Ebook Creation Product Creation

Ebook Answers #1 – $300 software for Ten Bucks

Note: This is the first in a series of articles about ebooks. We’ll be discussing how to write them, produce them, and build them in a way so that they sell far more easily and quickly than "regular" ebooks. Got an ebook question of your own? Write me here: ask (at) Back in December, I […]

Note: This is the first in a series of articles about ebooks. We’ll be discussing how to write them, produce them, and build them in a way so that they sell far more easily and quickly than "regular" ebooks. Got an ebook question of your own? Write me here: ask (at)

Back in December, I asked my readers for questions about creating content. What did they need to know?  Here are some answers to some good questions about creating content that I think will help you.

The first one will save you a bunch of dough.

Denny L wrote…

Hiya Mark,
I’ve started putting my 1st e-book in writing to organize it and put the finishing touches/changes to it.
My first question concerns converting it from Word doc. to .pdf Don’t really want to pay Adobe $250, do you have any suggestions for who/what to use?

Well Hiya right back atcha, Denny.

Actually Acrobat is up to about $300 to $450 at retail now, and there’s not a heckuva lot of good reasons to invest that much if all you’re doing is creating an ebook. The program does do a great job of creating PDF files — they invented the format, after all — but for our purposes, you can spend a lot less and do a lot better.

Check out some software called PDF995, which you can find at

As the name implies, you can buy the software for $9.95, and it will do the job for you just fine. And if you’re REALLY on a tight budget, you can even download and use the software for free. You just have to tolerate looking at an advertisement every time you generate a PDF.

But if you pay less than ten bucks, you see no ads at all.

The only downside I’ve notice so far is that the PDF files tend to be a little larger than those created by Adobe’s software. But if that doesn’t bother you, then it’s definitely the way to go.

Okay…Next Question.

Bruce asks…

I have always had tons of ideas that I would love to put into eBooks. However when I sit down to do it I find that it is way to tedious for me. Any information on how to streamline and easily put together ebooks would be great.

Hello Bruce.

This past weekend, I spoke at Eben Pagan’s Guru Mastermind Event on creating content. Five Hundred marketers were there, each paying $500 to $1,000 a month to be a part of this group, and others paying upwards of $5,000 to attend this one event.

I’ve written about 23 ebooks so far, and so Eben asked me to speak to the group about the tactics for creating money-making ebooks.

I talked about overcoming writers block (which I think is part of your problem), how to add size to your ebook without adding fluff (12 ways), and how to build marketing INTO your ebook so that it actually sells itself (6 ways) and makes money FOR you.

And then I showed them my ebook template. You’d be smart to make one of these yourself, too, if you plan on making more than one ebook.

An ebook template is a Microsoft Word document that I put together for myself — you can think of it as a sample ebook — with all of the ebook elements built into it aIready. That way, the moment I start my new ebook, it already LOOKS like an ebook.

It’s got page borders, a table of contents, images, footers, title page, resource page, formatted links, formatted chapter headings….everything.

All I gotta do is start typing.

So anyway, once the talk was over, a flood of people came over to thank me for giving them the tactical advice they needed for creating content that’s easy to write, and that sells.

And I gave them all my ebook template, too, so they don’t have to create it from the ground up.

I’m thinking of doing something similar for my readers….People like YOU.

You interested?

Just reply by commenting on my blog, below. And let me know what your most important question is about making ebooks. I’ll do my best to answer them all, either on the blog, in an email (like this) or if it’s more complex, maybe in a step-by-step course (which is how people seem to learn best).

To Your Success,

–Mark Widawer

P.S. One more thing…let me know if you’d be interested in getting the ebook template that I gave out to Eben’s group.

Free, of course.

If enough people want it, I’ll make it available.


103 replies on “Ebook Answers #1 – $300 software for Ten Bucks”

I’d love to get the template.

What is the optimum size for an ebook? At what point are you better off turning it into a course? I guess I’m looking for the tipping point.

I’d love to get the template.

What is the optimum size for an ebook? At what point are you better off turning it into a course? I guess I’m looking for the tipping point.

Hi Mark,

As always, the things you teaches are the best in the net!

I would like to know about e-books. how to build it as an interesting book so people won’t leave it in the middle, Plus how to make people to act acording to what I teach them…

I would like to have your Eban template…


this looks really helpful. I’d like to ask about a cheap and easy to use system for delivering both free and for sale ebooks for a newbie marketer on virtually no budget. Thanks for your valuable free info.

I’ll do ya one better than that.

Open Office has a word processor in their suite of software products that will convert doc files (or just about any other file) to PDF format.

And get this…

…it’s free.

It’s a fairly large file at approximately 6 or more MB, but that’s pretty fast if you’re on a fast broadband connection.

The full suite has the “look and feel” of all the MS products, and each one will convert to PDF.

I’ve used PDF995 before and it wasn’t always dependable to make my embedded links work.

Open Office has never given me any problems. The embedded links converted into a PDF from within an OpenOffice file have ALWAYS worked.

It’s all described in a book I recently wrote in OpenOffice, saved in MS Word format, and converted to PDF “on the fly.”

It’s actually quite nice… the software. Each application comes with a PDF icon in the toolbar, so there’s no “hunting around” for it.

I wrote about it in Guerrilla Real Estate Marketing, a book mainly for real estate professionals, but just about anybody could use some — or all — of the tools listed in the book.

It’s free to download if you want a copy of it at:

Ernest ODells last blog post..Meet Mandi – Your 24/7/365 Virtual Assistant

Thanks for the very complete post. I think for those who don’t have Microsoft Office, Open Office is a fine choice.
But if you can get MS Office, I’d recommend that. (not that Bill and Melinda need your money or anything.)
I remember installing Open years ago, but I found it a bit cumbersome, since I was so familiar with MSO. I didn’t want to have to relearn something that worked for me already.
So, if you’ve got nothing, or are on a very tight budget, get Open Office.
If you want to keep the tool you know, then just keep using MS Word and get PDF995.

I would certainly like to see the template. I expect there are two issues that face most people; do they have enough expertise to write the ebook, and how do you get the word out to people that your ebook exists. Most lead creation techniques I have seen involve trying to outbid others with Google Adwords. Most people don’t have lists; maybe you have to use affiliates on clickbank. A third issue I hope you address is how to deliver and secure the ebook. We need a way to process credit cards and automatically deliver the ebook in such a way that does not allow other people to access the ebook.

Hey Mark,

My website isn’t live yet, but I am working on it. I have it hosted and I’m working on the front page, but as a “novice” at this, it is taking much longer than I hoped.

I also have an eBook almost ready to market, on a “health topic” that effects more than 100M people in the USA today. I plan to use affiliates to market it soon.

I’m very interested in your “ebook template” that you gave out at Eben’s group. How can I get a copy of it?

Thanks for all the great, helpful info you send regularly! I have learned a lot from you so far and look forward to more of the same!



Hey Mark thanks for answering my question!
Next question:
Concerning graphics for say the sales letter,which one is more effective; a Printed box, picture of a “binder magazine” or a naked lady holding a “Buy it” button? 🙂
Have a good source to create your own graphics?

Oh, and a big yes on your template!


Hi Mark.

I really enjoy reviewing your email newsletters. They provide an ongoing education in web marketing.

I would really benefit from a copy of your ebook template, as I’ve been asked to compile one – my first time.

The big question I have is how to balance the typical marketing piece’s SCREAMING approach to communication with a crisper corporate impression. I cannot produce an overtly aggressive or cheesy looking document for this client.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge, and your professionalism.

Jose L. Alvarez

Jose L. Alvarezs last blog post..start

Hi Mark
Thanks for your generosity. I would love a copy of your template.
My biggest issue is similar to the first reader. What i would put in the book seems like it would be hard to e-lance it out, in that my knowledge of the subject is not in a text book somewhere. But I have trouble staying on the theme.
And how long does an e book have to be? give us a range..

Hello Mark:

Thank you for the ebook tips. I could really use the template. I’d also love to here more about how to build marketing into your ebook so that it actually sells itself.


How do you make the pictures of the covers? They look so great.. like a photograph of and actual book. Cheers and thanks for everything.

I’d appreciate the template too.

Dear Mark:
I have produced over 25 DVD’s on chiropractic and health. I am currently having them all transcribed and turned into e-books. I need help in the proper formatting, so I got really excited when I read about your free template. I also need help in marketing my websites and ebooks. Please e-mail me so we can get started asap. Be well, Dr Rettner


I would love to get a copy of your e-book template for free – could do with some help on creating these.

Thanks for all your emails – just received the one about converting docs to PDF’s – how did you know I needed info on this – you are amazing.

Thanks for all your advice and tips – looking to forward to your next email!


Dear Mark,

I have subscribed to your newsletter for a while now, and am impressed with your ideas regarding marketing. I’m planning on creating a series of short ebooks on various subjects, to give away to establish a series of very targeted in-house lists. Thanks for the insight.

Harry Rahner

Great information and tips.

The biggest problem I have is forming the information I have into a logical flow and formatting an eBook.

Would be very interested in obtaining your template.

All the best and thanks.


Yes would be interested in templates (Paid or free)

Did you clarify the differences between Adobe acrobat and all the other PDF generator software. Does logo /appearance affect peoples willingness to open the attachment?


davids last blog post..Text Post

Hi Mark!

Pat from here.

Just wanted to tell that if you want to
convert -word to the -pdf format you can
actually do this for free, you’ll find this feature in the all-free open source program “Open Office” (


Hi Mark,

I’m being following your guide and like to gain more insight into writing a best-selling ebooks like yours. I’ve just written one and hope to get your template and tips to improve it further.


Hi Mark,

Just investigating IM at this point but definitely interested in your ebook template. I think you’re the only IM guru whose emails I always open up. So if you develop a course on how to create content, I’d love to enroll. Thanks for all the effort!


Hi Mark, I think you are doing a grand job with the free advice & information you supply, it’s so refreshing to find someone who acts within the sentiment “what goes around comes around”. Keep up the good work and YES! I would really appreciate a copy of you ebook template.

Happy trails,


Yes Mark, please count me in also for your ebook templates. Anything that can make life a little easier would be great.

I also have a question concerning graphics. Some ebooks that I have bought in the past have had some very colorful covers, or front page, the very first page. I don’t print it out because it takes up way to much of my printer’s ink, so I skip it. I thought that if I ever make an ebook, I don’t want to use a fancy cover for the same reason I gave above, so how can one put together a real nice cover without over doing it with all those fancy colorful graphic’s? I don’t mind a little color, but some of them over do it.

Thanks Mark for all of your help,
All the best to you,

Hi, thanks for the free e-book template offer. I am looking forward to seeing it! My question is: what sources do you recommend for ebook cover designs? Yvonne

Hi Mark, I have 2 hardcover books that I’m looking to turn into ebooks, with additional ones to write. Thanks for the PDF information, it was just the info I was looking for. And I would also like to see your ebook template – thanks.

The question I would like to ask you is this: – Once the book is in PDF form, what software do you use so that is works with your shopping cart and is automated. The customer pays and then gets the email with the link? Do you put the link in the receipt? Thanks, Jeannine

Mark, I’ve been creating and selling ebooks for about 10 years. But I’d love your free template. It would be particularly helpful if I outsource the writing to a freelancers because it would eliminate several steps. Pretty please?

P.S. I love the feature at this blog that lets the person commenting decide if they want the most recent post from their blog to show up here. What are you using to make that happen, or is that built into the blog’s template?

Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hounds last blog post..Can your social networking profile pass the 10-second test?

First, thanks for the info in your e-mail and, yes, I would like a copy of your template(s).

I have a wide background in business and usually have no trouble writing but how do you find a topic that will really draw interest?


We always want to create “the” unique product. Instructions as to how to upload the ebook generated by your template into a directory plus instructions and code for how to password protect the material until someone paid for it plus strategy on how to sell it to people, including thank you page code would be crucial information.

If this “after” info were included, your product would be a “one of a kind.”

Yes, the ebook template is great, too.



Mark, Ebook info is always appreciated by me and I’m sure by everyone reading this. I would like to bring all of my articles and blogs together in one place. I just have no idea where to even begin. I would definitely use any and ALL advice, ideas and instructions you could provide and, since I have NO money, free would be really appreciated!

Thank you for being a source to draw to.

Thanks for all the wonderful tips. I have found them very useful. An e-book template would be great. I am thinking of putting my thoughts in an e-book and don’t know where to start. Thanks gain for everything. Margaret. PS I have a new website that I am still in the process of refining and promoting.


Great info, and yes, I’m very interested in your e-book template. I’ve written 4 e-booklets on baseball/softball training and have more in mind. I’m intrigued by your concept of “stuffing” extra, useful info into the books.

My question is, do you do anything extraordinary to protect your work? I’ve found two sites that have published my work as free downloads, which of course violates my copyright. One of them removed my info, the other has not. I don’t have the time/money to sue, so do you have any advice is this regard?

FYI, I use both Word 2007 and its pdf creator, another pdf program called Nova 5 Pro, and 1Automationwiz for receipt of payment and e-booklet delivery.

Thanks much for your excellent info!


Yes, I’d love to get the template. My question for you: how do you go about getting the covers for your ebooks? Do you check out those performing this service, use Elance, or use other methods? Thanks!

I’d love to see the ebook template! I struggle with deciding on fonts, font sizes, styles etc. It would be great to work with a template like that, so I can just focus on creating great content! Thank you!

Yes, I would love the template!

My question concerns the use of ghost writers. If you use one, how do you check their work for plagiarism?

Another lesson learned behind the scenes with asking for interest in your give away product to stimulate comments to the blog. Thanks for thr tip!

Someone already asked my question…what is a good rule of thumb for length. I have seen 16 pages to 97 pages. My favorite is Thriumph of the Stupid. (not just cause you wrote it).
and of course, the template would be great. please!

Mark –

Count me in for your free template. I’ve just been working in outline format and it’s restrictive.

Do you feel it’s better to sell the e-books or give them away to leverage other opportunities?


I completed my eBook, a comprehensive social media marketing reference, in October.

I had used Open Office before to create free reports and White Papers. But the appearance of these pdfs was bland. Also I hate the look of exposed links.

So I outsourced my interactive volume to a programmer and got my first lesson in hiring contractors. They are not sit around, twiddling their thumbs, waiting for me to contact them.

I am not a programmer so I have no idea how long the actual work took, but close to a month passed before the eBook was completed. Despite the wait, the finished product is stunning and totally functional.

Then I contacted another programmer to convert my copy to a sales page. I am still waiting.

I would be interested in looking at your template, but even more than that, I would like to hear your experiences with subcontracting work. I suspect you rely on employees or contract work out.

Elaines last blog post..Jan 28, Choose Profitable Keywords

I’m loving Google Docs these days for writing and creating PDFs.

It’s simple (no bloat like MS Word), free, constantly being updated, Web-based (can easily edit a document from any computer), and tons of other great things! 🙂

And in cased you missed it, it creates PDFs from your documents with the click of a mouse.


I would love your template.

my questions:

1. some POD vendors will not accept a PDF from word…but require it come from a product like ndesign..we think it is because the PDF needs different embedded print commands becaue of the type of printing involved. any thoughts?

2. besides linking chapters to pages…what other types of interactive do you recommend in an ebook? link to external web sites? Calculations???

3. Do your copy protect your ebook?

4. What is the best way to distribute an ebook?

Hey Mark
Of course as I’m writing an ebook I’d
love to get your ebook template as well as be informed about your ebook course. My question: Is it better to put the ebook in PDF format or to use a product like ebook Pro which supposedly offers more advanced security features as well as a viral marketing component?

Mark: Greetings from San Antonio. Would love to get MS Word ebook template. I read your emails – they’re well-done. Thanks!

Mark: One more comment. For presenting works in PDF format, I use the FREE version of Primo PDF
(; it has some neat features and works just fine for me.

Hi Mark,

I’d love to see your template. I have an idea for an e-book but where do I start, how do I put it all together? I think your template might help with that also.


Hi Mark,
I have been getting emails from you for a long time ,and always enjoyed all the information you are providing ,and this is another good news as i would like the template. Keep on the good work,and one day we are hopefully as wealthy as you.
Best wishes.

You betcha I want the template. When I get past some of what we’re working on in your course, I plan on taking a shot at the ebook idea as well.

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the pdf tip, I’d love to get my hands on the template. If it’s coming from you, it’s bound to be good.


Thank you for all the wonderful tips that you have been giving.

I’ve bought a couple of ebooks & have been wondering how one does it. Wld like to be the author of an ebook too. Questions: 1)How to convince people to buy it? 2)How to get affiliates to do the sale, & how to get it listed with Clickbank? 3)How to create a 3D picture of the book cover?. 4)How to facilitate only one download/print out of the ebook by the person who purchase it?

Yes please, I would love to receive your template for free.

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I would love to receive a copy of your template. I want to teach people how to organic gardening, save there own seed and make there own fertilizer with composting worm’s. I been doing it for 10 year’s and people are alway’s interested about what I do and how i do it, so I was planning to write a to write a book and never thought about an e-book. I could use you template as I have no knowledge of e-book or word processing.


Thanks for the ebook info. I found my biggest frustration with writing ebooks was finding a way to publish them. After writing my ebook I tried literally 6 different ways to get it published and have yet to get it online. Don’t know if my experience is typical of the average person, but writing it is only half the battle from my experience.



Hi Mark,

I seem to have a couple of books rolling around in the back of my mind.
I would very much appreciate having a copy of your template.


Thanks for all your wonderful, concrete advice.

I’d love to be able to use a ready-made template!

I should be finishing my first ebook within the month. My question: Once you’ve put it into pdf files, how do you make changes to it?

My internet, website counselor/coach sent me the info on ebooks. Took me a couple of days to get around to actually reading it but, I’m in….I’ve been re-inventing the wheel each time I condense one of my seminars or presentations into a brochure/booklet.

Please send me the ebooks template and add me to your mailing list.


Tom MacMurray

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