We have talked about this several times on our blog, ads are not the only way to monetize a blog, you should certainly discover other options as well.
In case you are curious, here are few ways to monetize your blog. In this post, we will be talking about creating an eBook and selling it on your blog and I’ll be showing you the step by step procedure on how to do it. So, consider this post a small guide to walk you through the process of creating an eBook.
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Step 1: Find a Problem in Your Area of Expertise.
You cannot just create any product to sell on your blog, you have to do a lot of thinking before deciding on what product to create, because it will affect the amount of sale your product is going to generate when it’s promoted.
The product surely has to be related to the topic of your blog. As you already have an audience, look for the problems faced by your readers. The best way to find this out is by reading comments on your blog (and on blogs related to your topic), find out what people are talking about on social media. Look for other products related to your topic and see what problems people are facing with it.
Make a note of problems faced by your readers, then sit down and try categorizing them and ask yourself what you can to do solve these problems, if it can be solved by writing a nicely written eBook, which your readers will pay for. If yes, you have got a topic to write an eBook.
Step 2: Decide the Length and Pricing of the eBook
The problem may be big or small, if it makes the life of your readers easy, then you can surely go ahead and create an eBook over it.
Usually, the pricing of the eBook is directly proportional to the length of the eBook, but you have to keep one thing in mind, decide on what level you are going to write the eBook, will it be for beginners, if yes, then the eBook is going to very detailed one, as you have to explain every bits in your eBook you can keep the pricing a bit on the higher side. (for Example $47, $67 etc).
If you are writing the eBook for people who already know some basic things, your eBook can be to the point and short, and you can still charge them something like $27 or $37 but there is no hard and fast rule for this.
The best option would be to look at the existing eBooks being sold in your niche, whats their pricing and how broadly these eBooks cover the topic.
The other options are to do a survey on your blog and ask your readers how much they would spend on an informational product and what they expect. it really helps.
Pricing your eBook Higher: Keeping the pricing high means it’s going to be tough to sell them, you really need to work on promotional activities or perhaps introduce an affiliate program. But even one sale would bring good amount of money which is 2x to 3x the money you would make from selling a low priced eBook.
Pricing your eBook Lower: Keeping pricing low has it’s own pros and cons, you may make good number of sales but you will still have to do 2 to 3 sales to make up for one sale of the higher priced eBook. Also, the affiliates won’t be much interested in promoting your product as their cut would be low as well.
So, there are many factor that play the part in the success of an eBook, i.e, how much your readers are willing to pay, how much they are already paying for existing eBooks.
Step 3: Choose a Word processor to write the eBook
Choosing a word processor to write the eBook is quite important, you cannot do all the writing in a simple notepad program, though, many would be writing in it, but, it doesn’t provide any features other than writing.
You can start writing your eBook in Google Docs, which is the simplest yet powerful online processor. Your work keeps getting saved automatically in the background so you don’t have to worry about getting it lost.
Google Docs is a web app, which means, it is available on any platform. You can use any computer to access your writings. Write on your Desktop, continue writing it on your Laptop and make edits, proofread etc on your mobile phone, it just makes the writing life easy.
Microsoft Word (MS Word): If your eBook requires your to add a lot of screenshots or pictures, then you might want an application that is installed locally on your computer so that you don’t have to upload all the images to the online processors. Microsoft Office has a nice office suite for that.
If the majority of your eBook is words, you can still use Google Docs for the first and second draft of your eBook where you will mainly write. You can then download your file and open it in MS Word to add images in places.
Page app in Mac which does the job pretty well is an alternative for MS Word for Mac users. Though, MS Office is available for Mac as well.
OpenOffice, Libreoffice and FreeOffice are the free alternatives to MS Office which are equally powerful and many features of MS Office to help you write your eBook.
Step 4: Format the eBook by Yourself or Hire someone to do it.
When you are done writing the eBook, it’s time to format it properly, which many people forget to do. In this step, you will review the eBook you have written. Apart from finding errors, remove or add few lines wherever necessary. Rearrange the portions of the eBook to make it go in a flow.
Try creating a pattern so that it makes it easy for the reader to learn and understand what you have tried to teach.
For example, if you have few steps, try giving h2 heading to all your step titles, and h3 to all the major elements you mention under it, try doing bold or h4 to the points you put under major elements. Just pick a theme and stick with it. (a live example is this post itself).
Extract important points and put them in quotes to make it interesting and help reader find out the important bit from a paragraph.
Creating a nicely formatted eBook from a raw file of words is an art, so make sure you do it properly. If you do not have this skill of making things look good or time to do it. You can certainly hire people to help you with it.
Step 5: Design the eBook Cover
Now comes the design of the eBook cover, It is said ‘Don’t judge a Book from it’s Cover’ because there are many people who judge Books from their cover. So, it won’t hurt to give some time and thought to create a compelling eBook Cover for such people who could be potential buyers of your eBook.
99designs for Professionally Designed Cover: Unlike the Book Cover, eBook Cover needs to be in different shapes and sizes, which would be used to promote the eBook. So, it will be better if you hire a designer from sites like 99Designs to get a more professional design.
Photoshop Template to Design the Cover: If you don’t have a budget for that, there are few online templates available for creating eBook covers but most of the sites I have used gave me a very low quality cover. Here is a photoshop template, which requires a bit of learning curve, but will get your job done. You would still need some basic design skills though.
Step 6: Convert the File into PDF, ePub (eBook Readers Format).
There are two format types to create an eBook, PDF, which is mainly read on Computers or can be printed to get the exact same design formatting of the eBook. The other one is ePub, which is a format popular on Smartphones and Tablet PCs.
Creating PDF Format eBooks
The eBooks mainly sell in PDF format, which is quite easy to create. Even MS Word lets you save the files in PDf format. So, if you have MS Word, you can create it in just few clicks. You can download other software from the internet.
Creating ePub Format eBooks
Apart from the standard PDF file, ePub format has become really popular on Mobile Phones and Tablet PCs, people love reading on their secondary devices, so, it will be a smart move to offer your eBook into ePub format so that it can be read on Smartphones and Tablet PCs as well.
But, if you are using a lot of images, you will face problems regarding the formatting of your eBook in ePub format, the images might not be placed where they are supposed to be, because this format gives options like increase the font size, alignment, spacing etc.
The trick is to remove images from this version if they are not very important, or place them in such a way that they remain placed inside the relevant paragraph. Try avoiding references like ‘look at the image below’ or look at the image above’ because, well, the image might be below or above depending on the settings of the reader.
Step 7: Choose a Service to Deliver eBook and Handle Payments
You need a service that lets you store and deliver the eBook to Your Customer and take payments for you. Thanks to the competition, we have a lot of options these days.
ClickBank: It is the most popular service to sell informational products, probably every popular marketer is using ClickBank to sell their products. They charge one time fee and take a cut on every sale and handle everything else for you.
Your product needs to be very high quality and your blog has to be quite popular for you to be accepted in their system. If you have decided to price your eBook on the higher side, you can use this service to sell it as it will entice all the affiliate marketers to promote your eBook.
E-junkie: E-junkie is a no hype service like Clickbank but works really well if your eBook is priced in mid range. It also has an affiliate program, in case you want to increase your sales. It only charges $5 per month to use their services.
Gumroad: Gumroad is the most user friendly service to sell digital products, Just upload your eBook, set a price for it and dive your visitors to the page. It charges a a small fee on every transaction but takes a lot of headache away.
All of the above services are recommended to sell your own products.
Step 8: Set up the Sales Page
There are so many theories regarding the sales pages, some people like to put all their credentials, proofs on the page, some people just write down an introduction and reply on the community to do the rest. But this page is very important to decide the fate of your eBook.
Writing a sales copy is an art, and that’s the reason there are people who charge as much as $1000 to write a sales copy for products. You might not want to spend that kind of money on it, but make sure you give it that much importance.
It is the page which will convince your readers to take an action and buy the eBook. To convince the people, you can put proofs that the solution really worked for you or someone you know and you or your blog is influential in your niche.
Showing proofs, adding videos of you talking to people about your product will help your product get more sales. So take time to create a great sales page or hire someone to do it.
To set up a sales page, you can use WordPress theme which will be easy to set up and you can make quick edits whenever you want. We use WP-Prosperity wordpress theme which includes a landing page template which is perfect for setting up Sales pages also.
Step 9: Start Promoting the eBook
Promotion is the key to get more people land on your sales page and buy your eBook. Apart from putting banners on your own blog, creating a buzz around your product, you have to get people talk about your eBook on their blog/ forums, Twitter, Facebook etc.
You can try buying banner ads on other related blogs where you feel the visitors of that blog would be interested in your product.
Introducing an affiliate program is also a type of promotion where you are seeking the help of other markets to promote your eBook in return of a cut (usually 30% to 50%). So, if there are more people promoting your eBook, you’ll sell more.
Distributing review copies can also help gain some traction for your eBook, you can give the copes to some influential people on your niche and ask them to review it. Everyone who talks about your eBook in public will become a promoter of your eBook.
Do Giveaways: Organize a contest on your blog where you giveaway one (or more than one) copy of your eBook, Giveaways have a potential to go viral, and if they did, you will get a lot of people interested in your product.
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