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Ebook Experiment Time

ExperimentI’ve had an idea roaming around in my head for over a year and it wasn’t until Ken’s unfortunate AdSense situation that I realized it was time for me to stop thinking and start doing (sorry for that extremely long sentence).

About Writing Books

I’ve found that my book’s audience is folks who are just starting out and are not willing to spend hard-earned cash on an ebook that might not provide what they’re looking for. The folks who bought my book have a general idea of what’s going on online and purchased my book looking for insider tips or bits of information they haven’t thought of as yet.

So, to better get the information in front of the people who really need it, I’ve decided to take on a different distribution approach. To that end, I’ve refunded the purchase price of my Make Money Blogging book to all those who purchased it.Free Ebook

Instead of selling the book, I’m giving it away for free.

How to Make Money by Giving Free Books Away

Here’s where my books can serve several purposes. After reviewing the download activity on my first free book, I realize that there were several thousand copies of the book downloaded since writing it back in August of 2010.  Not a ton of downloads, but not bad considering it wasn’t marketed. There were enough downloads for me to believe it’s making its way around the Internet and hopefully helping newbie writers.

Those downloads tell me that there is an audience out there that might be receptive to targeted links from individuals who would like to get the word out about their blog, product or service. Yep, I’m talking about targeted advertising.

Thinking Out of the Box

My book is several chapters long. At the end of each chapter, I’ve created an advertisement page. On that page, I am selling ad space to anyone interested in getting a little exposure (I’m talking about links to blogs, affiliate marketing and the like).

Since I don’t do loud and obnoxious, the ads won’t be either. Basically I’m seeking people who wish to purchase ad space or links that are synergistic with the information I’m providing in my book. I’m not looking for flashy pictures or graphics that would detract from the book’s content.

Pricing for Ebook Advertising

Before I go into the pricing, I want to make this point clear. I was leaning towards giving the book away for free whether or not it is financially supported by ads. But, if someone is interested in purchasing ad space, here’s the pricing (which I think is reasonable). Ads should be 75 words or Advertiseless:

  • 3 Months for $9.99
  • 6 Months for $18.98
  • 9 Months for $26.97
  • 12 Months for $33.97

(Less than $3.50 a month)

Why Quarterly Ads?

I’m trying quarterly ads (and am leaning towards semi-annual ads) because it allows me to weed out dead links and remove ads that are no longer valid. By using Broken Link Checker plugin, I’m becoming painfully aware just how quickly links become obsolete.

Quarterly (or semi-annual) ads will force me to keep the book and ads up-to-date and relevant (Once I’m finished with the Make Money Blogging book, I’m going to take on the task of updating the So You Want to be a Freelance Writer book).

In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think the advertising cost is too high. For less than four dollars a month you can get your link into a book that will be freely distributed and shared on the Internet.

Let the Experiment Begin

I’ve set up the basic groundwork to start accepting ads for the second quarter. The cut off deadline is 48 hours prior to the end of the quarter (in Free Bookother words March 29th). At that time I will make the necessary changes and release the revised free ebook on April 1, 2012.

Keep in mind that with something new there will be glitches and work-arounds. Please bear with me as I navigate through these unchartered waters. I welcome you to join me in this new adventure.

If all works out well, it will be a win-win-win situation. Newbies get free information, bloggers/affiliate marketers can advertise to a targeted audience, and I…well, I can make a couple of bucks and get my book in front of the eyes that need to read it. I think it’s a win all the way around.

Wish me luck!

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • cashflowmantra March 6, 2012, 2:39 pm

    I thought about this idea in the shower a few weeks ago, but had simply tucked it away for future reference since I don’t have the time to write and compile an ebook right now. I will be curious to see what happens so please keep us up to date.

    Another thought that I had was charging per download up to a maximal amount so that advertisers would know the ads were seen. I would hate to pay for an ad that wasn’t downloaded.

    • Felicia March 6, 2012, 4:18 pm

      Great minds think alike. When I gave away my first book, I could only tell how many times the actual file was accessed (and presumably downloaded). Now that I’m using e-Junkie, I’m able to keep better stats of what’s going on. This way I can provide updates on the downloads.

      Since this is an experiment from which I expect to learn a lot, I can modify my methods with the next book. When you calculate it out, the cost of the ads are somewhere around 10 or 11 cents a day. While I can track the downloads, I won’t be able to track file shares (i.e., emailed copies or copies to flash drives and the like). Charging by download is not a bad idea.

      Ultimately, once I truly figure this whole thing out, I’d like for it to be pretty much self managing. Or if it eventually catches on, I’d like to hire someone or a service to handle the ads. I’m a writer, not an ad manager. 🙂

    • Derrick April 12, 2012, 11:48 pm

      A quick comment on your site, cashflowmantra. Word heavy, not particularly structured toward ways of web guru design principles, I find your site excellent in the stories and information it offers. Over my long career, I have foolishly lost a couple of small money forays into the stock market. Your stories on money, investing and loans where you explain careful methods and patience are IMO very good in advice and studied efforts. You have managed to maintain good credit and you’re building a solid base. Good luck!

      • Felicia April 13, 2012, 10:15 am

        I agree with you Derrick. Cashflowmantra has solid content and that’s what makes a site successful.

  • Crystal March 6, 2012, 9:52 am

    I wondered what was up when I saw my refund email. This is a great idea – way to think outside the box, Felicia! Will the ads be just text or are graphics allowed? I’m going to review my copy of your book and see if there is an appropriate place for me to put an ad for CrystalClearEdits.:)

    • Felicia March 6, 2012, 10:19 am

      Yep, text and images. Since this is a new venture, we’ll bump around until it works for both of us.

      I’m thinking of including a page at the end of each chapter for ads. Since you already have a copy of the book, let me know what you think.

  • Grandma March 6, 2012, 10:28 am

    Great idea! $$$$$ If you see it, it will come…

    (Ever read Napoleon Hill “Think and Grow Rich”?

    • Felicia March 6, 2012, 10:45 am

      Oh yeah, I’ve read Think and Grow Rich. When I go for my daily walks, I take my iPod full of old dudes with me. Napoleon Hill, Jim Rohn, Steve Covey, Brian Tracy and more. Before I leave the house I let the family know that I’m going for a walk with my old dudes.

      My old dudes have guided and mentored me throughout my entire freelance writing career. Wish I had read them earlier.

  • Grandma March 6, 2012, 12:59 pm

    Weird, but have you ever noticed – I mean really noticed – an inner feeling that you are about to make a major change? I am having one right now — has to do with moving forward, of course, instead of looking back. But this is different…really moving forward. Must be like ESP or deja vu…just something is different today. About time!

    • Felicia March 6, 2012, 2:15 pm

      Go with it, Grandma. Don’t let the feeling pass.

  • Samantha March 6, 2012, 6:23 pm

    Great idea Felicia –

    I haven’t read your ebook yet but are you afraid that limiting the revenue to the ads will limit the amount that you can make from the book? I’m sure that you wouldn’t be making this move if you didn’t think it to be worth experimenting on, just curious what went into your decision making process on this one.

    • Felicia March 6, 2012, 8:35 pm

      Samantha, I’m not sure if I understand your question, but I think the answer is, no.

      My decision making process was as mentioned in the post. It just made sense to me. This way the people who will benefit most from the book can get it for free.

  • Prerna March 7, 2012, 5:29 am

    I just had to come over when I read this in my email inbox and share my own li’l experiment. I’m working on a similar kind of paid-free eBook. However, my advertising model is a little different. I’m reaching out to clients and offering them permanent banner ad space in the Resources Section. I’m also offering a FULL sponsorship where the business can get the eBook to give away as well. I’ve priced advertising affordably yet fair enough to make me some money as well. Let’s see how that goes. 🙂

    • Felicia March 7, 2012, 7:06 am

      Prerna, sounds like a great experiment! I’d love to hear how it goes (BTW, haven’t forgotten you—just that my priorities got re-arranged). 🙂

  • Joni March 7, 2012, 11:51 am

    There you go again…a Master at work…LOL. I will definitely be using your services when the time comes.

  • Deanna March 12, 2012, 2:00 am

    Felicia – you are always thinking and coming up with unique ideas. You just never know what will work until you try it – and your willingness to try new ideas is what makes you successful at what you do. I wish you the best of luck with your new venture!

  • Geoff May 24, 2012, 10:11 pm

    So how is this experiment going so far, Felicia? Are readers of the ebook clicking on the links?

    • Felicia June 1, 2012, 11:18 am

      Geoff, I didn’t sell ad spots in the book and it’s hard to track links from an ebook.

      Is it a failure? I don’t think so. Folks who need the information are getting it. Would I do it again? Probably, when I have enough info to warrant writing another book about writing. 🙂

  • Todd Garth July 24, 2012, 8:38 pm

    Really informative post – thank you for sharing. It’s so good to see someone else writing about writing ebooks and making money, as it can be quite hard to find authoritative, real advice out there. I will probably try writing ebooks about gold investing.

  • Grandma August 19, 2012, 10:26 am

    About eBooks: I now have 9 up for sale at Amazon and at Smashwords. The owner of Smashwords has several free ebooks to download that are helpful. I read this one last night: http://www.smashwords.com/extreader/read/145431/1/the-secrets-to-ebook-publishing-success

    If anyone is experiencing the summer slowdown time normal for August, remember this is a great opportunity to write up that eBook you have tucked away in your head and put it up for sale. One good thing to do for promotion is to list all your other eBooks and/or website link at the end of the eBook.

    My newest is called “FIFTY Ways to Be a Dick” (advice for women). It is supposed to be humorous look at men and women, why men are successful when they are rude, etc.

    I am starting on my next one today. Decided to turn off the bad news – it is depressing all the time. So maybe I can get this one done and listed, part of my vague goal to write and sell 50 eBooks in a year. Residual income; works for me!

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