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.