blending Option.

The Color Overlay:

You should see the text change color inside your graphic image already.

Now you can left click the color swatch box shown above and play around until you get a color you like.

Then, as explained before, simply “Save For Web. .” and you’re all done!

Now, we can close down Photoshop. But, before we do, DO NOT save any changes you’ve made to the .PSD file. And Photoshop will ask you if you’d like to “save changes” to the original .psd before it closes. DO NOT!!

Otherwise, it will change the original completely applying any changes you’ve made to it. Plus, it’s always good to start with the original later on to get the same color scheme and text. Remember, you can always go back and change them again. But it’s best to do it from the beginning.

It’s time to put our new graphic background into our ebook template.

And here’s how to do it:

Begin by opening up the EZ Ebook Template inside OpenOffice Writer that you wish to change the background graphic on.

We want to go to the direct TOP of our template as this layout is completely done inside a huge Table.

Up at the top, left click once inside the far left hand column.

Then simply right click for the menu to open.

From this menu, select: > Table. .

You should now see this in the new window that pops up:

Hit The “Browse” button to navigate to your new graphic background you wan to add.

Locate the file and select it by left clicking.

Then, simply hit “Open”.

You should now see your graphic inside the “preview” section:

Make sure the “Tile” radio button on the left hand side is selected, and then hit “OK”.

You should now see your new background showing up:

Follow the same steps above for the Right hand side of the ebook template.

And here’s what I ended up with:

Yours will no doubt be different :-)

Well, I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and that you’ve come away with a greater knowledge of how to change the backgrounds inside your EZ Ebook Templates.

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