Product Creation on the Cheap – Part One

Let’s get out there and create us some products. We have the ideas. We’re sure there’s a market. What we don’t have is a budget. So where do we start?

The first thought is what type of product? This boils down to a choice of 3 basically, although there are sub-divisions in each – ebooks, audio and video. Let’s examine each of these, starting with the easiest:-

Ebooks: It pretty much doesn’t matter what operating system you have or how old your computer is, it will be able to cope with the written word. Anything you can get your writing into an electronic format will do, including iPads and Android tablets. Some word processing software is more sophisticated but so long as you can (at some stage) underline, bold, italic, headline and paragraph neatly you’re off to a head start. There are even some free Office suites for all platforms and most of them have the advantage of being able to take our words to the protected and easily readable stage… the PDF. If your word processor doesn’t have an export to pdf capability, search around the web for a pdf printer or pdf driver. There’s plenty available for free for Windows and Linux. I expect there is for Mac too. Having your document as a PDF makes it harder for other people who might consider editing it and claiming it as their own.

Depending on your niche, your idea and the intention for the ebook, it could be as short as 500 words (a single page) and still have value to a reader, so it’s down to the quality of the content and the writing, not just the volume. Some people can say nothing in 10,000 words, and probably give a lot of refunds too! A cover is not essential, especially on a freebie, although I’ve seen a number of WSOs where the cover is little more than a title page. It does make the production look a bit more professional though. Whether you go down the graphics route and add a cover or get one made up for you, is down to your personal preference. There are free sites that will make up covers for you, as will Amazon, if you make an attempt to publish your work that way too. It doesn’t have to stay published on Amazon once your cover is made up, either! Make up your kindle book (or CreateSpace for a paperback version), download the cover graphics, then take it off of Amazon.

In fact, steal a march on your rivals. Use CreateSpace to make up a paperback version of your book. They work out quite cheap to buy for yourself. Offer a real book to your customers. Not so much in the IM niche, but in certain other niches a ‘real’ book will be snapped up quite readily! CreateSpace is ‘print on demand’ so you don’t need to hold any stock (and you set the price too). Since it’s owned by Amazon, it’s free to use and not every Kindle author knows or considers it as something to be done. Can’t think why not though. It’s free to the author, gives them a real product that can be sold at a premium (print has more kudos than electronic versions) and is another sales channel. Print books can get into libraries and could be seen as valuable give-aways or back of room sales at speeches and shows, if that’s your thing.

Audio is the next product creation. Again this can all be done for free and still produce a quality product. Again, any modern laptop has a built in microphone and recording capability as do tablets and mobile phones. If you can avoid being somewhere too noisy, then the quality will be more than acceptable for most markets. Any editing that needs to be done can be completed with a free software tool call Audacity which is available for Windows, Linux and Mac. There will be free or cheap apps for the different tablets types as well.

To make your audio work, speak freely rather than script it word-for-word. Jot down some outline notes to keep you on track. Speak reasonably slowly and clearly although there’s no need to drag every word and sentence out to a painful to listen to level. Listen to the playback and see if you can understand yourself. If you can’t then no one else will either. Unless you are a professional speaker (and not many of us are), there will be a certain amount of ‘um’, ‘err’ and ‘ah’ which will be forgiven if your content is good.

Rather than try to create a 20 to 30 minute speech all in one go, see if you can break it down into 3 to 5 minute chunks, then use Audacity to join them together, perhaps using some music if you can’t make the join clean. Making short chunks also means if one area is too bad for vocal trips or bad audio, it can easily be re-recorded and replaced.

This is turning out longer than I thought, so I’ll end it here and call it part one. Part two will follow shortly.