Sunday, November 15, 2009

Free-Download Publications

For those who, like me, have never published an e-book or given away a free downloadable publication, the New Jersey Business News has some tips. In the article, they’re primarily talking about those “relatively brief, pamphlet-like "books" distributed online.” In other words, these “e-books” are in PDF form for reading on your computer. A lot of companies and individual entrepreneurs use these as marketing devices - as do some writers.

The article says, “…e-books can be a terrific way to gain attention. If you can produce something that’s actually worth reading, and your readers find it useful — and share it via e-mail and Twitter — then you’ve got a chance to forge a genuine connection with the reader.” In this case, your goal is not to make money on these downloadable publications. It’s to get recognition.

The article then goes on to give some tips, like:
As for converting your document to a PDF, you can do that with a free trial from Adobe (createpdf.adobe.com).
Another tip they mention and I would emphasize is editing. Even though you’re giving away content for free, it must be the best it can be. It represents you and your writing. Putting unedited or poorly edited material out, even if it is free, won’t draw people in to buy your books.
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27 comments:

  1. Excellent advice! I can think of so many authors & professionals who give away free 'reports' and short pdf files. It's like article writing in a way - getting your name out there.

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  2. Helen, delurking to say that this tip is straight from heaven! I've been thinking of publishing a novel free on line but the thought of plagiarism has bothered me. This post is perfect timing to show me another option! Thanks.

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  3. As I learn more and more about publishing, I get the feeling that e-versions are inevitable. The word of mouth that can be generated by them can be a valuable trade off to "giving it all away".

    Also, thanks for pointing out that even if it's free, it must be the best it can be! People sometimes skimp on proofreading and editing when it is only in a digital/free form and this can be a costly mistake.

    Thanks, Jill
    "Blood and Groom" is now in stores!
    www.jilledmondson.com

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  4. Smashwords offers a very easy tool for converting text into various ebook formats. You can put ebooks up for sale or give them away.

    They also make ebooks available to various distributors.

    I don't know how much of a market there is for this kind of thing now, but I'm betting that whatever it is, it will grow.

    http://www.smashwords.com/

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  5. Meredith, thanks for the tip and link to Smashwords.

    Jill, love the book title, Blood and Groom!

    Hi Ann, glad to "see" you.

    Diane, you always seem to be ahead of the curve. Have you done an e-book?

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  6. Some good and helpful info here, thanks. And I particularly concur with your admonitions in the last paragraph.

    Marvin D Wilson

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  7. The far reaching marketing potential of the internet just keeps growing. Great idea here to get even excerpts out there, to draw the readers to buy books?

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  8. ebooks are easy to produce at home, including striking labels. I'm on everyone's mailing list and toss 90% of my mail, except the electronic discs that arouse my curiousity. :)

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  9. With Windows 7, you can "save as" a PDF, so you don't even have to use a converter. Very nice.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  10. That's interesting about Windows 7, Elizabeth. I don't have it, but then, I'm way behind in updating a lot of things.

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  11. There are a number of programs available to let a writer create a PDF file that doesn't involve Windows 7 or the full Adobe. I don't have the URL's handy, but I found some by just doing a search for "converting to PDF".

    I currently have two e-books I did for Kindle. One a Y/A novel and the other a short story. Did those just to practice using the technology at Kindle. Just started promoting them, so I don't have a sales number to report.

    Also have an e-book published by a small e-o\publisher that has sold nicely over the past year.

    None of this is generating the kind of income I get from my freelance writing and editing or my hardcover book, but the markets for e-books is growing and I hope to grow with it.

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  12. Great attitude and planning, Maryann.

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  13. This is a great idea. If the work is polished and marketable. E books/publishing will continue to grow and there's the option to piggyback short stories, video content, and advertising. It will be cost effective and consumers will get more content, and it makes sense to give readers/fans something extra. Its christmas everytime they purchase. Cheers, Simon.

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  14. Interesting point. I wonder if this would be a good tool to post excerpts from your novel.

    Thanks Helen!

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  15. Great suggestion from Meredith about Smashwords. I've heard nothing but good things about that site.

    PDF is a pretty horrible format for ebooks unless it's custom generated to suit the device you're reading on. What's fine on a PC screen might be unreadable on a Sony Reader or a Kindle.

    openoffice.org has a free office suite that's pretty similar to Microsoft's Office and it has the ability to export to PDF, or you can use Calibre ( http://calibre.kovidgoyal.net/ ) to save your work in a variety of e-reader formats.

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  16. I tell you, the smartest people stop by here! Thank you all.

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  17. Great comment about editing and proofreading. Nothing looks as shabby as writing with simple errors. On a Mac turning a word document into a .pdf is an option for printing. Of course, you'll need Adobe or something similar to read it. By the way, I have found that emailing documents (invoices, letters, announcements) in pdf is far better that emailing word documents. First, all the command characters are hidden. Second, unless you've coded the pdf for editing, no one can change what is on the page.

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  18. Very nice and impressive article you have posted. Its very helpful, i have read and bookmark this site and will recommend it to more other peoples.
    dissertation writing

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  19. Ebook format works for me. It saves readers' shipping. It's like selling my books at bookshops: the readers get to read them immediately after purchase.

    Bargain with the Devil

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  20. I've just started playing with this. I wonder how copyrights work with free downloads though? I've read that if something's for sale, you're obliged to send the library of congress two hard copies. What if it's completely free? And what if you supplement free with asking money for print copies?

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  21. Exactly right on the editing. You are giving away your writing as an exemplar of your skills and ability. If it's shoddy work you'll scare readers away, rather than attract them.
    ~jon

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