Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Research Your Way to E-book Success

What to Look for "In the Competition" when You Are Researching Your E-book

As I explained in mye 2/26 post, Freelance E-book Writer: The Steps I Take to Create a Successful E-book, researching the competition is a vital component of creating a successful e-book. In fact, it is the very first thing I do after getting an idea for an e-book.

Why? Read on:

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How the Competition Stacks Up: You want to see how many like products are out there. You may find a few, or you may find many. Whatever you find has to be looked at from both sides of the coin - good and bad.

Eg, if there are a lot of books on your subject, some questions you might want to ask are:

i) are they in e-book form: this is important because, if they don't, then you could target the online segment who may have be disserved by the paper/hardback book

ii) do they cover the topic in detail, OR, cover it as I would cover it: Look at the outline (most e-books tell you in an outline or on a sales page what is covered in the book).
This is important because you could cover the same material from a different angle, a funnier angle, a more professional angle, a personal experience angle, etc.

iii) what is their experience in the field: perhaps the most important thing in selling an e-book is the author's experience. Eg, I've been a freelancer since 1993, I worked in legal publishing for 10 years; I owned an editorial staffing agency for 8 years; have written six e-books and one freelance writing e-course.

In short, I can make the buyer feel confident in purchasing my products because I have the experience to back up what I wrote on.

DON'T get intimidated if you don't have an extensive background.

How to Sell Your E-book if You Have Limited Experience

Sell your expertise case by case. What I mean is, using case studies, spell out for potential buyers how you helped a client achieve his/her goal. A case study is really just an in-depth testimonial.

It lays out a problem that a client had, and tells how a product/company/person helped solve the problem. They are very effective ways to sell.

Conversely, if there are not a lot of books on your subject matter, two immediate questions come to mind, ie:

i) is there a market for this product? It could just be that no one else has thought to cover this subject. NOTE: This is highly unlikely, but don't let that deter you. Niche material is very popular, but do make sure there is enough of a market to advertise to.

Eg, if there are only 25,000 pig farmers in California, how many of them do you think are going to be interested in your take on feeding pigs a vegetarian diet (the subject of your e-book)?

My point? Be realistic. Make sure there is a broad enough market to justify spending your time writing your book.

ii) how am I going to reach this market? If you're writing an e-book on a subject matter that no one else has written on, then you have to find out how to reach them. Maybe the reason no one has written an e-book on the subject you want to write on is because the audience is offline, not online.

Some other questions regarding the competition you want to answer is who they market to, how do they reach them, what is their pricing structure, do they offer add-ons*, etc.

*Add-ons: Add-ons are freebies e-book sellers give to buyers. They can be anything from a free website to other free e-books. They are usually complementary products to the item they're promoting.

Researching your competition will tell you virtually everything you need to know to successfully market your product - if you do your research well.
Copyright Notice: May be reprinted with the following, in full:
Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com to learn how.
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