The New Year is here! It’s day 2…and we have another idea to improve your company revenue: a well-written, visual and content-filled tool that has multi-purpose uses. If you invest in an e-book for your company use, to market your company and offer to your customers as a free download, offer, informative guide, or printed resource, we promise it will be completely worth your time. And the cost of having an ebook created won’t break your bank—you can get a comprehensive 10-pager written and formatted for under $250.
The Secret: Creating Ebooks That Work
A lot of companies write ebooks solely for the purpose of improving online conversions. An ebook is the perfect candidate to share a free download, email campaign, or seasonal offer. But how do you write one that people want to READ and download, for those conversions to actually happen?
There’s a lot to it…let’s delve in…
3 Tips for Choosing a Sellable Topic
The most important step to creating a great e-book is choosing a topic people crave. It’s best to ensure an audience and a genuine demand exists before investing countless hours and energy into creating your ebook. A sure way of choosing a killer topic lies in these 3 tips about research and testing:
- Use social media. According to Social Media Chimps, a great way to research the demand for popular ebook topics is by pitching your ideas to your Twitter followers and Facebook fans. See how they react! Are they excited? Which idea(s) seemed to generate the most value and interest?
- Use surveys. A short survey is a noninvasive way to research audience reaction to your topic. Share the survey with your social networks. Ask questions that will help pinpoint your core audience, their needs and the benefits they are seeking from reading an ebook. Two of the most popular free survey providers are SurveyMonkey and Twtpoll.
- Test the market. You have a couple testing options at your fingertips. 1) Release the first chapter of your ebook as a free giveaway to your subscribers or social media network, or make your ebook available before you write it as a pre-sale. See how much response is generated, and watch for feedback. 2) Use a Kickstarter campaign to pitch your ebook project. The amount of support generated will help you gauge interest in the topic while also generating a small amount of funding to lift your ebook project off the ground.
A lot of companies use ebooks as a successful marketing tool. The content of their book often suggests their product or service to the reader. For example, a personal trainer seeking to gain exposure might write an ebook about their top five ways to stay in shape in spite of a hectic schedule. Their book will deliver the kind of information a large audience seeks while steering them toward the services and/or products the personal trainer offers. The point of an ebook is not to create a literary masterpiece; it’s to share useful and helpful information on a topic you’re an expert on.
8 Tips for Writing an Amazing Ebook
Ebooks have revolutionized the publication industry. According to the Personal Branding Blog, before the advent of digital publication, “it could take years to locate and convince a traditional publisher that you had a sellable book.” The editing, production, printing and distribution phases would take even more time.
The introduction of ebook printing sped the process up exponentially. However, planning and writing a polished book should not be sacrificed for the sake of speed. Yes, you can publish your book in record time and gain explosive exposure. But a poorly planned book riddled with grammatical errors will reflect poorly on your brand and the product or service you hope to steer readers toward. Keep the following 8 tips in mind as you dive into writing an ebook:
- Limit your focus. Your ebook can be an all-inclusive project or a brief presentation of helpful and useful information. Aim for the latter. One of the benefits of an ebook is the ability to easily modify and update the book later down the road.
- Write about what you know. The worst writing strategy is to write about a big market topic you have little to no experience in. Just because self-help books are a huge market, this doesn’t mean your self-help book will turn a profit. Large markets are often saturated with copy and only established names manage to sell. Opt for a topic you know a lot about and that you enjoy writing about. Not only can you become a credible writer, but you will also increase your chances of completing and successfully marketing your ebook.
- Read similar books. This might seem like an obvious tip, but a lot of first time writers overlook it. Don’t rely on short articles and blog posts to guide your creative process. Read ebooks and hard print books on the topic you’ve chosen. Pay attention to format, organization and subtopic choices. You’ll spark your own ideas for a fresh perspective while picking up on the standards readers interested in the topic expect.
- Research facts and statistics. You’ll no doubt sprinkle facts, statistics and even a case study or two into your writing. After all, this adds authoritative references and credibility to your book. This is the sort of information potential customers live for! It’s vital you ensure every fact, statistic and case study you present is factual because a minority of published authors simply create these “facts” to suit their needs. Look for original studies, credible publications and reputable sources when researching facts and statistics.
- Never underestimate the power of an outline. Outlines are one of the most simple and useful writer’s tools. They provide direction, which can save you from hitting unexpected dead ends or losing the main point(s) of your project. Your outline should include a working title for each chapter, subtopics for each chapter and a list of points you plan to cover broken down for each chapter and subtopic.
- Find a distraction-free writing environment. Even for the seasoned author, writing is a demanding, high-energy task. It can be easy to lose concentration or get distracted, especially if you’re in an environment filled with possible interruptions. Stifle temptation before it smothers the writing process by creating a distraction-free work environment. Turn off your phone. Close any social media pages and apps. Mute or disable pop-up alerts. Use a full-screen writing program. If the television distracts you, move to a room without it! Eliminate distractions and you’ll find that words will flow.
- Don’t chase perfection. New writers often strive for perfection when writing their first ebook. Don’t waste your time, but don’t output bad work. Perfection will never happen, especially if you’re creating your first ebook. Instead, aim to produce a crisp copy free of grammatical and spelling errors. Seek feedback from your readers, and use it to improve you next project.
- Plan to leverage your ebook as a cornerstone of your career. As you write your book, consider how you can use it as more than just a marketing piece. Leverage it as a core element to your personal brand and career. As your brand grows and expands, your ebook can follow. Plant breadcrumbs throughout the book. Later on, you will use these crumbs to expand and update the book as your brand evolves.
6 Tips for Formatting
An ebook can be created and formatted in any word processing program. Two of the most commonly used include Microsoft Word and Open Office. As long as your program can export your finished project in PDF format, you are set. Remember:
- Keep it simple. Readers are interested in words, not fancy formatting. Ebooks are quick and easy to produce because formatting is kept simple and straightforward.
- Decide on a format style. Your book can cover a step-by-step approach or be organized like a case study. It can house best practices or a question/answer format. Page orientation can be vertical (portrait) or horizontal (landscape).
- Tabs and spaces. It’s best to stay away from tabs and extra spaces in your ebook manuscript. Once you’ve hit the editing stage, you can quickly remove unwanted tabs or extra spaces that crept in by using the find/replace command in your word processing program.
- Customized headings. Sometimes the presets in your word processing program are not recognized when your file is converted for publication. A simple solution is to manually set your heading font, size and weight.
- Images. Images can be tricky if you’re converting from a standard word processing file to an ePub or Mobi file. Simply centering or justifying the image might not work. Instead, right click into the style or format of your image and set centering or justification from the image itself.
- PDF format. The PDF file format preserves your ebook and ensures the recipient cannot edit it. Never giveaway or sell your ebook in a raw word processing file that can be edited.
Self-Publishing and Marketing
Once you’ve written and polished your ebook, it’s time to move on to the publication and marketing process. Publication is easy. Once your ebook is in PDF format, you can effortlessly self-publish.
According to AWeber Communications, the quickest way to get your ebook off the ground is to self-publish by hosting your own website. If the PDF file is less than 10 MB, you can simply upload the file via most blogging software and share the link for downloading. If the file is over 10 MB, you might consider using a service like Dropbox to upload and share a permalink.
Marketing is one of the most fun aspects of creating and promoting your own ebook. You may have written a fantastic book, but that’s null and void if it doesn’t reach your target audience. The following 5 tips summarize quick and easy techniques for launching a high exposure marketing campaign at a minimal cost:
- Create a sales page. A popular technique for marketing niche nonfiction ebooks is to create a powerful sales page on your website. You can also market via an online store, such as Amazon. Online stores allow you to craft a sales page designed to promote the sale of your ebook. Be sure to include a blurb that grabs attention, a brief summary of your credentials and an excerpt of any good reviews your book has received.
- Let book bloggers sing your praises. Countless blogs with dense fields of subscribers are manned by enthusiastic readers who read and review books. Many of these readers live for independent authors. Get copies of your ebook into their hands. A few good reviews can launch a buzz about your work.
- Build your own audience. If you run your own blog or an e-mail list, chances are you already have a sizeable potential audience. Once you control your own blog or list, you can go wild! Create podcasts, videos or even giveaways promoting your ebook.
- Tap into Twitter and Facebook. Chances are you did preliminary topic research and testing via your social networks. Your followers and fans are anticipating your ebook release. Start conversations, showcase your finished project and direct these folks to your website, blog, e-list and ebook.
- Use reader oriented sites like Goodreads and Shelfari. Social networks open the door to a large, diverse audience. Sites like Goodreads open the door to a specific audience: avid niche readers. You can create a reader account for free and later upgrade to an author account once your ebook is ready to release. You’ll be able to take advantage of tools that include groups and giveaway.
Break Into the Kindle Marketplace
If you’re looking to publish on the Kindle Marketplace—and you absolutely should be—you need to review Copyblogger’s ultimate guide to Kindle platform publication. The Kindle Marketplace houses one of the largest ebook marketplaces, ever!
Ebook creation takes time and effort. The only con to producing and marketing an ebook designed to gain your brand exposure is not doing it at all. Regardless of whether you choose to self-publish and self-market or take advantage of the Kindle Marketplace and online store marketing, once you finish your ebook your journey will have just begun. After publication it will be time to start creating your next ebook designed to wow an expanding audience as you successfully promote your brand and land both conversions and customers!