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The Story of the ’40 Stories at 40′ e-book compilation
Once upon a time, a storyteller decided to share 40 stories from his life, on turning 40.
These stories got a lot of love and encouragement from his LinkedIn family.
It also got a request: Hey Ravi, can you please compile these 40 stories into one document – as an e-book?
Now that’s easy, you may think – just copy-paste the stories on a word doc, convert to PDF, and voila, compilation done. The 40th story was published on 20th May and so, the compilation should have been ready in a couple of days… right?
Wrong. As that storyteller would realise, it wasn’t so easy.
Still, why should it take a month (exactly a month in fact) – just to copy-paste stuff?
This is the story of that month:
First, I had to clean up the stories for minor errors, language etc. (Sadly, they were present).
Then the cover. An e-book should at-least have a decent cover, I thought. Many hours were wasted, sorry spent, on Canva playing with cover designs, until I finally forced myself to pick something.
I considered creating the whole book on Canva. Got spooked at the lack of formatting options compared to MS Word. Moved to Word. Struggled with pictures and hyperlinks. Finally chose good ol’ trusty MS Powerpoint.
Now I couldn’t directly start with the stories in the e-book…, and so I wrote a couple of introduction pages. I also wanted to end with a bit of a flourish, and so created a … poem on my life. (Yes you read that right). (And yes, I need to get my head examined).
Then the order of stories. While publishing on LinkedIn, there was no particular order. For the e-book, I copied all story titles on an excel sheet. Re-organised them by chronology and grouped the stories into seven life-phases. Created a table of contents (ToC) for the document. Re-numbered all the stories and created hyperlinks from the ToC.
Then I thought… instead of chronology, wouldn’t it be better for readers to consume the stories by theme?
So I wrote down the theme for each story on an excel sheet, tried to group them and find patterns and common themes.
I realised, in fact, that some of the story titles can be connected to others and made to form, well … a story… (check the ToC to understand what I mean).
So I completely re-did the order and grouped the stories by theme. Re-numbered them and made a fresh ToC page, with new hyperlinks.
Realised that the section breaks between themes also need to be designed. Spent an inordinate amount of time playing with PowerPoint background ‘gradient-fill’ options.
Converted the file to PDF, did a read through and made a bunch of minor edits. Rewrote some parts of the introduction…
And then, finally, I think I was done.
All this for a free e-book about a middle-aged guy’s life-stories!
And oh, the e-book is available for everyone to read.
Subscribe to the ‘Story Rules’ blog posts (and monthly newsletter) and get the e-book free.
Let me know if you think it was worth all the effort. 🙂
Happy stories to you!