Think back to less than 40 years ago. The computers at the company where I worked were held in their own large room and each of them was over six feet tall. How much life has changed in that short time. Technology has changed, ideas have changed, and the mindsets of entire nations have changed.
All of these changes make it the perfect time to write an information product. What readers need are people who understand the world as it is today – people who can figure out how to solve old problems in a new way. Or people who have met specific challenges in their daily lives and can share their experiences with others.
Ebooks are a powerful tool to share the knowledge you’ve gained with the millions of people who are struggling to figure out how to do different things.
Let’s say you already have a brilliant idea, and the knowledge to back it up that will enable you to write an exceptional ebook. You may be sitting at your computer staring at a blank screen wondering, “Why? Why should I go through all the trouble of writing my information product when it’s so impossible to get anything published these days?
Well, let me assure you that publishing an ebook is entirely different than publishing a book in print. Let’s look at the specifics of how the print and cyber publishing industry differ, and the many reasons why you should take the plunge and get your fingers moving across that keyboard!
Submitting a print book to conventional publishing houses or to agents can be a long, complicated process. No matter how good your book actually is, or how often you’ve been told that “you’ve got what it takes,” your submitted manuscript is liable to keep coming back to you. Sometimes you might wonder if anyone ever even looked at it!
Perhaps you’ve checked out self-publishing and found that it can be an expensive venture. Although the process is becoming more affordable, there are still many vanity presses that require minimal print runs that could cost you thousands of dollars. And that’s just for the printing and binding. Usually you have to do your own marketing, and promotional costs add more expense. Even if you wanted to, you may not have that kind of money to risk.
If your heart is set on a bound book, I recommend you check into the services of Lulu, Blurb, or Create What’s On Your Mind at CafePress. These services all print books on demand, so you can get started without much up-front cost. They also feature an area to sell your product.
Let’s say you already have an Internet business with a quality website (or you’re ready to start one). An ebook is one of the most powerful ways to promote your business while educating people with the knowledge you already possess regarding a specific product or service.
For example, let’s say that you’ve spent the last twenty-five years growing prize winning flowers, and now you’re ready to share your knowledge and experience. An ebook is the perfect way to reach the largest audience of gardening enthusiasts.
Ebooks will not only promote your business – they will help you make a name for yourself and your company, and establish you as an expert in your field. You may even find that you have enough to say to warrant a series of ebooks.
Perhaps your goal is to build a whole business around writing and publishing ebooks. Essentially, you want to start an e-business. You are thinking of setting up a website to promote and market your ebooks. Maybe you’re even thinking of producing an ezine (an online magazine).
One of the most common reasons people read ebooks is to find information about how to turn their knowledge and skills into profit. And these people are looking to the writers of ebooks to provide them with new ideas and strategies. You could be just the person they need to hear.
You may want to create affiliate programs that will also market your ebook. Affiliates can be people or businesses worldwide that will all be working to sell your ebooks. In exchange for a percentage of your profits, or some other benefit to them, these affiliates will recommend your ebook to the people they know. Do you see a formula for success here?
Figure out what your subject matter is, and then narrow it down. Your goal is to be as specific as possible. Don’t try to be all things to all people. Research what’s out there already, and try to find a void that your ebook might fill.
What about an ebook about a wedding planning business? Or an ebook about caring for elderly parents? How about the fine points of collecting depression glass? Include photos or screenshots for a guide that people will love to read.
You don’t have to have a masters degrees to write about your subject. People need advice that is easy to read and easily understood. Parents need advice for dealing with their teenagers. College students need to learn good study skills – quickly. The possibilities are endless.
After you’ve written your Information Product
Getting your ebook out is going to be your focus once you’ve finished writing it, just as it is with print books. People will hesitate to buy any book from an author they’ve never heard of. Wouldn’t you?
The answer is simple: give it away! Or give away a chapter or two as a teaser. You will see profits in the form of promoting your own business and getting your name out. You will find affiliates who will ask you to place their links within your ebook, and these affiliates will in turn go out and make your name known. Almost every successful ebook author has started out this way.
Recently, a local musician used this give away strategy. He would freely give some of his songs away and guess what happened? The songs were passed around, and before he knew it, he had a large following of fans. Then whenever he performs a local concert, guess who pays to be there to see him play?
Another powerful tool to attract people to your information product is to make it interactive. Create something for them to do within the book rather than just producing pages that contain static text. Let your readers fill out questionnaires, forms, even crossword puzzles geared to testing their knowledge on a particular subject (I created a game to play with the seniors’ computer club I run, and it really helps them remember and have fun doing it). The great thing about digital information products is that you can make them interactive with the click of a button.
Have your readers click a link that will allow them to recommend your book to their friends and associates. Or include an actual order form at the bottom of your sample, so at the end of their reading journey, they can eagerly buy your product.
When people interact with books, they become a part of the world of that book. The fact is just as true for books in print as it is for ebooks. Make the world of your information product one that they enjoy and find valuable.
Now you can see why ebooks are so essential. Not only do they provide a forum for people to learn, but they also serve to promote your business at the same time.
To add perceived value to your ebook, call it a guide or a report. Since ebooks are so readily found on the Internet these days, you want yours to stand out. Changing the name is an easy way to do that.
You can also burn your ebook onto a cd and sell it as a physical product. Still in interactive form, yet gives it a higher value. Or record yourself reading the guide as well, and sell both the text and the audio as a complete package.
If you are eager to start your info product journey, there are all kinds of free tutorials available on the Internet. Through the years I’ve managed to collect many good bits of information. But if you want to fast track your success, you may have to pay for step-by-step guidance.
A word of caution here, not all paid tutorials are created equal. I’ve purchased a number of them that I found very helpful, but there were steps missing. Or I couldn’t envision the steps.
Then I found a marketer named Kevin Riley who teaches information product creation, from researching a topic, through creating your masterpiece, and then how to sell it online. Depending on the product, some of these may teach you more or less. He also has tutorials on other topics if you’re interested. More info is here.
I’ve purchased a number of Kevin Riley’s products and have found them more than helpful. He not only tells you what to do, step by step, but shows you exactly how with diagrams of everything. Kevin’s products range from very inexpensive to the cost of a comparative college course (IF you could find one), so there’s something for every budget.
My latest purchase from Kevin was his Product Creation Lab Workshop. As a result of that course, my first real guide is almost ready to sell (it’s called Creating Newsletters Your Grandkids Will Treasure, and I’m quite proud of it). The Product Lab is more expensive because it’s shipped to your door as a package of cd’s (full of video tutorials) and accompanying workbooks. No more worrying about losing your investment because your computer crashes or you can’t find where you put it (or maybe I’m the only one with that particular problem).
Anyway, like I said, you can find a lot of information online without spending any money. So if you have more time than cash, start researching yourself.
The possibilities with creating your own information product are endless. Whether you are young or older, your wisdom and experiences are needed by others. Have fun and keep me posted on your progress.