I’m writing a Kindle ebook. (Update: the book is now published on Amazon here)
This is part 2 of a multi-part series that explains the entire process I’m going through. Click here for Part 1.
After deciding on the reason behind writing the book (to gain credibility & authority and to learn about online publishing), and the platform I want to publish on (exclusively on Amazon KDP), the next step is to decide on a title and start your marketing efforts.
Choosing a Title for the ebook
The title I chose for the book is “Influencing Virtual Teams: 27 Tactics That Get Things Done with Your Remote Employees.”
Frankly, I didn’t spend much time on coming up with this title. It was based on the title of my online course (Managing and Influencing Virtual Teams), and the number “27” was just a quick estimate of how many tips I can provide.
I also wanted both an informative and a catchy title that explains exactly what managers would be gaining from reading the book.
As I mentioned in my previous post, if my primary objective was to make money, I would approach writing the title in a totally different way.
I would basically start searching for the best-ranking and highest-selling books on Amazon’s Kindle marketplace (in the virtual teams and project management niche), then analyze what keywords those books use in both the title and the book description.
I would also use Google’s Keyword Tool to find out keyword volume figures, and use the combination of that with the Amazon information to come up with a title and subtitle that are keyword-heavy so that the book ranks high on the list of searches.
However, because my primary objective is not to make money, but rather to gain credibility and authority in this space, my title was not based on any of that.
Just a quick side note here:
I don’t think “making money” as a primary objective of writing a Kindle ebook is a bad thing at all. In fact, this might be my next mini-project after publishing this book.
However, I just think this objective is so commonly abused, that it has created a lot of junk ebooks online – and a lot of plagiarized ones as well.
So if making money is your objective, then make sure you’re providing your readers more use value than you’re getting in cash value before you hit that publish button.
The next step after coming up with a title is to market your book.
Why You Should Market your eBook before Writing It
There are 2 reasons why you should market your ebook before you start writing it:
First, you’ll gain validation on your idea. If no one is interested in your book now, then no one will be interested in it later. So if you don’t get enough traction, you might as well stop writing the book while it’s still early and you haven’t invested a lot of time or energy in creating it.
Second, you will have a prospective list of people who are willing to buy the book once it’s out. Even if those folks don’t end up buying, you’ll at least know that this topic is something that interests them and you can market your second or third book to them down the line.
How to Market your eBook before Writing it: Create a Squeeze Page
A squeeze page is a simple landing webpage that asks people for their email address so they can opt-in to get notified once the book is out.
Click here to see how mine looks like (and feel free to sign up!)
You need three things to create a squeeze page: a cover for your ebook, an email marketing service (to collect the emails), and the squeeze page itself.
Let’s start with the exciting part.
#1: Designing a Cover for your eBook
Creating a cover for your ebook is important because people react more favorably toward something which is visual.
Technically, you don’t need a cover at this stage, but it will help tremendously in everything from the number of signups that you get, to other marketing efforts which we’ll get into later.
One thing to keep in mind is that the cover you create at this point does not need to be the final cover design you’ll settle on.
In fact, mine will definitely change because the title will probably be different and I also want to design a more professional cover when the book is actually published.
Here’s how I created my own cover.
Step 1: Hire a designer on Fiverr
Fiverr is an awesome marketplace to find freelancers who would offer services for only $5.
I hired mine in under 10 minutes by signing up to a free account, searching for a freelancer by punching “book cover design” in the search box, and choosing one who had a high positive rating.
I then gave the designer some ideas about the general style that I wanted to see, and had a cover ready in 4 days.
And here’s how the cover looked like after I got it back from him.
Step 2: Create a 3D book cover
The next step is to create a 3D cover from the 2D version. This is an optional step, but I like to make a 3D cover because it creates a more professional looking image for visual impact. You can also hire someone on Fiverr to design a 3D cover for you for $5, but I use an online service called BoxShotKing (aff link).
This is a more expensive paid service (around $60 for 6 months), but because it allows me to do unlimited creations and modifications on ebook covers, as well as other great graphics (without using Adobe Photoshop), it is totally worth it to me.
Here’s how the final cover looked like after I used BoxShotKing.
Now that you’re done with the cover, the next thing is to set up your email marketing service.
#2: Setting up Email Marketing Service
An email marketing service is used to collect your prospective readers’ email addresses.
This is the cornerstone of your entire marketing effort because the more people you get on your email list, the bigger the audience of your book will be once you publish it.
You can also use your email list as a great way to build trust and a relationship with your audience.
For my own email marketing service, I use what most power bloggers use: AWeber.
AWeber has excellent deliverability rates (meaning a high number of emails will actually reach your subscribers) as well as amazing customer service. They also give you some impressive stats.
That’s why I use AWeber on both of my blogs – The Part-Time Webpreneur and The Couch Manager.
AWeber is not very cheap – you pay like $1 for the first month, and then $19 for every month after that, but it is TOTALLY worth it.
However, if you don’t’ want to pay that much, at least initially, you can use another service which is free up to the first 2,000 subscribers called MailChimp.
After setting up your email marketing service, the next thing is to create a squeeze page.
#3: Create a Squeeze Page for your Book
There are hundreds of ways to create a squeeze page.
You can create one yourself from scratch and host it on your blog (free but painful), or you can use a service like LeadPages (aff link) which is a paid service but super easy to use.
A big benefit of using LeadPages is that you don’t even need to have a blog (you can host your squeeze page on their servers), and they even pre-fill some workable text for you than you can easily replace.
I’ve used (and still do use) a lot of squeeze page services, including Premise, but LeadPages is hands-down one of the best and simplest out there, so I highly recommend it.
The other advantage of using LeadPages is that it works beautifully with AWeber. You create a form on AWeber, and it automatically appears in LeadPages once you link those accounts.
I took me less than 4 minutes to create my squeeze page.
The LeadPages template I have used for my own squeeze page is shown below. I just uploaded my own 3D cover that I created, changed the text that they have, and linked my AWeber account. It was as simple as that.
To recap, after you decide on a title for your book, create a squeeze page by designing a book cover (using Fiverr and BoxShotKing), signing up to an email marketing service (using AWeber) and setting up a squeeze page (using LeadPages).
I know this all seems like it will take you a bit of time (and money) to invest into, but it will pay off down the line once you have your book out.
The next step is to advertise the link to your squeeze page so that people sign up. Publish it anywhere you can – on your Facebook status update, in an email blast to your colleagues, on Twitter and on LinkedIn.
I also added a widget in the right column of my blog directing readers to the squeeze page, and I wrote a blog post that I’m writing a book (even asking people for help in spreading the word about it if they’re interested).
Here’s how the widget looks like.
The next step after all of this is to basically finish writing the book and have it professionally edited. This process is going a bit faster than I originally expected because of a couple of things I’m doing.
I’ll tell you what those are in my next post (make sure you sign up in the top right corner if you haven’t already to get notified once that post is out).
P.S. I need your advice.
Which title seems more like a book you’d pick up?
1 or 2?
(1) Influencing Virtual Teams: 27 Tactics That Get Things Done with Your Remote Employees
(2) Motivating Virtual Teams: 27 Tactics That Will Inspire Your Remote Employees to Excel
Comment below and let me know.
I’m considering changing the title I came up with.
Feel free to reply with just “1” or “2.”
P.P.S. Part 3 is now out.