How to Leverage the Power of the Kindle Ecosystem to Build Your Business

Image of Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite

As if you’re not doing enough.

You have a website. You update your blog once a week. You’re growing your email list. And you try to maintain some presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Why the heck would you worry about Amazon and Kindle?

I used to hold the same opinion.

I liked the idea of writing a book. Who doesn’t want to be a published author?

But having to format, launch, and promote a Kindle book didn’t sound appealing at all. And apart from the snob factor of being an author, I couldn’t see how producing a book could be a valuable use of my time.

Could it seriously generate business leads?

How wrong I was.

Why publish a Kindle book?

We tend to think that Google doesn’t really have competitors. Yahoo? DuckDuckGo? Bing? Seriously?

In my opinion, Amazon is a more serious competitor to Google than those three search engines combined.

Did you know that more shoppers start a product search on Amazon than on any traditional search engine? And when you look for in-depth information on a specific topic, do you search for blog posts on Google, or do you try to find a highly recommended book on Amazon?

In a web full of clutter and spam, a well-written book attracts attention, raises your profile, and shows off your expertise. 4-star and 5-star reviews are an awesome form of social proof.

But the problem with raising your profile and boosting your authority on Amazon is that it’s so hard to measure. Yes, those reviews seem nice, but how can you gauge their impact? How do you know you’ve spent your time wisely writing a book if you can’t measure the results?

Well, hang on. I’ve not told you the two killer benefits of writing a Kindle book:

  1. Killer benefit #1: Boost your email list.
  2. Killer benefit #2: Generate business inquiries.

How to use a Kindle book as part of your selling process

Book readers can be highly qualified leads.

They’ve not just read one or two blog posts, they’ve read a book. This means they’ve consumed the very best and most useful content you have to offer. They have spent a couple of hours, rather than a few minutes, learning from you.

And a great book can introduce an entirely new audience to your home base on the open web.

Here’s how you can take advantage of the valuable connection you’ve built with your book readers:

  • Create a free bonus related to your book. This can be an audio file, a report, an extra chapter, or worksheets to accompany the advice in your book.
  • Promote the free bonus at the start of your book and at the end of your book. If it doesn’t interrupt the flow of your book, you can promote your bonus at the end of a couple of chapters, too. But don’t overdo it. You don’t want to come across as a sleazy salesman who only wants to seduce readers to opt-in to a spammy list.
  • Create a landing page for your free bonus. Get readers to opt-in to your email list before downloading the bonus material. Be up front and let them know you’ll email them weekly or monthly tips (whichever your frequency is).

Email is one of the most important pillars of a content marketing strategy. Once you have people on your list you can start building an amazing relationship, and occasionally send them a sales message.

Want proof?

The weeks before my book launch, my business had turned a little quiet. I had started muttering that people were only looking for cheap copywriters. I had started complaining that I didn’t generate enough inquiries. I dreaded the idea of having to cold-call. No. Never!

Since my book launch, my turnover has tripled. I’m turning down inquiries daily because I’m fully booked.

Want to do the same?

How to write your first Kindle ebook

A Kindle book doesn’t have to be mega-long. 10,000 words is a good length; some books are even shorter.

Writing a book is like creating a series of blog posts around one theme. Each blog post becomes a chapter that builds on the previous chapter.

I can’t tell you that writing your first book is easy, but with some help just about any good content creator can do it. Here are my 7 most useful tips:

  1. Write for one reader. When you know your ideal reader, you know how much she already knows. You can avoid boring her with obvious information; you can use a dash of the humor she appreciates; and you can provide exactly the information she’s looking for.
  2. Choose a topic you know well. Having to do research will considerably slow you down.
  3. Outline your book. I used old-fashioned index cards on which I wrote down the What, Why, and How for each chapter. It helped me stay on track.
  4. Use a straightforward headline for the title, like 7 Days to Reaching a [Specific Goal]. My book describes a simple 6-step process for writing web copy.
  5. Write the book’s sales page before you start writing. It helps you remember exactly what benefits you want to deliver to your readers.
  6. Find a few friendly readers who match your ideal reader profile and give them your first draft. Not only will they help make your book better, it will also boost your confidence.
  7. Find a writing buddy or a coach. Writing a book can feel scary, terrifying even. Talking to someone who understands will help you overcome fear.

How to plan a successful book launch

Writing a book is great, but if you don’t actively promote your book, it will languish in the dark corners of Amazon. Forgotten and ignored.

A few tips to make your book a raving success:

  • When you award the exclusive distribution rights for your Kindle book to Amazon, you can sign up to the Kindle Direct Publishing program. (You can leave the program later if you like.) This allows you to give your book away for free for five days. You still need to promote your launch, but giving your book away for free can help get it in front of more readers.
  • Stay up to date with what works and what doesn’t. Amazon’s algorithm changes, and some say it’s better to discount your book rather than launch it for free. Cathy Presland’s comprehensive Kindle publishing course updates you with the latest tips.
  • Upload your book a few days before your official launch to ensure everything works.
  • Focus your promotion on what you’re good at. I built up relationships with several bloggers through guest blogging. They helped to promote my book by publishing guest posts on launch day.
  • Get reviews. You should not buy reviews (of course!). I offered my email subscribers a preview copy in PDF and asked kindly whether they’d be happy to provide an honest review.
  • Create a plan. Launching a book requires a big effort and things can get confusing. A simple spreadsheet helps to avoid a rush of last-minute tasks on the day before you launch. Make sure you differentiate between must-do’s and nice-to-do’s, so you know what you can drop if when you run out of time.

The truth about writing a Kindle book

I’d love to tell you it’s easy to write a Kindle book.

I’d love to tell you that launching a book is a breeze.

But the truth is that it’s hard work. Damn hard work.

To write, and publish, and promote an authoritative book, you have to work your socks off. Don’t just sit behind your desk and expect the words to flow. Don’t expect the book to sell itself. Instead, work your butt off.

Give it your all.

When everything works as you planned, you’ll reap the benefits. You might even make some decent money. But your real reward will come from the people who read your book.

Write something so good that nobody can ignore it, and it can grow your business. You’ll get more avid blog readers, more email subscribers, and more business inquiries.

And, as a published author and authority in your field, you can begin to charge higher fees for the work you love doing.

About the Author: Henneke Duistermaat is an irreverent copywriter and marketer. She's on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make boring business blogs sparkle. Get her free 16-Part Snackable Writing Course for Busy People and learn how to enchant your readers and win more business.

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Comments

  1. hi Henneke

    Kindle book launch model reminds me of the WarriorForum, the most popular discussion board in the marketing industry. There are “product creators” there that have launched a ton of great stuff (based on the feedback received) which increases their “authority” and brand name.

    From your explanation, I see there’s no difference between creating lead generator PDF reports and Kindle books. The same principles apply for getting prospects leave you their email, and following-up with them for mutual growth and benefit.

    If anyone is interested to generate leads and make money online, then tap into this large pool of ready-to-fry fish, called Amazon :)

  2. Thanks for the awesome post Henneke! I love your closing “Write something so good that nobody can ignore it”.

    Saving this post for later reference :)

  3. Writing an book, digital or print, continues to be a great way to show authority and credibility for business owners. However, I would caution against writing a very short document and calling it a book.

    People still have expectations about what a book is vs. what constitutes a report or white paper, especially in nonfiction. Yes, attention spans are shorter so the 300+ page tome with a huge thud factor aren’t too popular anymore. But in print, the average nonfiction book page is about 300 words give or take. At 10K or less, that’s around 30 pages or less. That is at the lowest end of an amount that could be bound if you wanted to and solid reports are often that long.

    If you’re taking the time and effort to write a book, remember, not everyone wants an ebook. Why not create one you can also print, even if you hand them out for free instead of a brochure?

    Granted, there are people who say they’ll buy a five page “book” if the info is exactly what they want. But in my opinion, that is not the majority yet. As with any other marketing strategy, it comes down to knowing your audience. Will they complain that 20 or 30 pages is not a book, will they feel ripped off?

    Writing a book can be hard work, but it may not be for you. For some the process is quite enjoyable overall. If you’re considering it, I agree with Henneke, go for it!

    • And printing a book has become even easier with print-on-demand services available now!

      A book should be as long as required to tell what you have to say. I find that some traditionally published books are artificially padded with unnecessary or repetitive information to meet a word count. That’s a waste of readers’ time.

  4. Thank you again for all of the information and tips! I love your blog, and how you share things without “fluffing up” material. :) I’d love to turn my posts into a book, but I needed the organization tips. Now I feel a little less nervous to just go for it.

  5. Great post Henneke! I think it’s important to create excitement around your book before you launch it. Waiting until the last minute to market your book could backfire, and you may not see the results you expected. Don’t forget to issue a press release. It’s still a good way to promote your book in addition to your email list and social media networks.

  6. Another point worth noting is that if you’ve published an existing book (in print) and you want to update/reformat/publish it on Kindle, normally you’d have to either rip it all up and scan it page by page or try scanning the whole thing, which usually causes words at the ends of the edges to get cut off.

    If this happens to you, I’d recommend going to bookscanning.com and using their book-to-kindle conversion service. Saves heaps of time and frustration.

  7. Great post! I’m currently working on my first Kindle book as we speak. Really excited to get it out there and start helping people out :)

  8. I’ve published 7 Kindle books and I work with a lot of new and aspiring authors, but for the most part we’re coming at this publishing from a different perspective. Rather than using the book as a tool to promote another business – our books are our business. That said, I’m also a voracious reader and to the subject of the length of a book. I’ve read books 20 pages that were absolute gems and I’ve read books 300 pages that were boring as dirt. For me – as a reader – it’s all about the content. If I feel the book has value, the length is not an issue.

  9. Just what I needed. Thank you!

    Off to write my book!

    Cheers,
    Olle

  10. I’ve published 12 books on Kindle and yes, it’s not easy, but it’s not the most difficult thing either. After the first few things go simply.

    I figured out earlier this year that an eBook would be a great way to draw in more content writing work. I began making blog posts around the idea of writing content pages and when I felt I had enough I put them together, added quite a few new things, got a cover, and Voila! eBook’s out there and people seek me out for content work.

    There are plenty of books selling on Amazon that’ll tell you straight out how to write a non-fiction book in 14 days, and just as many sites that where people will write one for you. I agree that they’re another great tool in a business’ marketing arsenal.

  11. I love the idea of creating bonus content for your website that’s only available to readers. I think it would work well for us fiction authors, too. I have all kinds of ideas floating in my head now: trading cards, illustrations of characters, comics, a character list…

    Thanks for the awesome post! :)

    • Henneke | Enchanting Marketing :

      Yep, I am sure it would work for fiction, too. And having your avid fans on your email list will certainly help you when you launch your next book. You could even think about giving your first chapter of your next book away to readers on your email list to warm them up and get them to buy it!

  12. Great post! I’ve been thinking about writing an ebook lately and your post confirms that I should. I’m going to start on it ASAP.

  13. Kindle ebooks are certainly an excellent promotional tool, and a nice way to earn a bit of passive income.

    Don’t forget to hire a professional editor. Beta-readers can help you so far, but a professional will give you that extra quality assurance.

    If your ebook is about the writing industry, think how terrible it would be to publish a book with less than perfect spelling, format, grammar and clarity. No matter how good a (copy)writer you are, no one can proofread their own work!

    P.S. Slightly shameless self promotion: I offer a professional editing service, so if you’ve written an ebook, feel free to check out my website or get in touch for a no obligation quote. (www.playle-editorial-services.com)

    • I fully agree. I didn’t want to suggest that beta readers replace an editor. I highly recommend using an editor.

  14. I once tried to do kindle ebook business but i failed…never tried again.

    hoping to get in touch again and try me luck this time with these content marketing ideas.
    Thanks a tons

  15. Good stuff. I have a Kindle book written for a topic that strays from my area of expertise, but still something that I know a great deal about. It is currently in the edit stage, and really, has been neglected over the past few weeks. Time to get crackin’ on it.

    I like what you said about your outline. I never thought about using those old fashioned cards before. I tend to outline with my old fashioned spiral notebook. I then keep it in front of me, like on my cork board in front of my desk.

    This keeps it on my mind so that it gets done. I actually do all of my writing like this–blog posts and everything.

    Have a great day!

    Josh

  16. Hi Henneke! How nice is to “read” you here ;)

    Your advice looks so simple and easy! I read this post on Saturday afternoon, but I couldn’t write until now. Let me tell you what I remember “making an e-book is like writing several post together”. Again it looks so simple!

    This is a terrific advice, I guess many of us didn’t think about amazon to promote. Hopefully we’ll write an excellent book like yours (yes I read it :)

    • Thank you, Julieta :)

      Keeping things simple is important to get a book written. It’s too easy to over-complicate things and never finish!

  17. Henneke, My first ebook on kindle was an audio interview I had transcribed. Turned out pretty good, but I would like to start from scratch on a new one without any help from a transcriptionist.

    Thanks for sharing

    Latesha :)

  18. Hi Jarrod, My friend here in Indiana has written several books for kindle. He’s not real good about laying out the necessary steps, but since I have read this I think I can hack it. Thanks for the guidance!

    Liana :))))

  19. Never thought of using kindle as a publishing platform. Do you think the conversion rates for opt in forms would be as high as a standard PDF eBook? Maybe offer both options.

    • It’s hard to say, it depends on the book and the audience.

      It’s also difficult to measure the conversion from book readers to email subscribers as my book was only launched three months ago. In the first month the number of conversions was relatively low – about one in seven. I assume many like a freebie, but never get around to reading the book, so never get prompted to download the bonus worksheets. In the second and third month, however, I estimate that one in two book buyers has subscribed to my email list.

      I considering offering both options (Kindle & PDF), but the free giveaway through Amazon was too tempting – so I gave them the distribution exclusively (at least for the first 90 days).

  20. Hello Henneke, Thanks for this post outlinging Kindle. We live in NZ and there are many people here that have a few book up on the net selling pretty well. It’s all pretty strange to me and sometimes hard to understand. Your article made it easy and cleared some things up for me. Thanks again and take care.

    Young

  21. Hi Henneke, Good content here for kindle. It can be a confusing process for many people. Nice to be able to put your advice into motion. I will be telling my friends about this site for sure!

  22. Thanks Henneke, The information on how-when-what-where to publish kindle it’s overwhelming. This article was easy to understand and provided a solid foundation on everything to get started. Thank you for putting this together for me!

    Denisse :)))))))))))

    • I was completely overwhelmed by Kindle, too. And it took me quite some time to get my head around how I could really use it for business.

      I highly recommend Cathy Presland’s course (linked in the article above) if you’re looking for more in-depth information and support.

      Good luck with your book! :)

  23. Hi Henneke,
    Ran across your wonderful post shared in the BizSugar community. Ebook marketing may not be new, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such a comprehensive approach. My question: how widespread is Kindle marketing at this point? Are there a lot of people already on the scene, or is it still a relatively new frontier in terms of adoption for marketing purposes?

    • Thank you, Heather. :)

      I ‘d say using a Kindle book for marketing purposes is still a relatively new frontier. It may get more difficult to achieve good Amazon rankings in the future when more people start trying this approach.

      The idea of launching a book to promote a consultancy business or speaking career has existed for a long time of course, but the Kindle makes this achievable for a lot of small business owners / solo entrepreneurs. Even printing your own book has become a lot easier, but I’ve not tried that yet.