How to Design, Write, and Publish Your Ebook Using Google Docs

Google Docs Epub Export Ebook Publish

If you’ve gone down the road of writing and publishing an ebook, you know messing with EPUB file types, conversions, design and distribution is not for the faint of heart. There’s quite a number of ebook solutions out there that will help you through the process and get your ebook onto Google Play Books, the Kindle and other devices.

Ebooks are a fantastic way for companies to position their authority in their space and a great way to capture prospect information via landing pages. Ebooks provide more in-depth information than a simple whitepaper or the the overview of an infographic. Writing an ebook also opens an entirely new audience through the eBook distribution channels of Google, Amazon and Apple.

There are a ton of decision makers out there searching for topics with regard to your industry and reading the associated ebooks. Are your competitors already there? There’s a good chance that you can find a nice niche and topic that you can publish that no one else has yet.

Best of all, you don’t have to hire an ebook design, marketing, and promotion service… you can just open a new Doc use your Google Workspace account and begin to design, write, and export the necessary file you need to publish your ebook with any of the key distribution sources online.

Steps to Publishing Your Ebook

I don’t believe there’s a significant difference in the strategy for writing an ebook as any other book… the steps are synonymous. Corporate ebooks may be shorter, more targeted, and provide a specific goal than your typical novel or other book. You’ll want to focus on your design, organization of your content, and its ability to motivate your reader to taking the next step.

  1. Plan your book – organize key topics and subtopics naturally to guide your reader through the content. Personally, I did this with my book by drawing out a fishbone diagram.
  2. Plan your writing – consistent sectioning, verbiage, and point of view (first, second, or third person).
  3. Write your draft – plan out time and goals on how you’ll complete your first draft of your book.
  4. Check your grammar and spelling – before you distribute or publish a single ebook, use a great editor or service like Grammarly to identify and correct any spelling or grammar mistakes.
  5. Get feedback – distribute your draft (with non-disclosure agreement) to trusted resources who can provide feedback on the draft. Distributing in Google Docs is perfect because people can add comments directly in the interface.
  6. Revise your draft – using the feedback, revise your draft.  
  7. Enhance your draft – can you include tips, resources, or statistics throughout your copy?
  8. Design your cover – enlist the assistance of a great graphic designer and create a few different versions. Ask your network which is the most compelling.
  9. Price your publication – research other ebooks like yours to see how much they’re selling for. Even if you thought free distribution would be your way to go – selling it may bring more authenticity to it.
  10. Collect testimonials – find some influencers and industry experts that can write testimonials for your ebook – perhaps even a forward from a leader. Their testimonials will add credibility to your ebook.
  11. Create your author account – below you’ll find key sites to create author accounts and profile pages on where you can upload your ebook and get it selling.
  12. Record a video introduction – create a video introduction that provides an overview of your ebook with expectations for readers.
  13. Develop a marketing strategy – identify influencers, news outlets, podcasters, and videographers who would like to interview you for increased awareness of your ebook. You may even want to put some advertising and guest posts around its launch.
  14. Select a hashtag – create a short, compelling hashtag for promoting and sharing information about year ebook online.
  15. Select a launch date – if you select a launch date and can drive sales on that launch date, you may get your ebook up to a best-selling status for its spike in downloads.
  16. Release your ebook – release the ebook and continue your promotion of the book through interviews, social media updates, advertising, speeches, etc.
  17. Engage with your community – thank your followers, people that review your book, and continue to echo and promote it for as long as you can!  

Pro Tip: Some of the amazing authors I’ve met often have event and conference organizers purchase copies of the book for their attendees rather than (or in addition to) paying them to speak at the event. This is a great way to increase distribution and sales of your ebook!

What is the EPUB File Format?

A key factor in the distribution of your ebook is designing the ebook and its ability to export cleanly in a universal format that all online book stores can use. EPUB is this standard.

EPUB is an XHTML format that uses the .epub file extension. EPUB is short for electronic publication. EPUB is supported by the majority of e-readers, and compatible software is available for most smartphones, tablets, and computers. EPUB is a standard published by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) and the Book Industry Study Group endorses EPUB 3 as the single standard of choice for packaging content

Designing Your Ebook in Google Docs

Users often open Google Docs and don’t utilize the built in formatting capabilities. If you’re writing an ebook, you must.

  • Design a compelling Cover for your ebook in its own page.
  • Use the Title element for your ebook in a Title Page.
  • Use the Headings and Footers for ebook title and page numbers.
  • Use the Heading 1 element and write a dedication in its own page.
  • Use the Heading 1 element and write your acknowledgement in its own page.
  • Use the Heading 1 element and write a foreward on its own page.
  • Use the Heading 1 element for your chapter titles.
  • Use the Table of Contents element.
  • Use the Footnotes element for references. Be sure you have permission to republish any quotes or other information you’re republishing.
  • Use the Heading 1 element and write an About the Author on its own page. Be sure to include other titles you’ve written, your social media links, and how people can contact you.

Be sure to insert page breaks where needed. When you get your document looking exactly how you’d like it to, publish it as a PDF first to see that it looks exactly how you’d like it.

Google Docs EPUB Export

Using Google Docs, you can now write, design, and publish from virtually any text file or document directly uploaded in your Google Drive. Oh – and it’s free!

Google Docs EPUB

Here’s How to Export Your Ebook Using Google Docs

  1. Write your Text – Import any text-based document can be converted into Google Docs. Feel free to write your book in Google Docs directly, import or sync Microsoft Word documents or use any other source Google Drive is able to process.
  2. Export as EPUB – Google Docs now offers EPUB as a native export file format. Just select File > Download As, then EPUB Publication (.epub) and you’re ready to go!
  3. Validate your EPUB – Before you upload your EPUB to any service, you’ll want to make sure that it’s properly formatted. Use an online EPUB Validator to ensure you have no problems.

Where To Publish Your EPUB

Now that you’ve got your EPUB file, now you need to publish the Ebook through a number of services. The top outlets for adoption are:

  • Kindle Direct Publishing – self-publish eBooks and paperbacks for free with Kindle Direct Publishing, and reach millions of readers on Amazon.
  • Apple Books Publishing Portal – the single destination for all the books you love, and the ones you’re about to.
  • Google Play Books – which is integrated within the broader Google Play store.
  • Smashwords – the world’s largest distributor of indie ebooks.  We make it fast, free and easy for any author or publisher, anywhere in the world, to publish and distribute ebooks to the major retailers  and thousands of libraries.

I’d highly recommend recording a video to introduce your book, set expectations on the content, and drive people to download or purchase the ebook. Also, create a great author bio on any publishing service that allow it.

Disclosure: I’m using my affiliate link for Google Workspace.


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    I have 300 pages with small photos on each page. The pub verify says less than 12MB. Will my goggle docs be too big. How do I shrink photos. They are cropped but whole photo is present..

    • 7

      There are a number of tools online for shrinking image size, but they’re largely for a quality output of a screen… which is 72 dpi on the low end. Newer devices are 300+ dpi. If someone wishes to print your ebook, then 300dpi is great. I would ensure that my image dimensions are no larger than the document size (so don’t insert and shrink it… resize it outside your ebook, then paste it in there). Then compress the image. The image compression tool I use is Kraken.

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