Have you written an ebook yet?
Some of the most-respected content marketers have embraced ebooks for marketing their businesses and as a source of income.
Their goals vary, and so do the formats they prefer. Some use PDF-style ebooks they create and sell from their own websites, and some publish EPUB-style ebooks they upload and offer on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the iBookstore.
Let’s briefly review the two prominent ebook styles, and how either (or both) might serve your business goals …
Then, read on for inspiration and ideas directly from a few accomplished ebook authors.
The basic differences between PDF and EPUB ebooks
PDF ebooks are easily created on any computer you own. Once created, you can share them on your website, in emails, and in social media. PDFs are readable on computers, tablet devices, and even smart phones.
They’re a great solution if your ebook is graphics-heavy. They’re also the ideal format to use if you’ve never written an ebook before, because they’re easy to put together and share.
EPUB-style ebooks can be created on any computer you own — but they require a few more steps. These type of ebook include MOBI files for Kindle (a proprietary file-type for Kindle), and EPUB files for iPad and Nook (a more universal file-type for basically any reading device except Kindle).
They’re readable on computers, tablet devices, and smart phones, but they differ from PDF ebooks in the way they’re read.
EPUB-style ebooks feature flowing text that can be enlarged or changed by the reader. They’re created with a fluid and flexible format, then uploaded to a third-party website where you can share or sell them. These sites include Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apple’s iBookstore.
Ebooks see you through every business cycle
Ebooks can be constant marketing companions that boost your business through every cycle of its growth. They can also be powerful sources of income (as you’ll see below).
Ideally, you’ll embrace them early on, so you can reap the benefits of having a library of ebooks that help spread your message at every stage of your growing business.
Let’s take a look at the places in your company’s lifecycle where ebooks can help your business grow.
In the beginning …
PDF-style ebooks are relatively easy to put together, which makes them a great way to dip your toe in the ebook waters. Once the book is done, it’s done — the saved PDF is the final product.
How can this help you in the beginning stages of marketing your business?
- Use it as a free manifesto to spread your ideas.
- Offer it as an opt-in to help you grow your email list.
- Create a high-quality “Minimum Viable Product” that allows you to test ideas for future (more elaborate) products.
When you need to kickstart growth …
Once you’ve mastered the basic PDF-style ebook, you can start switching things up as far as the format you publish.
This can further spread your ideas, as well potentially becoming a nice line of business in and of itself.
- Add worksheets, video training, or audio interviews to your PDF ebook and host it in a simple membership site for a multimedia product that’s quick to put together.
- Get your ideas in front of a broader audience by converting your ebook to an EPUB-style format, and making it available on Kindle, Nook, and iPad.
- Want exposure? Consider making your EPUB ebook free or low-cost.
- Want income? Higher-priced ebooks and multimedia programs can become significant sources of profit.
- For long-term lead generation, plan a series of EPUB-style books you sell directly on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or the iBookstore.
Ready to kick it up a notch? Learn from the masters.
I contacted some “ebook masters” recently to ask them to share tips with Copyblogger readers.
Each author approaches ebooks deliberately, with a long view toward using them to support their overarching business goals.
Sean D’Souza of Psychotactics says he “had no choice” but to start producing ebooks.
We used ebooks because the traditional publishing route was too long and cumbersome.
Ebooks also work because they’re quick to produce. I can think of an idea and three weeks later the book can be on a sales page and being sold. And unlike a physical book, it is portable. Our clients like the PDF (and now ePub) on their devices and computers.
For author Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn, they represent a major source of direct income.
Ebooks account for 50% of my full-time income as an author, speaker, and online entrepreneur. Most of these sales are fiction ebooks on the Kindle and Kobo, but I also sell non-fiction books.
Ebooks are a fantastic part of my business because they are easy and quick to publish.
For Johnny B. Truant, his How to be Legendary PDF ebook serves a different purpose.
I basically wanted a way to have a “cornerstone” piece that was more permanent and substantial than a simple blog post. I wanted something that could easily be passed around via email attachments rather than people sending links.
I wanted to do some good. Important manifestos have a way of helping people out, and I’ve heard that a lot about mine.
The Digital Photography School blog is a ‘how to’ type blog that gives free tips on how to use cameras — but many of the topics our readers want to learn about are a lot bigger than we could fully cover in a single post.
For example, a topic like ‘Portrait Photography’ is fairly large — a single post might cover one aspect of it, but to cover the topic comprehensively, an eBook of 20,000+ words is going to serve readers a lot better.
What’s your story?
Are you just starting out with the production of ebooks to grow your business?
Are you an ebook “master?”
Let’s talk about how you’re using ebooks, hit the comments below, and we’ll share ideas and tips …