Tag Archives: e-book

Amazon Goes Capitalist

Amazon has announced they are opening up the Kindle to library e-books.

Yippee! Amazon Goes Capitalist.

As you know, Amazon wants to build a digital library. Google tried the same thing, and they’ve both met a lot of resistance from authors and publishers. (Mostly from publishers.)

A few weeks ago, I did a story on Social Media: Cheap and Easy about what Amazon is doing and gave them specific advice about how to make it work. Judging from their change in a long-held policy, I say it’s great that they’re listening.

Public libraries are an established part of our communities. They’re free to use, and libraries provide access to information, education and recreation. It’s understandable that we all get a little upset when a for-profit company comes along and says they want to get into the library business.

That said, I think there’s an entirely viable, capitalistic and useful way for Amazon to build their digital library.

For starters, imagine how much easier it would be to give remote communities a bunch of Kindles loaded with thousands of books. The Kindle is easier to take care of than all the books, and all you need to keep it going is a solar power charging unit. Amazon can open whole new opportunities for people who can then prosper to become customers for Amazon.

That’s capitalism at work. You invest, do the work, then reap the rewards.

Pop over to Social Media: Cheap and Easy now to hear the whole story.

E-Books – Create a Few Bonus Reports

Bonus reports increase both the real and perceived value of your information product. They show customers that buying your e-book gives them extra value and extra information.


Everyone likes getting something for free – a bargain. Short bonus reports enable you to give customers both. They get a bargain by getting extra stuff when they buy your e-book, and they are getting it for free.


The most important element of a Bonus Report is that the information must be relevant to your topic.


An e-book on hiring an honest contractor might have a Bonus Report telling you how to get a low-rate on a home equity loan or second mortgage to pay for your expensive home renovation. That could be useful to people buying houses to renovate and resell. Another bonus report would be one that shows customers how to locate their local building code, and how to speak with building inspectors. Everyone doing a renovation will need that information.


The number of reports, or premiums, you include isn’t as important as what is in those premiums. To continue with the renovation example, Home Depot gives away a CD that allows you to get updated material prices electronically. This CD is normally given only to contractors, so you can see how it would make a valuable premium if Home Depot allows you to include it with your e-book.


Here are three tips for creating  bonus reports as premiums for your e-book:.

1. Use bonus reports to add detail.

Use your reports to give more information on a particular aspect of your topic. For example, you might have one section that is very long – 15 or 20 pages. Shorten it to five or six pages, and use the more detailed information to produce a bonus report.

2. Vary the Size

Bonus reports can be anything from a single page to a complete e-book. It could also be a piece of software, a CD or DVD, or a free one-month membership to a subscription web site.


Using physical items as premiums enables you to collect mailing addresses. This is excellent for introducing direct mail to your business model.


3. Make Your Bonus Reports Worth Having

Allow me to be blunt. If you hand someone something for free and it’s crap – do you think they are going to give you money for something else?


Imagine going into a car dealership. They offer you a cup of coffee, and hand it to you in a dirty mug.


Imagine going into a different car dealership. They offer you a cup of coffee, and ask you to have a seat in a comfortable chair. When the coffee arrives, it is on a small platter with cream and sugar packets and three or four cookies.


Which dealer cares about the customer?


Bonus Tip

Make double use of your research file by including relevant material you could use in a report.


As you’re doing research, keep in mind that articles and reports help to promote your e-book. My preference is to use two tabs – one for articles and one for bonuses.


When I come across information that’s good for the e-books and might be useful elsewhere, I make a second copy and put it under the appropriate tab.

Writing e-Books – 4 Ways to Find a Topic

The most important choice you’ll make about anything you write is choosing the topic.


First we’re going to look at four ways to find a topic you want to write about. Then, as a bonus, we’ll take a look at the Evergreen concept.


The easiest way to find a topic is to look at what you do every day. Whether you’re a plumber, accountant or forest ranger, you have knowledge other people don’t. That makes your knowledge valuable.


You might think the knowledge for your profession is too routine or boring to be worth writing about. After all, who wants to know about working on an assembly line or being a mail clerk?


A recent search for “personal organization” showed 19.6 million related web pages. You can see how working on an assembly line or in a mail room require the person doing it to be well organized, and to pay attention to detail.


Sometimes it takes just a little imagination to see the knowledge you have that other people want, too.


A similar place to find a topic to write about is what you do for recreation.


As you explore your own hobby, you may be surprised by how many variations exist. Let’s take riding a bike as an example.


You could write about how to have a picnic with bicycles. Do you live in an area with a lot of cycling trails? Are there trails through town and through the woods or countryside?


Lots of people want to put their bicycles on their car and explore another town by bike. This translates to writing about travel destinations, how to transport a bike, and even how to choose bikes and vehicle bike racks.


While you’re thinking about all the things you know from work or from pleasure, take a moment to think about some of the things you don’t know but want to.


This is the third place to look for a topic to write about. As an example of how effective this can be, let me share the story of Jerry Buchanan’s first information product. It was about how to get rid of gophers.


Jerry Buchanan’s first information product was a result of his quest to get rid of the gophers that were destroying his gardens. He had a problem, but no solution. Jerry made his own solution by visiting other farmers and golf course groundskeepers who did have solutions. He interviewed experts.


When he had collected their answers, it occurred to Jerry that other people might have the same problem and be in need of the solutions he had found. That led to Jerry writing his first information product.


Do you think one or two of the things you’d like to know are popular enough for you to turn into an information product? Well, after we look at the fourth source for topics, I’ll show you how to find out.


The fourth source for topics is writing about something that has been around for a while and putting a new twist on it. The best example of this might be the highly successful Chicken Soup series of books.


Motivational books and Thought-for-the-Day books have been around for years. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen developed the chicken Soup for the Soul phenomenon by writing in a new direction.


Your new direction might be to collect and compile scattered bits of information that fill an information gap. Maybe you would like to write about the ten best sources for investment information. This could include newsletters, investment clubs, online trading, and traditional banking establishments.


The last thing to touch on is the Evergreen Concept.


Jerry Buchanan’s first topic was evergreen. Evergreen means that people will always want information about that topic. People still need to get rid of lawn vermin. A later product Jerry  produced, titled Profitable Self Publishing, is almost ideally evergreen.


What makes a topic evergreen is its ongoing relevance to an audience through several generations. For example, everyone wants to know how to invest their money wisely, but investment advice changes because of new regulations, new investment products and changing market conditions.


That a topic is evergreen means you will have a lasting audience for your information products. Your audience will demand a supply of updated, current information. You can meet that demand, and increase your revenues, by supplying updated, expanded editions of your e-book.


Put it all together –  something you want to write about (from work, pastime or desire to know) with a good monthly keyword search volume and you’ll have a winning topic for your e-book. Finding a topic that’s evergreen will give you the gold at the end of the rainbow.

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


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.


Horses & Carts – When to upgrade


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.


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.


Book Outlines – How much is enough?


This question just came up with a novice writer. She is writing her first book and is wondering how much detail to put into the outline.

Eventually, the answer to this question becomes: Use as much detail as you want.

Of course, you can guess that this answer works when you have written a couple of books and can rely on  your experience as a guide. For a novice, the answer is a lot easier and more regimented.

Put just the “must have” items into your outline. Remember that your outline will become your table of content. That means each entry in your outline is just one line – maybe even just three or four words.

For example, if I’m writing an article about the components of an essay, then my outline would have just three headings: Intoduction, Body, and Conclusion.

You can always add more headings to your outline. While you’re doing your research, you might find a huge amount of material for one of your headings and decide to split it into two or more sections. Your research might also turn up information you hadn’t considered that you then decide to include – that would mean adding a new heading to your outline.

Other things like: questions to answer, steps to completing a section, or facts to include get written down after the outline is completed.

I’ve written about this before, and it bears repeating. When your outline is done, copy it and paste it on a new page in the same document. Then take that copy, and use page breaks to put each heading on its own page.

This gives you your outline at the beginning as a table of contents, and the first page for each chapter with the title on it.

Now you put all your questions, research notes and ideas on those chapter pages.

Now, someone might be at the stage where all the “must have” items are in the outline and they have a few other “nice to have” items they want to include. What do you do with those?

Put each one at the end of the outline as an appendix.

You can always move these items into the body of the book later. The criteria for changing something from being an appendix to being part of the book body is that your writing has to flow naturally into the subject of the appendix.

Let’s say you’re writing a book about kitchen renovations. One of your appendices is “How to Choose Appliances.” This is good information to have, but it isn’t a “must have” because lots of people renovate their kitchen without replacing their appliances. 

While you’re writing, your research brings up a lot of information about energy efficiency for appliances and the various types and styles of appliances available for a kitchen.

You can see how this new information will tie in very well with a “must have” chapter on electircal wiring and code requirements. Since it ties in well, you might choose to move the appendix into the body of the book.

Your outline is a roadmap to the destination of having a published book or e-book. You get to design that roadmap, and you can make changes to it as the book develops.

That’s why you want to start with the minimum in your outline – the seeds – and watch over it carefully as it grows.

Does this make writing your outline easier? Let me know by posting a comment.


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


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.