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.