E-Books: the Perfect (and Easy!) Solution for Growing Your Business
If you are looking to deepen your business’ impact with existing clients, grow your visibility and reach into new audiences, and boost your reputation amongst clients and peers, the perfect — and easy — way to do this is to write an e-book.
Writing a book shows the world you know your stuff, are dedicated to helping people, and are willing to put the time and energy into providing what you do in an accessible format.
People trust books, and when you write a nonfiction book whose sole purpose is to fix a problem or help people live better, they also trust you. This kind of intimacy and relationship forged with readers is invaluable, and it can come around to help you grow your business in numerous ways.
How Can an E-Book Grow Your Business?
- Increase your business’ visibility and bring in new clients
- Generate passive revenue
- Boost your reputation amongst clients and peers
- Serve as an excellent training ground for a published trade book.
Unlike a trade book, which can take years of pounding the pavement to find a literary agent or publisher, rounds of editorial meetings, and myriad gatekeepers to get it launched into the world, or if you self-publish, thousands of dollars and a lot of research, an e-book can be created and uploaded in an afternoon and for little to no cost.
If you’ve gone to the effort of writing a valuable book to help your audience, rather than spending yet more time to get it out into the world, you could potentially change the landscape of your business by publishing it as an e-book after a few hours’ work. That’s a true boss move!
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What Is an E-Book?
An e-book is a digital book of any length or format that can be downloaded from a website or online bookstore:
- convert a Word doc. into a PDF
- assemble it into an attractive document using a beautiful pre-fab template in Canva or Adobe
- format it to look like a print book using Kindle E-Book Manuscript Formatting Guide, or it can be formatted to be downloaded and printed (using a software such as Barnes and Noble’s Print on Demand).
~ The length can vary from a couple of pages to the standard length of a trade book (240–280 manuscript pages) with a table of contents, acknowledgements, and 10–12 chapters.
~ You can give it away for free as a lead magnet or gift with purchase, or you can monetize it for any amount.
~ It can be used as a stepping stone to a course, membership, or other form of engagement with your business, or it can simply be a valuable tool for information sharing in and of itself.
~ Readers can download it from your own website, partner, friend, or affiliate websites, and Amazon and other online booksellers- basically wherever you make it available!
How E-Books Help Grow Businesses
Increase your business’ visibility and bring in new clients
Selling or giving an e-book away on your website and/or in online bookstores provides you with a golden opportunity to reach people who otherwise wouldn’t know you or your business exists. They can sample what you do and the value you provide your personal clients in this accessible and budget-friendly format, derive meaning or healing from your content, and develop a relationship with you as the author of the book who shares insights in a conversational, thoughtful package.
Offering your book online is the best marketing tool there is because there are so many platforms onto which you can put your book for people to find. Such access puts your business into people’s hands (literally!) and powerfully so; they will go from never having heard of you to suddenly being warm leads and potential clients.
Being able to serve your audience in this valuable way provides you with loads of potential for growth, sales, word-of-mouth expansion, and people trusting you without you ever even meeting them.
photo credit: Mohammad Metri
Generate Passive Income
As you are likely well aware, there are only so many hours in the day when you can work one-on-one with clients. Even group work has its limits because there is only so much of you that can be extended to the participants.
You can, however, sell e-books 24/7, and without even knowing you’re doing it. Readers around the world can buy the book, and the royalties from the sales add to your bottom line, as will the broader customer base that will inevitably result, which can be directly attributed to your book.
You can also help your sales along by writing additional content in blogs, sharing the reviews, testimonials, and blurbs on social media, or through giveaways, book club appearances, and personal recommendations. These single efforts can have an exponential impact on your book’s sales and on your business’ growth.
A book can also easily lead to an online course (or several courses), speaking engagements, panel discussions, and other contributions that are largely the territory of published authors.
Boost Your Reputation Among Clients and Peers
A book is an intimate way to share what you do with people, allowing them to feel uniquely heard, understood, and supported. Existing clients will enjoy having what you do in a tidy package, as if they can have access to you at any moment, and without necessarily meeting with you or paying for one-on-one time.
People also like to share what they know; it’s a form of social currency to be able to share a service or product that has helped them, and it’s human nature to want to align ourselves with others who share our values and ethos as a form of self-identification. A thoughtfully written book will simply be that much more meaningful to readers, and that much more valuable for them to share with others. Further, when people buy your e-book based on it being personally recommended to them, they’re already positioned to like the book (and your business, by extension), and as a result will likely go on to share it with their friends.
Among your fellow entrepreneurs and business owners in your field, only those who are serious write books. Once a business owner puts in the time, sweat, care, and artistry to write a book, and then stands behind their ideas and puts them out into the world, they have already entered a far higher canon and valuation in others’ eyes.
Consider those in your industry who have written books; already you can think of several out of hand. Why? Because they have set themselves apart by writing books.
These are the people we think of as leaders in those industries, including our own. And an e-book is a wonderful way to plant your feet, give amazing value to people, and in a cost-effective and efficient way for you and for your reader.
Serve as an excellent training ground for a published trade book
Many business owners balk at the thought of going through the writing of a book only then to have to spend yet more effort, work, time, and even money to get it published as a trade book (a book commercially published for wide-spread distribution).
Starting with an e-book allows you to test out your book’s viability, layout, and content structure in a format that can be accessed quickly, fairly easily, and with little-to-no financial outlay. For many business owners, even if your goal is to see your book in print, an e-book may be the perfect first step, as you will reach your audience with a thoughtful and valuable book while maintaining control over all the creative aspects, sales, and marketing.
Once you’ve written the e-book and have made it available, at that time, you may determine it would be worthwhile to then aim for traditional publishing (whether by a “Big 5” publishing house or an independent press). A paper book still carries a tremendous weight, and if you believe in your work and have prepared it and written it with care, once you see how it feels to turn the work you do into an e-book, you may find you then want to get it into people’s hands in all the formats available.
A Note on E-Books and How They May influence Future Trade Publication:
E-books tread into grey territory for what can happen if you decide to traditionally publish your book later on. Some publishers will snap up a successful e-book, particularly when sales are high and the author is a business owner or thought leader with an avid social media following, while other publishers will consider the book already published and, no longer able to secure “first rights,” to the project will either pass or need your book to be substantially altered before they can consider it. Read about the implications, pros, and cons HERE.
If you harbour long-term plans to publish your book as a traditional trade paper publication, you may want to publish your e-book in a shorter or adapted form or publish it in full and focus on finding a publisher who will be willing to work with you to publish your trade book. Or, if your end game is to not bother with traditional publishing and go straight to hybrid or self-publishing, there’s nothing holding you back, and you can publish your e-book with impunity!
Look to Other Businesses for E-Book Inspiration
Above all, your book can be anything you want it to be, so you’re meeting the needs of your audience. Your e-book can be dynamic and incorporate different methods of engaging with your reader such as a workbook with fillable fields, a quiz, or a checklist as Relationship Coach Natasha Marchand does with her e-book, “Is My Relationship Toxic?”
Alison Venditti, founder of Moms at Work, uses an instructional list in her e-book that works as a cheat sheet for women entering into salary negotiations.
Or you can’t fail by going the traditional route and making your book perform and look like a print book, which is familiar and welcome to most readers. (Check out Trade Pub where you’ll find all manner of free downloadable e-books there (This one looks interesting, for example: Sales for Startups by Matt Heinz)
Got Something to Share? Share It in an E-Book and Enjoy the Reward
If you have built your business to help people, then the ultimate act of care is turning what you do and what you know into a book. Books inspire trust, and the more information, insight, resources, and wisdom you offer your reader, and the more candid and thoughtful you are on the page, the more people will trust you and want to work with you, and the more your business will grow. E-books are a low-stakes way to share your ideas with the right audience, generate additional passive income, and grow your standing in your community. All together, a reward any business owner will enjoy.
- How to Write an E-Book That Unlocks Passive Income
- How to Write an E-Book: 21 Dumb Mistakes to Avoid in 2022(what to do (and not do) when you write your e-book)
- How to Publish Your E-Book on Amazon(with video)
Ready to write your e-book?
- If you feel ready to write your book but would like accountability, guidance, structure, and a plan to steer you through the inception, writing, and completion of your draft, check out our Write Your Business or Self-Development Book in 4 Months Program.
- Or start your business book-writing journey by downloading our FREE Business Book Planning Workbook, which guides you through conceiving and developing the key issues of your e-book or print book and shows you the book you will soon write!