This post was written by a colleague, Dr. Joel Orr, and originally appeared in the Women in Consulting blog (www.blog/womeninconsulting.org). It is used here with permission.
Why publish an ebook? Being an author establishes you as an authority in your field; that’s why many consultants write books. And while self-publishing has made getting a book out faster and easier than ever before, there is still some effort involved in the process—effort you can avoid by going directly to ebook.
Nobody outside of Amazon knows how many Kindles have been sold, but the number is in the double-digit millions. Add to that the number of Kindle apps, free for iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac, and Android; the number of Barnes and Noble Nooks; the number of other electronic book readers; and without even counting the number of people who can read/print a pdf—basically, every person with access to a computer—you have a market for ebooks that defies quantification.
And here’s the deal: Your cost to publish an ebook version of your manuscript, once you’ve written it, is at most $150–and that includes getting into the Kindle market on Amazon, as well as into other ebook markets, like the iBookstore, Smashwords, or BookBaby. With NO marginal cost per copy.
Most ebook formats allow you to insert live links in your text. Your ebook thus becomes a portal into your online presence. So if you want books to be part of your marketing plan, you would be foolish not to publish an ebook.
Servicing the Print Market
Are there lots of people who still want hard copy? Yes, there are. Meet their needs and desires through print-on-demand services, such as CreateSpace.com (owned by Amazon) or Lulu.com—where you can publish your manuscript for free, set your book’s price, and have the production costs deducted from each purchase. No money up front.
When pricing your paper book, you have to take your production costs into account. But when you publish an ebook, you can optimize your ebook’s price based on what the market will bear, without having to take any production or fulfillment costs into consideration. Your marketing plan, and those who read it, will love that.
Sell your ebook for $.99 for volume—or even for free. Sell it for $19.99 based on value. Design your marketing plan such that you can experiment, testing different prices. The different ebook formats may sell at different rates for you. Try different things.
There are several ebook formats, but for $150 or less, you can have your manuscript in all of them–and available in their associated bookstores. Use your search engine to find “ebook conversion service.” And if you publish your paper book with CreateSpace or Lulu, they will convert your book to ebook formats for a small fee. If you publish just an ebook with Smashwords or BookBaby, the format conversions are included in your basic arrangement. And if you are technologically brave, try out the free Calibre software (http://Calibre-ebook.com) that can convert Word, PDF, and other formats into a variety of standard ebook formats.
You could even offer your ebook through the Clickbank Marketplace, a site for affiliate marketers, where it can find active affiliate marketers who are seeking great products to promote to their lists. You can turn it into a free bonus, a giveaway to get people onto YOUR list, so that you can sell them other products and services. Again, that can be an asset to your marketing plan.
What to Write About
What should you write about? Use tools like Wordtracker.com and the Google Keyword Tool to discover keywords in your field that have 500 or more searches per day—and not much competition. Then write your ebook to match what your chosen market wants.
How long should your ebook be? Just as long as it needs to be to cover what you have to say. Unlike paper books, the value of ebooks is not gauged by their length. And since it costs no more to publish a 200-page ebook than a 100-page one, don’t worry about length.
An ebook needs a well-designed cover, but an ebook cover is simply an image. Ebooks do not usually have back covers, which are somewhat demanding in terms of formatting and design.
There are so many good reasons to publish an ebook. Include this product type in your marketing mix!
Joel Orr is good with words. He’s written 11 books and hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from engineering automation and computer graphics to organizational structure and marriage. (He’s also an amazing editor and a good copy writer.) He helps others write books, by teaching them a simple methodical approach, then helping them get published and marketed. With a PhD in math (SUNY, 1973), he can hold his own in most science and engineering circles. Joel is fluent in English, Hebrew, and Spanish. He is a certified coach (IPEC) and a Master NLP Practitioner. His 6 children and 16 grandkids are all on the East Coast. He and his wife live in Mountain View. For more information, visit www.JoelTrainsAuthors.com.