Have you ever read anything online that someone wrote without really knowing much about the subject?
Hmmm… only every day, right?
Like all the “make money online” blogs that are written by people who haven’t made a dime online.
Or all those SEO bloggers who come to MY blog to ask ME the simplest SEO questions and then take my answers to their clients and sell themselves as SEO experts?
Or that A-list blogger (and no, I won’t tell you who it is) who is a very well-recognized traffic conversion expert, whose posts you most likely read and admire, and yet when I asked that blogger what they used to split test their results, the response was:
“I just wing it most of the times.”
I was speechless when I heard that…
However, you and I are a different breed.
We talk the talk, yes, but we also walk the walk.
That’s why I do so many experiments on my blog.
That’s why I publish my monthly income reports.
And that’s why I constantly look for new ways to generate traffic to my blog SO THAT I can teach you how to do the same for your sites.
Yes, I am good with traffic.
However, traffic is only one side of equation when it comes down to building a successful online business.
The other one is MONEY, i.e. the ability to successfully convert that traffic into a monetized sales funnel.
And that’s what I am not that great at.
Out of all the ways to monetize a site, creating a product, and more specifically an information product like an ebook, is the best way to go.
Everyone who’s anyone online says so:
- Why the 21st Century Author is an Internet Entrepreneur – by Brian Clark
- You should write an ebook – by Seth Godin
I, on the other hand, have been talking about writing an ebook only… hmm.. since last Christmas, and still nothing.
Can you relate?
And what is my problem you might ask?
If I pass all the cliche excuses (lack of time, lack of inspiration, sleep, world hunger, etc.), it boils down to this question:
Will the effort of writing an ebook really pay off?
Of course, writing an ebook, even if you distribute it for free, has a lot of benefits, but let’s be realistic (or materialistic, I should say) for a minute:
Does writing an ebook = $?
I am sure I am not the only one who is curious to know the answer to that question, so I decided to ask a friend of mine, the omnipresent Kristi Hines of Kikolani.com, what her thoughts on the subject were.
What Makes Kristi Hines an Expert?
1. Kristi walks the walk – she published her first ebook Blog Post Promotion: The Ultimate Guide (aff) not too long ago.
2. Her ebook was actually worth reading – somewhat of a rarity these days.
3. Low-key promotion: I didn’t see her do an extensive launch of any kind or write a mile-long sales page – great news for us, busy bloggers.
4. Since Kristi is so good at promotion, I knew she’d promote this blog post and thus bring some fresh blood to my blog.
Oops! Have I just said that out loud?
Kristi Hines on “Why Write an Ebook”?
1. Why write an eBook?
There are tons of great reasons to write an eBook.
- It’s a great way to monetize your blog if you decide to sell it.
- It’s also a great way to capture subscribers on your mailing list if you decide to give it as a freebie.
- There’s a good chance that, as a blogger, you already have a ton of content that would fit perfectly as an eBook.
- Your audience will appreciate it because they can consume your content all in one place vs. hopping around your blog archives or, if you’re like me, trying to find everything you write from one website to another.
- If you go the Kindle publishing route, you open yourself up to an audience on Amazon, which is pretty huge.
- If you hope to get a book deal with a major publisher, this at least shows you have experience writing more than just blog posts.
2. How did you choose the topic – did you have the “evergreen” aspect of it in mind?
I really didn’t have evergreen in mind.
In actuality, it’s hard to be evergreen with anything in online marketing due to the changes and downfalls in great services.
For example, early on in my eBook, I talk about how to use PostRank to find awesome topic ideas.
That service was bought out by Google and subsequently died out this May and I’m still searching for a replacement.
Yes, there’s one on the horizon, but they’re stingy about their beta invites thus far.
More than thinking about evergreen, I was thinking about what people really needed information on NOW.
At the time, there wasn’t an eBook (that I know of) that focused on promoting a single piece of content.
Lots of eBooks on overall blog promotion, but nothing for those who might be promoting freelance work, guest posts, or other content that may not be on a site they own.
3. Any tips on writing an eBook more efficiently (things you wish you knew beforehand) would be great.
I don’t know about efficiently, but one trap I was caught in (and still am caught in) is not just writing in little portions.
Sometimes the thought of creating an eBook is overwhelming because of the amount of content you have to either compile and update or create from scratch.
It feels like something that will be extremely time consuming – because it is.
But you can’t put it off just because you know you won’t be able to finish it a day or two after you start it.
You have to just learn to write bits and pieces here and there until it all comes together, unless you do have the fortune of taking an entire week off to just blast it out.
4. Design: how much does it really matter and how did you go about designing yours?
I think design makes a big difference – you can generally tell when an eBook has been professionally edited and designed, from cover to content layout.
I’m a minimalist, so I was OK with something simple.
I just bought a program that generated pretty simple covers for $47 called eCoverCreator3D.
While it got the job done, it wasn’t perfect and I spent a good bit of time playing with it in Gimp to not only get the cover right, but also design the banners.
I’m sure they would have come out much better if I had just went with a designer, and I probably will go with outsourcing the design for my next eBook just to avoid the hassle and have a nicer designed product.
5. How did you choose the affiliate platform to promote it?
Unlike other systems, affiliates don’t have to wait until they hit a certain revenue to get their commissions – if someone just makes $5 in June, I can pay them $5 in July.
I’m sure it’s easier as a seller to use other systems as you don’t have to manage payouts monthly, but I don’t mind – it’s just a monthly reminder in my calendar to download a text file, upload it to Paypal, and send payments.
Plus it’s inexpensive for sellers too – I only pay $5 per month vs. paying $500 up front or giving a certain percentage of sales to the platform.
6. How did you find affiliates?
I didn’t do a terribly big launch – I just emailed my list about the fact I was to release a book, asked a few people I knew if they would be willing to do a review, and then opened up the pre-sales page with an easy to find link to the affiliate program.
7. How often do you think you’ll have to update it?
So far, I’ve updated my eBook three times – two minor updates and one major one to catch up with all of the changes to social media plus new networks and commenting systems that one could use to promote their blog posts upon.
It could probably use an overhaul every six months realistically with all of the new things that come out in the online marketing world.
8. Any clever tips on how to promote it? (in addition to reading your book )
I didn’t do a major launch like other online marketers do – it was about two or three emails to my list, two or three blog posts on my site, and that was about it.
Having a good sales page really makes a difference.
I might be able to do better if I got into long sales letters and videos, but really I just promoted my book like I promote everything else – very straightforward vs. sales hype.
I think a good majority of promotion came from my wonderful affiliates – if you get good affiliates, they really do the work for you in return for their commission.
Offer good affiliate commission, and you’ll be set!
9. Revenue: did it pay off? If you can reveal any concrete numbers, that would be great.
It definitely paid off.
Considering the low amount of promotion I did for it, I have earned over $6,000 after affiliate commission payouts so far, which isn’t too shabby I think.
10. Is this something you’d “rinse and repeat”? Any future eBooks coming?
I know that I would be earning more if I kept launching eBooks regularly vs. one every two years, which is what I’m currently on track to do.
I have one ebook in the works…
My main conflict is that, being a freelance writer, I spend more time writing for clients than I do myself.
It’s just about getting starting and doing it piece by piece until it’s all put together.
Blog Post Promotion: The Ultimate Guide
Of course, Kristi and I would be thrilled if you decided to take a look at her Blog Post Promotion: The Ultimate Guide.
As I said, it was one of the most helpful ebooks I’ve ever read.
And there you have it.
Not only writing an ebook is good for business, but it’s also great for our bank accounts.
Good news all around.
Thanks so much for your time, Kristi!
Thinking about writing an ebook,
Image credit: Amazing photography by Zena Holloway