Build Your Business with E-Books

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Publishing ebooks

These days, where there are desktops, laptops, tablets and e-readers — which is basically everywhere — there are e-books. And that’s great news for anyone trying to gain credibility in the marketplace, increase traffic to their website or just plain improve their revenue stream. Offering e-books has become one of the hottest new tools to help boost business.

Drive Traffic/Expand Your Mailing List

Publishing an e-book on a topic related to your business is one more way you can market yourself and your offerings. Whether you’re a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker, you’ve got valuable knowledge to share. Obviously, selling e-books can provide you with additional income, but there are other benefits of producing an e-book. In fact, an e-book might benefit you most if you give it away for free.

People love free information, and if you can get the word out that they can receive a free e-book if they join your mailing list or visit your website, you can create buzz and possibly new customers. You can build trust with your audience by giving them valuable content, demonstrating that you know your topic, and showing that you work hard to provide a high-quality product or service.

While it helps to have a strong online presence to market your e-book, it’s not necessary. If you do have a website, advertising it there is the first step. Perhaps offer it at a nominal cost to registered members and free to those willing to join your site, providing you with valuable contact information to mine later on!

And don’t underestimate the power of social media. Create a Facebook page and a Twitter account for your book and deliver reviews, notices and interesting tidbits daily if possible.

Writing Your E-book

Do you write a blog? Contribute guest articles to websites? Send out a newsletter? If so, you’ve already got the makings of your first e-book. Many e-books — as well as many traditionally published books — are simply a reprinting of past blogs or articles, kind of a “best of” series. Excerpts from newsletters will work, too.

If you don’t currently have the body of work to draw from, you can work in reverse and start your blog with an eye toward publishing your first e-book in perhaps six months to a year, depending how frequently you post new material.

Another approach is to select a topic related to your business. Say you’re a website designer. You might create an e-book entitled something along the lines of “10 Things You Should Know Before You Build a Website.”

If anyone knows what to be aware of when designing a site, it’s you, right? What if you’re a caterer? Your e-book could offer tips for entertaining or information on how to plan a large party or event. You don’t have to give away the store to entice readers, but you should offer valuable information and insights worthy of an expert in your field.

And if, like so many people, you’d prefer a root canal rather than face a blank page on your computer, no worries. You can hire well-credentialed freelance writers through sites like elance.com and odesk.com, and others. These sites offer you access to a wide variety of creative professionals including writers, graphic designers, illustrators, even proofreaders. (And yes, ask to see past samples before you take the plunge with anyone!)

Of course you will have to give the people you hire information and guidance until the content meets your approval; they may be talented, but that doesn’t make them omniscient.

The Publishing Process

When you think of books these days, most people’s first thoughts are Amazon and Barnes and Noble. And rightfully so. In May 2011, the New York Times reported that online bookseller Amazon was now selling more e-books than hardcover and softcover books. Not surprisingly, Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com are publishing most of them as well.

While there are other publishers out there, a quick check of the online publishing arms of either of these giants will give you a good working knowledge of what’s required, how long it will take and how much it will cost. You can also look into having them sell your e-book for you, another bit of business-enhancing credibility: “I’m a published author and my book is available through Amazon.com.”

Important Note: Before you submit your manuscript anywhere, be sure you own all the publication rights. That means carefully reviewing any agreements you made with anyone who may have contributed to your book. If you don’t have full rights and you go ahead and publish, you might end up on the wrong side of a lawsuit.

The Final Chapter

E-books offer myriad benefits that traditional books don’t. E-books are easy to give or sell to customers. You don’t have to keep boxes of inventory in your garage, and you don’t have to pay shipping costs. Customers can download e-books even while you’re sleeping or on vacation.

You can offer e-books for free. If you try to offer traditionally published books for free, you’ll still be responsible for printing and shipping costs. Depending on how you choose to publish your e-book, you may still pay some up-front costs. But the files themselves cost you nothing to print or ship, and you can share as many as you want.

Anyone can publish an e-book in a short amount of time. Traditionally published books can take years to be ready, but many of today’s self-publishing packages are inexpensive and can be done on your own timetable.

Have you published an ebook on Amazon ? Tell us your story

Image Credit: ipad developer

Article by Karen

Karen has written 1 articles.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Georgia Milton May 15, 2012, 5:33 pm

    Promoting with ebooks have always fascinated me , but I ve never gone ahead and made one…your explanation on the ebook process and how to promote it is great…I’ll have to start making one soon.

    • Karen B. May 15, 2012, 7:34 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the piece. An article for your eBook can be used later as a chapter within the book itself. Chapters can be reprints of past blogs or pieces from past newsletters. Since I don’t know what kind of business you have I can only give you some examples. If you’re a caterer, you don’t want to give away your best recipes, but you can write an article on how to set a fabulous summer table or how to decorate the house for a specific holiday. If you are a Web developer, you don’t want to give away your best programming tricks, but you could write an article on the importance of using social media as a way to drive increased traffic to your website or as a way of creating an ongoing dialogue with potential customers. In other words, write about a topic very closely related to your area of expertise without giving away the store. Good luck!

  • John Paul Grant May 16, 2012, 1:59 am

    Nice little post mate … we just put out our first ebook and it has been great for growing a email list. Highly recommend investing the time in writing one.

  • Okto May 16, 2012, 2:09 am

    Hi Karen,

    This is new perspective about e-Books I know so far. I am on the track to finish my first e-Book by the end of this year. Your explanation has given me more excitement about my plan.

    I never have experienced on selling my own eBooks through amazon before. I am more interesting to sell it from email marketing.

    Thanks

  • Goa trip May 16, 2012, 2:55 am

    people love free information but it should be helpful and with an ebook you can attract many to your blog.

  • Felicia @ No Deposit Poker May 16, 2012, 6:06 am

    It really is nice to read e-books as they can be read anywhere and anytime you want. Thanks for sharing with us on how to make the most out of e-books, especially for those who are planning to create one.

  • Grace Sevilly May 16, 2012, 9:26 am

    You can even take it one step further by writing ebooks for amazon kindle.. ebooks are really great for that extra income

  • Chris Barker May 16, 2012, 6:10 pm

    It’s nice to have this kind of business with ebooks. I think this should make us more profit then. I wanna try this. Thanks for the post.

  • Nanvy @ CRM Software Solutions May 17, 2012, 7:01 am

    Seems useful to get the knowledge here for ebooks but i’ve never tried this.

  • Dahlia Valentine May 17, 2012, 11:33 am

    Hi Karen… I sell ebooks on my own website and at Amazon. It can be a very lucrative business, though I think the most profitable authors are the ones who have several ebooks out. There’s an author by the name of John Locke who sells ebooks on Amazon by the truckload. The first thing you’ll notice is that he has over 10 titles up for sale. Not saying that you can’t make money with just one ebook, but it definitely helps when you have several.

  • alanc230 May 17, 2012, 12:12 pm

    I enjoy reading ebooks on my Nook. Real books. What I don’t have any interest in is 25 stale rehashed pages purporting to be the Gospel of SEO. Many ebooks seem to be no more than that.

    • Karen B. May 17, 2012, 1:36 pm

      I couldn’t agree more, Alan and thanks for making that point to potential e-book authors out there. For the best response, authors should do their best to provide unique content. That being said, I think that there are commonalities in almost every business book out there, electronic or traditional. I have read many business books over the years and to me, perspective is everything. Naturally, we all want any tactical tips (short cuts, systems, tricks) that an author can provide, but I also want to learn that author’s overarching view of their particular industry, past case scenarios, new ways to look at the same old, same old, predictions for the marketplace, etc. If you’re a caterer, I don’t expect your secret recipes, but hints on how to best plan a party, what to do first, how to cut costs, how to find the best caterer, decorating ideas, etc. would be very useful. I know that’s simplistic, but I hope it gives you a way to think about your business and what information you might offer in your e-book. Best of luck!

  • Jasmine May 17, 2012, 10:29 pm

    Hi Karen, I like to read ebooks too as they are cheaper than conventional books and easy to bring to anywhere. I am also planning to write an ebook of my own.

    By the way, do you have any software to recommend which you can use to easily make the covers and all those nifty little designs you can see in most ebooks?

    • Karen B. May 18, 2012, 1:03 am

      Sorry Jasmine, I don’t. I am very much a writer. Almost zero design skills so it’s not something I would know about. Good luck!