by Daniel Hall
As authors and information product creators sometimes we can get caught up in the fact that we are publishing an “eBook” or a Kindle, Nook or Apple “book.”
While of course this is true the fact is that in most respects our digital publication has the same unique qualities of a website, albeit a self-contained website.
And I know you may be saying, “So what?”
Here is where I’d like to accomplish a paradigm shift in your mind; one where you are fully able to exploit all of the benefits of the fact that your ebook is both a ‘book’ and a self-contained website.
What follows are a few ideas intended to help you with this shift:
Remember that our job as authors, information product creators and independent publishers is to make our books as easily consumable and as helpful to our reader as possible. One way to make your content more easily consumable is to reference outside web-based information and resources and link to it directly from your book. As long as your reader is online they can click on the link and go directly to your resource hopefully making it easier for them to consume, use and/or benefit from your information.
Now here’s a twist on this concept that potentially benefits you. The resources you reference can be through your affiliate links or to your opt-in pages. And – this is important – you can do this where your readers actually thank you for including these links.
Let me give you some examples…
The Truly Helpful Affiliate Link
First, let’s say that your book teaches something like how to build an ultra-light aircraft or teaches readers how to start a tie-dye t-shirt business. With publications like this it is a huge benefit to readers if you can link directly to the resources you are recommending and/or referencing. And if you are going to do that anyway you might as well do that through your affiliate link.
By the way, I am recommending that you tell readers somewhere in your introduction that you will be using affiliate links in the book and that if they click on those links and buy as a result that you will be compensated. Transparency is always the best policy and most people won’t care anyway.
I suppose the easiest way to illustrate this is with one of my Kindle cookbooks…
I published a Kindle book with ice cream recipes. Yummy!
Some of the recipes call for some really rare ingredients like marrons. Most people don’t know what marrons are so I linked from my cookbook directly to the marrons I have in mind for the recipe on Amazon. That way no one has to guess at what I mean or where to get the marrons. And, yes, that is my Amazon affiliate link. But when done appropriately your link is actually assisting the reader to achieve the desired result.
Here’s yet another twist on the concept of making your content more easily consumable and happily this technique results in more opt-ins on your list.
I think we can both agree that no matter how good your book is, it is not a be-all-and-end-all on the subject (unless you are writing an encyclopedia). Thus, another way to serve your readers AND grow your list is by offering a value-added bonus within the book. That is, the bonus should add value to what is already there.
It should be icing.
For example, let’s say you have a stock market investing book. You could offer a free special report on easy ways to save so you can invest more. Or if you were doing a book on exercises for 6-pack abs you could offer a free audio course on fat-burning foods.
These bonuses truly add value to the underlying content.
But understand this: Whatever bonus you offer should be good enough to stand on its own merits. In other words, the bonus should be good enough to sell its own right.
Now you are probably wondering, “how does the bonus actually build my list?”
Answer: By putting it behind a “squeeze page…*
That is, in order for readers to get access to your bonus they must opt-in.
And why shouldn’t they opt-in?
You’re giving them massive value in your book PLUS added-value in your bonus. Most people won’t think twice about it as long as they are convinced that you are truly serving them.
So because links are clickable in your book you can simply dedicate a page to the free bonus offer.
If you liked those techniques then you’ll probably really love everything you can do with…
That’s right you can make your content more easily consumable by using internal linking within your ebook.
For example, you can link backward (or forward) within your manuscript to help the reader get more out of your book. For example, if you have instructions that are basic and common to more advanced teachings later in the book then it is easy enough to link back to those original instructions again making your content that much easier to use.
Here’s an example of what I mean…
Now I realize that internal linking might not be that sexy of a concept to you but here’s something that absolutely has some sparkle. Fact is you can use internal linking to create…
Dynamic interaction is when you use internal linking to create a unique interactive ebook environment. This is a technique I learned from my friend James J. Jones who actually has used internal linking with some of his kindle books to create interactive trivia games.
You read and answer the question by clicking on one of the multiple choice answers. You’ll then be taken to a page that communicates whether you’ve answered correctly or incorrectly as below:
or to this page…
Of course, you could use this strategy for more things than just trivia books. For example, you could present fun review quizzes to readers or link to photos or images to illustrate points. You could also use this strategy to create in-book scavenger hunts where readers can’t proceed until they have answered correctly and “found” all the word or picture clues you have left for them. Another cool idea is using internal linking for “alternate endings”.
In other words, with internal linking and some creativity you can create a true dynamic interaction experience.
The last doo-dad I wanted to show you was how you can turn your ebook into a…
Viral Marketing Machine
You’re going to love this…
Again because your ebook is nothing more than a self-contained website you can put a tweet link in the book giving readers the option to tell their followers AND you can even have a pre-written tweet that makes it super easy for them.
Here’s an example from my ice cream recipe book…
This is what “pops”…
Now I adopted this technique from my friend and marketing legend Dan Hollings who says that you can adapt it to work with just about any social media site. I’ve only tried to make it work with Twitter and if you want the code for that you can grab it here.
See? You’ve got to admit that’s pretty cool!
My question: Have I achieved a paradigm shift in you? Are you now looking at your ebooks/Kindle/ Nook/Apple books in a different light? Remember by regarding your publications as self-contained websites a whole world of new possibility opens up. And if this article has resulted in some ideas for you could you please share them in the comments below. For that matter, I would love to hear any of your thoughts with regard to this article could you please share them below?
*A squeeze page is a single page “above the fold” website where you re-iterate the offer for your bonus and provide a place for the reader to enter their name and email address and when they click “submit” they are simultaneously taken to another page where they can download the bonus and sent an email with the link to where they can download the bonus. You will need an autoresponder service to make this happen.