How to Create & Sell a PDF File

by Ann Johnson; Updated September 26, 2017

A PDF file, or Portable Document Format, was created by Adobe Systems. It is used to exchange documents online. Documents created in a word processor, such as Microsoft Word, can be converted to a PDF file, and then that file can be emailed to its destination or attached to a website for download by a reader. PDF files are often used by publishers creating eBooks. Customers can purchase the eBook online, and the file can be sent to an email for download. If you have an eBook or another document you would like to sell via a PDF file, you can do that online.

Step 1

Create your word processing document. Write your book, or whatever document you will be marketing, with your word processor. The page orientation of the document should be vertical, with a standard 8 ½ x 11-inch page size. Format the document so that when you print it out on your printer, it looks the way you want.

Step 2

Convert your document to a PDF file with your conversion software. If your computer already has PDF-conversion software, instead of choosing your regular printer as the destination printer, you will choose your PDF-conversion software as the printer. It will then create the PDF file, and during the process it will ask you to name the new file, which will be saved on your computer.

Step 3

Convert your document to a PDF file online. If you do not have PDF-conversion software, you can convert the file to a PDF file by using one of the free online conversion websites. Go to one of these websites and upload your document file. When uploading, you will be asked for your email address. After the upload, the file will be converted to a PDF and emailed to you. Links to PDF conversion sites are included in the Resources section.

Step 4

Sign up with an online service that will store your PDF file and handle the customer downloads. Instead of you having to spend a lot of money creating your own website to host your PDF, and then having to service each customer individually, there are digital delivery services designed to do this. Some of the services charge a set-up or membership fee, but some don't. Typically, you will pay a percentage of your profits to the service. Links for these sites are also included in Resources.

Step 5

Upload your PDF file to the digital delivery service you choose. Typically this involves logging into your account on the website and uploading the PDF file as you are walked through an upload wizard.

Step 6

Market your PDF file. Although some of the services provide directories and online stores, which helps potential customers find your work, you will still need to market your book.

Tips

  • Some of the servicing sites will require you sign up for a Paypal or a similar account. Though selling your PDF online is the easiest and most efficient way, you could also sell downloads of your PDF on a disk.

About the Author

Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real-estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University, Fullerton.