Despite the multi-media temptations of Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube we still haven’t stopped wanting to consume a good book. It’s just that they come in digital formats as well as the old fashioned way…print!
Social media and multi-media hasn’t turned our minds to mush as some have predicted. It’s just changed how and what we read and where we consume it.
Want a book?… log onto the web and download a book from Amazon to your Kindle or use a Kindle app on your tablet and you have a book in 30 seconds.
Have a need to read that free ebook on your Apple iPhone or iPad, then download and save that ebook to your iBook app for consumption now or later.
Like the feel of the printed hardcover book in your hands, the smell of the paper? The instant convenience of satisfying my curiosity for what’s between the virtual covers makes ebooks compelling for me.
Ebooks have been with us for a long time with Angela Ruiz Robles (a teacher from Spain) patenting the “Mechanical Encyclopaedia“, the first ebook reader that was intended to reduce the number of books her students had to bring to school. A good idea at the time but the technology and the web to distribute the content wasn’t ready.
Ebooks sales are growing!
The increase in ebook sales is a disruptive trend that can’t be ignored and traditional publishers are racing to adapt. Figures from Yahoo indicate that ebook sales rose by over 4,400% from $68 million to $3 billion between 2008 and 2012 which is 25-30% of all book sales. But that is only the sales data from the big publishers.
It’s bigger than that.
Types of ebooks
Ebooks come in a variety of types and formats. Free and paid. Free ebooks are now the bloggers key tactic to capture email addresses. They can vary from 10-15 pages to 50 plus.
Formats come in two distinct flavours.
The ubiquitous PDF (Portable document format), which is the favourite free ebook file type and then you have the proprietary versions (some are supposedly open standards) with Amazon (which has 70-80% of the ebook market) using the MOBI (it’s version of mobipocket) format and Apple the EPUB. Of course Amazon’s Kindle doesn’t support the EPUB version.
Then there are a big variety of file types across the ebook market spectrum.
So why create an ebook?
There are a variety of reasons that you should write an ebook or even a book.
- Build an email list
- Position your brand (personal or corporate) as a thought leader or expert in its niche
- Credibility. Being “published” and appearing on Amazon has an “authority” factor whether self published or through the traditional publishing channels
- Make money. Some authors are doing very nicely
- The fun of creating and putting your thoughts in a structured format
All of these are good enough reason on their own to just “start”
So where do you start and what are some tips for creating that ebook that your customers and prospective readers will love?
- Collect questions from your customers and target audience and provide answers. Books have been created just using that premise.
- Create customer personas so that you understand and get inside the mind of your potential readers
- Write an outline. This is where you get the structure organised and is worth spending time on
- Set aside a block of time where you just write. It maybe early morning or late at night where you have no distractions
- Repurpose your blog posts into a book. You maybe surprised by what you already have available
- Expand customer testimonials and stories into a series of case studies
- Conduct interviews. Many books are just a compilation of interviews. A good example is the “Eventual Millionaire“
- Collaborate with someone else and you can halve the work
- Write a great title. Tim Ferriss the author of the New York Times best seller the “4 Hour Workweek” tested his own titles by using Google AdWords for a few hundred dollars
- Design an appealing cover. You can hire and outsource this to Elance or Freelancer. You can even crowd source the design like Michael Hyatt has just done.
The social web has given everyone the platform to create and market their businesses and also their books. Self publishing is now a serious business and is the main source of income for many bloggers such as Darren Rowse from Problogger and the Digital Photography school. So how can you go about marketing your ebook?
Here are some tips that all of us can implement.
- To build marketing momentum and awareness give away some books for free. Guy Kawasaki gave away over 1,000 ebooks for a limited time
- Engage industry experts to provide a testimonial
- Create a Facebook “page” or custom tab just for the book
- Design a banner on your website or blog
- Create a landing page and menu tab where people can discover the benefits and read testimonials and comments about the book and then buy it straight from the blog. Also link it to a payment gateway so you can collect almost the the revenue (except for the small fee by Paypal or Selz).
- Put it into a MOBI format and publish it on Amazon
- Market it to your email list. This is why building an email list from day one when launching your blog is vital as this is part of “your” distribution network
- Create a Powerpoint presentation on the books main points or chapters and upload it to Slideshare
- Record a video about the book and upload it to YouTube
- Guest post on partner or influencer blogs
These are just some ideas. If you put your creativity hat on you will be surprised by what you can do!
But just “start”
For more tips check out the infographic below
What about you?
Have you written an ebook or book yet? What were your challenges? Would you do it again?
Are you thinking about writing a book whether it is free or a paid version?
Need to start?
Look forward to hearing your stories and insights in the comments below.
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