You can thank Google for this book.
You see, as you probably already know, the vast majority of what you read here was published and available online, on my Wordpreneur blog, some of it for up to 2+ years. And for free to all comers.
You see, Google used to rank the site highly in its organic search results for certain keywords, high enough to be a decent source of incoming visitor traffic. Nothing huge, mind you, but there were enough visitors coming in via Google and were benefiting, I suppose, from the posts to keep the blog as is.
Well, that unspoken “arrangement” with Google all changed not so long ago when Google altered its search results algorithms yet again. Google does that regularly, as it should; none of whatever it did prior affected Wordpreneur much, if at all, so never really gave any of that much thought. Well, this last time was different. Not that Google was originally sending any traffic worth writing home about, but at least there was still a respectable number of people regularly finding and being helped by those posts. After the recent Google algorithm changes, though, that visitor number dropped to next to nothing.
“So, what now?” was the question I basically needed to answer. And unlike many (most?) other online publishers and webmasters, my reply to that was not to tweak the blog and its contents and poke around the site and tweak some more—lather, rinse, repeat—until the site’s back to normal or better with Google. I don’t really have to guess that that’s exactly how the technically-oriented online publishing community typically reacts to this kind of perceived adversity, judging from how much info and how-to’s are out there on this very exercise. Me? I prefer to spend what little time, energy and focus I’ve got on content development, if possible. Writing new stuff, not futzing around trying to see if I can game the search engines somehow to give me more traffic, a condition that if I were lucky enough to pull off would in all likelihood just be a temporary one to boot anyway.
All well and good. But what about all the preexisting content that’s no longer helping new visitors since for whatever reason it’s simply no longer favored by the Google Gods? It’d be a shame to just waste all that, especially when you consider that this content and info and highly specialized knowledge isn’t really “old” or even “stale,” for that matter, and about as far from useless as info can get.
So, I came up with this plan of action: Go back through the blog two or so years (to help easily keep things nice and current); pick out my non-useless stuff (posts I wrote myself as opposed to articles I merely edited); and update, edit and repackage it all into a book. An ebook. And sell it for dirt cheap to all takers, say 99 cents? Why the heck not? It’s not like I have to shell out a few thousand and kill a bunch of trees beforehand to get the project published. This way, the work ends up getting saved from an online limbo all while suddenly becoming useful and helpful to other people again, too, folks who can see from the Table of Contents that, hell, they need and want to know what the Wordpreneur Wordcash Notebook can show and teach them. All for just 99 cents… woohoo!
This project’s just the kind of wordpreneur-thinking that Wordpreneur Wordcash Notebook is actually all about, don’t you see? In your hands is an honest-to-goodness real world example of the very thing that has drawn you to read this book in the first place, or at the very least, to keep it around for handy reference and/or as an idea source.
What you’re looking at is a 99 cent no-brainer, and you know that just from the TOC.
Here’s something else I discovered that was quite interesting about this content, something I only discovered when I finally got around to putting this book together. The surprising info: This book is almost 55,000 words in size. Not huge, just respectable for a business book (or even a novel, for that matter), but I’ve noticed that a lot of ebooks fall far short of that number.
Not the Wordpreneur Wordcash Notebook, at a 55K word count. I was thinking more along the lines of about a third or so of that total, considering that not everything published on Wordpreneur is stuff I’ve written directly. Edited, yeah—on top of the couple or so posts I write myself weekly, I handpick, edit and publish articles written by others I think Wordpreneur readers could benefit and learn from—but not Eldon Sarte originals, hence not something I want in any book that bills me as the author (although frankly, in some cases these 3rd party articles don’t look anything like what they did originally after I get through with them). Add to that the fact that I spent a considerable amount of time and energy editing and culling out my own dead and outdated posts and tightening up the writing a bit on posts that needed it, you can imagine my initial double-take when Microsoft Word told me there were almost 55,000 words of my own writing in the book I just put together.
Yay for you, since even at 3X the anticipated size, I’m still pricing this book at the same old 99 cents I was planning. I wanted this book priced for no-brainer mass consumption, regardless of size, and well, my friend, that’s what it is!
Well, enough of this preface babbling and onwards to letting the content speak for itself, helping you achieve your wordpreneur goals.
Just a few things to keep in mind as you read through the rest of this book. Not that you really need to know these, but it may be helpful to realize that:
A “wordpreneur” is like a huge umbrella—you can cover a whole lot of things. As such, you can see that the topics I cover in my Wordpreneur blog cover a wide-ranging, albeit related, scope of topics. In an attempt to get it all organized in this book for your benefit, I’ve identified four (4) major category areas/chapters, and have sorted the posts accordingly:
Some posts cover two or more of these subject areas; those have been organized based on their most dominant categories covered.
Although you most certainly can limit your reading to only the posts in the category that interests you, I strongly recommend that you read through all the chapters to make sure you don’t miss anything related, or even specific, to the subject matter that’s near and dear to your professional interests (besides, you may learn something!).
Another thing: The posts are ordered more or less sequentially date-wise, like with a real notebook. Except maybe for the first part of the Wordpreneur Ideas chapter, I didn’t spend any effort in subgrouping and subsorting the posts further beyond plunking them into their chapter categories. I did, however, have a tendency to go off in different tangents as I pored through the Wordpreneur backposts looking for and selecting suitable content to add to this book, so I can’t really say that the posts appear in the book in exactly the same time sequence that they appeared on the blog. It doesn’t matter a whit, anyway, so I left my “notes” as is. What does matter is that some posts may be written referencing specific dates and events or even other blog posts. I didn’t bother “fixing” those, either; they don’t affect the information, and if anything, they serve to give you a definite sense of where the content came from originally.
I also recommend that you get familiar with your Kindle’s (or your Kindle reader software’s) bookmark and annotation features, and use those liberally as you read through this ebook. Because, my friends, it really is packed with real world wordpreneur-practical information you can put to work, and the Kindle’s ability to bookmark and annotate on-the-fly is really a tremendous help.
Before I forget: As of this writing, I’m in the process of putting together two (2) incredible ebooks for Wordpreneurs that I’m giving away totally and absolutely free to all customers and book reviewers (purchasing thos book gets you the first bonus ebook, and “reviewing/rating” the Wordpreneur WordCash Notebook on online book retailers like Amazon will give you the second!). Costs you absolutely noting out of pocket… check out the “Bonus: Get These Books Free!” chapter at the end for details.
So, there you go, my friend. Ready? Let’s get to work…
The basic process of writing an ebook is simple and straightforward: sit down and write until it’s finished.
I don’t know about you, but in my case, that translates into a considerable amount of time. There’s got to be easier and faster ways to pump out useful, sellable ebooks, right?
Right! Of course there are!
I can think of a handful of techniques right off the bat. Then another handful more, stimulated by nothing more than simply thinking about the first batch. And I bet I can come up with a bunch more now that I’m focused on it. Let me see if I can hit at least a full month’s worth of ideas, any of which as you can see you implement quickly and easily to help you produce your own sellable ebook infoproducts, or at the very least, stimulate new related ebook product ideas.
Probably the most obvious ebook generation technique: Simply take old content you’ve already written/published, then reorganize and assemble — repackage! — into new ebooks.
Stuff like your old blog posts. Old articles. Even email, forum comments, etc., assuming you had the foresight to save them somewhere (now there’s a thought). All of that can be repackaged into something new.
The end products, of course, have to make some sort of sense as a package. But that shouldn’t be too difficult to pull off.
Example: Exactly what I did with these easy ebook generation ideas! These used to be posts on my Wordpreneur blog—I “repackaged” the lot here for your use!
The easiest and fastest-to-market thing to do, of course, is to simply do a copy-and-paste job. But even if you do what I do—edit and improve the content, even add new material, as needed—the repackaging job just zooms right along.
Continuing on with the “preexisting content” line of thinking, let me bring in a new-ish concept that’ll be quite important to keep in mind since, as you’ll soon see, it plays a critical role in man of the ebook generation ideas and schemes you’ll be reading about in the following pages.
The concept is authority. It is squarely based on Google’s use of the term “authority site” to identify a website that Google has determined is an “authority” and publicly influential in its particular subject matter or niche. There’s no mystery to this: It’s largely based on the amount of traffic a site gets—more traffic, higher authority.
We’ve become aware of this for SEO purposes—as far as Google’s concerned, a link to your site that isn’t from an authority site is pretty much next to worthless; but get a linkback from an authority site and good things will happen. Some webmasters have cried foul, but if you think about it, no one can really stop you from creating a whole bunch of worthless crappy throwaway freebie sites and blogs that all link back to your main site, all in an effort to simply game the search engines. Hence the authority site concept to end all that kind of nonsense.
Neither here nor there. What is here for our purposes is the authority moniker, which I have now adopted to identify “other people”—blogs, websites, authors, blah blah blah—in your industry or niche. But people of influence, preferably recognizable influence… or at the very least, folks who’re working hard at trying to get to that level of influence (the wannabes worth watching).
So, know that that’s who I mean whenever you see “authority” or “authorities” from here on in.
Which leads to this particular idea: Ask authority blogs for permission to reprint their old, good posts. Shouldn’t be too difficult to come up with a bunch of really good, topically related posts from many different sources you can then all put together into a truly useful and informative ebook. They get publicity, linkbacks, you get content for your ebook.
NOTE: Instead of reprinting full posts—which some authorities may not agree to release, at least not without substantial compensation—you could try to do excerpts.
Here’s a fairly simple technique that will generate fresh ebook content: Interview authorities, but only ask no more than the same single question. Compile all the answers from all the authorities into a single ebook.
Authority participation will be more likely—they’re in it for publicity, in all probability, and it will cost them little to answer just one question.
Note that even if you’re just asking a single question, you’ll want to word it in a way that prods the authority into a lengthier response (avoid yes/no type questions, obviously).
If some of your authorities have authored books and/or ebooks, ask to reprint excerpts—or even whole chapters—and assemble all you collect into an ebook.
Valuable publicity for them, and free (since they’ve already done the work).
Link back to their sites/blogs, book/ebook sales sites, even to their Amazon product listings. I don’t see why these links couldn’t be affiliate links, if available, and if you’re so inclined.
Ask authorities to contribute a simple tip or two on a given subject for your ebook and no more.
(Strategies, secrets, tips, etc.… same difference.)
You’ll probably want to keep the topic very specific and focused. You wouldn’t want to, say, ask for “tips on blogging.” Instead, “tips on building blog readership” or “tips on monetizing a blog” or… you get the picture. The pinpoint focus will actually make it easier for the authority to come up with something useful—and quickly—so it’ll increase the likelihood that authorities will indeed contribute and help you out with your project.
Note that you’re looking for something fresh here (the actual “quote” you manage to extract from the authority, not necessarily the tip itself), not reprinted content, hence you’ll technically be producing an ebook that’s unique and all yours!
Simply ask folks on your list of authorities to recommend a resource or two specific to your particular niche or subject. Software, books, websites, free/not free, online/off, etc. etc. etc.—you’ve got a lot of possibilities and options with this simple idea.
On top of the recommendation, also ask them to provide you with a brief quote or blurb explaining the why behind the recommendation. Should be dirt easy for them to pump something like this out in no time.
Depending on how many authorities you’ve got in your particular area of interest and the number of resources available, you can even take this little idea further, getting more mileage by assembling separate ebooks around each resource subcategory (e.g., software recommendations, free software recommendations, books to read, downloadable ebooks to read, etc.).
AUTHOR’S NOTE: There’s 33 more of those “easy ebook generator” ideas in the book — you can see more in the Amazon’s Look Inside feature on the book’s Amazon sales page — but I decided to instead show you a few more items in the rest of the chapter that do not appear in Look Inside. Here you go:
Every now and then, I see yet another article or blog posting promising a whole slew of article/blog post idea sources. What writer can really resist glancing through them… even though years of experience wasting time with those lists have taught me that I can always sum up what they contain in a single tip:
Keep your eyes and ears open—ideas can come from anywhere.
Yup, the lists typically include everything. May as well just hand you a dictionary to poke through for “inspiration.”
Well, let’s see if we can change that with this post. I’ll just give you my top 2 sources of ideas for articles and blog posts. And they’re can’t miss sources at that. I only use them the few, rare times I’m coming up dry and there’s a looming deadline. But really, these two never fail. The first is something I’ve relied on for decades, now that I think about it. The second is a more recent “courtesy of the Internet” thing.
Source #1: Quotations. Get yourself a book of quotations, one indexed on keywords (that’s critical). Stuck? Just go through the quotes on the subject you’re supposed to be writing about. The quotes are short, the reading quick. If a keyword produces nothing, jump to another related keyword.
Although, as I said, I’ve been using this source for decades, the Net has actually “enhanced” it. Just go to sites like The Quotations Page (http:// quotationspage.com) and keyword search away. Get a quotations book for your desktop or library anyway… you never really know when your Net connection’s going to go down. Besides, I occasionally like to do serendipitous searches just flipping randomly through the pages, an experience that nothing on the Web can really duplicate.
Source #2: EzineArticles.com. Yup, the free articles site. It has now grown to such proportions that keyword searches are usually fruitful. In many cases, you don’t even need to do a keyword search—the content’s categorized well and intelligently enough that just clicking around often suffices.
This source is particularly suited for freelancers looking for article ideas they can pitch to paying publications. If you monitor the articles being released (which happen quite frequently and regularly for many of the categories), you’ll sometimes even notice topical trends, giving you some kind of unofficial “what’s hot” kind of insight.
And here’s one “feature” that’s actually more helpful than it would seem: Although the articles give you a good head start on your work—ideas can’t be copyrighted, else all those articles on the very same thing on the EA site itself are all infringing on each other—most of what you’ll find there are poorly written or so-so at best, and decidedly on the less filling “lite” side info-wise that, really, it’s really difficult to get much more than just the idea from most of what’s there.
This means that you’ve often still got quite a bit of work to do even after visiting the site. But as a source of ideas, it’s tops.
Ideas are a dime a dozen. That’s easy to say, of course, if you have them. Many writers, however, periodically (or even frequently or constantly) find their pool of ideas all dried up. Even non-writers know about Writer’s Block, it’s that common.
But there’s no reason for it, not in this wired day and age. Not when it’s so easy and cheap (free!) for any of us to simply tap into everybody else’s constant flow of dime a dozen idea wells. Close to real-time. And in some cases, on demand.
All it takes is knowing what and where to tap.
It’s probably a very good bet that there are more Net-enabled resources and techniques available for our purposes beyond these five I’ve listed. I wouldn’t know—never really personally found the need to check. These keep me busy enough; heck, usually just one of these often suffices for me.
1. Google Alerts. Probably my favorite of the lot, since I’m inherently lazy and this free Google service brings the good stuff to us, in our email inboxes, automatically. Give Google Alerts a keyword or keyphrase to monitor and it will email notify you of matching relevant new content that pops up in its searches,
2. Google. After reading the above, it should have clicked that you can check for ideas faster, as in right freaking now, just by going straight to Google and doing a keyword/keyphrase search. Besides, it’s the only way to get to see the preexisting search results the lazy Google Alerts way won’t show you.
3. Article Directories. Tons of content. On every imaginable topic. And the best services are even categorized—you can just go browsing around for ideas without needing to sweat the keyword/keyphrase thing if you don’t want to—so what’s not to like? The fact that much of the writing is crappy? Heck, that’s good news for us!
4. Niche Blogs. This should be a no-brainer: Monitor what others in your niche or special interest are writing about. This isn’t: Use an RSS feed reader or news aggregator, like the free Google Reader. Subscribe to each blog’s RSS feed, and make it dirt easy to keep track of everyone, all in one place!
5. Twitter and Discussion Boards. This is how you keep on top of what people are talking about right now in your niche or special interest. Probably the most immediate and current idea resource. Key, of course, is hitting the right boards/following the right tweeters. Twitter tip: Set up separate accounts for each niche you want to monitor, or use Twitter’s Lists feature.
So there you have it. If none of these help give you a constant stream of new ideas, um, seriously, you may want to look into a different career.
My wife and I currently have a house guest, third one this summer season. We live in theWashington,DCarea; since we just had our first child three short months ago, relatives (and pseudo-relatives) have had a heck of an excuse to come visit. And stay for free while they play DC tourist.
No big deal. Doesn’t happen too often. And payback down the road will be sweet with us having a kid in tow.
It’s not enough that we have to house and feed these folks. We’re also expected to help them plan what sights to see and visit. DC being DC, again, no big deal. Sometimes the guests even reciprocate by giving me something to write about. Like what transpired this morning.
Our guest had tapped out the National Mall and the surrounding monuments, even the Smithsonian—how she managed to do that in a day I have no idea—and was now planning on hitting the malls, the shopping kind, for the remainder of her stay. Trying to be a helpful host, I asked if she had visitedArlingtonNationalCemeteryyet. She shook her head vigorously. “Not interested,” she said, “I’ve seen a cemetery before.”
Far be it for me to tell her how to spend her time, so I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying, “That makes about as much sense as me not bothering to see the ocean because I have a pond in my backyard.”
Neither here nor there. (In case you’re curious, she went shopping.) It got me to thinking, though: The way she thinks is pretty much the same way we think as we go looking for blogs to read or websites to visit. Frankly, it’s quite unusual to come across a blog that doesn’t give you that “same old, same old” feeling.
Amusingly, the “experts” repeatedly insist that to succeed at blogging—or at pretty much anything, for that matter—you have to pick a niche topic and build a blog around that. I’ve no doubt said that too myself one way or another. Umm, I’d hate to be possibly discouraging now, but considering how many millions of us are now online (as of this writing, 238,015,529 in North America alone, which becomes even more impressive realizing that’s 71.1% of the total population, according to Internet World Stats), not to mention how many of us keep saying, “find a niche,” I’d say the niche concept is pretty much screwed.
Except for this. There is one “niche” that no one else knows more about than you. That niche? Well, the niche is you, of course!
No, I’m not saying that you should build a site or blog that is nothing but a tribute to your greatness (I’m suddenly getting flashbacks of old school GeoCities sites). Not that anything can prevent you from doing so if you’re so inclined, just don’t be too disappointed if you don’t get a heck of a lot of traffic.
What I am suggesting is that, whatever topic you decide to focus on, try to make it special by adding and working in that one thing that absolutely no one else, least of all your competition, can possibly bring to their sites and their writing:
AUTHOR’S NOTE: There’s a lot more in the first chapter. Although the whole book is full-sized at over 56,000 words — that’s over 224 standard paperback pages — there are only four chapters: Wordpreneur Ideas; Publishing & Business Info; Wordpreneur Tools; and Writing & Freelancing Tips. The first chapter (Wordpreneur Ideas) alone is over 22,000 words, or 88 standard pages.
Title: Wordpreneur WordCash Notebook
Author: Eldon Sarte
Publisher: EldonSarte.com; 1 edition (August 13, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services