Make an eBook: How to Easily Create a PDF eBook that Rocks

76 Intelligent Opinions, Leave Yours.

If you own a blog you probably know by now that one of the best ways to get subscribers is by making and eBook and giving it away for free on your blog in exchange for an email address. In fact, despite being used by thousands of bloggers around the world the old free eBook technique is still working wonders.

That is, if you do it right.

I often get emails from people asking me why their eBook isn’t getting downloaded. And when a good friend sent me an SMS last week asking me if I’d written about how to make an eBook I thought I would address everything at once.

I’m going to show you how I do everything when I make and eBook from brainstorming ideas to defining concepts, designing the layout and cover to finally uploading it to your blog or website.

What’s in this article?

Let me just start by highlighting a few of the major points that will get covered in this article on how to make an eBook.

  • What program to use to write your eBook
  • What file type your eBook needs to be (hint: its a PDF)
  • How to convert your eBook to a PDF
  • Where to find royalty free images to use in your eBook and how to edit them
  • How to develop concepts, titles and content that rocks
  • How to design and make an eBook cover
  • How to deliver your eBook to your readers
  • How to promote your eBook for free using my funnel strategy

Of course I am going to miss out on something so if you have any experience with making an eBook please stop by and leave a comment giving your advice and words of wisdom. Blog Tyrant articles seem to get indexed really well on Google nowadays so your comment will quite likely be seen by a lot of people over the years.

Why make an eBook?

Amazon Kindle II
Creative Commons License photo credit: richardmasoner

If you are reading this post it is likely that you already know the benefits of making an eBook so I won’t go in to too much detail here. Some of the reasons all internet marketers and bloggers should make an eBook are:

  • Get pre-loyal subscribers
    If you want to make money you need loyal subscribers. And one of the best ways to get subscribers in order to introduce them to your material is to give them a free eBook as a “bribe”.
  • Increase your exposure
    Those little PDF files are super easy to share and you will often find that people send them on to their friends who then get introduced to your stuff. Also, they tend to sit on people’s desktop for longer than a post or a web article and as such you have multiple chances to get them to read it.
  • Add a new revenue stream
    Many people think that the big bloggers just make money on their blogs. They don’t. A lot of their income often comes from introducing new cheap eBooks that contain relevant affiliate links to juicy products. As the eBook gets shared around and read the products get bought and your commissions go up. Oh, did I mention you can sell the darn things?

All these things are possible if you know what you are doing. Remember, the eBook market is extremely saturated so you need to do something extremely good. The good news is that as the tablet and smart phone market grows, so does the demand for PDF file eBooks.

Step 1: Research your target market

Storm Crowd
Creative Commons License photo credit: JD Hancock

The first step on the how to make an eBook journey is to take a careful look at who you are pitching it to. Knowing this information is like knowing which person in a crowd is Waldo. You have to know what he looks like, what he’s wearing and why he might be looking for you. Unless you know your target market well you are essentially shooting blind.

NOTE: This is the first step if you have an existing blog. If you want to make an eBook first and then build up promotional material around it you would do step two first.

a) Get Market Samurai
One of the best things you will ever buy as an internet marketer or blogger is Market Samurai. It will cost you $90 or so but it will make you thousands and save you just as much in wasted time and blind shooting. Essentially, this tool is the thing that gives you eyeballs online. It is literally that good. I’ll show you why you need it in a second.

b) Look for popular keywords in Google Analytics and competitors
The next thing you want to do is log in to your Analytics account and look at the popular keywords and search phrases that people are using to find your blog. You then want to look at the source traffic and analyze it using your own intelligence so as to filter out any perverts that are accidentally visiting your site because you wrote the word “breasts” somewhere. You don’t want to target that traffic because it isn’t interested in you. Then go onto your competitors websites and find out what terms are working for them.

c) Use Market Samurai to analyze traffic levels
The next thing you want to do is input those keywords in to Market Samurai and find out if any other related keywords could perform better. For example, when I was researching the title of this article I found out that “make an eBook” gets slightly more searches than “create and eBook” and so I decided to target that instead. Over time these little bits of information can make or cost you a lot of money.

d) Find out who they are
Now you want to take that information and think about who these people are. Research this information wherever you can. Think about their age, sex and location. Think about their income levels and career paths. Most importantly, think about the related niches and topics that they might like to read about in a PDF eBook.

Step 2: Come up with a killer topic and title

Message to and from Obama
Creative Commons License photo credit: brian glanz

Once you have narrowed down your target market you want to come up with a topic and a title that will absolutely blow people away. To do this it needs to have an original edge on a very relevant topic.

e) Its about you as much as them
One important thing to realize is that making a good eBook is as much about you as it is your target audience. Why? Because you are the one that is writing it, promoting it, selling it and believing in it. Unless you have a passionate and knowledgeable interest in the thing you are going to fail before you start. Don’t make an eBook about PC viruses unless you know enough to help people and then love it enough to push it for the next five years.

f) Personalize it
The best eBooks are the ones that share a personal experience about a very common topic. Why? Because it adds authority. Authority is very important when it comes to books and articles because you need to show potential readers and customers that you are experienced enough to know what you are talking about.

Let’s take the example of making money online. Let’s say you write an eBook called How to Make a Million Dollars Per Year. Now, if you make a million dollars per year and think you can teach others how to do the same then that is a very good book to write. If, however, you have never made that money yourself then you really have no authority on the topic. And people will smell it a mile off.

So, whatever topic you choose to write on, make sure you have a personalized angle attached to it. This is very important.

g) Make the title specific and include scarcity
Specific titles work best. It doesn’t matter whether it is a book or a blog post. For example, I wrote a post called How I Sold a Blog for $20,000 in 8 Months that hit the front of Delicious and went on to even get picked up by some newspapers. If I had called it How to Sell a Blog I don’t think it would have done nearly as well. Make your title specific.

Secondly, you want to include some form of scarcity. This is a well known marketing trick where you basically tell people that they are going to miss out on something if they don’t act now. For example, late night TV ads always tell you that there are only 100 copies left before the price goes up. That is scarcity. Studies have shown that people are more likely to act if they are worried about missing out on something as opposed to being excited about receiving something. So make sure you find a way to make the subject matter and title seem limited.

Step 3: Write the eBook and make it pretty

Highlighter
Creative Commons License photo credit: JMRosenfeld

So now you have to write your eBook and format it so that it is all pretty. This is where the magic happens and, unless you know what you are doing, the obstacles.

h) Use Open Office to write it
Now, this is probably be contested by a lot of you but I have found Open Office to be the best program to write eBooks. Why? Because it is totally free (read that again Microsoft Word) and has an excellent selection of features. For example, it allows you to instantly convert your regular .doc file to a .pdf and it also has a massive range of really nice fonts to choose from. If you have a new version of Microsoft you can probably do all of this stuff but please do not go out and buy anything for the purpose of eBook writing.

i) Start with an end result and work backwards
People are downloading your eBook because they want to figure out how to do something. For this reason you should start with the end result that they are looking for and work your way backwards. Sometimes I will write the contents page first because it gives me a good plan. Other times I will just write like crazy and worry about the format later. It doesn’t matter as long as you are systematically getting people closer to achieving their goals.

j) Use two types of headers and lots of paragraphs, lists and breaks
Have a look at all of my posts here on Blog Tyrant. They have two types of headers (the yellow ones and the bold ones) and they have lots of lists and paragraphs. The reason for this is because people hate digesting large lumps of content. They just don’t care anymore. You need to make your eBook so that people can scan it to get the main points otherwise it will get lost.

k) Get pictures from Dreamstime or take your own
Over the years I have tried so many different places to get my photos and the two best solutions I have found are Dreamstime and taking my own. The reason I like Dreamstime is because they have a really large range and are generally significantly cheaper than the other competitors like iStockPhoto and Getty. You can generally get a high definition photo for around $2 – $5. Make sure you read the license on each individual image to make sure it can be used in your eBook as some of them are different.

If you are really specific about what you want photos of or if you need your own product in there somewhere then you are going to have to hire your own photographer. And this is expensive. You’re usually looking at between $500 and $8000 for a full day’s shoot. Taking the photos yourself on the family camera is never a good idea because they generally look really amateurish.

Tip: Try cutting a deal with the photographer about helping them build a Facebook page for their business as a swap. Quite often you can come to arrangements with these guys as all they are really selling is time (ie they are not losing any stock).

l) Use a safe, well proven font and simple colors
Sometimes I download eBooks and wonder whether the author/designer was blind. You really only need to use a simple font like Arial, Verdana or Georgia at size 11 or 12 and then a simple color scheme like black with one other. Don’t go overboard when it comes to this stuff! Less is always more in the design field. You should also avoid bright reds for text as it looks spammy.

m) Get that sucker proofread, and not by your mom
The next step is to get your eBook proofread by someone who is not afraid to give you harsh feedback. Think professional writers or other people in your industry. The point is not so much to find spelling mistakes (although that is important) but to figure out whether it is crap or not. You really need someone to be able to give you the hard truths about your writing style and execution of ideas.

n) Make an eBook cover to use on your site
A really important part of the process here is to have a nice eBook cover to promote your PDF file. These things are great because they increase the perceived value of the product by making it seem like something solid. Of course, its just a PDF file and not a real book but by giving it a graphical representation people will feel like it is worth more. Killer eCover Scripts is the best way to make these things yourself. Just download the program and you can make as many as you need.

If you don’t want to make it yourself you can pay someone to do it but you often find that they will re-use graphics and logos and your cover will end up looking a lot like every other eBook out there.

Step 4: Convert to a PDF file and give it away

Bookshelf Spectrum: mission accomplished
Creative Commons License photo credit: p!o

This final step is the part where the eBook baby is born. Now, I am not going to talk about how to sell an eBook because I really believe it giving them away for free. If you want to talk about selling them in the comments section though please feel free.

o) Convert to a PDF file
All eBooks are in PDF format. Why? Because they are universally recognized by Macs and PCs alike and work on all eBook readers. They also provide a consistent output. This is important. When you save a DOC file and send it to your friends chances are everyone will see something different. Not with a PDF. They all look the same. This means your design and formatting work won’t go to waste.

If you are using Open Office you just need to go FILE > EXPORT AS PDF and then select your settings.

p) Choosing the right settings
Now, you want to make sure you select the right zoom levels because sometimes it will save blurry. I saved my Blog Tyrant eBook at 120% because this was smoothest. It will all depend on your graphics and logos and how well you have created and saved them in Illustrator or Photoshop. Sometimes it is a good idea to get advice on this issue. You also want to save it at a high quality level as long as this doesn’t mean the file size gets too big. Try to keep it below 1MB if you can.

q) Give it away in exchange for email subscriptions
The next step is to set up a system where people get delivered the eBook for free when they enter their email address in to your subscription form. I have done an instruction video on how to automatically send an eBook to your subscribers so I won’t go through all the steps again other than to say that Aweber is the absolute best technology for the job.

r) Promote your eBook
Promoting your eBook is actually going to be a post of its own soon so make sure you are subscribed so you don’t miss out. However, what I will say here is that you want to start doing as many guest posts as you can on topics that relate to your eBook. I’ve actually written a guest post on Problogger about this strategy because it has worked extremely well for me.

The idea is simply that you want to create a bit of a buzz towards your eBook without really directly mentioning it. For example, my eBook is all about how to increase your subscriber rate so what I did was write a lot of guest posts about why email subscribers can make you a lot of money. People get really interested in the idea and then visit your site and see that you have an eBook about it. I call it the guest post funnel and it works well.

What have I missed?

If you have made an eBook before and have some tips to share please leave a comment below and let me know. I would really like to make this post a nice little resource for people starting out on the eBook creation road. Similarly, if you have any questions for me drop a comment and I will do my best to answer them.



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76 Comments... Leave yours.

  • Thomas

    Great post! Thx for highlighting the steps to create an ebook. You outlined the steps needed and I don’t think you missed anything. This post is a keeper.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Thanks Thomas.


  • Steve Zussino - Canadian Coupons

    This is great timing!

    I wanted to make the eBook exclusive for subscribers.

    Thanks for the video.


    1. Rachelle

      Hi Steve,

      Nice to see you you here.


  • TJ

    Another great post BT — I can’t wait to check out Open Office! Thank you for the tips and best wishes from germany, tj


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Thanks love!


  • Carol McIntyre

    Thank you for great info. I have been wondering how to technically create an e-book. Greatly appreciated!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Glad it helped Carol.


  • Cristina

    I like the idea of the “guest post funnel”. It seems like a very effective way to promote your ebook.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Yeah it has been working pretty well. Check out all my posts on Problogger, Copyblogger, Daily Blog Tips, etc. and they all are geared towards the eBook.


  • Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper

    Glad to see you’re back. Thanks for the tip on Dreamstime. I never know where to get good images without paying an arm and a leg. Does Dreamstime take care of all the model sign-offs? Most sites just sell the rights to the photo but they’re basically worthless if I have to worry about the person in the picture coming after me over the use of their likeness.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      I think mostly they do but I always check each photographer separately before using them commercially.


  • Cheryl

    Hi,
    First of all, well done. You’ve given people the main stuff they need to know as promised. One particularly good point is the one about editing. Not too long ago, many info-marketers seemed to have the idea that digital wasn’t expected to be the same as print as far as quality and there were some really poor products/ebooks out there.

    That simply isn’t the case. No matter what the format, print or digital, your work reflects you and your business, so unless you want to be perceived as sloppy, make sure it is edited well.

    As far as what could be added to your list, I may get some disagreement here, but I say do not to try to call something of 10-20 pages an ebook as has also been done repeatedly over the years in internet marketing.

    With the advent of Kindle etc. and the explosion of novels and other “traditional” books going digital, more and more people are familiar with the term ebook. With that come the general perceptions of document length. Generally, 35+ pages gets into short book territory (think kids’ books), something shorter than that is a report (think of offline biz documents).

    There’s a lot of confusion in the realm of books and publishing these days and in what a book’s value is. My belief is why add to all that noise if it’s possible to avoid it? Ebooks are definitely a great tool in the marketing toolbox, let’s all work to make sure they hold their value.


    1. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper

      Hey Cheryl.

      I think that’s a great point about the length. I’ve always thought it didn’t hold water to call something very short an ebook. Never could reconcile it in my mind how something that’s 20 (extremely short!) pages could be called an ebook when there are 100,000+ word works of fiction also in ebook format.


    2. the Blog Tyrant

      Good point Cheryl.

      I think perhaps for shorter things like that it is probably best referred to as a report.

      That being said, if it is a one page “book” and totally changes my life I don’t care how short it is!

      Thoughts?


      1. Cheryl

        I agree that results are key, however, identifying appropriately I think ties into the trust factor and that’s important too. Even if I love the results of a 10 page document, I’d still wonder why it was called a book if I envision a book to be something longer.

        Along the same line, if a book was promised and I didn’t get it (got what I feel is a report instead), I’d have questions as to why not. For example, if that promise wasn’t fulfilled, what else won’t be if I continue to do business with this person?

        If the request for an ebook is after an initial visit to a site/to entice for a sign up, I think we need to be very careful with that first impression. Something as simple as knowing what people expect and then delivering or over delivering, goes a long way in making it a good one.


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          Very true. Great thoughts.


  • Heather@Family Friendly Frugality

    I kind of thought you dropped off the earth for a bit. Long time no update!

    I have to share my own experience. My ebook is VERY simple. It’s intentionally simple and bare bones because I want my readers to be able to print the document as a how to guide.

    So I made my ebook and just kind of let it sit there. It was working for me, but not making magic.

    Then when I was going through the process of my re-design, my designer mentioned that we needed to make my ebook pop more and make it more of a selling point. I don’t know, I guess it took HER believing in it for me to believe in it?

    So we created a little sidebar graphic and sign up form and OMG…in less then a month I increased my subscribers by several thousand. Now I can’t credit that ALL to my ebook, because I have been running weekly subscription giveaways. But I do credit a lot of it to my ebook. Making it pretty and prominent made a huge difference. The feedback on the book itself (mine is just a PDF in Google Doc format that I made in Open Office) has been amazing. People email me almost daily telling me how much money I’ve saved them.

    So yeah, I am a HUGE fan of prettying up your ebooks and marketing them.

    Thanks for sharing this article BT!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Great work Heather! Full time income on its way for you!


  • Parley

    BT,
    This is really good information you’ve given us here. In your review of Ciao Florentina, you mentioned her using the best of her recipes as a base for creating her ebook give away.
    Would this work well for a blog site based on software tutorials, too.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Absolutely. Especially if you could create it around one specific niche. For example, stuff to do with iPhones or Tablets would be huge right now.


      1. Parley

        Well, aside from my online dreams of money blogging, I’m also a CPA with a lot of QuickBooks experience. My thought for the blog was to scour the internet (google, bing, yahoo) for unanswered QuickBooks questions. Then, create a series of 5 min video tutorials with accompanying step by step text instructions.

        If I take your suggestion, then a micro-niche could be: Getting your QuickBooks Mobile for the book. I don’t have a lot of experience in that specific arena, but I can certainly handle the research.

        The money portion would probably be easiest as either remote QuickBooks support or leveraging the blog along with my QuickBooks affiliate account.

        I’m kind of thinking out loud here, so if it seems like I’m rambling, I really am.


        1. Jamie

          Parley, Photographers (and I assume other artists) are always looking for helpful quickbooks videos to help them with their businesses. Artists are generally not the best bookkeepers. So if you ever have interest in putting those together, you could guest-blog on my site to promote the videos to my market.


          1. Parley

            Jamie,
            Thank you for the vote of confidence and the invitation. I will definitely let everyone here know when I go live and I’ll be welcoming questions that need to be answered of course. Andrew Carnegie said “Find out what they want and then give it to them”.

            The idea was actually given to me by a graphic artist friend of mine.

            I have all the pieces I just want to make sure I have enough posts ready to go when I start that I can post regularly without deadline stress.


  • Jamie

    So here’s my only hesitation in giving away a free ebook or any other type of thing like that in exchange for an email subscriber. I really want an email list of people who are totally all about my topic (photography business tips). I worry that people will sign up for the free cookie and then not ever open anything ever again. While I’m sure you’ll retain some of them, especially since the blog topic will be related to the cookie (or that’s how I’d do it), I would think that’d you’d get a lot more less-loyal followers.

    I guess I’d rather have 200 followers who are loyal and LOVE everything we put out vs. 1000 followers who are marginally interested and might mark us as spam in the future (or something like that). Thoughts?


    1. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper

      At least one blog I’ve signed up for later sent me an inactivity notice when so long had gone by without my opening any of her posts. It gave me the option to let myself become unsubscribed or to click a link to keep my subscription active. Haven’t looked much into it yet, but my guess is that it’s an option through Aweber.

      You might try creating a series of autoresponders designed to engage new subscribers within the first few weeks/months of their subscription so they’re more likely to open content as it lands in their inbox. Maybe something to gently transition them from the subject of the ebook to the regular blog posts they receive.


      1. the Blog Tyrant

        Jamie I would try reversing that situation. Its better to have 1000 subscribers of which only 200 are interested by giving away an eBook than to only have 50 interested subscribers because you were worried about people not being interested.

        That’s my approach.


        1. Jamie

          But if those 50 are die-hard fans, I’d rather have a very small but terribly loyal following.

          I see both sides. I might still consider giving it a chance. I guess we’ll see over the next few months.


          1. chris

            Also think of this…if you give away that product to 1000 people, some of them might pass it on to someone who has never read your blog, even if the initial person isn’t a “diehard fan.” The more people that see it, the more people who might think “hey, my friend so-and-so should read this.”


    2. John Hoff

      I see your logic and there are many ways of looking at it. Here’s my experience, though (and no not all my ebooks are free giveaways).

      The time when someone is most likely to really want to hear from you is immediately after they give you their email address.

      So look at it like this…

      They might find your site through Google. Then perhaps a headline of yours catches their attention so they check out your blog. If your blog gets them to move from that “attention” point to “I want more” point (aka interest), then hopefully they will give you their email address in exchange for the extra juice offer you have on the side.

      This is the point where you have their MOST attention and can ask them to do something.

      They will be looking for that email coming to them.

      Now it’s your job as a blogger, internet marketer, web publisher, or whatever you call yourself, to blow their minds. You see, what you’re talking about here is that you’d rather have a small list of avid followers rather than a big list of so-so’s.

      You have to give yourself the chance to convert them from so-so’s to avid followers and the best time to do that is immediately after you did something to cause them to take action…

      Like giving you their email address.

      And then if they drop off your list because it turns out they aren’t interested in you, then so be it, they probably wouldn’t have bought from you then anyway.

      But again, this doesn’t mean you have to give away every ebook, it’s just something some people do. There are other methods to get that optin as well.


  • Kevin @ make money online blog

    Thanks Tyrant for sharing this. I have also found 9df995 very useful for creating pdfs. One notable advantage is that it makes the links clickable.

    Thanks
    Kevin


  • Rachelle

    I have a list of things to do and on that list there are a number of blogging things and one of those things is to create an ebook.

    I’m not sure how to deal with this problem.


    1. Cheryl

      Rachelle, Just to clarify, are you stuck trying to figure out how to do all the things on your list, including an ebook, or do you need help creating the ebook?


      1. the Blog Tyrant

        That’s not Rachelle. That’s the zombie that takes over her brain when she is tired.


        1. Rachelle

          What the tyrant says is true, I am working hard to make my work flow better, and I am tired of doing everything myself. Unfortunately I keep way too many things in my head which works well for me but it doesn’t scale at all.

          Also I can’t decide if I should write an ebook or give away documents such as leases.


          1. Parley

            Why not both? Create an e-book (or e-booklet) that has your top twenty-five forms that help you the most. And then have a page dedicated to explaining the pros/cons of each form and instructions for filling them out correctly. Viola! A full e-book, worth downloading, and it’s all already in your head. (Along with the other 999,999 thing you have stuffed up there.)


  • Maartin

    The information you are sharing here with us is priceless! Thank you for sharing.

    This concept really works, I have been publishing a while on Kindle and it’s amazing to see how soon your first few dollars come in. AND BEST OF ALL – it grows exponentially if you keep the process up!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Got some links for us?


  • Parley

    Hey BT,
    Just wanted to let you know you just earned a spot on my bookmarks toolbar. Now, you are just a click away

    Thanks for a great blog and the great information.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Love it!


  • Ralph

    I really have to have a proper look , but looks awesome so far!


  • chris

    Thought I’d expand step 3: Create the ebook.

    Type up an outline:
    1. Intro (your but about your background and the reason you wrote the ebook on the particular topic.
    2. Describe the problem you are solving (why it’s a problem, why it’s hard to solve, why solving it is possible).
    3. Break down the solution into several sections. (How to do A, how to do B, how to do C.)
    4. Show how the sections A/B/C work together to solve problem.
    5. Summarize the problem and the solution and give links to added resources.

    This is a very brief outline. The idea is this…break down the ebook into sections that you’d expect to see if you were reading it. Then write those sections. Summarize and give added resources.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Great stuff. This is what I’m after.


      1. chris

        You and I should work together…
        :)


  • Carol McIntyre

    As a professional artist who wants to write an e-book about color mixing, are e-books now handling color accurately or at all? I have other topics that rely on color and am wondering where the technology is. Thanks!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      That is a very interesting question. I recently learned that LCD screens (like I use) show color differently based on the angle. My photographer thus uses an old glass screen because its the only way he can tone his photos properly.

      I imagine getting exact color right across all browsers, screens, etc. would be near impossible.


    2. chris

      The more I think about it, if one color would appear “off” then they’d all appear off by the same amount, right? Therefore, wouldn’t they all still look right comparatively?


      1. Carol McIntyre

        I am not fussy about the exact color showing because that is currently true with all web sites. I just wanted to know if the devices people are using for their e-books can show color versus only b&w. Weren’t they all just B&W originally?

        Videos are on my To-do list, but I want to write e-books about color mixing and I believe that will convey my message better. Of course, I could do both! Like Rachelle, I wish there were two of me. :)


  • Cheryl

    In most digital mediums, color is tricky. Even if you proof a book digitally, the color on paper will often be slightly different. You basically need to know what device your reader will be using. If it’s PDF for example, I would think there will be variation in color from monitor to monitor. If you want to sell it for other devices, NookColor is one option, many others are B/W only.

    I know the discussion here is ebooks, but if you are showing a process, maybe a better option for you would be video. Creating video is no longer difficult and creating DVDs can be reasonable as well.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Great idea!


    2. Carol McIntyre

      Thanks Cheryl for the info and idea.


  • Jef Menguin

    This is a sure help. I am encourage to write my ebook on inspirational speaking and I believe this is urgent.


    1. chris

      And I’ll be writing an ebook called “Inspirational eBook Writing.”

      :)


      1. the Blog Tyrant

        Someone has a whole program on eBook writing but I can’t remember who. It is very good though.


  • Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper

    I just had a thought. I’ve spent the last several months trying to think of what kind of ebook I could give away on my paranormal/conspiracy theory site and I think I might finally have it. One of my most popular posts is a list of 101 paranormal/metaphysical/conspiracy terms that I’ve defined in a sentence or two. What if I took those same 101 terms and instead wrote a couple of paragraphs about each – still enough to fill out an ebook, but not so complete that it would compete with a full-fledged book on the paranormal when I try to sell it later on.

    What do you think? Would it work?


    1. Cheryl

      Sure, that’s not unlike someone doing a print version of a tips booklet. As long as you can still go deep enough into your subject, doing a booklet, print or digital, can be a good way to market & introduce people to the subject.


    2. the Blog Tyrant

      Good idea.

      You could also do a Top 10 style eBook. Something like The Top 10 Most Outrageous US Conspiracies would be huge, especially with all the Osama searches going on.


      1. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper

        The only thing I worry about is that paranormal readers wouldn’t sign up for something like that and the conspiracy readers would be annoyed when every post wasn’t a new conspiracy theory. I might have to do a 2-for-1 to keep an even keel.


        1. John Hoff

          The idea of taking something you’ve already written, especially if it’s popular, and then building a product around it is solid.

          I had two posts on my blog which were SO popular I went ahead and designed an entire website around them. It was great because I highlighted those two articles on my site and set up a redirect so that people who found the articles in Google were redirected to that new site I built…

          Can you say instant traffic!

          But here’s the problem it seems you’re having.

          It sounds like you have two niches going on and you’re writing to two similar but different groups.

          You might want to try a test and do something like I did. Then you can create products (or promote affiliate offers) to those highly targeted readers on each site.

          It does present some challenges though if you decide to take that route. For example, are you going to keep one or two twitter accounts? Facebook accounts? etc.

          Always evaluate what you’ve got. Maybe you could do something like Tyrant said but put a spin on it for both your readers. “Warning: 10 Paranormal Conspiracy Theories That Will Change the Way You Travel”.

          Just some food for thought.


        2. Cheryl

          I agree with John, if you have two distinct topics of interest, even if they are generally related, separating them is probably better. There are many marketers, experts etc. who work in more than one niche. Yes, it requires multiple sites, but in order to attract a particular customer, you need to speak their language so they relate to you/the product. If you try to mix, you don’t really appeal to anyone enough to make them want to have a relationship with your site/purchase your product.

          I’ve seen people manage this kind of thing in two ways. If the topics are closely related, a central site like yourname.com is the hub and products etc. live on separate landing pages. If the topics are unrelated, you can pick the most dominant one, use that identity on major social media, and then promote the other topic in more niche based ways. Then the goal is to make enough at it to hire a VA to keep everything straight :-).


          1. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper

            Thanks for the feedback y’all, but splitting out my topics to different sites isn’t an option I’m willing to explore. The two topics I mentioned – whether people are willing to admit it or not – are inextricably linked together…as are the others I talk about on the site. There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to maintain a separate site on everything I talk about under the umbrella of dark/weird and I can’t say I have the interest to maintain that many sites even if there were.

            It’s not a primary website for me, just the one I’ve run the longest. I don’t think I ever expected to make a dime off it, but it doesn’t seem right to leave it there without a free giveaway. ;)


  • John Hoff

    Hi Tyrant.

    One of the best online ebook cover generators I’ve found is My eCover Maker. Really easy to use.

    Also, as far as getting images into your ebook, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using images from Flickr, so long as you give photo credits. Simple and cheap.

    About marketing the ebook (okay a little off topic from creating one)…

    I like the guest posting idea and it certainly works really well. For my last ebook launch I tried a different method.

    I flipped the funnel and instead of doing a ton of guest posting and article marketing to drive loads of traffic to my site (just speaking about the launch here), I gave away free copies of my ebook to key individuals who had a following already and asked them to sign up for the affiliate program and write up a quick post or email blast about it.

    The idea was that instead of “John Hoff” writing a guest post about what my ebook covered, why not have the person who’s blog I was targeting for traffic write up a quick review or note on my book. The reason was that this person has a list of followers who trust them already, not me.

    For example, I too did a guest post on Copyblogger and my optins spiked like crazy.

    But just imagine if I was able to get Brian to personally mention my book. I bet my optins would have been doubled.

    I’ve even asked people on my list, “What made you end up getting the ebook?” The most common response was, “Person X said I should check it out.”

    I guess what I’m saying is a good question to ask yourself before you do that guest post is to ask if it would be better to do the guest post so you can show everyone how you write and that you’re knowledgeable or ask the person instead to write up a post themselves about your product.

    Both ways have their advantages.

    Thanks for a great article.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Great comment John! Love it.

      How many bloggers chose to write posts about your product?


      1. John Hoff

        This was over a year ago so I have to estimate. I think it was in the ball park of about 15 or so.

        The great thing was that I had a nice flood of affiliate sign ups from that, so they then mentioned it to their community.

        It’s a nice circle, isn’t it.


  • Winning Ideas

    Very insightful post on eBooks and promoting eBooks. I downloaded open office just now and planning to give a new look to my existing eBook.

    Thanks a ton for this article BT


  • Lisa

    OMG BT I’ve been away renovating far too long!! Although I’m not here commenting my little heart out I am sending all my blogging friends (and ones who want to be) your way.

    We are 90% complete, heading to Italy ASAP and without the help I get here I would never have kept at it. You just make it all so much easier and my blog is taking shape and finding my voice at last!

    ciao for now
    Lisa


    1. Lisa

      oops now I see my gravatar isn’t working…???


  • Britt Malka

    Great blog post. In fact, in order to give away an eBook successfully, you have to sell your eBook :)

    I’ve found that a squeeze page works better than just having the offer in the side bar.

    What do you mean by setting the zoom level to 120%? I’ve never changed the settings, when I exported to PDF from Open Office, and I couldn’t see any zoom levels.


  • Rahul Pandey

    looks like a typo here -> subscribers is by making **and** eBook and <- and some where else too, the same typo.


  • Lesley

    This is a great blogpost, and some great comments, there’s just one thing I want to add, as someone who writes these on a regular basis.
    Chris provided a good outline to use; it’s important to establish your credibility and say why people should listen to you and believe the information your’re giving, but the first section should really be a wiiftr – what’s in it for the reader. You can mix this with information about credentials, say what the information did for you – and then the important part is to say ‘therefore THIS is what the information in this ebook can do for YOU’.
    I’ve written e-books with and without this, and always found that putting the reason to read right up at the beginning makes a big difference.


  • Karyn

    Hi there,
    Was wondering how to produce an ebook, so this has been a great article. Could I link an ebook into my paypal account and have people actually buy it? Any reasons not to do that?


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Good question.

      I prefer to give them away for free to grow my exposure. Then once the site has say 5k subscribers you can launch very profitable things.

      If you want to sell an ebook I’d recommend e junkie.


    2. John Hoff

      The primary reason you don’t want to go straight through PayPal is tools and affiliates used to help sell and manage your ebook. The two which I prefer to use is E Junkie and ClickBank.

      Of the two I slightly prefer ClickBank because it has a massive number of people who use it to find affiliate offers and also the fact that they manage the paying of your affiliates for you.


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