5 Tips for Launching an EBook (or ANY book)

October 3, 2011

When I launched my first eguide on social media consulting, I didn’t have a plan.

I knew enough to let my network know about the product and encourage them to tell their networks about it. I knew enough to pitch guest posts at blogs with good-sized audiences. And I knew enough to offer an affiliate program.

But that first go was more of an experiment for me. It’s gone well — more than 125 guides sold so far. Which made me think: If I really put together a plan for my next launch, how many people could I reach with How to Take a Career Break to Travel?

So I became a student of how to launch (with @jadecraven‘s help). I read Dave Navarro's How to Launch the **** Out of Your EBook and Kelly Kingman’s The eBook Evolution Launch Guide and Ali Luke’s Bloggers’ Guide to Irresistible EBooks (two of those are affiliate links). I subscribed to blogs like By Bloggers and Launch Watch and Ev Bogue.

Now I’m using everything I’ve learned to launch my career-break guide on Oct. 17.

Here are a few of the best tips I’ve picked up so far:

1. Offer a pre-launch discount to your email list. Of course, to do this you have to actually have an email list, which is partly why I finally launched The Traveling Writer Newsletter. More than 100 people have signed up so far! They’ll receive a significant pre-launch discount not only on this guide, but also on upcoming guides and courses, like How to Use Social Media to Make Your Own Luck (which I’m giddily excited about).

This, as Seth Godin would say, is my tribe. I’m cultivating a tribe of Schemers and Leapers, and because that tribe is special to me, I’ll offer them special deals.

2. Add a bonus for buyers. Find a way to sweeten the pot for people who purchase your product, to give them more than they’re paying for, a thank you of sorts.

Anyone who buys my career-break guide will also get 50% off an eguide called Negotiate Your Sabbatical (affiliate link). I arranged this deal with one of the authors, Elizabeth Pagano, because her guide complements mine. And since I usually sell Elizabeth’s guide as an affiliate, she agreed to essentially give my affiliate share to my buyers.

I’ll also offer an eguide + coaching option for any buyers who want help maximizing their social media presence before embarking on their career break so they can get the most of it while they’re gone.

3. Hire someone to help you. I never thought I’d do this; I like everything to be just so, so I prefer to do everything myself.

But the truth is, it’s impossible! Especially when you’re building a business that ebbs and flows — and you’re in the middle of a major flow. So I hired several students to help me, and I’ve been pushing myself to hand over tasks I don’t have to do myself. I’ll share more on what I’m learning about how to outsource effectively in a future post.

4. Get a cover professionally designed. The cover is your potential buyer’s first impression, so make that cover just as good as the content of the guide.

If you can’t afford to pay for a cover, consider bartering for it, like I did for the cover for my career-break guide. I’m now so convinced that the cover is important that I hired a designer to create one for my social-media consulting guide, too. (It’s pretty fabulous, right? Props to Lisa of Idea Stylist.)

5. Use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of everything. Now that I’m going full-speed ahead with my own business, I turn to spreadsheets for everything. But this is a hot tip especially for launches. It helps me keep track of who I’ve pitched for guest posts and Q&As, when I’ll send emails to my newsletter list, and everything else I want to do to pull this off. An effective launch has a lot of pieces, and being organized will help me bring them all together.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Jonathan Fields had an awesome post on Copyblogger last week about all the steps he took to build buzz around the launch of his latest book, Uncertainty. It worked well enough that I pre-ordered!

Oh, oh! And just in time for this post, Kelly Kingman posted The Guide to Ebooks on Ebooks. She compares some of the more popular ebooks about ebooks.

What would YOU do if you were launching a digital guide? Where would you put your marketing efforts?

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