This is a guest post by Alexis Grant of AlexisGrant.com
Everyone’s always talking about how to monetize your blog. But ads are ugly, affiliate sales are only as big as your audience, and consulting ties you to an hourly rate.
Here’s a strategy that’s far more lucrative: creating and selling ebooks.
Don’t have a clue where to start? That’s what I’m here for. After launching four ebooks and bringing in more than $10,000 in sales, I’m here to give you the shortcut strategy to padding your bank account with ebook sales. And by shortcut, I mean sharing the magic sauce so you can avoid making the same mistakes I made.
So here’s the four-step approach to creating and selling ebooks readers will love:
1. Be smart about picking a topic
Don’t tell me you don’t know enough about anything to write about it – you’re expert enough! If you’ve succeeded at something, experienced something, sometimes even failed at something, you’re qualified to write an ebook.
Why? Because you know more about that topic than the reader, and that makes your knowledge valuable. Sellable.
Here are a few examples of experience and expertise I’ve shared in ebook form:
+ How to start a part-time social media business (because I launched one that brought in more than $2,000/month on the side of my day job)
+ How to take a career break to travel (based on everything I wish I knew before I quit my job and backpacked solo through Africa for six months)
+ How to create a kick-a$$ social media strategy (because I do it for a living, and people are constantly asking me HOW)
When you’re choosing your topic, make sure it fits one essential criteria: that it’s an ebook people actually want, not one you think they want.
One strategy that tends to work well is thinking about what questions people tend to ask you. Do they ask for advice on how to fix their motorcycle? Write about that. Do they ask about how you grew your blog following so quickly? Write about that. Do they ask about how you got your book published? Write about that.
Turn the intersection of what you know and what people will buy into how-to form.
2. Make your ebook super valuable
Pack it full of how-tos, tips and strategies. What digital tools helped you accomplish that goal? What do you wish you knew when you first began? Include as much information as you can, and you’re likely to prompt an “ah-ha” moment from your readers, which will make them feel like they got their money’s worth.
Anecdotes – like how you got started, or how you learned what you know now – can go a long way, too.
Give away all your secrets, and people will come back begging for more. Readers who purchase one of my ebooks usually end up buying one or two of the others, simply because they know how much information I pack into the product. They trust me to deliver. Help your readers trust you.
And don’t forget to make it easy to read your ebook – literally. No, you don’t have to hire a fancy-pants formatting company to do the legwork for you. Instead, check out other ebooks to see how they’ve formatted their text, use a big font (14 pt.), and remember: white space is your friend.
Your last step: a professional cover. In fact, that’s the ONE piece of ebook creation that I’d outsource, because readers are more likely to buy if the cover looks professional. Hire a designer or use a crowd-sourcing platform like 99designs.
3. Make buying your eBook easy
Once your product is ready, create an enticing sales page, one that lets readers know exactly how your ebook will help solve their problems.
Pick a price point – anywhere from $19 to $99 will do. Don’t agonize over your price – instead, focus on packing that ebook with value so buyers will be happy no matter how you price it. Remember though, that informational ebooks tend to sell for more than traditional books. (They also cost little other than time to produce, which means high profit margins for you.)
Then add a BUY button to your sales page. The easiest way to do this is through e-junkie, which costs just $5/month (and tracks sales, allows you to create affiliate options, and more).
4. Promote, promote, promote
No one is going to buy your ebook unless they know about it.
So how do you get them to know about it?
You build a quality blog following. You cultivate an email list. You guest post for high-traffic blogs.
Because the success of your ebook – so long as you’ve created a fabulous one – is wholly dependent upon EYES. That’s how many eyes you get to your site, how many readers have the potential to discover it’s exactly the resource they’ve been looking for. You need eyes if you want buys.
So choose a smart idea, create a fabulous resource, add a buy button to your sales page – and get your ebook out there. Because no matter how much you think about creating a product that will supplement your income, you won’t start raking in the bucks until it’s actually available on the big bad web.