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October 18, 2011, 5:00 am

From 12,600 To 22 or What Went Wrong With My eBook

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: eBook


dead treeHow can this happen?


I mean, I’m usually pretty good at what I do.


Especially when I do it for the second time.


Well, I guess it’s totally different when you charge, right?


You got it. I’m talking about the number of downloads for each of my books. In the right corner, with 12,652 downloads, weighing 37 pages and containing clear explanations about how to invest in dividend stocks; Dividend Investing: How To Build A Never Ending Cash Distributor


And on the left corner, the overweight 97 page eBook with templates and appendices, containing clear explanations on the very first steps on how to get out of the Rat Race… and with 22 downloads… Rat Race: 1 Year From Now, Will You Still Be A Rat?.


Ouch! This hurts! After a month and a half, I have only 22 sales of my 2nd eBook…. Definitely nothing to write home about! As I previously mentioned at the beginning of the year, my goal was to sell 100 copies by the end of the year. Let’s face it, this ain’t gonna happen. Unless Santa Claus buys them from me for Xmas!


After a few days of frustration (‘cause it’s really frustrating to put so much effort, energy and money into something!), I had to seriously think about what went wrong. While my first book was free, I still have more than 12,000 downloads in 3 months which is nothing compared to 22!
At first, I didn’t want to talk about the sales of my eBook on TFB and just pretend it never happened. I even debated this topic with my partner as to how transparent we should be about this failure. I was  am ashamed of my poor results. But I told you at the beginning of the year that I would be transparent with my business. It’s pretty easy to do when you claim to the world that you made 11K from blogging  last month, but it’s another thing when you have to claim your failures! So I decided to go “all-in!” But while I can’t tell you how to write and market a successful eBook, I can tell you where I shot and missed. So here are the hard learned lessons I came up with.


Wrong Topic

So my first eBook talks about how to set yourself with the right mindset, get your finances in order and prepare to get out of the rat race. In my opinion, I got it all right: people are stuck with jobs they don’t like, don’t manage their finances properly, don’t take the time or the energy to build a sideline business…. In other words; several people are stuck in the deep shiz and they don’t really know how to get out of it. So what’s wrong with the topic? 2 things:


#1 People know that they are stuck but they don’t care (e.g. they don’t realize how bad their situation is… this is usually called denial).


#2 Getting your personal finances in order is like losing weight: we all know we should do it and how to do it but we just don’t act.


The main problem with my topic is that I didn’t aim for emotion, for commitment. I simply tell the world; hey! Look at me! I got out of the rat race and I’ll tell you how

Sorry! Not sexy enough!


Wrong Market

When I thought about writing a book about escaping the Rat Race, I knew that I wasn’t reinventing the wheel; there are tons of books about personal finance and the rat race. I thought mine was different because it has 4 parts and I was going towards a very specific plan and a very specific route to become financially independent (through blogging). So the first book is too basic for most of you, my educated readers ;-). If you have been following me for a few years, chances are that you already have most of your finances in order and that you don’t feel the need to read the first book.


In fact, I think am sure that I would sell more copies of an eBook that explains how to build a media kit, deal with advertisers and build your own 6 figure online empire on 10 hours a week! Well… this is part 4 of my series ;-)… a little bit too long of a wait to sell copies, right?


Wrong Pricing

I did my bachelor’s degree in Marketing… and it seems that I forgot most of it when I did this book! The price for the Rat Race is $27. I didn’t want to price it lower. It wasn’t a matter of making a lot of money per book but rather to show that it has value and I wanted motivated people to buy this book. I think that if you are not motivated, you won’t be able to apply most techniques I wrote about.


But the truth is that $27 for a PDF document is just too much for most people. Worse than that, $27 is definitely not enough to develop engaged and motivated buyers. Therefore, I’m just another writer, selling another book. Price differentiation totally went wrong with my marketing!


Wrong Marketing

The problem with only 22 copies sold is that you can’t say if you product is good or bad… at this point, it is just bad marketing. So you have to take a closer look at the sales page and strategy to sell the book.

I spoke with a few people about my disappointing results and Baker was honest enough to tell me that my sales page sucks! Well, he’s a nice guy so it actually went like this:

“Out of 10, I would give your eBook cover a 9” (thx man!)

“But your sales page is a 6 at best” (doh!)

What’s so bad about my sales page? Several things:

#1 Graphics are not that great, I should have hired a professional webdesigner to create a kick ass page… and not try to do it myself!


#2 It doesn’t catch the buyer’s attention, I need to have a more powerful layout with images to convince people that my ebook is great.


#3 I don’t focus on emotion enough. While I worked on the page already, I still have more work to do in order to focus on benefits and emotion for potential buyers. You probably don’t care about how many pages and appendices you’ll get but you sure will smile when you read that this book will show you how to tell your boss how to shove his report up is ….


Besides the sales page, I’ve made several other marketing mistakes:

#1 I sent the contents of my sales page to my newsletter subscribers… the email was too long and too big. A short line such as “Hey Mike, take a few minutes to check out my book, I promise it will change your life forever”. People hate long emails (I do!) so what’s the point of sending a sales pitch to my most loyal readers? Man… that was such an amateur mistake!


#2 I got the link wrong in the newsletter! OMG! What a retard! So I had to send a second email with the right link… out of that email, I got 30 clicks to the shopping cart and 12 sales… just to show you how having the proper setup is a must when you launch a product!


#3 I counted on affiliate programs to sell books. Lol! At the Financial Blogger Conference, Ramit said that bloggers don’t sell products most of the time. In fact, it’s pretty hard as a blogger to be successful at affiliate marketing so I guess that selling your friend’s book won’t be any different! This is why I sent my book to several bloggers, got pretty good comments about it and some great reviews… but nothing more than links. Not a single sale.


Stuff that didn’t go wrong but that I could have done

On top of my numerous mistakes, there are omissions! Here are only a few things that should have been done and didn’t:


Give a Part for Free

I recently heard of bloggers giving a full chapter away to their newsletter readers so they get a real feel of the book. This is such a great tease and it shows what you have to offer. I think that offering a freebie is always a good way to show people why they should spend money and trust you.


Package the Book Differently

At first, we thought of launching each book separately and offer a special discount each time for previous buyers. Right now, I’m considering writing the whole thing in one shot, package it as 4 volumes of the same book (because this is exactly what it is) and sell only the package of something that will probably have over 500 pages. I think that the value will obviously be there in terms of content and that everybody will be able to pick the advice they need.


These books are meant to be a series of 4 steps. In my opinion, you can’t achieve step #3 before step #1. But hey! What if most people are more interested in reading about step #3 and #4 before doing anything they find in books #1 and #2? By selling the whole package in one shot, I’ll be able to reach everybody in one shot.


Guest Post

Instead of asking bloggers for reviews, I should have been much better at writing huge and epic guest posts on big blogs and mention that I have a book about escaping the rat race.


What’s Next?

It’s not too late to apply these strategies and I’ll certainly do it. However, I’ll wait until I really want to write about this book again (the pill is still VERY hard to swallow).  In the meantime, I went back to my first success and I’m writing the second book about Dividend Investing ;-D


I’ll keep you posted on my other experience in my newsletter, be sure to subscribe ;-).

image credit

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August 2, 2011, 5:00 am

7 Things People Don’t Tell You Before You Write Your eBook

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: eBook

I’m right in the middle of writing my eBook series (first book is done! Yeah!) and while this has been a great adventure, I have learned a lot of things since the very beginning. While the launch of my free eBook on Dividend Investing was a true success (more than 8,600 copies in 2 months!), I’m about to reach a new milestone with my second eBook:

Rat Race: 1 Year From Now, Will You Still Be A Rat?

rat race


The book is set to be launched later on in August September (I’m on vacation in August!) as it is currently being reviewed/edited/formatted, etc. In the meantime, I want to share my experience with you along with 10 secrets about writing an eBook:


#1 Why you MUST write an eBook

Oh man… writing an eBook is a lot of work and I don’t have any great ideas to start with… on top of that, I don’t have the time! All right, now that I’ve heard you whining like a baby; let’s be honest for a second. What are your real sources of income?

–          Adsense? Then, you must depend greatly on the good grace of Google to place your articles on its first page. If you have suffered from the Panda update, you know what I mean!

–          Private Advertisers? Running banners and links on your website is risky, we all know that. To add insult to injury, you could experience a Page Rank drop (again, thx to Google’s good grace or powerful wrath).

–          Affiliates? What happens if the product maker cuts its commission program? Or aborts its affiliate program? It happened to me recently. The result? Losing a steady $200 of monthly income!

As you can see, the 3 common types of blogging income are not under your control and you become extremely dependent on others!

So what are your options? Manufacture and market your own product. By selling your own eBook, you can’t go wrong; this is the ultimate example of passive income. One fellow blogger was confessing to me that he has been making around $2,000 per month for the past 9 months without even touching his sales page!

Having your own product enables you to make money the way you want and modify any parameters that can help you to make even more!

#2 People Are Not Interested in Rehearsed BS

rehearsed BS

I have used my newsletter subscribers a lot in order to build my eBooks. I ask them questions, offer them options and test them with a few of my ideas (they will be rewarded as they will have a huge pre-sale discount on my eBooks!… you can sign up on the right column by the way if you want to get more info on how I run my blog and what is coming up on TFB!). One thing that came back a lot was that many readers hated most eBooks they read because their author was filling them with copy/paste old stuff from their blogs! If you are about to sell your eBook, people are expecting to get original content and not some rehearsed BS that you took 15 minutes per post to write.


Since Dividend Investing was offered for free, I am not shy to say that I have used part of what has been written on The Dividend Guy Blog or What is a Dividend. However, I started from scratch when I started my new eBook series. Why? Mostly because I want to provide exclusive and useful content to my clients. Remember these 2 words:



These are the 2 reasons why people will buy your eBook:

#1 Because they can’t get it anywhere else

#2 Because it will transform their lives forever

This is what I intend to do with my books, anyways!

#3 This is Going To Take You Forever and You Are Going To Quit


Rat Race is over 29,000 words. TWENTY NINE THOUSAND! It has required tons of time to write, research, edit and format. I’m planning to write 4 books like this in 2011. So I’m talking about writing over 116,000 WORDS in a few months. If I look at the project this way, I will surely quit right now.


Writing a single eBook is a huge project. If you don’t have great planning, you will soon be discouraged by the amount of work and time required to achieve this “crazy” task. The first thing you need to do is an eBook outline. You need to attack this beast one bite at a time. Create a mind map and start your outline from it. If you put down on paper each chapter with subtitles, your whole 100 page eBook will become only 100 articles to write, one at a time.

#4 Costs Involved

eBook cost

How much does it cost to produce an eBook? Well, I’ll tell you upfront; your biggest cost is your time. So if you put aside your “free hours of work”, producing a eBook is not too expensive. This is how much it cost to do my second eBook:

Design: $295

This includes the cover page, headers and footers, a smaller icon of my main characters (a rat) and a 3D effect book cover. I ran a contest over 99designs and it took 7 days to find the designer I was looking for.

Editing; $150

As you probably know, English is my second tongue; therefore, I’m definitely not the right guy to edit my own stuff. I hired someone to go over the entire book and make the corrections. I asked him to add the correction by using word so I can see his work. It took him 3-4 days to complete this task.

Formatting: $300

I am paying a VA to do all the formatting. This includes taking my stuff from word to create a PDF file, adding images and image sources, verifying all links included in the book and format the whole document into a specific layout (columns, fonts, titles, sub-titles, etc). This usually takes a week to do as there is a lot of back and forth.


Total cost for this eBook: $745 if I exclude the number of hours spent on it.

Since I’m a super fast writer (I can average 80 words/minute or 400-420 characters), I was able to write the book in about 40 hours. However, if you haven’t followed any typing classes or practice on typing software (I have used Typing Instructor Platinum to get that fast), it can easily take you 80 hours. So depending on how much you want to pay yourself, your eBook cost can climb easily by $2,000. Even then, at an average sale of $20, you need less than 150 sales to breakeven.

#5 How to build your team so you don’t die writing/editing/formatting/designing/publishing

ebook team

Considering the previous point on the cost of producing an eBook, you can deduce that I have received some help from different third parties. I’m good at writing but I’m not good at designing, editing or formatting. This is why I have built a team to produce my eBook. I actually chose almost the same team as I did when writing my first eBook:



I wanted to have a professional designer that will be able to draw a character (a rat) and have it evolve throughout the series of books. This is why I ran a contest over 99designs. It’s a pretty cool website where you post a “contest” for designers. You can describe what you are looking for (a logo, website design, eBook cover, etc) and give an exact description of the metrics (color, theme, type of drawing, what it will be used for, general feeling, etc.). The more specific you are, the better your design will be. What is cool is that you can open the contest for a week and receive design propositions as they come. I had received over 20 cover page propositions in a single week. To be honest, it was almost too much. Making the decision was pretty hard since we received several high quality propositions. The fact that we confirmed that we will pick a winner helped a lot (which means that at least, one designer will be picked and paid!). The price for the contest was $295. We paid extra after the fact to get more versions of the rat and requested additional modifications.



We used Chris Thomas from FreelancePF. I have known Chris for a few months from his former blog; Broke Professionals (he has since sold it). As he has a major in English and was ready to do it pretty fast, I picked him to edit both eBooks. I will definitely work with him next time! If you are looking for someone to edit your stuff, he might be your guy (if he still has time! Lol!). If not, you can also post a job on Odesk as they have tons of chap editors there too.



If I didn’t have a VA working for me already, I would have used Odesk to find one. We have been using this resource to hire other VAs for similar jobs and it has worked pretty well. The key point in selecting someone to edit or format your stuff is to find someone that you can easily communicate with. He has to understand your ways and this is quite a challenge. Often times, communication is the problem! During the formatting period, I am in constant communication with my VA (about 2-3 times per day) to make sure I am happy with the end product. The devil is in the details, so make sure to review everything!


First readers:

This is actually very important: have people read your books before you publish it, especially those that are able to give a real critical review. At first, this was quite a challenge as my partner was quite complacent about it. He just liked it! But that’s not what you are looking for. You need to find people that are willing and able to tell you what sucks about your book. Of course there are good parts… but you already know that! What you don’t know is what is wrong with your book!


Fortunately, I can count on my VAs to bring me some guidelines. This is why I forward my books to a few friends, VAs and my partner and will listen to their comments. I made several modifications according to what they said. It is also important to select people that will be interested in your topic too.

#6 Benefits attached to writing an eBook

ebook benefits

From my first eBook experience, I can tell you that the benefits are huge:

– Free backlinks to your website (several people will link to your site referring to your eBook)

– Increased readership through both RSS readers and newsletters.

– Increase in affiliate commissions (even if my book was free, I included affiliate links in it. I’ve earned over $800 in 2 months with the book in affiliate commissions).

– More visitors to my network (as I cross promoted my eBook through my different blogs).

– More experience (my whole team has learned a lot from launching the first eBook. We will be more than ready to launch the second one with less mistakes and will definitely be more efficient!).

#7 Disadvantages of writing an eBook

ebook disadvantages

There are not many disadvantages to writing an eBook. You gain readership and chances of making more money so what can go wrong with this plan? However, I have actually found one huge disadvantage of writing an eBook and I think it’s important you know about it before jumping on this project.


If you want to write an eBook; you will need a lot of time. Not only to write the darn thing but also to outsource what you don’t want to do and to manage your collaborators. You will also have to spend some time preparing the marketing plan and how you will launch an eBook. This will require a lot of emails to your connections, participation in social media and forums and you might also think of offering some guest articles… Then again, I’m repeating myself; all of this requires a lot of time!
But the problem doesn’t really rely on the time required. I was able to produce Rat Race in 2 months, so it is still pretty quick. The problem is what you are not doing while you are writing this eBook. As you can see from my June Income Report and probably what will show up in my July income report a few days from now, is that you lose focus on everything else! It’s hard to keep up with the daily tasks while adding such a huge project to your schedule. This is why you will have to sacrifice a part of your blogging routine or business development to create an eBook.


On the other hand, since it is the most lucrative and most effective passive income you can ever get, it’s worth the effort! When I look at other bloggers who published their first eBook, most of them are making money with it and I’m sure that none of them regret their adventure!


So tell me, when are you starting yours?

what about you






image #5



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June 29, 2011, 3:47 am

How To Market an eBook

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: eBook

Yesterday, I told you how to write an eBook following 9 easy steps. The point of this post is to share my experience when I wrote Dividend Investing – How to build a never ending cash distributor. In a single month, I was able to reach more than 5,500 downloads. Even if the eBook was free, it was still quite a challenge to market it the right way in order to generate so many downloads in such little time. Also, this does not include those who just emailed the eBook to their friends. So how do you market your eBook? Here’s what I did :

Create a Buzz Before the Launch

One of my favorite marketing tricks is to create a buzz around the eBook before it was launched. I started my marketing strategy before I even wrote the first line of my book! I asked my newsletter subscribers what they would like to find in a dividend investing eBook. I used my Dividend Guy Blog Newsletter to contact people who know about this strategy and that would be able to help me create the right content for the most readers. By involving my readers, they were more likely to download my eBook once produced.

The second thing I did was to talk about my eBook with as many people as possible.  This included mentioning the creation of my eBook through my other newsletters, on my other blogs, on twitter and on forums. People that know The Financial Blogger automatically knew that I was working on a book. Some of them even offered me to write a guest post to market my eBook on their blogs.

As I was approaching the launch date, I intensified the promotion in order to make sure that everybody knew that I was expecting to launch my eBook at the end of May. In the end, due to designer problems, I had to wait until June 2nd to launch it.

So the « before buzz » was created through :

–          My newsletter

–          Mentions on all my blogs

–          Social Media such as Twitter

–          Mentions on forums

Create a list of possible ways to market your eBook

A week before the launch date, I sat down and established my complete marketing strategy to launch eBook. In this list I included:

–          An email list of all my contacts (bloggers) that could be interested by the eBook

–          An email list of “big guys” which I would contact personally

–          A list of influential people that could help promote my eBook outside of my circle of contacts

–          Articles ready to be sent through my different newsletters

–          A few guest posts

–          Twitter users I wanted to reach

–          Forums I wanted to appear on

–          Creation of a launch page on The Dividend Guy Blog

–          Keywords to use that will rank for my eBook

From this list, there are a few points I want to cover with you that made a huge difference in the launch. Here they are:

Go Viral, Talk to your friends!

When I think of big guys, I mean huge bloggers. When I think of influential individuals, I’m thinking of financial journalist or other bloggers that are not in my niche (investing). Interestingly enough, most people I contacted were more than willing to take a look at my eBook and try to promote it. It could go from a simple retweet to a mention on their blog.

Referrals are very important when trying to market your eBook. You need to reach as many individuals as possible. Between June 2nd and June 24th, more than 6,000 visitors saw my eBook launch page. Since I have about 5,500 downloads, you can guess that my landing page is pretty well built (but we will get back to this later on). Here are the best referrers (and a big THANK YOU to all of them):

Rob Carrick from The Globe & Mail (crazy how a simple tweet to this guy brought me 1,814 visitors!)

Dividend Growth Investor

Million Dollar Journey

Dividend Ninja

Dividend Monk

Passive Income Earner

The Div-Net

Dividends Value


Free Money Finance

My Money Blog

Canadian Dream

Dividend Partisan

Budgets Are Sexy


Money Index

The Dividend Pig

Bank Nerd

Beating the Index

I Love Dividends

Dividend Mantra

My Journey To Millions

The list is actually longer but I have to stop at one point, right? I even had the chance to write on Free From Broke and on Yakezie. I also had the opportunity to exchange a few emails with Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income and Baker. As you can attest, I have sent a huge load of emails ;-).

Connect with your most important public audience: Your Readers!

Building newsletters was one of the best moves we made in 2010. Through your newsletter, you have the chance to build a privileged bond between you and your readers. Once the bond of trust is established, it is a marvelous medium to reach out and advise folks that you have something great for them. On top of that, since the eBook was free, subscribers just jumped on the offer. Within the first hour, I had more than 100 downloads. I actually asked my partner if there was a problem with the plugin reporting the count. But everything was working fine, I was just so lucky to have awesome readers that believe in me!

It also gave me a unique chance to ask them what they thought of the eBook after a few weeks. I was able to gather enough feedback to help me write another book (which will be done later on this year 😉 ).

Get the Best Landing Page And Grab Your New Visitors

Don’t underestimate the time you should invest on the landing page where your eBook is offered. This is your most powerful marketing tool. When you go to my landing page, here’s what you get:


The first point is to highlight your eBook.  While I have it at the beginning of the post, you can also see it in the right column (which appears on all my pages). It makes it easy for people who want to download it right away and don’t care about reading your landing page.

But for those who want to read before making the move, you have to tell them why your eBook is so great. This is your chance to market your eBook. You have to make it easy to read and skim. I’ll repeat: easy to read AND skim.

By using big titles with different colors and not too much text in each paragraph, your readers are able to get the main message without taking too much time on your page. I also mentioned who should download this eBook (beginner investors) and what they will find in it (the chapters outline).

Then, I finish my landing page by reiterating that the eBook is free and ready to be downloaded. This is how I plug my 3D cover once again.

How To Get 100 downloads/day without promotions

During the first 3 days of your launch, will be see a huge amount of visitors and downloads. That’s normal as your marketing plan is being executed and the product is hot. After this huge peak, you will see the number of downloads dropping significantly. So for the past 2 weeks, I am no longer doing any promotion. And still, I average of 100 downloads per day. How can it be possible? Through simple keyword optimization!

When I finished my eBook, I did a search through Market Samurai in order to know which kinds of keywords should be used to promote it. It appeared that Dividend Investing was a great keyword with low competition and still a decent amount of visits per day. This is why I named my eBook: Dividend Investing – How To Build a Never Ending Cash Distributor. Each time I mention my eBook, I use the anchor text “dividend investing”. Guess who’s sitting in the first spot of Google for “dividend investing”? you got it right 😀 The Dividend Investing eBook!

So with a great landing page and some Search Engine Optimization with Market Samurai, you can get some great passive downloads over time. I expect the number of downloads to be fairly stable in the upcoming months and therefore generate more and more readers through the promotion of my eBook.

Have used any other strategies? How do you think I can get more exposure?

 last minute edit: I ran a search this morning and I’m no longer on the first position in Google for “dividend investing”… I’ll have to work on that in July ;-).

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June 28, 2011, 5:00 am

How To Write an eBook in 9 Must Have Steps

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: eBook

how to write a ebookAt the beginning of this month, we launched our first eBook: Dividend Investing. We wrote this eBook to help young investors build their dividend portfolios. The main goal was to explain to investors that they can and should start investing as soon as possible in order to build their nest egg. Within the first month, we were able to generate more than 5,500 downloads.

The only thing that comes to my mind right now is how much I would have made if I was selling the eBook at $17… ;-D

How did we market our eBook? That is another question. Today, I’ll share how I wrote Dividend Investing in 2 months at a cost of less than $500.



How to write an eBook: Where to start?


All right, so you have a good idea, you are a blogger or you write easily on a computer. Is that it? Now you can jump into the eBook fray and start your writing adventure? Think twice, it’s not that simple! Writing an eBook is like writing a paperback; you need to know how to start.


Step #1: Plan Your eBook Itinerary

Writing an eBook is like going on a trip: you need to know where to start, where you are going and how you will get there. So the first thing you need to do is to setup a schedule. You need to define how many hours you want to work on it per week. If you don’t do it this way, chances are that you will end-up writing your eBook “when you have some spare time”. Well the problem is that we don’t have time, we use it. So make the time and determine when you will work on your eBook.


Writing an eBook is a big task, if you want to get through it and be proud of what you have written, you had better be disciplined and do one thing at a time. Personally, I have discovered that I am more effective when I work on the same task for several hours in a row. Therefore, when I start writing my eBook, I used blocks of 3 to 6 hours in a row to work on it. You get a better flow of ideas and you are able to make more sense the first time you write. Since you are in your “writing bubble”, all pages written within the same block of time will be coherent and follow the same train of thought.


Step #2: Define Your eBook Mission

You have a great idea for your book, awesome! But how can you write a full eBook about a single idea? Have you taken the time to define the mission of your blog? The mission of any projects? Defining your eBook mission is more than writing a simple idea on a piece of paper. You are about to tell the world what you want to do with your book and who will be interested in it. Here’s my example:

Title: Dividend Investing – How To Build A Never Ending Cash Distributor

Idea: Write an eBook about dividend investing. Teach the basics of investing and why dividend investing is a very good strategy.

Mission: Walk young investors (young being not related to the readers’ age but to their investing experience) through a solid investment process. Explain the investing basics so they can make sound investing decisions. Provide the reader with an understandable and easy investing method in order to build a dividend portfolio. Support them with several investing resources so they can find answers to all their questions.


As you can see, I have divided this step into 3 points: the Title, the idea and the mission. Technically, you should start with your idea, work on your mission and then, come up with the title (which is more a marketing exercise than anything else 😉 ).


The idea is a very general statement while the mission will include action verbs to define what you will write about and will also identify your readership. You can’t write for everybody, so you better off writing for people that will like what you have written ;-).

Step #3: Write an Outline before your eBook

We are at step #3 and you have not even started the first page of your eBook! If you want the writing experience to be productive and avoid frustration, you will need a specific outline. Don’t make the mistake of thinking oh, it‘s all in my head. Go one step further; write it down on a piece of paper.


I ran into a few speed bumps when I started to write my eBook because I had the outline in my head. After a few pages written, I wasn’t sure where I was going. This is when I had to stop writing and go back to create the outline.


The outline should be as specific as possible. For my second eBook, the outline took me 4 hours to write. I wrote the title of each section and sub-section of the book to make sure nothing was missing. So you start with your big idea and you break it into pieces. In my case, here is how I started:

Dividend investing:

#1 Investing basics

#2 How to incorporate dividend investing in your portfolio

#3 Step by step method to building a dividend portfolio

#4 Resources put together to support the readers


This is a summary of my 4 chapters. The goal of this outline was to determine the logical path I wanted to offer my readers. Since I write for novice investors, I needed to go back to investment basics. Then, the second chapter is about dividend investing. The third one, a step-by-step guide is a revision of the first 2 chapters in actionable steps to build a dividend portfolio. Finally, the fourth chapter offers tons of resources for those who want to dig further into the adventure.


Can you start writing your eBook after such a minute outline? The answer is no. You have to create all the sub-sections to make sure you don’t forget anything. For example, I’ll break the investing basics section down with you:

Investing basics:

–          What is a dividend and how it works

–          Why dividend investing should be a strategy you can use

–          Overall process of investing decisions

–          Investing principles linked to this process

–          Risk profile (how to determine your risk tolerance)

–          Asset allocation

As you can see, once my sections and sub-sections are clearly defined; it is much easier to start writing. Even better, you will make sense from page 1 to page 44! Creating all the sub-sections requires time and thought gathering. However, once it is done, writing content becomes easier.


Step #4 Gather your eBook information sources

You want to start writing your eBook… not yet! The last step before writing is to gather all your information sources according to the sections and sub-sections of your eBook. For Dividend Investing, I had decided to use some existing content from The Dividend Guy Blog and What is a Dividend. I first copied and pasted all articles that I found relevant into my eBook draft and then, rewrote a good part of it. Why? Because I wanted to have the same feeling for the reader from the first to the last page. However, since some topics had been covered already, it would have been stupid to start from scratch.


I also did some research to get as much info as possible for each section. I also copied and pasted the information I used in the sub-sections before rewriting and adding my personal touch on it. I won’t suggest you copy existing information even if it comes from your own content. When I asked my newsletter subscribers what they thought of eBooks in general, several people told me they found that many eBooks were just a pile of old existing articles compiled into one package.


Instead of putting existing articles together, I started with ideas that were already developed on my websites or around the web and then rewrote them the way I wanted to get a unique feel for the eBook.


Step #5 How to Write an eBook

At last! You are finally ready to start writing some original lines in your eBook! My advice for this step is to complete one sub-section each time you start writing. Your train of thought will flow and it will be easier to cover everything you want to say. Don’t read what you just wrote, keep it for later on.


The creativity process is born from non-censorship. If you keep reading your last paragraph, you will waste an awful lot of time and you will forget your best ideas. Write as much as you can, you‘ll have plenty of time to correct it later on ;-).


The second advice I want to give you is to be emotional. Most people can write textbooks about this or that. But very few people can make them interesting. Why are some eBooks more interesting than others? Because they are able to reach you on another level while you read. How can you do this with a drab topic like Dividend Investing? By adding lines like:

Have you ever dreamed about having your own magic producing golden eggs?”

Just imagine how big your snowball would be if you start rolling it at the age of 25 before stopping at 65: you would create a freakin’ mountain of snow out of your little snowball”

“But you can also close this PDF and go back to Facebook. You won’t make money but you will surely have lots of friends!”

“I want to make sure that you don’t go climbing Mt Everest with nothing but a pair of Nikes and your iPod!”


By adding analogies and by trying to touch my readers feelings (even if it means being borderline cocky), I’m able to keep them with me and interested in reading the whole book.


It’s important that people can recognize you by reading your book. If they don’t, you will just be another eBook they downloaded. What will make your eBook special is your personality because nobody is like you. Try to exploit this unique marketing advantage you have!


Before going to step #6, I want to come back on the importance of using emotions and feelings in your eBook. Try to focus on benefits for the reader as well. When you can combine emotions and benefits, you have a winner. Because people can relate to what you are talking about. Dividend investing is a boring topic, creating a never ending cash distributor sounds a lot more fun don’t you think?


Step #6 Read Your eBook

Once the book is done, yup, only once it is done, read it in one shot. This will give you the general feel and you will be able to identify which parts need to be improved. Don’t spend time on grammar and spelling, this will be step #7. Right now, just concentrate on the general feel of the eBook. Identify if you have a constant flow of ideas or if you get lost at one point.


Once you are happy with the result, have a few friends read it. They will give you another perception of your work and it will guide you to a better eBook.


Step #7: Correction, Correction, Correction

Man, I’m most happy to write in English since it’s not my mother tongue. Why? Because I didn’t take any chances and I had Chris from FreelancePF correct it (the dude has a Major in English 😉 ). Don’t take any chances and have your eBook edited by someone with a high level of English. You can’t make many mistakes with an eBook, people will give you the credibility with regards to your writing skills more than your knowledge of the topic you are covering.


Step #8: Format Your eBook

This is another part of the work that I outsourced. Why? Because I’m a writer, not a designer! One of my virtual assistants formatted the book and Peter from logosforwebsite did the cover page, the 3D book image along with the header and footer found inside the book.


To me, it was really important to make a very professional book. I wanted to have all these little details you find in a professional eBook even if I was giving it out for free. Why? Because I want to show what I can do and then, sell my next eBooks ;-).


Step #9: Launch your eBook

Nope… I’m stopping this post right here…. Hehehe! In fact, covering the marketing aspect of an eBook will be as long as this post to write. This is why I’ll do it in a few days ;-). Stay tuned as I will share with you all my techniques to promote my first eBook.


Note: the entire process took me 2 months to achieve a 13,000 word eBook. With my experience, I expect that it will take me the same amount of time to write my second book which will be more like 20 to 25 thousand words. It helps to have a structure!


Do you have questions about how to write an eBook? The comment box is yours!



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June 14, 2011, 8:49 am

Lucrative Ways to Distribute E-books

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: eBook

Creating information products such as e-books is one thing, distributing it is a whole different ball game.  Success on the internet is not only predicated on creating unique and good quality content, but also solid channels of distribution. After all, a brilliantly published e-book is only as good as the eyes it is exposed to.

My name is Sunil and if you have not heard about me or read my blog, I have well over a dozen e-books lingering in cyberspace that have been selling for years now.  I published my first e-book in 2007 and since have published several, usually in conjunction with each niche website that I launch.

Not all my books are / were written by me.  Not all are promoted and distributed by me either.  As I have learned and gotten comfortable with the content creation and distribution process over time, I have employed freelancers and full time virtual assistants to help me run my small online empire.

With all the said, it is important to note that each process, from idea contemplation, to product creation all the way to marketing and distribution, is solely orchestrated by me.  I will share with you a few channels one can employ to maximize distribution potential of e-books.

Your Own Website or Blog

The easiest and first channel you should tap is your own website or blog.  Chances are you already have an existing audience that you can expose your e-book to.  This one is a no-brainer and an obvious choice, but I thought I’d not assume and lay out the base from where we can only build a bigger reach.

There are two ways to slap an e-book on your website or blog.  The more obvious one is by including it on a side panel, while other ways include developing a dedicated sales page for it and embedding it on your website, or creating the entire website as a stand-alone sales page itself. Confusing? Let’s look at a few examples:

Look at the bamboo plant care website for example.  This is an example of how an e-book may look when dangled on a side panel.



Now the rotator cuff exercises website is also designed in the exact similar way, but look at how the e-book can have a separate stand alone page within the website dedicated just to it.

Finally, look at my website on airline complaints, which is essentially a stand-alone sales page in its own. In other words, the entire website is one big sales page featuring one of my e-books for sale.

When you have a website that is essentially a sales page, or primarily dedicated to promoting an e-book, you can leverage Google Adwords to market your book on a Pay Per Click (PPC) basis.  You can employ the PPC strategy even if your e-book is merely a part of your website, but for various reasons I won’t get into here, using PPC to market a stand-alone sales page / website with a relatively simple URL is the most effective way to go.

Turn E-books Into Audio

When you already have an e-book in the market, converting it to an audio book is a rather simple process.  You can either do it yourself or outsource the process, but once you have the audio product, you have essentially unlocked several other channels for distribution.

For example, you can submit your audio for sale on a platform like Apple’s Itunes.  You can also make the audio available for download / sale on your website.  Have a look at this sales page for those interested in getting a job in Abu Dhabi.  Notice the sales page has both a text e-book and an audio format available.

When you convert your e-book to an audio book, you are not only expanding your distribution channel  reach, but you are also exposing your product to a new audience. For example, those that prefer to fill in gym, driving, cooking or cleaning time with audio books maybe more inclined to purchase your audio product.

Newsletter Distribution

My favorite way of distributing an e-book is through newsletter distribution. When you have a newsletter that strives to build a relationship with your readers, you are developing and honing key relationships that warm you up to your readers.

I use newsletters to provide valuable content for free, and when I am ready to promote a product, my conversion rate from my newsletter marketing efforts clearly surpasses any other distribution channel by a WIDE margin. It’s not even close.

Have a look at this website on raw dog food.  Notice the newsletter opt in on the right hand side offering free information? 

This website has close to a 20% subscribership rate, meaning 20 of every 100 visitors subscribe to my newsletter.  Moreover, I have a conversion rate of over 25%.  More than 25 of every 100 subscribers to my newsletter ends up converting to or becoming a customer.  Those are pretty high numbers no matter who you ask.

A newsletter allows you to pre-sell, a concept that is critical to your success online if you want to make money from selling information products or promote affiliates.  I call it soft selling.

Amazon Kindle

Since an e-book is already a PDF / text document, it is already in prime format for tablets such as the Amazon Kindle.  Create an account with Amazon’s publisher platform and submit your e-book for Kindle publication.

This process takes a bit of time and effort, but once your product is in Amazon, you will have essentially unlocked yet another powerful channel of distribution. Think about it, Amazon was predominantly a book selling platform before it became a store that carries everything.

There are millions that are readily standing on the side lines waiting to access products on Amazon. The beauty of Amazon is that it is global, and still expanding. Having your e-book on Amazon can drive in a separate stream of revenue from sales that is not even related to your primary website.

Going back to the bamboo website, notice how the Amazon listing has been displayed?


I did this for two reasons.  First, to show that my product is on Amazon.  Think about the credibility boost you get simply by doing that?  Next, to show that the price is equal or better if purchased from my site.  Amazon only gives you a small percentage of sales, so the image is there more so for credibility than to drive sales. 

After seeing this, hopefully folks purchase from my website rather than Amazon. That said, some people feel more secure and comfortable purchasing from larger brand names. In that case, I can assure at least a sale by making the image a clickable link to Amazon’s listing of my e-book readily available for my visitors.

Google Books – Partner Program

To compete with Amazon’s Kindle program, Google recently launched the Google Books program.  This system is still in Beta, but I have had some good early success with it.

Simply apply for the “Google Partner Program” and submit your titles.  The good thing about Google’s program is that you not only get revenues from e-book sales, but also from advertisement that Google’s visitors click on which are placed next to your e-book listings.

Clickbank Marketplace

This discussion would not be anywhere near complete without the mention of Clickbank.  Over the years, Clickbank has created a niche for itself in information product distribution and accounting.

Rather than handling all the accounting and transactional aspect of e-book sales on your own, consider using Clickbank as your transaction and accounting platform.  Clickbank handles all the transaction, distribution and accounting aspects of e-book selling. Further, it allows you to build your own army of affiliates to sell your products for you.  You don’t pay them until they sell, thus a win-win for all involved.

The best thing about Clickbank is that it is a marketplace in its own right. Similar to the Ebay community, there is an entire Clickbank community that is waiting for access new products on the platform, both to consume and to market as affiliates.


Author Bio:

Sunil is the author of the Extra Money Blog, a blog dedicated to Entrepreneurship, Personal Finance, Blogging and Internet Marketing.  His goal is to help successful working individuals get more out of life, whether financial freedom or the flexibility to live life on their own terms.


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