Ebooks are for far more than just fiction, and they are not solely the purview of publishing companies and indie writers. Many businesses have been using ebooks as a means to promote their business and provide their customers and potential customers with free information for a number of years. This trend continues to grow, and they are starting to become even more important for all sorts of businesses today. They are relatively easy to create for those with the knowhow and the time, and they can offer some great benefits.
Entice Your Customers Using Ebooks as a Freebie
You value your customers, and one of the best ways to show your appreciation is by offering something of value to them free. Whether you are a family attorney who wants to give people a book showing there is hope after divorce, or you are a dog trainer who wants to educate people on different breeds of dog, you can create an ebook. In fact, there’s really no limit to what you can do with your ebook. By providing something of value to a client or prospective client without charge, and by educating them or entertaining them, you can gain their trust and eventually their business. It really does work quite well.
Of course, you do not have to give away the ebook. In fact, the book might be the product you are trying to sell. You will find a number of ways that you can use ebooks to help your business.
Show Your Expertise in Your Field
An ebook is a good way to help establish your position as an expert in your field, as well. If you are a numismatist, you could create an ebook on popular collectable coins, for example. One of the nice things about ebooks is that they can work for literally any type of business. There is always information that you have that other people will find interesting and want to learn. Never dismiss the idea of putting out an ebook, as you will find the right topic and niche.
What Does Your Ebook Need?
First, you have to consider the writing. While the writing does not need to win prizes, it does need to be coherent and entertaining. It also needs proper editing. Even with a dozen eyes, it’s still possible that some typos can slip through, but you need to do your best to catch them.
You should also have some visual content within the book. Having some images can help to make the book more appealing to many readers, and it can help to illustrate certain points. Additionally, you really do need to have a high quality cover. Even though they say that you can’t judge a book by its cover, everyone does.
What Should You Avoid with Ebooks?
Ebooks are great as sales devices and freebies, but you should never write a book solely as sale propaganda. Readers can see through this, and they will not want to give you their business. The goal of the ebook should be to provide information, not just be a long form advertisement. If written well enough, people will want to learn more about your company, and it can work as a form of passive lead generation.
The content should not be wall-to-wall text either. In addition to images, it is important to have chapters, headings, and subheadings that are able to break up the text and make it read faster and easier.
What’s Your Ebook?
Everyone and every company have at least one book inside. It’s easier than ever to get this content up online for everyone to share and enjoy. All you have to do now is discover your topic and begin.
Does your company use Amazon as a platform to sell its products? If not, it’s definitely something you should consider, since it’s the default shopping website for millions of people your business may not currently be reaching. And if you do, then why not take Amazon selling to the next level? There’s no such thing as selling your products in a vacuum, especially in this modern age—they’ll be surrounded by information somehow, and it’s up to you what kind of information that is. Should you trust Google and other search engines to get your customers the best information about the uses and benefits of your product? It’s hit or miss. Instead, why not hire a professional writing company to create a unique e-book that you can give to customers for free when they buy your products?
E-books Are Versatile
The great thing about e-books is that they’re adaptable to virtually any context. If your product needs to be explained in great detail, e-books can be long enough to do that. If your product is simple and just needs a basic overview, that’s also no problem—it’s not uncommon to see e-books of only 2000 words or so. They can also incorporate pictures and infographics; think of them as a small magazine or publication rather than a traditional “book”, though text-only e-books are fine too.
E-books Are Cheap to Produce
Since e-books are created and distributed on the Internet, you won’t have to pay publishing and materials costs. The only cost you’ll have to cover is the writing, and most companies are quite reasonable when it comes to this. Remember, though, that you get what you pay for, so don’t pay $10 and expect a polished product.
Reinforce the Benefits of Your Product
The best way to get repeat customers is to show them how useful and beneficial your product is—to give them the knowledge about it to go along with the experience of using it. A free e-book puts all that information into one easily accessible place. You know how great your product is, but your customers need a little more convincing, so give them a reason to find out that it’s great for themselves.
Use Facts and Research
However, don’t be tempted to just make claims with no evidence to back them up. A good e-book will be research-driven and be full of credible sources. Don’t try to fudge the evidence by consulting fake “experts”, though—modern readers seem to have a sixth sense for dishonesty. Only make claims that you can substantiate with trustworthy news sources or scientific journals.
Free E-books Are Easy to Share
Producing a free e-book and sending it out to your Amazon customers could have the beneficial side effect of resulting in extra publicity! Include information that your customers will find useful, and they’ll be too happy to share it with their friends. The age of the Internet has made word-of-mouth marketing more powerful than ever, since it only takes one click of a button for readers to share information with their friends. Even if they don’t send the e-book itself to their friends, they’ll probably recommend your product next time a friend is looking for a solution to the problem your product addresses.
There’s nothing to lose by trying free e-book distribution. For an affordable one-time expense, you can have a lasting source of information that you can send to customers over and over. This is a strategy that works for all types of industries—if you have something to say about your product, you can say it in an e-book. The format may change, but sharing useful information with your customers never goes out of style.
It’s been a long and arduous process, but your book has been edited and re-edited and finally the day has arrived for it to hit the shelves. So it does, and it may just be the proudest moment of your life.
Except then it just sits there.
You’ve poured so much of your life into creating the perfect story, polishing the language and syntax, making sure every word is exactly where it’s supposed to be, that you neglected to consider what would happen afterwards. And at the risk of being buzz-kills, we have to tell you that the hardest part of your job is still ahead. If you thought getting your book on the shelves was bad, wait until you start trying to get it off the shelves, into readers’ hands. Marketing is, for the majority of writers, the hardest part of book publishing. But there are a few tips and tricks you can use to ease the distribution process.
Identify Your Demographics
Yeah, we know, you want your book to cross the boundaries of age and gender and location. Everyone does. But it pretty much never ends up happening that way. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, either; it takes the pressure off of having to please everybody (an impossible task). So find your people. Who’s most likely to benefit from reading your book? What types of people read similar books? Find out, and connect with those communities.
Use Social Media
Word spreads like wildfire on social media websites, especially Twitter and Facebook, so take advantage of those platforms. Start an author fan page for yourself, or a book fan page for your specific novel, and post content your readers will appreciate. It’s a great idea to start a blog or website to keep readers up to date with what you’re doing as an author, and then share those posts on your social media pages.
Hold Contests and Giveaways
People love free stuff. You can make your readers happy and also use giveaways to your advantage: it’s as simple as asking them to like your page or share a post for a chance to win something. This could be something as simple as a signed copy of your book, or, if you want to generate a lot of interest, something more expensive like an e-reader. Everyone wins: you get visibility as your fans share the posts with their friends, and they get the excitement of a potential prize.
Post on Online Forums
There are online forums for just about every type of person nowadays. Seek out the ones that cover topics relevant to your book, and start a thread or two explaining what your book is about. The people who frequent those forums will already be interested in those topics, so you have a better chance of piquing their curiosity than if you just walked up to strangers on the street.
It’s rare to see books that don’t have “Praise for…[title]” on the back cover or inside jacket. Do you know how those writers got those reviews? They asked. Send free copies of your book to as many reviewers as possible, including the big names. Readers are less likely to go into a book totally blind, but if it’s endorsed by professionals, it’s a whole other story. Also ask magazines and websites to give you blurbs (possibly in exchange for you giving them a shout out on your own website or writing a guest post or article).
When you decided you wanted to write a book, you may not have known what you were getting into, but just because marketing your book can be hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Work hard and stick to it, and you’ll have those copies flying off the shelves.
When a potential customer is considering buying a product or service, the first thing they want to know is how to use it and the benefits of having it. User’s manuals aren’t a bad way to convey this information, but they tend to be slightly boring and technical rather than interesting and engaging. That’s why you should consider developing and distributing e-books instead. The key is basing them in facts, research, and information, but structuring and writing them in a way that make them enjoyable to read. Let’s take a look at the advantages of using free e-books to sell your products and services.
The great thing about e-books is that they’re very easy to share. Since they’re usually packaged in a PDF format, all it takes is a link or attachment to spread them around. This equates to a lot of people reading them—especially if they’re good. You can start by sharing it on your own blog and social media pages, and let your readers share it with their own friends, as tends to naturally happen when people find content useful or enjoyable. What this equates to is not only helping your current customers find out what they need to know, but also attracting new customers who may not have heard of your business until they stumble across the e-book!
Easy Topical Information Distribution
When a customer is looking for specific, in-depth information on a certain topic, there’s no better method to give it to them than in an e-book. Articles are limited by their length (generally, they shouldn’t get too much above 2000 words), while actual printed books are more difficult and expensive to produce. An e-book is perfect in its versatility: it can be just about any length you want, and get as specific as your business needs it to be. This saves your customers from having to hunt all over the Internet for all the information they need, because you can package it conveniently in one location.
Distributing a book on the Internet means it can be read anytime, anywhere, which is especially great if you’re trying to break into the international market. Since English is spoken in most modern countries, you probably won’t even have to worry about translation issues, although it’s also a fairly simple process to translate your e-book into other languages.
Cheap to Produce
Hiring a professional writing company to produce an e-book for your business will cost a little more than choosing a cheap, low-quality article marketing company, but it’s definitely worth it. For e-books, you can’t just think in terms of keywords and search engine optimization, because the point is to use the e-books’ content to not only generate initial curiosity, but to keep readers interested enough to further explore your products. That means the e-book needs to be well-written and engaging. But that doesn’t necessarily entail a high expense! Many professional writing companies produce amazing content for reasonable prices. Your e-book will pay for itself in no time.
Costs Your Customer Nothing
Everyone loves getting something for free. An e-book that costs your customer nothing means that a lot more people will end up reading it. Even 99 cents e-books aren’t nearly as popular, since they require breaking out the credit card. A free e-book means that all they have to do is make a single click. That’s definitely not hard. Even if they only end up skimming it, that may be all that’s needed to capture their interest.
So, if you or your company has never looked into producing an e-book before, there’s no time like the present to start! With years of proven success behind them, free e-books are not going away anytime soon.
Well, the polishing touches have been put on your book: the grammar is spotless and you’ve worked out all the kinks. It’s going to press within the month. Time to sit back, breathe a sigh of relief, and relax for a while, right? …Well, not exactly. Your job isn’t over just because the writing process is! There’s a lot you can be doing between now and the release date to make sure your book comes into a world that’s ready for it.
Pre-Sale Sign-Ups and “Reserve Your Copy” Campaigns
Offering your book for pre-order is a great way to get your momentum started early, so that it will gain speed up until (and through) the day of release. Pre-selling books creates anticipation among your readers and gets them talking about your work. That way, your book will come out among an excited buzz of conversation instead of to dead silence. Hype doesn’t create itself, though, so make sure to get the ball rolling yourself. Here are a few methods of doing that.
Blogging and Social Media
Start blogging and posting about your upcoming book at least a few months before it comes out—and maybe even during the process. Don’t over-share so many details that by the time it actually comes out, people feel like they’ve already read it, but don’t be too stingy either. You should try to create a fine balance, where you tease readers into wanting to know more. Post some short excerpts (just a page or two, not an entire chapter), especially ones with exciting action or drama (but no pivotal scenes that will ruin a surprise when the book comes out). Start a countdown a month before the release date. And, of course, let readers know about your pre-sale and give them links to the websites where they can order the books.
Contact Media Sources For Reviews
What’s better than good reviews to get you added to pre-order lists? Not a whole lot! Be intentional and energetic about sending out your book to reputable media reviewers from newspapers, magazines, and online sources. If you can get a few sentences to put on the back of your book, good. A blog post, great. A blurb in the newspaper’s media section or magazine sidebar? Amazing. But you won’t get any of these if you don’t try, so send out those emails! Many book reviewers only review books before they’ve been released, so now is the time to contact them.
Offer A Special Pre-Release Price
Saving money is always a huge draw. Give your readers some incentive to pre-order by offering a special early bird discount! Make sure you discuss printing and initial retailing costs with your publisher so you don’t price it ridiculously low and lose out on profits. Generally a discount of 15% to 25% will be enough of a hook to draw in the coupon-clippers among your fan base.
Brochures and Flyers
Yep, old-fashioned methods still have some juice in them. Once you have your book cover designed, put together some colorful, interest-generating paper advertising and head to libraries, bookstores, and cafes to let people know about your great book that’s “Coming Soon!” Include a link to your website or blog so interested readers can find you and learn more.
Selling your book before you’ve even held a hard copy in your hand may sound a little strange, but time has tested it and proven that it’s a great method for generating publicity and extra sales. An Internet presence is a big part of selling your book in today’s market, so make sure you’re active online. It can be hard work, but it all becomes worth it when you spot your name on bestseller lists!
“Anybody can do it.” Those were the words of a woman who recently published a children’s eBook with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing after getting one rejection letter after another — totaling more than 100 — from traditional publishing houses. The woman went on to sell more than 30,000 copies in less than five months.
But can anyone really do it? Is just a matter of the persistence to actually write the book and then use the many online tools available to get your work “out there?”
Many resources say, yes, it is that simple but hard work mixed with a little common sense have to accompany that simplicity. Getting published is easy. It’s the selling part that is a little harder. For many people, getting published on Amazon Kindle would fulfill the dream of becoming a published author without needing the say-so of a traditional publishing house. Even self-published authors have to come up with the money to get the books in print; with e-publishing, your overhead costs are pretty much eliminated.
Amazon Is a Good Way to Go
If you need to be convinced that Amazon is the best way to publish your eBook, the site itself gives you some reasons why it is the best choice for you. Kindle Direct Publishes promises:
- You can maintain control of your book and you can make changes anytime.
- You can publish one time and go global, with access to readers around the world.
- It happens fast. Publishing takes less than five minutes and is available on Amazon in just one day.
- Customers in at least 12 countries, including the U.S., Canada and the UK, can earn up to 70 percent royalties on their work.
- You can publish in seven different languages.
- Your work will be available on Kindle devices and through free Kindle apps.
If that’s the case, what’s not to like?
Tips to actually get started:
- Get an Amazon account, nothing fancy, just a standard customer account. Sign up is supposed to be fast and easy.
- Have your manuscript in either a Word or HTML format to upload to Amazon’s DTP (digital text platform) site and Amazon will automatically convert it to the correct format for the Kindle app.
- Add the pertinent information about your book: title, author, summary, keywords. The site will more or less walk you through those particulars.
- Read and agree to the fine print. You have to specifically say that you have the right to sell your book.
- Upload your book cover (should be a JPEG or TIFF file. Amazon will give you the specific recommendations for the best visual.
- Format your book.
- Price your book and select your royalty rates. It’s worth noting here that some experts recommend you sell your eBook for $5.99 or less. Books priced between $2.99 and $9.99 are the only ones that enjoy Amazon’s 70 percent royalty rate; otherwise you go down to 35 percent.
- Your submission is approved within 24 hours.
Promoting and Selling Your eBook
Now here comes the tough part, probably the hardest part of the whole process since you actually penned your book. How are you going to get the word out about it and then get people to buy it?
The wonderful world of online tools has some answers and places for you to get started, as long as you are ready to start the work of marketing.
- Your book should be a good read — and someone should start writing strong reviews to prove it. If you wrote a book that you believe people will buy, you must have a way with words. That means that someone who has read your book found it a good read and that someone should be willing to write a nice book review for you. You also need to write a pretty good summary for yourself as that description will be what potential buyers see when they go browsing.
- Publicize your books for free. MediaBistro.com put together a pretty good list of free websites and apps to promote your book. The great part of using such services is besides being free, these sites typically already have their own supporters and followers. Implementing these tools are a part of your strategy keeps your costs down while getting the number of potential readers up.
- Find your niche and market to your ideal buyer like you’ve never marketed before. You should know what category your book falls into. Who would want to read it? It’s very easy to say, “Everybody!” But the truth is that one audience could probably appreciate your book over another one. For example, teenage girls may not be interested in your rousing account of Civil War soldiers but history professors might. Take the time to learn who would really enjoy your work the most and work on marketing to that group.
- Use social media. Find neat little ways to market in 140 characters on your Twitter account, create a nice status for Facebook posts, post pictures of people reading and enjoying your book on Instagram. You can also take little snippets of the book to use as topics for regular blog posts. The great thing about social media is that you have all the power to post as much as you need, but remember that it should be in a helpful, marketing sort of way — not an annoying, please-buy-my-book-please sort of way.
- Talk it up — in person. Schedule talks or appearances in libraries, community centers or colleges around your eBook’s concepts or subjects. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean you can’t promote it to someone face-to-face.
It looks like anyone can definitely write a book and even get it published on Amazon Kindle, but what will set your work apart — and set you up to potentially be a bestseller — is the quality of your work and the success of your marketing.
Need an eBook?
Words You Want offers pre-written eBook packages that allow you to get started selling on Kindle right away. Our packages include a Word document version of the book, Kindle formatted book, and cover. Some books are available with images depending on the subject matter. Or, if you want to have a custom eBook written, we can do that too!
Just want to learn more about self-publishing? Check out our eBook Publish It! Creating eBooks & Marketing Like a Pro.