The Athlete’s Playbook to Starting, Self-Publishing and Selling your own eBook
One of the things that irks me the most about athletes who end up broke, or living a life below their potential, is that there are literally dozens of ways to make money just by monetizing the skills they already have.
As an athlete, each and every day you dedicated a good portion of your life practicing, training and finding ways to win. No matter how you slice it, that is valuable on so many different levels and there are thousands, if not millions of people out there who would pay to tap into that unique, knowledge or expertise.
You may not think you know a lot. You may not think you can teach someone else what you’ve learned or experienced in life. But, let me be the first to say that you can (just in case you haven’t heard it yet) and I want to show you the easiest way to do it.
I get asked all the time, “what’s the simplest, least expensive product I can create to make money when I start my online business?” I always say create your own digital product, more specifically your own eBook.
When I started online, I had no idea how easy it was to make money online selling your own signature products, so I sold other people’s products as an affiliate. But as I began to seek ways to grow my passive income, a mentor of mine suggested selling my own eBook. I said okay, I think I can do that. So I did. And everything I learned to launch my first successful eBook, I’m going to share with you in this guide.
Now while we are talking about eBooks, this information can be used to start, self-publish and sell any digital product: eBooks, e-courses, digital guides, etc.
We’ll go play by play, step by step from start to finish.
So, if you’re ready to create and sell your own digital products, read on.
Why write an eBook?
To sell for profit
Writing an eBook for can be a very lucrative and in-demand opportunity to make income. You don’t have to have a lot of expertise in a specific field in order to write about it. If you’re willing to take the time to research the topic, and spend some effort building out your content ideas, your options are limitless.
To create a stream of passive income
You can spend 15 hours coaching one client, trading your time for dollars, helping one person at a time. You can spend 15 hours offering your services, getting paid by the project, and then once that project is done, your income is done. Or you can spend 15 hours creating something that you get paid for again and again. I prefer the “get paid again and again.”
For the sake of being “published”
If you are a business owner or run a blog and long to be an authority in your niche but you don’t want to go through the long process and uncertainty of traditional publishing, writing an eBook is a good bet. It’s fast, inexpensive and can create instant credibility.
To give away for free
Need to attract customers and clients? With the Kindle revolution (Amazon) and the surge of eBook downloads, you can publish an eBook and use it as a marketing tool to attract perfect fit fans, generate leads and convert casual readers in to buyers.
Perhaps you’d like to use it as an incentive for people to sign up for your mailing list or join your online community. Or maybe you want to use it to stand out in your niche by offering something tangible to those who visit your site. Maybe you would just like to empower others, no strings attached. All are great reasons to offer it for free!
To get your feet wet in the digital book market
Did you know digital book sales have now surpassed hardcover book sales on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble? That alone is an outstanding reason to dive in. Get in on a trend that’s exploding and is sure to continue to grow.
It’s quick, easy, cheap to produce and potentially more profitable.
eBooks are super easy to write, convert to pdf and publish. The cost to bring an eBook to market is significantly less than brining a hard copy to market and the profit potential per eBook is enormous.
So, should you write an eBook?
Spending your valuable time creating something like an eBook or digital product that you can sell again and again is literally THE best use of your time. I personally know more than a few people making 6-7 figures selling eBooks. Even though it’s not particularly complicated, writing and self-publishing an eBook does take work and this playbook was designed to give you a sneak peak into what it takes to jumpstart your eBook empire.
If you already have an online presence and/or some great online connections, you are already ahead of the game. But no matter where you are in your journey as you transition from athlete to entrepreneur creating and selling your own products like eBooks, is a very smart play. The key is to get started…and if you want to get started fast, making money online with eBooks is one of the best jumping off points I know!
STARTING YOUR eBOOK
I’m ready to write my eBook. Where do I START?
The first step to creating a profitable eBook is to find a hot, binge-worthy specialty niche that feeds a target audience. This is important. The idea is to find a narrow niche full of people who are hungry, and even fanatical, for the information you offer. In my free eCourse, Build a Money-Making Blog, I share in detail how to find your profitable specialty niche aka your Sweet Spot.
You’re looking for a passion-driven idea that leverages your super hero strengths (aka skills and expertise), fills a pothole or need in the marketplace and can support a group of people willing to pay to know what you know. And you ask yourself questions, such as these:
- Am I passionate enough about this topic to talk about it long-term?
- What questions or problems can I solve?
- What needs or desires can I fulfill?
- Do I have the solution they are looking for?
- Are there enough people out there willing to but that solution?
The first thing I do when looking for a topic to write an eBook about is to generate about fifteen to thirty different eBook topic ideas.
I then narrow these ideas down to about 2-3 topics using a specific set of criteria that I’ve developed.
The criteria I use includes researching how many people are searching for that topic online, checking the digital marketplace to see what’s selling and how much competition is already out there. ( I explain it all HERE.)
You should get REALLY specific with your first eBook or product. You want to create a specific resource for a very specific group of people.
For example if you’re an athlete that has a passion for yoga you could create an eBook called “The Athlete’s Guide To Yoga Basics” or if you wanted to narrow your niche even more (which I recommend) you could create an eBook called “The Pro Athlete’s Guide To Yoga Basics”. So instead of being general with just athletes, you are now specifically targeting professional athletes. Picking a specific audience, is the smart way to go and I’ll explain why below.
Why you need to focus on a specialty niche:
- When people see that you’ve created a resource EXCLUSIVELY FOR THEM, one that speaks directly to the challenges, needs or problems they are faced with, they will immediately connect with it. Someone reads the title or description about Yoga Basics for Pro Athletes and they think “HEY THAT’S ME! That may be something I need.” – it probably has some cool exercises that can help them recover faster, gain more flexibility, develop my core strength – all things that make a better athlete. You’re speaking DIRECTLY TO THEM.
- Also when there are tons of books on Beginners Yoga, or Basic Yoga, it’s hard to stand out. But you CAN differentiate yourself by writing an amazing book about Yoga Basics For Pro Athletes. Or Top Ten Yoga Practices For The Stressed Out College Student. The more specific, the more you’ll stand out in a crowded space.
Validating Your Ideas
So once you’ve found your “sweet spot” it is extremely important to validate your ideas. There is nothing worse than spending tons of time, sweat and energy creating a product no one wants. The “validation” process will make sure people are actually interested in buying what you want to make. This is a good thing!
There are a number of ways to test interest and I share with you those strategies in my eBook Passion To Profits: How To Turn Your Life After Sports Passion Into A Profitable Blog or Online Business. You can get it HERE. But there is a 3-step validation formula I use to make sure I confidently launch with an idea that will make me money and grow my business or blog. Plus if I’m torn between multiple ideas, this is the method I turn to, to help me make a final and definitive decision.
STEP 1: Create a PIECE OF CONTENT (blog post, video, social media update) about your business idea or product, making sure to share KEY VALUE POINTS.
STEP 2: At the end of the post or video INVITE PEOPLE TO OPT-IN to learn more – Say, “I’m creating/writing/building a business/product/ebook/course to help you with XYZ.” SIGN UP to get notified when I launch! If no one signs up then you will want to reconsider your idea. If you get interest you know you’re on the right track.
*Plus now you have a HOT, PRE-LAUNCH LIST ready to promote to these are fans that are most likely to buy your product.
STEP 3: Make sure you have a WELCOME EMAIL WITH A LINK TO A SURVEY!!! This is an important step because now you can ASK PEOPLE who have interest in your business or product “WHAT IS YOUR #1 CHALLENGE?” or “WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT____ (YOUR BIZ/PRODUCT IDEA/TOPIC).
Now you know exactly what your fans are expecting you to address in your products and you can use this INTEL to build a winning eBook.
Once your idea is validated and you know you’ll be creating an eBook people actually have an interest in, set up a basic “sales page” that details the basic idea of what your eBook will cover and include an email opt in for people who are interested. Offer a free chapter when it’s ready as an extra incentive.
Now you’re growing your pre-launch list of interested customers while you build and create your eBook! Boom!
Look for Ways to Stand Out From the Competition
Differentiation. Before you write one word, you have to be crystal clear on ow your eBook is different from all the rest. Why should someone buy yours and not theirs? Once I know I have a hot topic that will either satisfy or eliminate the fears, frustrations, and needs of the market, only then do I begin to develop a product that meets those needs.
I also make sure to create a product that stands out from the competition. My goal is to exceed people’s expectations by over delivering useable content that gets results and presents a solution in a unique way.
For example, one of the first eBooks I wrote, Blog Traffic Bootcamp, provides advice on how to drive blog traffic to your site using a number of untapped methods.
During my research I discovered that there were a lot of sites talking about blog traffic but not revealing their exact source and how to use them. Many sites would have a handful of sources but very few gave an exhaustive list.
So, I created an eBook which shared techniques that were not being addressed in depth by the already existing products.
It is crucial that you find a way to separate yourself from all the other eBooks and related products that serve your target audience. The better you do this the more exposure and buzz you’ll get, which will create the momentum you need to drive sales and increase your profits.
I’m not a writer, can I outsource this?
Outsourcing is one of the main things that Tim Ferris talks about in “The 4-Hour Workweek”, and it’s something that I do whenever necessary. You may not want to write your own eBook (just come up with the profitable ideas) and that is perfectly ok. There are many successful online entrepreneurs who outsource the content creation process using sites like freelancer.com, iwriter.com, or upwork.com. For a high quality eBook expect to spend between $150.00 and $1000.00 or more depending on size.
In addition to having your eBook written, you can also outsource other aspects of the your product development plan. This includes your sales page or website, your sales copy, graphics, membership site set-up, payment platforms, and marketing, just to name a few. I know people that outsource every aspect of launching an eBook, put their name on it and make sales in the hundreds of thousands having put in no physical work of their own.
What tools do I need to start my eBook?
Product formatting and layout: I create 99% of my products in Apple Pages and Keynote. If you have a PC, Microsoft Word would the equivalent to Pages and PowerPoint can be used as well in place of Keynote. To me it’s a little harder to work with PowerPoint and Word but use what ya got! You can also use Google docs. If you are efficient with the Adobe suite and Photoshop, Adobe InDesign is a great tool – you can get a free 30 day trial but if you’re a novice now is probably not the time to learn photoshop. There is a bit of a learning curve.
eCover Graphics: Keynote, Canva, and Photoshop can be used along with, pixelr and pixelmator- which are both powerful image editing tools. If design is not your thing you can always outsource. If you don’t have access to a graphic designer on your team, hop on over to Fiverr.com and you can get all sorts of goodies starting at 5 dollars.
Supporting Graphics: You’re going to want to have access to amazing looking photos which will enhance and beautify your design. Fotolia, Stocksky and Death To The Stock Photo are premium photo grab sites. If you are on a tight budget Unsplash, Pic Jumbo and Gratisography are really great FREE, do whatever you want high resolution stock photo sources.
Sales Page and Web Design: For product website and sales page needs, Hostgator for web hosting, wordpress.org for blogging platform, Big Commerce, Shopify for e-commerce sites, Leadpages.net and optimizepress.com are great options for one-off sales pages, opt-in pages, and more.
Simple eBook Delivery: For every eBook you create you have to think about how you are going to deliver that content and get it into the hands or in front of your customer. The simplest way to create a download link is to use Amazon S3 , Google Drive or Dropbox which are all file sharing sites.
Smart eBook Delivery: If you plan on getting paid for your products and services you need a payment processor or shopping cart to make sure the money lands in your bank account. I personally use DPD to deliver my eBooks and they integrate with popular payment processor such as Paypal and Stripe. Gum road, e-Junkie, Clickbank and SendOwl are all very simple – get the job done tools you can use as well to ensure you get paid.
SELF-PUBLISHING YOUR eBOOK
How To Set Up Your eBook on Your Website
So I just mentioned I personally use DPD, so now let me tell you why! It has all the functionality I need to delivery a digital product. If you ever think about turning your eBook into a physical product, you can deliver physical products through DPD as well! Yeah!! DPD is easy to use, takes less than 30 minutes to set up and all you have to do is upload your PDF, pick your price, and add your custom “BUY NOW” button to your sales page. Do darn easy!
PLATFORMS TO SELF-PUBLISH YOUR eBOOK
Lulu is an awesome platform for self-publishing your eBook. The steps are super easy:
- Download eBook creator guide: It includes everything you need to know about making your eBook (Get eBook Creator Guide »)
- Format your manuscript: Formatting your Word document or Rich Text file correctly is as important as using good grammar (Get Tips on Formatting »)
- Make an EPUB or PDF: Convert your manuscript into an EPUB to make it available on all eReaders and tablets
And that’s it!
There are pros and cons to selling on Amazon. Because of the sheer volume that runs through Amazon, it’s a great place to get exposure but because of the sheer volume that runs through Amazon it’s also a hard place to get found. There have been a number of online entrepreneurs who successfully leverage Amazon as a marketing tool by pricing their eBook way below market value, almost giving it away for free, so they can back end subscribers and customers. Meaning, they price their book anywhere between .99 cents and $2.99 in the hopes that a percentage of the readers who purchase the ebook will then go on to subscribe to their email list or take them up on an upsell offer where they promote a higher priced product that they’ve recommended somewhere within the lower priced ebook.
Amazon like many other similar platforms take a cut of your sales, you can’t price your eBook above the $9.99 price point and you are not able to capture the email address of your customers which sucks because if you’ve taken my FREE eCourse: Build a Money-Making Blog, I share how important it is to build your email list and communicate with those people, and you can’t do that leveraging Amazon.
The exception to this is using a service like CreateSpace (an Amazon company) to create a physical version of your eBook – in which case Amazon is great for fulfilling orders.
SELLING YOUR eBOOK
How Do I Price My eBook?
Your pricing sends a message to potential customers and it communicates the implied value of your products and services. The last thing you want to do is cheat yourself or make your customers feel like they paid more for what you delivered. That’s called getting duped and that’s business suicide. Your goal is to price correctly so it’s a win-win for everyone. You get paid and your customers feel like you’ve delivered on something amazing! They almost come away feeling like they stole something!
There are 3 major pricing factors you will want to consider when picking your price.
Time, Value and Competition
As you create your eBook, keep track of how much time and energy you’ve invested. You should price your eBook (and any product you create) to compensate you for all of these things.
Value is the difference between what your customer paid and what they felt it was worth. The worth needs to be greater than the price. If you’ve achieved this, you’ve won and your clients have won.
Let’s take this playbook for example, if you read it, take action on the tips and strategies I’ve taught you, then go out and create your own, binge-worthy signature eBook that sells, how much would that be worth to you? To your business?
$25, $97, $297. That may seem high for an eBook but think about the return you get. How much easier is it for you to create an eBook that attracts your perfect fit customer, that looks freakin’ amazing and converts for you!
This is the same thing you have to think about when it comes to the pricing of your product. How much easier are you making things for your customer?
Lastly you want to think about the competition. Stalk the successful. See what prices they are putting on their products and services. Try to find entrepreneurs and companies with similar target audiences, and size. Please take note. I am not telling you to compete on price, i.e. his eBook is $39.99 so I’ll price mine at $35.99. Do not do that. It does not serve you or your customers. Price based on the value you provide. Scoping the competition will give you an idea of what others are charging for their products but it’s not an absolute for what you should charge for yours.
When choosing your price point you also want to decide if you want to be the Mazda, Mercedes or Maserati of your industry?
Figure out if you want to go for volume to appeal to more people or if you can be more selective but because your price is higher you don’t have to sell as many units.
This again is going to be about knowing your perfect fit customer and what they are willing and able to pay for.
Another factor you’ll want to consider as you hone in on the exact price you want to charge for your signature eBook is to make sure you use what’s called a buying number. A buying number is a number that has been tested to maximize profitability. That means it is a number that is interpreted as being smaller than it really is.
Look at these numbers. $23 vs $29. What number pops up in your mind! $20
Did you know that the human brain will automatically round both to $20?
So Knowing that – why not take the extra $6 bucks per ebook by charging $29?
I recommend pricing your eBook between $27-$47. This might seem high for an eBook at first glance. Now a days you can grab eBooks on Amazon for like $2.99 right?
But if you think about pricing your book based on the value of what’s inside and how it will help improve the readers’ lives or business, $47 is totally fair and reasonable.
I also believe that pricing your work higher than usual makes people value it more and pay attention. I have $5, $7, and $10 ebooks on my iPhone that I’ve purchased, downloaded and never read in it’s entirety, because I got side-tracked or bored. But if I buy a $47 eBook you best believe I’m going to read it, highlight all key points and take action on what I learned.
Price your eBook based on the value you are delivering, not based on the norm or industry standards or what the competition dictates. High to Premium (Mercedes and Maserati) pricing attracts your best customers and boost your profits too.
Remember, it takes the same amount of time and effort to sell a low end product as it does a high end product, so no matter what price you put on your eBook, build a product to ensure that the cost feels small compared to the value your customers will get!
Marketing & Promoting Your eBook
Selling your eBook begins and ends with your ability to generate interest. How do you generate interest?
You build excitement, tease with out-of-this-world freebies, and create a sense of urgency.
Tell everyone you know that you are creating something AH-MAZ-ING!!!! Get them engaged in the creation process, ask for their feedback, hold contests to pick a winning eBook cover, show behind the scenes photos of you working on your eBook. The key is to get people investing emotionally first before asking them to invest.
Tease With Out of This World Freebies:
You can share snippets or entire chapters and ask for feedback or create a free mini workbook that accompanies the paid eBook to build your pre-launch email list. You can create a Periscope series or multi-post blog series that highlights each chapter of your eBook. You don’t give away the whole ebook, but share so people can get a good taste of what’s to come! The key as always is to give value before asking for the sale. You want people to raise their hand and say “YES! I need this in my life right now!” before it’s even ready for sale.
Create a sense of urgency:
A week or two before you launch your eBook to the public, email your list, contact your clients, post on your social networks and let all your business friends know you are holding a limited time offer of 10%, 15%, even 25% off the list price or add some exclusive bonuses to those who buy within the first 3 days of your eBook launch. Urgency is important.
Encourage your community to share the love. You can provide sample promo posts, tweets, images, and emails to make it easy for people who want to share your work to do so.
One of the biggest fears I had when I first started creating eBooks was, “How will I gain readers?”
I’m sure you’re worried about that too. So, here is how you do it?
Write binge-worthy, value packed, educational blog posts and SHOW your readers what you know. That means you have to let them know you can deliver results. Share with them actual numbers, metrics, graphs and screenshots where ever possible. If you are a new entrepreneur and don’t have a ton of case studies, testimonials or years of results, use what you have and then if necessary, back up your theories by tapping into the success of other industry leaders who have gotten amazing results using similar techniques. You want to share as much as 95% of what you know for free (in blog posts, follow-up emails, and freebie “and one” offers). It’s that 5% that people pay for, so if you give massive value upfront, you will aways be rewarded on the back end!
This was a play by play to starting, self-publishing and selling your first (or next!) eBook or digital product. Super easy, low stress, high return! Literally, one of the best ways to get money flowing into your online business or blog.
My expertise is in content creation and I’ve been working with 6- and 7-figure business owners to help them launch and sell their own signature eBooks, online courses and info products. It’s what I love to do and I am damn good at it!
I know it can seem super overwhelming to produce, package and promote your first product. There are a million and one details (or so it seems) and it’s the attention to detail that can determine if your launch is going to soar or flop. In fact, creating the content is the easy part, it’s the marketing and promotion where most people get stuck.
So I’ve created a very detailed play by play guide to creating, launching and selling your own signature products online. If you want a step by step, next-level guide and incredible resources to help you build your audience and launch your product, join us in Athlete To Entrepreneur.
It’s a ridiculously in-depth playbook FULL of bite-sized, results-driven strategies for attracting your prefect fit fans and making money from your own signature products online. In the course you will create and launch your first product in 60 days!
Are you ready to launch your eBook? If you have a question for me, make sure to leave it as a comment so I can answer it!