Ebook Publishing Success Principles
One of the easiest ways to gain status, leads, credibility and trust from your customers is to write your own ebook.
Many people are intimidated by the thought of creating their own ebooks but the truth is, the process is very straight-forward and it can be enormously profitable.
If you are already involved in activities such as blogging, article marketing and creating relationships with newsletters, an ebook is just one step beyond in the whole process but can really give your credibility rating an extra boost.
E-Books are part of the new frontier of cyberspace. They are an entirely new medium for sharing marketing information, ideas, techniques, and expert knowledge. Each day the number of people accessing the Internet grows, causing the exposure of your E-Book to increase incrementally. It’s obvious why electronic self-publishing has become so popular so quickly.
The publishing industry, I hope, does not intend to forever banish the printed word to the dustbin of history. Books in print have their own special qualities and merits, and the world would be diminished by their disappearance.
Having said that, let’s look at what makes E-Books so important and so unique.
E-Books have certain abilities and qualities that other mediums do not possess. For example, E-Books are fairly easy to produce, and their production cost is inexpensive. Just think about it: you don’t need a publisher, an agent, a printing press, offset film, ink, paper, or even a distributor. You just need a great concept, the ability to write it or to hire a writer, and the right software.
Additionally, E-Books are easily and rapidly distributed online. They are also easily updated; they do not require a second print run. All you need is to go into your original creation and modify the text or graphics. Because of this flexibility, E-Books can change and grow as fast as you can type.
E-Books are also immediately obtainable. You don’t have to go to a bookstore or search through endless titles at an online bookstore. All you have to do is download it from a website, and presto! It’s on your computer, ready to be read.
E-Books are interactive. This is one of the most unique and specific qualities that E-Books offer. You can add surveys that need to be filled out, order forms for customers to purchase your products or goods, sound and video that draw your reader into the virtual world of your E-Book, even direct links to relevant sites that will expand your E-Book outward. The potential is virtually limitless.
E-Books have a particular kind of permanence that other mediums do not possess. Television shows and radio shows air once, and then may rerun a few times. E-Books remain on your computer for as long as your choose, and they can be read and reread whenever you choose to. They can even be printed out and stored on the shelves of your traditional home library.
Another wonderful quality is that E-Books have no barriers in terms of publishing. You don’t need to go through the endless process of submitting your manuscript over and over again, and then once you land an agent, having the agent submit your manuscript over and over again. Nor do you have to shell out thousands of dollars for printing a self-published book. All E-Books require is a writer and appropriate software.
Figure out your market, write your book, post it on your website, and with the right business savvy, your audience will come to you.
Finally, you have creative control over your E-Book. You don’t have to compromise with an editor or the publishing trends of the time. You don’t have to haggle with a designer or wait for copyedited galleys to arrive by snail mail. You are in complete control of the design and the text.
How to Use E-books for Marketing and Promotion
There are innumerable ways to use E-Books to promote your business and drive quality traffic to your website. Once posted on your site, you can turn them into a daily course, which brings your customer back to read the next chapter. You can use them as a free gift for making a purchase or for filling out a survey. Put your E-Book on a disc, and you will have an innovative brochure. Blow your competition away by inserting the disc into your sales packages.
The most effective marketing products are those that are unique. Copyright your E-Book, and immediately, you have a powerful tool that you, and you alone, can offer to the public. People will have to visit your site to acquire your E-Book, which increases the flow of quality traffic and the potential of sales and affiliate contacts.
Make sure that you keep your E-Book current. Update it frequently as the market and trends change. Add new advice and techniques to show your prospects how your goods or services can enrich their lives. By constantly keeping abreast of new trends and techniques, you can continue to see profits from your E-Book for years after your original creation.
Another phenomenal advantage of E-Books is that you can test their marketing potential without putting out hardly any cash at all. You can even produce an E-Book one copy at a time, each time you receive an order, eliminating the need for storage and inventory. By this method, you can gauge the saleability of your E-Book, and make adjustments as necessary until the orders start pouring in.
E-Books allow you to learn about your market and customer habits and motivation over a period of time, without risking your precious financial resources. They also provide you with an invaluable way to gather marketing information, which you can use in many different facets of your business.
Use your E-Book to discover what the specific goals and problems are in your specific industry. Then figure out how to solve these problems, and publish an E-Book with this invaluable information. This will increase the value of your business, upgrade your reputation, and get you known as an expert in your field.
You can extend the value of single E-Book by breaking the book down into chapters for a serial course, into special reports available on your website, or into audio or visual tapes. E-Books can be broken down into several different promotional materials by accepting some of the articles and using them to promote your product.
You can include a catalog in your E-Book to promote all the products or services you sell. You can include a thank-you note for reading your book and an invitation to download a trial version of your product. Or you can include a form for your audience to contact you for further information or with questions, thereby building your business relationships and your mailing list.
Using E-Books in this manner helps to cut the cost of individually producing separate promotional materials. You can use a single E-Book to entice new prospects and to sell new products to your current customers.
No other medium has this kind of flexibility and ability for expansion. Think of your E-Book like a spider spinning a beautiful and intricate web. Now go and create that web, and see how many customers and prospects you can catch!
Why Sell E-Books?
It’s not true that everything that has been said has already been written. Since that unfortunate axiom came into use, the whole universe has changed. Technology has changed, ideas have changed, and the mindsets of entire nations have changed.
The fact is that this is the perfect time to write an E-Book. What the publishing industry needs are people who can tap into the world as it is today – innovative thinkers who can make the leap into the new millennium and figure out how to solve old problems in a new way. E-Books are a new and powerful tool for original thinkers with fresh ideas to disseminate information to the millions of people who are struggling to figure out how to do a plethora of different things.
Let’s say you already have a brilliant idea, and the knowledge to back it up that will enable you to write an exceptional E-Book. You may be sitting at your computer staring at a blank screen wondering, “Why? Why should I go through all the trouble of writing my E-Book when it’s so impossible to get anything published these days?”
Well, let me assure you that publishing an E-Book is entirely different than publishing a book in print. Let’s look at the specifics of how the print and cyber publishing industry differ, and the many reasons why you should take the plunge and get your fingers tapping across those keyboards!
Submitting a print book to conventional publishing houses or to agents is similar to wearing a hair shirt 24/7. No matter how good your book actually is, or how many critique services and mentor writers have told you that “you’ve got what it takes,” your submitted manuscript keeps coming back to you as if it is a boomerang instead of a valuable mine of information.
Perhaps, in desperation, you’ve checked out self-publishing and found out just how expensive a venture it can be. Most “vanity presses” require minimal print runs of at least 500 copies, and even that amount will cost you thousands of dollars. Some presses’ minimal run starts at 1,000 to 2,000 copies.
And that’s just for the printing and binding. Add in distribution, shipping, and promotional costs and – well, you do the math.
Even if you wanted to go this route, you may not have that kind of money to risk.
Let’s say you already have an Internet business with a quality website and a quality product. An E-Book is one of the most powerful ways to promote your business while educating people with the knowledge you already possess as a business owner of a specific product or service.
For example, let’s say that you’ve spent the last twenty-five years growing and training bonsai trees, and now you’re ready to share your knowledge and experience. An E-Book is the perfect way to reach the largest audience of bonsai enthusiasts.
E-Books will not only promote your business – they will help you make a name for yourself and your company, and establish you as an expert in your field. You may even find that you have enough to say to warrant a series of E-Books. Specific businesses are complicated and often require the different aspects to be divided in order for the reader to get the full story.
Perhaps your goals are more finely tuned in terms of the E-Book scene. You may want to build a whole business around writing and publishing E-Books. Essentially, you want to start an e-business. You are thinking of setting up a website to promote and market your E-Books. Maybe you’re even thinking of producing an E-zine.
One of the most prevalent reasons people read E-Books is to find information about how to turn their Internet businesses into a profit-making machine. And these people are looking to the writers of E-Books to provide them with new ideas and strategies because writers of E-Books are usually people who understand the new cyberspace world we now live in.
E-Book writers are experts in Internet marketing campaigns and the strategies of promoting and distributing E-Books. The cyberspace community needs its E-Books to be successful so that more and more E-Books will be written.
You may want to create affiliate programs that will also market your E-Book. Affiliates can be people or businesses worldwide that will all be working to sell your E-Books. Think about this. Do you see a formula for success here?
Figure out what your subject matter is, and then narrow it down. Your goal is to aim for specificity. Research what’s out there already, and try to find a void that your E-Book might fill.
What about an E-Book about a wedding cake business? Or an E-Book about caring for elderly pets? How about the fine points of collecting ancient pottery?
You don’t have to have three masters degrees to write about your subject. People need advice that is easy to read and easily understood. Parents need advice for dealing with their teenagers. College students need to learn good study skills – quickly. The possibilities are endless.
After you’ve written your E-book…
Getting your E-Book out is going to be your focus once you’ve finished writing it, just as it is with print books. People will hesitate to buy any book from an author they’ve never heard of. Wouldn’t you?
The answer is simple: give it away! You will see profits in the form of promoting your own business and getting your name out. You will find affiliates who will ask you to place their links within your E-Book, and these affiliates will in turn go out and make your name known. Almost every single famous E-Book author has started out this way.
This doesn’t mean you should stop here. Eventually, you will move into where most of the wealth mountains are – selling them, and then maybe their Resell Rights and Private Label licenses!
Another powerful tool to attract people to your E-Book is to make it interactive. Invent something for them to do within the book rather than just producing pages that contain static text. Let your readers fill out questionnaires, forms, even crossword puzzles geared to testing their knowledge on a particular subject.
Have your readers hit a link that will allow them to recommend your book to their friends and associates. Or include an actual order form so at the end of their reading journey, they can eagerly buy your product.
When people interact with books, they become a part of the world of that book. The fact is just as true for books in print as it is for E-Books.
That’s why E-Books are so essential. Not only do they provide a forum for people to learn and make sense of their own thoughts, but they can also serve to promote your business at the same time.
How to Write an E-Book
The hardest part of writing is the first sentence. When you look at the whole project, it seems like an impossible task. That’s why you have to break it down into manageable tasks. Think of climbing a mountain. You are standing at the foot of it and looking up at its summit vanishing into the clouds. How can you possibly scale such an immense and dangerous mountain?
There is only one way to climb a mountain: step by step.
Now think of writing your E-Book in the same light. You must create it step by step, and one day, you will take that last step and find yourself standing on the summit with your head in the clouds.
The first thing you have to do, as if you actually were a mountain climber, is to get organized. Instead of climbing gear, however, you must organize your thoughts. There are some steps you should take before you begin. Once you’ve gone through the following list, you will be ready to actually begin writing your E-Book.
Beginning Steps to Writing an E-Book
First, figure out your E-Book’s working title. Jot down a few different titles, and eventually, you’ll find that one that will grow on you. Titles help you to focus your writing on your topic; they guide you in anticipating and answering your reader’s queries. Many non-fiction books also have subtitles. Aim for clarity in your titles, but cleverness always helps to sell books as long as it’s not too cute.
Next, write out a thesis statement. Your thesis is a sentence or two stating exactly what problem you are addressing and how your book will solve that problem. All chapters spring forth from your thesis statement. Once you’ve got your thesis statement fine-tuned, you’ve built your foundation. From that foundation, your book will grow, chapter by chapter.
Your thesis will keep you focused while you write your E-Book. Remember: all chapters must support your thesis statement. If they don’t, they don’t belong in your book. For example, your thesis statement could read: We’ve all experienced insomnia at times in our lives, but there are twenty proven techniques and methods to give you back a good night’s sleep.
Once you have your thesis, before you start to write, make sure there is a good reason to write your book. Ask yourself some questions:
Does your book present useful information and is that information currently relevant?
Will you book positively affect the lives of your readers?
Is your book dynamic and will it keep the reader’s attention?
Does you book answer questions that are meaningful and significant?
If you can answer yes to these questions, you can feel confident about the potential of your E-Book.
Another important step is to figure out who your target audience is. It is this group of people you will be writing to, and this group will dictate many elements of your book, such as style, tone, diction, and even length. Figure out the age range of your readers, their general gender, what they are most interested in, and even the socio-economic group they primarily come from.
Are they people who read fashion magazines or book reviews?
Do they write letters in longhand or spend hours every day online?
The more you can pin down your target audience, the easier it will be to write your book for them.
Next, make a list of the reasons you are writing your E-Book.
- Do you want to promote your business?
- Do you want to bring quality traffic to your website?
- Do you want to enhance your reputation?
Then write down your goals in terms of publishing. Do you want to sell it as a product on your website, or do you want to offer it as a free gift for filling out a survey or for ordering a product? Do you want to use the chapters to create an e-course, or use your E-Book to attract affiliates around the world? The more you know upfront, the easier the actual writing will be.
Decide on the format of your chapters. In non-fiction, keep the format from chapter to chapter fairly consistent. Perhaps you plan to use an introduction to your chapter topic, and then divide it into four subhead topics. Or you may plan to divide it into five parts, each one beginning with a relevant anecdote.
How to make your E-Book “user friendly”
You must figure out how to keep your writing engaging. Often anecdotes, testimonials, little stories, photos, graphs, advice, and tips will keep the reader turning the pages. Sidebars are useful for quick, accessible information, and they break up the density of the page.
Write with a casual, conversational tone rather than a formal tone such as textbook diction. Reader’s respond to the feeling that you are having a conversation with them. Break up the length and structure of your sentences so you don’t hypnotize your readers into sleep. Sentences that are all the same length and structure tend to be a good aid for insomnia!
Good writing takes practice. It takes lots and lots of practice. Make a schedule to write at least a page a day. Read books and magazines about the process of writing, and jot down tips that jump out at you. The art of writing is a lifetime process; the more you write (and read), the better your writing will become. The better your writing becomes, the bigger your sales figures.
In an E-Book that is read on the screen, be aware that you must give your reader’s eye a break. You can do this by utilizing white space. In art classes, white space is usually referred to as “negative space.” Reader’s eyes need to rest in the cool white oasis you create on your page. If your page is too dense, your reader will quit out of it as soon as their eyes begin to tear.
Make use of lists, both bulleted and numbered. This makes your information easy to absorb, and gives the reader a mental break from dissecting your paragraphs one after the other.
Finally, decide on an easy-to-read design. Find a font that’s easy on the eyes, and stick to that font family. Using dozens of fonts will only tire your readers out before they’ve gotten past your introduction.
Use at least one and a half line spacing, and text large enough to be read easily on the screen, but small enough so that the whole page can be seen on a computer screen. You will have to experiment with this to find the right combination.
Of course, don’t forget to run a spell and grammar check. You are judged by something as minor as correct punctuation, so don’t mess up a great book by tossing out semicolons randomly, or stringing sentences together with commas. (By the way, that’s called a “comma splice.”)
Last of all: create an index and a bibliography. That’s it! You’ve written a book! Now all you have to do is compile and publish your E-Book online, and wait for download request from your website visitors!
How to Price Your E-Book
You’ve written and compiled an E-Book. Now you have to decide how much to charge for it. Finding the right price is essential to the success of your product. If you charge too little, people will think it’s of little value, and they won’t purchase it, or even it they do buy your book, you will have to sell thousands of copies to get to the point where you can begin to see a profit. If you price it too high when compared with your competition, you will find yourself steadily lowering the price, which will cause you all kinds of new problems in the future. For example, if you sell your E-Book at first for $39.99, and later reduce it to $24.95, don’t you think the people who bought it for $39.99 are going to be PISSED?
Choosing the right price for your E-Book is one of the most critical parts of the marketing process. The first rule of pricing E-Books is to never under-price. Determine the highest price your audience can afford, and then if you find your book isn’t selling, you can always reduce the price. Before you take that step, make sure you are promoting your book like crazy on the Internet and on websites.
The price should be aimed at bringing in profits, but you should never forget that price is one of the factors that people use in judging the value of your E-Book before they buy it. So always start with the highest price, and then launch a mega-marketing campaign.
Pricing an E-Book is particularly difficult because E-Books are a fairly new commodity. Since they are digital, the value of an E-Book is as confusing as the understanding of what digital actually is to the average layperson. This means that we must look at E-Books in a different light in order to determine their actual worth in this brave, new cyber world.
Let’s look at the difference between a book in print and an E-Book. A printed book is an object you can hold in your hand, store on your bookshelf, even hand down to the next generation. It is priced on factors such as paper stock, design and production costs, and marketing.
But the fact that unites E-Books and print books is that they are composed of ideas. It is the ideas in these books that have the ability to change, or possibly transform, people’s lives.
What do you think an idea is worth when evaluated against the cost of paper and ink?
It is the IDEAS that are valuable! That is how you determine the cost of your E-Book.
What should I charge for my ideas?
There are all different formulas and methods for determining the correct price for your E-Book. Let’s begin with honing in on your ultimate goals.
Decide if your goal is to get wide distribution and maximum exposure. This goal is aimed at drawing customers to your business or service, or to establishing the credibility of your reputation. If this is your main goal, you should aim to keep your price on the low side. Some authors have even priced their E-Books at a profit loss to draw a high number of new customers. The key is to find a price that maximizes your profits and the number of books you sell.
This is an excellent pricing strategy if you are looking to acquire long-term customers. Long-term customers are extremely likely to buy from you again and again as long as the first E-Book they buy is of exceptional quality and beneficial to the customer.
However, if your book contains valuable and more importantly NEW information, references, or techniques then you should aim to price it on the high end.
After you figure out your goal, you must figure out what your audience’s need is for your E-Book. For example, does your book solve a particular problem?
If it does, and solves it in a way that hasn’t been written about in one hundred other E-Books, you will be able to achieve high sales at a high price. If your book solves a problem or answers questions in a new and unique way, you should price your book as high as you can go. You will achieve larger profits this way, but bring in fewer customers. Just make sure the question or problem that your book solves is one that is important and relevant to the majority of your market audience.
If your ideas are not common knowledge, or you are presenting a brand new technique, you will be able to sell books at a high price. Just be prepared for your competition to undercut you on price as soon as they hear about your book.
Keep in mind that the above pricing strategy is temporary. Eventually, you will cease to sell books at this high price. So figure out in advance how long you plan to offer your E-Book at this high price, and when that time is up, change your pricing strategy.
If you want to see large profits over customer draw, aim for an audience that is looking for easy solutions to their problems at a low price. If your book is aimed at solving one particular problem rather than general advice, then you can charge more. Start at the highest price the market will bear to bring in the largest profits, and plan to discount the book a number of times throughout the year.
The key that unlocks the sales potential of your E-Book is to find a single sentence that becomes your selling handle. This sentence states what question or problem your book answers and the benefits your E-Book can provide. Then be sure to use that sentence in every piece of sales and promotional material, and every time anyone asks you about your E-Book.
Besides promoting your books assiduously online, there are several other strategies that can help you sell more books.
One is to give something away for free with your book, such as a valuable bonus item. Or bundle several E-Books under one price, which lowers the price for each E-Book if they were sold separately.
An effective technique for figuring out a price is to send out a survey to your current customers. If these customers have already bought an E-Book from you, ask for their opinion in terms of price. Do this by creating a sales page for the new book, but don’t include a price on that page. Instead, add a number of links to survey questions that ask pointed questions to aid you in assigning a price to your E-Book.
Another strategy is to test out prices by creating a number of duplicate sales pages with different prices on each page. Make sure your sales copy is exactly the same on every page, and includes your selling-handle sentence. Then figure out for each page the conversion ratio between visitors to your site and sales of your book. This will tell you what your optimum price is.
Ultimately, if you’ve written a book that solves a problem or presents a new technique, your book will bring in both traffic and profits. So be sure to write that selling-handle sentence that sums up what problem your book solves and what the benefits of your book will be to the customers who purchase it. And then watch your market come to you!
Steps to Publishing Success
Even if your best friend owns a top publishing company, giving you an immediate “in,” this does not guarantee publishing success.
First, you have to write a quality book that has a clear target audience. And your book must answer a common problem or need that audience shares. Then you have to develop a marketing plan, and stick to it for at least two years.
Let’s begin with the process that should commence before you write your first word. Begin by reading A LOT. Read both books you passionately love and books you can’t seem to make it past page five. Then figure out what the author did in the book you loved, and what was wrong with in the book you couldn’t finish. Write down these points so they are crystal clear to you. Read other people’s books for inspiration and to discover what you should avoid as a writer.
The next step is to plan out your book. Narrow down your subject, and then divide it into chapters. Each chapter should address a specific aspect of the problem your book is going to solve. In each chapter, break the specific aspect down into several parts. This will help your readers take in your information a bit at a time instead of overwhelming them with every bit of information clogging up the pages until they feel like they’re about to go blind. It’s not quite spoon-feeding the information to your readers, but it’s close.
The next two steps are obvious. Write your book and then revise it. And then revise it again. And perhaps again. Of course, writing is extremely hard, and writing a book can seem like an impossible task. There are many books out there that give you guidelines to help you become familiar – and even love – the process of writing and revision. Find a number of books about writing. Better yet, find a number of books about writing the specific type of book you aspire to write. These can serve as roadmaps on your writing journey.
Once you’ve written your E-Book and revised it at least twice, show it to someone else whose opinion you respect. If you’re lucky enough to know a good editor, see if you have something to barter for him or her to go through your manuscript. Or join a writing group and let the other members critique your work.
Then take all these ideas from other people, and revise your manuscript one last time. And then stop! Put down that pen! Get your hands off the keyboard!
One of the most important steps to actually producing a book is to know when to stop writing and tinkering with it.
You’ve finally written your E-Book! Pop open the bubbly! Give yourself a night out on the town!
Okay, now that this necessary celebration is out of your system, what do you do next?
How to turn your E-Book into Profits
E-Books are a revolutionary way to publish your book without incurring the costs of print production. All you need is a relevant and targeted subject and some inexpensive software, and you can transform your manuscript into a book.
The problem, in terms of actually seeing any profits from your E-Book, is that the market is overwhelmed with E-Books, and many of them are not worth the time it takes to download them. Just because the ability exists to easily produce an E-Book, doesn’t make it good writing.
Make sure your book does not simply rehash old material. You will injure your credibility as an author by claiming to offer valuable new insights and disappointing your audience with material they’ve read a zillion times before. So spend enough time writing and revising your book to make sure it’s of the highest quality and presents the most current information. A good book will eventually sell itself; false claims about your book will make it extremely difficult to sell any future books you may write.
Assuming you have determined that you do indeed have a quality product that answers some question or need of your target audience with NEW information, how do you know how much to charge for it? Rule number 1: Set a price for your book equal to its value. An under-priced book will only give the impression that your book isn’t worth very much.
To figure out a fair price, estimate how much time you put into creating it and how difficult it was to transform the necessary information into understandable and engaging writing. Figure out how much your time and effort is worth, and then price it accordingly. The goal is for you to be adequately compensated for your talent, your time, and your effort.
Once you’ve figured out a price that is high enough to convey the value of the book, but not so high as to be out of the reach of your target audience’s mean budget, then it’s time to offer it for sale on your website. To attract sales, you will need to develop a promotional campaign, particularly if you are an unknown author.
There are multitudes of books about self-promotion that will guide you in your efforts. Choose a plan that is both creative and professional. Learn how to write a catchy yet informative press release, and send copies of your E-Book to sites that specialize in E-Book reviews.
Learn how to write powerful sales copy, or hire someone to write it for you. This is an essential. You absolutely need excellent sales copy to sell your book. Make sure the copy includes all the reasons your target audience needs your book, and the benefits they will derive from buying it.
Use graphics in your promotional materials. Beautiful graphics have the power to instantly convey the quality and value of your E-Book. Graphics can also convey the amount of valuable information the book contains, and your careful attention to detail. Professional graphics sell professional books. They reassure the customer that the product is what it claims to be.
Consider excerpting chapters for articles. You can offer these tidbits for free on your website as a sort of demo of your book. Include an order form for your E-Book at the end of the excerpted articles.
Finally, when you set-up your download link, make sure to simplify the process. It’s a good idea to offer a few bonuses that make your book even more enticing to purchase, but make sure the bonuses are valuable and high quality. Too many bonuses that are basically a load of useless stuff will compromise the impression your audience has of your E-Book. The goal is to convey to your audience that they are getting a quality product for a good deal. That means applying restraint, especially when it comes to adding bonus items. Too much free stuff offered diminishes your credibility.
Make sure your book is a quality product. Make sure it is relevant and current. Develop an effective marketing plan that includes excellent sales copy and excerpted articles. Then offer your book for sale, and wait for your audience to discover you!