Amanda Hocking, the 26-year-old current indie queen of eBooks, was rejected by so many New York publishing houses that she decided to go the entrepreneurial route and put out an eBook instead. To date, she’s sold more than 500,000 books and made more than $1 million dollars. The movie rights to her popular “Trylle Trilogy” series have been acquired and, a few weeks ago, she closed a US$2 million deal for her four-book “Watersong” series with (yes, you guessed it) St. Martin’s Press — a traditional publishing house.
While Hocking’s paranormal romance novels are probably not what the typical entrepreneur is looking to publish, the best-practice business point is that eBooks are now a viable way of building your brand and getting word out about your company and expertise.
Here are the basics: An eBook (electronic book) is an electronic document that can contain text, images, audio and video. They can be viewed on a personal computer, smart phone, PDA and eBook reader, such as a Kindle, and are sold through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and dozens of other outlets.
Depending on the length and content of the eBook, they sell from between 99 cents and $99. But the current rage is pricing eBooks at the lower end of the spectrum for around $2.99, or even giving them away for free as a promotion.
The five best reasons why you should be writing an eBook, beyond the immediate financial return of book sales, include:
• Increases name recognition for your company and personal brand, as well as drives traffic to your Web site via links from book excerpts, free samples, reviews, newsletter distribution and blog mentions.
• Introduces you to potential customers looking for what you offer via press releases about the book, an Amazon listing and book reviews from bloggers.
• Provides a perfect free, downloadable giveaway on your blog to entice visitors to sign up and give you their contact information.
• Makes a great calling card to send before you meet with a potential client to show your knowledge, expertise and point of view.
• Forces you to develop content you can then repurpose for marketing collateral and turn into podcasts and Webcasts.
Oddly enough, the easiest part of eBook publishing is getting the finished product up and running for distribution. Many can be uploaded with just a click of a few buttons. But where most entrepreneurs face a challenge is in finding the time, or having the writing chops, to craft the eBook in the first place. Even if that’s the case, it’s no excuse, since there are scads of eBook-savvy small businesses whose sole purpose is to ghost write, edit, design and publish your eBook.
Still not convinced? Consider this: According to the Association of American Publishers, Americans spent US$440 million dollars on eBooks in the first quarter of 2011, and the Book Industry Study Group found that one in four Americans reads eBooks — and that’s a whole lota brand to be built.
This post was originally published at Karen Leland’s Featured Small Business column on The Huffington Post.
11 thoughts on “Use An eBook To Build Your Brand”
I am a self published author or educational books. My best sellers are ebooks. I sell 3 for every 1 hard copy from my website.
ebooks are great. But to be honest, I don’t really agree that they are needed to help a business. If someone downloads a product or informative ebook, they are at the computer or tablet when they want to look at it anyway – which most likely has internet. If so, just go to the website!
I helped my neighbor create an ebook for his carpet cleaning business. Turned out great I thought. It just gives the customer information about products, services, and photos. I thought it was nicer than just a webpage.
My dad has been working with autistic children for years. Last summer he wanted to update his school and I set him up with a ghost writer to create a small ebook that potential families could download for free. I don’t know if it is the primary reason, but he has nearly doubled enrollment in two of his 7 classes and at the very least, I think it simply brings his business up to date.
I recently went to a local homeshow to get ideas for a kitchen remodeling. Very few people had the big fancy brochures anymore. Most had a simple flyer or just a card. But, several had websites and downloadable ebooks to describe products. I also noticed that for two of the companies I needed to submit some personal info just to get to the download. Annoying, but it works.
I am sending this link to my roommate right now. I wrote a book and self published it. He has spent the last 6 months or so sitting at different book stores and libraries with a table and a stack of books. I think he has only gone through one box so far. A lot of work with what appears to be very little return. this ebook might be for him. thanks
Interesting that only 1 in 4 Americans read ebooks. I would have thought it higher by now. I am sure it will be higher soon. I seems that many book stores seem to be closing shop.
I have never read an ebook, but what I wonder is can one be resold? I mean, if I buy a book at the store. Read it. And then sell it a garage sale, I can get a few bucks back to put towards my next book (I don’t hoard books). So, if I read an ebook, what next? Delete? Store it and maybe never look at it again? Or can I give it away or sell it to another?
My daughter has completely abandoned the book store. We used to go there almost weekly and look at books. Now all she does is download them. All of her friends have a kindle or other brand and they all read ebooks. If someone has something interesting for young people, ebook it!
Our kids go to a newly built school with no textbooks! Everything is on an Ipad. So, every book they read is electronic. As an old fart, I like the way a book feels and smells. I like the way the corners get bent when I mark a page. But, my kids love the ebooks and that is the way of the future.
Some people will buy ebooks no matter what. It’s what they prefer now. Me, I prefer to get a real book for my money. I do have some ebooks loaded, but often times the electronic version is just as expensive as a new book. Then, I prefer the paper.
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