Posted Monday, January 3, 2005
The Internet presents an amazing opportunity for anyone who knows how to research and write.
There's masses of free information on the Web - all you have to do is gather it together and package it, and you have an E-Book that people will pay for.
"But if there's so much free information on the Web, why would anyone pay for my E-Book?", you may be wondering.
The answer? Convenience!
They'd rather buy your E-Book and save themselves the hours, days and weeks that you spent researching it and putting it all together.
STEP 1: Writing Your E-Book
Pick a Topic. It could be 'How to accept Credit Cards on the Web without having a Merchant Account'. Or it could be '25 Free Resources For Getting More Traffic', or it could be about Cooking, Gardening, Dog Breeding, etc.
Write down the Title of your E-Book in the center of a blank page and circle it. If you can't think of a title yet, just write down the subject that your E-Book will be about (e.g. Dog Breeding).
Then jot down 8 or 10 Basic Ordering Ideas (BOIs) in a radius around your E-Book title or concept.
If you're having trouble coming up with BOIs, hold in your mind the title or concept of your E-Book and then ask yourself these questions: WHO, WHAT, WHERE, HOW and WHEN.
Now connect the Basic Ordering Ideas to the E-Book title with outward-pointing arrows, like the spokes of a wheel.
Under each BOI, draw a vertical line and against that line, jot down the sub-ideas that belong under that Basic Ordering Idea.
Now turn your Mind Map into an outline. Take the Basic Ordering Ideas from your Mind Map and order them, 1 to 10 (or 1 to 8, 1 to 12 etc); These are your Chapter headings. Now take the sub-ideas and write them down under each BOI; these are your Chapter sections.
I recommend you write the text of your E-Book as a single Microsoft Word document. This allows you to get a feel for the overall structure of your E-Book, and it also makes spell-checking much easier.
STEP 2: Creating Your E-Book
Now divide your Word document into single pages; these will become the HTML pages of your E-Book.
There are well over a dozen different E-Book compilers on the market.
Here are two compilers that are free:
- SbookBuilder: (http://www.jansfreeware.com/jftools.htm#sbookbuilder)
- eBookIt: (http://www.cottagemicro.com/ebooks/)
However, if you want to make a good impression with your customers, I highly recommend that you use a commercial E-Book compiler.
Here is a list of commercial E-Book compilers:
- Activ EBook Compiler: (http://www.ebookcompiler.com)
- Document Publisher: (http://www.fuguesoftware.com)
- EBook Pro Compiler: (http://www.ebookpro.com)
- E-Book Publishing Wizard: (http://www.successarsenal.com/)
- EbookPaper: (http://www.ebookpaper.com)
- E-Publisher Gold: (http://www.ebook-software.com)
- ePublish Now: (http://www.ebookgraphics.com)
- FlipBrowser V. 1.0: (http://www.flipbrowser.com)
- ExeBook: (http://www.exebook.com)
- HTML2EXE: (http://www.html2exe.com)
- HyperMaker HTML 2000: (http://www.bersoft.com)
- Illuminatus v4.51: (http://www.digitalworkshop.co.uk0
- Infinite Ink: (http://www.infiniteink.com)
- NeoBook V. 4.0: (http://www.neosoftware.com)
- WebCompiler: (http://www.webcompiler.com)
- WebExe 1.3: (http://www.aw-soft.com/webexe.html)
- WinEbook: (http://superwin.com/)
STEP 3: Formatting Your E-Book
There are many sites that offer ready-made E-Book templates, some free, some you would have to pay for.
Here's a site that offers free E-Book templates.
And here are 2 sites where you can buy ready-made templates:
If you decide to create your own format, here are some basic formatting tips. Your E-Book should contain:
(i) an Index page that serves as the entry point to your E-Book. It should contain a Welcome message, your copyright statement, and a link to the 'Contents' page of your E-Book.
(ii) A 'Contents' page. This should be a list of all the chapters in your E-Book, with Section titles for each chapter. The Chapter titles should be hyper-linked to the first page in that chapter, and the Section titles should be hyperlinked to the first page in that section.
(iii) A link at the top of each page of your E-Book that says 'Contents' and which takes the reader back to the 'Contents' page.
(iv) The Chapter title at the top of each page, so that the reader knows which Chapter they are reading.
(v) A set of links at the top of each page that allow the reader to jump back and forth between the different sections of the Chapter.
(vi) Forward and Backward arrows (hyperlinked) at the bottom right of each page which take the reader back one page or forward one page.
STEP 4: Selling Your E-Book
There are basically 2 ways of selling your E-Book: either you have a merchant account and accept credit cards yourself, or you use a '3rd Party Credit Card Processor'.
Here are two 3rd Party Credit Card Processors that I recommend. Neither of these 2 companies charges monthly fees.
Each has advantages and disadvantages, which I have summarized below:
(i) Clickbank (http://www.clickbank.com)
- To sell your E-Book through Clickbank, you will have to pay a one-time joining fee of $49.95
- Clickbank charges 7.5% per sale plus $1
- With Clickbank you will only be able to offer payment via Credit Card.
- if you use Clickbank to sell your E-Book(s), you also have a ready-made affiliate program. Clickbank will track your affiliate sales and send out checks every 2 weeks to your affiliates.
- Clickbank will send you an automatic email every time you (or one of your affiliates) make a sale.
- Minimum amount before a check is issued is $5
(ii) Ibill (Internet Billing Company)
- ibill does not charge a joining fee.
- ibill charges 15% per sale (more for telephone billing).
- ibill allows your customers to pay in a number of different ways, such as online check, telephone billing, or credit card. Many people don't have a credit card, so offering your customers alternative ways of paying can significantly increase your volume of sales.
- ibill doesn't operate an affiliate program.
- ibill doesn't send you an email every time you make a sale.
- Minimum amount before a check is issued is $150
The possibilities with E-Books really are endless - you're only limited by your own imagination.
And remember: how ever obscure you think your E-Book concept is, there will be a market for it. In fact, that's the essence of 'niche marketing': the more narrow your focus, the more customers you will find.
Wishing you every success!
(c) 2000 by Michael Southon
About the Author
Michael Southon has been writing for the Internet for over 3 years. He has shown hundreds of webmasters how to use this simple technique to get massive free publicity and dramatically increase traffic and sales. Click here to find out more: (http://www.ezine-writer.com)