The Beginner’s Guide to Infoproduct Development: Forming the Product [Part 2]
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This article is part of a five part series covering the topic of infoproduction development and launch.
The most tedious, overwhelming part of developing an information product comes down to the actual work put into its creation.
Our example covers the eBook format but the same barriers are in place for any other formats – it’s the stress and long hours you would place into a piece of work which may (or may not) become a great seller; it’s because of the unknown outcome that causes you to freeze and fail to take action.
After all, why spend 100+ hours on an information product if it sells just a single copy?
Clear that from your mind.
You’ve already done the hard work of forming a profitable idea for the work so everything thereafter will come into fruition; it’s the forming of the product that will be your next challenge and the topic of this article.
Setting the structure and getting to work
An eBook (as our series example) is a whole lot of writing but in reality you can view the work as a series of long-form blog posts … all of which you do not need to write in a single weekend.
Structure will become your greatest guidance when forming your information product. The work can be however long (or short) just as long as it covers the topic in full detail. Doing the outline will be the first step in developing this structure and will give you an idea of how much you’ll need to cover.
Here are a few product elements to keep in mind:
- Come up with a chapter for each “part” of the information
- Focus on just one idea for each of the chapters and collect those resources
- Aim for 20k – 30k words
To begin, approach your infoproduct topic from the standpoint of a complete beginner and ask the important questions related to how they will get started, what comes after the basics, and what one would learn and experience at a master level.
Think as if you are creating a text book that spreads from the introduction all the way to the glossary; it takes the reader through the basics uses the fundamentals to build to the later chapters.
Next, outline and come up with a chapter title for each of the main elements of the work. Doing this outline of chapters will give you an idea for what you need to cover and will break the entire project down to manageable pieces (you can work on a single chapter at a time at any particular date).
Go take a look at the index of a piece of work in your industry and try to understand why the author chose those particular chapters for covering its information.
Then, create a folder, on your desktop, which has subfolders for each of the main chapters; use this file structure to collect notes and resources for each of the sections so you’re not bouncing back and forth between these items. Refresh your memory and experience with each of the chapter topics each time you sit down to work on them.
The ideal workflow would be where you can open a folder and have everything required to complete a chapter; your focus is attuned to the topic without overlap and distraction from the rest of the work.
Last, try to complete a chapter each time you get to work because it’s easy to lose your train of thought if you stretch out the work across a week or two. Figure that each chapter may have roughly 2,000 words and work on each as if they were a very long article for your website. Use the normal approach to creating an article outline with intro, body, and conclusion with the slight tweak that you’d lead in and out of the chapters.
The actual work isn’t all too difficult when you get down to business. Having a solid structure and set of resources for the project will give you guidance for each of the chapters and it’ll come to completion before you know it.
Here is an additional guide for ebook creation:
The important thing is to just write, write, write. Don’t stop to edit as this will be done prior to publication – just get those ideas onto paper. You can always go back and beef up each of the articles with additional media and information but focus on the ‘core’ content, for now.
Working with templates and graphic design
It’s time to craft that work into a deliverable product, after you have completed the main content.
There are a variety of ways to approach the product “packaging”:
- Write and edit the work in a text editor and export it to a PDF (easiest way)
- Use templates and InDesign to add visual flare and flexible layout (harder)
Beginners should go with the simple route of editing and producing the work within a text editor such as Microsoft Word since its easy-to-use and can export the work into a PDF format (which is best for infoproducts such as eBooks).
There are Word templates available that will give your work a better look and feel. Inclusion of other media embedded within the work will give your work an additional edge, too.
The advanced route would be through the use of a publishing program such as Adobe InDesign. InDesign is made for handling print layout and design but requires a lot of education and knowledge of the software in order to get the most from it. All you would need to do is work out a format and begin pasting your content to the InDesign layout.
Photoshop is a very handy tool for the eBook production since you can use the tool for forming the eBook cover and other graphical elements of the work.
Perhaps your best course of action is to get started with a format and tweak it to your liking.
You can source a designer that will aid in the eBook development, too. There are many freelancers that offer their services in InDesign and Photoshop, and plenty that are well experienced with eBook creation!
Just remember this: shiny graphics and layout may be pleasing to the eye but the most important part of the book will be the information – have great, valuable information and no one will care if the work has a lame cover.
Final suggestions and moving forward
Make an effort to work on just one section of the work throughout the week – there’s no rush to get it done.
Don’t fret and stress yourself if you don’t include every tid-bit of information. Don’t worry about being perfect – just be perfect enough for your audience.
That doesn’t mean you can slack and be sloppy in the work but don’t get caught up with endless editing and inclusions which creates project “creep” so things never get done.
An eBook can come together as quickly as a day but give it some time and spread it across an entire month if this is your first attempt. Take the time to work through each piece and see each chapter to completion. Work out the entire eBook and then go back for edits. Hand off the work to people within your business circle and gain some feedback. Likewise, give out the book to a few of your community members to hear their reception of the work. Go back, again, and make edits using their suggestions.
You’ll bounce back and forth between the creation and editing but it’s worth it if it means it creates a better, completed piece.
So, get down to business and start working on that infoproduct.
How far along are you with infoproduct development? What suggestions and experience would you like to share to help others in their work? Share a comment or come over and talk the topic on our Facebook page.