Our friends over at Formstack created a great infographic about landing pages we thought we’d share with you authors out there.
Of course, this isn’t an exact “science” and you should feel free to get as creative as you want. These are just some best practices for people who want to put up a winning landing page quickly and without a lot of guessing.
Want more? We’ve got a new ebook about writing, publishing, and marketing your ebook. Here’s what people are saying about it:
“Seriously, I can’t stop thinking about it. The strategy is brilliant and the tactics are actionable – I’m going to employ everything you said over the weekend.”
-Lauren Dinger, Boston MA
“Your discussions on market analysis, marketing and planning the launch were outstanding. Simple and succinct combined with tactic encouragement and guidelines.”
-Craig Hunter, Wellington NZ
“My first thought while reading was -‘has she read my mind?!’ Seriously. No joke, you hit the nail on the head. This is fantastic.”
-Colleen Hurley, Chicago IL
Go sign-up for a limited discount here.
- Because they are either afraid or…
- They don’t know what to do to make it all happen
In our last blog post we talked about fear. If you haven’t read that, go do it now…I’ll wait.
Which leads us to the next point: what should you be doing?
Writing a book is time-consuming. There’s no way around that. But if you’re reading this post, I doubt hard work is a problem for you. The problem is being overwhelmed by all the things you could be doing and uncertainty about what you should be doing.
What if you never had to feel like you didn’t know what to do next? What if you had a step-by-step process that eliminated the guesswork and overwhelm which causes most people to give up? What if you never had to wonder, “will I sell any books?”
My new book is going to help you do just that.
After reading this book, you will have everything you need to create, launch, and market your ebook successfully. Applying the ideas here will give you a concrete plan of action that is both easy to implement and truly effective – if you’re willing to do the work.
- The #1 reason most authors fail to sell any books (& how to avoid it)
- How to have paying customers the day you launch
- Why selling isn’t hard if you understand how people think
- Marketing made easy and how not to be afraid
- The elements of a successful launch
- Detailed, step-by-step instructions to create a sales funnel that works
- How to create and email your list (including email outlines and templates)
- How to get people to edit your book for free
- The most effective strategy to get testimonials
- Set up a sales page and your shopping cart w/o any technical expertise
- A 90 Day Plan for writing, publishing, launching, and marketing your book
If you sign up for the list here, you’ll get access to the book before it goes on sale along with a discount.
Go get on the list now!
P.S. If you sign up for the list, you’ll get access to the book before it goes on sale along with a the only discount I’ll ever offer. Get on the exclusive pre-launch list here.
This is an excerpt from our soon-to-be-relseased ebook: The Definitive Guide to Launching a Successful eBook.
Fear is a funny thing. It comes up when we feel uncomfortable and there’s nothing more uncomfortable for a lot of folks than putting your work out there and asking people to buy it.
What if no one likes it? What if no one buys it? What if my emails come off as spammy? What if I get bad reviews? What if, what if, what if….
You’re afraid – and that’s OK, we’ve all been there at some point. But you know what? On some level you know that what you’re creating is going to be valuable to people out there. That’s why you’re writing it.
But then fear and doubt start to rear their ugly heads. You compare yourself to others, you start thinking you don’t have celebrity status or the credentials you need, or that you don’t have a list of readers to talk to. Then you freeze up – maybe have a glass of wine and just tell yourself you’ll work on it tomorrow. Or worse yet – the day after tomorrow, which becomes the day after that and before you know it, you never publish your book.
Why? Because fear results in inaction. And the more you sit around and do nothing, the worse it gets.
So how do we beat it? Action. Quick, decisive, action – like ripping off the proverbial band-aid. It’s never as bad as it seems and it’s always better after you’ve taken the necessary steps to get past your fear. In other words, you take action. Accept that you’re afraid, because it’s a part of the process any time we do something big. It’s normal. Don’t beat yourself up about it or try to convince yourself otherwise. You might be afraid, but you can handle that and beat it by taking action.
Now that we understand fear and how to deal with it a bit better, let’s talk about the most common fear that keep author’s from success.
Fear of Marketing
Let’s talk about why we feel icky when we hear the word “marketing” or “selling.” It feels bad because we often associate marketers with sleazy car salesmen or pushy brokers. But, in reality, that’s just one end of the spectrum…the end you don’t need to be part of.
So, what’s the other end? It’s the area where you’re going to live. It’s the space where successful authors go to because they know something you don’t know right now, but when you do, you’ll never feel icky about marketing again. Ready?
Successful authors know this is business. And a business is not about how well you write. Business means there is an exchange of goods or services for money. This is commerce. Someone sells something, someone else buys it.
But you know what we forget in that situation? The person who buys the goods wants the goods – and they think it’s worth exchanging money for the goods. Why is that wrong? You do the same thing every day. When you go into a store and you hand over your money, did someone force you to do that? No. You wanted whatever you purchased. Same thing applies here. When you offer something for sale and someone buys it, you didn’t force them to do anything. Hopefully you have confidence in your product and you’ve priced it based on what you think it’s value should be. When someone buys it from you, they are agreeing. That’s not icky. You both got what you wanted. So why do you feel icky?
Here is the only reasons you should feel uncomfortable: if you are selling an unbelievably bad product. So are you? No, you’re not. So stop feeling icky. You’re far too smart to be the only thing standing in your way.
Now that we’ve got the right mindset, we’re going to talk about the 4 stages of launching your ebook and give you detailed, step-by-step instructions for what you need to do and how to do it.
Want to learn more? Get it by joining us here! We’ll let you know when we launch (plus give you a discount for getting on our list early
5 Critical, Non-Obvious Advantages of iBooks for Desktop (with Examples of How Your Book Can Benefit From Them)
Apple is bringing the iBooks application to the desktop – Hooray!
For the last 3 years, the iBooks application was limited to iOS devices, meaning you could only read iBooks on your iPad or iPhone. But with the release of OS X Mavericks, you (and your audience) can now read books from the comfort of your desktop or laptop computer.
Want to learn more about how to capitalize on the move?
We thought so And we’ve got some helpful ideas for you to get the most out of the update!
Without further delay, here are 5 critical, non-obvious advantages of iBooks for the desktop and how you can use them for your book.
1. Did you know that conversion rates for purchasing products is 10x higher on the desktop than on mobile devices like the iPhone or iPad?
If you’ve ever tried to purchase something on your phone, particularly if it’s not mobile optimized, you understand why. All that pinching and zooming while trying to see itty-bitty text and images can make you feel like you need to be screen-tapping ninja to get anything done. The entire process can be summed up with one word – pain. No wonder the abandon rate is higher.
Meanwhile over in desktop land, we’re very comfortable making purchasing decisions on our nice big screens that are connected to our nice big keyboard keys. Just think about entering your Apple password or all your credit card information when you hit a checkout page: would you rather do it on your iPhone keypad or on a desktop with a keyboard? Easy choice. And hey, the desktop is where all my passwords are saved too.
Sometimes it’s easier on a mobile phone. But what about purchasing something within a book? On an iPhone or iPad it disrupts the entire reading experience. When a reader clicks on your product link within the book, it takes you out of the book to a Safari browsing window. Then you’ve got the keypad problem all over again. On the desktop, however, it will open a separate browsing screen next to the book (because you’ve got the screen real estate and two things can operate at the same time). The reading experience isn’t disrupted.
The advantage is clear – iBooks for the desktop will increase conversion rates and in-book purchases.
2. Your market just go bigger – a lot bigger.
Now we know it’s hard to believe, but not everyone who owns a Mac has an iPhone or iPad (and vice versa). Gasp!
But seriously, Apple announced that its Mac install base has grown to 72 million machines, a figure that has risen 100% in the last five years. That’s a lot of machines! And now they all come with the iBooks application loaded on the desktop. Your market just quadrupled.
Now anyone who owns a Mac (not just an iPhone or iPad) can purchase and download your book on their desktop or laptop computer. Can you say gold rush?
iBooks will also sync with its iOS counterpart, so any books purchased from a Mac (or iOS device) will appear on other devices too. This means that if your books have already been purchased for the iPad or iPhone, they’ll show up on the desktop after synching. If you sell things from within your books, this is a good thing for converting those people into buyers. Hopefully they’ll start reading the book on the desktop where they left off on their iPad and you’re conversion rates will see an increase (as we explained above). Might be a good time to send out an updated version of your book
3. Desktop iBooks will make it quicker and easier to learn everything.
Most people are talking about how the desktop version allows you to have two books open at the same time, something you can’t do on the iPhone or the iPad. This is great news for students and people who do a lot of research because it makes it easier to compare and cross-check things.
But it gets even better. Think about this scenario:
You’re an author writing a book about teaching people how to create iOS applications for an iPhone (for those of you who don’t know, this is basically like teaching someone a new language to speak to mobile devices). You’ve got example lines of code in the book that people need to be able to copy and paste into a different program to see the results. Previously, your reader would be at their desktop running the other program and reading the book on the iPad with no easy way to copy and paste the example text. They would either have to type out the example code by hand, copy and paste it into an email that they send to themselves, or possibly download example files you provided for them. Ugh, how inefficiently painful!
What if the book were on the desktop instead of an iPad or iPhone? What if you could read the book and simultaneously run other programs too? Now your reader can work with these other programs and the book side-by-side on the same screen. You can actually copy and paste the example code right from the book instead of hand-typing it or downloading a separate “course files” email. Much easier and way more efficient.
If you’re in the business of teaching anything, especially if it requires other programs (for example Photoshop, Excel, SPSS, language learning, video editing, cooking, etc.), your readers are going to learn much faster and way more efficiently. And that’s going to make you look really good too.
4. More powerful means of communication through an integrated reading experience.
We’ve touched on this a little bit already, but it should be stated explicitly: you can have multiple books and programs open all at once without leaving the book. That’s a much more powerful way to communicate with your readers because information can be shared between programs and across different mediums simultaneously. Abandonment rates will decrease and books will be seen as more valuable even though the content hasn’t changed because the experience of reading is integrated within other tasks.
Features that are present in the iOS version are also more powerful on the desktop. For example, Mavericks’ iBooks lets you highlight passages and attach notes – a feature you can find in the iOS version too – but rather than burying the notes as popups that run in the margin of the book, you’ll see a Notes pane that runs along one side of the page. This makes it much easier to refer to notes you’ve added or attached.
Another powerful feature: automatic citations. If you’re a student (or anyone who uses quotes in their work), this handy little feature is about to make your academic paper writing life a breeze. When you quote an excerpt while writing a paper, iBooks will automatically add a citation for you.
Need more integration? How about this: when you take notes, highlight passages, or add a bookmark on your Mac, iCloud pushes them to all your devices automatically. That way, it doesn’t matter which device you used. iCloud even remembers which page you’re on. So if you start reading on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, you can pick up right where you left off on your Mac.
The desktop version is about an integrated experience that fits into our regular daily workflows. With these enhancements, iBooks for the desktop is that much more powerful as a means of communicating your message to your readers.
5. The context has changed (and why that matters).
The iPhone and iPad are used in entirely different ways than desktop or laptop computers, so when you’re writing and designing your book you need to keep that context in mind through the entire process.
No one would use an iPhone or iPad to learn how to use Photoshop. First of all, the full version of Photoshop isn’t even available for either device and secondly, can you even imagine trying to do all that intricate work on such small screens and without any keyboard shortcuts? It would be impossible. A desktop, however, provides both ample screen space and a big keyboard to meet all your Photoshop needs. You can also have multiple programs, like Dreamweaver, running at the same time. That’s the desktop context.
The question you have to ask yourself now is ‘is my audience more likely to read my book at their desktop rather than on their iPhone or iPad?’ And if the desktop is likely, ask ‘what does the desktop provide that was not available on the iPad or iPhone that can enhance my book?’
This context change means there’s a bigger opportunity for you to enrich the reading experience because the desktop is capable of so much more. But sometimes ‘more’ can also lead to overwhelm and poor usability. Usability is all about finding the right tool or input method for the job.
How, you might ask? Simple: check yourself. When including features or media in your book, be sure to ask yourself ‘does this addition make sense or is it just distracting?’ It’s hard to tell sometimes. But your challenge will be to walk a fine line between enhancements that improve the reading experience and enhancements you made simply because you could. Your goal is to create an experience your readers will love and improves your ability to effectively communicate a message.
Designing for usability and a great reading experience across multiple devices isn’t easy. In fact, there are people within companies whose sole job is dedicated to making great experiences across the board. Why? Because if something is hard to use, we stop using it. That’s where design comes in.
A truly great experience doesn’t just happen, it’s designed that way. It is often used without notice. It seems simple to use, effortlessly beautiful and doesn’t call attention to itself. It’s the bad experiences that you notice. When you work on the design for your book, there are so aspects to consider and decisions to make it’s challenging as a newbie. It’s easy to get lost in the design details and end up ignoring more important aspects because you don’t know what you need to get right and what you can safely ignore. Looking at great design examples is helpful, but only if you understand the underlying problems they solve.
Want to learn more about how to publish your book and avoid these problems?
- “Where should I start?”
- “What’s THE most important thing I need to do to get sales?”
- “How do I market my book?”
Want to know what happens next?
- “But I don’t have time to…[insert answer to above questions]”
I hear you.
I’ve struggled to free up more time to write, to market and promote, heck, sometimes I struggle just to find time to eat lunch!
But do you want to know the truth?
More time is not the secret to self-publishing success.
There are two things you need – no, you *MUST* have – to navigate self-publishing successfully.
Once you discover them, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them. They will effect everything about your publishing experience: the way you write will improve, your sales will increase, your motivation will spike; you’ll be a self-publishing machine.
It took me two years of banging my head against the wall to finally implement these techniques in my business. But you don’t have to waste as much time as I did.
I’m going to share what I learned with you, and teach you how to take advantage of these strategies throughout your self-publishing journey.
But before I get into what I learned from making these two drastic changes in thinking, I need you to take an honest look at yourself and your progress and ask “Am I on track with my publishing plans or am I losing motivation and drowning quietly in a sea of overwhelm?”
If you answered the latter, you’re not alone! I hear this from dozens of other authors on a daily basis and I’m here to hand you a self-publishing life vest while we fix the holes in your row boat – together.
If you’re interested in learning more about what this self-publishing life vest looks like, go here right now and sign up for announcements (and an exclusive early bird discount – yay!). You’ll be the first to know when we launch and you’ll also get access to tons of free goodies, like the post below, that will help you achieve your goals and give your bank account a boost too!
And now for the two secrets to self-publishing success.
There are two things you must do if you want to succeed.
Here they are:
1) Efficiency is doing things right; Effectiveness is doing the right things
People who talk about their time (or lack thereof) are often saying things like “what’s the most efficient use of my time?” or “I want to get things done faster.” But ‘efficiency’ is useless if it’s applied to the wrong things. It doesn’t matter how fast you get things done if those things are not important.
Someone who goes to the gym and exercises for an hour every day to lose weight is efficient – they get their workout in and burn extra calories without wasting any time socializing with the guy next to them on the treadmill. Very efficient, but is that effective?
If you believe the experts, 80% of weight loss comes from changing your diet, not from exercising more. Instead of wasting an hour at the gym, the most effective solution to lose the extra pounds is to change what you eat. And since you already spend time eating (you simply have to change what you put in your mouth), not only will you get better weight loss results, you just saved an hour of time by eliminating the gym!
I lose more weight AND I save more time. Win-win. It pays to be effective.
As you can see, being effective is far more important than being efficient. Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. Effective people are the ones you’re referring to when you say “Wow, they get things done! How do they have the time to do it all?” These people know that what you do is considerably more important than reducing the time it takes to do it. By focusing on the most important tasks, they get 80% of the results in way less time.
Which leads us to the second thing you *need* to know:
2) Lack of time is actually lack of priorities.
Self-publishing a book can make you feel like David standing next to a giant Goliath. Not only do you have to write the book – you’ve got to design it, edit it, publish it, make a website, promote it, get reviews for it – the list goes on. It’s overwhelming and downright scary at times. But being overwhelmed is often just as as unproductive as doing nothing, and far more unpleasant.
If you find yourself saying “I don’t have the time to do X, Y, Z,” you’re doing something wrong. Identify the few critical tasks that contribute the most to your goal and make them the priority for that day.
Let’s say your goal is to grow book sales by 5% this month. You can use that goal to make all your decisions for you; anything that gets you to that goal is ipso facto right. Should you spend more time marketing? Should you write that guest blog post? Should you send out a newsletter email? Should you go to that author meetup? Whatever gets you a 5% increase in sales.
Prioritizing, and ultimately doing less, is the means to self-publishing success. When you focus on the most important things, you’ll see what it feels like to join the ranks of the uber productive and successful self-publishers.
Don’t feel bad if you haven’t been doing this stuff. It took me two years before I felt like I was running my business instead of my business running me.
The key is to decide *what* your goals are and then what the critical tasks are to achieve those goals.
This is hard.
Yep, it’s a challenge figuring out where to start and what to focus on. But if you’re game, the rewards are intense. Intensely profitable.
Want to learn exactly how to implement these steps?
Need help figuring out where to start? Don’t know what you don’t know? Again – you’re not alone. That’s why I’m creating this new program to help authors just like you press publish without a hitch. You’ll learn exactly how to turn that book idea into a self-publishing success story – the easy way.
Self-publishing doesn’t have to be the nightmare you think it is. I’ve been there, let me help you. Sign up for the free launch list here to get early bird access and discounts! You’ll also be getting more actionable articles that can help you start right now. What are you waiting for?
Be effective – get on the Launch List.
When iBooks Author launched last year, most people were talking about textbooks and novels. In fact, that’s how Apple pitched it at it’s demo debut. But iBooks Author is capable of so much more…
Imagine a sales rep visiting a client and using the iPad to show off the company’s portfolio of products. Imagine a paper brochure being replaced by an interactive catalogue iBook complete with videos and interactive elements to really show off a company’s offerings. Imagine interactive employee handbooks or Ikea instruction manuals that someone will actually read them and understand what to do next.
The possibilities are endless.
In the second part of our 2 Part video tutorial (Part 1 is here), you’ll learn how to modify an existing template to create a custom look for your ebook using iBooks Author. Jess from the iBooks Author Templates team is also going to show you some great tips and tricks for working with the free iBooks Author application.
- Please let us know what you think of this video tutorial!
- If you’d like to see more tutorials, leave a comment or follow us here.
0:03 – Creating a masked image
2:17 – Using Pages elements
6:54 – Tricks using design elements
9:02 – Grouping objects
9:33 – Using shadows
10:48 – The most important thing when creating your template
In this video tutorial you’ll learn how to modify an existing template to create a custom look for your ebook using iBooks Author. Jess from the iBooks Author Templates team is also going to show you some great tips and tricks for working with the free iBooks Author application.
- Please let us know what you think of this video tutorial!
- If you’d like to see more tutorials, leave a comment or follow us here.
1:28 – How to set up your workspace for optimum efficiency
3:50 – How to create a custom solid color background (the easiest way)
5:50 – How to work with layers
6:18 – How to create a custom textured background
8:48 – Object wrap
10:03 – Locking and Unlocking Objects
11:15 – Using fonts
Authors, teachers, students – and anyone who reads, for that matter – get ready: iBooks has come to the Mac.
Finally, you’ll be able to read any of Apple’s 1.8 million iBookstore titles right from the comfort of your desktop or laptop computer.
For the last 3 years, the iBooks application was limited to iOS devices, meaning you could only read iBooks on your iPad or iPhone. As of the new OSX Maverick update (due out early this fall), Apple is bringing its reading app to the Mac as well – and it supports all the interactive features of books created with iBooks Author.
Everything users have come to expect from the mobile version of the app is included in the desktop version as well. Highlighting, browsing, pinching, swiping, notes and more are preserved features.
However, there are also a couple other cool features we haven’t seen before such as automatic citations. If you’re a student (or anyone who uses quotes in their work), this handy little feature is about to make your academic paper writing life a breeze. When you quote an excerpt while writing a paper, iBooks will automatically add a citation for you.
Another awesome feature – Continue reading »
Shadows add that little bit of extra polish that can make your design really stand out from the crowd. They help to draw attention to an element by raising it off the page and giving it a more ‘real-life’ appeal.
Shadows can be used for both fonts and objects (like an image or graphic) to add depth and visual interest to your layout. Unfortunately, they have a high propensity for misuse.
The most common mistake is to make a shadow too large and too strong. This will cause text or elements to look blurred, or out of focus. The second most common mistake is to use the wrong color. This post will discuss the best practices for using shadows and how to avoid common errors that make your design look amateurish.