Passive income is one of the most sought-after opportunities when it comes to making money online and for a good reason. If you generate enough of it, you could (theoretically speaking) earn a full-time income while doing nothing more than enjoying a movie night in your PJs, hiking the most popular trails of the Grand Canyon, or globetrotting.
While that sort of achievement may not be fully possible, making a solid passive income is achievable!
If you’re a content-creating entrepreneur, chances are you’ve got some unpublished articles taking up space in your computer’s drive. Maybe they’re a mini-blog series you put together. Maybe they’re from a free course you built a year ago. Perhaps they’re excerpts from that email drip you set up last summer.
Whatever the case may be, we bet there are nuggets of wisdom in them that’d make a great chapter in an ebook. And we imagine that it would be good luck for someone to discover what they were searching for, oh, let’s see, maybe an entire ebook about your expertise?
Ebooks & Passive Income
Unlike podcasting or getting involved in the website flipping game, the barrier to entry is lower. You need far less money to launch an ebook, and the rewards can come in much quicker if you market it right (more on that later). Plus, what you produce is something you can be recognized for.
To get started, think of what you’d write on.
Browse through Amazon Kindle’s Bestseller’s list and mark down what’s already selling.
If a few books on drop shipping are in the bestsellers list, dig deeper into the subject. Perhaps the existing books don’t talk much about SEO and how it could help drop shippers sell more. That could be a great angle for an ebook.
Reading customer reviews can also come in handy. You’ll learn a lot more about the niche and learn what readers like (and didn’t like) about the best-selling drop shipping books.
When it comes to writing, Microsoft Word is sufficient to get the work done. Grammarly is an awesome editing tool you can use to make sure you’re not uploading any typos. Copyscape is another tool you should use for ensuring you’re not publishing any duplicated content.
You can also use Upwork to find a proof-reader if you prefer having an additional set of human eyes to spot mistakes/opportunities for improvement.
When it comes to formatting, use Scrivener. It’s a robust word processor that seamlessly compiles words into a Kindle-ready format (and many others). It works best on Mac, but also offers decent functionality to Windows-PC users.
Preview your ebook thoroughly before publishing it on Kindle; you don’t want missing chapters or things like “insert image here” to show up. It’s best to double check than to have the Amazon help center inform buyers about the mistakes you’ve made.
Marketing an Ebook: Untapped Gold Mine
This is where there’s money to be made. A lot of ebook authors end their endeavors after they’ve published the Kindle and PDF version of their work. While they generate passive income when someone comes across their book and clicks the “buy now” button, they miss out the real opportunity to produce a fast-acting passive revenue stream by neglecting ebook marketing.
By marketing an ebook, you get the word out to the masses. It’s a sure shot way to generate higher sales than just putting an ebook up on Amazon. However, not many ebook publishers know where to start, so we thought we should step in to lend a helping hand. Here are some of the best ways to market an ebook:
- Use SlideShare
SlideShare is a wonderful but often overlooked social platform that has great potential for marketing ebooks. It’s content marketing that’s more visual. It can be easily viewed and shared on any social media platform as well as on smartphones. The platform itself gets over 70 million monthly visitors and lets users place embedded hyperlinks to direct traffic to external webpages.
LinkedIn owns SlideShare, so it requires you to have a LinkedIn profile to get started. The platform is free to use, but there’s also a Pro version that includes private sharing, professional branding, analytics, video uploads, and more. It begins at $19 a month.
To effectively use SlideShare for ebook marketing, follow these steps:
- Make an Attractive Presentation Using Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides
Everyone has PowerPoint. Use it to create an impressive presentation. You don’t have to summarize the entire ebook. Instead, you can make a presentation out of a specific chapter, and link to the whole ebook in the last slide or in between pages.
- Add beautiful images to your presentation
Images and gifs will encourage people to look at and share your SlideShare. Also, if you have a great picture on the title slide, SlideShare is more likely to feature your presentation on its homepage which can significantly increase exposure. Use programs like PicMonkey and Canva to create sharable images.
- Include Solid Tips in Your Presentation
You want to include solid information in the presentation to entice visitors to read your book. Don’t give away the entire farm, but at the same time, provide enough nuggets of wisdom so that the SlideShare stands alone, and people get curious about what else you have to offer.
Once you’ve published the SlideShare, promote it on social media, on your blog, to your email list, etc. And don’t forget to embed a link to your ebook in one of the slides.
- Leverage Email Marketing
One you’re done with publishing, set up a series of custom, personalized emails to go out to your target database. Make sure your following double opt-in rules to get permission to email your targets.
Send the first email before your book goes live. Let your engaged readers know that your book is just hours away from making an appearance. Create anticipation by reminding them of the hard work you’ve put in and the perks they’ll get from going through your work.
As soon as the book goes live, schedule a second email, with a direct link to your new ebook.
Over the next couple of days, keep sending emails to keep people excited. Inform readers about any coverage you’ve received with your work. If you received PR acclaim – brag about it. If an influencer reviewed your book, share the story (and encourage subscribers to do the same).
Promote the launch on all your social channels as well. Include a link directly to the ebook landing page to make it easy to download or purchase your book immediately.
Use email marketing software like MailChimp or AWeber to set up emails in advance. With pre-planning, you don’t have to sweat if you get busy with errands and happen to, maybe, forget to send out your bi-weekly or weekly emails.
- Harness the Power of YouTube
YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and receives over one billion unique monthly visitors. In other words, there are a plethora of eyeballs that you can attract towards your e-book. All you need to do is set up a YouTube channel and upload a video that explains the contents of your e-book.
To that end, here are some helpful tips:
- Decide on a name for your channel. If you are a published author, it’s worth naming the channel after your own name.
- As an e-book author, you can use the cover as the header, and the logo can be an image of you.
- Create a channel trailer that encourages people to subscribe. It could be a compilation of data or visuals you’ve used in the e-book.
- Create a video on a relevant chapter of your e-book. For instance, if one of the chapters of your book concentrates on best products to sell online in 2018, create a video that visually presents the products.
- Regardless of the book’s genre, don’t forget to promote your work at the end of the video. It’s also important to insert a link in the description field to direct people to straight to your e-book landing page or Kindle link.
- Use a hook at the beginning of the video. For instance, at the beginning of the video, you might tell your audiences that an exciting secret will be disclosed during the video content and best advise them to watch entire clip to get the maximum benefit. It’s one of the smartest things you can do to increase the Video Retention Rate.
By putting up content that resonates with your target audience, creating a branded channel and actively endorsing your video, you can significantly increase the ROI in creating YouTube videos to help get traction for your ebook.
- Utilize Facebook and Twitter
If your Facebook page is already generating a lot of engagement for your business, why not use it to market your ebook? This alone can become the channel for the long-term visibility every ebook author desires.
However, you have to do more than just shout “Hey, I wrote this, come to check it out.” Interruption marketing won’t take you far. Instead, use the following tips to attract people who’d want to download and bookmark your book.
- Create Personalized Facebook and Twitter Ads
Facebook Ads are pretty useful for promoting an ebook to specific individuals, like those who’d be interested in its content. For instance, you wrote an ebook on drop shipping; you can target people who are interested in entrepreneurship, 4-hour work week, and an independent remote lifestyle. You can create mobile, sidebar, or News Feed ads targeted to your exact demographic.
Also, Facebook allows you to be even more specific with targeting by using Lookalike and Custom audiences. For instance, if you have an email list, you can upload your subscribers’ contacts in the Custom Audiences section to show them Facebook ads.
You decide how much you want to spend, and the ad is exposed to people based on approximate reach.
Also, it is essential to optimize the content, visual and CTA of your ad to get more downloads. The visual should be the cover image of your ebook, the content should come from its meta description, and the CTA should invite audiences to download the ebook.
- Host A Giveaway
Giveaways offer a powerful route to gaining exposure and take your book to new demographics, who might even give reviews. Veterans like Seth Godin advice promising authors to give away their first publication for free.
The approach is a viable way to test your content without investing a lot in the promotion.
While using the social media platform, software like AgoraPulse make creating giveaway campaigns and sweepstakes a breeze.
To make the campaign even more useful, follow these tips:
- Place a call-to-action (like win a free ebook copy)
- Keep entry steps to a minimum (like enter your email address to win)
- Promote the giveaway (on your Facebook Page, social media websites, to email subscribers, etc.)
- Send a copy to winners and announce their names (by tagging them in comments, putting up a cover image, etc.)
You can even run Facebook ads for the contest to create a buzz.
- Integrate A Tab On Your Facebook Page
Facebook provides an option to create a custom tab for your fans, so create one for your ebook. The tabs appear below the Facebook cover photo, and people can expand them by clicking the “more” button. It lets users navigate the page and discover all it has to offer.
You can do this with the help of Pagemodo, a tool that not only makes it easy to display your book but makes it easy to convert an audience into a loyal following.
Also, you can embed links to the ebook landing page and watch your downloads grow.
Lastly, if you know how to code, you can create custom HTML tabs or insert code to existing templates for further customization.
Over to You
Overall, promoting an ebook is a fun journey, and you’ll learn a lot about social media, online communities, and content curation in the process. Don’t settle after you publish an ebook since you can make a pretty big chunk of change that pays your monthly rent and the occasional restaurant meal through ebook marketing.