Product Creation: Packaging Your Product
Ok, so now we've found our niche market and have the material for our product, now it's time to take the next and often overlooked step in the product creation process - Packaging our product.
For this discussion we are going to assume that your product is an ebook.
There are two elements to consider in preparing your your product for sale on the Internet:
- Designing Your Ebook
- Cover design
- Ebook format
Designing Your Ebook
In addition to the material used in your ebook you should include the following pages:
- Table of Contents: Ideally each chapter/section heading should be linked to the relevant page
- About You
- Legal Disclaimer: You can check out a sample here - Please note this is just an example NOT legal advice
You should design with readability in mind. Not everyone has 20/20 vision so you should format your ebook to take this into account.
The standard font size for the guts of most ebooks is between 12 and 16 point using a clear, easily readable font style like Times Roman New, Arial or something similar. For each section/chapter use a nice bold headline in a stand out color.
I usually use the following formating for ebooks:
- For the guts: Arial, 14 point Black
- For each section/chapter heading: Arial or Tahoma, 20 point bold Red
- For each sub heading: 16 point Arial bold Dark Blue
- For sub sub headings: 14 point Arial bold Black
You can and should use colour, bold text and other elements like charts, graphics and photographs to enhance your formatting and illustrate your text.
Remember that your product is a pure, visual presentation. Even after you've made the sale, your customer must be satisfied with the product. So make sure you give them a great looking, readable document.
There's nothing worse than producing a really great ebook and then putting it in a crappy looking cover. The cover graphic is the first thing your prospective customer will see before they read about it on your sales page. If the cover graphic doesn't look very professional, chances are they won't even bother to read you sales page.
Sometimes a great ebook cover is all it takes to turn a product into a super, profit-pulling monster, so getting this element of the product creation process right is extremely important. Ideally you will need a flat 2 dimensional graphic for your ebook and a 3D version for your sales page. Here's a couple of examples:
|2D Ebook Cover||
3D Ebook Cover
I made these from scratch using GIMP (A free graphics editor). If you are competent with graphics design you can make your own covers either from scratch or using free ebook cover templates that just need editing.
Here are three sources for free templates:
- Better Blog Images: Uses Free Photoshop Actions - Photoshop is required for for editing
- ViaMaverick: You will need Adobe Photoshop or GIMP to edit these templates
- GIMP Ebook Plugin: You will need latest version of GIMP for these plugins to work. Once installed they work pretty well once you get the hang of them.
Alternatively you might like to try an ebook creation system, here's one I've tried and it works pretty well and will provide you with both 2D and 3D images for your product: My eCover Maker. Take a look at the video demo below to see the system in action.
Video Demo: My eCover Maker eBook Cover Creation
Choosing Your eBook Format
There are a number of common formats for ebooks, of these we are going to be taking a look at two formats:
- The PDF (Portable Document Format) is the more commonly used
because it can be read by both Windows and Mac users and is the ideal
format if you are going to be selling your ebook from your own website.
- The Amazon Kindle has now become an obvious place to sell your ebook, especially if you don't intend to sell it from your own web site.
Creating A PDF Ebook
Creating a PDF document is fairly easy. You can use a standard WP programme like MS Word to write and format your product, then all you have to do after that is run the document through a converter to get your PDF file.
There are a number of PDF converters on the market today, of which Adobe Acrobat is probably the best known and is an expensive piece of software if you're just starting out. Here are three free programs I use all the time and which do the job just as well:
Apache OpenOffice: Is a free, open source suite of programs which includes word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more together with a PDF converter in each program which allows you to password protect your ebook. The suite works like Microsoft Office and you can even save and read documents in the .doc and .docx formats.
CutePDF Writer: Is a free program which will allow you to convert almost any printable document into professional quality PDF files.
CutePDF Editor: Is a free online cloud based PDF Editor which will allow you to manipulate documents in the PDF format and add password protection to your ebook.
Securing Your Ebook Against Internet Thieves
Before we move on you will need to make sure that all your hard work is made secure before putting it up on the Internet to avoid it getting stolen. There are a couple of ways this can be achieved:
- By password protecting the PDF document, you will need to:
- Set a security password to open the file.
- Set a permissions password to control what the reader can do
with the document. I usually limit permissions to allow printing only
everything else I prohibit.
Both Apache OpenOffice Writer and CutePDF Editor provide facilty to pasword protect your PDF formatted product.
- By placing your ebook for delivery in a compressed (zipped) file.
You will need to:
- Set the permissions password in your PDF file
- Zip the ebook in a compressed file and add the security password
to the zip file so that the PDF file can be extracted and opened after
it has been unzipped without having to enter anothe password. I usually
use this option.
If you don't already have a zip program you can get a free one here: 7-Zip (For Windows) or iZip ( For Apple Mac)
Here's how to set up a password in the program in 7-Zip:
Video Demo: How To Password Protect Files And Folders In Windows Using 7-Zip
Creating An Ebook To Publish On The Amazon Kindle
Publishing for Amazon's Kindle eReader has become a very popular way to publish an ebook. You don't need a web site or paymant processing as Amazon handle all that for you.
Amazon will accept the following formats for publishing your book on Kindle:
- Word (DOC or DOCX)
- HTML (ZIP, HTM, or HTML)
- MOBI (MOBI)
- ePub (EPUB)
- Rich Text Format (RTF)
- Plain Text (TXT)
- Adobe PDF (PDF)
For best results Amazon recommends that you upload your ebook in Microsoft Word DOC/DOCX (.doc/.docx) format or HTML (.html)
For complete information on publishing your ebook on Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing Click Here.
If you would like to know more about what it takes to publish your ebook via Kindle Direct Publishing check out this article: The Ultimate Guide to Publishing Your eBook on Amazon’s Kindle Platform by by Paul Jun on the CopyBlogger site. There is also a very useful article on publishing fiction here: How You Can Make A Million Writing Your Own Ebook by Andrew Wilson on the Daily Mail web site.
An ebook with stellar design is not only easier to read, it carries an increased impression of value, so make sure your product packaging has that "WOW" factor that will have your customers reaching for their wallets without hesitation.
In the next tutorial you'll find a comprehensive list of Content Resources For Product Creation which have been mentioned so far.
In tutorials 12 and 13 we are going to take look at setting up your web presence to market your product. In tutorial 12 we will be discussing the services you are going to need and in tutorial 13 we will take a look at setting up your web site.