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The Ultimate Indie Author Resource Guide Part 1

ultimate indie author resource guide - it all starts with marketing

We’re all spending more time at home and getting out less, whether because our favorite stores are closed, or we simply are trying to flatten curves and reduce risk. All this extra time can be put to good use – if you have ever dreamed of writing an ebook, now is a great time to do so.  To help you, we’ll be spending the next few weeks sharing our ultimate indie author resource guide, starting where every good indie author should start – with marketing.

Indie authors often do more than just write the book – they design their cover, choose and hire independent editors, source beta readers, and market the book on their own. While we recommend finding a great indie publisher to work with who can help you with the parts of the process that can help you sell more ebooks, having access to great resources to make the process easier can help. This indie author resource guide has links to great resources – free and paid – that can help you make a better ebook and sell more of them.

Market First, Then Write

Marketing should be a precursor to, overlap with, and continue after the publication of your ebook. Lack of marketing is often the singular failure of indie ebook writers – the one thing that keeps them from becoming successful. That’s why we start with it.

Most likely, you’re already writing or have an idea in mind for your ebook. But the point is, marketing should begin very early in the writing process. Part of your early marketing effort should include establishing an author website and social media platforms, developing a newsletter, and identifying marketing resources and platforms that will help you get the word out. As you begin writing and building your following, you can continue to market your ebook while it is a work in progress (WIP).

Twitter is an especially good platform for this, as indie authors are, on the whole, highly supportive of each other. Using the hashtags #WIP and #amwriting, you can share snippets of your ebook as you write. Twitter is a good source for finding beta readers and early reviewers as well.

Blogging can help you build an audience and generate interest in the book. What should you blog about? It depends on what kind of author you are. If you’re a business leader writing an industry deep-dive, you might want to blog about insights you’ve gained in your industry over the years. The key is to build your credibility. If you’re a romance author, you might write about everything from relationship advice to insights into writing romance novels. The key is to reveal your personality. You can promote your ebook with a call to action at the end of your blogs. If it’s not out yet, you can have people sign up to be notified when it becomes available for pre-sale. Once it’s available, you can transform your call to action into a sales link.

When you have your cover design and your ebook is ready for preorders, you can list it in these places (some paid, some free).

AskDavid

AwesomeGang

Choosy Bookworm

Pubby

The more time you have to market your ebook and gather a following, the more successful your launch will be. Next we’ll talk about the best resources and guidance for writing ebooks.

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Digital Publishing Is the Future

digital publishing is the future

According to a recent report, the digital publishing market and it is poised to grow by USD 64.83 billion during 2020-2024. This is an enormous level of growth and one of the few industries that is actually booming during a growing economic and health crisis. Authors, publishers, and businesses all have the opportunity to position themselves for success in the next few years.

Digital Publishing Is the Future for Authors

Whether you are already a writer or have wanted to be, consumption of digital books is growing. Now is the opportunity you have been waiting for to either self-publish or partner with a digital publishing agency. While it’s not as simple as just putting a book out there and raking in the money, with effort, some marketing savvy, and a touch of luck, you have a big chance to get in front of more readers right now.

Here are some resources to help you:

https://www.editionguard.com/blog/marketing-self-published-book/

https://www.editionguard.com/blog/creating-an-author-website-designed-to-sell-ebooks/

https://www.editionguard.com/blog/ingredients-authors-great-book/

Digital Publishing Opportunities for Small Publishing Companies

Small digital publishing companies may also enjoy success from the growth of the digital publishing industry. Whether you specialize in a specific type of book, offer hybrid services to authors, or simply publish your best bets to be bestsellers, now is the time to grow and expand your publishing company. These resources can help you:

https://www.editionguard.com/blog/how-to-become-a-digital-book-publisher/

https://www.editionguard.com/blog/how-drm-helps-book-publishers-remain-profitable/

https://www.editionguard.com/blog/digital-publishing-industry-poised-for-growth/

Digital Publishing Is the Future of Business

Whether you use digital publishing for lead optimization or to promote the leaders within your business as thought leaders in the industry, digital publishing can be a boon to almost any business. Create resource libraries that get people to sign up on your list. Publish a book by your CEO to help him get offered speaking opportunities. Or use digital publishing as a way to establish and build your business. Here are some resources to help:

https://www.editionguard.com/blog/benefits-of-ebooks-for-business-lead-generation/

https://www.editionguard.com/blog/the-power-of-the-business-ebook/

https://www.editionguard.com/blog/using-ebook-lead-generation/

Whether you’re an author, publisher, or business, these stats are great news. Digital publishing is the future – and you can be a part of it.

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Best Practices in Digital Publishing

best practices in digital publishing

Best Practices in Digital Publishing: Securing your Content

There are two primary forces at play when securing your content: Encryption and Access Rights. Encryption significantly reduces likelihood of unauthorized access by encrypting the actual data of your ebook so it can only be read by authorized applications. Access Rights enable you to control the ways in which people can access your content so it’s always fair and reasonable.

It’s important to secure content because:

  • It’s difficult to monetize digital content that can be freely shared
  • It’s impossible to track usage of your content that has no restrictions

Our best practices in digital publishing: 

  1. For highest security (but sometimes less flexible user experience) always use Encrypted DRM for content that is highly value or has licensing contracts that require it. The trade-off for high security DRM is that customers will have a fixed set of apps that support Encryption and won’t always be able to use their app of choice. At EditionGuard, we utilize Adobe DRM which comes with Adobe Digital Editions reader app for free. Adobe Digital Editions is globally distributed and localized for more than 12 languages. EditionGuard also provides end-user support for this app so your business doesn’t need to scale a support operation.
  1. For modest security but high flexibility we suggest using a watermarking feature. At EditionGuard, we offer EditionMark  as a method for delivering your content. This feature watermarks the customers personal or business information across the PDF content. This reduces the likelihood of unauthorized access but keeps flexibility to a maximum. Since the content is not encrypted, your customer can use any PDF reader they prefer.
  1. For the least security, but ultimate flexibility: EditionLink. EditionLink is a simple way to distribute content that you may not want protected. In fact, this is a great method for sharing content that is ad-based where sharing will help your business. We include EditionLink in our service so you only have to manage 1 single catalog for your books and decide how each is protected.

Making Access Fair and Easy

It’s important to understand customer expectations. Most consumers now use a mobile device as their primary computer. The next most popular segment is people with a mobile plus a desktop or tablet (for work or study).  The rest of the population is made of of special cases where there are 3 or more devices needed to access secured content.

Our Best practices suggestions

Consumers expect digital access to be somewhat flexible. Our default device access setting is 6 devices per unique person, per eBook. This covers the majority of users, as users will inevitably upgrade their devices over time and need to have continuous access when they do so. However, we allow this device restriction setting to be changed to a value of 1. So if you have a customer with different expectations or have a legal reason to reduce this device limit you may do so.

Instant fulfillment

Customers expect to receive digital content immediately after the transaction has completed. This is why EditionGuard offers multiple ways for your content to be automatically fulfilled.

Turnkey Integrations
EditionGuard has developed a handful of simple plugins for your existing ecommerce site or app, including popular platforms like Magento, WooCommerce and Shopify. These are simple to get started with and require virtually no coding.

These integrations do most of the heavy lifting and provide an instant fulfillment link to your customer right at the time of transaction.

API Integration
Our robust API is architected to be flexible and powerful. It’s built under the REST architecture which means it will be high performance and easy to integrate with any modern or legacy system.

When is it best to use the API? When you have an existing or complex system that needs to deliver books in a unique way. Or if you use a digital publishing e-commerce system that requires custom integration and isn’t currently on our turnkey list.

Peace of Mind with usage reports

EditionGuard Dashboard tracks all fulfillment usage* for encrypted content that is sold and accessed. This allows your business to know and report accurate, authorized access to your valuable content.

As the demand for digital content grows, and the expectations of consumers to have instant access to content they pay for increases, EditionGuard is there to support your investment in developing best practices in digital publishing. We’ve removed the costly licenses and setup fees usually associated with such systems from our product, giving our customers the ability to protect and fulfill their content with low risk and high reward.

*Please note that EditionGuard does not track analytics usage at the user-level of content for privacy purposes.

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Launch Your Speaking Career with an eBook

We’ve been talking about the benefits of publishing ebooks for businesses and business professionals. Publishing an ebook can bring credibility to your brand, generate leads and higher revenue, and it can launch your speaking career.

Why Are Speaking Gigs So Important?

If you really want to stand out in your industry as a leading expert, you have to be the one giving people the knowledge, guidance, and inspiration they need to do their jobs better. Not only can speaking gigs put you in front of your colleagues, but it can make you visible to companies who might need your expertise and hire you. You can also make a great deal of money if you become a sought-after public speaker.

A Book Is Like a Golden Ticket

Being a published author in your field sets you apart from others. When event professionals are booking people to speak and they have to choose between someone who has writing credits and someone who does not, they will almost always choose the person with writing credits to their name. It not only makes you look more professional to have a published book but it also elevates the caliber of the event at which you will be speaking.

What Kind of eBook Works Best for Landing Speaking Gigs?

The ebook you choose to write should reveal insight into your industry, offer solutions people need, or give readers a plan of action to be successful. It can be challenging to find a topic that no one else has written about, but if you focus on a very specific piece of your industry or a pain point that has not been solved, you may find it easier to gain the attention of the event professionals who do the booking.

How Do I Get Started as a Public Speaker?

Since most events right now are virtual anyway, it’s easier to get started because you don’t have to afford travel. Instead, invest in a good background for your Zoom or Skype; reach out to event professionals as well as to local SCORE offices, and look for related industries that host things like podcasts or YouTube channels that might be interested in having you on their program. Be sure to share every event before, during, and after so that you gain visibility; you’ll find that once you do a few speaking events, more people will be comfortable inviting you to participate.

An ebook opens doors for business professionals. From helping you build credibility in your industry and land a better job to making your brand stand out, ebooks for business can be portkeys to success.

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The Power of the Business eBook

There are several benefits ebooks offer for businesses, including driving leads and improving sales, but the biggest power of the business ebook is in giving its author credibility and authority in the industry. Whether you’re a customer experience expert like Shep Hyken or a startup expert like Matt Heinz, ebooks pave the way to bigger successes.

Business eBooks Build Credibility

If you’re an expert in your field, the best way to make sure people know that is to share your knowledge – and the best way to share your knowledge is through an ebook. Just being a published author with a title that showcases your knowledge in the industry can function as a key that opens doors for you. A well-written ebook that includes your insight can make people more likely to hire you, get you invited to speak or chair a panel at a conference, you will get more exposure.

Business eBooks Can Launch Your Speaking Career

Being a keynote speaker at a highly visible event (even a virtual one) can raise your profile enough to be included in major conferences across the country. That is a level of marketing you simply cannot purchase. When you’re invited to speak at an event, the event hosts typically put a link to your website as well as your photo and bio on the conference page. The number of leads this will generate can keep you very business and make others aware of you who would not otherwise have known you.

Business eBooks Can Drive Revenue to Your Business

When people trust your expertise, they are more likely to hire you. Having an ebook cuts down on the time it takes to close a deal because you’ve already established a level of trust. If you spend less time trying to hustle the sale and more time closing deals, your revenue will grow.

A business ebook can mean more power, more credibility, and more profit.

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Benefits of eBooks for Business Lead Generation

Are you trying to drive more leads to your business? Do you need to establish yourself as a credible leader in your industry? Do you want to create an enticing offer to get more people to sign up for your marketing emails? There is one way you can do all of these things: write an ebook. We’ll be exploring the various ways ebooks can help you grow your business.

eBooks for Business Lead Generation

What is lead generation?

To stay in business, you have to have someone to sell to, right? Lead generation is a method of attracting potential clients or customers and encouraging them to take an action, such as schedule a consultation. Generating leads is the step that comes before selling. Once you have the lead, there are many steps you can take to convert the lead into a customer – but what we’re focused on here is generating the lead itself. One of the most effective ways to generate leads is to get them to sign up for your emails, where you can share content, offer sales, and highlight your services. But people don’t just go around signing up for emails – we all get enough already. So you have to make it worth it by offering something that compels them to give you their email address. That’s where ebooks for lead generation comes in.

Whether you offer an entire library of resources or simply have a single, enticing offer that compels people to schedule a time to talk with you, an ebook can be an effective way to drive more leads. The most common question we get about ebooks for lead generation is, “What should I write about?” There are a number of answers, but consider one of these lead-generation powerhouses:

  1. Answer a question or provide a solution to something that demonstrates your expertise that someone might typically have to pay for. The cost? A name and email address (where they can, of course, unsubscribe any time, but won’t if you’re giving them great content).
  2. Provide insight into your area of expertise with tangible steps the reader could take to achieve success.
  3. Share some inside secrets that will help your reader get ahead – it could be a marketing secret you use, a method for calculating ROI that helps you justify worthy investments to your boss, or an inside track to better networking to build the right relationships.

In the end, you can write about anything that both showcases your expertise and gives the reader a valuable takeaway. The point is to drive the leads to you, where you can further showcase your experience and expertise or highlight the services offered by your company.

Here are some examples of ebooks used as lead generation tools for businesses that might inspire you:

IT Company in Ohio that offers a library of resources for people when they sign up for the monthly newsletter. Each of the ebooks provides the person with in-depth guidance on IT topics and are of value on their own.

A business coach who offers a single, in-depth guide to pivoting your business. The ebook itself is of great value and gives them an opportunity to showcase their coaching service.

Hubspot, the king of lead generation, offers a series of lead generation ebooks to help you move your business forward, where they of course collect your email address for further marketing of their services.

What do these offers all have in common? Even if you don’t purchase the services they offer, the ebooks themselves are a treasure trove of useful information. It should be your goal to do the same – offer something useful, even if only a small percentage of people actually convert, because you never know who will come back a year later to hire you when they’re finally in the right space for it.

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Creating an Author Website Designed to Sell eBooks

Do you have an author website? As the world looks at ways to slowly reopen, there will still be another few months of more people spending more time at home. Big festivals for the summer have all been cancelled – even Oktoberfest in Germany has been cancelled this year. With all of that extra downtime, we anticipate ebook sales will continue to rise, so if you’re an author or publisher, now is the time to make sure your ebook marketing is reaching as many people as possible. An author website is a crucial marketing piece that sometimes gets overlooked.

Elements of a Good Author Website

Designing a website to sell books doesn’t mean it has to be an aggressive sales page. In fact, some of the best ways to sell your ebook are through more subtle mentions. The elements of a good author website include:

  • A landing page or home page
  • An author bio or about page
  • A book page – this may be for a single book, a series, or for the author’s complete library of titles
  • A blog
  • A news/press page

Other elements you may want to include, depending on your goals, is a speaker or booking page, if you’re trying to land speaking gigs or get booked for events (virtual events, too). If you do participate in events, such as author Q&As, media interviews, and more, you may also want an event page that updates your readers and fans about when and where to find you.

Selling Your eBook without In-Your-Face Marketing

When someone lands on your website, it’s because they are already curious about you or your books. Instead of hitting them over the head with annoying popups and begs to buy the book, instead delight them with something readers of your books would love to see. Consider these tips

Know Your Audience and Readers

You need to know who your audience is. A great example of understanding the audience is Meagan McDonald’s Judy Moody website. Another quite different example is Mark Tufo.

Easy Navigation and Book Visibility

Visitors to your website shouldn’t have to hunt for your books. Have a look at the website for Chimamanda Adichie. It’s clean and simple and easy to find everything. While you don’t need to have a new popup every five minutes asking them to “click here to buy,” you should make it clear where to find the books and how to get them. A great example of clear and simple navigation is Gretchin Rubin‘s website.

Put It All Out There

Whether you do it like David Sedaris and put a lot of information on the home page, promote an upcoming book like Jennifer Weiner, or create an entire world for your readers like JK Rowling, the idea is to make it fun for your potential book buyers to be on – and stay on – your site.

Let Them Buy the Books from You

Make it easy to sell more ebooks from your author website by selling your books there. Accept multiple forms of payment through secure third-party payment platforms like PayPal, secure your ebooks with DRM to protect your intellectual property, and keep more of the profits.

Your author website should be a glimpse into your personality and your books. It should give your readers a better sense of who you are and why your books are worth reading. A better author website can help you sell more ebooks.

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Make More Money Selling eBooks with Better Marketing

make more money selling ebooks

It can be difficult to reach your audience on social media unless you’re willing to pay for advertising. Boosting posts on Facebook can be an effective way to expand your reach, but if you have an email list, why pay Facebook when you can reach an entire audience with ebook email marketing? With effective ebook email marketing, you can make more money selling ebooks.

Email Marketing Is More Effective

According to a study by McKinsey, email marketing is more effective than social media marketing. 91% of people check their email every day. And with more people working from home and staying home, a lot of them are looking for good books to read. Even if you have a small list, you should not be ignoring their potential. Make it easy for them to share the email with their friends with a share link.

It All Starts with the Subject Line

If you want to make more money selling ebooks through email marketing, the first step is creating a subject line that will grab the reader’s attention, get them to open the email, and from there, click on your link and buy your book. How do you know if it’s a good subject line? Try one of these subject line testers recommended by HubSpot. Our favorite is the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer from Advanced Marketing Institute.

Subject Lines that Open Emails

There are certain types of subject lines that are more likely than others to get the email opened.

FOMO

Do you have your ebook on sale for a limited time? If you want to make more money selling ebooks, send out an email letting your readers know that they can get your ebook for a discounted price – but only for a limited time. It urges them to act immediately so that they don’t miss the deal.

Listicles

Clickbait works for a reason: we want to know the 25 secrets from “Friends” that have never before been revealed. You can use that knowledge to create interest in your email. You could try something like, “25 truths you’ll discover reading detective novels” or “5 ways to be more productive (and have more time to read).

Events

Inviting readers to big events, like cover reveals or book launch or a Q & A with the author can be an enticement to readers to open your email.

Of course, it doesn’t stop with the email subject – you need to have a message inside that provides the reader with whatever you promised in the subject line. Whether the email is all about your ebook or you’re inviting them to participate in or read something else and also mentioned that your ebook is for sale, email marketing will help you make more money selling ebooks.

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Marketing Templates for Publishers and Authors

While the impact of COVID-19 is being felt around the world and many businesses are struggling under the weight of closure, there have been some silver linings. First, the air quality has improved measurably around the globe.

While governments seek ways to safely reopen, in all likelihood, we’ll all be doing a lot more staying at home this summer. And that makes it a good time for authors and publishers to step up their book marketing.

Template for Announcing a Temporary Reduction in Price or Free eBook

Why would you give away your ebook for free? If it is the first book in a series or you are a new author with a new book coming soon, giving away a book is a great way to gain followers who will buy subsequent books.

You can use the announcement in an email, on social media, and on your website (either as a special banner or as a popup). Make sure you highlight the sale: TITLE OF BOOK WILL BE AVAILABLE FREE (or PRICE) FOR [NUMBER] of DAYS ONLY.

It’s important to limit the number of days the sale is available to create a sense of urgency about getting the book NOW.

Include a short description of the book or a quote from a bestselling author who has endorsed the book and a photo of the book cover. Provide a conspicuous link as well.

Example:

Press Release Template for Publishers and Authors

There are many places where you can publish a press release, including on your website, through your newsletter, or through a distribution service either for free or for a fee. A press release is a useful tool for announcing a new book or to announce a price reduction or free book.

Example:

To make it easy for you to get started, you can download Word versions of both the announcement and the press release template here.

Announcement

Press Release Example

For more insights into marketing ebooks, please read:

How to Market a Self-Published Book

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50 Questions for Authors

questions for authors

Are you a blogger or journalist interviewing an author? A publisher promoting a new author? An author developing a website from which you can market yourself and your books? To truly engage with your audience, you need to get them interested in the writer of the book. These 50 questions for authors are designed to do just that:

Author Interview Questions

  1. Why should we read your book?
  2. What inspired the title of your book?
  3. Who designed your cover art?
  4. Which character in your book was the hardest to write?
  5. Who was the easiest character to write?
  6. Which character is most like you?
  7. What was the most surprising thing you learned while writing this book?
  8. What author would you like to be compared to?
  9. What do you do when you are not writing?
  10. Are you already working on another book?
  11. Who inspired your main character?
  12. How can readers connect with you?
  13. Do you have any advice to share with aspiring authors?
  14. What inspired the topic of this book?
  15. Why did you choose this genre?
  16. What was the last book you read?
  17. What was the first thing you ever wrote?
  18. What kind of approach do you take to writing (write all at once, edit as you go, etc)?
  19. If readers only take one message away from this book, what is it?
  20. Are there any elements of this book taken from your real life?
  21. How long did it take you to write the first draft?
  22. Who helped and supported you?
  23. Where did you do your research?
  24. Did writing a book change you?
  25. Which part of the book was most difficult to write?
  26. Were there characters in your book that you required guidance on to write well?
  27. Did you represent marginalized or underrepresented groups in your book?
  28. What is the one thing about writing a book that you wish everyone knew?
  29. Did you get writer’s block at all?
  30. What were your favorite snacks to eat while writing?
  31. Where was your favorite place to write?
  32. Do you write on a computer or start by hand?
  33. What jobs have you held that helped you develop stronger characters?
  34. Which authors most heavily influenced your work?
  35. How much different is the finished book from the first draft?
  36. How does being a full-time/part-time writer affect your writing?
  37. Who would play the main character in your book if it were to be made into a movie?
  38. When you read, do you read digital books or print books?
  39. Do you write full time or have another job?
  40. What were the most difficult scenes to write in your book?
  41. Do you collaborate with other authors?
  42. Who is your favorite author?
  43. What is your favorite children’s book?
  44. What does a day in your life look like?
  45. What interested in you in the particular about your chosen genre?
  46. Do you have daily writing goals?
  47. If you were writing an autobiography, what would be the title?
  48. Do you eat breakfast? If so, what?
  49. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview?
  50. If you couldn’t write for a living, what would you do?

We hope these questions for authors inspire you. Whether you’re an author, publisher, or interviewer, we hope these questions help you dig a little deeper.

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