It’s hard to argue against the fact that the internet has “put power in the hands of the people,” so to speak. There are countless things we used to rely on specialists to do that we can now do all on our own…thanks to information we find online, as well as the ease of sharing Web 2.0 has created. Take the music industry, for example. The days of giant corporate record companies are quickly fading. Now young upstarts can record their own albums (literally…with tools they can download online), promote them online, and sell them digitally. Suddenly relying on a record company who take a big chunk of the profits (with odds mirroring that of the lottery in respect to getting signed to a deal) doesn’t make much sense.
Along those same lines, becoming an author has changed too. It’s possible that the days of receiving piles of rejection letters may soon be over too. Instead, any average Joe can write a book and sell it online digitally in eBook format. And if you have the itch to get your book idea out there, this might be a viable option for you.
However, let’s not jump too far ahead of ourselves here. Most people who put their eBooks out there won’t see a dime off of it. The reality of it is that it takes a lot of hard work to generate enough buzz to make a profit off of your words. In fact, you might want to rethink the idea of your eBook altogether. Instead of trying to make money off of it, perhaps you should use it as a marketing tool to draw people in and make money off of related business products or services.
That’s right. I’m saying you should…GIVE YOUR EBOOK AWAY FOR FREE!
Now, I know you’re probably cringing at the idea. All of your heart and soul, poured out onto paper for what? To give away and get no credit for? Well, not exactly. But there are plenty of good reasons you should give it out on your site for free, such as…
- Get your name out there. If you are just starting out, regardless of your niche, chances are that no one knows you from the man on the moon. And unless you do something big, no one is going to know you. So by giving away your eBook for free, you’ll get your name out there and people will hear, if not learn, about you.
- Limit risk for potential customers. One of the biggest hurdles you are going to have to overcome is the customer’s low tolerance for risk. Especially when dealing with a business or individual over the internet, customers are extremely wary of scams. So paying $15 for an eBook from someone they know nothing about…well, it’s a risk. But when you offer that first one for free, you eliminate all risk. Why wouldn’t they download it and give it a shot? There’s nothing to lose.
- Generate new leads. When someone downloads an eBook from you, you get there information. You can set up to where they have to sign up for your newsletter, for example. Suddenly, you are creating a list of fresh leads. Will they all turn into paying customers? Of course not. But if you can get a few customers out of it, isn’t it worth it?
- Become an authority. Simply put, if you have written a book about a topic, people are more likely to find you as a credible authority on the topic. Imagine being introduced in an interview as “Bob, the Author of Blah Blah Blah.” That’s right—you suddenly have credibility.
- Get useful criticism. No one’s perfect. And as much as you wish it was, that eBook you have sitting there isn’t either. But you won’t become a better writer until you get something out there for people to critique. So give it away and let people review it.
- Start a buzz. If it’s free and it’s good, people will share it. Period.
Have you ever given away an eBook on your website? What sort of results did it yield?