The Easy eBook: Electronic Storytelling Goes Beyond Novels

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The illustrious “eBook” is something that the Kindle world is more than familiar with. Who wouldn’t love a whole collection of their favorite novels in the small space of an iPad? But, these marvelous works of electronic storytelling does not stop with novels.

Professionals have been gobbling up trade publications and business tricks in the form of eBooks for years now. So, how can you, a “lowly” startup, take part in all the fun? Well, it’s probably easier than you think. Let’s break it down.

Leverage Your Existing Content

The first mistake you’re probably making is assuming that you have to start from scratch and come up with an entire book’s worth of new content to fill your shiny new publication. In actuality, you’ve probably been building a library of tips, tricks and anecdotes for a long time.

Take your blog for example, aren’t those blog posts just mini chapters on a specific topic? If you run a graphic design company, then you’ve probably been posting blogs about visual hierarchy, marketing and conversion. Perhaps, even general trends in the space. Right there, you’ve got the makings for a solid Digital Design 101 eBook.

It’s more than just your blog, though. If you have a website, you have tons of information already floating around out there. This information can include case studies, “about us” pages and philosophies. Comb through the content and see what you have. Not only can you pull information directly from your site and expand on it, but you can use the information as inspiration for a larger, all-original book.

Listen to What Your Customers Want

Alongside your wealth of existing content, you probably have piles of comments, along with feedback and criticism from your friends, family and customers. Rather than going to market with a shot-in-the-dark eBook, you can take into account what people have already told you they want.

Which blog posts are performing best? Which Facebook posts get the most likes? What customer service complaints do you get? Taking a cue from your customers will ensure that the eBook is successful, but more importantly, it will ensure that you aren’t wasting your time on developing content to begin with.

Create and Edit Your Info

Now that you’ve determined what people want to hear and you’ve compiled the already-finished content you want to feature, it’s time to actually create your masterpiece. While a bulk of the work could already be done from existing blog posts, you’ll probably need to piece together a plan and structure. How should the content be grouped? How long should it be?

Beyond this, you’ll want to set up some general commentary to allow the book to flow as one unit, rather than a disjointed pastiche of your previous blogs. Write intros, conclusions, transitions, etc. It won’t take much time, but trust us; it will add some personality, depth and reliability to your book making it a much more viable product.

Provide Sneak Peeks

Now that you’ve got your ideal content, you’ve built it out and you know it’ll be received well. How do you make it worth your while? Sure, you might want to offer your eBook for download for a reasonable price (probably a few dollars, depending on the size), but try to take things a step further.

Most people are more likely to buy something if they can get a sneak peek and feel comfortable about their full purchase. Offer up a chapter or two for free and let users take things for a spin. Then, offer a download for the whole eBook. A solid marketing tactic is also about offering discounts, promotions and giveaways for signing up for an email list or following your social channels.

The takeaway here is to make the process as easy as possible. Your core business is (probably) not writing books. So, does it make sense for you to take valuable time away from your business to write a book in its entirety? Probably not. Leverage your content and use the product as a tool for your business.

Another takeaway is to remember that selling the eBook shouldn’t be your only goal. Maybe even give it away (depending on how much work you put in). Remember, the goal is to build brand trust and gain advocates. If you’re an authority on something, your fans will follow.

Savannah Marie is a writer and consultant for Clarity Way. She writes for various publications about creative content marketing, social media and public relations.

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