6 Tips for Creating and Selling Your First EBook

October 17, 2012

Now that I’ve been creating and selling digital guides and courses for more than a year, I’ve identified a handful of things I wish I knew when I started.

We’ll go over these and more — oh, wayyy more — in a webinar next week. And yes, it’s totally and utterly FREE! Sign up to join us.

To hold you over in the meantime, here are a few tips for launching your first ebook:

1. Collect emails from the get-go. If there’s one thing I wish I did from the beginning, it’s this. A newsletter is the absolute best way to communicate with potential buyers because it means you can go to their inbox, where they hang out every day (or every ten minutes for some of us), rather than wait for them to come to your blog.

make money online

I love when money flies out of my computer!

So keep track of people’s emails from the beginning, even if you’re not quite sure what to do with them yet. You can figure that out later. (If you’re looking for a newsletter service, I recommend MailChimp, which is free until you have 2,000 subscribers.)

2. Sell through e-junkie. It’s easy as cake, which makes it perfect for beginners.

All you need is a sales page on your own site (here’s one of mine if you need an example), plus a buy button that sends buyers to e-junkie, which integrates with PayPal. Not only is this process easy for you to set up, it’s also easy for your potential buyer to navigate, which is so important for sales.

E-Junkie also makes it easy for you to see who bought your products (so you can save their emails for your newsletter list!) and set up an affiliate program, which allows other people to sell your products and take a cut. And it only costs $5/month.

(Note here that this approach works if you’re selling through your own site, not through Kindle. There are upsides and downsides to selling on your own site vs. Kindle, and I’ll go through them during the webinar next week.)

3. Write guest posts for big sites. Make the posts as helpful as possible; don’t worry about giving away free information — that’s the new way of marketing. Then include a link to your ebook in your bio.

The key here is to write about a topic that’s directly in line with the focus of your ebook, because that will attract the right type of people to your post. If someone sees a headline they’re interested in, and that headline has the same focus as your ebook, the reader will be more likely to click on your ebook link, and hopefully buy it. Make sense?

Guest posts not only help you reach an entirely new audience, they also improve your search-engine optimization (SEO), which means more potential buyers will find your ebook through Google.

4. Keep it simple. You don’t need fancy formatting (although I would recommend a professional cover), and you don’t need to produce your ebook in a million formats. In fact, I only offer my guides in PDF form. That’s the biggest bang for my buck; readers can access it on almost any device, and it’s easy for me to produce.

If you really want a Kindle version, go for it, but don’t stress yourself out by trying to add a ton of features the first time around. Get the book out there, see if it sells, and you can always add more features, formats or whatever later.

5. Over-deliver. Since you’re keeping it simple, you’ll have time and energy to make the content of your ebook so freakin’ fabulous that anyone who buys will feel happy and satisfied. But don’t stop with content. Offer incredible customer service, too, responding promptly to emails and other inquiries.

Then ask yourself: what add-ons can I offer that will pump the value of this product through the roof? For example, anyone who buys my guide on building a social media business gets invited to join a Facebook group full of nearly 100 social media consultants who share advice, ask questions and offer support. Not everyone joins the group, but those who tend to find it a valuable resource.

6. Get started. Even if you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing! There will always be more you could learn, more contacts you could make, more research you could do. But if you wait until you’re totally prepared, you’ll never get started.

Stop focusing on what you don’t know, and focus on what you do know. You can learn the rest along the way.

Ready to sign up for that webinar on creating your first digital product?

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