Write E-books for Publicity and Even Profit: Part 4 — Distributing Your E-book
OK, you’ve written an e-book, fixed all the typos, formatted it nicely, and are ready to go. Now what? How do you get it to an audience?
Well, that depends on your ultimate goal. Are you planning to give your e-book away, or do you want to sell it? Let’s look at both options separately.
Giving it away
If you’re going to give your e-book away, you could just upload it to your site, add a link to the sidebar, and be done with it. We’ll talk about promoting it in the next post, but for now, make sure it’s clearly marked (the word “FREE” in all caps, bold-faced, in giant red letters never fails to attract attention!) and why people should want to read it.
A better bet might be to give it its own page. Write up a short description, add some testimonials if you have them (and update the page if you get any), and add the page to your site’s main menu.
Or maybe you want to give it away but still get something in return. You could offer the e-book as an incentive to sign up for your newsletter, if you have one — attach the file to the automatic reply they get when they sign up. Or you could use it to drive subscriptions to your RSS feed — Remarkablogger shows you how to add a link to your e-book that only shows up in your RSS feed. Tell them they’ll get the link once they’ve subscribed.
Selling your e-book
Selling an e-book takes a little more work — it is, after all, a business endeavor — but, of course, you get paid for it. If you already have a shopping cart on your site (we’ll talk about that in a future post), you could sell it directly. That’s probably more than most writers are willing to deal with, though, so here are a couple of third-party services that can handle some or all of the details of the sale for you.
- PayPal: If you don’t mind doing the order fulfillment yourself, you could add a Paypal “Buy Now” button to your site. Every day, log in, see what new orders have been placed, and email them a copy of your e-book.
- Lulu: If you expect to sell more than a few copies a day, you’ll want order fulfillment along with payment processing. Lulu is a print-on-demand service that also offers e-books; you’ll need to create an account, upload your e-book, and charge enough to cover Lulu’s per-book fee and commission. Your buyers will receive their e-book directly from Lulu. Lulu does paper copies, too, so you can offer your work in both formats if you like.
- e-Junkie: It’s not free, but for $5 US a month, e-Junkie will host a shopping cart for you and handle the order fulfillment, providing your buyers with a download link to get the e-book from after they’ve paid. E-Junkie offers other useful services for that $5/month, including the ability to create affiliate links so other sites can sell your e-book — for a cut, of course.
I’m sure there are other services I don’t know about, but beware, too — for some reason writers have always been seen as likely targets for scams. Make sure that a) you don’t have to pay for services you don’t need (like editing or layout), b) you aren’t turning over any copyrights and you retain full ownership of your e-book, and c) you aren’t required to pay for a certain number of sales until they’re actually made. Thoroughly research any e-book publisher or distributor; Googling their name plus “scam”, “fraud”, and similar words will likely turn up what you need to know about any shady dealers.