The Charles Darwin Guide to Writing and Selling an Effective eBook

The Charles Darwin Guide to Writing and Selling an Effective eBook

Reader Comments (43)

  1. Great Insight!

    I’m in the process of writing my first ebook and over the course of the last few weeks I’ve been going over some keys things to include in my ebook. Needless to say a good amount of what I came up with was here in this post so I must be on the right track!

    Thanks for the tips!

  2. Well, at the risk of being overly mercenary, BUT completely on topic, authors ought to consider book trailers as part of their overall strategy, especially when considering digital books. My company offers them. I’ve seen some really bad ones out there that do more harm than good but if you can get a true Hollywood style trailer for your book (whatever the genre) it adds interest and peaks curiosity about the rest of the contents.

      • Most authors have developed their own marketing strategy. If not, we can help tangentially but defer to marketing professionals who are the real experts at that. On a basic level we help them to get it online in widely accessible formats, submit it for search engine return results and give them tips on using them in social media. Some authors find that it’s easier to connect with media and press when you have something that is video viewable and media ready.

        Long term we’re planning a promotion where author trailers will be broadcast in movie theaters. We think that would be a fine way to promote their books. We’re researching that now and are open to working collectively with others. Please feel free to reach out. I’d love to collaborate.

        • When I worked at a publisher we had some in-house design guys who did some reptty impressive book trailers just using After Effects – I now get a couple of them to do freelance stuff for projects. It’s a super way to market books, especially as video is becoming such and influential search channel.

          Funnily though you tend to have more success with independent/small publishers and directly with authors. Large companies just churn out those dreadful James Patterson TV slots or resist the idea completely.

  3. I too, am in the process of writing my first E-Book… this is first rate awesome information. Thanks so much copy-blogger.

    I feel better equipped.


  4. “None of this advice applies if you don’t actually write the damn thing” Yes, that is the problem. but you’ve inspired me to pull it out, dust it off, and get it out there. Thank you!

  5. When referring to ebooks, the word “book” is misleading. Many ebooks are only a few pages long. Understanding that no standard length exists for ebooks should help some folks get off the dime with respect to the writing. Thanks for the tips!

  6. I always find it interesting that these are ebooks we’re promoting yet most ebooks have a graphic image of this thick, elegant hardcover textbook. I understand why, I just think it’s kind of funny that these thick textbook images somehow became the default image for ebooks.

    Good advice. Just do it. Presentation is very important and I like the trailer idea too.

    • Agreed: we need to come up with some way of representing eBooks graphically, and we haven’t found it yet.

      It’s an interesting design challenge, because some people read them on screen, and others print them and read them on paper, so there’s not even a consistent physical form we can use to represent them.

      Maybe we need to show an iPad and a printer? 😉

  7. I don’t know how many times I’ve been seduced by the sales page, but turned off by the ebook’s cover. If I’m not impressed all-around, I’m not buying it.

    Presentation REALLY is powerful.

    Thanks for such a wonderful post, Pamela!


    • Thanks, Jennifer.

      We’re sharing a lot of information on covers in our product because we feel the same way. You’ve got to make a good first impression from the sales page on.

      No matter what we were taught, we do judge books by their covers!

  8. Once you’ve created your first ebook and seen how that performs, you then constantly tweak and “evolve” the process.

    It’s been really cool to watch. Had some unexpected results in there too.

  9. And now Charles, himself, is an ebook (or several ebooks, in fact). Which reminds me of that other influential book – has the Bible been made into an ebook, yet?

  10. I needed that post!

    I wrote my first e-book (well, it’s more like a workbook) a few weeks ago and I’m not even selling it, I give it to my newsletter’s subscribers and it does not really work! I feel like my cover is great but people don’t sign-in anyways!

    I’m going to make sure I follow everything you wrote in your post! It might help!!

    Thank you!

  11. Hi Pamela!

    This post is just timely. I am actually in the process of making an ebook and these guidelines are truly helpful! I can’t express my appreciation enough. Thanks!

  12. With the help of copyblogger advice, my sister has written her diet and weight loss book. I’m in the process of writing my first book as well.

    The most difficult part is not getting started, but maintaining the momentum. I constantly had to push my sister to get it done. Being a non native speaker, we had our own extra challenges, but it’s a great learning experience.

    • You’re right, Adarsh: maintaining momentum is challenging. It’s easy to feel enthusiastic at the beginning and the end, but it’s that middle part — where most of the work lies — that you just have to push through.

      Congratulations for getting through it, to you and your sister.

  13. Hello Pamela. Thanks so much for your wonderful post.

    You have lots of good advice here for writers. I’ve written several short ebooks that were distributed with newsletter subscribers and can always use some encouragement and wisdom to keep moving forward ~ and get better at it, too:)

  14. Great points about natural selection.
    We can chalk that up to supply and demand. The more supply there is for a product may cause your demand to go down.
    Create an eBook that is strong enough in content to surpass this.

    • Strong enough in content, yes, and one that uses an approach that’s unique. If you can communicate it in a way that’s remarkable, you won’t have as many competitors.

      Thanks for the comment, David.

  15. Forget about SELLING eBooks, even gating them for free is a challenge. Most of the companies I’ve worked for have created lots of free eBooks, but required a login or site registration to access them. This is hardly uncommon, but even then, as a publisher, you want to make sure that whatever you are forcing people to sign up for is worth their time.

    And once you create an eBook successfully, the urge is to create more and more (more subscribers!). But you don’t want to spread yourself so thin that the content suffers. Otherwise you’re left with a lot of dissapointed (and annoyed) new site members, and that’s the last thing you want.

    • I agree, Brendan. It’s a lot easier to make your business memorable if you stick to demonstrating your expertise in one area rather than a whole bunch.

  16. Pamela, you’re right–clean, attractive design is key:

    “The best ebooks are well designed and easy to read….

    To make your information easy to absorb, break it into short paragraphs. Add plenty of subheads to make your pages simple to skim.

    Use a layout with lots of white space. Add subheads, call outs, and images. Go over it carefully and clean up any spelling or grammatical mistakes.”

    Also, an appealing, simple, clean, well-designed cover is critical, especially since it’s the first image of the book that potential buyers will see.

    In many ways, writing and designing an ebook is very similar to creating a blog. Which makes sense, since they’re both primarily viewed by readers on a screen.

    Having just published my own first ebook, I can attest that we spent almost as much time on the design, formatting, and proofing aspect as we did on researching and writing. Maybe more actually.

    Often, it was very tedious work, but well worth the time and effort, given, as you say, that “An ebook is a performance.”

    • Quality of delivery is so important, especially now. People aren’t willing to settle for sloppy, hard-to-read pages. I don’t blame them!

      EBooks are often more expensive than printed books. Good design is a way to justify the asking price.

  17. Thanks for those tips Pamela – I’ve been rummaging around in my cave for too long and these will help lead me out!

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