Tag Archives: self-publishing

Articles – Are You Missing The Opportunity?


Yes, I am diligently avoiding doing more of the serialised articles from Writing E-Books for Fun and Profit. Well…actually, I’ve decided to just use one day each week for serialised articles.

Why? Did I hear someone ask why?

I was really hoping someone would ask that. Thank you.

Articles are a great way of putting content out into the world and getting people to notice you. On the other hand, I’m don’t think serialised articles are particularly good content for a blog. That’s what newsletters and ezines are for.

My compromise is to put articles on the blog just once a week. That way, you get to see the articles, but my lovely little blog here doens’t get boring. You can always see any of my articles by visiting http://www.ezinearticles.com/?expert=Conrad_Hall.

You can even subscribe to an e-mail alert system that lets you know when I’ve published a new article.

Are you getting the idea of how important writing articles is to your online presence?

Especially when you put them to work for you with www.EzineArticles.com. You can join for free, it’s free to submit articles, and they have a very high level of respect in the online community.

For example, you have to start by submitting 10 articles. Those 10 articles get checked over and published. Once you have 10 published articles, your account is reviewed for platinum status. Platinum status is free, and it means you can submit an unlimited articles.

EzineArticles.com even has a free service that let’s you tweet your articles. Yes, every time you publish an article, EzineArticles.com will tweet all your followers about the new article.

I used my serialised articles for the e-book to jump start my account. By the time I had 9 articles live, my profile had been viewed 49 times, my articles had been read 336 times, and one of them had been published.

That’s in less than two weeks.

Plus – and here’s the big plus for me, personally – I’m submitting articles for my clients. Just think about that for a minute.

A client hires me to write an article, or to edit their work. They get to publish it in their own newsletter and on their site. Then I take it and post it on EzineArticles.com.

Here’s the cool part: They get the byline, but the article is submitted through my account. That means everyone who see the articles knows I either wrote it or edited it, and the person with the byline is my client.

You can see how that’s a portfolio and an endorsement wrapped up in one spot.

So start writing some articles.

Need some help? I’m already doing it for clients and myself. Drop me a line and ask if there’s room in my schedule for your project. conrad@conradhallcopywriting.com.

And make sure you visit www.EzineArticles.com. They have a TON of information to help you write good articles.


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.

E-Books – Research your topic


We’re back to the cereal – I mean serial – articles. (What can I say? It’s Friday afternoon…you want comedy – go to YukYuks.)   😉

Here’s today’s post…

Research is all about learning, finding new ideas and new information. It means speaking with people, reading books and magazines, and examining your own experiences.


We are going to look at six ways to research your topic.

1.      Start a research file.

2.      Brainstorm.

3.      Visit a bookstore.

4.      Go to the Web.

5.      Discover the library.

6.      Interview a subject matter expert.


Start a Research File

When you find something relevant to your topic, clip or copy the article and put it in the file. If it’s a web page or online document, print it and drop it into the appropriate chapter file.


By all means keep electronic copies of everything. Having a hardcopy is a way to make sure you never lose your research, and it gives you something to easily refer to and make other notes on while you accumulate more ideas and data.


Start a research file as soon as you get the idea for an e-book – even if you are not committed to publishing it. By the time you get to the point of writing, you’ll find you have almost all the research materials you need BEFORE you even start actively looking.



Talking to yourself may not be good behavior in public, but it is an excellent place to start when you are writing a book. What do you think you were doing when you chose a topic, thought about keywords and developed an outline? After all, brainstorming can be done with a group or on your own.


Now you get to talk to yourself about the topic you have chosen. What do you know about your topic? What do you not know that you want to learn?


Make note of questions that occur to you as you write. It’s a good bet that  your readers would like to know the answers, too. Keep those questions with you as you do the rest of your research.


Visit a Bookstore

Visit a big bookstore so you can get a feel for what is currently selling on your topic.


Another good place to look for books on your topic is a used book store. Older and out-of-print books can still contain useful content and ideas. They can also provide information other authors don’t have access to because those other authors skipped this research step.


How many books are there on your topic, and when were they written? Having a lot of books on your topic in the bookstores is a good thing. It means your subject is popular, and there is a large market for your information.


Consider the outline methods other authors have used. Are they generally the same, or are there two or three that are arranged differently from the others? Are any of the outline methods the same as the one you want to use?


While you are in the bookstore, take time to look through the magazine racks. Search for articles on your topic, and consider which magazines you find those articles in.


Current articles are a beacon to what is of interest to other readers of your topic. Combining this information with your analysis of books on the shelves is an important part of bringing focus to your efforts.


Go to the Web

Begin by understanding that some information on the internet is inaccurate. You are responsible for verifying the facts you gather


One thing to be aware of is that there are more search engines than Google and Yahoo. A different kind of search engine is the Vertical Search Engines. These allow you to search for information on a specific subject.


An example of a vertical search engine can be seen at www.aviationweek.com. The search box at the top of the site looks just like any other search box. The first indication that it is more specific, and targeted, is that it’s labeled Industry Search. Then directly under the search box is the sentence: Filtered results from News, Companies, Products/Services & The Web in a single search.


This kind of search engine can be a great way to find information on your topic. Let’s say you are looking for blogs by people interested in your topic. You can access a vertical search engine for blogs at blogdigger. Just keep in mind that all vertical search engines only look through a selection of databases related to the topic. You should still use the broad search engines like Google to check for other sources.


An excellent means of discovering what people interested in your topic are talking about is to join a discussion group. You can find these at sites like Topica and Yahoo. You can also search sites like LinkedIn, ExecuNet, and Facebook to find individuals interested in your topic. You probably won’t get a lot of quotes, but the people you meet can tell you about other sources of information.


Use the Web to look for associations related to your topic. These can be a source of current information, and a lead to finding an expert on your topic. We’ll discuss that more in a minute.


You can also use the Web to prepare for using the next research tool – the library. You can search library collections and databases, and reserve materials, from the comfort of your home. This can make your time in the library much more effective and productive.


Discover the Library

The library is where you can verify information collected from the Web, expand on information from you own experience, and assess the value of information gathered from the bookstore. The library also has books the bookstore does not. It can also be just a quiet place to work.


Older sources often aren’t online. You can find out-of-print books at the library, and libraries maintain special collections not available  online.


Borrow the books you find to read what other authors are writing about your topic. Glean information and new ideas from their work.


Another valuable resource in the library – one often overlooked – is the research librarian. Their help is free for the asking, and you can be sure there is no one more familiar with all the resources in the library than the librarian.


Interview a Subject Matter Expert

From the associations you found on the Web, the books you saw, and the magazines you read, you can find a wealth of experts to interview.


The information you gather by interviewing experts can be used as background, or you can quote the experts directly. A direct quote can be useful to emphasize a point or validate a position.


Start your search for an expert in the material you have already gathered. Look for authors of books and articles, members of associations, or instructors at a college or university. You should also consider museums, government agencies, local industries, and newspapers.


The International Center for Journalists has experts available for interviews on a variety of topics. Zondervan, the book publisher, also maintains a list of experts available for interviews and speaking engagements.


Be sure you are prepared for an interview before contacting an expert. Have questions written, and be prepared to offer alternatives to a telephone or in-person interview. When an expert is particularly busy, your only way to get an interview may be to submit questions by e-mail or letter.


The research you do for your e-book is more than gathering facts and organizing information. Research is your opportunity to assess the focus of your project, add to your outline, and think about ideas for future projects.

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.