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eBooks and Digital Publishing

6 eBook Tools That I Can’t Live Without

June 25th, 2012 . by Peggy

Part of my job is to try all sort of things that help Authors. Here, I’ll show you six things that I’ve personally tried, and that are really helping me with various things related to online marketing and eBooks.

1) Evernote is great for;

– web-based research, saving web pages

– take a pic of a white board, it saves it as searchable text

– recording audio notes to myself (using the associated FREE Android app)

– my to-do lists and perhaps even dictation on the go

2) Smashwords is great for;

– reviewing an excellent style guide when formatting your eBook for almost any platform

– uploading an eBook to multiple platforms at once, including Kindle and others

3) is great for;

– quick podcasts using only my Android phone

– interviewing Authors and Experts with no prep or notice

– immediate, no editing, low-tech

– finding other 5-minute podcasts to listen to, both at home and on-the-go

4) MailChimp is great for;

– growing and managing my email list

– designing and sending out really nice-looking newsletters

– pay only as I need to and my list grows

5) MindMeister is great for;

– outlining before I write eBooks, white papers, audio products, and blog posts

– setting goals and outlining the tasks I need to complete to achieve them

– org charts, planning websites, and even illustrating processes to clients

6) Visual Thesaurus is great for;

– the obvious (an interactive thesaurus like no other)

– brainstorming domain names, eBook titles, products, and keywords

– try changing the settings and watch things fly around!

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The 5 Most Stupid Things People Do With Their eBook Business

June 8th, 2011 . by Peggy

I’ve often said that it is our duty as entrepreneurial publishers to hold ourselves to a higher standard. Like our Mothers in the 1960’s and 1970’s, we are paving the road for those who come after us. If we make eBooks and entrepreneurial publishing look cheap, unprofessional, or just plain awful, what are we doing to the next generation?

Here are the mistakes I see all the time that make me crazy.

1. We seek out the ugliest possible cover design.

Please, I’m begging you, hire a designer. A professional. A person that has done this before. A person with training. Have them do a few different samples (not complete designs) and run them past your creative circle. Remember, you’re looking for readability, a graphic theme that clearly states the book’s intent, and no half-faded images. And remember, NO CREEPY FONTS. I will find you.

2. We don’t make use of affiliate marketing.

These things don’t sell themselves, people. I always endorse a self-operated affiliate program first, but if your book is on Amazon, set yourself up as an Amazon affiliate. Using their simple automated system, create banner ads and other affiliate links for your own products. Push these links out through your Twitter stream, your Facebook page, your podcasts, your iTunes content, your blog, your charitable fundraising connections, your reviews, your classes, your signage, on your business cards, your newsletter, etc. Be a little pushy. (But not too much.) Create a URL that you can promote that links directly to a page with your own products. (See the next post for how to do that.)

3. We think we’re going to make $120,000 a month.

Around these parts, here on Vancouver Island, there was a story about a woman in Cedar, BC, that did over $120k per month in nothing but Kindle eBooks. While I doubt the truth of that, even if it was the case, she doesn’t do that in her sleep. She’s working – probably really, really hard. Or at least, really, really consistently. She runs it like a business, which means she has specific things she does over and over again, and on a predictable basis. She meets deadlines and hires help. And, we’re not talking about one eBook. We’re probably talking about hundreds – possibly thousands. So, until you’ve gone through the ramp-up phase, don’t expect to be buying anything more than a Friday night round at the pub with eBook revenue.

4. We don’t get off our high horse.

I not too proud to know I’m not a literary giant. I make my money writing marketing stuff, for the most part. I’m a small fish in a massive ocean, but I work it. I have no qualms about promoting my stuff when it’s appropriate (vs. when I would just be harassing people).I consider most of what I do as a writer is marketing work, not great writing. No, my mom doesn’t think I do a very good job on some of it. But I know that I’m meeting the objectives of my clients. I don’t write romances or the next Great Gatsby or children’s lit, because although that sort of lit comes into my house on a daily basis, I have no illusions about myself as some great fiction writer or novelist. Yes, it would be nice to make my living doing that, but I still have the screenplays in the bottom drawer, and the novel that I peck away at when I can. It’s more like an extremely enjoyable hobby. And even if I did ever offer anything like that for sale, I wouldn’t have any snobbery about where I placed ads, or where I was “represented”. I’m here to sell. Show me the money.

5. We don’t write another book.

I have recently completed eBook number 155. That sounds like a lot. I can tell you, it feels like even more. Many of them probably don’t get read, like, ever. But I am not offended by this. They are often given away as free reports or client gifts. Remember the volume principle: one book makes $1 a day. Ten books make $10 a day. And so on. The eBook business is a template business – you do the same thing over and over again. There is an expression in the book business: the second book takes 1/10th of the time to create and makes you 10 times the money. In eBooks, it might be 100 times the money.

Plus, I now have a reputation. I can write almost anything, because what I am is a good Technical Writer – I specialize in breaking down complex topics and making them easy to understand. I’ve proven my template, and it works to meet my clients’ objectives. They won’t always pay for originality, but they will pay for what makes them money.

Topics that I’ve researched and then written include WWII weaponry, high-speed Italian cars, and ancient Egyptian enbalming techniques. But most of it is things like how you can buy stocks, how to get a mortgage as a single mother with no money, how you can sell a business in Illinois, how you can buy a house in Mexico, how you can amalgamate all your debts with a second mortgage, how to start a business in Nevada, and other incredibly dry topics that make my hands shake when I think about them. But, it’s about continuity. I get the work regularly because I’ve done it before.

The eBook business is about business – not always about literature. It’s about creating a community about your book. It’s about connecting through your marketing, not just pushing, pushing, and pushing. We all make mistakes – I discover new ones every day that I’m making – but taking things in perspective helps me stay grounded and keep working. “Just keep writing, just keep writing, just keep writing…”

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I’m Going To BlogWorld Expo 2010 #BWE10

October 10th, 2010 . by Peggy

I’m heading to BlogWorld Expo (#BWE10) this week, this year to focus on podcast and blog syndication. I’ll be live tweeting (@peggyrichardson) from the conference, including a mixed bag of speakers and conference sessions.

Last year, I had a similar mission, to learn about video blogging. But this year, having changed some of my podcasting approach to be more spontaneous and less edited, I’m now eager to learn more details about things like syndicating my podcasts, expanding my audio podcasting efforts, and learning more about the relationship between blog content and the various types of RSS syndication.

This year, BWE has slightly changed their approach as well. They are now the largest social media conference, and they’re actively promoting the social media aspect of the show. The speaker list reflects this, and @AngelaCrocker will also be livetweeting from the sessions. She and I often have different takes on these issues, so it may be of interest to compare her notes to mine. We may be in man of the same sessions, or we may not.

If you have any questions or things you’d like me to explore while I’m there, feel free to ask, and I’ll do my best to answer your queries.

If you’re also attending, please introduce yourself! I’ll be the tall geeky chick hanging around with the other tall and slightly-less-geeky chick, @AngelaCrocker, one of my fellow @TheBookBroads.

Tweet you later!

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