If you're in business then you're undoubtedly an expert at something. Why not maximise your profits by selling your knowledge in the form of an e-book?
What are you really good at? Marketing? Bookkeeping? Customer Services? Design? Do you know lots about building up a successful business? Maybe you've gone wrong once and had to start again and could give others advice that would help them avoid the mistakes you made?
Everybody in business has valuable knowledge that could be passed on to others - knowledge that others are willing to pay for.
While it's true that a lot of e-books have fallen flat on their face, those that are successful are often very successful.
The ones that don't sell well are those where the author has tried to emulate the kind of book that does well in print. The two media simply aren't competitive. They compliment one another and to be successful, it's important that your e-book is the kind that suitable for Internet marketing.
1. Short & Sweet
An e-book should contain far less information that would be the case if the book were being written for print media. Just cut straight to the point without any dilly-dallying around with information that isn't strictly necessary.
If you're writing a book about book-keeping, while a chapter covering the history of book-keeping would possibly go down well in a printed book, keep it out of an e-book. While it's possible to touch on the subject, in a paragraph perhaps, remember that your readers will want practical information - nothing else.
Always bear in mind that e-books are promoted through the Internet and 90 percent of those who log on are looking for information.
2. Target Your Audience
You're far more likely to be successful if you carefully target your audience.
If you're writing about bookkeeping, don't write about bookkeeping in general but decide which group you're going to write for. Small business? Start-ups? Limited companies? There's nothing stopping you writing for each group but write a separate e-book for each. You'll sell far more that way.
Decide on your target audience and give them in-depth, useful information and you'll soon be enjoying a nice, regular income from something that took surprisingly little time to write.
3. Cut the Jargon
Except where strictly necessary, always use plain English when writing. Although you may understand common industry words and phrases, don't assume that your reader does.
When you do need to use industry speech, always explain the meaning.
By writing clear, precise, informative e-books, you'll soon build up a reputation for being an expert in your field.
4. Sir, Lord, Count or Baron?
We're talking titles.
The title of your e-book is far more important than you probably imagine. It's what first grabs a potential customer and compels him or her to read more.
"Book-keeping for Small Businesses" may tell them what the book's about, but “Taking the Head-Ache Out of Small Business Book-Keeping" is far more compelling.
Why? Because it promises the reader that there's something in it for them; that by buying your e-book, they'll learn how to deal with book-keeping in ways that will make it a breeze for them.
If you're not certain you can find a title that will sell, consider paying a professional copywriter. They're used to finding words that will draw customers and their services often aren't as high as you might imagine.
5. The Price is Right
Don't get greedy and out price your book.
Remember that a book that sells for £15.99 in an offline bookshop
a) contains more information
b) has been through a long publishing process
c) the author will only see a small percentage of the profits
If you sell your book for £3.99, it's cheap enough for most people to not need to consider how much they really want the book, but enough for you to make a decent profit. After all, your only overheads are the cost of a domain and page hosting - probably no more than about 20 pounds for a year for the whole package.
Five sales are all that are needed to recuperate your expenses and from then on inwards, apart from a small percentage of each sale that you'll need to pay for credit card processing it's nothing but profit.
For more information about credit card processing, read this article.
6. Market Day
Obviously, there's little point in writing an e-book, putting it on a web-page for sale, and just hoping that somebody who happens to be interested in that particular subject will just surf in and buy it. Your book will need aggressive marketing.
Buy a domain, rent yourself some web-space and make a mini-site that's dedicated to selling your book. Take a look at the way other successful e-book writers have designed their sites and do something similar. If you're not certain you can write the marketing copy, hire a professional. Places like Elance and RentACoder a great for finding reasonably priced copywriters, or you could ask me!
Write short articles on your subject. Add a resource box at the end that briefly outlines who you are and what you do and points the reader to your e-book sales page. Submit the articles to sites like eZine Articles and Article Hub. Webmasters will then download them and use them freely on their sites and in e-zines giving you lots of free publicity.
Submit your sales site to search engines. If you can afford a few pounds a month, sign up for Google Adwords and have your book promoted across the Net.
Whenever you send e-mail, add the URL of your sales page and a short blurb to your signature. The same applies if you use online discussion boards.
Submit your book to sites that sell e-books. Although they'll take a percentage of your sales (usually between 10 - 25%), you'll sell more so they are worthwhile.
So there you have it. There are always people out there who want exactly the kind of knowledge you have. If you know enough about a subject to fill a 30-40 page e-book, get writing today and in a very short time you'll be enjoying the profits.
Sharon Jacobsen is a full-time freelance writer living in South Cheshire, England. For a competitive fee she’ll happily write compelling articles for your website, e-zine or other publication, on any subject from advertising to architecture. Sharon also writes sales letters and other marketing copy.
To contact Sharon, or to learn more about her work, please visit her website at: http://www.sharon-jacobsen.co.uk