Selling a book online is much different than offline.
Imagine for a moment you are going to a bookstore to get a book on candle making. You get to the store, find the section on candle making and begin browsing through the titles. You pick up the individual books, examine the table of contents and maybe even read a few paragraphs. Eventually you pick the one which you believe suits you best and purchase it.
Buying a book (or eBook) online is nothing like that—the purchase decision is made simply by the title of the book and the description on the website.
So, in order for your book to sell you must have a compelling “theme” to build your book around. Your theme is what is often referred to as a unique selling proposition or “USP”.
Here are the steps to getting that done:
Step One: Examine your competitor’s web sites.
At this point many people counsel you to purchase all of your competitor’s books, figure out what they go about solving your prospect’s problems then decide how you can do it better in your own book.
Good advice but it lacks the most basic fundamental—the one you learned in the first two paragraphs—people don’t see the content until they BUY. They make the decision to buy based on the web copy.
So, I want you to visit your competition’s web sites. For each site, determine what (if anything) is unique about their offer. Are they offering a unique solution to your prospect’s problems? Are they giving a unique service? Unique information?
Those are the messages you are competing with.
Step Two: Determine your own unique USP.
Brainstorm on something you can deliver to your customers that others are not. Do you have unique experience no one else has? Can you offer a “step-by-step” approach rather than just “information”?
Sometimes a seeming “disadvantage” can be your advantage…
Several years ago I came up with a great idea for an eBook. My main competition was another eBook at around 175 pages—most of it fluff. As I looked at the product and website of my competitor, and as I heard from his customers (remember: research!) I found many complaining the information was just too long and not simple enough to implement.
I made my eBook just 60 or so pages long, with simple, step-by-step plans and my USP was that I had a “no fat, simple, step-by-step plan”.
It worked. The first year that little eBook earned over $50,000—and it took only a couple days to put together.
Step Three: Turn your USP into a title.
Have you read the crazy titles the “tabloids” come up with for their articles? “500 Pound Cat Eats Owner”, “Elvis Found Alive in Jamaica”, “Something You’re Eating Right Now Can Poison You-Do You Know What It Is?.”
Pretty captivating, huh?
The tabloids use these crazy titles to get us to buy and read their publication. They understand the high value a captivating title can have in getting their product sold.
The same thing is true for any book you write for sale. You need to have a captivating title that grabs people’s attention and forces them to buy.
Here are some ways to create a captivating title for your next project:
1. Have Emotional Appeal
“How to Lose Weight on a Low-Calorie Diet” Yawn.
How about “Suddenly Sexy: How One Small Change Can Give You the Body of Your Dreams (and His!)” Wow, sign me up!
Appealing to emotion dramatically increases the likelihood your article or book will be picked up and read. Appealing to our innermost desires, our ambitions, our curiosity or our vanity can be powerfully effective.
Consider this title for a book on overcoming diabetes: “No More Needles: A Handbook for Beating Diabetes”. It appeals to both the fear of pain as well as the hope for a cure.
2. Make it Catchy
“Suddenly Sexy” conveys a whole image in just two words. “No More Needles” does the same. Over the years you have probably seen many titles with a “catchy” theme:
“Chicken Soup for the Soul”
“Rich Dad, Poor Dad”
“The One Minute Manager”
“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”
3. Convey a Benefit
“Six Figures in Six Months” conveys a compelling benefit. So do “No More Tantrums” or “Fly Free: How to Fly Almost Anywhere on Earth for Nothing”. Each has an obvious benefit to the reader.
4. Be Creative by Copying Others
To create captivating titles, look at what titles have been compelling or successful in the past then adapt them to your own use.
If I were writing an article or book on parenting, I might use “Chicken Soup for the Soul” as inspiration.
First, I would break it down:
“Chicken Soup” – a warm, homey, positive image for many
“for the Soul” – the target of the image
Next, I would try several variations to see if one works well:
“A Warm Blanket for the Hurried Parent”
“A Soft Shoulder for the Parent”
“Gentle Advice for Frazzled Parents”
Of these three I like the third the best, though I would probably work with this more to come up with an even better title-or look to a different winning headline for inspiration.
Step Four: Outline your book, with sub-points springing from the theme.
Make a detailed outline, with your major points each representing a new chapter. The more detailed you make your outline, the better organized your content will be.
Step Five: Write your book or have it written for you
If you are going to have someone else write the book for you, check out these resources:
If you are doing it yourself…
A few pointers:
1. Use a word processor with spell check ability.
2. Short sentences, short paragraphs.
3. Use a “conversational” tone—like you are talking to someone across a table.
Step Six: Add screenshots (if applicable)
This is EASY and almost everyone can do it.
Depending on your eBook topic, you may want to add “screenshots” of things you are doing on your computer as you go. This is how you can do that simply and easily…
Most computers today have a “Print Screen” button. In Windows machines the button makes a copy of everything on the screen and places it on the “clipboard”. You can then simply “paste” it into whatever document you are writing.
You can also use the “print screen” then paste technique to capture an image from your screen then paste it for editing into your Paint program or other image editor.
Step Seven: Add artwork
The bare minimum you need is a good-looking cover for your eBook. If you are the creative type and have the resources, you can make it yourself.
If you AREN’T the creative type, then you can get someone to make it for you. Plan on spending $35+ for each eBook cover created.
In addition you can add clip art and other illustrations to your eBook. You can buy these in bulk (we have a directory of 500K pictures we got for about $20) or you can get them from various sites online. A couple we have used in the past are:
If you have a digital camera it is also simple to make high-quality pictures you can add to your eBook.
Step Eight: Have people read your book
This is crucial…have your family and friends read your book. Print it out, give them a red pen and have them mark up any mistakes they find. (It’s often best to give it to your mother-in-law since she will often find more of your mistakes than anyone else!)
After you get back your book, make the changes and you are ready to create an “electronic” version or eBook.
Step Nine: Make your book into an eBook.
There are three main options for creating an eBook.
The first is to create an Acrobat Reader file (also called a “PDF”). This has become the standard over the last few years. PDFs are now so common most people are accustomed to looking at them so you typically have fewer customer service issues with PDFs. PDFs also work on both Windows and Macintosh computers.
The second option is to use a custom eBook creator. Custom eBook creator software typically breaks your eBook down into website-like pages. Custom eBook creators typically work only with Windows computers.
The third option is to purchase a program that creates your eBook then gives each purchaser a unique password to be able to view the contents. This, in theory, prevents someone from giving away the book free to others or purchasing the book then asking for a refund just so they can get it for free.
Here’s why I believe the first option is the best one…
When your eBook is done as a PDF file you are going to have far fewer customer service issues than if you use either of the other two options. I have sold thousands of eBooks and in only about 2% of the cases do we have service issues with people being able to read the eBook.
But you need to take one further step to protect your eBook from piracy…
Add this disclaimer to the title page of your book:
If you have received this book from any website other than All-In-One-Business.com it is stolen. We pay a reward for reporting theft. Simply send an email to:
Of course you should substitute your own website for mine, but you get the idea.
We have been using this method for four years and have had only a few instances of theft.
But what about people who ask for a refund?
Our refund rate is about 2.5%. While I don’t know for sure how many people are asking for a refund simply to get an eBook for free, I know it isn’t many. I would rather not have the customer service issues than worry about the .5% or so who might try to “steal” from me.
Here is how you can create a PDF:
You can buy Adobe Acrobat (about $250).
You can go here and get one made online for free (actually you can get 5 made last time I checked…):
or you can use one of many programs—some of them are free, some are $9.95. I can’t recommend one over another since I haven’t personally used any of them, but one I hear does a good job is this one:
Once your eBook is in PDF format it is ready to go.
Step Ten: Make a back-up copy of your files to a CD or your external hard drive.
Trust me, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
That’s it—ten steps and you’re done and have an eBook that can set the web on fire and line your pockets with instant cash.
The proceeding article is an excerpt from Kevin’s just updated, 2006 Success Secrets course. When you are ready to really succeed online you need to pick it up:
Kevin Bidwell owns http://www.All-In-One-Business.com and has helped 4,953 people start a business from home. Visit now to pick up your own free How to Start a Business from Home guide now.
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