|April 22, 2009||Volume 8 Number 12 Issue 224|
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Well, we're back in hospital. This time I've asked another friend to help out, and he's jumped right into the breach. Thank you Pat O'Bryan
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How to Create Valuable Information Products Easily and Quickly
by Pat O'Bryan
You hear it all the time, don't you? “I've got this great idea for an e-book, I just don't know how to write it.” Or, “I've been working on my e-book for months and I just can't seem to finish it.”
I have talked to potential authors who have spent years struggling to write their first e-book!
What if I could show you how to write an interesting and valuable e-book instantly and effortlessly? Would you be interested?
One of my favorite images in American Literature is the young Tom Sawyer, who was commanded to white-wash a fence. It was a boring, tedious job and he really didn't want to do it.
Knowing that if you want something other than the obvious to happen you have to do something other than the obvious, Tom pretended to have so much fun white-washing that fence that other boys literally begged him to let them do it.
I have taken Tom’s approach to fence painting and applied it to writing e-books.
Why Write An E-book?
There are several good reasons to become an e-book author.
What To Write About
I can remember a time when there was no such thing as an e-book. I suspect that in the future all books will be e-books. Right now, the most successful e-books are nonfiction.
A look at the best selling e-books on Clickbank reveals titles like: “How to…,” “The Ten Secrets of…,” “Get Paid to…”
There is a school of thought that says you should diligently research the search engines and current clickbank inventory to find out what people want and then write your e-book targeting the identified market, regardless of your interest in or knowledge of the subject.
This strikes me as similar to trying to drive while looking in your rearview mirror. Although research is good, this particular research only tells you what’s behind you. It seems to come from a mindset of scarcity-as if you can only write one e-book! With the tools I'm about to give you, you can write an e-book a day if you want to.
The “next big thing” is going to come from someone who comes up with something new and different-why shouldn't it be you?
You should pick a subject that interests you, and one that you already know something about. If you have experience working on cars, you might consider writing a book on basic automobile maintenance.
Target a specific market. This e-book is for people who are writing their first e-book. If I were writing for Literature Majors in Graduate School, I would write an entirely different book.
Using our example of a book on automobile maintenance, you could target housewives, teenage girls, senior citizens, or people who own vintage Fords. In my opinion, a book on that subject that would be valuable to all those groups would be too long and complex for the e-book format.
The Public Domain
For information about copyrights and the public domain, go to http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html
Here’s a brief run-down of the rules. If am not a lawyer, and this is not meant to be legal advice. If you're unsure, hire a lawyer!
Almost anything copyrighted before 1923 is in the public domain.
Some works published between 1923 and 1989 without proper copyright notice, and works published before 1964 whose copyrights weren't renewed, may be in the public domain.
Tony Laidig’s book, The Public Domain Code Book (www.publicdomaincodebook.com), has an exhaustive list of resources for finding public domain books. I recommend it highly.
Several internet marketing fortunes have been made by recycling out of print books that have lapsed into the public domain. The laws concerning public domain have changed through the years.
There is a virtually endless supply of valuable and useful books that, with a new title and a modern cover, still have lots of life-and sales- left in them.
Once you're absolutely sure that the book you're interested in recycling is in the public domain, you're free to copy, augment, edit, repackage and sell it. There are some tricks to this-if you're not sure, ask a lawyer-but once you've learned the ground rules, you've got the accumulated inventory of centuries of writing at your disposal.
If you use a public domain work as a starting place, and add your own original material to it, you have created a “derivative work” and may be able to copyright that!
Here’s a hint: almost all government publications are in the public domain.
Find a Work In The Public Domain
A quick Google search found these resources. This will change daily.
Project Gutenberg, at http://www.gutenberg.net/ has over ten thousand books online. Many of them are in the public domain.
Their license page, http://www.gutenberg.net/license, explains the rules. Project Gutenberg mainly focuses on literature.
Books For a Buck, at http://www.booksforabuck.com/general/pubsources.html, has an index of sources for free books, many of them in the public domain.
The Alex Catatalogue of Electronic Texts, http://www.infomotions.com/alex2/, has an online search engine for finding public domain works.
The Internet Public Library, http://www.ipl.org/div/books/, is another search engine for finding public domain works.
The Digital Library at Dartmouth, http://www.dartmouth.edu/~libcirc/e-books.shtml, has some good links.
Rebrand a Public Domain Work
If you find a book in the public domain, or acquire the rights to an existing book, you have the option of “rebranding” that book.
There have been several successful e-books whose authors merely changed the title and cover on existing public domain works.
If a book is out of print but not in the public domain, there’s a good chance the author will sell you all or part of the rights.
Once re branding acquired your book, you need to “rebrand” it. A great title and cover is all you need.
There is an art to creating effective titles for e-books. The title is your headline. An interesting and arresting title is your most effective selling tool.
Remember that people buy benefits. How those benefits are created is less interesting to a reader than what the benefits are. Remember, the question your potential buyer is asking is, “what’s in it for me?”
A book on investing? The benefits would be increased financial security, increased buying power, and financial freedom. The title, “Fire Your Boss” will sell more e-books than “A Comparative Analysis of Market Index Financial Products,” although both books might have the same content.
Look for the positive outcome for your reader. Will your recipe book help them lose weight or find a mate? “Sexy Salads” will probably sell a lot more copies than “Roughage Recipes For A Clean Colon.” A lot more.
Write a Workbook or Study Guide Using A Public Domain Work
One of the fastest ways to create a new product using existing material is to write a workbook or study guide.
My first e-book, co-written with Joe Vitale, was The Think and Grow Rich Workbook. Thousands of people have found success by applying the techniques that Napoleon Hill describes in his book.
It was Joe who pointed out that one edition of the book had lapsed into the public domain. Only one edition, and Vitae not going to tell you which oneVitae’t try this at home.
Sitting in my favorite coffee shop, I harvested the rich fruit from the book and reverse engineered it. I sent it to Joe and he added his hypnotic contributions. Voila! An e-book was born.
We gave away a copy to everybody who subscribed to the Milagro Research Institute e-zine, Milagro World. This increased our list by several thousand names in a very short time, and has resulted in some exciting viral marketing.
Since we launched that workbook, Milan learned a valuable lesson. Although a book may be out of print, its title may be a “trademark.” I learned this lesson from the Napoleon Hill Foundations very efficient legal department. It turns out that, although the book, and the title, have lapsed into the public domain, the title “Think and Grow Rich,” is a trademark of the Napoleon Hill Foundation.
They also claim that the words “Grow Rich,” when used in the title of a product, will create confusion in the consumer’s mind.
You can research trademarks at www.uspto.gov/.
The concept of “confusion in the consumer’s mind” is pretty vague- and I suspect the party with the most predatory attorneys will prevail if it ever came to litigation. The mere threat of litigation is enough to cause most authors, including me, to rename their products.
When I write, I like to work from an outline. Many authors do. It’s a great tool for organizing your thoughts. You can break a large, intimidating project down into smaller, more manageable projects.
To create a workbook, it’s useful to work backwards and make an outline from the existing book. Write down the title of the chapter.
Now go through the chapter and write down the major points. The idea is to strip away everything but the essential facts.
Once you've distilled the chapter down to the bare necessities, put it back together again in your own words. Pretend that you're using your notes to tell a friend what the chapter is about. If your friends are anything like mine, you'll want to tell them in clear simple sentences.
You can increase the value of your workbook, and get more mileage out of your work, by including a chapter quiz. Go back and pick out a handful of the most important facts from each chapter and restate them in question form.
For example, if one of your facts is “The capital of Texas is Austin,” you might write “What is the Capital of Texas?” I told you this was easy!
Pat O'Bryan is the CEO of Practical Metaphysics, IncFinal Notes
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