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Q&A — writing my first ebook

Writing an ebook is a rewarding challenge, with plenty of opportunities to learn. My chosen subject was social media. Here’s a Q&A about how and why I wrote my ebook, The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media…

The Beginners Guide to Social Media ebook cover graphicWriting an ebook is a rewarding challenge, with plenty of opportunities to learn. My chosen subject was social media. Here’s a Q&A about how and why I wrote my ebook, The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media…

So far, there’s been hundreds of downloads of The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media ebook by people from all over the world, all eager to learn more about social media. For me, this is a fantastic endorsement from a lot of people. But my ebook isn’t quite what it seems, since its origins aren’t as simple as you might think.

From the spoken word to the written word

Several people have told me that I ought to do lectures and seminars and several people have asked me to talk at an event. The thing is, finding the time is hard and those that have asked are in the US, so that’s just not a viable option right now.

Then an opportunity popped up closer to home. I began drafting the spoken notes for a presentation, which I planned of turning into a full-blown presentation later on, once the script had got the nod from the organizers. Well, I got the nod from the organizers, but the event itself fell through.

For a couple of days, I considered doing something that I’d previously said I wasn’t interested in doing, but I’d identified a niche that no one had yet filled. So I decided to turn the script into an ebook.

Why write an ebook about social media?

For the most part, and from a business perspective, I’m not interested in the cutting edge of social media. Why? Because the cutting edge might as well as be a million miles away for my clients, as well as just about every other business in the world — tens of hundreds of businesses all across the world still have zero clue what social media is, let alone what it can do for their business:

“There are tons of things being said about social media, but most of it appears to be making the assumption that you know what social media is. For many business people, this really isn’t the case.

So I’ve written The Beginners Guide to Social Media: an introduction to social media from a business perspective, as a total ground-up introduction to social media.”

I looked around, I found no one serving the newcomer business to social media. I knew I’d found my niche. Gradually, from thereon in, the ebook began to take shape.

Why have a separate blog for the ebook?

This wasn’t an easy decision for me to make. Blah, Blah! Technology is doing good and bringing in solid daily traffic, with a solid number of subscribers. So the last thing I wanted to do was start from scratch with a totally new blog. But the thing is, I didn’t want the ebook to get lost in & amongst everything else going on here.

It’s much easier to promote a brand than just another web page or article. Plus, the web address I’d bought some time ago was perfect; social media marketing technology dot com. Having a good web address is an invaluable component in promoting any website or blog on the web.

On balance, I thought that a stand-alone blog would make much more sense over the long term, not just because of the web address, but because I could add other resources, write more articles and generally just do things specific to social media that might not be appropriate to Blah, Blah! Technology or its readership, who are a clued up bunch, aren’t you?

If you have an ebook which you’re going to sell, then I would recommend you have a separate website, ideally a blog. Why a blog?

  • The search engines love regularly updated websites, which is exactly what a blog is. The more articles you write, enriched with words and phrases specific to your niche, the greater the likelihood of your articles being found, over time.
  • Having a blog (one powered by WordPress, for example) is much more manageable than a regular website. There are loads of free tools out there to enhance and extend your blog in ways that you still could with a website, but it’d most likely cost you more, one way or another.

Why did you decide to give your ebook away for free?

I had intended charging a nominal fee for the ebook, something like £6 ($8-ish), but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was going to be more hassle than it was worth. Keep in mind, this is a 30-odd page beginner’s guide to social media and not a major book. If I’d written something 60 pages plus, then I’d have given more serious thought to it, and charged more.

The biggest problem was going to be “selling” the ebook itself. I really didn’t relish the prospect of selling an ebook. And at this point, I had an idea — people love free stuff, so why not just give it away? Plenty of other ebooks were being given away for free, so I decided to follow suit. And what better way to build credibility than to release an ebook?

I took a risk giving the ebook away for free, but it’s a gamble that paid off. By giving the ebook away:

  • I gain a bigger audience more quickly than I would have had I charged for it;
  • the ebook becomes an advert for my social media know-how, helping build upon my credibility as a writer;
  • should I choose to write any other ebooks, The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media has exposed people to my knowledge, built trust and functions as a living marketing campaign, which would likely make the purchasing decision much easier.

So over time, as the ebook spreads out, so does my name and reputation and knowledge. The long-term goal is for my ebook to act as a driver for new work, which is beginning to pay off. If I gain three projects on the back of my ebook, my time will have been paid for, and then some.

Why not download my ebook, The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media for free right now.

Also, stay tuned for a special announcement tomorrow, right here on Blah…

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

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