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  1. #1
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    Ebook beginner questions
    I'm reposting this here, since I guess it was misplaced in the Newbie FAQ.
    -----
    Hello Everyone,

    I have just written a 140 page e-book on a specific area of the performing arts. I have also written a small e-booklet of about 14 pages to supplement it. I am also constructing a related web site about this specific skill with discussion and relevant media.

    I want to monetize this package as best as possible. Some of my thoughts are as follows:

    To include the small booklet free for whoever purchases the e-book as an incentive. I've seen many web sites that hawk e-books always make it a package -- "as a bonus, get this free booklet!" etc. In this way, the booklet simply helps motivate people to buy the e-book.

    Alternatively, I might give the booklet away for free. It would be a draw for the web site, and would include inside links to purchase the e-book and some sales copy. And, I could use a sign-up sheet to gain a mailing list.

    Additionally, I was thinking that I might include some affiliate links within the e-booklet (if this is possible -- is it?) for related products.

    Finally, it seems to me that a lot of pricing for e-books is somewhat arbitrary. Is that true? What guidelines should I follow in setting the price for a 140 page e-book relating to skills development in performing arts?

    All of your experience and input is desired and appreciated. Thank you!

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hazlcha
    I have just written a 140 page e-book on a specific area of the performing arts. I have also written a small e-booklet of about 14 pages to supplement it. I am also constructing a related web site about this specific skill with discussion and relevant media.
    Sounds like you're on the right track.
    I want to monetize this package as best as possible. Some of my thoughts are as follows:

    To include the small booklet free for whoever purchases the e-book as an incentive. I've seen many web sites that hawk e-books always make it a package -- "as a bonus, get this free booklet!" etc. In this way, the booklet simply helps motivate people to buy the e-book.
    That could work, but I'm not crazy about it.
    Alternatively, I might give the booklet away for free. It would be a draw for the web site, and would include inside links to purchase the e-book and some sales copy. And, I could use a sign-up sheet to gain a mailing list.
    Getting better...
    Additionally, I was thinking that I might include some affiliate links within the e-booklet (if this is possible -- is it?) for related products.
    There ya go. Whatever you do with the smaller booklet won't really affect things too much, unless you implement that last bit and use the booklet to drive traffic to the for-sale book. You can definitely affiliate link to various products and services from within the eBook (and the booklet, too).
    Finally, it seems to me that a lot of pricing for e-books is somewhat arbitrary. Is that true? What guidelines should I follow in setting the price for a 140 page e-book relating to skills development in performing arts?
    Completely arbitrary, yes. Think about what you would want to pay for a book of that length, about that topic. Ask yourself if it could reasonably sell for more. Chances are, it can. In my experience, many authors who self-publish set their prices too low for fear that people will give them a hard time ("This book isn't worth $xx, are you crazy??"). Don't consider that. If you undervalue your product, people will think it of low quality (then again, if you set it too high, they'll think you're full of too, so be careful). Try looking at what similar books are priced at as well.

    ---

    One last thing. You've got over 150 pages of content about performing arts, right? The book + the booklet. eBooks are good for topics that change on a regular basis - which is why there are a million and one eBooks about internet marketing, Google, eBay and things like that. If your topic is something more stable than that, and you've got a great page count, have you considered doing a real book instead of an eBook? Places like Lulu.com and BookSurge.com can print your book on demand, and get it into places like Amazon. That's what I'm doing for my upcoming book - I wouldn't dream of doing an eBook-only distribution on it, because I'll make far more money on it as a regular book.

    Food for thought, maybe
    Daniel M. Clark
    Tech Manager
    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  3. #3
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    Thanks Daniel. From the way you write your post, you are clearly a writer!! And clearly know your way around the marketing skill set for ebooks.

    And what ways can you suggest for pushing the free ebooklet? Anything else I should consider to throw into the plan?

    I'll think about the Lulu thing. Are there technical legal requirements for that, such as getting an isbn number if it'll be in print?

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    How you handle the booklet will depend entirely on how you handle the book. If you decide to self-publish, you can either incorporate the booklet content into the book (if it's not already found in the book) or you can simply add a notice to the book directing readers to the website where they can download the booklet (great for building an email list). If you decide to go with a straight eBook distribution, you can pretty much do whatever you like with the booklet - give it away, use it as an incentive, whatever. Completely wide open.

    As far as the ISBN number, no, you don't technically need one if you self publish, but there are advantages to having one. If you want to get listed at Amazon or Barnes & Noble or other booksellers, you'll need one. If all you want to do is sell it off your website and use Lulu or BookSurge as your printer, you don't need one. My first book, the one I wrote about CafePress two years ago, did not have an ISBN - all sales went through CafePress because they also print books. My upcoming book will have an ISBN because I want it listed at as many places as possible.

    There are no technical legal requirements at all - just read and understand the instructions and terms of use for the service you self-publish with and you're good to go
    Daniel M. Clark
    Tech Manager
    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  5. #5
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    i still like the hardcopy book. i can't read ebook too long. it hurts my eyes after a hour of reading on the screen.

  6. #6
    Newbie BKCorinthian's Avatar
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    You can really tell alot about a person by the questions they ask. It sounds like your ideas are coming together on this project and I hope it sells well for you. A couple brief contributions that may help you:

    1) The e-booklet is a great idea, and I think the best way to work it would be to find a DHTML exit popup for your website. When someone shows up and doesn't make a purchase and tries to exit the site, your popup could offer your free e-booklet before they leave. You'll get your promo material in their hands as well as an e-mail address.

    2) Or you could set up a squeeze page offering the free e-booklet if a user submits their name and email address before proceeding to your pitch page, but I have found the exit dhtml popup to work better than this strategy in applications like yours. Squeeze pages have their place, but I'm not sure if your particular case is one of them.

    3) Hard copy books don't allow you the additional revenue stream that you can get from littering your e-book with affiliate links. This is why so many e-books give such high commissions. They can make more money off of the back end.

    Hope that helps, and good luck!

    -BK

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Well, that's one opinion - and I pretty much vehemently disagree with the first two points. Popups and squeeze pages (especially squeeze pages) take away from the credibility of the book. There are more respectable ways of building an email list.

    Littering an eBook with affiliate links is fine, if that's the goal... but again, look at the most successful, well respected books - they're not done that way.

    The question that needs to be answered is this: do you want to be one of the millions of cheap eBooks that nobody really respects, or do you want to publish something that people will recommend to their friends and actually read and respect? eBooks are not inherently bad, but done badly, they're terrible.
    Daniel M. Clark
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    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the feedback.

    I am not a fan of popups either, and neither are most browser softwares. They are too much of a used-car-salesman feel.

    Since the ebook world is wide open, I do need to differentiate. But I think that the subject matter is already significantly different to accomplish that. I was concerned by the choice of term "littered".

    We don't want litter, I think. But how many affiliate links, and how many sales pitches for the main for-sale ebook do we want to have? In my draft, I have one at the beginning in the text, and another at the end.

    And where to work in affiliate links for related products? In a resource box at the corners, or every few pages?

    Interesting and educational discussion here, thanks.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Unless the eBook is specifically about a product, there shouldn't be many (if any) pitches in the book... people reading an informative book don't want to have their reading experience interrupted by a pitch. The most natural thing to do is to look at the book like you would a website. Where a link would fit naturally into the text, insert it - and make it an affiliate link where possible.

    The most important thing when it comes to writing is to give people what they expect. When you read a magazine, you expect a dedicated page of ads every 2-3 pages. When you're at a website, you expect banners. When you're watching TV, you expect commercials. Deviating from those standards is jarring and hurts visitor/reader retention. Check out theonion.com - they've got ads at the website, but if you buy one of their compilation books at Barnes & Noble, the ads have been removed. Why? Because readers do not expect ads in books like that (even books that are based on websites).

    For books, even eBooks, you need to be judicious in your advertising and linking. Don't pitch while you're trying to educate or inform. Keep your links relevant and use them sparingly. If you're linking out to XYZ Company, you don't need to put a link on every instance of "XYZ Company" in the text.

    Sprinkling a few throughout the text is fine, but how about including a reference page in the back of the book? A list, like an index, of all the links?

    These are the types of things that will set your eBook apart from all the millions of cheap get-rich-quick eBooks that are polluting the internet.
    Daniel M. Clark
    Tech Manager
    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  10. #10
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    It seems that we have become so conditioned to the affiliate hyped e-books that we we've confused a delivery method with a writing style. An e-book in it's simplest form is just another way of publishing an informational or literary work. Moby Dick as an e-book is identical in content to a hard copy version of Moby Dick, there aren't any affiliate links to whale blubber included. Each delivery method does allow for additional marketing opportunities that CAN be exploited, however it is not necessary to do so. If you are giving away the booklet, it may be appropriate to have additional marketing information included particularly for the larger work. However, if I'm paying for a book, whether it's a hard copy or e-book, I don't expect or welcome commercials.

    That being said, hazlcha, it sounds like you have written a literary work (notice I didn't refer to it as an e-book) that you would like to appeal to a very specific audience. In this case that audience would be one that is interested in the performing arts. You should keep your audience in mind when deciding how to market your works. While squeeze pages may seem perfectly acceptable for the types of e-books that hawk get rich quick schemes, a squeeze page for a work about the performing arts would just seem tacky at best.

    Pop-ups, eh, I don't like them, but they can be done without being too disruptive. Keep in mind that many will be blocked anyway, so any info there that isn't repeated on page is lost. You'd probably be better off just avoiding them.

    Think first of your work as a work of art, and then think about the best way(s) to publish that work. Don't automatically discount the idea of a hard copy book for the main work and consider publishing it both ways to give your readers a choice.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  11. #11
    Newbie BKCorinthian's Avatar
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    I'm sorry you guys don't dig on the whole pop-up thing. And I completely understand where you are coming from. Certain types of products are more appropriately marketed without them. But from my experience, I find my commissions to be higher when I promote sites that have some sort of last second customer retention offer. I think they are most effective for "one time shot" products, where the potential customer is either going to buy or isn't. There's no real reason for them to revisit the site if they are not going to buy, so it makes sense to try to offer them some sort of deal on the way out. Content heavy sites and blog sites WILL tick off their visitors with anoying pop-ups. But I think if someone is promoting their own product and they paid $0.10 to get someone to their site from Adwords/Adcenter/Sponsored Search, I think it is well within their rights to try and make that $0.10 investment go as far as possible.

    I know you guys probably have a lot of years on me, but I was just speaking from what I have observed in products that I have promoted, and what those types of marketing campaigns have done to my bottom line. And as I transition from promoting other peoples products to promoting my own, I would find it difficult not to at least try them given the degree of success I have observed in others who have implemented them.

    And as of right now, I'm not aware of any software or popup blockers that can block DHTML popups. A fairly easy to use program that I have used for this is called Instant Popover. Not sure who makes it, but if you are looking for one just google for it.

    -BK

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Insomuch as I refuse to "stoop" to and detest those types of sales tactics (pop-ups -overs -afters), I have been known to take advantage of a last ditch offer on occasion. From purely a business perspective it may be profitable. I have seen tasteful last ditch offers that don't coerce you or make it hard to leave. You'd have to be very careful not to pester your visitor.
    Last edited by Boomers; April 11th, 2008 at 01:51 AM. Reason: Wording...



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