If you’re looking for a way to rebadge your blog content, one of the best new tools around now is Zinepal. Amazingly, its creators are marketing the tool to busy and mobile readers, editors and journalists and special interest groups, but I think they’re missing a trick by not targeting blog publishers. Let me tell you how it works and you can judge for yourself.
Collect Your Content
Zinepal allows you to collect content from web pages or recent posts from any RSS feed to create an ezine. The site layout is simple and to get started, just click on the ‘create’ tab at the top of the page. Add your feed URLs into the box, or click the ‘from any website’ link to get another option. You can even add results from Google News and Blog Search. Click ‘add to zine’, wait for the story to appear, and click ‘I’m done’ (which is a bit misleading, as there’s still some work to do).
Make It Pretty
Once the initial setup is complete, you can reorder your list of stories, and edit each story manually. This is useful if you want to remove RSS subscription boxes, related posts and so on, which are great on a blog, but which you might not want in an ebook. You can also tag your ezine, add logos and adds and save your customizations as a template. One tip is to preview your ebook before publishing to check that it looks the way you want. If you don’t, you risk having to start all over again, because once it’s published, it’s published. One thing that was not obvious at first was how to make a cover for the ebook. However, if you have a tool that allows you to merge PDFs, you could get around it that way.
Zinepal makes your ebook available in Kindle, ePub and PDF formats. Since you can keep your publications private, you can then download the PDF and make it available to your readers.
Zinepal is a new tool and there are still a few glitches. Occasionally, feeds don’t import correctly. My first Zinepal ebook took just 20 minutes to create. I see this tool as ideal for:
- bloggers who want to create a monthly digest of their best posts as an add-on for readers
- bloggers looking for new ways to get subscribers to their blog (readers can subscribe to recurring zines)
- bloggers who have created a series of posts and want a quick way to gather them all together
Being able to pull feeds from Google Blog Search and Google News also means that you can easily add lists of resources to your ebook as a finishing touch.