We report a systematic treatment of the holographic generation of electron Bessel beams, with a view to applications in electron microscopy. We describe in detail the theory underlying hologram patterning, as well as the actual electron-optical configuration used experimentally. We show that by optimizing our nanofabrication recipe, electron Bessel beams can be generated with relative efficiencies reaching 37±3%. We also demonstrate by tuning various hologram parameters that electron Bessel beams can be produced with many visible rings, making them ideal for interferometric applications, or in more highly localized forms with fewer rings, more suitable for imaging. We describe the settings required to tune beam localization in this way, and explore beam and hologram configurations that allow the convergences and topological charges of electron Bessel beams to be controlled. We also characterize the phase structure of the Bessel beams generated with our technique, using a simulation procedure that accounts for imperfections in the hologram manufacturing process.