Archive for September, 2008

7 Ebook Layout Inspiration Sites

I follow a lot of other graphic sites and I see them do this frequently, so I thought I should do the same.

Today’s post will provide you with a list of sites you can draw some design inspiration from when you feel as if you can’t come up with any ideas on your own. This list isn’t for you to go and recopy the exact designs you see, but to aid you in creating your own unique designs by peeking over the shoulder of other designers.

And, there’s not really a whole lot of ebook template layout design inspirational resource lists out there, so this will be the first of it’s kind — that I know of anyway :-D

So, let’s get to this first list of inspirational resources….








1. – Loads of great design inspiration here from newsletters, to brochures, and my personal favorite, the Letterhead template section. Check them out when you need a quick burst of creative genius

2. Paper Direct – Some decent bordered paper letterhead design layouts to peruse through in various categories. I personally liked the “Everyday Border Papers” category myself

3. – A nice gallery with plenty of inspirational letterhead paper designs to inspire you

4. – Good assortment of graphic letterhead designs in a variety of styles

5. Microsoft Office Online – Of course you can always visit this free resource and check out the user submitted letterhead designs, not a bad resource to have

6. HP Office Letterheads – Not too many designs here, but there are links to more such as the Identity Kits, those are worth a quick look for sure for plenty of fresh ideas

7. Log Technology Letterhead Portfolio – Looking through these will give you a better idea of what customers are wanting in designs and how much they are willing to pay to get it!

Well, that’s all the resources I’m going to list for today. That should plenty to get your creative juices flowing. I will add more of these inspirational designing sites in future posts so that we always keep all your ideas fresh :-)

Are Ebook Templates Beneficial?

You know, that’s a great question. And one that has been grabbing more and more attention as of late. At least, in the online corners I frequent. So, the following is going to serve as a guide for you to decide for yourself whether or not you should use ebook templates. I hope you enjoy this little article.

To Template Or Not To Template….That IS The Question

And it seems to be on the forefront of designer vs. writer arguments.

Both sides have valid points.

Designers will say, “Sure, making use of good graphical elements within your ebook product(s) will help your overall presentation. If used too much, yes, such elements can make you seem more amateur than you might be respectfully. But overall, first impressions mean a lot and graphical composites can make or break your public perception.”

And that’s true.

There is a saying that goes ( and I’m sure you’ve heard or read it about a thousand times before ) …

“A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words”

A picture can be worth a hell of a lot. Especially when you run an online business.

Think about this….

We are peddling digital wares. Things that cannot be picked up and handled like at your local Best Buy. So of course using an attractive ebook cover aids in your ability to sell a “non-physical” information product.

Using an ebook cover to promote your information based product gives your potential customer something they can actually see. It gives the impression that your product is book-like, only difference being it is in digital, downloadable format. Same concept as a traditional physical book, it’s just packaged in a different platform.

If using images like ebook covers, or ecovers, didn’t work, then people selling information based products wouldn’t be using them. Nor would they be paying $200 a pop for one cover to be created. ( Yes, that’s an actual figure and some designers charge even more, believe it or not. )

And, think about this while we’re on the subject of physical books…..

The last time you purchased a “how to” instruction manual or guide off line in the “real” world, were their any pictures inside it?

How about a children’s story book? Pictures or illustrations inside that one?

Uh, yeah. Dollars to doughnuts says there were. ( I know. I’ve bought books off line ;-) )

Now, what’s the difference in using illustrations, graphical elements, or pictures that enhance the inside of your ebook?


Absolutely 100% no difference.

In fact, having an electronic manual devoid of any type of illustrations, graphs, charts, or pictures can be pretty boring to sit through. Have you ever tried reading a 100+ page ebook with nothing but text?

It’s difficult to say the very least to finish an ebook like that. If you can finish it at all.

Sure, the info might be top shelf, but who gives a rat’s ass if you can’t even stay awake long enough to read it. And, you’re doing it in front of a computer screen at that!

Using images and graphics within your ebook, whether it be an overall design layout, or extra pictures, help mix things up and keep your readers interested and not bored out of their minds.

Okay, that’s great and all, but you are probably wondering what the actual writers have to say?

Writers will say, “The purpose of compiling a product such as an ebook, or ‘electronic’ book, is to present the written word providing an abundance of information on a particular subject. And that is what should be included within such a product…The written word only. Adding extravagances such as graphics, illustrations, or overloaded colored headers and footers only detracts from the main focal point of these types of digital products, and does not enhance it. If an information product is good enough, it doesn’t need any silly graphical extras to give it merit. It will do so on its own. Furthermore, adding such fancies will only bring the author across to the reader as frivolous and an amateur in their field.”

Wow. What a mouthful. But, of course, we’re talking about professional writers, and so they always have a lot more to say ;-) .

However, the writers do have a point.

The information provided inside of any ebook should be good enough to stand on its own without the need for any additional graphics or ebook template designs. That’s very true.

But, they are missing the point, and they’ve got it backwards. The point of using graphics, images, illustrations, and ebook template layout designs is not to distract from the main focal point of the product, which is the information content. The point of adding such elements is to enhance the overall quality of the information and the way it is presented.

Presentation counts for a lot in the online biz industry.

Sure, at times there can be some amateurish looking websites or ebooks that come onto the market. But there have been actual case studies reflecting that amateurish looking websites pull in more money than professional looking ones. And the same can be said for ebooks. Go figure?

But, who’s to say that adding colorful headers and footers to your ebook will devalue your product? Are there any studies that show this information? None that I have seen as of yet.

Adding colors to your information product doesn’t make the information inside of it change magically. That remains the same.

You must understand that people are visual creatures by nature and enjoy looking at pictures, designs, illustrations, etc. It’s simple human nature.

Plus, adding such elements makes the product less boring and more interesting. Sure, your readers may take an extra few minutes to take in the images, but afterwards, they will get to the “meat” of your product….the information, and read it.

Really, it’s all a matter of opinion. And YOURS is the only one that counts when it comes to your product.

But, what about the argument that using such colorful ebook layout designs eats up printer ink and will put off your prospective customers?

Hmm. Another very valid point.

But, here’s a “quick fix” solution for you….

Offer 2 Different Versions Of Your Ebook!

One with all the color and one plain.

Set up 2 different download links on your “thank you” page and let your readers decide which version they want. Then, monitor those download links and see which one gets more hits. That will give you a good idea of what your readers want.

And remember, when you’re putting together a “how to” manual ebook, it’s always a great idea to add screen shot images of the steps involved in your processes. That actually helps your readers in that they can follow along as they read and perform the tasks.

Now, for the “adding graphics or using colorful ebook layout templates comes across as amateurish” debate, well, that’s just hogwash. If adding graphics or creating colorful layout designs were really seen as amateurish, then there would be no pictures inside children’s books. Nor would their be any need or market for magazines. In fact, there are even online magazine publications that are all downloadable and look just like the real deal you can find on your local grocery store shelves.

Again, the only one that can decide whether or not to utilize such elements within your product is YOU. But, to prove the point that calling graphically laden ebooks amateurish is ridiculous, why do so many 6 and 7 figure earning Internent Marketers use them? And how can they be considered the top in their industry by using such amateur methods within their products?

Well, if the above were true, they couldn’t and wouldn’t be. Therefore, it isn’t true. Adding graphics or using a colorful header and footer to your ebook doesn’t make it amateurish at all, if you do it right.

Remember who is saying this. The writers. They get paid to write. Not to design.

Personally, I believe there’s room for both to coexist in the information product industry without doing harm either way, to the writers or the designers.

The main point however isn’t what I believe, it’s what YOU believe is best for YOUR product.

If you want to add a colorful header and footer to every page of your ebook using a layout template, then do it.

If you believe that your product is better without anything “extra”, then produce it that way.

In the end, you’re the captain of your own ship and you control where you are going. I’m simply a navigator offering you a different route to get there.

Free Resource: Pixels & Ice Cream??

Ah yes. Is there anything better than a nice big, FREE heaping bowl of your favorite ice cream? How about with pixels on the side? What???! “Pixels and Ice Cream“? Yep. That’s the name of a terrific website that offers free photoshop brushes and patters, some of which include wonderful seamless tiling backgrounds, that you can use both personally and commercially. Plus some other cool free stuff.

And that’s something I’m always on the hunt for.

While the site doesn’t have an over abundance of free-to-use resources, it does have some pretty good ones available for download. Many of those are more geared towards the “girly” end user. But, hey, I AM a girl, so I like it. And I’ve included it here for you as yet another terrific free graphical resource to add to yours.

I’m interested to see how this site grows over time. And what other fabulous freebies they come up with next!

Visit Pixels & Ice Cream Here to peruse through their “menu” of free goodies. You may just find something delectible to enhance your tasty designs there.

It’s Not Always About Me

Sure, it’d be great if it was all about me and my great stuff here on EZebt, but it isn’t, because you can get a ton of terrific info and usable products from other people too. Some of it free. Some of it at cost.

Now, just because something wasn’t created by me doesn’t mean it isn’t top shelf.

And I’d just be a total jerk if I didn’t include that info and/or links here for you. So, you’re going to see a whole lot of links to other people’s websites and products in the days, weeks, and months to come. And NO, they aren’t all going to be affiliate links that make me money.

It’s not about that.

It’s about providing you with great designing resources. And other products that will make your online career easier.

It’s about helping YOU make money. Not me.

For me, it’s always been about that. Sometimes, other people make waaaaaay better stuff than I could ever dream up. And it’s cool to give them recognition for their hard work. Besides the fact that it’s useful info for you, and anyone else that decides to saunter in off the ‘net to take a look-see at what’s here.

I promise though, I’ll try to stay “on point” and deliver graphic related news, links, free videos, and other assorted goodies that you can use whether your designing ebook layouts or website layouts.

It’ll be good stuff.

And, every post I make is going to be of a “conversational” tone.

It’s just how I write. Like you and I were sitting in a small cafe across the table from one another enjoying a cafe latte — or whatever you drink ;-)

Okay, I’m getting a little off topic here, so let me close this post out for now. Just be on the look out for more great graphic design stuff from talented designers the web over.

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