John Perini asked a number of great questions about e-books and publicity as a comment to another post. I am answering them here as a post, because I thought the Write Your Book community might find them enlightening:
1. Do you feel it is OK to write a book for publication as an e-book and if yes, do you provide coaching support for such a project? Yes, John, e-books are a viable way to publish your book–there’s no cost to print copies, no need to stack inventory, you can create it instantly. It really comes down to what your goals are. If you want to make money with your book, you can, but you need to figure out how to get lots of visitors to your site and convert them into purchasers of the book. That is the big challenge, but given what I saw on your website (internet advertising award, etc.), you may have an edge over others who have less internet marketing experience.
Yes, I do provide coaching on writing an e-book. One of my students began my “Write Your Book in 60 Days course” as an e-book, though she soon realized her e-book was really a course, so she turned it into an e-course.
When would it make more sense to publish a physical book? If you want to sell the book during speaking engagements, use the book as a powerful “business card” to generate more business for your coaching business, use the book to gain media interviews, etc. And you can make it both an e-book and a physical book, if you self-publish.
2. Is producing an e-book that is for sale on a website a way to eliminate the costs involved with a publicity campaign? It depends. It can be costly to get traffic to a website, too. It really depends on how you are going to bring visitors to your site. You’ll need a sound strategy, probably multi-pronged. And you’ll need to be effective at selling the ebook from the site. Is your audience a clear niche? Are there social networking communities where they “hang out” on the web? If so, this is one way you might begin to reach your audience. Do they read articles on the web? Submitting articles to sites may be another. A blog may help you too. These methods all take time to develop and implement.
3. Do you know of any author who has been financially successful with publishing an e-book? This is an excellent question. I think some of the well-known internet marketers, have made good money on e-books, but most of them have switched to higher priced items, like a $97 or $197 course. I’m not sure if you can turn your book into a course, but that is the route many internet marketers are going. I did contact one person I thought had made lots of money with her e-book, but it turns out she sold her self-published book online–not as an e-book.
My best advice is to work backwards. Figure out how much you want to make. Now, what do you think the market will bear for your particular book (How badly do they want it? What do they think the information will do for them?). After you come up with pricing, figure out how many copies of your e-book you’d need to sell at that price to make your target amount. Include both your desired income and any costs you’ll need to cover like website design or internet advertising. Do the numbers seem realistic?
4. Also, do the same situations exist if the first book is a work of fiction with regard to publishers, agents, and publicity costs? I think John is referring to the need to have a platform to interest agents and publishers. A platform always helps, but if a work of fiction captures an agent or publisher’s imagination, you may not need to have a platform for fiction. However, if you’re working on a true story, it can be easier to publish as memoir because it will be easier to publicize the book (think TV talk shows).
Good luck, John, and feel free to ask more questions if this post generates new ones!