How many articles, reports and discussion papers have you written in your life? If you are like most people, these articles have probably been used very little maybe only once. Why not use the work you’ve already done and create a new product that can improve both your productivity and your profits.
The eBook is the electronic version of a book. eBooks are easy to produce, require little in terms of investment and generate profit margins of 50-95%. The combination of writing skills and eBook technology allow anyone to become a published author with relative ease. This is even more so since you already have a content source – your articles. Even if you have to write some new articles the amount of work involved will be manageable and rewarding.
eBooks are electronically downloaded via a web site or as an attachment to emails. Costs for distribution are minimal. The recipients have the option of reading your eBook on their computer monitors or printing them in hard copy. Either way, the reader can have the eBook almost instantly allowing them to satisfy their need for “immediate” solutions to their problems.
Consider your area of expertise and passion. Gather together all the materials you have created regarding the chosen topic. This is the theme of your material that you are going to incorporate into your eBook.
Consider your target market. These are the people to whom you are going to market your newly created eBook. You will offer them a collection of articles around a common theme designed to help them solve a problem. You will further organize your articles to address various aspects of the topic you have chosen.
Consider the individual members of your target market. What are their problems that you can help them with? Are these people beginners, experienced or masters of the chosen topic? Where do these people “hang out”? What organizations do they belong to? Are they the same organizations you belong to? What magazines, newsletters, newspapers, and periodicals do they read? What conferences do they attend? What professional organizations do they belong to? Get inside their heads. Consider how useful your articles will be to these individuals. Consider the fact that some articles will be more useful than others.
You can “tweak” your existing articles to suit the target market audience. To do this effectively you must write a profile of the individuals within your target market. Begin by re-reading your articles from the perspective of the reader. Make changes to reflect the needs of your target market and your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that you will bring to the reader. This USP is what will intrigue your potential customer enough to want to purchase your eBook. What makes your collection of articles so unique compared to other sources of information that will interest the reader?
While considering what articles to put in your eBook, think about what it is you want to convey to your target market. There are three basic things you can share with your audience and only three things. What are they? Just A. S. K. They are Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge. If all three areas are addressed within each article or distributed among the various articles you will have all the teaching basics covered. All teaching and learning should involve these three areas. The one most forgotten is the attitude. Skills and knowledge come much easier both to learners and teachers. Spend some time on attitudes. In fact, an entire article on this one topic may be an easy way to address the reflective side of the topic.
Your eBook need not be sold but rather given away. Many professionals use their eBooks as a free bonus along with the purchase of other goods and services. Authors also gain additional business by providing complimentary eBooks that demonstrate their expertise to potential customers laying the foundation for a long-term working relationship. The eBook serves as a promotional product much like advertising. The low cost of production and distribution makes it an attractive alternative to other forms of advertising.
The Table of Contents (TOC) is the most important part of your eBook. It may very well be a list of the articles as eBook content. It is what will guide you in the writing of the eBook. It will show you where you need additional material as well as indicate topics that are covered well. The TOC can also give you an indication that a second eBook could easily be written to address other topics or a slightly different target market. TOC’s act as a checklist of what has been completed and what has yet to be done. Potential customers will want to see this TOC as part of your sales pitch and ad copy.
What can eBooks do for you as the author? Have you ever noticed your reaction to someone introduced to you as the author of a book? Do you have a heightened interest in that person? Do you begin questioning her? Are you envious of what this person has accomplished? Do you automatically assume they must be an expert?
Defining a person as an “expert” can be attributed to a variety of things. Ownership of something commands respect. Awards and recognition for achievements is another. Being associated with ‘famous’ people also works. But expertise for the average person readily comes from authoring a book. And converting your collection of articles to a published eBook will give you that same respect for your knowledge – your expertise. Remember, if nothing else, you are definitely the expert on your eBook and all of the content within it.
Publishing an eBook is called compiling or ePublishing. There are many software programs that can convert your word processing document into an eBook. Each of these different software conversion programs requires a unique “Reader” so that the person who purchases your eBook can read it on their monitor. Fortunately, eBook Readers are distributed at no cost to anyone who wishes to download the Reader. This is another great advantage of eBooks for the consumer as well as for the author wishing to distribute their eBook.
Adobe Acrobat software converts word processing documents into eBooks using Portable Document Format (PDF). In addition, Adobe provides Acrobat Reader as a free download. Although there are many formats for eBook production, Adobe Acrobat – PDF has many advantages. The primary advantage is that PDF documents can be used by virtually any computer – MAC, PC or any other platform. Adobe is also recognized as a world leader in document production. There is hardly anyone who hasn’t used an Adobe form or document. Most computer users already have Adobe Acrobat Reader on their computers for other reasons besides eBooks.
Paul Jackson and Glenn Dietzel have developed what they refer to as “The 10 Steps to eBook Authoring”.
The 10 Steps to eBook Authoring
Step I IDEA YOU start with an Idea!
Step II REFLECTION YOU reflect on your idea.
Step III COMMITMENT YOU make a commitment.
Step IV BIG PICTURE YOU have to visualize the Big Picture.
Step V CHUNKING YOU need to organize your information.
Step VI WRITING YOU are ready to write.
Step VII EDITING YOU must perfect your eBook.
Step VIII PUBLISHING YOU are ready to compile your eBook.
Step IX MARKETING YOU must take your eBook to market.
Step X CELEBRATING YOU have earned the“write”to celebrate.
You can see for yourself how these steps could be applied to your collection of articles converted into an eBook. The great part is that the writing portion of the Steps is either completely or partially finished already.
Whether you are considering your eBook as an additional source of income, a description of products and services you offer, an introduction and branding of yourself as an “expert” or as a bonus offer to go along with goods and services you already provide, using a collection of articles you have already written is a cost-effective and profitable way to maximize work you’ve already done.
© 2005 Paul Jackson
Paul Jackson is a retired elementary school administrator and an eBook author. By helping people with a plan and a process for writing an eBook and providing them with ePublishing services, Paul offers products and services for any eBook author at his web site http://www.ebookwritingandpublishing.com