Creating A Marketable eBook

eBook iconWhen it comes to web marketing, bloggers know that to succeed they must have something to sell. Most bloggers opt to sell other people’s products or services, earning a small percentage of the purchase price, or being paid a flat rate for each sale. The correct term to describe such online marketers is “resellers”, and there is a better way!

Many people do quite well signing up to participate as resellers through the tens of thousands of affiliate programs currently on offer. Well known brick and mortar businesses, such as Walmart, Macy’s, Apple Stores, Target, and Kohl’s, all operate affiliate marketing programs, as do a multitude of lesser known companies. While it’s advantageous to promote products offered by retailers that are household names, you’re just one of thousands of resellers doing so. A less well known retailer may offer the advantage of a less saturated market, but it’s likely consumer trust in the brand is lacking as well. A lack of consumer trust translates into much more difficulty converting your website visitors you send to the retailer into sales, thus costing you money. Plus, no matter whether the retailers’ affiliate programs are recognized brands or not, the amount you earn from each sale is usually in the single digit percentages, meaning you need to make a lot of sales to make your efforts pay off.

Instead of making peanuts for each sale, an ever increasing number of web marketers are choosing to be affiliate marketers themselves. Their goal is to have resellers join their affiliate programs and sell products or services they offer. Of course to be an affiliate marketer you need a product or service to offer consumers. The best way to do so is through product creation.

Most people are not programmers capable of creating a software applications that online shoppers can purchase and download. Most wannabee affiliate marketers aren’t willing to carry a costly inventory of manufactured goods, nor manufacture items to sell either. Thus the first challenge to becoming an affiliate marketer then is to determine what you can create yourself that will be marketable online. Creating an eBook is just such a product.

Your eyes just rolled up because you are not a writer, have no idea what to write about anyway, and even if you did you don’t know how to create an eBook. Not to worry, creating an eBook is easier than it appears to be a first glance.

What topic to write about…

Everyone has something they’re interested in, such as a hobby, sport or pastime  Do you enjoy fishing, cooking, hunting, quilting, or maybe rock climbing?

These are all excellent topics to base a “How To” eBook on. Do you play a musical instrument  Are you an avid gardener? Do you snowboard or ski? Whatever interests you is likely to be of interest to others as well, and those interested people are the market for your eBook.

Another option to writing content from scratch is to use PLR articles on a related topic. PLR stands for Public License Release, which are articles that the authors allow anyone to use. PLR articles usually contain outdated information or are poorly written however, so need to be edited. Even more up to date, or non-time sensitive PLR articles need to either be rewritten or spun to make them unique.

Spinning an article means to run it through a program that reads the content and then rewords it. Also, to take a foreign language article and run it trough a translation program is another way to spin an article. The problem with either article spinning programs or ones that do translations is that neither produce a quality end product. If you’ve ever come across articles on the web that are full of grammatical and punctuation errors, or that don’t make sense much of the time, they were likely spun articles. I personally recommend you manually rewrite PLR articles if you use them. Rewritten they’re a much better read, and you want your eBook to make a good impression or you’ve defeat the purpose of creating it in the first place. To find PLR articles you can simply Google “PLR” or “Public License Release Articles”. Prices vary based on topic, number of articles in a package, or quality. I purchased 125,000 PLR articles covering every topic imaginable for just $5, but all need to be rewritten. However, when I need a blog post or website article having something I can rewrite, compared to writing the same article from scratch saves a lot of time. Also, there are times when I have writer’s block. When I do I open the most relevant topic folder and read a few PLR articles. When I do I immediately come up with a better idea and start to rewrite. Before I know it, my own article is finished.

Sadly, the link I used to purchase the large package of PLR articles no longer works. Fortunately, I have reseller rights to the package of 125,000 PLR articles, as does anyone that purchased it. If you want your own zip file that includes them all, use the contact info at the bottom of this article to let me know, or add a comment to this post. I’ll send you a link to download them for the same $5 I paid. Remember though, I do not recommend they be used without first being read and then updated, edited or expanded upon.

The cost to create an eBook is zero to minimal…

Creating an eBook need not cost you anything if you’re literate enough to write in the language of your target market and have basic HTML and graphic design skills.

If you aren’t fluent in the language of the market your eBook will target, you’ll have to either have someone translate what you write, or pay someone to write the content of your eBook.

Fortunately, it’s possible to hire a skilled ghost writer very inexpensively. On average the cost to have someone write the chapters of your eBook is just US$5.00 for every 300 words, less if you hire them to write the entire publication. It can cost far more to have what you write yourself professionally translated, anywhere from 5 cents per word, to as much as 26 cents US per word for more technical based content. Plus, ghost writers, also referred to as copywriters, will do research if asked. Translators will only translate what you’ve written, meaning you must do all of the research yourself.

I recommend looking at having your eBook content written by a micro job copywriter if you are not able to do so on your own. Micro jobbers are people willing to perform tasks for anywhere from as little as $4, to at most $100, with copy-writing generally available at the lower end of the price range.

Another cost you may or may have to contend with is the design of your eBook cover and any graphics you want to include. Likewise, if you include photos within your eBook that are not your own, you may have to pay to use them. Again, I recommend turning to micro jobbers for affordable graphics. It’s possible to find someone capable of designing a professional eBook cover for just $5.00, and to pay an illustrator just $5.00 for each illustration they create specifically for your eBook.

Depending on how you plan to market your eBook, you may need banners or other promotional graphics to offer resellers as tools to help them sell your eBook. it’s recommended that anyone wanting to be taken seriously as an affiliate marketer, regardless of their product or service, they make promotional tools available to resellers. My reasoning for suggesting this is simple. If the big players are offering marketing and promotional tools as part of their affiliate programs, and you do too, the assumption is you play in the same league they do. If you’re able to create banners yourself, great. If you aren’t I suggest you again look to micro jobbers. Most graphic artists offering their services on micro job sites are willing to create banners for just $5, possibly less if you order a few of the same theme but in different sizes.

For sure you’re going to need at least one squeeze page to sell your eBook. A squeeze page is a single webpage that describes your eBook, explains why someone should purchase it, and includes repeated calls to action. A call to action, also called a trigger, can be as simple as a text link that says “Buy Now”, but whatever the text or image link is, it takes the person clicking on it to a page with a form to be filled out with PayPal or credit card info. Once the form is filled out and the “Pay Now” or “Submit” button is clicked, payment is collected and the purchaser is redirected to another page, usually called a “Thank You Page”. This third page is the last in the purchase process, and includes a link to download a copy of your eBook.

Creating a professional looking squeeze page is vital to converting page visitors into purchasers. The following two pages are not as important, and may even be templates you have to use if you’re going to be marketing your eBook through established affiliate networks like ClickBank. Once again, I recommend turning to micro job sites if you’re unfamiliar with HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), which is the coding that creates what a web browser will display as your squeeze page. Squeeze page creation through micro job sites run anywhere from $5 to $100, and generally you get what you pay for. I’d recommend looking to spend between $25 to $50 for a quality squeeze page. If you are not able to upload script files and configure them within your web hosting account’s cPanel, expect to pay up to $100 for each squeeze page.

Naturally you will need to have a website hosting account, and one that permits you to offer purchasers of your eBook the possibility to download the file. I personally use, and therefore recommend JustHost and HostGator for all your web hosting needs. For squeeze pages you can purchase the least expensive hosting option available. In the event you ever need to upgrade your account to get more storage or bandwidth, you can easily do so.

In total, you should be able to publish your own eBook for under $150.00. Far less if you’re able to perform all of the related tasks yourself. It should cost me nothing but my time to publish an eBook because I’m able to do everything myself. However, time is money so I’ll often pay others to do many of the tasks involve, and as I recommended earlier, those people will be micro jobbers.

Laying out your eBook…

All eBooks follow a similar lay out or format, and it is a very simple one at that.

Page one of your eBook is always the title or cover page. You will create the first page immediately, but if you have not decided on the design, or even the title, leave it a blank page that you can return to and create later. All that is important initially is that the page is available for when you decide to create the design and what text to include.

Page two is always the table of contents. If your eBook is large, it may require more than one page. However, for most eBooks one page is sufficient. This page needs to be left blank until the very end, and to be safe make your content section two pages. You can always delete a page if it’s not needed, and deleting an unnecessary page is far simpler than adding one later.

Starting on page three are the actual pages of content you’ll be writing that make up your eBook.

Your eBook will have to include enough information to make it valuable to the person who downloads it. The reason for this is because to attract both resellers and purchasers of your eBook, it’s advisable to offer a full refund to purchasers who are not 100% satisfied. In fact, to market your eBook through established affiliate networks, such as ClickBank, full refunds are policy. No matter how long your eBook is, make it easy to read, have paragraphs and chapters well spaced, and incorporate bullet text when appropriate.

Your eBook is now finished… but isn’t ready to be published…

Once you’ve finished writing your eBook it’s time to return to your content page to add the sections, and/or chapters, with their corresponding page numbers to complete it. Likewise if you haven’t yet completed the design and layout of your cover / title page do so. Once both are completed, your eBook is almost ready to be offered to the world.

Before you offer your eBook for sale, print off a few copies and give them out to friends, family, and co-workers. Ask them to be brutally honest and highlight anything they find difficult to understand, and anything they think may be a spelling mistake, punctuation or grammatical error, or a typo. You’ll most likely have run your eBook through a spelling and grammar checking program, either as you wrote it or once it was completed. However, no program I know of gets it 100% right, 100% of the time, and often it takes someone else proof reading my own writing to identify areas needing attention. The reason for this is because an author knows what he or she intended to write, and will subconsciously read what they’ve written correctly even though it’s incorrect.

If you don’t want to involve people you know in the proofing of your eBook, which is often the case with the first publication, you can hire a proof reader to do it for anywhere from $5 to $25, depending upon it’s length. The going rate for a micro jobber offering to do proof reading is just $5 per 2000 words.

If after reading this post you’re still at a loss as to how to create an eBook to market through your own affiliate program, or you have questions I left unanswered, feel free to contact me. I live to learn, and I’ve yet to meet someone new I didn’t learn from, even if it was a critique of my posts, so my invitation to contact me is genuine. Posting one’s email address anywhere online is like ringing a dinner bell for spammers, so instead lets connect using Twitter or Facebook.

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