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If you’re running a small business, you need to write a book. Whether you sell surfboards or consult for pharmaceutical companies, learning how to create an ebook can increase your business.

Imagine you’re an entrepreneur who dropships furniture. If you gave away an eBook full of your favorite interior designs—all of which can be recreated using your furniture—how valuable do you think that would be to your clientele?

Or imagine you sell something completely different, like accounting software. How valuable would a book on accounting hacks—featuring your product, of course—be? If you’re so inclined, you can even create your first eBook on how to create an ebook.

There’s a ton of value to be mined from a good eBook. Unfortunately, they also take some know-how to make.

Before you spend $200+ on an eBook service—or worse, slap together a brand-killing mess—read this guide. We’re going to break down a step-by-step process for how to create an eBook for free, no design skills needed.

How to Create an eBook for Free

1. Laying Out Your eBook

2. Designing A Killer Book Cover

3. Packaging and Publishing Your eBook

Pinterest graphic for an article about how to create an ebook for free from Selz the ecommerce platform for growing businesses.

To show you how easy it is, I’m going to be creating an eBook following this guide, using a randomly selected public domain text: Rational Horse-Shoeing by John Edwards Russell.

I’d tell you what it’s about, but I have no idea.

1. Laying Out Your eBook

No one thinks about manuscript formatting until they actually have to do it. As a result, many entrepreneurs finish writing their manuscript, realize how much work it will take to format it and decide to simply export their text document as a PDF and call it a day.

Don’t do that. A poorly made eBook will kill your brand. Instead, learn how to create an eBook that beautifully represents your brand and increases your authority.

Years ago, you would have had to become proficient with software like the Adobe Suite to properly format a book, but now, there are free tools that will lay your book out for you.

I’m going to use the Reedsy book editor for this. There are other options that might suit your preferences more—for example, if you’re going to do a book that is very image-heavy and requires different image formats,

I’d consider using Canva—but Reedsy is the easiest free tool for going directly from text to a beautifully formatted eBook.

All you need to do is input your text, as you’ll see me doing with my public domain classic, Rational Horse-Shoeing:

Inputting text into Reedsy for how to create an eBook—for free guide. Selz is a simple and powerful platform for selling online.

Once you’re finished inputting your masterpiece, you can export as an EPUB:

Exporting eBook from Reedsy for how to create an eBook—for free guide. Selz is the ecommerce platform for growing businesses.

Boom. Professionally formatted manuscript, done in about 5 minutes.

2. Designing A Killer Book Cover

There are a number of great resources for buying a killer book cover if you have limited time and are willing to pay:

However, if you’re willing to trade time for money, you can design a beautiful cover all on your own.

To start, I like to use Canva—one of the most powerful free design tools—and browse for book cover templates:

eBook cover examples for how to create an eBook—for free guide.

For Rational Horse-Shoeing, I’m going to go with this template:

eBook cover template for how to create an eBook—for free guide.

Now, we have to replace the images and text in this layout. My book is about horseshoes, not toast. At least, I think it is. Begin by using a free stock image search engine like Pexels or Pixabay, then edit the photo to match your cover’s aesthetic using a free tool like Pixlr.

For example, I found a perfect photo of a horseshoe to replace the images of toast in my book template, but I need to create a second horseshoe that faces the opposite direction and has a different color, in order to recreate my layout.

In Pixlr, I simply rotate the image 180 degrees, and change the color balance:

Image editing in Pixlr for how to create an eBook—for free guide.

Then, I drop the images in my Canva layout and replace the text. Voila, a beautiful book cover with zero—and I mean zero—design skills:

Final book cover for how to create an eBook—for free guide. Selz makes selling online simple and powerful.

3. Packaging and Publishing Your eBook

Now that you have a beautiful book cover and a well-formatted book, you need to bundle it all together. Luckily, this is incredibly easy to do.

First, download and install Calibre. This free tool is the best tool available for managing eBooks. Once you’ve installed Calibre, open it, and add the EPUB version of your eBook by clicking “Add Book” and selecting your EPUB.

Then, within Calibre, click “Edit Book” and replace your EPUB’s default cover image with the one you’ve created:

Finishing up your eBook for how to create an eBook—for free guide.

Set your image as the cover image of the EPUB, and then save your file. Calibre should now create your final EPUB.

Now, you have a finished eBook.

How Are You Going To Use Your eBook?

Now that you know how to create an eBook, how will you use it? One of the most interesting aspects of an eBook is its versatility.

You can sell copies of an eBook and make money that way, but you can also use your ebook as a lead magnet to get more customers in your funnel. I’ve even worked with entrepreneurs who have made millions using their book as an outbound sales tool, sending copies to prospects in order to initiate a sales conversation.

As with any marketing tool, an eBook will only be as effective as your strategy allows it to be—but used correctly, nothing will spike your sales like a book.

About the author

Caleb Kaiser

Caleb Kaiser is the co-founder of Silvina Books, a company that builds lifelong digital platforms for authors, and Conjur Creative, a creative agency specializing in startups that want to change the world.


  1. Bryce Patterson

    Hi, Lauren- yes, it should be helpful getting going. eBook burnout is a real danger, since the work isn’t done when you finish writing and editing. Let us know how it goes, and check out our other articles on eBooks once you’re ready to market and sell. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Lauren Angsgard

    Just downloaded Calibre! I’m hoping this will save me a lot of time on formatting. Writnig an eBook takes a lot of work already and I have been wearing down. Thanks for this guide.

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