You can create your own information products (how-to guides, reports, etc), publish them as a PDF, and sell them online. However, do not create amateurish PDFs that look like they were simply banged together in Word. If you want your customers to look to you as the expert (and keep buying more of your info products) you need to present a professional image of yourself and your products.
It all starts with a template that lays your PDF out in a professional manner. Click here to download a pre-made template that works with Open Office Writer (a free PDF creator that I find superior to Word). This template package also includes templates for creating two types of worksheets and a checklist – great additions to a info product.
If you don’t have Open Office, click here to download the Open Office suite. It is free.
After downloading Open Office, open your template file. It will open in Open Office. First thing to do is to edit the title in the header.
Edit Your PDF’s Front Page
Simply replace the placeholder text.
Then, enter spaces until you have moved the page number within 3 spaces of the end.
Add your cover image. Select the placeholder text (1) and click “Insert” in the editor’s top menu bar (2).
From the “Insert” drop-down menu, select “Picture” and click on “From File”.
Click on the green edge points and drag to adjust your cover image to fill the page.
Replace the placeholder text with your copyright year (1) and your name (2).
You can (and should) create a clickable link to your main website, where satisfied customers can buy more of your info products. Select the “YourURL” placeholder text (1) and click the link icon in the menu bar (2).
In the dialogue box that pops up, click to select “Internet” (1). Then, enter the full URL of your website as the “Target” (2) and enter text that will show in the link in your footer (3). Click “Apply” (4) and then “Close” (5).
Enter spaces to move the link close to the end of the footer.
Edit Your PDF’s Title Page
On your PDF’s title page, you’ll have the title, sub-title, copyright notice, and disclaimer (all the stuff that makes your info product a professional piece of work). Select the “Guide Title” placeholder (1) and replace it with the title. Then, do the same for the “Guide Sub-Title” (2). And edit your copyright year and your name (3).
If you are using a cover image that requires attribution, you can attribute it here.
A boilerplate disclaimer is already created. You only need to replace the three instances of “ENTER TOPIC” with the topic of your info product.
NOTE: If you are creating a product that dispenses medical, financial, or legal advice, you may need a more robust disclaimer.
Edit Your PDF’s Message From The Author Page
The message from the author is a great way to establish your expertise and brand yourself with your customers. Replace the placeholder text with a write-up about yourself (highlighting what qualifies you to write this info product) and insert a friendly, smiling photo of yourself on the right.
Save Your Template & Your PDF
Before you go any further, save your template. Most of the edits you have made up to this point won’t change from product to product, so you’ll want this as your template. In the future, you’ll only need to edit the title, sub-title, cover image, and maybe the topic.
Next, save the PDF you are creating. Click “Save As”.
Give your info product a name that customers will recognize on their hard drive after they have downloaded your product.
Edit Your PDF’s Content Pages
Skip the table of contents (you’ll edit it after all the content is entered) and go to the introduction page. Replace the “Body Text” placeholder with your guide’s introduction.
After entering text, add your images. As with the cover, select placeholder text or create a spot to place your cursor (1) and click “From File” in “Picture” in the “Insert” drop-down menu (2).
Under your image, enter a space if the text is too close to the image.
Insert Page Breaks
In my opinion, nothing looks much more amateur than leaving a heading or just one line of text hanging at the bottom of a page. Instead, insert a page break and move it to the top of the next page. Insert your cursor in front of the text to move to next page (1) and click “Insert” in the menu bar (2).
In the “Insert” drop-down menu, click on “Manual Break”.
On the pop-up, select “Page Break” (1) and click “OK” (2).
Now, your sub-section starts cleanly at the top of a new page.
Whether you’ve made a call to go to one of your other products or an affiliate product, you’ll want to create a clickable link in your guidee.
Note: When linking to affiliate products, or other sites which your have no control over, I recommend using redirecting links in your guide. That way, any changes that occur can easily be changed in the redirect file on your own hosting, and your links will still work. You can get a special file you can use for redirecting, and directions on using it, in the popular Clockwork Recipe For Mini Affiliate Cash Sites
To make your text clickable, select the text (1) and click the link icon in the menu bar (2).
As with the URL in your footer, set to “Internet (1) and enter the full URL (2). The text is already selected (3) from your guide. Click “Apply” (4) and “Close” (5).
Edit Your PDF’s Resource Page
At the back of your template, there is a resource page. Here, enter the title of resources (1) and the full URL (2). Hit your “Enter” key and the URL will be made into a clickable link.
Edit Your PDF’s Table Of Contents
Now that all your content is entered, you can create a clickable table of contents. First, you need to create bookmarks throughout your guide, to mark where a reader will be taken when they click an item in your TOC.
Record (in Notepad or other simple text editor) the heading and page number (1). Place your cursor at the top of the page (2). In the “Insert” drop-down menu, click on “Bookmark” (3).
Enter the heading (1) and click “OK” (2). Repeat for all your headings.
Back on the table of contents page, enter the headings (1) and the corresponding page numbers (2). Then, select a heading (3) and click the link icon (4).
This time, select “Document” (1) and click the target button (2).
In the target pop-up, click the “+” beside “Bookmarks” (1).
Then, click on the heading (2) and click “Apply” (3).
It has been added to the hyperlink target. Click “Apply”. Now, repeat the above for each item on the TOC page.
Create Your PDF File
When finished, click the PDF icon in the menu bar.
Now, your Open Offie file will be saved as a PDF that can be read on any computer. It’s ready to be placed in a ZIP file (along with any worksheets and/or checklists) and sold online.