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Kim Wilson
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E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com

 

Dabbling for Dollars . . . .

10 Tips For Making Money With E-Books

by Alyice Edrich

E-books, what are they and how can they change your life for the better? The word “e-book” is an acronym for electronic, downloadable book. In other words, an e-book is written material you read on your computer screen. Many e-books can be printed and bound for easier reading or saved on a disk for future reference.

What makes an e-book so unique is the ability to sell a completed manuscript without the need of an agent, publisher or wholesaler. You simply write your material, edit it, format it, send a copy off to the United States Copyright office, upload a copy to your Web site and begin selling. In a matter of a few short months, versus the years it takes to go the traditional printing route, your dream of becoming a published author becomes reality.

Selling E-books Is The Tricky Part
But what do you do with your e-book once you’ve finished it? How do you make money with e-books? That’s where the real trick lies. Anyone can write something and put it online, but very few people can actually make a living selling their e-books.

Below you will find my ten, proven and tested tips for selling electronic downloadable e-books. While you may find the following tips obvious and simple, you would be surprised at how many newly published e-book authors fail to accomplish several of these tips.

1. Consider your book your business.
The most difficult part of becoming an e-book author is realizing that the book simply won’t sell itself. You have to invest both time and money to make your e-book a profitable success. And to do that, you need to develop a business plan.

a. What goals do you have for this book?
b. What audience do you want to reach?
c. How much money do you want it to make per day, per month, per year?
d. How do you plan to get the word out about this book?
e. Where do you plan to advertise?

2. Buy a domain name.
With domain names costing as little as $9.95 per year there is no reason to skimp when it comes to owning a piece of the Web. If you plan to write several books, on various topics, buy a domain name that resembles a publishing house, such as YourThemePress.com or YourThemePublishing.com. But, if you plan to write a single book, or several books along the same niche, buy a domain name that gives visitors an idea as to what your book is about.

3. Pay for a Web host.
Many new entrepreneurs think that testing the waters with a free Web site will save them money, but the truth of the matter is that a free Web site costs them money. First, there’s the obvious problem with a free Web site: it looks like you don’t take your business seriously. Then there’s the advertising spots in which you get no say in, and finally, there’s the long, hard-to-remember Web site address.

But what makes things worse, is the loss of traffic when you finally believe in your product enough to go out and purchase your own Web host. While you may have been promoting a domain name and redirecting it to your free Web site, many visitors are saving a particular page on your Web site in their favorites file, or linking to a specific Web page on your free Web site, instead of linking to the domain name you purchased.

4. Design a professional Web site.
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to have a professional looking Web site. You just need a Web site that is consistent throughout.

a. Every page should have the same color scheme and should contain no more than five colors. (Preferably three.) To really make an impression, stick to a white background and use colors to enhance the page through borders, text and graphics.
b. Your company logo should appear at the top of every page. And your company logo should be designed by a professional, not your child. Your company logo says a lot about you and what you stand for, so take the time to find something that defines your Web site.
c. Your site map should be in the same spot on every page. And your site map should contain words your visitors will understand. While it may be fun to include cute names, if people don’t understand that cute name meant “buy now” you’ll lose both visitors and sales.
d. A contact page is a must. Letting your visitors know you are a real, live business eases their worries about getting scammed. If you are nervous about listing your home telephone number, pay for a toll-free number or require that you only be contacted via e-mail. (As a home business entrepreneur, I go back and forth with my business number being listed. While it adds ease of mind, I sometimes grow weary of the two in the morning calls from night owls wanting more information on my books.)
e. Learn search engine optimization. The first place people look for information is through the search engines. Understanding how they work can help you design a Web site that gets found in the search engines. Just be careful of wolves in sheep’s clothing. There are many companies claiming top rankings, millions of visitors, and thousands of dollars in sales, but their methods are not search engine friendly and can get your Web site banned from the search engines. A good place to start learning about search engine optimization is:
http://thedabblingmum.com/business/seo/index.htm

5. Write your sales page.
Your sales page should reflect your writing style. While you could pay a copywriter thousands of dollars to write a high pitched sales letter, your visitors will become uneasy if your entire Web site is written in one voice and your sales letter is written in another voice.

If you plan to use a copywriter to write your sales page, consider having two sales pages. One that flows with the rest of your Web site and is linked throughout your Web site and one that is a stand-alone sales page used when advertising on other Web sites, in e-zines, in print publications and through various pay-per-click advertising programs.

Your sales page should include:
a. the name of your book,
b. a brief synopsis of your book,
c. chapter titles, or bullet points about key material in your book,
d. a few testimonies,
e. your price, and
f. a buy link.

6. Clarify your return policy.
Will you give a full refund if the buyer isn’t satisfied with your book? Will the refund only be
valid for the first 30 days, 90 days, a year or lifetime? Will your refund be a partial credit or
full credit? Or will you simply offer a “no refund” policy?

7. Offer secure payment options.
With Internet fraud at an all-time high, no one wants to buy a product from an unsecure Web site. If you don’t want to hassle with a merchant account, such as authorize.net, you can always use a hassle-free service, such as a third-party credit card processor like paypal.com.

But whether you decide on a merchant account or a third-party credit card processor, allow for the option of sending payment by check, money order or cashier’s check. Believe it or not, there are still individuals who aren’t comfortable ordering online, don’t use credit cards and refuse to use bank check cards. Just remember to wait until the check clears the bank before you send the e-book.

8. Include automatic downloads.
In the beginning, when funds are low, you may want to send e-book orders via e-mail attachment once your credit card company processes and notifies you of the order. But after awhile, sitting by your computer waiting to send orders can become a bit of a hassle and add unwarranted stress as buyers e-mail to ask where their orders are.

Automatic downloads should never be done by amateur Web site designers because if done incorrectly, you could allow your download page to be seen by hundreds, if not thousands, of nonpaying downloaders. If you don’t have the funds to pay a programmer to design secure download pages, you can, for a monthly fee, hire a service such as marketerschoice.com.

9. Answer customer concerns within 24 hours.
While you may not always be able to answer a customer’s question within 24 hours, your goal should be to reply to all e-mails within a 24 hour period. Customers need to know that there is a real, live person behind the business. If your customer has a question regarding your book or the ordering process, a fast reply could save the sale. And good customer service always begets word-of-mouth advertising—which is the best kind of advertising!

10. Promote your book.
The most difficult part about selling your e-book is probably in the promotion. Promoting your book is essential to the success of your book. If you don’t take the time to let the world know your book exists, no one is going to buy it. There are several ways to promote an e-book, many of which follow the same principles of promoting a print book.

A few ideas when it comes to promoting your e-book are:

a. Become a speaker and sell your e-books via disk at the end of each session.
b. Host online chats and include a link to your order page.
c. Write articles on your book’s topic and when appropriate, give a slight plug about your book.
d. Include your book’s sales page in your bylines and signature lines.

To learn more about marketing a book, consider purchasing 1001 Ways To Market Your Book, by John Kremer.

When it comes to making money with e-books, you’re only as good as your business plan. Take the time to invest in your e-book, as you would any other business and you’ll find your sales increasing with each new effort.


Alyice Edrich is an affordable freelance writer specializing in how-to articles and Q&A interviews for the Web. To view her freelance writing rates, or to hire her for your next writing project, visit http://alyiceedrich.net.

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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