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Topic: How to create a pdf instant download
Message: Posted by: magicman344 (Dec 13, 2013 08:58PM)
This is my first time trying to sell an original magic effect, and I have no idea what I am doing. I created a method for getting out of duct tape bonds and the like and I would like to look into selling it, but I don't even know where to begin. If anyone could offer any assistance, that would be great.
Message: Posted by: John C (Dec 13, 2013 09:36PM)
1. Write up a clear detailed manuscript and send it to some trusted Café members for their opinion.
2. Come back for additional advice
Message: Posted by: Simon C (Dec 14, 2013 05:58AM)
First of all, congrats on putting something original together. That gets harder and harder everyday in this community, so well done.

As for creating a product and getting it out there, here's some advice that I found useful (I put out my first two manuscripts this year, so I am still new to the game, but so far it's been reasonably successful...)

1. Do your homework. Make sure no one else has come up with your method exactly. Now, I know there are endless numbers of books and downloads and variations on things, so you don't have to trawl back through years of magic / escapology history, but a worthwhile amount of research to make sure that someone hasn't beaten you to the punch is a good idea. If it does turn out that your method is strikingly similar to one that has come before, you have a few options: a) change your method entirely and start the process over. b) Reach out to the author of the original method. Tell them about yours and ask if they wouldn't mind you releasing it (after a few changes of course). Most people are reasonable about this.

2. So your method is unique. Now you need to make it worth reading. Type it up and put together a rough draft, then send it out to a few trusted people who know about the field. They will be able to proofread and road test your idea for you, see if it really does work, and offer extra advice and guidance about how to proceed. Basically, your manuscript needs to read well, be entirely informative (what might seem second nature to you, having done the routine a hundred times, is completely alien to everyone else. Break it down into the smallest pieces), diagrams / photos never hurt either. Now, repeat the process of sending out copies to a few people. Do this a few times, and you'll end up with a quality product.)

3. Now how do you sell the thing? Two choices, either let someone else do the work for you, or do it yourself. Both have their good and bad sides.

- Let someone else do it. Get into contact with retails who already sell downloads in the category you want yours to go in (I don't know much about escapology, so I apologise, I wouldn't know where to look for that stuff). Send them a copy of your finished pdf and ask if they could sell it. They will read it, and if they like it, may proceed in putting in up in their marketplace. A good place to start is Lybrary, it has a ton of categories, and Chris sends out a newsletter of new products each week, so if yours is good, it may end up hundreds of inboxes. Obviously the leg work here is easier, send a copy to a store, and sit back and wait for sales, but there are downsides.
First of all, you won't get all your royalties. Whatever price you put on your pdf, if you sell it through someone else, they will take anywhere between 50-70% of money raised. This depends on the agreement you come to with whomever is selling it for you. Generally, the more exclusivity they can claim on your product, the less of a cut they make. Eg. If you give your product to one website, and let them be the only place ever that can sell it, they may only charge 50%. If however, you intend on letting 4 places each sell your product, each will take a bigger cut, so you may only receive 30% (My honest advice, go non exclusive. Put it out into as many places as possible. Although each copy sold will net you less money, you stand a chance of selling it to more people, and getting more exposure.)

- The other option, do it yourself. You need a place to sell your product, so you need to build a website. Its not too difficult, my own website where I sell both of my products is just a Blogger page, which I paid to have a custom domain name (www.simonCmagic.co.uk lots a hell of a lot better to potential customers than http://www.blogger.co.uk/blogs/simonCmagic...). There are plenty of resources out there to help you with this part.
Then you need a shopping cart for your customers. I would wholly recommend research E-junkie. After setting up an account, they will let you host a number of files, and create a custom shopping cart button to place of your site page (again, check out my page for an example).

The benefit of this option is that you get to keep the majority of your royalties (E-junkie does charge a flat monthly subscription fee, but doesn't cut a cut off your sales), after transaction fees with Paypal etc.
Example: I sell a $15 e-book. Through a third party site, after everything else was skimmed off the top, I got $4 per copy sold, but I got $13 per copy for ones sold through my own site.
Also, it is way more satisfying to see your own hard work pay off.
The downsides though is that it is obviously more hard work, from building the websites, integrating a shopping cart and actually advertising and getting yourself out there. But it is worth it.

You could also just so both. Sell it yourself, and give it to other people to sell. The benefit of this is that the bigger places are effectively doing your advertising for you (make sure you include a link to your website somewhere in the pdf), so more people are likely to come looking for you the next time around.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions, PM me.

S/C
Message: Posted by: Tom Jorgenson (Dec 14, 2013 02:29PM)
LULU.COM is also worth looking into. They host your PDF, will print it as a soft or hard bound book and/or offer it as a DL. Your choices. They take a minimum amount of cut but it's up to you to spread the good word. They are easy to work with, once you get all the little Epub requirements out of the way or down pat.

Lulu gives you your own Author's page to display your books. They take the orders, take care of the money, print and send the books or downloads, keeps a running tally of what's been sold and your cut (on your private page) and sends your loot to you once a month. Not a bad deal for 8%.

If your ebook is more 'public' oriented, you can give it a Barcode, and it shows and sells on dozens of other places as well as Lulu.

Good luck with your Ebook. The first one is the hardest one, I'm thinking.
Message: Posted by: Chris (Dec 14, 2013 04:40PM)
The advice given above is pretty spot on. As somebody who is retailing magic ebooks for 14 years, which I guess makes me the one doing it for the longest time in magic, I will add a few comments based on what I have experienced over the years.

I am a DIY guy so I fully understand the non-monetary rewards you get from building your own website and directly selling your products to other magicians. If that is something that gets you excited definitely do it.

However, from a purely financial point of view it is for most not a wise decision. As has been pointed out there are setup and maintenance fees that you will have to pay. Setup fees are typically not that high, but monthly maintenance fees or service fees can get pesky particularly if revenue us small. I have seen cases where people have actually lost money because they were not able to generate enough revenue with their few products.

But the real challenge that many are not able to take by themselves is the marketing side - generating enough sales. Selling a few to family and friends doesn't count and will hardly pay for the fees mentioned above. Posting here on the Café and other forums will get you some sales, but they will also tend to dry up quickly. It is very hard for an individual, particularly a new-comer to compete with all the other hundreds and thousands of magic ebooks and other authors, many of them excellent and providing great value. Here is where a company like Lybrary.com can be very helpful with, assuming what you have is good. I have spent 14 years building a following and customer base. Many trust my judgement. So when I recommend a product - and I only recommend products I really like - then that can immediately lead to a good number of sales. It is very hard for an individual to drive that much traffic to his website to make a good amount of sales. While it is true that you will make 100% on your own sales, getting 50% from a lot more sales usually makes you more money. But keep in mind, this is purely the financial side. For some the financial side is not important and they simply love to do it.
Message: Posted by: Simon C (Dec 15, 2013 07:41AM)
You hit the nail on the head Chris. Working with a place like Lybrary.com is such a great help as it puts your product out in front of thousands of people that you would otherwise not be able to reach, and has the potential to generate a lot more revenue. I all just depends on your own preference.

Personally, I would shy away creating any physical copies of your pdf via Lulu or anywhere else at this early stage with your first idea. It is (right now) an unnecessary complication and added moving part. See if the interest is there first by monitoring how your pdf does, and then take the plunge if you want.
Message: Posted by: Koolmagic114 (Dec 15, 2013 04:59PM)
Now I have to agree with Simon C and Chris..

And 1 point they both left out...... Just because you build a web site unless you do TONS and I mean TONS of promotion on it and getting it's name out there.. with web site's.. you cannot use the age old addage "If you build it they will come"

My new magic web site is HUGE.. and I am still in the promoting stages and 'trying' to get the word out there about it..

Eddy
Message: Posted by: magicman344 (Dec 15, 2013 08:09PM)
Thanks for all that information, it will certainly be very useful! However, most of your advice has been on the marketing side of this. Can I get some more advice on how to put together the actual manuscript? Thanks again.
Message: Posted by: ljsviol (Dec 15, 2013 11:45PM)
Magicman344,
Among the excellent resources at lybrary.com, there is Tom Stone's book on Self-Publishing, listed on the free books page:
http://www.lybrary.com/free_ebooks.php

Here's the description:
"If you want to learn more about how to write your own ebook, then download the shareware ebook Self-Publishing (~4 MByte) by Tom Stone. This is specifically written for magicians but many of the desktop publishing techniques taught are valuable for any other genre you want to write for. Tom Stone is a top performer and very creative. His advice is excellent. You can download his ebook for free. And if you like it send Tom $5. Instructions on how to do that are in the ebook. "

I hope this helps you. I find Tom Stone's writing to be clear and full of ideas.

Larry S.
Message: Posted by: magicman344 (Dec 16, 2013 03:24PM)
Wow, thanks ljsviol, this pdf is amazing.
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Dec 17, 2013 09:52AM)
Talk to Roslyn Walker (Here on the Café) he marketed a manuscript a couple of years ago. If I recall he had to find a way to deal with thieves and pirates.
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Dec 18, 2013 03:50PM)
As far as actually creating a PDF file, if you don't own a program that offers SaveAs a PDF, then you might want to look at the free program doPDF.

Ed
Message: Posted by: MrHyde (Dec 18, 2013 05:08PM)
I partnered with Chris at Lybrary many years ago.
He's great to work with and it's a great and easy way to get into the field.

The Tom Stone book is very good.

I also have another brilliant "How to Publish and Sell an eBook" resource that I read last week.
It's free and I'll be sharing it with MagicCoach subscribers next issue
Message: Posted by: charliecheckers (Dec 18, 2013 06:51PM)
Have you posted in the "Let There Be Magic" section of TMC yet?
Message: Posted by: dearwiseone (Dec 18, 2013 07:14PM)
MagicMan,
I think the easiest way is to assemble your book in Microsoft Word or better yet, Open Office. Open office is a free program very similar to Microsoft Word.

Open Office has a free, built-in, word to pdf extension so you can encode with one click! Just click the "PDF" button and your document is made into a PDF! It's super-easy, it's free, and it lets you lay everything out in a word processor, so it's easy to format.

Here's what you might include:

Cover
Title page
Copyright
Content

You'll probably want to include lots of photographs if it talks about a method. You'll want someone to design a front cover for the ebook. The final PDF can also have links to youtube videos (showing an demo, for example), additional instructions, etc.

This is how I've done most of the PDFs I offer on my website and they seem to work fine.

Does this help? PM me or reply if you have any other questions or need help.

- Kevin
Message: Posted by: magicman344 (Dec 19, 2013 03:39PM)
Kevin- how would I set up the copyright?
Message: Posted by: dearwiseone (Dec 19, 2013 03:44PM)
What do you mean? All you have to do is write a copyright in the document, usually the page after the title page. Just write something like "All content copyright © Magicman334 2013"

You can distribute the PDF through someplace like Amazon that offers self-publishing with DRM (Digital rights management) if you're concerned about people re-distributing it. Also though, it's going to be done, so I wouldn't worry about it. It's just one of the cons of doing business like this in the digital age.

With a free wordpress plugin, you can sell your PDF download so that people who purchase the PDF are sent an encrypted link, valid for 48 hours (or whatever term you arrange). The same plugin (or many similar plugins) will allow you to put limits on the number of downloads per IP address, etc.

Hope that answers your question!
Kevin
Message: Posted by: magicman344 (Dec 19, 2013 03:55PM)
All I have to do is write "All content copyright © Magicman334 2013"? I don't have to set it up officially with the government or something?
Message: Posted by: jlibby (Dec 19, 2013 05:45PM)
Technically, yes. But that may not be worth your time or money ... you will have to decide that. Honestly, if really wants to rip off your e-book, he'll find a way.

Another thing you can do is password protect the PDF. Lee Earle did that with some e-books I purchased from him. But I don't know the process so I don't know how much trouble it is.

Best of luck!
Joe Libby
San Antonio, TX

[quote]
On 2013-12-19 16:55, magicman344 wrote:
All I have to do is write "All content copyright © Magicman334 2013"? I don't have to set it up officially with the government or something?
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: dearwiseone (Dec 19, 2013 07:01PM)
Actually, technically NO. If you are the original author, your work is already copyrighted the moment you type it up in Microsoft Word. Many people are mistaken about this. You don't even need to have the copyright symbol, that's just a formal representation and reminder.

Here it is word for word from the government website (www.copyright.gov):
When is my work protected?
Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration.”


If you assume that your work is going to be copied and the financial compensation is such that you feel the need to establish funds and set aside time to pursue lawsuits, you may with to register your document and secure a certificate of copyright that you may present in court when you built your case against any offender.

Magicman - please be aware that even if you register your copyright, prosecuting and enforcing it, not just domestically, but internationally, can be extremely costly, take years, and can be next to impossible to enforce. Consider if that is really worth your time for such a small, niche document that might be purchased by just a few thousand people at most.

Don't take legal advice from us though, you should do your own homework or consult a qualified legal advisor. A good place to start (for general advice on copyrighting) is http://www.copyright.gov


- Kevin
Message: Posted by: magicman344 (Dec 19, 2013 07:29PM)
Wow, learn something new every day.
Message: Posted by: magicman344 (Dec 19, 2013 07:31PM)
With password protecting a pdf(I can probably figure that out) how would you set up the password, would you give people a password when they download it? would you give each person their own code? Can you give me anymore information on how Lee Earle set it up.
Message: Posted by: jlibby (Dec 20, 2013 07:04AM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-19 20:29, magicman344 wrote:
Wow, learn something new every day.
[/quote]

Same here! Thanks for enlightening me!

Joe L.
Message: Posted by: Ihop (Dec 20, 2013 09:18PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-19 20:31, magicman344 wrote:
With password protecting a pdf(I can probably figure that out) how would you set up the password, would you give people a password when they download it? would you give each person their own code? Can you give me anymore information on how Lee Earle set it up.
[/quote]

I don't know how Lee Earle set it up but
You can setup password protection in different ways.
You can restrict printing, copying & pasting, reading, etc.
I don't know about all PDF creation programs.
I use Adobe's Acrobat. It's easy to do with Acrobat. If you need help, PM me.
It's the best of all the programs with the most features and security features. But expensive.

I would think that the most secure method is that each customer gets their own individual password.
Of course you would have to keep track of the customer's name & passwords assigned to them.
If a copy is distributed on the Internet, you will know who the customer was by looking at the password.
Also make it "Read Only".
The time involved in doing this may be a burden if you sell many copies.
I should also mention that there is no 100% security method.
Someone will always figure it out but why make it easy for them.
Good luck.
Message: Posted by: jlibby (Dec 20, 2013 10:25PM)
We use Acrobat at the office. Honestly, I think it's been "improved" to the point that it's way too cumbersome.

Here at home, I use Corel PDF Fusion. I can only speak for myself, but I like it. It's got many of the features and tools that Acrobat does at a fraction of the cost. You should at least investigate it if you need to do more than save a doc as as PDF.

http://www.corel.com/corel/product/index.jsp?pid=prod4100140

Joe Libby
San Antonio TX
Message: Posted by: Chris (Dec 21, 2013 09:31PM)
I think password protecting a PDF makes little sense. For one, it is pretty easy to remove the password, but more importantly put yourself in the shoes of somebody who has many magic PDFs. Imagine you would have to remember a different password for each and every of your ebooks. And even if you could remember them or write them down somewhere, having to type in the password every time you want to open the book is a real pain. Simply put, it is not customer friendly.

That is the problem with many protection schemes. The small hurdles you put in front of pirates really hurt the majority of your honest customers. If you want my recommendation, don't do it. Provide a great service and great value, then folks will come and buy your products.
Message: Posted by: Ihop (Dec 21, 2013 10:34PM)
Chris,
I understand your reasoning that it is inconvenient for the customer but it is not as bad as you made it sound.

First, it is only easy to remove the password if you know how.
Sure, it can be Googled but it is an effort except for the computer savvy.
Brain surgery is easy, if you're a brain surgeon. Casual computer users will have to make an effort.
First of all the "pirate" needs to have a copy of the PDF file and that particular file is unique to the buyer because of the unique password.
And that can be easily traced if it is on a file sharing website via the password.

Also, a password can be, for example, the first 3 letters of your last name + your zip code.
A pop up window can remind the customer of this when they open the PDF.
This can be computer generated from the shipping address so that it is minimal effort on the sellers part..

I don't think using a password will a big effort on the customer's part.
How many times per day will they be opening the EBook?

Sorry for the rambling but I got carried away. I just had too much wine.
My point is,
Preventing copying and piracy will generate more sales and possibly keep costs down for the buyer and more profit for the distributor.
Regards,
Message: Posted by: dearwiseone (Dec 22, 2013 03:36AM)
I tend to agree with the idea that requiring a password is a pain. I personally wouldn't want to purchase a file that had restrictions (printing, or opening), especially if I had to remember a password? Passwords are for member websites and secret clubs, not magic effects that you've legally purchased. Customers shouldn't be made to deal with that.

Further, requiring a password won't make it easy to trace on file-sharing programs because pdf password encryption is easily cracked so someone could distribute it with a cracked "master" password. Then how will you trace it?

Of course, all of this assumes the file is popular enough that so many people people are trying to upload it to torrent sites. I'm sorry, but magic-themed PDF downloads are NOT a hugely popular file to be uploaded to file-sharing websites...nowhere near as big as video files, dvd rips, etc. This doesn't mean they don't exist, it just means it shouldn't be a huge worry, in my opinion, because PDF is not the prefered format for marketing magic effects.

What was the last big magic effect that you heard of that was a PDF instant download?

Is PDF really the best format for this effect? For any effect?

Just some thoughts!
- Kevin
Message: Posted by: LeeEarle (Dec 27, 2013 12:16PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-19 20:31, magicman344 wrote:
With password protecting a pdf(I can probably figure that out) how would you set up the password, would you give people a password when they download it? would you give each person their own code? Can you give me anymore information on how Lee Earle set it up.
[/quote]

I used the purchaser's name as the password, plus put a distinct but almost invisible watermark on every page with the person's name. That tends to discourage the file showing up on torrent sites. I have also been known to 'salt' the text with information unique to a particular transaction for later identification if copies show up, similar to the technique used when renting a mail list; the owners include a few phony addresses that will redirect to the list owners so if you use the list a second time, they will get the mail too - and then you get a bill.

I am fortunate to be able to use Adobe Acrobat (the top o' the line for PDFs) which has an abundance of features not found in other 'create a PDF' software or Adobe InDesign (a professional page layout application) which has the capability built in. Still, many text or consumer level layout apps will do what you require: When you brew the PDF you will be requested by the software to set your levels of resolution (screen resolution, medium resolution for home printing, or 'print' quality in high definition), protection (print only, no print, copy text, no copy text, assistive devices, etc.) and a couple levels of passwords. The 'master' password is one I use for ALL my PDF releases and will remain closely held. The 'open the document' password is the purchaser's name which lets him read the document but still be restricted to the protection levels set by the Master password.

There is a PDF attached which is a screenshot of the dialog box with all the choices. It's password protected and watermarked. Your password to open is magicman344 ;-)

Hope this helps.
Message: Posted by: magicman344 (Dec 28, 2013 10:47AM)
I don't see an attachment. Is it attached and I don't see it or maybe did it get removed?
Message: Posted by: magicman344 (Dec 28, 2013 10:53AM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-22 04:36, dearwiseone wrote:
I tend to agree with the idea that requiring a password is a pain. I personally wouldn't want to purchase a file that had restrictions (printing, or opening), especially if I had to remember a password? Passwords are for member websites and secret clubs, not magic effects that you've legally purchased. Customers shouldn't be made to deal with that.

Further, requiring a password won't make it easy to trace on file-sharing programs because pdf password encryption is easily cracked so someone could distribute it with a cracked "master" password. Then how will you trace it?

Of course, all of this assumes the file is popular enough that so many people people are trying to upload it to torrent sites. I'm sorry, but magic-themed PDF downloads are NOT a hugely popular file to be uploaded to file-sharing websites...nowhere near as big as video files, dvd rips, etc. This doesn't mean they don't exist, it just means it shouldn't be a huge worry, in my opinion, because PDF is not the prefered format for marketing magic effects.

What was the last big magic effect that you heard of that was a PDF instant download?

Is PDF really the best format for this effect? For any effect?

Just some thoughts!
- Kevin
[/quote]


I prefer pdfs because I can print them out and then no longer need a computer to look at it, as opposed to a DVD. However, DVDs are sometimes easier to understand. I think a pdf download with a short movie would be the best.

with the password, I can see your point, but LeeEarle has a convincing argument. I would prefer LeeEarle's methods if I can figure out how he did it.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Dec 30, 2013 11:17AM)
Watermarks can be removed with the new PDF software being sold today. There is just no totally secure way to have a document not be passed around. I really think, as most people are not scanning and PDF creation knowledgeable that the printed format would be safer.

There are free PDF creation software on the Internet, most work like a printer, just print your document and it is saved in PDF form. Really, no need to spend a lot of money if you are not going to be using it all the time.

I use Nuance PaperPort 12, it can be purchased for a heavy price, or it can be gotten with a basic WordPerfect OEM suite. I have Adobe Acrobat, but it is very limited, all editing of videos, and pictures has to be edited outside of Acrobat program in the even more expensive video and photo software programs by Adobe.
Message: Posted by: Ihop (Dec 30, 2013 07:41PM)
If you're in the business of selling PDF documents and need to protect them,
Acrobat is the only way to go.
It's more expensive but it has the most features and best protection.
If you're a casual user, then you probably don't need the best and you can get it cheaper or for free elsewhere.
But if it's used in your business, there's nothing to compare to it.
It does multimedia as well.
A PDF document is an Adobe creation. As is Acrobat.
Here's a link to a comparison of the top PDF creation programs.

http://convert-pdf-software-review.toptenreviews.com
Message: Posted by: magicman344 (Jan 10, 2014 09:24PM)
Do you really think I need to protect them? I don't think that my trick will be popular enough for it to appear on file-sharing sites. It seems like too much trouble for a needless cause.
Message: Posted by: dearwiseone (Jan 12, 2014 01:15AM)
Magicman,
I think you're right. I'd just release it!

Good luck!
Kevin