Tag Archives: ebook

E-Books – Write Your e-Book

You’ll be happy to know that completing the steps from previous articles can make writing your e-book significantly easier. You’ve prepared and planned, so now you can  enjoy the process of putting things together and producing a high-quality information product.

 

Keep your list of keywords handy as a custom thesaurus. Be sure to give a copy to your writer if you hire one. The list of keywords can help you avoid repeating one key word over and over, which becomes stiff and monotonous.

 

Substituting a word is more than just an issue of keeping things interesting. Each time you introduce a new keyword, you have an opportunity to address a different aspect of your topic. And, you make it possible for Internet users searching on that key word to find you. For example, an e-book about writing e-books will include keywords like e-books, outline, keywords, information marketing, and online publishing.

     

What Your e-Book Should Give Your Reader

There has to be more in it for the reader than the comfort of knowing that she paid for your Friday night pizza and beer.

 

There are three things you should do in every  e-book you create, publish, and sell:

1. Answer their questions.

The only reason it’s possible to market information products is that people want to know more about a topic. You don’t have to have all the answers, and you don’t have to put all of your answers into one information product. What you must do is provide the information your marketing materials promise you will deliver.

 

That information can be more than just answers to questions. Your e-book can give readers motivation to take action. Whether it is for goal setting, weight loss, or business start up, your e-book can answer the relevant questions while motivating your readers to achieve their desires.

 

2. Use your e-book to boost your reputation

Writing an e-book can help establish your status as an expert on your topic. Show readers things they didn’t know before and you will be acknowledged as an expert.

 

Remember that being an expert on your topic is not a requirement for writing an e-book. Writing on a topic you want to learn is an excellent source for an e-book.

 

You can find an expert on your topic and ask him to be the editor for your e-book. Aside from getting him to comment on the content and use his material for reference, the big advantage is being able to borrow his credentials to add credibility and authority to your e-book. You can also have a known expert coauthor, write, editor, write a preface, or endorse your book, thus borrowing their credibility.

 

3. Write clearly and simply

While you are writing, avoid using a lot of jargon or really big words. You want your work to be friendly and easy to read so work at writing the same way you speak.

 

It’s called conversational writing, and it allows you a great amount of freedom in building your sentences. You can’t quite throw grammar out the window, but you can be a little more relaxed about it.

 

Mostly, it means avoiding big words and jargon.

 

Introduce bits of jargon, and use big words, when they are necessary. Then go back to using more familiar words and put the jargon in brackets when it comes up again. This allows you to remind readers of the useful term, and allows readers to glide over the useful term rather than stumble.

 

When you have a topic that uses a lot of jargon or acronyms (computers are a great example), you should include a glossary as one of your appendices. Your readers will appreciate it, the glossary adds authority to your e-book, and it is a great selling feature to add to your sales page.

 

You can find a good e-book on conversational writing, written by Scott McDougal, titled How to Write Better and Faster at www.writebetterandfaster.com. This can help you improve your writing skills.

E-Books – Create an outline

An outline is the roadmap for getting from blank pages to a finished book.

 

The outline is made by deciding how you want to organize the information. Here are the four most common outline methods:

1.      Alphabetically

2.      Process Steps

3.      List

4.      Q & A

 

Every outline should include a Table of Contents and chapter divisions. Together, these make it easy for readers to find information in your book. Now let’s look at some specifics for each outline type.

 

Alphabetical Order

This means using letters, in alphabetical order, to arrange and present information.

 

The dictionary is the obvious example of alphabetical order. Another example would be arranging a cookbook with “A” for asparagus soup, “B” for beef stew and down to “Z” for zucchini bread.

 

The primary guide to choosing any letter arrangement is that it must make sense to the reader.

 

Process Steps Outline

This is a common approach for how-to books. Whether the subject is goal setting, selling a house, or re-finishing furniture, each follows a process with distinct steps that can be described.

 

This outline type is more likely to result in the use of sub-divisions within chapters. There is often more than one way to accomplish each step of a process – just as there is more than one way to set up an outline. Those options are what give you the sub-divisions.

 

List

A list outline is useful for information that doesn’t need to be organized in any particular order. A great example is Jon Kremer’s self published paperback book 1,001 Ways to Market Your Book (now in its 6th edition at www.bookmarket.com).

     

This method gives you a series of chapters that are capable of standing alone. That makes it easier to both write and read because your reader can start with any chapter, and and you don’t have to worry about connecting the chapters.

 

Q&A

A Q&A, or questions and answers, outline is often associated with someone who has a great deal of experience with a topic. The author lives and breathes the topic, and can simply make a list of questions, write out answers to each, and the result is an e-book in Q&A format.

 

The defining characteristic of this type of book is that the author has the answers to the questions. It is also very easy to write and to read.

 

One way to develop the material for a Q&A book is to use an Ask Campaign.

 

An Ask Campaign (a.k.a Probe Campaign) is based on asking people what their questions are on a particular topic. Where a Q&A approach says “here are the questions I have answered throughout my career,” the Ask Campaign says “here are answers to questions you submitted.”

     

Writing from Your Outline

The outline is the roadmap for your e-book. Keep it handy while you are writing.

 

Here’s how you use your outline to write your book:

1.      Type the outline in Word.

2.      Add four pages in front of the outline. These are for the title page, copyright page, acknowledgements and dedication. (You can always delete or add pages as necessary.)

3.      Put “TABLE OF CONTENTS” in a boldface heading at the top of the outline.

4.      Add a page break at the end of the outline.

5.      Paste a copy of the outline (minus the TOC heading) onto the new page.

6.      Set the typeface for the copy into bold. These will become your actual section headings.

7.      Use page breaks to spread out the section headings and sub-headings.

8.      Now, writing the e-book is a matter of filling in explanatory text under each heading and sub-heading.

 

The best way to fill in the spaces under each heading and sub-heading is to use the outline for filing all your research notes. Then you recompose your research notes to make each chapter.

 

Come back for the next article. That’s when I’ll be covering how to do your research and fill in your outline.

E-Books – Keywords Determine Market Size

You have a topic, and you know there must be some interest in it. After all, you can’t be the only person interested in your favourite pastime, can you?

 

That’s what keywords will allow you to discover.

 

A keyword is a term or phrase that captures the essence of your topic. For example, “model airplane” is a good keyword phrase. To focus more clearly on your interest, “radio controlled airplane” might be more helpful.

 

To start using keywords for determining the size of your market, make a list of six words that spring to mind when you think of your topic. This is a large enough list to get you started.

 

Whichever keyword research tool you choose to use, what you’re looking for is a particular volume of monthly searches for each keyword or phrase. Every tool will also help you develop a longer keyword list. (I’ll give you three free tools to choose from later in the article.)

 

The search volume you’re looking for is between 4,000 and 40,000 searches per month. Of course, that’s a broad range and there are things to consider about being at either end.

 

Being at – or over – 40,000 monthly searches means the market is huge. Getting into that market with the keywords you’re using means you risk being just one more voice in the crowd. You can probably get better keywords by being more specific about your topic.

 

From the model airplane example, “model airplane” has a monthly search volume of 135,000 and “radio controlled airplane” has a monthly volume of 6,600.

 

The lower the monthly search volume the more tightly niched you are in a market. Getting below 4,000 searches per month means your moving into a market that just doesn’t have enough volume to be truly profitable.

 

The next step is to choose a keyword research tool. There are lots available, but there are three free ones I’d like to bring to your attention. One is from Google, another is from WordTracker and the third is supplied by Howie Jacobson (author of Adwords for Dummies, 2008).

 

You can find the Google keyword research tool at http://adwords.google.com. It’s easiest to use when you sign in to your Google account and open an Adwords account. The account is free to open – you don’t pay anything unless you run an adwords ad.

 

You can find the free Wordtracker keyword tool at http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com.

 

The tool from Howie Jacobson is at http://www.askhowie.com/freewords.

 

As you research those six keywords you started with, be sure to keep track of other keywords that come up with good search volumes. You’ll want a few hundred keywords when you’re ready to promote your e-book. Plus, each keyword you add starts to build a chain – a.k.a. the long-tail keywords.

Writing E-Books – 21 Steps to Success

Knowing your content and having a desire to write it down are good first steps to getting an e-book written. Showing you the path from desire to completion is what this article is about.

 

Let’s run through the steps, then I’ll give you some advice about “doing it all” yourself and outsourcing.

 

1. Choose your topic.

Make your topic specific and targeted to a niche market. For example, choose How to Build Balsa Wood Model Airplanes rather than just How to Build Model Airplanes.

 

2. Make sure you have a market using Keywords.

Google offers a free keyword tool (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal). Look for search results less than 40,000 per month – the ideal is from 4,000 to 12,000 searches per month.

 

3. Create an outline.

This is your roadmap. You’re the author so you get to set the course, and you’re free to alter it as the e-book develops. Three common approaches are alphabetical, process steps (like this article) and Q&A.

 

4. Research your topic.

Even experts do some research to get organized and ready to write. From reading through your own material to visiting the library and surfing the net – research is a vital, indispensable part of writing. It’s also something you can hire someone to help with.

 

5. Write your e-book.

Write the e-book yourself or hire a freelancer to write it for you. Just take your research notes and tell your story.

 

6. Create a few bonus reports to give away to your e-book buyers.

The difference to sales between having and not having premiums as part of the offer is staggering. Customers attach great value to bonuses.

 

7. Edit your e-book.

Whether you find a volunteer or hire a freelance editor, the key is to have the writer and editor be different people. Spotting your own errors is notoriously difficult.

 

8. Create the front cover design and interior page layout.

My preference is to make a couple of notes then hand this over to someone else. Design is more than just specialized knowledge. It includes a visual flair that’s at least as much in-born as it is learned.

 

9. Proofread and lock the PDF file.

Do a final proofread to check for double words and other mistakes. Fortunately, an e-book is easily updated if you find mistakes after the release.

 

Locking the PDF keeps honest people honest. There’s no sure-fire way to keep someone from “stealing” you e-book. Fortunately, most people simply prefer being honest.

 

10. Load your e-book PDF into a shopping cart.

Choose a shopping cart service that gives you one-stop shopping for the shopping cart, merchant account, autoresponder, and affiliate tracking. Ask your webmaster to connect the service to your web site. You can load every e-book you write into the shopping cart easily – it’s as easy as attaching a file to an e-mail.

 

11. Reserve a domain name for your e-book.

Shorter is better. Making it easy to say also works well. For example, choose “BalsaWoodModels.com” over “HowToBuildABalsaWoodModelAirplane.com.” A good resource for domain registration and hosting is www.UseBluehost.com/.

 

12. Write and design a landing page to sell your e-book.

All you need is a single web page connected to your shopping cart and a Thank You e-mail afterward. Simple, but you do want to be sure that one web page is well written. Hiring a copywriter might be a good choice.

 

13. Arrange hosting for your landing page.

You need a reliable hosting service at a low cost-per-site hosting charge. Be sure your hosting service package gives you enough space to hold all your files, that there is sufficient bandwidth to permit a high volume of downloads each month, and that you can add lots of new landing pages without increasing the total monthly hosting fee.

 

14. Capture the e-mail addresses of landing page visitors who do not buy your e-book.

List building is an integral part of selling on the internet. Capturing e-mail addresses allows you to continue marketing to visitors – whether they make a purchase or not.

 

15. Set-up an autoresponder e-mail series to convert non-buyers into buyers.

Use an autoresponder e-mail series to persuade them to come back to the landing page and buy your e-book.

 

16. Drive traffic to your landing page.

Use e-mail marketing, pay-per-click advertising, videos on YouTube and other social networking sites, articles, affiliates, and other traffic-building methods to drive prospects to your sales page.

 

17. Test, measure, and optimize your landing page.

Testing shows you what works and what doesn’t on your landing page. Always work toward making the landing page as effective as possible.

 

18. Create a profitable line of e-books and related info products.

Called a Product Funnel – you want a range of information products and services that move from inexpensive, front-end to the highest priced back-end.

 

19. Recruit affiliates to sell your e-books and other info products.

Give affiliates 50% of the sale price and enjoy the help for increasing sales and building your reputation.

 

20. Publish a free e-zine and drive traffic to the subscription page.

This is a great list building tool. Publishing the e-zine also keeps you in contact with your list. You’ll find your list is receives future offers much more warmly when you stay in contact with them.

 

21. Send regular e-mails to your opt-in subscriber list to drive additional sales.

Your opt-in list always contains people who have not yet purchased one or more of your e-books or other information products. As you provide high-value content to your subscribers, use the attention they are giving you to remind them of purchases they could be making.

 

We can wrap this up with a quick word about “doing it all” yourself – don’t.

 

There’s a simple way to know when it’s a good idea to outsource a particular task. Estimate how much time it will take you to do something and multiply that by how much each hour of your time is worth. (e.g. 20 hrs. to design a cover times $40 an hour is $800.)

 

When you can hire someone to do the task for less money, and they’ll do it faster (often with better results), then it’s time to outsource that task.

 

Another kind of outsourcing is getting advice. Sometimes it helps to talk a thing through with someone who has done it before (it’s what the corporate fat cats like to call “consulting”). Before you spend money on this option, make the effort to visit the blogs of people you would like to speak to. The answers to your questions might already be in print.

Blogs, Articles and e-Books – How they go together

Hi,

Every feel like internet marketing is a "chicken and egg" debate? Sometimes it's hard to know where to start...

On the bright side, there is almost no wrong place to start.

Start a blog and write posts about your favourite hobby. From the blog posts you build up some articles. From the articles and posts, you can build an e-book.

The process works no matter which one you start with. So let me share how I'm putting the books I've written together with these blog posts and articles. And this is something that is happening right now, so I'll be coming back to this to keep giving you updates.

Last year, I wrote Writing E-Books for Fun and Profit. It has done very well with sales, and it's a great resource. Everyone who's read it tells me they like it and it has been very helpful to them.

As you know from reading these blog posts, I've also been sharing my knowledge to help you move forward with your own writing and marketing projects. The one flaw in this is that I haven't been particularly organised about the blog posts. That's okay, but making this blog successful and making it part of my marketing efforts means I'm going to have to plan content.

You know, think about giving stuff to you in a way that supports marketing my writing.

Blogging about whatever grabs my attention each day is okay. It just isn't the limit of what I want to do with this tool. I'll come back to this in a minute...

Another thing I have wanted to do - and have had tremendous success procrastinating on - is taking Writing E-Books for Fun and Profit and serialising it into articles. To be honest, I've been pretending I don't know where to start, or what to do.

Richard Bach was right - argue for your limitations and they become yours.

The thing that changed my mind about doing the articles is listening to Chris Knight and Jeff Herring yesterday on a teleconference call.

Chris Knight is CEO of EzineArticles.com. Jeff Herring is, of course, the article marketing guy. If you don't know these two gentlemen, may I suggest you visit www.ezinearticles.com and start reading? They have a HUGE volume of everything to help you write articles.

By the way, serialising a book with 21 chapters is simple -honest. Just write a summary of each chapter and make it around 600 words. Use numbered or bulleted lists whenever you can, and give it a title that makes a promise. e.g. 4 Topic Strategies - How to make your next e-book a winner.

Okay - heres' what I have:

I wrote a book last year. I just finished another, and a third should be finished in mid-March. Good.

I also have a blog. The habit of writing daily is well established, but the content isn't planned yet.

I know what to do for writing articles. I have a membership with EzineArticles.com.

So let's put them together.

We all have those everyday things to do. You know, household chores stuff, running the business admin stuff, working with retainer clients, specific projects, and whatever else each of us is fitting into every day. Of course, writing books and e-books fits into this category. (Nice to know I'll always be creating new content.)

Next, seriously consider how much time you want to put into blogging and writing articles. My choice is to keep blogging daily. Monday to Friday, anyway.

A cool thing is that I can use every article I write as a blog post. Think about it...write an article at, say, 700 words...That's a good length for a blog post, isnt' it? (Yea, I know. I talk so much, my blog posts are more like 7,000 words. But they're interesting, right?)

Okay. So I can write one article each day and re-purpose it as a blog post. That works. I bet it'll work for you, too.

One last thing - what if you haven't written an e-book you can serialise? Good question, glad you asked.

Scroll back up to the third paragraph. The part about your favourite hobby...

What are you excited about, passionate about? Write about that! Use the approach I wrote about first. Write some blog posts and put together some articles - then build them into an e-book.

Think about learning to ride a bike. You ride for a few feet and stop (a blog post). You ride a little farther and stop again (an article). After a while, you ride up and down the driveway (blog post one way, article going back). Pretty soon, you're riding around the block. over to the store, and out with your friends (yep, e-books, more posts and more articles - and more e-books).

Folks, you might receive success overnight, but you'll achieve it one step at a time.

Here's to yours.

Conrad

Horses & Carts – When to upgrade

Hi,

This is something that has been boucing around in my head all weekend.

On Saturday, I spoke with a stranger and we got talking about internet marketing, information marketing and writing in general. The thing that got me - and it really bothers me - is that this fellow told me about several "programs" he had purchased that were supposed to help him increase his profits.

A couple of the things he mentioned were programs and products by people I am familiar with.

He bought them, but felt he hadn't gotten his money's worth. That didn't jive with what I know of the people involved - especially since I happen to own one of the products he mentioned.

Okay. First, you're probably wondering why I'm not naming anything here. Especially since I am generally un-reserved about using people's names. My reason is that I don't know all the programs and products he mentioned. I'm not going to name something or someone if I don't know they represent quality.

Second: Here's what I have to say about this fellow's complaints.

Until you have some clients, or are selling some products, it makes no sense to purchase anything that will double, triple or otherwise increase your sales and profits. After all, multiply zero by any number you want, and you still get zero.

The fellow I spoke to Saturday didn't have any clients or products, and he didn't seem to have any understanding of the materials he owned. I think maybe he bought them expecting the act of making the purchase to generate results.

Folks, if you buy a book and don't read it, don't expect to get any smarter.

For everyone who is looking at starting in internet marketing (information marketing, writing books (ebooks) or affiliate marketing), there is one resource I recommend for getting started - and it's completely free.

Go to www.strategicprofits.com. This site belongs to Rich Schefren. The resource you want are the five free reports he gives away through his site.

Why?

Because Rich will show you that internet marketing is not all that different from how people have been running their hometown businesses for decades. It's different, sure. But most people think it's apples and oranges. Rich will show you that it's more like oranges and grapefruit.

The other thing Rich does with his reports is give you "how-to" information - invaluable stuff for beginner and pro alike.

When you've read through Rich's stuff, visit the sites of other internet marketers. Www.Bly.com will give you over a hundred examples of landing pages for selling information products. Bob also has a library of articles you can read.

Just think of the people you buy from, or who you get newsletters from. Visit their sites and REALLY LOOK at what they do. How often do they send an e-mail? What's in it?

The plain, simple fact is that writing a book (ebook) or making sales (by internet or in person) means you have to do some work. Yep, there's that nasty little four letter word.

I know. I just finished another book, I'm working on two more, and I put in a lot of hours every day.

And, folks, I wouldn't trade what I'm doing for the Site Superintendent's job on the Shangri-La build happening right now at Richmond & University in downtown Toronto.

For those who don't know - I have 20 years of construction experience. The Shangri-La is a 67 floor hotel & condo tower with condos starting at $1 Million dollars. It's a prestigious project.

Ask Brian Johnson (Rich Schefren's right hand) if he puts in a lot of hours. He does it because he enjoys it.

I don't mean to rain on your parade, but, folks, if you don't enjoy writing and marketing enough to put in lots of time and energy - then maybe you should spend a little more time finding your passion.

Okay. Go ahead and rip me a new pooper. Call me insensitive and crass - go ahead.

Conrad

E-books – No Such Thing As Not-For-Profit

Hi,

Steve and I have been having a chat about this recently. Steve is a copywriter and he's thinking about writing an e-book to use as a premium.

What we've been talking about (be e-mail) is that there's really no such thing as a not-for-profit, or free, premium of any kind.

First, you should put a List Price on every report, e-book, white paper or whatever that you write and make available. Putting a price tag on it, and having it for sale on your site, is what allows you to say that premium is worth XXXX dollars. (Watch for the example I'll give for when you definitely do not want to attach a price to something.)

If you never put a price on it, then it has no value.

The next thing is that - even when you appear to give the premium away - you are always collecting a price for it. When it comes to the internet, the price you are collecting is often a name and e-mail address.

Why do you collect those names and e-mail addresses? Isn't it because you expect to make a profit by marketing to them?

An excellent example of this - building relationships and positioning as an expert by giving information away for free - is Rich Schefren. www.StrategicProfits.com

Rich is a wizard when it comes to list-building - collecting those names and e-mail addresses. The thing that's unique about Rich - well, one of the things - is that he has five reports that he gives away for free. The reports have no List Price, and they are of excellent quality. (I know. All five are printed and sitting on my desk as I dissect each one.)

Rich is also the example of how to use a report or e-book when you absolutely don't want to attach a price to it.

You can download every one of his reports - in exchange for your name and e-mail address.

Why? Because these reports are the wide rim of his product funnel. They are your first step in developing a relationship with Rich.

Okay. Bob Bly and I are writing a whole book on List Building, so I'm not going to go into great depth on this. At the same time, I want you to understand how to use premiums well and be motivated to produce them for yourself or for clients.

So let's do this: If you have a question, then post it here as a comment. I'll make a point of answering it here so everyone can benefit.

That's it. Have a good day, and a good week.

Conrad