How to Write Ebooks That Sell

Ebook on a laptop

As more people begin to realize that blogging for ad dollars and other free content strategies might not be the best way to make money online, I’m getting more and more questions related to writing and selling ebooks.

Producing any information product is almost entirely an exercise in marketing. Everything from the topic you choose, to how you position it, to the copywriting strategy you use to sell it boils down to figuring out what people are willing, and even driven, to pay for.

As far as ebooks go, the first question you have to ask is whether or not the ebook is the format you should be using at all. The humble PDF seems to be the first thing that comes to mind when people consider developing a product, but it’s often the least useful and has the lowest perceived value—at least when you want to charge for it.

Is Writing Ebooks Dead?

While the format is still alive and kicking, the basic ebook is a pretty weak substitute for a real book. It has none of the tangible attributes that make books the portable and convenient information vessels they are, and the only real advantage the ebook has is that it is instantly deliverable.

Plus, for any topic where there is already a “real” book available, you’re most likely going to lose the sale, instantly downloadable or not. People trust Amazon, and whether fair or not, they consider “real” authors to be those who are delivered in ink on dead tree material.

So if your goal is to write a 200-page book, you might just go ahead and try to get a publisher, or even have your work self-published. People who read books tend to love books themselves, so it makes sense to give book lovers what they want… a real book.

Ebooks That Sell Solve Problems

The good news for people interested in making money from ebooks is that the ones that sell best are nowhere near 200 pages. In fact, you can often turn a sweet profit from a document that is only 10, 20 and up to 50 pages long, as long as those pages solve a problem that people will pay to have the solution to.

Contrary to what you might think, it doesn’t matter if the solution to a problem can be found by even simple online research. “Normal” people don’t like to do in-depth research online and are often skeptical of free information sources. Do the work for them and demonstrate that you are a credible person (or partner on the ebook with someone who has the necessary credentials), and as long as the problem is real, you’ll make sales.

There are so many ebooks out there that try to tell you that the key to successful ebook creation is “write what you love” and the money will come. They use that angle because that’s what people want to hear, and it sells a lot of ebooks about ebooks. But that doesn’t make it true.

Desperate Buyers Only

There’s only one ebook that provides clear guidance on how to research, develop and sell these short problem-solving documents, and it’s called Desperate Buyers Only by Alexis Dawes. This no-fluff guide quickly dispenses with the biggest myths about ebooks, and then takes you step-by-step through:

  • identifying a potential profitable topic
  • researching the viability of developing the document
  • discovering buyer hot button issues, and
  • understanding how the problem is framed in the mind of the prospect

Alexis then walks you through her five-step variation of the problem-agitation-solution copywriting technique for creating empathy, demonstrating credibility and closing the sale. But it all goes back to the fact that you started with a highly motivated person with a problem, and therefore the “instantly downloadable” aspect of the short ebook becomes a strong selling point.

I once commented on a review of Desperate Buyers Only that this is the ebook about creating ebooks that I would have written had I been inclined, so I have no problem recommending it to you (and using my affiliate link). It not only tells the truth about what it really takes to make money, it reveals several concrete strategies that I’ve used for years to make a great deal of money.

Additional Tip: Use E-Junkie for ebook delivery and your affiliate program. It all ties into PayPal (and other payment processors) and it’s only $5 a month.

E-junkie Shopping Cart and Digital Delivery

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  1. Brian, I found that your stat of 42% of college grads NEVER reading again was just downright scary.

    I was talking to my dad the other day about free publicity and free media- and it seems that what you said is true: The more immediate problems you solve, the more your audience is willing to pay for your expertise, advice, and guidance.

    I hope to add to my expertise following a Business Card Tips article I did for the Tallahassee Democrat. I mean, I just called them up and they printed my article.

    The key is learning how to leverage that second step, such as sending out Broadcast Faxes and such to media.

    Discovering “buyer hot button issues” is the key- giving people something they WANT to use.

    Thanks again,

    Lawton

  2. Now that the Ebook is considered low-value and something that should be “free” anyway, do you suggest Podcasts, or video or both?

    I find that video is the most engaging b/c they are using all their senses.

  3. Lawton, you’ll have to wait for the report to get a satisfactory answer to that. Should be out next week (I hope).

    • What a valuable advice. I am really thinking on the lines of publishing ebook through my blog . Yours tips would be of great helps. Thanks a lot for sharing such valuable tips.

  4. Ok, I know how the deadlines loom up on you.

    I just wanted to say thanks and hope my questions are appropriate.

    On a side note, the one thing I am learning and it seems that this is being driven home like a hammer- is that what I write and whatever I do has to be 100% about my audience.

    I knew this and believed it of course but actually feeling it and acting on it all the time are two different things.

  5. I can’t wait to get my hands on that report! Thanks Brian!

  6. People don’t read, and even less read on screen. We need to engage them in all their senses and make them interact with the product.

    If they are forced to do stuff, make mistakes and then get it right. If they are forced to get frustrated and then get satisfied, then we may have a chance at them completing our modules. And a chance at them remembering what we taught them a few years from now.

    Excuse me, scratch “taught” and replace with “enabled them to discover”

    This is the way we thought when we were developing Instructional Multimedia. This is what I believe still applies to content development.

    Writing is a fast track to engaging people who already agree with us and want to read us. But what about an unmotivated audience?

    This is when storytelling, audiovisual language and gaming come together to allow for engaging content.

    Watch E True Hollywood Stories and Fitness Infomercials to become a better content designer.

  7. Creating and selling eBook is one of the best way to make money online as an IM.

  8. The statistics about who reads . . . or more precisely, who doesn’t read . . . these days just saddens me to no end. I understand that people can’t find the time, but the fact that they don’t care enough to even try? I could no more get through the day without reading than without breathing. So far as e-books go, though, I have to admit, I’d rather have paper. Reading a book on my computer screen just is not the same. Besides, it’s hard to curl up in a comfy chair with your computer–they’re smaller these days, but they still get hot!

  9. Brian, I like screencasts. In some areas they can replace or complement an e-book.

    Let me share my little experiment: I have an Excel dashboard that can be downloaded for free. If the user wants to know how it was done he can download a (paid) version. This version includes several screencasts that show how the dashboard was designed. Every step is documented, so this is almost a crash course in advanced Excel.

    During the last two weeks I had almost one thousand downloads of the free version and some (not as many as I would like) of the paid version. It is not a huge success, but the blog started exactly with this post, so I can’t complain, and I am learning a lot.

  10. Frightening as those statistics sound, I wonder how accurate they are. I used to be in the book promotion business (12 years ago) and the statistics then were pretty dismal. I think that because there are so many more people online now than 10 years ago, the number of “readers” in the group seems to have shrunk. I saw no problem with the stats for Harry Potter or the Da Vinci Code, and non-fiction books still seem to be selling at a good clip. What’s changed is the distribution mechanism.

    Maybe the definition of book just needs to change. Apparently, you can still monetize eBooks according to the criteria Brian described. Maybe people are willing to pay for eMedia that include text, video, audio, and resource links to solve very specific problems. Or, maybe they will be willing to pay a small subscription fee or one-time fee for time-limited access to a site that provides answers to their questions. Just some ideas.

  11. Contrary to what you might think, it doesn’t matter if the solution to a problem can be found by even simple online research. “Normal” people don’t like to do in-depth research online and are often skeptical of free information sources

    Man, that is so true. Good thing, too! One great “lazy” (read: efficient) is to take your own blog posts that are related and collect them into an ebook. That is something that I plan to do, but with a little fleshing out and editing for continuity.

  12. The delivery mechanism for the information is mostly of little consequence – outside of perceived value price points. (You can generally charge more for audio/video products that contain the same content as an ebook).

    Also, the would-be-buyer has to read a sales letter before they consume whatever format you’re selling – so you cannot argue people refuse to read online.

    Double Your Dating is one of the most profitable information businesses online – and it’s based entirely on a front end ebook sale.

    As Alexis (and the direct response greats before her) states, almost the only thing that matters is the desperation of the buyers in the market.

    Oh, and the perceived authority of the information provider of course ;-)

    Let’s not use generalizations in these discussions. Without being specific the discussion loses relevance for anyone who is a professional online publisher.

  13. Looking forward to your next masterpiece O’ Mighty Maestro !

  14. I have purchased e-books before on the basis that they would help and they didn’t which I found annoying. That said, I have bought some that were highly interactive with exercises and so forth. I found the helpful ones were excellent because they led me to action. I don’t think it’s dead but rather it has a limited ‘practical’ application.

  15. I’ve been selling 3 ebooks for several years and it is an ongoing battle to sell enough to feel like it was worth it. I have one long one and 2 short, solution ones and none of them move very much on a daily basis. I’m not a huge fan of ebooks from a making money standpoint.

  16. I think probably one of the biggest ebook success stories of all time has got to be Aaron Wall’s SEO Book.

  17. Great advice.

    Understanding desperation – and the source of your user’s pain and frustration – not only give you the makings of a great e-book…but it also gives you the foundational underpinnings of a good marketing piece as well as a good business.

    Thanks!

  18. I think probably one of the biggest ebook success stories of all time has got to be Aaron Wall’s SEO Book.

    Michael, yep… I wrote Aaron’s sales letter. :)

    But even Aaron will tell you that the ebook is on the way out, and interactive training programs are the way to go. I should have linked to his post on the topic… I’ll save it for later.

  19. That’s some big talk Latarsha! Have you sold an ebook successfully yet? Easier said than done!

  20. Good points here. Blogs have superseded eBooks for information.

  21. I agree Dan…but then how do we make a living if people are coming to our blogs for FREE and very valuable information?

  22. Blogs are actually terrible for comprehensive information delivery, since they are in reverse chronological order, and installments are delivered over long periods of time. That may be fine for long time subscribers, but how many of you have been subscribed to Copyblogger since day one?

    The real answer though, is to sell something that is related to but different from your blog topic, or blog less, or don’t blog at all.

    I cover all of this in the coming report.

  23. Looking forward to reading your report Brian! Have you been able to monetize your blog? If so, how. New clients? Advertising?

  24. “People who read books tend to love books themselves, so it makes sense to give book lovers what they want… a real book.”

    This is me, 110%.

  25. Blogs are good for immediate information. But the ebook is where you get to hold the desperate by the family jewels and put a price on not only your expertise, but also a solution to their immediate problem. I think ‘Product Domination’ explained it all, though.

    Anyway, very good post…keep me posted of your upcoming ventures so that I may participate or contribute.

  26. Morten K. Holst :

    I think ebooks are just getting started. That is, if eletronic ink (E Ink) breaks through.

    E Ink consists of two sides of paper, one painted with ink and one without. They can be switched around and thus combined form an image or a word. Because the pages aren’t lit up but just ordinary ink-painted paper you won’t suffer from headache as you normally do when you read 10+ pages on your computer-screen. And because the sides are turned physically the paper only uses power when you switch page. And yes, E Ink does .pdf. Now, this means you’ll also be able to change the layout of the book, e.g. which font and font-size is used.

    I guess if E Ink goes mainstream the entire publishing industry will be revolutionized (and dare one say democratized?), and .pdf will finally break through.

    Here’s a few examples of E Ink readers: http://www.bookeen.com/ and http://www.irextechnologies.com/, unfortunately, waaay to expensive at the moment.

    Anyways, there’s that huge ‘if’, but I don’t think the race is quite over yet, I think it has just begun. (uhh, what a dramatic ending!)

  27. Was this the post you were referring to from SEOBook?

    http://www.seobook.com/publishers-will-have-become-artists

  28. I still have Viral Copy on my desktop, so I’m definitely looking forward to a new report from you, Brian.

    I guess I’m one of the few making a good living cashing in on Adsense, but I’m always interested in diversifying my income. :)

    ~Annie

  29. Nah, the ebook’s no more dead than blogging is.

    An odd phenomenon about the Web is that “Internet Marketers” are writing ebooks about Internet marketing and selling them to each other. Or the rest of us are buying them and saying, “Hey! That’s just the opposite of the last Web marketing ebook I read.”

    Folks scorch their retinas reading blogs for hours at a time but won’t read ebooks ’cause it’s too hard on their eyes? C’mon.

    Just as politics bloggers had to earn their respectability chops, so will ebooks. Look, a self-published printed book is no more credible than an ebook just ’cause you can whomp cockroaches with it. Both writers bypassed conventional publishers, but in different ways.

    The first copy of my ebook, Single & Sure, sold to someone in Israel, and I live in the USA. I never could have afforded to mail a print version to someone overseas.

    The ‘Net is not only a learning process, it’s also a trust process. Web merchants languished early on; now they’re booming. ebooks were in then out then in again now out again.

    What I’m most interested in is getting knowledge, experience and wisdom from somebody else’s head into my head. ebooks are a very efficient way to do that, even if you can’t impress family and friends by ostentatiously displaying them on shelves. Well, you could, as printouts in gild-edged leather 3-ring binders. But that’s another post.

    I’ve been a professional writer 34 years, have had four paperback novels published and two ebooks. Just as many printed books flop as ebooks. They call them remainders, and it’s an expected part of the publishing business.

    It’s the author’s name and content that flop, not the medium.

    • This reminds me of the classic story about the most successful man in direct marketing. It seems there was someone in old Manhattan who discovered the power of the classified ads in the daily paper and such venerable markets as the back pages of Popular Mechanics. The ad, which was discovered to be the longest running ad in the medium, was very simple: “GUARANTEED COCKROACH KILLER. Will kill every cockroach when used as directed. Money back if not satisfied. Send $1+.50 S&H to POB xxx NY, NY.” Respondents received by rapid return mail a small package containing two small blocks of wood, one of which contained a rubber stamped circle printed on one side, and a small piece of paper with these instructions. “Place block of wood with circle on a firm surface, circle side up. Place cockroach in center of circle and smash firmly and rapidly with other block of wood. If directions are followed, will kill cockroach every time.” The advertiser was alleged to have made a good living for more than thirty years from this one ad and his returns were less than one percent (which he himself admitted, sheepishly, was probably due to the embarassment of admitting they had been “taken” and because the cost of sending the product back made recovery nearly worthless). I have often wanted to test this ad, but just haven’t quite worked up the courage, myself.

  30. What I’m most interested in is getting knowledge, experience and wisdom from somebody else’s head into my head. ebooks are a very efficient way to do that.

    I respectfully disagree. That may be true for you, but not for most people, and even those who like to read learn better from a multiple media approach.

    The internet is an interactive medium, and if books were the best teaching mechanism alone, you’d have been handed a textbook in school and told to come back in 3 months for the final.

    Ebooks have their place, but they are sadly lacking when you think of all the Internet has to offer when it comes to effective knowledge transfer.

  31. Brian,

    Sure, I agree with you about multiple media. Good point.

    But I didn’t say ebooks were the best way to get knowledge inside my head or the only way.

    I’ve used videos to learn, cassette tapes, correspondence courses, university courses, personal lessons, and just about every other medium.

    I do believe you’re right on track when you say that ebooks that solve problems are the ones that sell. But that also holds true in the case of printed books.

    ebooks have a lot of prejudice to overcome. It took me a long time before I bought my first one, and even then I printed it out because long periods of online reading strain my eyes.

    Eventually ebooks will have video, interactive quizzes, and all kinds of other neat ways to facilitate learning.

    But you’re absolutely right. On a winter evening when it’s snowing outside, I get into my favorite chair with a printed book–not a laptop. For those of us who love the feel and mystique of a book, an ebook just isn’t the same.

  32. “…it sells a lot of ebooks about ebooks. But that doesn’t make it true.”

    Beautifully put.

  33. As a copywriter who works with some of the internet’s leading information marketers I can tell you that there is a world beyond ebooks.

    You need to look at selling information as a full business and have an overall business strategy.

    Think of every information product you produce as a lead generator.

    You might have a free report, video or audio that generates leads for your…

    $47 ebook or audio that generates leads for your…

    $97 to $197 audio program with workbook which generates leads for your…

    $497 to $997 full program with consultation which generates leads for your…

    $1,497 to $2,497 seminar or workshop which generates leads for your…

    $2,997 to $5,997+ mentoring program.

    That’s how you make an exceptional income selling information products.

    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh

  34. If I weren’t moving beyond the funnel model in my free report, Andrew, I might think you’re trying to upstage me. :)

    • Andrew and Brian, this is a very interesting dynamic. What is the question? What is the answer? How do you do that? What does it mean? How can I get my own copy? Can you teach me so I can do it, too? And the answer is of course…an informative one. The information is the product. A book is now, was then, and always will be a collection of organized thoughts, ideas, concepts, words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters, sections, images, stories, paradigms and metaphors stored up and saved for use at a later time. A record of the author’s thoughts. Of past events. Or a roadmap to the future. A “record” doesn’t have to be acetate or vinyl or tape. If it makes music what does the format matter. If I can buy a book (or course, or notebook, or audio, or video, or informative toolset) and “GET IT NOW” by immediate, electronic delivery…as opposed to waiting two weeks for delivery…there is VALUE for me. Even if I have to suffer with reading it on an electronic reader, or have to print it out myself. PLUS I don’t have to pay extra for shipping. And storing my new library doesn’t require expanding the house with a new library addition. Amazon’s fastest growing sales segment is “ebooks” because they haven’t forgotten they are selling books (and other things) that have value for their information to the customer. Electronic delivery is just one choice given to the customer to add value.

  35. Andrew, that is easily one of the smartest comments on this post. I was trying to explain something similar to this idea to a client of mine the other day. Fantastic!

  36. Hey, you have a great blog here! I’m definitely going to bookmark you!

    I have a ebooks with resale rights site. It pretty much covers ebooks with resale rights related stuff.

    Come and check it out if you get time :-)

  37. I think interactive learning environments are most certainly the way to go. Look at a site like SEOmoz, that has been successful as a subscription site with community and interactive feel. People know the story of the company and feel connected with it.

    All that creates repeat users and more revenue whilst at the same time they give away free content on their blog. In my opinion it’s a great business model.

  38. Selling ebooks does happen if done properly.

    Certainly if you try to do it by putting up a web site and hoping for sales. You’ll get some sales once a blue moon but not enough to get excited.

    However, check out John Thornhill. He is a respected ebook seller in the UK who sells on ebay and through his website, planetsms.

    I’ve learnt a lot from this man. And you can see what he does works by looking at his profile and completed auctions on ebay.

    I’ve written an ebook about selling ebooks with his method. (With a tweak that has jumps my website response.) It’s simply a method he shows but with an improvement that works like a charm.

    The tweak makes almost every reader of my free ebook visit my website. I submit my free ebooks to his newsletter.

    Check him out you’ll be surprised.

  39. I wonder what the ramifications of digital paper (DP) will have on e-book production and sales?

    I envision a huge change when you can hook your DP via USB (or firewire, etc.), download your e-books, and take your DP with on the bus…on the can…anywhere.

    Looking forward to the mass adaption to DP instead of toting around a laptop, newspapers, and so forth. Exciting times ahead!

  40. Unfortunately, my term, Digital Paper, should really be e-paper, upon further investigation.

  41. I’m curious how all this data can be applied to every target audience. My audience is 50+, still reads, like having something they can partially print as needed from their PC, and I’ve had success with eBooks. Can we put parameters on this?

  42. Great tips Brian, I am currently developing an informational product, and debating what is the best format for selling.

  43. Hi Brain,
    I am a professional content writer with basic seo knowledge. I am planning to write an ebook on my seo knowledge that’s why I am here and there on net to read artisles about ebook creation. aia really love the way, you have described this procedure of ebook creation.

    Thanks a lot!

  44. I just bought 3 dvd’s, 11.2GB of Ebooks on ebay for 12.99. Work that out. they all seem useless

  45. good stuff. Bookmarked.

  46. Ok – you completely shocked me when you sited how few college grads ever read a book again – I find I’m always reading online and off and enjoyed learning more about ebooks -as always you are a wealth of info.

  47. Brian,
    Great website and really useful information. In fact,MORE valuable than the majority of paid websites. You ROCK!
    Question: I understand your concept in regards to information products. However can you give me somewhere to read about how to actually create the download mechanism for information products?
    Thanks much! Marcel

  48. Are you available for hire? I am a businessman and cannot learn to be an expert at everything…

    Kind regards
    Anthony

  49. Marcel, a lot payment processor/shopping cart programs contain built in e-product delivery. Clickbank does this, as does One Shopping Cart.

    You can also create your own rule-based delivery mechanism with an autoresponder like Aweber. Once payment clears, an email is sent which triggers an autoresponder that delivers a link to the download page.

  50. Marcel,

    e-Junkie is another good ebook/info download provider. It works with several payment providers and it’s highly affordable too.

    -Jerret

  51. I’m interested to know how eBooks will sell through the more traditional (or should I say, notorious) outlets like eBay, now that they’ve snuffed out digital content listings. What’s your take on that? Is everyone going to move from digital back to tangible goods (i.e. books on CD, print-on-demand, etc.)

  52. Congratulations on a remarkably thorough article exploring this fascinating issue, Brian. I was impressed by many of the thoughtful comments left by contributors, too.

    Ebooks are new to me, I’ve never downloaded one. I do write fantasy fiction manuscripts and have wondered if my website would be a viable place to showcase them?

    Rather than asking if the “ebook is dead?” I found myself asking if I have a nostalgic attachment to traditional books I’ve loved since childhood? (Surely ebooks are a lower cost, instantly deliverable solution?)

    Personally, I think there is a middle way. But I cant take credit for the idea. Morris Rosenthal mentions one can provide two or three chapters of one’s new work free, then give readers the option to purchase the full ebook. (In his informative article on Book Marketing).

    Your article is so thorough, I would like to include a link to it on my website that supports new writers. (With your permission). The rest of your site looks well-worth exploring, too. No wonder I was directed here from “Top 10 Blogs For Writers”. If it helps I used the simple keywords “writers blogs” on Google that took me to that site- then on to yours.

    PS: It’s true younger people dont read traditional books, I asked! (But interestingly, they had downloaded specialist ebooks from the Net, even paid for them).

  53. I have been very successful with eBooks.

    The reason, I believe, is that ebooks can never compare to books.

    It would be very similar to comparing apples and oranges.

    Sony, Adobe, Amazon and other companies envision the future of content in digital delivery formats.

    Just as you realize differences in films, videos and other media formats, a future reality for the ebook is inevitable.

    It may simply be the relative to generations. There are those that will not ever think to buy hard copy content, yet quickly purchase subject matter in their favorite digital device format.

    I have quite a few websites; on one in particular, I offer three alternative purchases, 1) ebook digital delivery, 2) CD-ROM Manual and Digital Delivery, and 3) Hard Copy Book.

    99.9% of my sales are eBook digital delivery.

    Statistical figures for sales in eBooks increase every month and year.

    There are varieties in styles and formats that may confuse aspiring writers and readers; however, in the future, the maze will clear and digital downloadable delivery will continue to skyrocket for material that can be read via electronics.

    A book is a book and will always be that. An ebook will continue its metamorphic transformation because gigabytes of content with accessible bookmarks and hypertext links will revolutionize education.
    eBooks, ePaper or other digital formats will never replace or be a substitute for hard cover or paperback books.
    It is a wealth of realization to recognize the adjustments and conversions for publishers of encyclopedia’s, dictionaries, medical volumes, and specialty manuscripts including voluminous pages of textbooks.
    Our microwavable world with so much to do and learn in too little time will continue to motivate consumers and developers in providing instant gratification to our needs.
    eBooks in one format or another; read on one type and style device or another will mold itself into our environment.
    Travel to space will see digital content and never the likes of volumes of hard cover copy.
    If any aspiring writer wants to write, I recommend beginning, even with, an ebook.
    We might never have the chance to read what they are capable of communicating.
    More power to the ebook, so simple, so easy, so affordable; and so unconditional for those that need a chance to begin easily.
    I will add that Stephen King and Elizabeth George including others offer ebooks for educational and storytelling content.
    Certainly, what is good for wonderful and talented authors of their stature and prominence; is good for others.
    When it comes to Jane Eyre; will I read the words in a text hard copy that I remove from a shelf, or will I head over to Gutenberg Project or simply listen to the great novel on audio?
    For that special classic, I prefer audio; yet there are many accessible books in digital format. I will definitely choose some style digital format over 500 or 600 paper pages.

    I will choose to ‘curl up’ with something other while I listen.

    As a note: availability to modify text size in ebook and or digital device format is great for the elderly who have difficulty reading the print in hard cover copy.

    eBooks are not simply written for marketing purposes only.

  54. B. Robert -

    Thanks for the insightful and inspirational comment. Though I think the idea behind teachingsells is fantastic and I plan on enrolling, your points on the viability and growth of e-books are also important…especially when e-paper goes mainstream and reading e-books will be comparable to reading a piece of paper.

  55. I would say that this article is an eye opener.

  56. Nice Article, Ebooks still pays off for your new gadgets =)

  57. Hi Brian:

    Very in-depth article. I’d say ebooks are just getting started. This technology should replace books one day as chopping trees are not nice. Plus carrying around a whole library with you is not so bad!

  58. I think that ebooks if marketed properly are an easy sell. That is why so many ebooks basically teach you how to make an ebook of your own and how to sell it.

  59. I am developing an ebook for sellers right now on my Fort Lauderdale Real Estate Blog and I think this information will help me drive traffic. Thanks you

  60. A lot of internet marketers use free ebooks and joint venture programs with free downloads as a way of advertising their programs or services, building their opt in lists and other paid products they have on offer. You can also sell ebooks for a few cents or as a package with other related products and give them away as an incentive on your blog or site or as a bonus for signing up to your mailing list or membership site. I think simple short ebooks or reports are very useful and easy to read. Going through whole books sometimes for the newbie internet user is quite hard.

  61. We do research from our university initiated around financing and behavior, we have several white papers published and they are downloaded a lot.

    The trick? Simple, just offer good and adequate research and useful data. I am sure we could make ebooks at the same way and equal successful.

  62. @ Jim Juris-

    That’s convenient you posted this because I have a lower budget client in need of this info.

    @ Brian Clark-

    Jim’s link is broken – missing the y in jewelry.

    Kindly,

    Michael

  63. I wrote a how-to type of ebook on inexpensive jewelry photography techniques. My ebook is 57 pages in length and I sell it for $16.99.

    This ebook is purchased mostly by women.

    I used Open Office to create my ebook in PDF format. Open Office is free. That allows my ebook to be able to be read on any computer.

    I know at least some of my ebook readers print out my ebook.

    It is a tiny little niche and my web site is ranked in the top 12 positions of the search engines for most keyword phrases.

    In order to sell my ebook I do as much marketing as possible, even though me web site is ranked high in the search engines.

    I have been selling this ebook for about one year and my sales are in the four digits ($XXXX.00).

  64. Brian,
    I’ve been contemplating writing an eBook regarding Developing Ad Agency New Business for some time. Your info has been some of the best on the subject I have found so far. Thanks for sharing.

  65. Thank you very much Michael for pointing out the error that I made in the link to my Inexpensive Jewelry Photography website. I didn’t notice the missing letter Y in the word Jewelry when I checked the link.

  66. You’re on the money here.

    Reports have a higher perceived value than books, they’re usually easier to write and they’re easier to sell and package with other related products like related reports, audio, video and membership sites.

    There is another way to create ebooks that sell…simply by writing lead generating reports for brick and mortar businesses.

    In that case you have just one client…the business owner…who you help to make more sales with a report that pre-educates his prospects.

    I’ve been paid 4 figures multiple times for writing quite simple 2-15 page reports.

    The key is in the value these reports supply the business owner.

    If he’s going to make tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales with a report you write for him he won’t hesitate to pay you $1,000 to $5,000 to write the report.

    Add to that service online delivery of the report by setting up a website for your clients (it could even be a blog) and you have a service you can charge $1,500 to $10,000+ for.

    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh

  67. Brian,

    I was thinking of buying Desperate Buyers Only but I thought the $77 price tag was to high. Has anyone used this ebook and made any money of from it?

    Best regards,
    Chris

  68. I think this is a matter of how good you are at writing, and if you enjoy writing. Course you can become good at it but it will take time. Nice info though, thanks!

  69. I think if you are good at writer and research your market properly, then your e-book will have ready buyer.

  70. Certain points in this post really worry me!! :|

    But i believe in my writing skills and my knowledge level, and i gotta make a good mix of these both to get a good ebook rolling!!
    I’ve been having this idea for a long time, but thanks to you, u saved me from one confusion.

    Unfortunately the report is unavailable for download now! :(

  71. Great article, i tend to create eBooks for promotional reasons and marketing reasons. However i always try and target a certain market first, not leaving it open. These eBooks usually tend to be aimed at beginners as the internet is a growing space where more and more people are joining each and every day

  72. Hi, I bought Desperate Buyers Only the other day. I read it in about 2 hours. It’s great for people like me that have never created an e-book yet.

    Best regards,
    ChrisS

  73. Good post!. The way you write is the first influential factor. And short & cheap e-books are the more successful ones.

  74. I have never looked into the selling of ebooks prior to this post but I will now investigate the possiblity of developing this sector……thanks for the informative article.

  75. “42% of college graduates never read a book again …”

    Is that true? I’d like to know the source for that – it’s appalling if correct.

  76. Chris, follow the link at “consider”.

  77. It was a great article Brian, I found it thanks to a link (via another link) from Rae Hoffman’s article.

    To be honest, I can understand why you might have closed “Teaching Sells” to new members but it is disappointing that the ebook is no longer available. It makes it seem as though this article is very old (it is I suppose) and the content is either no longer valid or the post was written simply to sell it or the “course”.

  78. In this blog I read a lot about selling informational ebooks. What about a fictional novel from a largely unknown author? Is there money to be made for novels?

  79. Brian,

    I think that a novel should be a paperback book, not a PDF file. The reason that I say that is because novels usually are several hundred pages long. I don’t think that most people would want to read a two hundred or three hundred page book on their computer.

  80. Nice article but you mention about pdf being ok but not the best because of the perceived value. I have seen some ebooks in exe format, is there other formats that can be used to publish ebooks.

  81. How do I get the report? Is it still available?

    Thanks,

    Erik

  82. You may automate the delivery of your ebooks with an online shopping cart service called SWPal. I have been using it for few months and it works great!

  83. If any one needs a book written by some author (Technical , Management and books on all Programming Languages he could contact me at aman.j@tcs.com or leave a comment at http://crossaffairs.blogspot.com.I can provide each book for 50% of the market price in a pdf file format

  84. I have been sitting here for nearly 2 hours now reading your many pages of of the most interesting and important information sites I’ve been to in a very long time. I’m a little new to this blogging, hub pages, and so on. But yours is real easy to follow and get and and back, which I like a lot. Very well put together, great job on all the above.
    Thank you for the info., and I’ll be back.

    mscoolwood

  85. eBooks do sell but just like any other product, if an eBook on a particular topic doesn’t have any demand then it, of course, won’t sell. What matters is what topic you have chosen and who your target audience is.

  86. Thank you for this! I am scared that only 43% after college read books! I really like your stance of making sure it includes actual content. As a guy who loves the format of ebooks (I am pretty green) it is shocking how many crappy ebooks there are. Not everyone should be a writer but be able to find a good book with content and value. Thanks for the post, I have implemented so many ideas I have got from you.

  87. Great tips Brian, I am currently developing an informational product, and was debating what is the best format for selling.

  88. Thanks for the very informative article on ebooks.

  89. Hey!

    I tried to get the free info on beyond e-books but I guess the site is closed? I did sign up for your teaching lessons, when do you think you’ll open it up again? Any way I can get that beyond e-book though?

    Thanks,
    Eric

  90. I was curious as to where they got their data from? That 42% seems out of character fro college grads to me, but what do I know? I haven’t graduated college.

  91. Excellent article on creating e-books…….anyone interested in developing an ebook marketing program should read this article.

  92. Brian,

    This is great article. I would appreciate if you can throw some light on the best format for the eBook.

    Regards
    Chris Martin

  93. Buy an eBook….Nah. Buy a screencast, audio, or video product…..More Likely! I have asked people in my circle of friends and family if they would buy an eBook and all either said “what’s an ebook(after explaining they said No)”, or “no”.

  94. I was searching about writing ebooks and I found this entry through google. Thanks for the discussion

  95. I’ve only bought one Ebook. I don’t think I read past the first page.

  96. Basically, people who buy eBooks are the people who buy online. Most people don’t buy eBooks because there are many similar blog entries about certain topics anyway.

    People will buy what they want even if it’s an eBook. I’ve really enjoyed reading this. Didn’t even blink. ;)

  97. I think ebooks are great for quick access, but I find I always print them out first and then read them.

  98. If you’ll excuse a gratuitous plug, a good place to publish ebooks is Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com. You upload your document in Word format, and then we convert your book into about ten DRM-free ebook formats. It’s free and we pay 85% net royalties, and you can still publish your book elsewhere. We offer a bunch of free tools to help authors promote and sell their books.

  99. I’m wondering whether is it ok for me to translate the article into Chinese
    I’m afraid the mothods you introduced here couldn’t work in China

  100. I have been wondering about the question of selling the ebook or just giving it away. thanks

  101. I think of the think and grow rich book phenomenon and the idea that some books, once created are really timeless. Now in ebook form this book is free and millions have in on their hard drives. I’ve been looking at the Desparate Buyers only, first saw it the other day. I’ll be getting a copy soon. I love this theme, I’ve been looking at it to. I’ve heard (or read) its very cusomizable and very opimised.

  102. Uhm, do you latest commentators realize this post is about 2 years old? Well, I for one do, and yet I am still commenting now arent I?

    Since Aaron Wall mentioned 2 years ago that ebooks are on the way out, I have wondered if it is worth the effort to write another one (my first was in a small niche that is unpopular in this economy.) I have heard about “Desperate Buyers Only” and am totally sold on the idea that desperate folks with a problem to solve fast is by far the best route for making any money online. And I have about 3 niches that cater to exactly that, with ebooks in the planning phase.
    I love the idea of generating a (quality mind you) 10-15 page report on such a topic, and selling it consistantly (like 10+ copies a day) at $9.99, for example. My fear is that, even in desperate markets, those numbers may not be reachable.

    On the other hand, taking those same topics and using a multi-media training membership site approach as suggested above, with user community and blog, might in fact be exactly right. But there again, although I want to try it, I find that idea daunting in terms of time, skills, web development and design, etc. (CMS platforms like Joomla and WordPress notwithstanding.)

  103. I am happy to see that this topic is still alive.

    I am still selling my ebook. My sales are in
    the four digits.

    I am sorry to say this but I don’t feel that a
    quality 10 to 15 page ebook on any subject
    will sell well for $9.99.

    I sell my ebook for slightly less than $17 and it
    is 57 pages of quality material.

    I think that a reasonable price for a 10 to 15
    page report is about $3 to $5, or possibly even
    give the ebook away for free.

    Why would anyone want to give an ebook away
    for free?
    Answer: To use the free ebook to promote a
    larger quality ebook, and possibly several other
    ebooks, that you are selling.

    I give about 1/3 of my ebook away for free because
    people can’t brouse through my ebook like they can
    if they went to a book store to buy a regular book.
    This gives the potential buyer a good idea of the
    quality of my ebook, similar to brousing through a
    book before you buy it.

  104. I have in the past looked into selling e-books. I have bought some really good ones in the past and I definitely agree that the market for e-books is still in its infancy

    The only downside I personally feel with e-books and when they are mentioned. So many people just try and sell you any old crap in them, especially on eBay that is where all the cons are to be found.

  105. Nice – glad to see you championing ebook creation as profitable. It definitely can be. My own (on ebook writing and sales copywriting) sells better than I expected.

    Interestingly, I lowered the price when the recession hit and experienced a decline in sales. It’s now back to $24.00 — for now . . . About four people have written saying they would have paid more for what they got.

    Learn more about Ebook Immersion, if interested.

  106. I’m thinking to write a book too in the future. People need what we can offer, so why not to try it…

  107. Great post. selling ebooks online is one of the most lucrative business on the internet. a lot of people are saying that ebook market is dead, when in fact, people are looking for information on any topics they want, actually millions of them.

  108. Hi Brian. My name is Nick and I’m really enjoying your blog. I think this is the 8th article I have read this morning. Thanks to you and your other writers for all the great advice! By the way, I have an eBook that and have found that it’s tough to sell.

  109. That’s an interesting post. I am quite dubious of the amount of money that people make with online products and e-books. Mike Pedersen is quite an opener. And, Mike, thanks you for honesty.

    I think the e-books that sell the best are the ones that tell you how to make money (easily and with no effort!) and especially how to make money selling e-books There are probably not to many regular hard cover books telling you how to make money selling e-books. In fact, I only found two (yes, that’s right 2) books on Amazon that talk about selling e-books and making money from it. Yet, the internet is filled with e-books telling you how to make loads of money selling e-books. I think real publishers want to stay away from his topic. It would probable discredit them

    It is easy to fake the images that these books supposedly show as proof of all the money they make. I can make a graphic of an invoice in about a few hours.

  110. Offering free ebooks on my websites is the absolute best way to build a following and your email list for future marketing.

    • I agree. When you give your visitors something for free in exchange for their name and email they’ll more likely to join your mailing list. And if you include some affiliate links in the free book that a double win!

  111. Thanks for the insight. I do believe in ebooks have a future.

  112. I think that ebooks if marketed properly are an easy sell. That is why so many ebooks basically teach you how to make an ebook of your own and how to sell it.

  113. Hi Brian. My name is Nick and I’m really enjoying your blog. I think this is the 8th article I have read this morning. Thanks to you and your other writers for all the great advice! By the way, I have an eBook that and have found that it’s tough to sell.

  114. I think of the think and grow rich book phenomenon and the idea that some books, once created are really timeless. Now in ebook form this book is free and millions have in on their hard drives. I’ve been looking at the Desparate Buyers only, first saw it the other day. I’ll be getting a copy soon. I love this theme, I’ve been looking at it to. I’ve heard (or read) its very cusomizable and very opimised.

  115. Thanks for the tip on E-Junkie. I had never heard of it before.

  116. Thanks for the solid primer. I’ve sold an ebook for English langaguage learners in a PDF format with some success, but I know that it can be done far more effectively and profitably.
    BTW, E-junkie has done an excellent job on my little niche website. Zero complaints – and their website is quite informative – even for non-techies like me.

  117. I have in the past looked into selling e-books. I have bought some really good ones in the past and I definitely agree that the market for e-books is still in its infancy

    The only downside I personally feel with e-books and when they are mentioned. So many people just try and sell you any old crap in them, especially on eBay that is where all the cons are to be found.

  118. I am going to try selling ebooks but the whole procedure seems a bit complicated. It would be nice if there was a free ebook maker i could use.

  119. Dave, there is a FREE ebook maker that you can use, its Open Office, http://www.openoffice.org. Use the Writer program in Open Office, which is very similar to MS WORD. That is what I used to create my jewelry photography ebook. People on Macs and PCs can read it.

    When you have your document ready to put into PDF format, make into an ebook, all you have to do is click on the red PDF button in the menu bar and that will create a PDF file and you will then have a ebook.

    Create a one paragraph document in Writer, or simply copy and paste this message and save it in Writer and then click on the PDF file button in the menu bar and see what happens.

    Good luck.

  120. I can’t wait to get my hands on that report! Thanks Brian!

  121. A good post on ebook. 42% non-readers is alarming. Subjects,topics,pages and marketing is good. But what about the sales process in itself? Is there any other service apart from ejunkie? It is there a service that collects a reasonable charge after a sale, even if it’s a single sale and does not look at volumes?

  122. If an ebook resolves a problem then it can easily be sold online. The trick is to meet the right audience at the right time.

  123. Ebooks are and will be a popular product for a long time to come. As long as people don’t continue creating crappy ebooks, ebooks should stay popular and sellable.

    If you can create a quality ebook an market the crap out of it you can make lots of sales and this means lots of $$.

    As long as you give useful information that will solve the readers problem as you said, your bound to sell ebookd.

    Nice Post.

  124. I have been wondering about the question of selling the ebook or just giving it away. thanks

  125. I think video will take over from ebooks in the long run.

  126. Excellent – Answered all my questions on ebook commerce. Thanks again…

  127. I have written a few ebooks myself and I know they sell if your topic is interesting and if you know how to reach your market.

  128. I have been wondering about the question of selling the ebook or just giving it away. thanks

  129. Ebooks sell and sell well, it is all a matter of knowing your market. My first book Making Money A-Z with Self Storage Auctions did quite well @ 29.99 x 150 copies in 4 weeks of me writing it.

    However as referenced over and over in this thread, there are some people who want a book, well a lot of people want a book. Which I now have one on Amazon, I think if you are going to write an ebook, know there is a need and people will buy it before you write it.

    Marketing is everything, typically it takes people a minute to warm up to you. I started marketing this book long before it was done.

    On one note I would stay away from Paypal and Google Checkout if you have an ebook with “Making Money” anywhere in the title they both suspended my accounts.

    Google Check out deposited my money with no fuss, Payal grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! PIA!

    Lessons I have learned:

    Stay away from Paypal and Google Checkout! Use at your own risk?

    Keep your ebook short! My book is 195 pages and it is a lot to print out. But they were happy with the product which is the most important thing.

    Market yourself first, once they like you they will buy from you.

    Give a lot of good information away , yes it can be painful but your target market is not going to trust you otherwise.

    Keep it funny, no one like boring crap and they definitely are not going to pay for it.

    I got a ton of great ideas from this post for my next ebook!

    Awesome!

    Glendon

  130. I have written a few ebooks myself and I know they sell if your topic is interesting and if you know how to reach your market.

  131. The statistics about who reads . . . or more precisely, who doesn’t read . . . these days just saddens me to no end. I understand that people can’t find the time, but the fact that they don’t care enough to even try? I could no more get through the day without reading than without breathing. So far as e-books go, though, I have to admit, I’d rather have paper. Reading a book on my computer screen just is not the same. Besides, it’s hard to curl up in a comfy chair with your computer–they’re smaller these days, but they still get hot

  132. “Ebooks That Sell Solve Problems” a very true statement…ebooks that I’ve purchased are all problem-solving ebooks. But I think they are way too many ebook scammers these days and their only intention is to make quick cash, they are not a writer and they are not an expert in the field.

  133. I think if you are good at writer and research your market properly, then your e-book will have ready buyer.
    You expect 2http.net

  134. I find this to be so true! ebook sell very well.

    “I think if you are good at writer and research your market properly, then your e-book will have ready buyer.
    You expect “

  135. Read the article was really useful and informative. Existence of such a blog and blog articles that had interested me. I will try to be your constant reader, thank you

  136. As usual great post. Thanks guys

  137. There will always be a market for ebooks, but the actual media will be evolving form text to flash, video and interactivity.

    I’ve been trying to write an ebook for three months (not an easy task with running a business FT) but for the most part the ebook is going to be very interactive, and will have come with additional tools above your standard pdf doc.

  138. It’s all in the marketing… I’ve made an ebook that I think it very useful to people. However, it’s in the dating manual market, which is highly competitive. So essentially instead of just having to be an expert on dating, I also have to be an expert on SEO, haha.

  139. I find it interesting that this discussion — whether ebooks are dead or not — has spanned about two years.

    Good information, good writing, and good content is never dead. Sure, the presentation and medium factor in, but I would never go so far as to say format A is better than B. It’s all personal preference. I personally can’t stand video tutorials or watching videos often found on blogging sites because they are often embarrassingly unprofessional, or they don’t allow that very important thing that reading does, the easy option to scan through and pick out what I want to read. With a video, I’m stuck slogging through because fastforwarding doesn’t work in the same way scanning the written word does.

    Preference.

    People will pay for what they will pay for. I don’t see the benefit of saying a format is dead when it isn’t. A format might be dead in an over-used situation (marketers selling to other marketers on how to market), but there is a world outside the bubble.

    • Fantastic point. I agree.

      This is especially true for people looking to have their problems solved immediately.

      If you can do it in a short, simple ebook, they will GLADLY pay you money.

      Take a look at sites like Scribd, Docstoc, Yudu etc and you will understand what I am talking about.

      Personally, I don’t like the ebook format and I prefer learning via videos but I would disagree with ebooks being on their way out.

  140. I think ebooks are great for quick access, but I find I always print them out first and then read them.

  141. I learned and got inspired here. Thank you…

    As your article arrives at the conclusion that e-books are still powerful, I think it will continue to evolve – just consider PLR.

  142. I think e-books are a great tool for adding value to existing products. I plan to create a number of small e-books as a complentary product to help out my customers that buy stuff from my boat parts site (e.g. how to build in an anchor hold). I already have a four part course on boat building as a complementary product to boat plans.

  143. I think video will take over from ebooks in the long run.

  144. I think ebooks are great for quick access, but I find I always print them out first and then read them.Tamk uoı

  145. I have been wondering about the question of selling the ebook or just giving it away. Thank you very much.

  146. I don’t agree with your assumption that is a real book is available, you have automatically lost the sale. Reason being, as you said yourself, it all comes down to how you market and position your book. One of my most successful eBooks has thousands of competitors, but my sales page still converts at an amazing clip. Sometimes I get depressed that the entire world comes down to marketing, but it is pretty true.

  147. I used to write a lot of eBooks on random internet marketing subjects, but I learned that for the most part there is a pretty short life to each eBook you write. Unless you go all out and write a thorough book that has a long lasting power, you will have to constantly write new books to keep a consistent income.

  148. In my opinion, creating the eBook is the easy part. If you have the traffic generating website and mailing list, you can swap the product you are selling out, at will. Focus on building traffic, and your site will always be worth something, regardless of the topic of your eBook has gone stale.

  149. You just made up my mind for me. I’ll forget the e-book and go straight for a publisher. Desperate my readers probably are not.

  150. Okay … I bit. I just sent $97 off for the DBO book based, primarily, on your personal recommendation. I will be reviewing it on one of my blogs. If I feel, after having read it, that it truly IS a good investment in e-book writing and marketing, I might even dip my toe in the affiliate pool as well.

    But if I don’t, I intend to scream about it good and loud.
    –Bill

  151. James Laderman :

    We have a booked based publisher in services and we would like to authors e-book and audiobook services, what is the best way to go about doing this, and what protection does the e-book offer in order to sell the novel over the internet.

  152. Thanks for providing alot of material for a great price ;) I look forward to more.
    Jack

  153. I created a German e-book about “how to become a better deejay” – just because I know a person who fails in doing so. It sells like hell although I’m not considered being a professional DJ (I’m not a DJ at all).

    So you are right: Serve them an e-book that helps solving problems and they will buy it. Without spending a single penny on publishing you can make a bunch of money – that is because you can write about very specific questions that drive people mad.

    In my case there are tons of books about the “right technique” of DJing, but not one about psychology regarding being a deejay…

    Brian, you are doing great work here!

  154. I am writing an ebook right now i want to sell on digital point to make some extra money. I am going to use this guide to help me on my ebook, right now its half way dont but in about 1 month i should have it finished.

  155. I would say that this article is an eye opener.

  156. I would say that this article is an eye opener.

  157. Can anyone help me with this question?

    I’ve decided to publish an ebook, and I know I just need a one page website

    What’s confusing me is this….I have been told that one-page websites very rarely get ranked high enough to appear on the first page of search results. The web developer I spoke to basically said he wouldn’t even work on a one-page website, and he suggested I look at something like Clickbank.

    Is this true about one-page websites? And if so, how do ebook sellers get enough traffic to their sites if they are not highly ranked? Do I need to use an affiliate program like Clickbank?

  158. Mark,

    I know that not to be true! One of my competitors who has an ebook has a one page website and it is on the first page of google!

    I have a 150 page blog and he still ranks higher than me! I think it is a matter of content that drives your whole project!

  159. Hi Glendon, thanks. So do you recommend that I do this direct and not through something like Clickbank? Do you know anyone who would be willing to give me a bit of advice? I have read so many different opinions on selling ebooks that I am confused!!!

  160. Mark,

    Before you launch you website, run a trial through a blog first to gauge the demand of your ebook. If you researched it properly you should sell well. I just have a blog and my ebooks do very well, sold 4 last night at 29.99.

    Clickbank can be good and bad, there is a lot of crap on clickbank. If you ebook is not about making money,dating, weight lost then clickbank would be a waste of time and money.

    I agree to there is almost too much information online to digest. However you can not get away from normal business practices.

    This is what I did

    1 researched my market, I only have 5 competitors

    2 Begin marketing the ebook once I was 75% done, it takes time for marketing to kick in.

    3 Started adding interesting stuff to my blog that was about the subject matter of my ebook, but I did not give any important stuff away for free.

    4 Asked for the money upfront

    I have sold 985 books/ebooks since Oct 09

  161. Don’t listen to what anyone else tells you, one page websites are absolutely worthless if you are starting from scratch and have no list/traffic.

    A much better approach is to design your site first and foremost to sell, while also providing people/search engines the content they need in order to find your site in the first place.

    A one page website, just can’t get the job done for newbies. Clickbank traffic is pretty worthless in my opinion, you can’t just post your product on Clickbank and expect the sales to roll in. Much like, you can’t just post it on the web, and expect people to find it.

    How many times have you bought an eBook from a single page website with no other content? Content brings in the traffic and it creates credibility, too.

    No downside, only upside. Abandon the one page sales letter site, you will thank me later!

  162. Thanks again Glendon

  163. Thanks for your comments Scott, I appreciate the feedback.

  164. Thanks for the e-book sharing. I hope I will have at least one :)

  165. I have been wondering about the question of selling the ebook or just giving it away. Thank you very much…..

  166. This is the way we thought when we were developing Instructional Multimedia. This is what I believe still applies to content development.

  167. Hey! I just finished my ebook and the website is ready to go and will be up and running in a few days. I used to sell an ebook on Ebay and I was making about $100 per week. If you target the right audiance you can definately make money writing ebooks.

  168. There is no such stereotypes in furniture design.

  169. Hi Brian,

    You said,

    “While the format is still alive and kicking, the basic ebook is a pretty weak substitute for a real book. It has none of the tangible attributes that make books the portable and convenient information vessels they are, and the only real advantage the ebook has is that it is instantly deliverable.”

    Here are 50 Reasons the Ebook is Better.

  170. Are E-Books a good way to market a website? From what I’ve heard they are very hard to sell and not too many people actually purchase them, or even download them if they are free? Nice post though, very informative!

  171. Some great ideas to ponder and implement.

  172. In Internet Marketing circles, they teach and practice the use of giving a gift in exchange for getting your email address. “Sign up and we will send you a gift”. Since we are dealing with digital things on the Internet, an ebook is quite often what is offered as the gift. I could write an ebook (or even a series of ebooks) about sub-topics within my website and offer the ebook gift to prospective clients.

  173. I would much rather buy en eBook than a paper back. There usually cheaper, and so easy to store. I have hundreds on a little flashdrive. eBooks will never go away!

  174. Are E-Books a good way to market a website? From what I’ve heard they are very hard to sell and not too many people actually purchase them, or even download them if they are free? Nice post though, very informative!

  175. E-books are a great way to deliver information to many readers, fast. However, I would imagine there is much satisfaction when holding in your hands, the real deal.

  176. I find that I am skeptical of free sources as well – unless I know the writer or persona behind the blog/website. But I personally love ebooks for selling and for myself. I love the fact that you can download instantly and that there’s no room on my shelves taken up with a book I might not read again. I love that it’s environmentally sounder than buying a book and circulating it through the world for the rest of the life.

  177. Do you think the combination of an e-book and a self-published book with the e-book at a discounted price is a good strategy? Obviously you’re hoping they buy the e-book as the margin is still much higher but perhaps the ability to buy it in print gives it more legitimacy?

    Plus people are getting more and more used to buying electronic books. More e-books sold than paperbacks recently though that includes kindle etc.

    • Brian, I have been selling ebooks for over 3 years. I sell 3 ebooks now.

      You don’t have to worry about having the book in print because numerous buyers have told me that they print the ebooks out on their home printer. Nobody has ever complained to me about printing out one of my ebooks.

  178. I have now written and sell 3 ebook. I have been making decient sales from them.

    I as experiment I have been offering my ebooks without immediate download capability and I have not had any problems or complaints. I have been doing this about 4 or 5 months now and it saves me money.

    I do offer immediate download but at a higher price. About 80% to 90% of the people purchase my ebooks without immediate download because I offer the ebook without a immediate download with a savings of $2.

    The people that have bought my 3 ebooks have probably never purchased an ebook before so they are not familiar with immediate download.

  179. I am writing my first ebook now that I’ll offer for free on my blog to those who would like subscribe to my mailing list. This first book will be short but informational and useful. When I get some more experiences and feedback about the book, I’ll start writing another one that will be longer and more detailed. This one will be for sale (but not for more than $5). Thanks for sharing these tips, I’ll sure try E-junkie when I write my second book.

  180. The people that have bought my 3 ebooks have probably never purchased an ebook before so they are not familiar with immediate download. yes !

  181. I wonder if iPhone readable books will have continue to have an impact on e-book publsihing?

  182. Quick question for everyone here…If you were looking to write and sell ebooks for a niche that you truly enjoy – what would you recommend as the best “help tools” and/or “online advertising” tools available? Reason I ask is that I have wrote 2 fairly long ebooks but am having some trouble getting people to find them online. Those that have love the books and say they offer some of the best information which they have ever read. My problem is getting more people to find them online so they CAN READ them! Any help would be great since some of you may be experts in this area.

    Thanks again,

    Kimmy M.
    Daytona Beach, Florida

  183. No wonder intelligence levels are falling amongst people. They should pick up more books.

  184. Such a useful advice. I’m truly considering about the outlines associated with posting e-book via my personal weblog. Your own ideas could be associated with excellent help. Many thanks with regard to sharing this kind of ideas. :)

  185. “the basic ebook is a pretty weak substitute for a real book. It has none of the tangible attributes that make books the portable and convenient information vessels they are, and the only real advantage the ebook has is that it is instantly deliverable.”

    Are you kidding??? When was this article written?

  186. Today’s eBook industry is about digital books in the context of tablet computers and eReaders such as Kindle, Kobo and the like. Looking forward to seeing the updated article.

  187. Nice tips, i always love coming to this blog.

  188. Hi

    I have created an eBook that’s about 50 pages long called Budgeting Made Easy. I’m currently promoting the product on my website http://www.budgetingprocess.biz

    I have spent a great deal of time, effort and money on putting all of this togetheir and I’m getting a large amount of people to my website every day. But I can’t seem to understand why I can’t change the people browsing my website to buyers of me eBook.

    I have read most of the comments here and everybody seems to be well-informed in this topic. So, any advice is more then welcomed. Thanks guys!

    Sincerely,
    Struggling Entrepreneur LOL :-)

    • Navish,
      I hate to say this but your website doesn’t make a good first impression. I find the light gray text on a white background very difficult to read. Use BLACK text for easier reading. You only have 5 to 15 seconds to make a good first impression on your website visitors.

      I also think that your first Buy Now button is too high up on the web page. You also don’t mention the price before you come to the first buy now button. I would recommend moving the first buy now button further down on the web page.

      I would not underline the text. Only clickable links should be underlined.

    • Thanks, Jim, that is good feedback.

      Navish, take a look at our series on landing pages for lots of ideas about how to make your page more effective. Job #1 is taking the irrelevant ads off the top — don’t send customers off to another site when you’re trying to focus them on your offer!

  189. Hi

    You guys are awesome!

    I am definently going to adopt your suggestions this weekend. Really appreciate the time and effort you have given towards my problem. Any more advise is MORE then welcome. Thanks for the homework. It’s nice to get a 2nd opinion. I will come back after I made the changes, wish me luck.

    Kind Regards
    Navish Singh
    ;-)

  190. Great share! Ebook writing is a daunting task but after reading this i hope to write the ebook which can grab attention of readers.

  191. Hi Jim and Sonia

    I know it’s been a long time since my first post but I’ve been busy working on my business as well as my website. I have gone through all the advice and options both of you gave me and made lots of changes to my website.

    Most of the changes were related to both of your suggestions. Once again, thank you for the assistance and advice.

    If you get a chance, have a look at the website: http://www.budgetingprocess.biz and let me know what you think. I’m keen to read your opinions :-)

    At the moment, I am busy building on more copy to add to the website. As you already know, the more relevant information you add to a website around your keywords, the better your website ranking.
    I hope I can get this website to take off….

    Sincerely,
    Navish :-)

  192. Navish,

    I think that I would make your main heading different. Maybe use- What makes this Budgeting Made Easy ebook different than the rest of them? That way you are using the title in your main heading and also the word ebook.

    I don’t think that you should make or suggest ANY PROMISES about anything financial. For example-
    …value packed eBook that will save you hundreds and thousands of your hard earned money…

    You have a spelling error two lines above the first BUY NOW button.

    …for every financial hurdle that can potentially hurts us all. If …

    The word hurts should be hurt.

    There is a wide range of budgeting processes that we cater for in this website.

    I believe that the word “is” in the above sentence should be changed to “are” in the above sentence. I am not sure, but, maybe the word “for” should be changed to “to” in the same sentence which is a couple of sentences below the first BUY NOW button.

    It would probably be a good idea to make this an unordered list-
    So what are we all about? What are we trying to achieve? Who stands to gain the most from this website? What types of budgeting processes do we follow here?

    I would recommend changing this-
    Start their retirement and enjoy their end days
    to this- Start their retirement and enjoy their golden days

    I would revise this sentence-
    All we are trying to achieve here is place our knowledge gathered thus far into an eBook that a person can use to reference and help them achieve their short and long term financial goals.

    This sentence needs to be revised-
    …before you can become wealthy, you need to debt free.
    I recommend changing it to this-
    before you can become wealthy, you need to be debt free.

    This needs to be revised-
    Everything you ever need to know about the budgeting and budgeting process is right here in this eBook and we left out all the unnecessary garbage details that doesn’t really matter to you. We also made sure that the eBook only has important information that applies to you. This is why the eBook is so small yet at the same time, so powerful with a wealth of information.

    I would recommend this-
    Everything you need to know about budgeting and the budgeting process is right here in this eBook. We left out all the unnecessary garbage.
    There should be a space between the Budgeting Made Easy link and the word to, in the sentence below, near the bottom of the page-
    Click Budgeting Made Easyto view free snippets…

    You DO NOT mention anywhere your qualifications on the web page. Are you a CPA? Do you have a MBA? What kind of insurance and securities licenses do you have? You could be a twenty year old living with your parents. I hate to say this, but, from what I have read it seems like you just copied text from other websites to create this ebook.

    I am sorry to say this to you, but, an ebook on financial matters that is only 50 pages is not worth $20. Look at the real books that Sue Orman writes and look at her qualifications. She is extremely knowledgeable and has many years of experience working in the financial industry. She is your main competition. I don’t think that she would sell a 50 page ebook or regular book for $20.

    Sorry, I am not trying to slam you or your ebook. In my own opinion, unless you are well qualified to write an ebook like this you probably should not try selling this type of an ebook. If you do you may open yourself up to lawsuits for giving financial advice. You should not be giving financial advice without being qualified and carrying errors and omission insurance.

  193. I’m following some of the comments for this article, and they are very thought-provoking. Without question, it is very important to have excellent presentation (e.g. the website promoting/selling the ebook) and substance (the topic of the ebook).

    Professional book-writers spend an inordinate amount of time reading and correcting in addition to getting others to proof-read (it is so easy to be blind to the mistake the second time around). Without proper and excellent prose, it makes it a hard sell. On the notion of authority for matters that require expertise, it is difficult to take any writing seriously without good credentials and reputation. I suppose one test is to see if the material would be read, let alone be purchased.

    I recently read an analysis which I will sum up as follows. Of the millions of published books available for sale on Amazon which sells 150,000 books per day.
    - The top-selling book (rank 1) sells 3000 copies per day.
    - Rank 1000 sells 13 copies per day.

    I would conclude that selling books (hardcopy or digital) is a tough business.

  194. @David – Yes, but take rank 13 for example. Say he sells “only” 13 copies a day at 4.99. That’s $64.87 and just under $2000 per month that could go on selling for who knows how long.

    Not bad if you ask me…

    • @Brian. I agree making just under $2000/month for an eBook at $4.99 each is not bad at all. I guess the point of the analysis that I cited is that one needs to make it to rank 1000 on Amazon to yield the 13 sales per day. And that is the challenge that I observed and concluded. The analysis was done by estimation (I don’t recall the methodology). I wonder how many books are sold for the rank 10,000 position. Amazon does not make such information public except it does show the ranking of books for top-100, updated hourly.

  195. You can also use a service like instabuck ( http://instabuck.com/ ) in order to start selling your ebook online.
    The difference from ejunkie is that with instabuck you can also have your landing page there and the price is the same.

    Just my 0.02 :)

  196. Hi Brian. Chalk it up as a rare instance where having a date stamp would have otherwise provided immediate context. As it was, when I read “ebooks are a pretty weak substitute for a real book…” I blinked for a moment. But then realized: “Ah! This is from the pre-iPad era!”

    Amazing how so much has changed so fast in the publishing industry. It’s definitely something that my clients and I talk about often. I look forward to your follow-up post on this.

  197. Ok I love this article it is straight to the point and it really break down a bunch of myths when it comes to selling ebooks. oh and e-junkie is a great service I just started using it and love how user friendly it is. Keep up the good work were listening :)

  198. Lawrence, thank you for the feedback about e-junkie.