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10 Tips on How to Edit a Manuscript

If you’ve got a knack for putting words and phrases together coherently, writing is pretty easy. Sure, it might be tough to get yourself into your writing chair to start doing the work, but most good writers are able to enter a “flow” once they begin to type or scrawl their ideas. The thing that’s most difficult about writing is revisiting it with an editor’s eye once the last word has been written.

If you’re a writer, but you’re stuck when it comes to the editing process, we have some great tips. Learning how to edit a manuscript properly might take some time, but it will improve your process and make your work more engaging. These tips don’t cover every detail about editing, but they’ll certainly help you feel more confident about your ability to deliver a polished product.

#1 – Rewrite and Rewrite Some More

Writing is really the process of rewriting. Before you don your editor’s hat, you should go over your manuscript several times in the interest of making each sentence, each phrase and each word better. You may even need to rearrange or delete whole sections. Simply put, you’re not ready to edit until you’re completely satisfied with what you’ve written.

Take a Break#2 – Take a Break

That’s right – I gave you permission to step away from your desk, watch some TV, go for a walk or catch up on some reading. One of the biggest mistakes writers make is to begin the editing process immediately after finishing a project. Taking a break gives you the chance to readjust your brain and your perspective so you can edit effectively.

#3 – Find a Distraction-Free Zone

This should go without saying, but many writers fail to heed this advice. Editing takes just as much concentration as writing, if not more. Therefore, you should perform your editing in a place where you can devote all of your attention to the job at hand.

#4 – Make Your Manuscript Available for Critique

This is tough for many writers, but it’s an essential part of the editing process. Few things are more valuable than another pair of eyes, which is why you should find other writers who will give you honest feedback about your work. If you don’t know anybody, check to see if there are writers’ groups in your area.

#5 – Look at Your Manuscript in Different Formats

If you’ve typed your manuscript using a word processor on your PC, print it out to perform the editing. If you wrote your manuscript on your laptop, take a look at it on your tablet. Changing the format will alert your brain that you’re examining something different. This will allow you to catch mistakes that you might miss otherwise.

Verify the Definitions of Tricky Words#6 – Verify the Definitions of Tricky Words

If you’re a writer, there’s little doubt that your mastery of language and vocabulary is sound. However, even the most intelligent writers make the mistake of misusing certain words. If you aren’t 100% certain about the meaning of a word in your work, look it up and replace the offending word if necessary.

#7 – Eliminate Redundancies

We all have pet words and phrases that show up frequently in our work. These bits of language can help you establish a singular identity as a writer, but they can also make readers wonder if you’re stuck on certain ways to phrase things. Use a critical eye and eliminate words and phrases that appear too often in your work (this is a great job for your critique group, as well).

#8 – That Thesaurus is There for a Reason

Even though overuse of your thesaurus can lead to disaster, there are few things worse (and more tiresome for your readers) than having the same word show up multiple times in the same paragraph. If you’re writing about mountain climbing, for example, it’s good to know that you can replace the word “climb” with “ascend,” “scale,” “mount,” “clamber up” or “gain.”

#9 – Reduce and Remove

Less is more, but writers will be writers. If you’re wondering how to edit a manuscript to ensure that your work achieves maximum clarity, you’re probably going to need to eliminate some passages – even if you’ve fallen in love with them. If any phrase, sentence or passage doesn’t fit, or if it could be made more concise, you should always err on the side of brevity. At first, this process might be difficult, but after a while, you’ll find that it’s liberating.Know When You’re Done Editing

#10 – Know When You’re Done Editing

Once you begin the editing process, it’s easy to keep searching for possible changes in your manuscript. However, you have to know when to stop editing if you want to have your work see the light of day. If you feel like making changes for the sake of making changes, it’s time to take a breath and congratulate yourself on completing the most difficult (and most important) part of the writing process – editing.

 

Do you have any additional tips on how to edit a manuscript? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Is Now The Right Time to Hire Content Writers?

The Internet is like an engine that is fueled by content.an engine that is fueled by content Without new content, people would lose interest in their favorite blogs and news sites, web marketers would be largely out of work and whole industries would collapse. Fortunately, new content will always be created, even though keeping up with the content demands of the Internet can seem impossible, at times. That’s why it’s important for businesses and individuals who depend on the web to hire content writers.

Generally speaking, you’ll find that there are two groups of people who need to hire content writers.

  1. Professionals and business owners who want to promote themselves online, but might not be skilled at producing high-quality written content
  2. Internet marketers and SEO professionals who need more written content than they could possibly produce themselves

 

Why Should Professionals Hire Content Writers?

 

Let’s say you’re a dentist with a modest practice in a mid sized city. Perhaps you’ve been practicing dentistry for about a decade, and you have a solid roster of patients who trust you and the services you provide. However, you feel like you’re losing ground to other dentists who use the Internet as a tool to attract new business.Why Should Professionals Hire Content Writers?

You might be able to carve out some time to post to a blog on occasion, and you might be able to promote your practice somewhat effectively through social media. Unfortunately, there are some problems with this scenario:

  • You’re an excellent dentist, but you’re not a skilled writer
  • When somebody mentions Search Engine Optimization, or “SEO,” it sounds like Klingon to you
  • You simply don’t have the time to update your website or blog with new content on a regular basis

If you’re a professional who can relate to this scenario, it’s probably a good time to hire content writers. Depending upon the quality of the writing you require and the amount of content that you need, you could farm out your content-creation for less than $200 per month. Obviously, you’ll need to budget for more money if you require dozens of blog posts each month that are written at the highest standards of quality, but the investment for good, solid content that can keep a blog or website current is quite minimal, especially when compared with other costs of doing business.

Most importantly, professional content writers are able to deliver content that is search-engine optimized. This means that the content targets specially-chosen key words and phrases with the goal of making your blog or website one of the top search-engine results. SEO is what will make you stand out when people search for a new dentist in your city, or if they are looking for a professional who can perform a certain procedure. If you’re a professional who takes his or her work seriously, you probably don’t have a lot of time to learn about SEO as you polish your writing skills. Instead, it’s much easier and cost-effective to hire writers to do the job.

 

Why Should Marketers Hire Content Writers?

 

Why Should Marketers Hire Content Writers?When it comes to Internet marketing, Google is God. The company is more than just a search engine; it defines what is popular on the web, and it serves as a sort of clearinghouse for every piece of information that can be found online. If you’re an Internet marketer and you want to experience success, you need to know how to please Google with your content, and you also have to produce enough of it for the search giant to take notice.

Content marketing is a great way to earn income from the Internet, but Google has made it next to impossible for some marketers to use their bags of SEO tricks. Sure, there are some best practices that have been shown to improve search results, but quality content has become the most important factor when it comes to being an authority in the eyes of Google.

By hiring content writers, marketers can ensure that they have access to high-quality, well-written content at all times. Even those marketers who are especially skilled at writing will find value in hiring content writers because they can increase their output significantly, and for a very small investment.

 

How to Find Content Writers to Hire

 

Now that you’ve decided that it’s time to hire content writers, you have some options when it comes to securing their services. You can always post a classified ad in the newspaper or roll the dice with Craigslist. Others have suggested hitting up college campuses for talented writers who will work on the cheap.

How to Find Content Writers to HireYour best bet is to hire content writers through an agency. Here’s why:

  • Agency writers are held to solid editorial standards
  • Hiring writers through an agency allows you to use many different “voices”
  • Agencies provide incredibly quick turnaround times
  • Agency support personnel can connect you with the perfect writers for special projects (eBooks, press releases, product reviews, etc.)
  • The costs associated with using a content agency are dwarfed by the associated benefits

 

How Will You Satisfy Your Content-Creation Needs?

 

Now that you’ve decided to employ other writers to help you with your content-creation needs, it’s up to you to determine how you move forward. Hiring content writers can save you time and money, plus they can ensure that your content is optimized for to be favored by Google’s super-secret search algorithm.

Whether you decide to find a local individual to help you, or you choose to use the services of an agency, there’s no doubt that posting high-quality content more regularly on the Internet will help you reach your goals.

 

Have you had experiences hiring content writers? What have you learned from the process? Let us know what you think by joining the conversation below.

How to Publish on NOOK Press: A 5 Step Guide for Indie Authors

In early April, Barnes & Noble announced the launch of NOOK Press, a self-publishing platform created to replace PubIt! How to Publish with NOOK PressThis new channel promises enhanced functionality with content and collaboration tools designed to improve the eBook creation and publishing process.

If you’re a new Indie author who wants to distribute eBooks through B&N, this easy-to-follow post will show you how to self-publish on NOOK Press in five simple steps.

Before you get started, it’s important to note:

  • NOOK Press is not available to publishers based outside of the U.S. You’ll need a U.S. Tax ID and bank account connected to a U.S. address if you plan to sell through B&N.
  • There is no exclusivity clause, which means you can publish your titles elsewhere.

Step 1: Create a NOOK Press Account

Before you can start your self-publishing journey with Barnes & Noble, you’ll need to sign up for a NOOK Press account.

Navigate your way to the NOOK Press home page, click the “Get Started Now” button, and then fill in the relevant fields. If you’re a B&N member already, you can sign in using the email address and password of your existing account. Make sure you read and agree to their Terms and Conditions for self-publishers before you click the “Create an Account” button.

Step 2: Upload Your ManuscriptNOOK Press Manuscript

Once you’re logged in, you’ll notice you have two options under the “Projects” tab: upload a file or start writing. Click the “Upload Manuscript File” link, choose the correct document on your computer, and then click “Create Project.” Depending on the size of your file, it may take a while to upload.

Step 3: Fill in Your eBook’s Details

After completing step 2, you’ll gain access to a panel of tabs on the left-hand side of your screen. You can use these tabs to perform a variety of tasks including editing your manuscript, uploading a cover image, and adding your eBook’s details.

Here’s an overview:

Manuscript Tab: In this tab, you can preview your eBook, invite collaborators to work with you on your project, replace your manuscript with another version, and access the Manuscript Editor. The editing tool is a fantastic option for authors and publishers who want to use NOOK Press’s features to format an eBook correctly. Besides basic formatting functions, the tool allows you to create a clickable table of contents, include comments for collaborators, add front matter to your eBook, and arrange or change your chapters.

Cover Image Tab: Here, you have the opportunity to add a striking cover image that entices buyers. While this image will display on the product page of your eBook, you’ll also have the option to include it in the front of your manuscript. Once you upload the file, you can crop it for a better fit, if necessary.

NOOK Book Details Tab: This tab has several subcategories, including:

  • Title & Description – Add your eBook’s title, publisher, contributor, description, and author information. You can also add an ISBN if you have one.
  • Categories – In this section, you’ll select your book’s primary and secondary categories, add relevant keywords to help potential readers find your book, include details about the audience your content suits, and choose the book’s language.
  • Rights & Pricing – Here, you’ll state whether you hold worldwide sales rights or can only sell in the U.S. You’ll also include pricing information and opt into DRM if you so choose. When you add the price of your eBook, the system will automatically calculate your estimated royalty payout for the book.
  • Other Information – Under this tab, you can state whether your book is public domain, part of a series, or available in print.
  • Editorial Reviews – Many buyers base their purchasing decisions on the information they find in reviews, so you’ll want to add them here if you have any.

As you work through each of these subcategories, you’ll need to click the “Save” or “Save & Next” button at the top of the page. A green circle with a white check will display next to each tab as you complete the relevant forms.

Step 4: Set Up a Vendor Account

Nook Press Vendor Account Approval

NOOK Press won’t publish your eBook until you create an approved vendor account. At the top of your page, you’ll see a notice to this effect along with a link. You can click the relevant link, or you can click the down arrow next to your name and select “Vendor Account” from the menu.

Again, you’ll need to use the relevant tabs on the left-hand side of your page to fill in your contact, publisher, payment, and tax information. NOOK Press will then send you a welcome message via email. Once B&N approves your account, your Vendor Account page will show as being active and you’ll receive a confirmation email to the same effect. This may take a day or two, so you’ll need to be patient as you wait.

Step 5: Publish Your Book

If you’re not logged in to your NOOK Press account, log in and navigate your way to the “Projects” tab where you can see a list of your projects. Under the “Publish Actions” column, click the “Publish” link next to your eBook. There will then be a 24–72 hour waiting period before your book is available via B&N’s online store.

Congratulations! You’re now a NOOK Press self-published author!

Use your NOOK Press account to manage your projects, update your profile, and view your sales numbers. If you’d prefer to send your book to multiple distributors, then consider self-publishing your eBook through Smashwords. You’ll only need to sign up once, and they’ll automatically send your book to B&N if it qualifies for the Smashwords Premium Catalog.

Do you have questions about the NOOK Press self-publishing platform? Drop us a line below. If you find this post helpful, consider sharing it with Indie authors like yourself.

How to Publish On Amazon Kindle

Last week, we provided a step-by-step guide to self-publishing on Smashwords. This week, we look at industry giant Amazon and the company’s wildly popular Kindle Direct Publishing platform.

Whether you’re a newbie author with an eBook that’s ready for public consumption, or a publisher who simply hasn’t used KDP before, this guide will show you how to publish on Amazon Kindle the right way.

Step 1: Prepare your eBook for Publishing

As with most publishing and distribution platforms, you’ll need to ensure your book meets Kindle’s publishing criteria. Thankfully, Amazon makes it easy on self-publishers by providing a variety of tools and resources to build, preview, and convert an eBook document prior to its upload.

Right now, Amazon accepts eBooks in Word, ePub, PDF, Plain Text, HTML, and Rich Text format. You can use the company’s Simplified Formatting Guide to ensure the presentation of your book is top-notch. Following their guidelines right from the start will save you plenty of hassle in the future.

Step 2: Create a Kindle Direct Publishing Account

Amazon Kindle Sign Up

When your eBook is ready for publishing, navigate your way over to the Kindle Direct Publishing home page and sign up for a new account. If you’re an Amazon.com member already, you can sign in with your current username and password.

It is crucial to read and agree to the KDP Terms and Conditions before you choose Amazon.com as your distribution channel. While wading your way through the legalese may seem like a daunting task, you shouldn’t let it scare you off self-publishing through their platform.

Step 3: Update Your Account Information

Before you can publish a book, Amazon requires you to complete your account information. In the top right-hand corner of your dashboard, you’ll see a warning sign to that effect, along with an “Update Now” link. Click on the link to access the correct form and then fill in your publisher, tax, and payment details. It’s important to note that EFT payments are only available to authors in certain countries, so you’ll need to check whether it’s an option for you. If it’s not, Amazon will simply send a royalty check to the address you provide.

For future reference, you can find your publisher code under the FAQs box on the right-hand side of the page. Make certain your details are accurate and then click the “Save” button. When you’re ready to add your new title, hit the “Bookshelf” tab at the top of the page.

Step 4: Decide if You’ll Opt for KDP Select

Amazon KDP SelectThe most important decision you’ll make after you choose Amazon.com as your distributor is whether you’re going to enroll your title in the company’s KDP Select program. If you’ve heard about this option, you probably know there are those who vehemently defend it and those who believe its exclusivity clause is harming authors. These opposing opinions can cause plenty of confusion for writers and publishers who have yet to use the system.

Here are the basics:

  • The program is active for 90 days at a time. If you fail to opt out before the 3-month period ends, Amazon will renew your title’s enrollment automatically.
  • During this time, you give Amazon exclusive rights to sell and distribute your digital book. This means you cannot publish or distribute through another channel.
  • You receive five days for free promotions. This can be a highly effective tactic when used strategically.
  • Amazon will automatically include your title in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library Program. This means you can potentially earn revenue from the KDP Select Fund when users borrow your book.

Does KDP Select work as a strategy? Absolutely. Will it work for you? There is no definitive answer and you shouldn’t trust anyone who says there is. Unfortunately, you’ll have to weigh up the pros and cons, assess your eBook marketing plan, and then decide whether it’s worth the risk. Whatever you do, make certain you read the relevant section in the Terms and Conditions so that there are no nasty surprises along the way.

Step 5: Upload your eBook File

As you’ll see in this easy-to-follow instructional video, adding your title to KDP is pretty simple.

Things to pay attention to when uploading your book:

  • Do not enroll your book in the KDP Select program unless you’re absolutely certain it’s the route you want to take. Once you click the “Save and Publish” button, you’ll be subject to the Terms and Conditions of the program for a 90-day period. If you’re unsure, you can always publish your book and enroll later.
  • If you’re using other distributors, such as Smashwords or B&N, be sure to use the same book details and description you’ve used on their platforms.
  • Once you upload your document and KPD converts it into the Kindle format, make sure you use the preview function to check the contents of your book. If it doesn’t look the way it should, you’ll need to fix any formatting issues and upload the document again.

Step 6: Create an Interesting Author Page

One of the most powerful tools Amazon.com offers writers is an Author Page. It’s a little piece of property you can add to your marketing arsenal and leverage as you develop and implement your promotional campaigns. To claim yours, you’ll need to sign up to Amazon’s Author Central program.

Besides a compelling author bio, you can add blog feeds, relevant videos and photos, links to your social media profiles, upcoming events, and a complete list of your books. It may take a few days for your Author Page to appear on the Amazon.com website so you’ll need to be patient. Once it’s live, you can start promoting your unique, customized URL.

Okay, so you were a published Amazon Kindle author back at step 5. It doesn’t hurt to have another marketing tool at your disposal though. Take that extra step because it might just pay off when you least expect it.

Did you have any Amazon Kindle self-publishing questions? You know where to drop us a line. Happy publishing!

Smashwords Self-Publishing: A Step-By-Step Tutorial

Smashwords self-publishingYou’ve done your homework. You’ve assessed and compared the pricing models, royalty options, publishing guidelines, and ToS agreements of several eBook distribution channels. For you, Smashwords outshines the others.

Now that you’ve made your choice, how do you ensure you make the most of your Smashwords self-publishing experience? In this post, you’ll find out how to upload your first eBook and maximize the marketing opportunity Smashwords offers writers.

Step 1: Create a Smashwords Account

Join Smashwords

Before you can start the process of uploading and publishing your eBook, you need to join Smashwords. The sign up form is fairly standard, but you’ll want to pay special attention to the screen name, first name, and last name fields. While you may be tempted to use names that are funny or controversial, it’s important to create the right impression and establish yourself as a professional author. “Beefcake” or “partychick” simply won’t cut it.

Also, keep in mind that your unique Smashwords URL will rank in search engines. While you can edit your first name and last name after signing up, you cannot edit your username. Choose wisely.

Once you click the “Sign Up!” button, Smashwords will send a confirmation email to the relevant email address. You’ll need to click the link within that email to complete your registration.

Step 2: Create an Interesting and Complete Author Profile

Smashwords Self-Publishing Author Profile

Clicking the confirmation link should take you back to the site’s homepage. Once there, click on the “My Smashwords” tab to update your profile information. Although you’ll find three different links to complete your profile, they all lead to the same form.

Using this form, you can:

  • Upload a professional picture. If you’ve already built a readership through a website, blog, or social media site, consider using the headshot you’ve used on those pages. You can potentially increase sales if people recognize you and associate you with your other works.
  • Add a video. This is a great opportunity to build your author brand by introducing yourself to potential readers and sharing relevant information about your experiences or expertise.
  • Update your payment information. Hopefully, you read through the relevant earnings and payment documentation when performing due diligence. Entering the correct payment and tax information is crucial if you want to be paid on time.
  • Add links to your website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Wattpad, and MySpace properties. Adding this information gives interested readers the opportunity to connect with you on multiple platforms, as well as learn more about you, your books, and your business.
  • Include links to sites where readers can purchase print copies of your books. For many readers, eBooks simply can’t beat the feel of a paperback or hardcover book. Why not give them a choice if your books are published in print?
  • Include an author bio. Aim for a short, meaningful, and interesting bio that entices readers to check out your books. Try to highlight relevant facts and achievements that may help your marketing efforts.

After clicking the “Update Profile” button, you’ll want to download the Smashwords Style Guide. While the guidelines seem extensive, formatting your eBook correctly ensures your book is eligible for inclusion in the platform’s Premium Catalog. This means your eBook will reach major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and more. This widespread distribution is one of the main reasons so many Indie authors and publishers are choosing Smashwords over other platforms.

Step 3: Enter Your eBook’s Title and SynopsisSmashwords Self-Publishing Title and Synopsis

In this section, you should fill in your attention-grabbing title, as well as your eBook’s blurb.

You’ll notice that Smashwords’ self-publishing platform allows for two descriptions. The short description should tease and tempt without revealing too much, while the optional long description should include any additional information that may help readers in the purchasing decision. For example, a longer blurb might include a chapter outline for a non-fiction book.

Step 4: Set Your Price and Enable SamplingSmashwords Self-Publishing eBook Pricing

Smashwords offers three pricing options. When you opt to charge a specific amount, three different pie charts will appear. This visual presentation is a great way to see how revenue will be divided between the relevant parties. Although you’ll receive less for a book that is distributed to multiple retailers, the potential for sales is much greater than publishing through Smashwords alone.

When you enable the sampling feature, make certain you provide enough to hook your audience without giving away everything.

Step 5: Select Your eBook’s CategoriesSmashwords eBook Category

Make certain you choose the correct categories in this section so that Smashwords indexes your book properly. You’ll also avoid any potential problems once your book is published and distributed.

Step 6: Add TagsSmashwords Self-Publishing eBook Tags

Tagging your eBook with relevant keywords is essential if you want readers to find your book easily. As soon as you enter your first tag, Smashwords produces a box of suggestions to help you with keyword selection. Ideally, you’ll know which keywords to target based on the initial keyword research you performed before writing your book. Smashwords suggests that you enter no more than 10 tags.

Step 7: Opt Into Your Preferred eBook FormatsSmashwords Self-Publishing eBook Formats

If your eBook isn’t in a pre formatted eBook file already, Smashwords will convert your Word document for you. The platform offers seven options, which is ideal if you want to make your book accessible to a wider market.

Step 8: Upload Your Cover ImageSmashwords Self-Publishing eBook Cover

Before uploading an irresistible eBook cover, make certain your image meets the size and format requirements. Although covers are optional if you’re not distributing through any channel other than Smashwords, a great cover design acts as a powerful marketing tool. In addition to capturing attention and persuading prospects to give your book second look, covers can help build your brand as an author or business.

Step 9: Upload Your eBook FileSmashwords Self-Publishing eBook File Upload

One of the worst, and easiest, mistakes a self-publishing author can make is uploading the incorrect file to a distributor. You’ll want to avoid delays and hassles in the future by double checking the file name you’re uploading. Make certain it’s not only formatted to Smashwords standards, but that it’s also the final version of your eBook.

Step 10: Agree To Smashwords Terms of Service and PublishSmashwords Self-Publishing Agreement

Although the last step may seem like the easiest, your journey to becoming a self-published author isn’t over just yet. Once you hit the “Publish” button, you’ll see a message indicating your place in the queue. Your book will then be sent through what Smashwords likes to call the “meatgrinder.” During this process, your eBook will be converted into the file formats you’ve chosen and checked for any errors.

You’ll then receive an email with the results of the conversions and a list of problems you’ll need to fix before final approval. If there are no errors, you can log into your Smashwords dashboard and view your book’s page. On this page, you’ll find options to upload a trailer, manage coupons, and view the book’s stats.

Click on the “Dashboard” tab after you’ve checked the cover, synopsis, and tags. What you need to do now is assign an ISBN to your book. Some distributors won’t accept your eBook without one, so you’ll need to complete this task if your goal is to become part of the Premium Catalog. You can assign a free ISBN by clicking on the “ISBN Manager” link in the left-hand panel and then clicking on the “Assign An ISBN” link. After you order the type of ISBN you want, Smashwords will send a confirmation email.

Last but not least, you need to select the distribution channels through which you hope to sell your book once it qualifies for Premium Distribution. To do this, you need to click on the “Distribution Channel Manager” link in the left-hand panel, click on the title of your book, and then opt out of the channels you don’t want included. You can ignore this final step if you want Smashwords to send your book to every distributor on its list since you’re opted in automatically.

That’s it. You’re a published Smashwords author!

Did you find this tutorial helpful? If you’re already leveraging Smashwords as your distributor, let us know what you love about the platform.

eBook Promotion: Advice from Stephanie Bond

Image of Big Sale for ebook promotionA lot of self-published and first-time authors quickly realize they are in for an uphill battle after finishing their book (or maybe even before they write it). It’s helpful to hear from someone who is an expert at eBook promotion. We have a special treat for you today. Stephanie Bond, best-selling self-published author of numerous mystery and romance novels, was kind enough to speak with little-old-me about promoting an eBook title. If you have written a book and are trying to get it some exposure, here is your chance to get some really great advice.

Q: I’ve written a book; what is the best way to get it converted into an eBook?

epub logo as it relates to ebook promotion

A: The best way is to learn how to do it yourself! Every retail platform accepts an .epub format now, so you don’t have to generate multiple file types like before. There are lots of formatting programs out there, most of them around $50. Don’t be intimidated about learning how to format your book…if you can format a Word document, you can learn how to format your manuscript into an .epub file.

IF, however, you have more money than time (!), or if you’ve decided to concentrate on writing new content and to farm out the production side of things, then find a writing community or email loop and ask for referrals of someone who can take your manuscript file and format it into an .epub file. Prices and turnaround time will vary widely, so seek out more than one source.

eBook Promotion through social mediaQ: I have limited funds for eBook promotion. What are my options for getting a lot of exposure for little money?

A: Social media is the best way to get the most exposure for your book for no money. BUT realize that social media doesn’t necessarily sell a lot of books—it’s simply another “impression” to get your name and book title out there. With enough impressions, you’ll turn readers into buyers.

Q: What are the most effective channels for eBook promotion?

A: Work, work, work the channels that you have full control of:  your website and your email list. And ASK your loyal readers to help you by leaving reviews, telling a friend, etc. Readers are wonderful people who are always happy to help their favorite authors with eBook promotion.

Doing a blog tour is another good way to promote your book. Line up a blog tour by contacting individual blogs and reserving a spot around the time of your book, with the idea of making a guest appearance on different blogs every few days in the two weeks leading up to your book release and two weeks after.

Q: Should I try and hook up with a traditional publisher to promote my eBook, or should I even bother?

A: Only if you are glutton for punishment [kidding].

Q: Will getting my book printed help me promote it at all?

A: Yes. Not only do many readers still prefer print, but some readers who fall in love with your eBook will want a paper copy for their shelf. Plus, the mere existence of a print/print-on-demand version of your book, which is probably at a higher price point, will push sales to your eBooks.

Q: How important is it that I have a social media presence for my eBook?

A: Yes, have a social media presence. But don’t let it rule your life or keep you from writing your next project!

Study eBook PromotionQ: What resources are there for me if I don’t know a lot about promoting an eBook online or through traditional channels?

A: The best advice is to do what I did:  Google “self-publishing” and then settle in for a LOT of reading. Disregard anything over a year old and be suspicious if the info is more than six months old—that’s how fast things are moving and changing. Look for a YahooGroup of writers you can join so you can bounce ideas off each other. Notice what the best-selling indie authors are doing (Follow them on Twitter, sign up for their newsletter, etc.). The problem is there’s no one place to find all the answers [for eBook promotion]—you’ll have to cobble together your own marketing plan that fits your schedule and your budget.

Q: Is metadata important for eBook promotion?

A: Yes…passively. Metadata is simply the information you include in your product description and in the keywords you choose to describe your book when loading it to retail platforms…and in the text of the book itself. I write romantic mysteries; I want at least one of my book titles to come up if a reader goes onto Amazon and types in “romantic mystery.” So I make sure that string is in my metadata. Visualize your metadata as a Venus Flytrap, just waiting to snag any reader that happens to get close!

Picture of Written Content for BusinessQ: What types of online marketing are effective for promoting an eBook? For instance, affiliate marketing, email marketing, social media, my own website or blog?

A: All of those, yes. Here’s the thing:  you can spend every hour of every day promoting your book…but you can’t forget that your first priority is to keep creating new content. Nothing will benefit your career as much as getting another project out there working for you. So do what you can to promote yourself and your book, try this and try that and see if it helps sales—if it doesn’t, toss it…or try again at another time/price/title. Keep records so you’ll remember what worked and what didn’t.

Q: How long should I be promoting my eBook for? Should I do it for a few months then stop? A year?

A: The most read page/section on author websites is the ‘upcoming releases’ page, so start promoting your book as soon as you have a cover. Once the book is out, promote it until you have another new book to release, which should be sooner rather than later. When you have a new book out, you will, of course, have links to all your previous releases in the back of the new book, which will recycle sales, and so on.

Q: How do I know if I’ve been successful at promoting my eBook?

A: When the monthly royalty checks begin to make you smile. Don’t compare your success to anyone else’s. Set your own goals…then work to exceed them.

Q: Should I ever consider special contests or giveaways for my eBook promotion?

A: Yes and yes! But try to make those freebies work for you. For example, offer a free copy of your eBook to the first 25 people who would like to read it and post a fair, honest review at an online bookstore.

image of dogsQ: Who are some people that I could look to for advice on eBook promotion?

A: It’s tempting to want to emulate big-name authors (and yes, you should observe them), but be aware that they might be operating on a larger budget than you have, or be riding on the momentum of a retailer-sponsored program. Watch and learn from the people who’ve gone before you, but know and plan what you can spend in time and in money when promoting your book, then stick to your budget…and to your writing schedule.

Stephanie Bond is the best-selling author of more than 60 mystery and romance novels, 16 of which she’s self-published. Her romantic mystery OUR HUSBAND was the best-selling self-published Kindle book of 2012. To date, she has sold over 1 million eBooks on her own. Her current self-published release is TWO GUYS DETECTIVE AGENCY, available exclusively through Amazon in eBook,  print, and audio. TWO GUYS DETECTIVE AGENCY has been optioned for TV series development. For more about Stephanie and her books, visit www.stephaniebond.com.

 

Do you have any experiences (positive or negative) to share about promoting a book? Was it easy? Was it tough? Join in the conversation by commenting below.

Make More Sales with Book Metadata

Book MetadataThe explosion in popularity of eBooks has created a burgeoning market that does not seem to be slowing down. The explosion of eBooks has been helped in part by devices that make them easier to consume as well as clever marketing tactics. In the past, end users found titles they were interested in by going to a bookstore, a library or other means. Today, people take to the Internet to discover books that they want to read. Part of what makes those titles easy to discover is book metadata — the descriptive information about a book, its author, its publisher as well as other information. Not only is metadata important for discoverability of both physical and eBooks online, it is central to an effective marketing plan.

Metadata is simply information that is related to a book, such as author, ISBN, title, author biography, images and virtually any other piece of descriptive information. Traditionally, this information was used by publishers and their vendors; however, in the Internet age, book metadata has a new role. Rich, complete and abundant metadata helps buyers discover your books and learn more about them so that they are more likely to buy. Not having this information in even its most basic form means trouble from a marketing and distribution standpoint. Not having good metadata means selling fewer books.

Elements of Good Book Metadata

Book Metadata as outlined by ONIXONIX (Online Information eXchange) defines more than 200 different elements of metadata that can correspond to both physical and electronic books. ONIX is the international standard for representing book, serial and video product information in a digital form. Not all types of data apply to all kinds of books. The types of metadata that a publisher, distributor and/or printer require may differ. This being true, there is a core set of elements that are commonly found across many different types of titles. These are data that are essential for almost any book and required by almost any entity that will touch a title throughout its life cycle. Examples include ISBN, title, author, date of publication, publisher, content description, dimensions of a book, status code of the publisher and usually a digital thumbnail for the cover of the book.

Book Metadata and SEO

pagerank basicsThere are two distinct types of metadata: data used for physical books and that used for the discovery of eBooks in a digital space. Whether you are selling eBooks online or physical books (or both), comprehensive metadata is important for SEO. As recently as February of 2012, over 73% of Americans used a search engine to discover something online. During any given day in 2012 more than half of Americans were using a search engine. In case you couldn’t tell, making your title discoverable in search is key to making sales, and SEO for your eBook can help make that happen. Book metadata that is complete, detailed and full of useful information ensures your title will get found and get purchased more often and more rapidly.

When search on the web first hit the scene, engines were not the highly intelligent logical giants that they have become today. Search algorithms relied heavily on signals that could be manipulated easily. It is estimated that Google alone has put more than 1,000 person-years into perfecting its own search algorithm, and other competitors are also very advanced. It is more important than ever for marketing books online to have rich metadata that search engines can latch onto and serve up to users looking for specific authors, titles, genres or other pieces of information that may relate to the content you have out on the market.

Making Your Book Metadata Stand Out

Standing Out with Book metadataWhen a writer first composes his or her masterpiece, there is a lot of data that simply isn’t available. Once a title starts to move through its life cycle through publishers, printers and other vendors, more and more data gets added. A title may get an author biography added, it may win awards, perhaps reviews get published about it or any number of other occurrences that can enhance metadata even further. Once added to a specific title, this extra data can help it stand out to end users who may be interested. It can help increase the discoverability of the title in search and create a more enticing description for those who may be interested in purchasing it. For example, users may search for reviews or author biographies before deciding to buy a specific book online. They may look for awards or environmental information about the title. The more data that is available in a virtual space, the better.

In the physical world, even without visual cues, we can often touch and hold objects that we plan to purchase. Books are no different, and in a virtual world, metadata acts as a placeholder for our senses that we would normally rely on to help us make decisions. When authors can provide as much data about their titles as possible, end users can make more informed decisions about the books they plan to purchase.

 

Have you seen a difference in providing more vs less metadata in terms of book sales online? How has metadata helped you market your books online? Be a part of the conversation by commenting below.

 

Create an eBook Cover Design Buyers Can’t Resist

They’re strewn across the Internet: horrid blends of low quality graphics and typographic train wrecks that scream, “Self-published!”

When your cover shapes a potential reader’s first impression, that’s not exactly the image you want to create. Follow along as we look at several critical aspects of eBook cover design, as well as what creating a memorable image entails.

What Makes a Good Cover?

Becoming a self-publisher generally means you need the mental agility to transition from the role of an author to the role of an entrepreneur. You’re no longer wearing the hat of someone concerned with the elements of effective writing, but rather the hat of someone concerned with the development of a marketable product. Before, you were able to leave the business decisions in the hands of a publisher. Now you are the publisher, so you need to start thinking like one.

What’s most important to understand in this role is that your book’s cover is your product’s packaging. It’s the tool that forms part of your market positioning and advertising strategies. It’s what you’ll use to differentiate, attract, promote, and facilitate the purchase decision.

With that said, it’s imperative to learn the core functions of a compelling cover so you can collaborate with a professional effectively, or design a powerful one yourself.

Consider this your eBook cover design checklist if you will:

  • A great cover stands out in search results
  • It alludes to the book’s genre
  • It persuades browsers to give it a chance
  • It sets the tone or mood for the content found within
  • It’s as memorable as the book itself
  • It helps build a brand for a business, author, or book series
  • It hints at the quality level of the writing

While this list is by no means comprehensive, it does provide a solid guideline for the type of cover you should create.

So, what should you think about while developing the concept for your design?

What the Thumbnail Display Will Look Like

When the thumbnail is all a potential buyer may see while searching for books like yours, you want to ensure the smaller image is clear, legible, and has the desired effect. Consider these two examples where the thumbnails meet the relevant criteria.

eBook Cover Design Thumbnails

Now assess these thumbnails:

eBook Cover Design Typography

Although the intricate font on the top cover may look beautiful on a larger scale, it’s almost indecipherable on a smaller scale. In addition, the thumbnail relies heavily on the graphic to tempt prospects to click through to the product page. There’s no denying the cover has to work harder here.

The bottom image is a little more confusing than the top example. The typeface is hard to read on both the small and large scale, which means the publisher probably relies on the accompanying links and product description to communicate the title and author information. The other thing you’ll notice here is that the white background of the cover dissolves into the white background of the Amazon.com site. This is a design no-no since it takes away from the impact of the cover. Consider using a textured or color background to make your book more noticeable.

Whether Your Print and Digital Designs Will Differ

You may be under the impression that one design needs to fit all. Nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to book covers. Have a look at these examples:

Print v.s. eBook Cover Design

The top two covers were designed for print while the bottom two covers were designed for digital platforms. Now have a look at the differences and similarities between the covers. Assess the style, typography, use of space, and images, and then evaluate them against the criteria for a great cover.

While the print covers are the same in terms of the typefaces and font sizes chosen, the images are very different. The eBooks, however, appear to follow a format or brand style guideline set out for the author’s digital covers.

Whether You’ll Use a 2D or 3D Design

Look at these two 3D renderings and then compare them to the John Grisham covers.

3D eBook Cover Design

You’ll notice there are some stark differences between the look and the feel of the images. While the 3D covers offer a unique presentation, the 2D designs display the graphics and typography well. The flat covers are also easy to read, which is crucial for prospects taking in the eBook’s key information at a glance.

Many marketers and authors choose 3D designs for their non-fiction and info product eBooks, but you’ll only know which cover is most effective if you test your market. Think about polling your blog readers and social media followers to help you narrow down your options. Keep in mind that some distributors do not accept 3D cover art submissions.

Whether You Want a Ready-Made or Customized Cover

There’s something to be said for readily available eBook cover designs. They’re cheap, they demand little effort other than some minor copy changes, and they can save you from a DIY nightmare. They’re also a great alternative if you need to publish in a hurry.

On the other hand, professional illustrators and graphic designers know what they’re doing. They have the talent, experience, and tools necessary to translate your text into a visual masterpiece. They’ve perfected their craft, they’re familiar with the tricks of the trade, and they know what questions to ask in order to deliver the best results. Essentially, a professional can take a cover that shouts, “Self-published!” and covert it into a cover that persuasively whispers, “Read me.”

There’s a lot to weigh up here—and much of it will come down to your budget—but you need to decide whether you’re prepared to foot the bill for a trained eye or take a risk on an off-the-shelf design. When purchasing a ready-made cover, be sure to evaluate it based on relevancy, mood, and visual appeal. It should attract your target audience and enhance your author brand.

How You’ll Leverage Your Color Palette

If you’re familiar with color psychology, you know that colors can influence an individual’s purchasing decision. It’s a good idea to learn the basic positive and negative emotions each color can trigger and then use that information to guide your color choice. Most of the time, you’ll find the right palette through experimentation. Therefore, you should create several mock-ups and then test them out on people you trust to provide honest feedback.

Tips:

  • Limit your palette to 3 colors or less
  • Use colors that complement each other
  • Experiment with different shades
  • If you’re creating eBooks for your business, consider applying your brand colors

Whatever you do, make certain there’s a good balance. Colors will change according to the device being used to view the book, so take that into account when making your decision.

What Dimensions You’ll Use

The distributor or online retailer you select will determine the size requirements for your cover art. Each provides design guidelines and file-size specifications, so make certain you adapt your cover accordingly. Since the dimensions aren’t necessarily set in stone, you may need to play around with your image until you achieve the right look.

Also, take into consideration that your cover doesn’t necessarily need to be the ever-popular rectangle.

Square eBook Cover Design

When done correctly, a square cover can work just as well.

A Word on Animated eBook Covers

Although this may make purists weep for the future of publishing, the reality is that animated eBook covers are slowly making their way into the marketplace. While most platforms don’t support animated covers just yet, you can fully expect the next generation of eBooks to capitalize on this technology.

As this trend gains momentum, you should think about the possibility of incorporating this strong media element into your design. Once again, you want to test the market to ensure it truly enhances your cover and contributes to higher sales. Keep in mind that there is a huge difference between tasteful and tacky, so don’t overdo it if you choose to go in this direction.

 

Since your eBook’s cover design is essentially art, it’s appeal is mainly subjective. Although you may think it looks great, it might look like a confusing mess to buyers. Take the time to study the covers of books in your genre and learn the conventions of great design. Stay away from overused stock photos and enlist the help of a professional designer if you have the budget. Keep it simple, make it relevant, and position it within the marketplace properly.

Do you consider these factors when working on eBook cover design concepts? Perhaps you have a pressing design question you need answered. Drop us a line below.

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How to Write an eBook: 17 Key Things to Consider

How to Write an eBook

You’ve done your research on how to write an eBook, but have you really considered every element of content that can be found between your front cover and your back page?

The chances are you may have missed a thing or two. There’s a lot to think about during the planning and writing phases of eBook creation, so it’s common for something to slip through the cracks. To help you keep track, we’ve made a list of 17 vital components you should think about while creating your eBook.

1. Title Page

It’s simple but significant. Your title page consists of your eBook’s title, subtitle (if there is one), and your author name. Although it sounds like a waste of space, it’s really not. Besides reminding readers of the book they’ve downloaded, as well as who wrote it, the title page provides a buffer between the cover page and the information you include directly after it.

Most importantly, this component sets the book’s visual tone, making design a huge factor here. Whether you select a classic, formal, stylish, or minimalist design will depend on the look and feel you hope to create. Play around with font styles, sizes, color, and text positioning until you achieve the title page you want.

2. Author Bio

Building your author brand and implementing a pre-launch marketing strategy is the ideal way to go. You’ll not only have an established group of qualified prospects eager to grab a copy of your book, but these fans and followers will also have insight into the person behind the brand. As a result, there’ll be immediate recognition and trust when they land on your author page.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for readers who stumble upon your eBook rather than discovering it through your blog, social media, email, or other marketing initiatives. Therefore, incorporating an author page is a great opportunity to make that initial introduction and establish a connection. It’s also an excellent space to note your expertise and build your credibility as an authority on the book’s topic.

Tips for designing an outstanding author page:

  • You’re not divulging your life story so keep the text a reasonable length.
  • Highlight factual, relevant, and interesting information to entice readers to seek you out on other platforms.
  • Include your website, social media, and contact information to help readers get in touch easily.
  • Add a professional headshot to improve recognition.

3. Copyright Notice and Disclaimer

eBook Copyright Notice and DisclaimerDo you balk at the sight of legal jargon? You wouldn’t be the first author, and you certainly wouldn’t be the last. Legal matters can be a sticky business, but the reality is you have to protect yourself and your work. Imagine the horror of finding your blood, sweat, and tears on the site of someone claiming your content as their own. The good news is you can limit this type of nasty surprise and dissuade people from stealing your work.

Although copyright notices and disclaimers vary in terms of wording and the type of information included, they help you assert your rights and limit liability. They also look professional, which is crucial for self-publishers building a professional image. If you’re not sure how to create a copyright page, look for examples and fill-in-the-blank templates online.

4. Acknowledgements or Dedications

If you’ve been helped along the way, a page honoring the people who have supported you is a great way to show them thanks. A short note to express your gratitude goes a long way and demonstrates that you don’t forget the individuals who have contributed to your success.

5. Foreword

Usually written by an established author, expert, or celebrity, a foreword can help put a stamp of approval on your work. In addition to boosting your credibility, a foreword tells people why they should read your book. This piece of content is optional so don’t panic if you can’t get a well-known figure to provide this type of endorsement.

6. Preface

A preface is simply an explanation of why you chose to write the book. It’s the perfect area for providing further insight into your experience and expertise for dealing with the topic at hand. Again, this is an optional item.

7. Introduction

An introduction helps set the overall theme of the book, explains methodologies you may have used, highlights the benefits of the content contained within, and outlines the purpose and goals of your writing. When done correctly, introductions define how you want readers to view your book.

8. Table of Contents

This essential component shows there is organization to your book and that readers can easily find what they need. Often, especially with non-fiction books, a reader will skip back and forth to find relevant information. A table of contents saves time and eliminates unnecessary frustration by providing a page reference for each chapter.

A tip for designing a great table of contents:

  • Hyperlink each chapter outlined on this page to the relevant section of the book. This improves navigation and makes your eBook user-friendly.

9. Chapter Title or Section Pages

While you can simply slap the chapter title above the opening paragraph and call it a day, there’s a far more creative and visually appealing way to go about it. Consider using title or section cover pages to mark the beginning of a new module clearly. This gives readers an indication of the content covered next and helps break the book up into digestible bits. Graphics and relevant pieces of data offer a great way to spice up these pages and keep readers engaged. Keep in mind that you want to link back to these pages if you’re using hyperlinks in your table of contents.

10. Callouts

eBook CalloutCallouts typically include tips, quotes, snippets of research data, subtle product mentions, and other pieces of micro-content. They stand out from the main body of text and keep things interesting. They’re often presented as speech or thought bubbles, highlighted using different font sizes, colors, and styles, or set apart using other visually appealing elements.

Tips for callouts:

  • Don’t be afraid to use callouts as a way to create awareness about relevant projects or features of a paid product or service you offer.
  • While they’re a great addition to educational eBooks, don’t overuse them.

11. Links

The great thing about eBooks is they’re becoming more interactive as technology develops. With a simple click on a link, readers can discover a wealth of content that provides additional information or supports the contents of your book.

Tips on links:

  • Try not to link to content you cannot control.

  • Schedule checks to ensure your book doesn’t contain any broken links.

  • If necessary, update your book with links to newer sources of information.

  • While links should be designed for usability they should also be attractive, so pay attention to style.

12. Visual Components

Everything from graphs, graphics, and screenshots to charts, bullets, and text typography form part of your eBook’s visual component. These elements break up large chunks of text, offer a way to explain complicated ideas visually, and make consumption of your content easy. If you’re creating eBooks for your business, make certain you follow your company’s brand style guide.

13. Headers and Footers

While your header and footer content will depend on the publishing format you choose, they’re aspects you still need to consider. When supported by e-readers and other devices, your header and footer can benefit from page numbers and chapter titles.

14. Social Sharing Buttons

eBook Social Sharing ButtonMake it easy for readers to promote your work on social media sites by adding social sharing buttons to the pages of your eBook. When they come across something they love, they’ll more than likely share your book with their networks. Make certain the link leads to a relevant landing page with a lead-capture form.

15. Blurb

You know that promotional description you’ll use to convince and convert in the first place? Well, it’s a good idea to slot it in at the beginning of your book. The reason being is that many people don’t read the books they download immediately. In fact, your book could sit on someone’s Kindle or iPad for months before they even look at it. Including the blurb in your eBook is a great way to remind buyers about the book’s contents without them needing to search for the information online. They’ll thank you for the convenience.

16. Footnotes, End Notes, and References

Whether you’re commenting on the same page or citing a source at the back of your book, this type of supporting content is crucial to your credibility. Although many people ignore references, there are those that follow up and explore research data for themselves.

17. Call-To-Action

Whether you’re the owner of a company or simply an author, you’re in business. When you’re in business, it stands to reason you don’t want the relationship to end once the final word has been read. A compelling call-to-action can ensure readers remain with you long after they’ve put their e-reader down and turned off the lights.

Tips for a CTA:

  • If you have other eBooks or relevant downloadable content to share, consider including mini versions of their covers in the back of your book and linking to their relevant landing pages. If your readers like this book, the chances are they’ll like the others.
  • Ask readers to subscribe to your blog and connect with you via social media platforms.

  • Depending on your line of business, you may want to offer a free trial period or invite readers to join classes and discussion groups.

Ultimately, your eBook is what you make it. It can be a roaring success or a depressing failure. While the former doesn’t require you to integrate all 17 content and design components into your eBook, it does mean you need to think about improving the marketability of your offering. Many of these components can enhance an eBook, making a boring topic tolerable and a great topic spectacular.

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How to Create an eBook that Generates Leads

Content is a great way to generate leads online. To do that successfully, you have to offer something really useful. It must be easily digestible, tangible and it has to be compelling enough for people to want to trade their personal information for it. An eBook is a great way to do this. You have to craft your eBook in a way that targets the right people. After all, you don’t want people leaving their information if they aren’t interested in your product or service. The following outline will help you create an eBook that generates leads.

Determine Your Goals for Your Lead-Generating eBook

If you want people online to give you their information, you have to give them something in return. One of the main reasons people take to the Internet in the first place is to find information. The Internet has become the central conduit for quick knowledge, and many people don’t even think of looking any other place first. As a business, if you can provide prospects with high-quality information that they can use immediately, they will gladly provide you a name, email and probably a lot more than that. An eBook is a great way to do that because it’s something tangible that visitors can take with them. There are two main themes for success with this. Your eBook has to be good, and it has to be relevant.

Learn How To Create an eBook That Attracts the Customers You Want

Your goals for what kind of prospects you need are very important. Perhaps your book will help solve a common problem that your target market experiences. In this regard, your title can help position your company as an authority on the topic. For instance, a heating and cooling company might write a guide on maintenance items to check on an annual basis for a central air unit. A computer-repair shop may put together an eBook on common files that can be deleted when cleaning up a PC. If you require prospects for one type of product or service that you offer, make your content revolve around that. If you want a certain demographic, produce content that will appeal to that demographic.

It is important that you craft your eBook in a way that attracts the ideal potential buyers because if you don’t, your other tools and functions for marketing to them will not be effective. You will have also wasted a lot of time making content that does not appeal to your target market.

What Does the Market for Your Content Look Like?

It doesn’t make much sense to sell your product for $9.99 when your competitor down the street is selling the same thing for half the price and throwing in a freebie, as well. Of course, it isn’t always possible to undercut your competitors, but you must be aware of what they are doing so that you can do it better or offer a more compelling value proposition.

Are Your Competitors Offering Content?

Check to see if your competition has free or low-priced content on the market that prospects and consumers are taking advantage of. What does it look like? Is it helpful? What problems does it help solve, and are people pleased with it? How well are they reaching their target market with content?

If they aren’t offering something free like an eBook, what are they doing instead? Do they have tools that make their customers’ lives easier? Perhaps they have web-based tools or special offers that their customers and prospects respond well to. Whatever it is, your eBook needs to be able to trump that. Customers must see value in the content that you have to offer in order to give up their information in order so they can read it. If they don’t find it valuable, they will not download it and you will not have anyone to market to.

Is There Demand for Your Content?

You should also determine if there is enough interest among your target market in order to generate the content you are thinking of. By using tools like Google’s Keyword tool and by simply searching for information online, you can get a picture of how popular the topic you have selected to write about is. You may also discover that it isn’t that popular, but the people who do find it convert very well. This is very similar to gauging demand for a product or service. If there is little demand for such a topic, you probably shouldn’t waste time writing about it.

How to Create an eBook Layout

If prospects have enough interest in the topic you wrote about, you should have your content laid out in a way that is easily scannable and easily searchable. Having your content in PDF form helps; however, for those who want to skim through text, you should have some elements in place to help facilitate that.

Table of Contents

Every eBook should have a table of contents. Not everyone will want to read your content from front to back. You should have a short map at the beginning highlighting all of the important sections so that they can skip through and find the things they need. If you make things hard for people to find, they will be frustrated with your book and with you.

Descriptive Headers

Just like on a web page, people often scan through reference materials (like this blog post) to find info on the page that is most relevant to them. Headers are great for making that happen quickly. Without headers, readers are forced to skim through all text until they come to a point that seems like it would be good to read. Again, this makes readers frustrated.

Get to the Point

Make your sections short but powerful. Get to the meat of what you are trying to say, and cut out all the fluff. For the most part, readers of your eBook didn’t download it for a leisurely read on a Saturday afternoon. They got it because they were promised that it would solve some issue they are having or that it would educate them in some way. If it doesn’t do that quickly, they may not read past the first page.

Helpful Resources

I’m sure you know a lot about whatever it is that you do. I’m sure the people reading your book also think the same. Even though that may be true, you should provide outside resources that you trust so that readers can get a differing viewpoint. Naturally, you don’t want to suggest your competition; however, some other authoritative third party is enough. Incorporating this into any concepts or points you make in your writing as a citation is also acceptable. The idea is to bolster any arguments, theories or statements with other authoritative sources.

How to Create an eBook Design

How your pages look is almost as important as the content contained in them. Design goes a long way toward making your pages easy to read and your content easy to digest. It also works to make your book look professional and not like it was thrown together in a couple of hours. In order for your readers to take you seriously, your book has to be well-designed.

Images

Make good use of images throughout your text. One of the best ways to use images is to break up text on a page. When people see large blocks of text on a web page or in a book designed to educate them, they experience a small degree of anxiety. While it may be small, seeing enough of these pages could cause them to stop reading. Place images at the beginning of pages where text begins and if you have large section, place them in different paragraphs throughout the text.

Using images as a supplement to further explain or enhance a concept is also good. If you have a graph or a visual that can help provide more clarity to the reader, they will better understand what you are trying to tell them.

Graphic Design

Graphic design elements are the pieces that make your ebook look more professional, overall. Things like page numbers, colors on borders of pages, lines that delineate sections or headings and other elements all work together to give a professional feel and make the content easier to digest. Be careful not to overdo your design elements — a little can go a long way.

The ability for your eBook to generate leads will be directly related to the strength of your previous eBook or other content. Bringing in prospects as a result of your eBook will depend on how well it is written and how useful the content is. If people think your site is professional, or they have seen content that you have written in the past and they liked it, you are more likely to get someone to download your eBook this time around and give an email or other info in return.

Have you ever offered content to your prospects? Did they find it beneficial? Join the conversation by commenting below.