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:
- Killer benefit #1: Boost your email list.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- Choose a topic you know well. Having to do research will considerably slow you down.
- 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.
- 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.
- Write the book’s sales page before you start writing. It helps you remember exactly what benefits you want to deliver to your readers.
- 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.
- 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
ifwhen 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.
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.