The internet continues to change so much that sometimes it’s hard to keep up. What once were snail mail letters are now emails. Instead of calling on an old fashioned home we now have smartphones and Skype. And, of course, there are sites like Amazon where it’s easy to purchase something with the simple click of a mouse. Creating and running a business online is now possible thanks to the World Wide Web and there are many ways to make money, from creating a blog to selling an ebook. Speaking of ebooks, they now sell in the millions each year. Believe it or not, but ebooks represent around 20 percent of publishing in the U.S.! That’s why we feel it’s important to help our online business owners out, by providing tips on how to make money on the web via our free webinar training. Thankfully there’s still plenty of room for entrepreneurs to get a piece of the ebook market! Let’s take a look at how brand-new business owners can make money with ebooks. The marketing and selling of online ebooks online is possible with a little bit of planning and utilizing the tips we offer below.
Pay Attention to Formatting
Search Engine People recommend paying attention to formatting your ebook. How it looks and is formatted should look appealing to your readers. That’s why you should strategically place the text, sections, pictures, and whatever else you include in the ebook.
Ebooks are a content format that allow you to go in-depth into a particular topic, much more so than you could via a different content type. They usually include quite a bit of copy because that's what is required to really delve into a subject. That said, you need to strike a balance between detail and readability; a dense block of text will turn readers off. Formatting and design are crucial in this respect. Add relevant visual elements to compliment the text, and where appropriate, break the text up into sections, bulleted or numbered lists, chapters, sidebars, headers, footers and so on.
Create an Outline
Want to know the easiest way to layout your ebook? Create an outline. Copyblogger gives us step-by-step instructions on how to put together a useful overview that’ll help you stay organized and start writing a killer ebook in no time at all.
Your outline is your roadmap.
It lays out the territory ahead, and lets you spot any tricky patches before you’re half-way through the first draft.
There’s no one “right” way to outline, but one or more of these might work well for you:
#1: Draw a mindmap. Put your topic or ebook title in the centre and start adding ideas to it as they occur to you. Use lines or arrows to create connections. At this stage, put everything down, however big or small — you can tidy the entire thing up later.
#2: Work backwards. Start at the end: what do you want your reader to be able to accomplish once they’ve finished your ebook? Then take a step back — what will they need to know before they can do that? And what about before that?
#3: Write a list. If you’re already extremely familiar with your topic, you’ve probably got an outline in your head. Start writing a list: what chapters or major sections will your ebook need? Once you’ve got the big pieces in place, write a list of 3–5 key points for each chapter/section.
#4: Examine other eBooks and books. Look through several chapter lists to see what topics appear in almost every book. Is there anything that you’re missing from your outline?
Most people like reading ebooks that offer help, and that can be you if you provide advice on how to improve something. Examples would be how to lose weight, how to write a book (yes, you can write an ebook on how to write a book), and other topics. Search Engine People has a few other ideas:
The driving purpose of your eBook should be an offer of help; an answer to common audience questions or solutions to a problem. The content within should not read like a sales pitch. Being helpful is much more valuable, as it builds your credibility as a brand, helps you develop relationships with prospects, and works to position your company as the choice of vendor when it comes time for the prospect to buy.
Allocate Time for Research
To write a successful ebook, The Write Life says you need to give yourself enough time to research the topic thoroughly. If you don’t allocate enough time to study the subject then your ebook won’t sound nearly as fantastic as it would if you become an expert on the topic (besides just using personal experience).
Many writers find it’s easy to get stuck at the research stage, gathering more and more articles and resources, thumbing through books again and again, jotting down great quotes, facts and references.
Avoid this by giving yourself a limited amount of time for research. That could mean setting aside, say, two weeks purely for research before you begin writing, or researching for a certain length of time as you come to each new chapter of your ebook.
Similarly, The Write Life also mentions double checking your facts and stats. Check more than one source. It may be tempting to go with the first source you read, but not every source has the correct information. Make sure yours is as accurate as possible.
If your particular topic area has a few oft-quoted facts or statistics, it can be tempting to repeat these without double-checking them. Be careful, though: other authors won’t necessarily have verified the facts themselves.
Between 2008 and 2011, I wrote a lot of material for personal development and self-improvement blogs. One popular “fact” in this area is about “the Harvard Goal Study.” (You can read an account of this supposed study here.)
One excellent blogger in the area, though, debunked this in a post Writing Down Your Goals — The Harvard Written Goal Study. Fact or Fiction? This helped open my eyes to the sad truth that some authors make up facts and statistics to suit them, so you do need to look for original studies, government publications, and other reputable sources of information where possible.
If you come across something presented as fact which seems odd or hard to believe, Snopes.com is a great place to turn for an initial check.
Build a Website
It’d be nice to have a website that generates traffic, right? That’s why Traffic Generation Cafe recommends setting up a credible site where you can quickly sell your ebook.
I needed a website that:
Looked good, legit, credible.
Was built on WordPress so I could update it easily, take advantage of plugins, etc.
Offered shortcodes so I could make the content readable.
Had ecommerce / shopping cart capabilities that worked with PayPal (because we Canadians don’t have many other merchant service solutions than that yet).
Allowed me to fulfill orders of digital products.
We landed on a WordPress theme by WooThemes, which works with WooCommerce.
My hubby set the whole thing up, and then I went in and wrote the copy.
Market Your Ebook
When everything is all said and done, don’t forget to market the heck out of your ebook. You can do this by taking advantage of your social media channels, sites, and more. Ask your friends to help promote your book as well! The Balance Small Business elaborates more as to why marketing is imperative to your success.
There’s a dirty little secret in the traditional publishing world. Publishers usually don’t actively market or promote the vast majority of the books they release. Only those from established best-selling authors get this attention.
But, as an ebook publisher, you’re going to relish having this same control over your marketing and sales strategy. With all the options available, you should have no problem finding a way to get your book title(s) out into the world and grab the attention of potential readers.
I recommend a multichannel approach — approach the marketing from several different angles. One definite channel is social media. Leverage your Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn contacts, and more to get the word out. When the book is published, post it on Facebook with a link back to your website with more information and a way to order, for example.
But it’s not enough to send out one announcement. You have to build buzz around your ebook. Encourage people to tell friends about your ebook and spread the word. Post content related to your book. Create contests. Do giveaways. Get creative with your marketing.
Now that you know a few tips on how to create an ebook and make money continue to learn more tips on how to make a profit by joining us during our next free webinar training. Register to attend and expand your own online business today.
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