What Do You Know That Can Be Packaged and Sold?

You know a lot about something…might even be an expert. Have you considered packaging your knowledge in small bites and selling it? Booklets might be one of your answers.

When I don’t have enough info for a whole book, I create little booklets. I just sent Finding Your Way on a PC with Windows 8 to press this week. I’m a professional speaker and have to have physical books/booklets to sell when I speak. I’ll also format for Kindle. My printed booklets are from 10-40 pages, various sizes, and packed full of no fluff content.

Here are a couple sample pages. I use Word for everything…it’s a powerful desktop publishing program. I can do everything myself so I always have the latest version of my stuff.

I use Word Styles for ease of formatting. The page size is changed to fit whatever size I want, plus .25 more for the trim. My Windows 8 booklet is sized at 3.75 x 8.75 with a finished size of 3.5 x 8.5.

Microsoft has always done a lousy job showing people just how powerful their software is in the real world. Table of contents, mirror margins, cross references, index…Word can do it all and keep up as page numbers change.

I create my booklet covers in PowerPoint. You’ll have to use special software, ImageExport, to bump up the dpi when you save as a picture (I have a video on YouTube about it and how to use it ImageExport (Part 1 of 3): Create High Resolution Graphics and Slides in PowerPoint?).

For printing, I use Smartpress.com. I love the prices, quality, the efficiency of their Website (no phone calls needed), fast work, paper choices, and they keep you posted every step of the way. I create high res PDF of inside pages and high res .jpg of covers, upload separate files, and they take it from there.? I always order an online proof.

So don’t let the fact that you don’t have enough information on a topic to write a book. Create a booklet instead.

Note: I might create an online course on using Word to create booklets. Join my private email list to stay connected.


Resources for Self-Publishing a Book or Booklet – How I Did It

I’ve self-published several books and booklets so I get a lot of questions about how I did it. Here is my list of resources. It covers traditional book publishing and adding items to Amazon’s Kindle.

Understand Self-Publishing
For details on getting your book done, do what I did. Get the book by Marilyn Ross, The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing. She goes into so much detail about becoming a publisher.

Watch out for scams. Self-publish means you are the publisher and your company name is on the back of the book as the owner. You make the profit. Subscribe to the Writer’s Beware Blog to keep up with the latest book publishing scams, http://accrispin.blogspot.com. You should read every post in this blog.

If you’ve been procrastinating about writing your book or booklet because it seems too overwhelming, pick your topic, be clear about who your audience is, then write articles…one at a time at least once a week. After you think you’ve written enough, decide on the book’s flow (the chapters need to follow each other in a logical flow…what do you need to talk about first, then what, then what, and so on).

Book Layout
Look at books from big publishing houses and see how they lay them out…where is the Preface, Introduction, Table of Contents, etc. Your book needs to be done like theirs as much as possible so it looks professional. All of my self-published books and booklets are created using Microsoft Word’s powerful desktop publishing capabilities. This link is to a blog post in which I wrote about this. One day I’ll turn this into a workshop.

ISBN Number
You’ll need an ISBN number if your book will sell in bookstores. Don’t have to have for Amazon. I prefer to go all the way because you never know where your book could end up…libraries, etc. Get your ISBN number now at http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/isbn/us/application.asp I don’t remember how long this took (a day), and it’s probably quicker now. You can pay extra to get it quicker. When I did this, I received 10 numbers for around $200 bucks.

I don’t need an ISBN number for my booklets. They don’t have a spine so bookstores (and probably libraries) won’t carry so no need for this.

Barcode Graphic
You’ll need a high quality, scannable barcode for the back book cover if you’re planning on selling your book in stores: www.CreateBarcodes.com to order. This site is very self-explanatory except that I didn’t know what Supplemental Data means. In the box, you’ll see 50995. The 5 stands for US currency. For example, my book costs $24.95 so my supplemental data # is 52495.

Library of Congress Number (LCN)
If you get an ISBN number, you can get a Library of Congress number. Once you have an ISBN number and know the finished size (dimensions of your pub when it’s closed) and page count of your publication, then get your Library of Congress Number: http://pcn.loc.gov/. You should receive it within hours.

CIP Data
The gibberish in the front of books is cataloging info for librarians. One-book publishers can’t get this info the same way the major players do. A company does it for about $165.00, but I discovered that you can take your book to a library, and a librarian will help you do this for free.

Cover Design and Typesetter
Do not settle for anything less than a professional cover. I didn’t do this for my second book, and I ended up on TV with my little tired cover. Bid your work: www.elance.com or turn to your favorite search engine. Look at different portfolios of people who understand designing covers.

Editing and Proofreading
You don’t want to publish a book with bad grammar, misspelled words, illogical flow, etc.

Dr. Marcia Riley: WritingForResults.com
Bobbie Christmas: ZebraEditor.com
Or bid it out on www.elance.com

For proofreading, take a look at your material first so she can clean up a lot of the grammar and spellings…that’ll be less expensive than having an editor do it. Once the book is edited, run it past your proofreader one last time before you go to press. If you flat-out can’t write, you’ll need a professional writer to polish the words, an editor to create the flow, and a proofreader to fine-tune the details. With my technical books, I also have a review team test all the steps.

Keep in mind that if you sell your books in local bookstores, Amazon, etc., they’ll buy wholesale which could be 40-60% off. Add to that the cost of printing and shipping to determine your sale price. Also check other similar books to see what they sell for.

Printing Books
When it’s all said and done, you’ll need to get your book printed. I use print on demand and can print one, three, 100, etc., as I need them. The company to use is LightningSource.com. Their print quality is excellent. The cost per book will vary based on size (stick to traditional publication sizes), paper choice, number of pages, whether it’s color throughout or just on cover, and how many you print at a time. Ingram Books owns them so bookstores can order directly from them. They’ll send you a check every month for any books they sell.

Printing Booklets
I’m totally satisified with Smartpress.com for printing my booklets. Their Website is well organized, and I can order whatever I need without having to call. Prices are excellent and quality is the way I like it.

Printing: How Many
No matter how good you think your book is, no matter how much you’ll save by printing more, don’t print more than 500…250 is even better…until it’s a solid seller

Amazon (Hardcopy and Kindle)
Visit Seller Central on Amazon to find out what you need to do to sell your book/booklet there.

You might want to put your book in Kindle format on Amazon. Be sure to read formatting rules. I usually upload my Kindle format as a Word 2003 document (don’t do 2007 or 2010). I remove my table of contents because it’s not done manually but with fields that Kindle doesn’t recognize. I make this version as plain as possible. There are vendors who will do this for you, but I haven’t found this to be necessary. If you’re computer savvy, check out Kitaboo to convert your book (I’ve not used this software).

Book Reviews
The big boys probably won’t review your book, but Amazon reviewers might. I don’t concern myself with this anymore since most media outlets have discontinued book reviews. Bloggers are a better choice so spend time finding bloggers who write about your topic.

The Midwest Book Review will review your book also (at this writing, their site is not attractive, but they do review your book. When they reviewed mine, they used a lot of what I wrote when describing the book).

Here comes the hard part. For help on ways to promote your book, check out John Kremer’s, 1001 Ways to Market Your Books (at this writing, this book hasn’t been updated since 2006, but flipping through my copy, a ton of this information is still valid. For more current ways to promote anything, consider my booklet, Shameless Self-Promotion: DIY SEO (search engine optimization).

Finally, you’ll learn more in Marilyn’s book that I referenced above, but this will get you going. Time to start writing.

If you have anything to add to this list, please leave a comment.


Is Your eBook or Booklet Ugly?

Take your ebook (or booklet) to another level. I’ve seen so many that are downright tacky. If you’re going to do this, do it right. Make your ebook or booklet easy on the eyes…a pleasure to read.

Here are some ideas (I use Microsoft Word for my publications, but you can use whatever software you choose as long as it’s designed for book formatting):

Before You Create the PDF (Adobe Acrobat full version has the most functionality and is worth every penny).

  1. Use Word’s powerful desktop publishing features to produce a more professional ebook or booklet.
  2. Resize the document to fit the finished size of your publication, adding about 1/8 inch all around for bleeds and your printer’s machinery. For example, the finished size of my book (the size it is when closed) is 5.5 x 8.5, but the Word document size and the final PDF is sized at 5.75 x 8.75.
  3. Create a stylesheet to make it easy to format everything (I use Word’s built-in styles and tweak them to fit my needs).
  4. Consider the font (I like Book Antigua for the body and Century Gothic for the headings); font size (I use 12 or 13, especially when it’s a computer book); paragraph alignment (I justify my books and avoid amateurish gaps in text using this tip).
  5. Include a table of contents with Word keeping up with the page numbers as they change.
  6. Improve the look of headers and footers, changing them for odd and even pages.
  7. Create an index with Word keeping up with the page numbers as they change.
  8. Insert pictures with figure captions with Word keeping up as figure numbers change. Pictures will break up the text and make your publication more pleasing to read.
  9. Insert cross references to other pages with Word keeping up as page numbers change.
  10. Insert your actual signature if you add a welcome letter…never a typed one.
  11. Paste information that is updated often as a link to the original so every time you change the original, the information in the publication changes too (e.g., your bio).
  12. Make all URLs look live (ebooks only, not for booklets). Change text color and underline it. You’ll see why below. (Do not underline any text if it’s not going to become a hyperlink later.
  13. Add the front and back covers in.jpegs or PDF format. Be sure to add a blank page behind the front cover and in front of the back cover.

After You Create the PDF (ebook)

  1. Check the PDF properties to make sure you created and used the right sizing (see item #2 above).
  2. Add attachments to the file (e.g., freebies sent as bonuses).
  3. Create live URLS throughout the document (they’ll also look live if you changed text color and underlined them before you made the PDF).
  4. Create bookmarks to certain pages for easier navigation and display them by default.
  5. Create live hyperlinks from table of contents to pages.
  6. Change the options – how it’s viewed by default.
  7. Set security and protect your document from changes.

After You Create the PDF (booklet)

  1. Add the front and back covers in.jpegs or PDF format. Be sure to add a blank page behind the front cover and in front of the back cover.
  2. Check the PDF properties to make sure you created and used the right sizing (see item #2 above).
  3. Set security and protect your document from changes.

For information on how to self-publish a book or booklet, see this post. For information on selling your ebook, check out this post Sell Digital Products Online While You Sleep.

If you’re going to do this thing, do it right, giving an expert impression with the look and feel of your book. 


Create High Resolution Graphics Inside PowerPoint and Use for Printing

If you’re familiar with me and my blog, you already know that I love me some technology! I’ve written before about how I use PowerPoint to create all my graphic projects, from my customized Twitter background to my business card. I’ve even recorded a series of videos to show you how to do it. Check them out on my YouTube channel, digitalbreakthroughs.


When I use PowerPoint to create graphics that I need to have printed such as a postcard, I have to save it in a higher resolution that native PowerPoint is capable of (it’s 96dpi). But ImageExport from PPTools solves that problem. With the click of a button, I can turn a PowerPoint slide into a high resolution graphic. It came in handy to create a cover for this Computer Magic booklet, for example.

But what about when I didn’t need the entire slide? Sometimes, I just needed the graphic that’s on the slide, such as a banner or button like my registration button.

Improved! Free Trial

Announcing….ImageExport has been improved! You can now click your graphic (after grouping it as one object), hold down the Shift key before you click the Export button, and only export the graphic! No more exporting the whole slide, then cropping to what you need. I am zipping through my projects so much quicker, and that frees up some more of my time.

Thank you Steve Rindsberg at PPTools! Try the free trial today!

UPDATE: I’ve recorded a video on how to use ImageExport.


Establish an Ezine Publishing Schedule that Works

I hope you’ve included email marketing as part of your plan to promote your business (a  previous post lists resources). One of the decisions you’ll have to make is how often you should publish. Carrie Drybrough of VicadeaConcepts.com says, “You’ll have to consider your own time constraints and your audience’s tolerance for regular communication.” She suggests the following when trying to decide on a publishing schedule that works for you. We are definitely on the same page.

Daily: Too much work. Your publications will becoming annoying to your subscribers and will overload already bulging InBoxes.

Weekly: Incredibly time-consuming. Entering your subscribers’ mailbox four times a month is cause for overload.

Bi-weekly: The right mix for many. Keeps you fresh in your subscribers’ minds but less likely to cause them to click “unsubscribe.”

Monthly: May not be often enough. Mailing once a month may cause a subscriber to forget who you are and when and why they signed up. Monthly is often the preferred option for information and educational communications.

Quarterly: Least amount of work but the content needs to be A-One and you’d better be hard to forget. Best for seasonal updates and significant changes.

Remember: Newsletters should be 80% content and 20% promotion. And to boost your search engine rankings, this same information needs to be online (such as in a blog).

To subscribe to my bi-weekly enewsletter, click here.


Optimize Images for Search Engines Before Uploading to Flickr

Before uploading photos to sharing sites such as Flickr, take a few minutes to change the filename and use some of your keywords. This is a largely untapped way to boost your search engine rankings.

I had some great photos from a recent event (the grand opening of my new training facility, The Digital Breakthroughs Institute). Before uploading the photos to Flickr, I did a couple of things first.

Rename photos by the batch. I didn’t want to upload the photos using the weird names from the digital camera. Those filenames show up in the search engines so I wanted to use this opportunity to display my keywords. Here’s how to rename all your photos at once.

  1. Find the photos you want to upload. Make this simpler by putting all the photos in one folder.
  2. Click to select all the photos you want to rename.
  3. Right-click on the first photo in the bunch, and click Rename.
  4. Give this photo a good name, using your keywords. Press Enter when you’re finished. All the photos will have the same name, but will be numbered separately.

Resize the photos by the batch. If your files are huge and you need to resize them, don’t do it one photo at a time. Here is a blog post titled, Resize a Bunch of Photos by the Batch I wrote that gives instructions on how to do this (and read readers’ comments for more solutions).

Once the photos are uploaded, tag each one and add descriptions using more of your keywords. And make sure you add links to your Website in the Description field.


Justify Paragraphs for a Clean Finish but Avoid Wide Gaps in Text

Have you ever tried to block justify your paragraphs (make your right margin even) in a Word document and ended up with an amateurish look of too much space between words? Try this instead (Word versions 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013+ listed).

  1. Select the text you want to block justify.
  2. Right-click on the text, and click Paragraph.
  3. On the Indents and Spacing tab, click the drop-down next to Alignment, and click Justified, OK.
  4. Right-click on the text again, and click Format, Font.
  5. Tick the Kerning for fonts box (on the Character Spacing tab, and set font size to match the size of the font in your paragraph* (kerning is the spacing between characters and each font set has its own kerning). Spacing should be set at Normal.**But play around with this until you’re satisfied by changing everything in this step. Also try using “condensed” and alter the spacing until you’re satisfied.
  6. Click OK.

To fine-tune the spacing (Word 2003)

  1. Click the Tools menu, Options. Then click the Compatibility tab.
  2. Tick “Do full justification like WordPerfect...”
  3. Click OK.

To fine-tune the spacing (Word 2007)

  1. Click the Office button, Word Options, Advanced.
  2. Go to absolute bottom of Advanced options, and click to expand Layout Options.
  3. Tick “Do full justification like WordPerfect...” (this Options list is in alphabetical order)
  4. Click OK.

To fine-tune the spacing (Word 2010). 

  1. Click the File tab, Options, Advanced.
  2. Go to absolute bottom of the Advanced options, and click to expand Layout Options.
  3. Tick “Do full justification like WordPerfect...” (this Options list is in alphabetical order).

To fine-tune the spacing (Word 2013 and above). 

Justification has been fixed so it’s no longer necessary to change anything. If you end up with text with too much spacing on a short sentence, read below.

Fixing a Short Sentence

If you ever have a very short sentence at the end of a paragraph that spreads out in spite of your adjustments, click behind the last character of that paragraph, and press Tab to close it up. Occasionally, you’ll have to reword to fill up space.

UPDATE: In Word 2013:

  • Click the File tab, Options, Advanced.
  • Go to absolute bottom of the Advanced options, and click to expand Layout Options.
  • Tick “Don’t expand character spaces on a line that ends with SHIFT-RETURN“.

This tip does not work if you use the Courier font. This is a monospaced (or non-proportional) font which is a typewriter-like, fixed-width font, and each letter occupies the same amount of space. Other computer fonts are variable-width (or proportional) and the software adjusts the spacing automatically. (This is why since the advent of computers, only one space follows a period, not two.)

BTW, you can receive regular computer tips from me by joining my private email list (and get lots of free stuff too). And if you want to dig deeper and register for one of my workshops or Webinars, it’s all on my Website.


Sell Digital Products Online While You Sleep – eBooks

In addition to my traditional books, I also sell two ebooks on my Website. Digital products are a breeze to sell, especially when you store them on a site like PayLoadz. My customers purchase the book on my Website via PayPal with any major credit card. Before they can blink, an email shows up with a link to download the file. They have immediate access to my pearls of wisdom and I don’t have to lift a finger.

I created my ebooks in Microsoft Word, saved them as PDFs, set the Security so buyers cannot edit, and uploaded them to the PayLoadz servers. The money is deposited into my PayPal account and PayLoadz gets their cut without me doing a thing. And there’s no monthly fee. If I don’t sell anything, I don’t pay anything. How much you pay PayLoadz is determined by which plan you choose…read that part carefully.

Check Payloadz out and start making money while you sleep. And here is a link to my two ebooks: Make Work Easy: Get Organized at Work and Make It Easy and Shameless Self-Promotion: Do-It-Yourself SEO.


My New eBook – Shameless Self-Promotion: Do-It-Yourself PR. Get Found Online

Do It Yourself Search Engine Optimization – SEO
I’m excited to announce my new ebook, Shameless Self-Promotion: Do-It-Yourself PR. Get Found Online. Details are on my Website, including a partial table of contents and a sample chapter.

In the two weeks that it took me to write this ebook, I received calls from Fitness, Essence, Success, Black Enterprise, and Madison (Australia) magazines. They all wanted me to contribute my expertise in personal productivity to upcoming stories. I did not call, write, fax, or email any of these publications. Nor am I paying a $5,000.00 a month public relations agency (that can’t make guarantees), to pitch me to the media.

The journalists found me in Internet searches when looking for my expertise (time management expert, personal productivity expert, email expert).


Buy this book today and download it immediately! It includes online access to my national media database (television producers for Oprah, The View, and more).

Your purchase includes:

  • FREE updates emailed directly to you.
  • 24/7/365 online access to my national media database (television producers for Oprah, The View, and more).
  • Teleseminars (more to come on this).
Tell some people!

Peggy Duncan, Personal Productivity Expert

My Laptop Crashed but I Didn't Panic

My latest book, The Time Management Memory Jogger(TM), will start shipping August 25, 2008. It is published by GOAL/QPC and becomes the latest in their bestselling series of books that focus on workplace improvement (over 10 million in print).

An editorial board had made some great suggestions that have made the book even better, and I was down to the last paragraph of revisions. I attempted to boot up my laptop and an error message appeared that my Config file was either missing or corrupt. I couldn’t believe my eyes: my trusted friend, my baby, was sick!

I turned the computer off and on several times thinking the problem would go away, but it didn’t. Did I panic? Nope. Did I have a breakdown? Nope.

Fortunately, I use Carbonite, an online vault, to back up my computer at regular intervals whenever I’m online. I borrowed a laptop, logged onto the site, and was able to download my manuscript. I’d lost about an hour’s worth of work, but it could have been much worse.

The only thing that frustrated me was that Carbonite’s tech support is only 9AM-5PM, weekdays only (at this writing). I had a problem downloading my file to a borrowed laptop and had to wait until the next morning to resolve it. I was on a deadline and wanted immediate access. If I had procrastinated and had no more time, I would have been really ticked off. But I was on schedule with some leeway so I used my extra time to do some Web research.

As soon as I get my laptop back, I’m going to add my files to my MozyPro account with 24/7/365 support, and will use Carbonite as a secondary backup.

What would happen to your important project if this happened to you? Are you backing up your files? How? A backup is not a backup if it’s not offsite. And how often are you doing it? Can you afford to lose any amount of work? And if you’re a procrastinator, get out of the habit. You’re taking a chance that nothing will go wrong, and you’ll run out of time before you do your best work.

To get the help you need, read my blog post that has more details on backing up your data and which files to back up.

Peggy Duncan, Time Management Expert