As I write this post, it's 5 PM and in an hour or so the hurricane is supposed to hit here. I'm in the southern part of Queens, NYC, right near Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The flooding has already started here and other areas, and so has the power outages.
It's times like this that make me want to be off an island and be on the mainland (not particularly close to any bodies of water).
My prayers and thoughts are with all those who have been hit by Sandy and those who are still in its path.
Map Images cropped from MapQuest
Why You Should Create an Ebook and 6 Basic Steps to Creating One
As a writer there are a number of ways to earn money. You can freelance, ghostwrite, and you can create your own information products. And, the easiest information product to create is an ebook.
As an author/writer you no doubt have learned a thing or two along the way. And, if you’re starting out, you’re in the process of learning. This knowledge can be turned into an income through ebooks. One of the simplest ways to create an ebook is to write what you know. But, keep in mind the information you offer must be of value and something others will want or need.
Along with the simplicity of creating ebooks, you can’t beat the cost. You can create one for NO money, or very close to it. And, you can sell it for whatever your audience is willing to pay. The primary cost is your time, in addition to some effort.
While just about all writers want to make money from their writing, there is another reason why you should create an ebook, probably more important than simply selling them. They are the perfect ‘ethical bribe’ to offer visitors to your website.
If you’re wondering why giving your ebook away for free is of more value to you than selling it, the answer is: your mailing list, which is considered ‘golden.’
For those who are unfamiliar with an ‘ethical bribe,’ it’s a free gift that you use as an enticement to get visitors to sign up for your newsletter or say YES to another call-to-action you have. This is considered an effective marketing strategy: You give one or two FREE informative e-books, obviously pertinent to your site’s brand, to help coax your visitor to say YES to your call-to-action.
Both these ebook options are beneficial, and you don’t have to choose between the two. You can create a valuable ebook as a freebie on your site, and you can also create ebooks to sell. You can even take an excerpt from a ‘for sale’ ebook and turn it into a ‘freebie’ offering.
So, now that you know the benefits of creating an ebook, let’s go over the basic steps to actually creating one.
6 Basic Steps to Creating an eBook
1. Create content. Simply open a Word document and start typing away. Get all that expert knowledge you’ve accumulated over the year/s and create your content. Just be sure that your content is reliable and will actually be of value to your readers.
Pretty easy so far, right?
2. Edit and organize your content into an easy reading document. Be sure to leave plenty of white space, as it makes for easier reading. White space means creating short paragraphs – take note of how I formatted this article. There’s plenty of white space.
3. Add images. Now that your content is set, you can add pictures (images). If you can believe it, this is free also. You can use clip art, take your own pictures and turn them into jpgs, or create your own images (it’s easier than you think - see below).
If you decide you want to buy the images, you can check out BigStock.com, Freepixels.com, or MorgueFile.com. You can get images for $2 or 3 dollars each and it’s well worth the cost.
In fact, BigStock now provides a feature that allows you to edit the images. It's really cool and great for making them unique.
In actuality, you don’t need images within your ebook, so this step is optional.
4. Edit your content again. Having a polished and professional looking product is essential.
5. Create a cover or buy one.
6. Create a PDF. Now, you’ll need to turn the Word document into a PDF with a PDF converter. The newer Word versions have converters built in – check your Print feature.
Or, you can upload the your Word doc onto Kindle, Smashwords, Lulu, or another similar service. The service you choose will have instructions on formatting it.
That’s it. You have an ebook!
MORE ON WRITING AND MARKETING
Writing an Ebook – What’s Stopping You?
Content Creation – Do This Once a Day and Get All the Traffic You Need
NEED TO BUILD YOUR AUTHORITY WITH AN EBOOK (book)? Don't want to create your own?
I can help. Check out: the Article Writing Doctor
Right Brain - Left Brain
Which Controls Your Writing?
by Shirley Corder
In 1981, Roger Wolcott Sperry--a neuropsychologist and neurobiologist, together with two others, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work on the split-brain theory. Extensive research has shown that where we both make use of both right-brain and left-brain ability, we all tend to favour one or the other.
This can show up way back in early childhood, where one child may be logical and well-organised, while the other is a disorganised dreamer. In a family of logical people, there can be pressure on the one child who is predominantly right-brain in his approach to life, to conform to his family and society's mainly left-brained approach. Where obviously the dreamer has to be able to fit into the (usually) organised world where he lives, his brain preference should nevertheless be encouraged.
One of our three children fits this category exactly. He was the dreamer of the family. While everyone else in the class tackled their maths assignment, he stared out the window. He spent several long stretches in bed, due to a couple of unusual illnesses. During his first attack of Rheumatic Fever, he spent nine months in bed. Yet we never had a problem with boredom. He always found new, creative ways to entertain himself.
Without going into complicated explanations, it is sufficient to say that the left-brain is responsible for logic. It is analytical, fact-based, and organised. The right-brain on the other hand is emotional, intuitive and creative.
Writers need the left-brain approach, to be able to turn out manuscripts that readers can understand. But without the right-brain, their work is likely to be dry and uninteresting. So when you're looking for a more creative approach to a story or an article, look for ways to switch your brain into "right-brain" mode.
The traditional methods of making a list, or writing down ideas one after the other, rely on the left brain, using a linear method. These emphasise logic and order which can prevent the flow of way-out ideas.
Put On Your Thinking Cap . . . and other safer ideas.
For years, parents and teachers have been urging their young charges to "Put on your thinking cap." It would appear that scientists have actually developed a “thinking cap”. This zaps the brain with electricity, thus suppressing the left side of the brain, and allowing the right brain to develop. (I've searched for an available photograph to share with you, but without success. You'll have to imagine it for yourself.) I admit I don't like this idea one bit, but I've found a few other ways to stimulate the right brain, without having to light up your eyes.
Here are six ways to put your right brain to work:
1. Create a mind-map. The old way of coming up with a list of ideas was to do just that: Make a list. A far more creative method is to get your right brain to do the work as you create a mind-map. See here for detailed instructions.
2. Sing. Singing is a right brain activity. So if you sing your ideas out loud, you are encouraging your right brain to get involved, which may bring some creative ideas to the fore. (It'll probably bring some strange looks to the fore as well, so I suggest you do this on your own!)
3. Listen to music. Students through the years have tried to convince their parents that listening to music helps them to concentrate. It actually involves their right brain, thus making them more open to new ideas. Experts advocate Mozart for this, but probably any music will work. The trick will be to find something which allows your brain to work, and not shut down because of the sheer volume.
4. Play music. If you play an instrument, think about the issue you want to explore, then sit down at the piano or pick up your guitar, and allow your mind to wander.
5. Draw. Drawing relies completely on the right brain. You might want to draw the problem area, or just doodle on a piece of paper or a chalkboard. As you draw, picture the issue you're wanting to explore, and you may find new ideas filtering into your mind.
6. Write. Without doubt, this is the best way for a writer to increase activity in his/her right brain.
• Establish a regular routine of writing. This trains your right brain to be in charge and not allow the left brain to take over and produce excuses for not writing.
• Write through writer's block. Pull out a fresh piece of paper, or open a new document in Word, and write freely without lifting your pen. If you're a reasonably fast typist you can do the same on your computer. Another name for this is stream of consciousness.
• Write with your non-dominant hand, or even with both hands at once. You probably won't be able to read it back, but it will give your right brain a chance to explore all it likes, as your left brain cannot interfere with this exercise.
How about you? What do you do to kick-start that right-brain into coming up with fresh, creative idea for your writing and marketing? Please share your suggestions in the comment section below.
Visit Shirley on her website to inspire and encourage writers, or on Rise and Soar, her website for encouraging those on the cancer journey. Follow her on Twitter or "like" her Author's page on Facebook.
MORE ON WRITING
Writing an Ebook – What’s Stopping You?
Writing Goals, Detours, and Opportunity Cost
Building a Profitable Information Product Business
Just about every business starts with one product, except possibly a service business. For an information product business that product is usually an ebook.
It just makes sense to write an ebook an ebook first. The reason is because no matter what type of information product you create, it will be based on content. This makes an ebook the perfect first product.
So, how do you get from one ebook to a profitable business?
Well, to create an effective or successful product, you need to provide what customers will want. Expert ebook author and marketer Jim Edwards explains that people either have a problem that needs solving, a question that needs answering, or a roadblock that needs to be bypassed. It’s your job to find the solution, the answer, or the roadblock blaster.
Once you have that one information product in place, you can turn it into a number of different formats. These other products include:
1. Printed books
2. White Papers
9. Speaking engagements
Most of the above can be done for little or no cost and having a variety matters, since people like to take-in information through different means. Some like to read, others like to listen to audio or speakers, others like to watch webinars or video, and still others like one-on-one approach of coaching. This allows for one product’s content to be purchased in multiple formats.
The next step to a successful business is to continually address the problems, questions, and roadblocks that people have. Once you tackle one obstacle your target market is facing, find another. Create an ebook to address the next dilemma, then turn that information product into other product formats.
It’s a simple cycle of ongoing actions, like shampoo, rinse, and repeat. You simply repeat each step for each new obstacle you’re addressing for your target market.
Tip: When you create a product or service, it should be a quality product or service. It needs to address the potential customer’s problem, need, or want, and be of value.
In addition to the two steps above, you will need to promote your information products. This will take a marketing strategy.
The first order of business is to let the public know you have something to offer. This can be done through various marketing techniques, such as blog posting, article marketing, using social media, and paying for traffic.
To be successful you will need to attract visitors to your site, specifically to an opt-in landing page so you can build your subscriber list. It’s the regular emails to your list that will help you develop a relationship with your subscribers.
In order to get visitors to sign-up for your mailing list opt-in, you’ll need to offer a Freebie, or ethical bribe. Your freebie must be information that your target market wants. Again, it will need to solve a problem, answer a question, or blast through a roadblock. This will help establish you as an expert in your field and as trustworthy. Both are relationship building blocks.
TIP: The key to a freebie is to offer something the visitor will feel is well-worth his valuable email address.
Another strategy to building an information product business is to offer affiliate products and become involved with joint ventures. Both are avenues to additional income.
Keep this building cycle going and you are sure to have a profitable information product business.
LIKE THIS POST? PLEASE SHARE IT!
More on Building a Business
Small Business Marketing – Know What Consumers Buy (Part 1)
Using Video for Marketing
"Any tips on creating a newsletter? And, what about monetizing it?"
A newsletter is one of the most effective ways to develop a relationship with your readers. It gives you the opportunity to give valuable information and lead the reader back to your site and to promote what you’re offering.
The easiest way to create a newsletter is to model it after newsletters you subscribe to. Choose a couple you think are effective and simply create your own based on them.
Another strategy, since time is scarce, is to simply link to your most recent post in the newsletter. I read a lot of newsletters and most of them either include their most recent post or just link to it. And, they don't really monetize the newsletter anymore.
If though you have a product or service of your own that's relevant to the email topic, then you might add a CTA (call-to-action) to it at the bottom of the email.
You might also monetize your newsletter by using affiliate marketing. Add a topic related affiliate product at the end of the newsletter content, or hyperlink to the product, using a specific keyword within your content.
TIP: When affiliate marketing, it's essential to let your readers know that some of your links are monetized. You might add a sentence at the bottom of your post or add a sentence on your sidebar. However you want to do it, let your readers know you're an affiliate marketer.
Tip2: Be sure that any of the posts on your site that you’re linking to from your newsletter are monetized or at the very least has some type of CTA.
P.S. Like this post? Please share it!
More Email Marketing Tips
Email Marketing and Call-to-Actions (CTAs)
Email Marketing – New Canadian Anti-Spam Law May Affect You
Email Marketing – The Subscriber Email List Bare-Bottom Basics
There are a number of obstacles, real or perceived, that block the path to writing an ebook. But, even if you get past those obstacles and have an ebook available for sale, this is only the beginning. You still need to attract customers and build on your initial information product.
Creating an ebook can be considered the first step toward your information product empire. The next step to creating and building a business is generating and sustaining momentum. This relates to the marketing end of your business.
This is the same strategy for any product you’re selling online. It’s kind of like Marketing 101. You need to make people, the right people, aware of your product and make it appealing and valuable enough for them to want to buy. Its value has to be greater than its opportunity cost.
So, what are the steps needed to get your ‘information product business’ up and running?
1. Know your target audience
First and foremost, know who your target audience is. You’ll need to know what problem they need solved, or what question they need answered, or what roadblock they need to overcome.
Knowing this will help you structure all your information products.
2. Create a business and marketing plan
This is a must for any business. It will help guide you through to a successful business. It establishes focus and clarity, which will motivate you and keep you motivated.
3. Create a website
For any business, online or offline, you need a website. This is your online office - the place where people can learn about you and your products - the place where you develop a relationship with the visitors.
When considering a website marketing expert Mike Volpe of Hubspot.com points out that it’s more important to spend time and money on content, rather than a flashy website design. The idea is simple works. In fact, simpler has been proven to lead to a higher conversion rate.
To reinforce the ‘simple is better strategy,’ Google says that milliseconds count in regard to your page load time. If your page is slow to load, you’ll get a poorer score with Google. And, marketing studies are finding that cluttered or flashy designs are distracting to visitors, which is another factor in reducing conversion.
Volpe also advises that you should have control over your site. This means you should be able to manage it yourself. So, keep this in mind when hiring a website creator/designer, if you’re not doing it yourself.
4. Create and build a subscriber or email list
If you think of a business as a house, your subscriber list will be the foundation. Without it you can’t build anything.
Building your list involves having an opt-in box and it’s advisable to have a specific landing page for it. Having the opt-in only on your website’s sidebar leaves too much room for distraction. Have your article marketing endeavors link to your opt-in landing page.
To get visitors to give you their precious email address, you’ll need to have a great free offer. This can be a report, an information ebook or podcast, or even a webinar replay. Provide a quality information product freebie. The freebie needs to be valuable enough for the visitor to see its perceived value.
In order to keep your subscribers happy, you’ll need to provide regular information emails. This can also be in the form of a newsletter.
5. Drive traffic to your site
An effective and organic strategy for driving traffic is article marketing. The idea is to create an information funnel leading traffic back to your site.
Other options include: Joint Ventures (JVs), social media, and buying traffic, such as ‘pay per click’ (PPC).
There you have it, five steps to creating your information product empire foundation, beginning with writing an ebook.
To check out the whole eBook series, you can start at Part One:
Writing an Ebook – What’s Stopping You?
Want to create an effective money-making ebook in 7 days? If you said yes, then you’ll want to check out How to Write Your Own Ebook in 7 Days by Jim Edwards.
Over the last 14 years, Jim has written, created, and sold ‘millions of dollars’ in ebooks and info-products online. And, he has helped thousands of authors.
Get your copy of How to Write Your Own Ebook in 7 Days and get started today. CLICK HERE!
MORE ON ONLINE MARKETING
What is an Author Platform and How Do You Create It?
Monitoring Marketing Success – 5 Things to Check on Google Analytics Part 1
Using Video for Marketing
I know I said my posting days would be cut to two a week for a while, but I read a statistic on Hubspot.com that said businesses, in our case bloggers, who post 20 or more times a month get FIVE more times traffic than those who post only a few times a month.
A light went off.
It just makes more sense to post the extra day a week, even if it's a not a full article length post. While the word count may be less, the information is still valuable!
So, the question for today is: How often should you post to your blog?
Post as often as you can to your blog. Can't do five days a week? Shoot for three. If three is too much for you, think of doing what I'm doing: two full posts and one mini post. If it's still too much, try to post at least twice a week.
Have a marketing questions? Ask away!
The marketing arena’s idea of the pitch is a one sentence calling card – you’re unique selling proposal or proposition. The idea behind the elevator pitch is to imagine that you get on an elevator and surprisingly you’re there with a potential client, or in the case of writing, a publisher or agent. You are given just the time for the elevator ride, which was approximated at 3 minutes, to pitch your story. That’s the elevator pitch.
It may also happen that the time you have to pitch your manuscript or other pitch may be under a minute. Suppose you’re at a conference and happen to get on the elevator at the end of the day with a frazzled publisher or potential client. You want that very short span of pitching time to be as effective as you can make it, without annoying or further frazzling your target. It may be the only opportunity you’ll have for a direct, although very brief, uninterrupted pitch.
The one sentence pitch, also known as a logline, takes time, effort, and a lot of practice. You need to condense your entire manuscript into one sentence. Within that sentence you need to harness the soul of your story in a simple, concise, and hooking pitch.
The general writing consensus is to do your best and create one sentence that tells what your story or service is about. Once you have it nailed, expand it into a few more, adding only the most important aspects of the story. This is excellent practice for tight writing.
This way you’ll have two different versions of a micro pitch. It’s important to always be prepared – you never know when or where you may come upon an unsuspecting target . . . maybe you’ll have a few seconds, maybe you’ll have 3 minutes.
Here’s an en example from the blog at Buried in the Slush Pile (2):
The Emerald Tablet -- In this midgrade science fiction novel, a telepathic boy discovers that he is not really human but a whole different species and that he must save a sunken continent hidden under the ocean.
And, here’s my own one sentence pitch for my children’s fantasy chapter book, Walking Through Walls. The 99 word version hooked a contract with a publisher:
Children 7-10 love fantasy and magic and Walking Through Walls has just that; twelve-year-old Wang decides he’ll be rich and powerful if he can become a mystical Eternal.
Here's the tagline for the Article Writing Doctor: Your content marketing prescription
It's only four words and those words are highly targeted and relate to the title of my company. Short and sweet.
I could easily add: Content Writing Services for Small Businesses and Home Business. And, it would still be short and to the point.
Note for authors: Obviously, if you have a scheduled pitch for your story, you will need to adhere to the publisher or agent’s rules. You may be able to provide a pitch with 100-200 words. But, it’s a good idea to have that one sentence pitch on hand for that you-never-know moment.
MORE ON MARKETING
What is an Author Platform and How Do You Create It?
Text and Images – The Perfect Combination
Book Marketing – Create a Blog
In today’s ‘quicker than quick’ digital society, ebooks are big business, especially information ebooks.
Why is this so?
Simple, information is money. It always was and always will be. And, people want information . . . and they want it fast. The internet provides an easy vehicle or platform for you to offer quality information to a receptive audience.
So, why isn’t everyone on the ‘writing an ebook’ bandwagon?
The answer: Obstacles, perceived or real. Let’s go over three of them.
Three of the Top ‘Ebook Writing’ Obstacles and Their Solutions:
1. It ALL seems too BIG, too overwhelming.
With many things, tackling something new may seem overwhelming or intimidating; writing an ebook can certainly fall within this area. But, it doesn’t have to.
Taking the liberty of sounding corny, every journey, or in this case project, starts with one step. And, each subsequent step brings you closer to your goal and success.
When you think of a project as individual steps leading you toward your goal, it has a way of reducing the anxiety related to it. To do this, create a plan of action.
Your plan of action will start with ‘focus.’ Write your goal down: write an information ebook. Next, make a list of the tools you’ll need, which are basically information to turn into content and a cover. Finally, create a step-by-step plan or strategy on how you’ll reach your goal.
Now all you have to do is follow your own instructions, one step at a time.
2. Instead of “Where’s the Beef?” you may be asking, “Where’s the motivation?”
There’s no getting around this, you will need motivation. It’s motivation that will take you from neutral to drive to success. And, to be motivated you need a CLEAR focus or goal.
In a webinar presented by pro ebook creator and marketer Jim Edwards, he explained that motivation is activated by two forces: Push force (an external force motivator – extrinsic motivation) and pull force (an internal force motivator – intrinsic motivation).
Using a professional athlete as an example of extrinsic motivation, the astronomical salary and bonuses would be an extrinsic motivator for playing his best.
In regard to intrinsic motivation, the athlete’s desire to be the best in his profession and to become famous and wealthy would be his internal motivators.
Whichever your motivating force you need to have clarity. You need to know why you want to write an information ebook. This clear-cut need or want will be your motivating factor.
3. Writing an ebook and having to publish it is too technical.
You’ve written an informative and quality ebook and now it’s time to publish it on Kindle, or Smashwords, or other ebook distributor. Great. Job well done.
But, wait a minute. You’re mind starts racing. “I have to format it just right to upload it onto the sites . . . and I have to create a great cover? No way. There’s just no way I can do that.”
Sound familiar? For many, this is the perceived insurmountable mountain. This is where your information ebook production and marketing comes to a halt.
Now it’s time to take a step back and take a deep breath. You can think this obstacle through.
There are four ways of tackling this dilemma:
a. Dig in, pull up your sleeves, and figure it out. Yes it’ll take time, but if you think of it as a step-by-step process you can do it.
b. Buy a book that offers the information. Or pay someone to give you step-by-step instructions. There is also tons of free information on how to format and upload on Kindle. Do an online keyword search.
c. Hire it out. There are freelancers who will format an ebook for you at very reasonable rates. Check out Fiverr.com.
d. Need help creating your own ebook cover?
Try Fiverr.com. You can get some pretty good covers there.
There you have three potential obstacles to writing an ebook and their solutions.
Remember, if you start to feel overwhelmed or start to generate negativity, stop and rethink. Follow the experts’ steps and believe if they can do it YOU can too.
If you missed Parts 1 and 2, click on the links:
Writing an Ebook – What’s Stopping You? Part 1 of 4 Part Series
Writing Information eBook – Two Obstacles and Solutions Part 2 of 4 Part Series
MORE ON WRITING
Writing Goals, Detours, and Opportunity Costs
Being a Writer: Learn the Craft of Writing
For many, the thought of writing an ebook can make you feel like you’re at the base of an enormous mountain. A mountain you want to climb. Looking at it, your gaze goes up and up and up and up. It may seem there’s no end to it. It may seem it’s insurmountable. There are just too many obstacles, it’s just too big.
Well, if you tackle one obstacle at a time, you’ll find it easier to get in gear and write, write, write.
There are two information ebook obstacles that many people have difficulty overcoming. The first is that they don’t know what to write about. The second is they don’t believe they’re an expert, therefore they don’t feel qualified to offer advice.
Below is listed each obstacle and its solution.
1. You’re not an expert in anything.
This is a common obstacle to writing an ebook. What gives you the qualifications, the expertise to offer others advice?
Interestingly, you know more than you think. If you’ve read three or four books on a topic, you know more about that subject than 90 percent of other people.
Along with this, according to ebook and marketing expert Jim Edwards, an expert is anyone who can answer someone’s questions. It’s that simple. And, what’s great about the internet is if you don’t have the answers, you can find them.
As a writer, research is second nature. But, even if you’re not a writer, finding out about a particular topic is no further than your fingertips. Simply type in a keyword search and let the search engine do its magic. Within seconds you’ll have links to lots of information you can use to answer questions. Enough information to write the ebook.
Still feeling overwhelmed with the thought of having to research a topic or actually having to organize the new found information into an ebook format? Well, there’s another solution. According to Edwards, hire a researcher or hire a ghostwriter to do the research and write the entire ebook for you.
2. You’re not sure what topic to write about.
This is another common problem you may face when thinking of writing an information ebook. If you’re not an expert in a particular niche already, you may feel overwhelmed at the thought of choosing a profitable topic.
But, it’s not difficult at all to find a ‘hot’ topic to write about. The news, online book stores, and social media are full of topics that are worth writing about. Type in a keyword at Amazon and see how many ebooks and books come up. If there’s a lot of information out there on the topic, it’s a ‘hot’ topic, a potential money making topic. Just put your own spin or insights into it and make it your own.
Another Amazon trick is to plug a keyword in and Amazon will automatically give you the top ranking related keywords. This is also a helpful way to create a title for your ebook.
Again, finding a topic for an information ebook is pretty easy. You simply need to find a topic that people are having a problem with, have a question about, or have roadblocks to. Your job will be to write something geared toward solving problems, answering questions, or overcoming roadblocks particular to your target audience.
Missed the other Parts of the Series? Click on the links:
Writing an Ebook – What’s Stopping You? Part 1 of 4 Part Series
Obstacles to Writing Ebooks – Too Overwhelming, Lacking Motivation, Too Technical Part 3 of 4 Part Series
MORE ON WRITING
Writing for Money – Breaking Into Freelance Writing
Freelance Writing Work: The Possibilities
A Ghost Writer: 5 Features That Can Help Your Business Part 1