Ebooks are effective lead magnets. Millions of marketers can’t be (always) wrong. And eBooks can be a great marketing channel for your blog or business. Creating an eBook has traditionally been a laborious task. Not so long ago, it was also expensive. It’s all well writing your book content in Word or Google Docs but how do you make it into something people can download and share? Designrr claims to make producing an eBook easier than the old way of doing it. Here's a full review of Designrr from a marketer's point of view.
By clicking on some links in this post, I may receive a commission on purchases. This in no way increases the cost to you. As well as running my agency, I’m a marketer and blogger that likes to thoroughly research new software. By writing about software I recommend (and I only write about software I use) I can understand them better. Sharing my finding also helps others. Thanks for your support.
Quick Designrr Features
- Rapid eBook maker
- Free conversion-optimised templates
- Cloud-based (no software install required)
- Save your own customised elements for reuse
- Video transcription service (Premium & Business plans)
- Import from blog posts, Facebook, Word Doc, Dropbox, Vimeo, and YouTube
Does it work and who is it for?
Designrr is software to make eBooks quickly. Designrr’s developers aren’t looking to take over the world or provide a solution that solves every book writing problem. The software does a few things really well. There are limitations; But if you’re looking for a way to brand your business, create “instant” books from videos or podcasts, add written content to an online course, or generate tempting offers to increase your email list subscribers, you’re in luck. At the price Designrr.io sells for, it’s a tiny outlay for a powerful app.
The quick guide to ebook creation
To make an eBook from a blog post:
- Copy any URL that you want to work on
- Click Create A New Project
- Select Import From Url when asked to choose a source for the ebook.
- Enter the URL and click Import
- Pick a template to go with the project
- Give the project a title and add a footer URL (your basic domain name or tagline)
- Edit the project to suit your style.
- Export to PDF
Despite being a “design” app, the user interface (UI) looks a little outdated. But this is subjective. You might love it. I’ve gotten used to modern-looking interfaces and administration panels. The interface is basic but once you get used to it, is easy to navigate and offers plenty of features.
You get Project, Drafts, Help and Profile menu options (and an upgrade menu if you’re on a basic plan).
Every text, heading or image block has its own editing settings. This is powerful and offers flexibility for getting the look and feel of your book just right.
Click on any paragraph block and the editing container appears around it in green.
Each editing option is represented by an icon.
This makes the interface neat but can lead to the odd blunder where you remove all formatting
The editing options for paragraphs are as follows
- Re-paginate – removing elements and changing font sizes often leaves empty spaces on the page. The Repaginate option is a practical way to remove white-space without messing up your formatting. Just click the button to automagically reformat the document.
- Edit – gives you granular editing options for fonts, inserting links (for the entire block), adding icons, and merging blocks. Note that editing content here will not affect the other elements of the book. If you want global changes,use the Inspector panel on the left-hand side.
- Lock – To allow moving of containers up/down. The preferred way is by using the up/down keys. However if unlocked you can also drag and drop the container.
- Clear formatting – removes formatting (bolding, underline, italics) from a paragraph)
- Format – for changing between paragraph and HTML-style heading sizes.
- Delete – deletes without a prompt. The Undo button will come in handy (that’s the anticlockwise circled arrow at the bottom of the sidebar panel).
- Save element – lets you save an element for reuse. This is a neat feature for people that create a lot of branded material.
- Move element up – Moves an element one block at a time towards the top of the page
- Move element down – Does the opposite of the previous option, funnily enough.
An extra options is available for images: the ability to make a hyperlink from the image and the option to justify it.
When importing a document, this is the tab you’ll spend most of the time on.
There are too many options to describe but here few examples
- Apply background colors and images to blocks (paragraphs or pages)
- Add padding inside blocks to space out text or images
- Add margins above and below sections of text
- Create shadow effects on text blocs to make them pop
- Choose from the inbuilt fonts or almost 1000 Google fonts
- Add cool borders to sections of your content
- Edit images inside of Designrr.
If you’re creating an eBook from scratch or want to do some heavy editing of a project, the elements tab has a few goodies.
- Add ordered lists, definition lists (dictionary style), tables, labels, and quotes by dragging them across. With a bit of experimentation, it’s possible to create highly professional-looking designs.
- Embed YouTube videos and image grids.
- Drag a Table Of Contents element to have Designrr automatically populate the list with the headings of your documents.
Other importing Options
- Import from Word
- Import Manually
- You can also create an empty project and start with a blank slate.
- Import From Facebook. You can import from your personal account or any brand account you’ve got administrative rights to (the Pro version and above let you import from any Facebook Page). Select the time range of posts to import and filter the posts by the number of comments and reactions, and click Import. It’s a simple process but has limited uses. Would you want to read an eBook of Facebook post titles and images? A better use of this feature is to import selected Facebook posts inside another ebook. This feature is part of the software.
To Keep in Mind
There are a few quirks that require a little pre-knowledge.
Make sure that when changing a section’s appearance, the “Apply for:” option reads “Selected Elements Only”. Otherwise you’ll change ALL similar elements in your project.
And likewise, set the “all similar elements” selector when changing the font style for an entire ebook. This is a handy feature, but a dangerous one when misused.
Manipulating the fonts can be a little frustrating. The software moves the cursor focus off the element you’re editing more often than not. An example is when you delete a font’s size variable in order to enter a new one. After you click delete, the paragraph changes font-size but the focus shifts to the paragraph and not the element editor. This slows the workflow down. There are other bugs with the font sizing that are not worth going into here. But let’s home the development team can iron them out soon.
The documentation needs updating so don’t rely 100% on the help files. For example, the “format” icon is not the format icon mentioned in the help file. This is now the “clear format” icon. Which probably makes sense to the developers but not to readers of the help files.
Designrr’s eBooks have set spacings and layouts (you can override this). Adding blank spaces can break the design. The recommended way is to add padding and margins.
When dragging an element from the Elements tab, the focus changes to the element for editing. This means that the left-hand panel changes to show the Inspector Tab and not the Elements Tab. This might seem logical, but it would be nice to have the option to disable this behaviour. Helps when adding multiple elements at a time.
- Support – The support team is fast to answer questions and is always helpful. They even fixed up issues I had with formatting and offered guidance for improving my work.
- Flexibility – Want more freedom on how your eBook looks? The “Enable Free Element Dragging” option lets you be more creative. It helps to know what you’re doing here. For most people, letting the software do most of the layout arrangements is a good thing.
- Access editing options from the inspector tab, inside the content or by right-clicking on elements.
- Multiple theme options – it’s easy to see how your book will look after applying the template.
- Powerful – I imported huge blog posts to test the system. They appeared in seconds, formatted with images and links, and all ready to go.
- Designrr can be a little buggy. I’ve crashed it a few times when returning from the preview or selecting too many things simultaneously. It’s not unforgiving.
- Limited exporting options on the lifetime deal. Fine for creating eBooks, however.
- Takes a little getting used to the interface, which could look more modern.
What is a Lead Magnet anyway?
A lead magnet is a product or service you offer to a website visitor in return for their email address. Visitors that subscribe to your email list are considered leads because they've shown interest in what you have to offer. These leads have the potential to become customers.
The Designrr Lifetime Deal is $27. It’s an absolute bargain, even if you only use the software a few times. The time saved on creating something similar in Word or complicated design software is worth the entry fee.
The Pro plan costs $39 a month but gets you 200 cover designs and 200 additional templates. You can import from Google Docs and export to Kindle, iBooks, and ePub formats and PDF. Exporting to Flipbook format is an added feature in the Pro Plan.
Premium costs $49 a month (similar to Beacon mentioned above) but gets you a lot more features.
Features on this plan include:
- HTML export for embedding in any website. (Granted, you can do this with some coding yourself)
- And 4 transcription hours for video or audio a month. Great for video marketers and podcasters.
Cost $99 a month and include 8 hours of transcription plus all the other features.
If you’re a Facebook Live broadcaster, YouTube creator, or Podcaster, the audio-to-text features of the Premium and Business plans could save money. Transcription is an expensive process. Tools like Rev and Temi will do the job for a fee, but you’ll have to wait as it’s a manual process.
Once the video or audio imports and transcribes you can listen and edit the text, add images, and when you’re happy, push it over to an eBook project for final exporting.
Adobe Illustrator / In-Design – I’m a fan of Adobe products. But if you run a small business or website, AI is overkill for 90% of your needs. For the other 10% or when you’re producing a New York Times Best Seller, hire a professional. Designrr is perfect for eBooks and lead magnets.
Canva – Despite the rave reviews of Canva by marketers, small business owners, and designers everywhere, I’ve never been partial to the platform. The tools many limitations are frustrating. Beginners and inexperienced creators are not aware of what they’re missing with Canva. For book creation features, Designrr blows Canva out of the water. End of story.
Beacon – Expensive at $49 a month which you’ll need if you want to export to PDF and remove the beacon logo. The books are gorgeous however and it’s easy to use
iBooks Author – Only for Apple products (you can’t read the books on non-Apple devices) but is very professional and 100% free.
Keith is the founder of Fat Frog Media. He has worked in the tech, fitness, food, and hospitality industries. Keith helps businesses improve their marketing and conversion rates.