By Sherrie Wilkolaski
Information is a powerful tool. These days the most valuable information appears to be what gets out to the public first. Fact-checking and research has gone by the wayside, and it’s all about going viral. If you’re looking to beat the information rat-race and position yourself as trusted information source, what can you do in this social media “pick me first” climate? Publishing an eBook is brilliant way to make your way through the clutter. Giving it away for free is the secret ingredient that will create the social media activity you’re looking for.
Free eBook + Social Media = Success
The word “publishing” is overwhelming to most people, even when referencing the term relative to publishing a blog post, so add the word “book” into the equation, and now the stress really kicks in. Just take a deep breath and stay with me. This simple exercise will have you on your way to be positioned as an information expert with both immediate and long-term results.
How to create an eBook?
Pulling together an eBook doesn’t have to be cumbersome. If you’re already writing a blog, then your eBook is 90% complete. The purpose of the eBook is to establish you as an expert, so pull together a collection of articles that you know your audience is looking for. Do you write fiction or non-fiction? What is your niche, your genre? Whatever the subject, you have the content to create short eBooks in a snap. This eBook is just a teaser to introduce the reader to who you are while establishing that your knowledge on the subject matter, is a must read. You are instituting you are a “go to source” for that type of content. The eBook doesn’t have to be long, just a combination of 5-7 articles on the same topic with a nice introduction and that is all you need. If you have photos to include, they will be a bonus addition!
The book cover, title and copyright.
You will need to title your eBook and create a cover. Add the cover image to the first page of your eBook so that when the reader downloads your PDF, it is all in one file. Since this is a giveaway item, you don’t need to spend a lot of time on the cover, just make sure it is professional and that your book title and name are legible. Keep your font simple and use no more than 2-3 colors on the cover. Simple is best when doing a free eBook giveaway, as you want to catch the potential readers’ eye with the title of the content. If you have the resources and want to create something more elaborate, that is fine, but this exercise is all about developing a marketing tool that you can use as a giveaway. Be sure to add a copyright page to the eBook or include the copyright symbol © along with the year and your name in the footer. Now you’re ready to start promoting it!
My eBook is ready for the world…now what?
Once the eBook is completed, now it’s time to promote it. Here are some tips on how to best market your free eBook via social media:
- Website homepage. Offer the free eBook on your homepage and have site visitors register for it. Capture their email address so you can market to them again. You can send out the link to your site and the page you’ve listed the free eBook quickly via the share buttons on your website.
- Twitter. Give the eBook away for free to anyone who re-tweets the promotion of the eBook and/or agrees to follow you.
- Facebook. Looking for more Facebook likes? For everyone who likes your page you’ll send them a copy of your free eBook. For this promotion do it as a limited time offer, like a weekend or over the course of an entire week. You’re looking to ramp up the social media activity.
- Blog post. Write up a blog post announcing your free eBook giveaway and list all of the ways that someone can get a free copy. Include a free consultation or another service offering you might provide, for any social media advocate that helps you drive the most exposure for your book. Giving away a $5 or $10 gift card to Starbuck’s or Amazon is also a great added incentive if you’re setting the stakes high. You can share the blog post on Reddit, Pinterest and via all of your social media outlets once your blog is live.
- Bio. Be sure to include a mention of your free eBook in your bio and hyperlink back to your website or wherever you are promoting it. Over time people will find the book via your other work.
Should you promote your eBook on Amazon?
No. This eBook we’re talking about is a marketing tool that you want to control, to capture leads and drive social media interaction with your current audience, with the hope of expanding your reach and followers. It would be a benefit to promote a more in-depth book on the subject matter via your free giveaway and have that professionally published. You can always promote a book you’re selling retail via social media, but are less likely to stir up your social media interaction with a product that someone has to purchase.
Why is a free eBook so valuable?
Information that is packaged up in a book format, whether electronic, audio or print carries with it a higher value than just sending out a 140 character Tweet, or post to a fan page. Tell someone you’re a published author and people take notice. Publish one book, they want another. When they are looking for information on what you specialize in, they will think of you first and isn’t that what it’s all about? Send a link to your eBook promotion to @abookexpert and I’ll give your book a plug.
About Sherrie Wilkolaski
As the founder and president of Author’s Boutique and PubSmart Sherrie Wilkolaski is a Renaissance woman of the publishing industry. She brings to the writer’s table an effective fusion of marketing proficiency, best-selling accolades and a background in journalism. Her international public speaking credentials and social media savvy provide independent authors and traditional publishers a multifaceted strategy to achieving success. Sherrie’s specialized insight into the mechanics of the publishing process resulted in the formation of her distinctive boutique publishing house style, which bridges a client’s status from aspiring writer to published author. As a best-selling author, Sherrie has first-hand knowledge of the creative writing experience and the challenges involved in printing, packaging, marketing, and selling books. She has effectively harnessed the benefits of social media and site promotion to maximize an independent author’s circulation and public readership. In 2011, Sherrie co-founded traditional publishing house Pressque Publishing and is a consultant and publishing services broker for a number of small to mid-sized publishers and printers, including HP, and Infinity Publishing. She is columnist for Press Pass, Publisher and Editor of Luxe Beat Magazine and a featured blogger on a variety of industry publications. She is the former Director of Publishing Services at Lulu. Sherrie’s new radio program, PubSmart, is launching later this year. Sherrie sits on the board of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association and was a featured speaker at the 2013 Annual Conference in Hawaii presenting, “The Power of a Book”: How to Use a Book to Enhance Your Career/Credibility as a Journalist”. A global conference speaker, she addressed members of the HP Dscoop Graphic Arts Asia Conference in Beijing, China in 2013. Sherrie is the author of best-selling book, “How to Start a Wedding Planning Business” and the popular coffee table book series, “Cookies and Cocktails”. Her much-anticipated book “How to Bulletproof Your Book” is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2013. Sherrie is a broadcast journalism alumnus of SUNY College at Buffalo and is a 2012 graduate of the Yale Publishing Course.