Fear can be a stifling thing, and I can think of some occasions in my life where I let it get the best of me.
This business is one example.
Before I published my two ebooks, WP Starter Guide and Niche Website Success, I would often get comments and emails from followers who wondered why I didn’t sell my own ebook on affiliate marketing or website creation.
Well, there were a few reasons…
The first was I am not the most organized person, and when you write a book, organization is a must.
Every time I would begin to write, I’d get frustrated with the direction and table the project for a later date.
The second reason was I had so much free information out here, I had trouble deciding what to include and what to leave out.
The third and biggest reason I put it off was the fear of not being able to please everyone.
Let me explain…
A couple of years ago, I published a YouTube video asking my subscribers what kind of product/ebook I should create. While most responses were helpful, positive and encouraging, I let one comment get into my head.
This was the response…
Ouch! This comment really rattled me. Not because I doubted the value I could offer in a book, but I did worry that more people would think the same way shokiplex thought and I feared failure.
Now, I should also mention this was the only negative comment posted. So isn’t it funny how we can get 1,000 positive comments, but we let that one negative response screw with our heads? Crazy how that works, huh?
So this comment greatly added to my indecision over whether or not to write an ebook. I tried to act as if it didn’t bother me, but it really did and I let it plant more seeds of doubt into my head.
I look back on this and realize how silly it was to worry about such a thing, but I did.
A Voice of Reason
Months later, I was discussing this with a close friend of mine and she said to me…
Lisa, you have so much information out here and it’s scattered all over the place. Even though I’ve read your sites and watch your YouTube channel on occasion, I honestly wouldn’t know where to start. I need a more organized guide. I would buy your book simply because it has everything in one place.
That’s when a light bulb went on and I reminded myself that different people value different things.
Everyday I spent quite a bit of time answering emails from people who needed a step by step guide like my friend. All signs pointed to the fact that this was a big audience, yet I was still concerning myself with who wouldn’t need or want my book.
Know Your Audience
I’ve heard people say they would never write an ebook because they wouldn’t have anything to write that’s different from what’s already on their site.
I can understand that concern because you should always strive to put out something of great value.
But here’s the deal…
You will have certain visitors who are like hunters and gatherers. They follow every single thing you put out and absorb your information like a sponge.
So if you’re writing a book that targets beginners or sums up major lessons on your website, these people are not going to be in your book’s target audience.
When I first started writing Niche Website Success I kept saying to myself as I was writing …But I’ve already talked about that on my site.
Then the next day I’d have several emails from someone asking those same basic questions I’ve already covered or they’d be looking for more getting-started advice — even after visiting my site.
This was another reminder of how people place value on different things. So while the hunters and gatherers may pass on Niche Website Success, beginners who prefer to learn via an organized guide may value it more.
So that brings me to the other issue. I kept forgetting who my core audience was.
For example, this blog gets visits from some intermediate-level bloggers/website owners who may not need Niche Website Success, but my core audience is still made up of beginners who need help getting started, and that’s the audience I zeroed in on when writing.
Deciding What to Publish
As I already mentioned, sometimes it’s difficult to write a book when you already have oodles of content already online. That was what I struggled with and why it took me so long to publish something.
But remember, most people won’t read your entire site and you can always go into greater detail in your book. Even though my ebooks cover many of the same topics on my websites, I expand on them to add more value.
Or you may be considering re-publishing existing articles or your entire site into an organized ebook. That’s fine too. Just make sure that you disclose this on the sales page so your potential customers have the right expectations when they order.
No doubt many people would love to have all your content assembled nicely into one, concise resource — especially if your site is a traditional blog, which tends to have articles sorted by date and/or category.
Darren Rowse used this strategy with his 31 Days to Build a Better Blog series. He took his published, free email course and assembled it into an ebook!
Even though many people had already taken the free course, they bought the book because they valued the packaging of information.
So are there people out here who would never buy re-packaged information that’s already out here for free? Sure there are and I’m sure Darren knows that.
But guess what? Those people aren’t his target audience anyway. He knew there was value in the packaging and many people would appreciate that.
Are you worried about similar products already on the market?
Remember, you are a unique individual. No one has your exact same experience, voice, and presentation. Many of your loyal followers will buy simply because they like the way YOU present the information.
That’s the advantage of selling a book after you’ve established an audience. You’ll have people who appreciate your angle and approach so they will be more than willing to buy even though they are aware of similar products on the market.
Plus, you can use emails, blog comments and other social media feedback/conversations to help inspire content and make it even more unique.
So don’t sell yourself short. There’s value in your own unique presentation.
The other reason you should think about having your own product is it creates another layer of income diversity for your business. There’s nothing like having an income stream where you control the profit margin.
Not to mention, you can have your own affiliate program so other people can promote your product — which will create another layer of income. And if you publish a digital good, both Clickbank and eJunkie have instant affiliate programs for your product.
My critic above mentioned how I could make more by cutting deals with companies I’m affiliated with instead of creating a product. (I often wonder how he came to that ridiculous conclusion.)
Well I say…. why not do both? As a business person you should always look for multiple ways to diversify and pad your income. Relying on a single monetization source is limiting and risky.
What Fear Cost Me
The monthly earnings for the sales of my two ebooks have now surpassed what I used to earn per month at my old 9 to 5 job. They’ve also allowed me to monetize my YouTube videos much better so I’m not just earning from the Partner program anymore.
How crazy is it that I was leaving money on the table just because I was worried about critics?
Here I am always talking about how you shouldn’t fear failure and rejection, yet I was doing that very thing myself. In fact, that’s why I talk about fear of rejection so much on YouTube. I can relate.
I won’t be making that same mistake with my hair site and I’m already on the 3rd chapter. 🙂
The Take Home
So if you’ve been talking yourself out of writing an ebook, I hope this post gave you something to think about.
First of all, having your own product creates much more stability for your business and it’s a great way to monetize a niche that may not have as many affiliate programs or relevant ads for CPC networks (AdBrite, AdSense, etc.)
Just keep the following items in mind…
- Know your core audience and deliver what they will value
- Use emails, blog comments, social media conversations, etc. for content inspiration
- Be clear about what is in your book and who it’s for (publish a Table of Contents)
- There’s value in re-packaging info if it’s organized and useful
- Want to add more value to a re-packaged product? Include new information, a workbook or video
- Do your best and know that you will never please all the people all the time
- Your concept may not be 100% unique, but YOU are and so is your delivery. Your followers will value YOUR approach.
How to Create an eBook (Video)
My last video on creating a PDF/ebook is a bit outdated now (using Word 2003), so I created a new one with the latest version of Microsoft Word.
You’ll learn how to create a clickable table of contents with ease and how to secure it for free. No Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Acrobat Professional needed to create or secure the book. Enjoy!
Email subscribers can watch the video here.
Sapna Haryanavi says
Great content! Really touched on some key points. Thank you!
These are million dollar tips. I think one should document all the experiences at one place and eBook is the best way to that.
I really liked the article and learn a lot of things from your blog. But I think I have to spend quite a long time time figure out the topic, audience and more over confidence to start writing my first ebook.
Rahul Malik says
The comment that was made by a user on your youtube page is indeed a right one. The products that are your own creations should be dealt with more strategically. They will give you more revenues then the other affiliates one. I also would like to focus on on own self made products.
Kevin S. says
Hi! I think that the readers who buy an ebook would not only appreciate that the information is ordered. They would also be after some extra stuff. Or is it just me? As you said, people’s needs are so different.
I generally agree with the idea that if you are up to something than you need to go for it! Otherwise you will just live with the guess about what could have happened if…
Hi Lisa, thanks a lot for the post! I also have the same feeling whenever I plan to publish an ebook or a guide. It kinda kills the motivation and I forget all about it, which is bad. I will try to focus on it and hopefully I can release it for free.
Rob Cubbon says
I completely agree with this. I remember listening to Pat Flynn talking to Darren Rowse how his original Leed Exam e-book was 80% blog posts, he’d just written an intro and an outro. Without that book we probably wouldn’t have SmartPassiveIncome.com 🙂
Nobody reads all your blog posts. Only you do. Therefore people would be glad to pay for all that info packaged differently and well-ordered and planned out.
Awesome post. It encourages me. I hope it has encouraged others. 🙂
Lisa Irby says
You got it Rob! As long as you set the right expectations and people know what they’re getting I think it’s totally fine to do that. 🙂 Glad it encouraged you.
This post is quite motivational regarding publishing an ebook. Actually you are right it’s a confusion what to write? Your tips a fabulous. We should not forget that every mind is unique filter and every person has lots of different experiences.
Thanks for sharing this post.
You are ONE of the best writers of all times that provide information for people like myself that wants to write an ebook but haven’t got started. I will definitely write one soon because you have REALLY motivated me.
Keep up the good work.
tiramisu cupcakes says
Hallo Lisa, That is so fastinating to read your post. Your story is very impressive and valuable. However it is not easy to make it come true. Just keep trying and hope to get your upcoming post
Sherry Fredley says
Thank YOU, thank YOU thank YOU Lisa!!!
This info is awesome. I was actually about to buy a gig from a guy on fiverr for this exact thing but I have only had 50/50 success over there. I kinda knew what to do but needed a more clear path and direction. I use open office- so hopefully it has the same function for the contents but if I haven’t said it enough, Thank YOU! Not because you saved me five bucks but because it came from an expert, trusted source!!
Fear of not selling and acceptance .. These are the two things a writter should not worry about.. If you are confident and if you know your skills just sell ur book and set your own price.. And who knows people may love it..
I recently purchased your ebook and for the reason you menti0n… I know where to find a lot of material on the web that is quite similar to your ebook. I want to have the structure of your approach to refer to. I know where the ebook is on my computer and I can refer to it whenever I want it. Having the structure of your book is reassuring to me…. much better than the alternative of looking for articles on the web for many topics.