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Erin Odom | The Humbled Homemaker

 

eBook Information:

ebook: Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert

date published: March 25, 2013

copies sold: ~500

 
ebook: Real Food, Real Easy

date published: February 2012

copies sold: 337

 

Social Media:

 

Case Study:

Your first ebook -- Real Food, Real Easy – was actually a group effort by 7 different bloggers. Can you talk a little bit about the pros and cons of working with so many co-authors?
Pros: I didn’t have to do all the work myself. It was a fairly easy way to break into the eBook market.

Cons: I organized the project and both edited and formatted the eBook (and my husband designed the cover). This added to my work load a LOT. I wanted to do this to save us money. The other authors decided to give me a double share (so we divide the profits eight ways and I count twice), which was nice.

If I ever coordinate a multi-author book again, I will do it very differently. Because we all divide the profits fairly equally (with me getting slightly more), the earnings per author are very little. And I think that makes no one–including myself–overly motivated to market the book. In the future, I would probably offer the contributing authors a large affiliate share. That way, those who are motivated to sell the book will yield earnings reflective of the work they put into it.

If I can make 10 times the profit by marketing my solo-authored book than by marketing Real Food, Real Easy, then it’s a no brainer which one I will invest more time in promoting.

The seven authors for Real Food, Real Easy share an e-junkie account, and, at this point, what we sell basically pays for it. If we were to each sell the book on our own sites, I believe the profit for every single one of us would be higher.

As an editor, what are the most common mistakes you come across in editing ebooks? What would you say to someone who's wavering about the expense of hiring an editor?
I find that the most common mistakes are the same mistakes I make and overlook in my own writing–simple, typographical errors. But it really depends on the writer. Most ebooks I have edited have not required heavy duty editing, but there have been a few where I needed to coach the authors through using proper tense, voice and sentence structure, etc. But the majority of bloggers and writers already have those skilled pretty honed.

Next to hiring a good designer, I believe hiring an editor is one of the most important ways you can invest in the success of your book. We are all our own worst editors. Even though I edit, I hired someone else to edit my own book! I did a lot of self editing along with her (as I recommend everyone should!), but even during the final edits, she (and my designer!) continued to catch errors that I did not see.

If you simply do not have the money to hire an editor, I recommend you print out a copy of your book and go through it with a red pen. Reading it aloud will also help you catch mistakes that you may not catch while reading it silently–for the millionth time–on your computer screen.

You coordinated a pretty big launch for your most recent ebook including a Facebook party, free bonuses and more. Which parts of that launch do you think had the biggest benefit? Which would you skip next time?
I think the Facebook party and coupon codes for freebies went over very well. During the midst of it, I would have probably said I would never do it again. Yet, I can see planning another Facebook party and bonus offers for the 1-year anniversary of the book next spring.

I knew that I was targeting my book to a very, very narrow niche–moms interested in using cloth diapers. Because I had been in that cloth diapering mom circle for several years, I knew that cloth diapering moms LOVE cloth diaper giveaways. I thought the Facebook party would drum up a lot of interest.

I thought it might be risky to launch at free or $.99, etc. like some others have done–simply because of my target audience. Instead, I left the book full price–$9.95–and included the freebies. I wanted to make it a no-brainer to buy my book. I couldn’t believe I sold over 100 the first day…and a huge chunk of those sales came in during the Facebook party that night!

What other advice would you offer ebook authors?
1. The old adage is true: Write what you know. I had spent hours and hours learning the ropes of cloth diapering, so it wasn’t too difficult to turn that research into an eBook. I was able to pepper it with real life stories because using cloth diapers is something I truly know and experience.

2. Jot down notes with ideas whenever they come to you, but when you sit down to start the actual writing, put together a good, strong outline. That outline will later become the chapters and various sections of your book.

3. Take your time. I wrote my book in about six weeks. That may seem like a long time for some, but it seemed too fast for me to put it together. It really depends on the book, too, but my book is over 200 pages, and it took me spending every single Saturday at a local coffee shop for me to write it that quickly (note: I was mainly writing it on the weekends).

I jumped right from the launch of the eBook to finishing up preparations for The Ultimate Homemaking eBook Bundle Sale that Stephanie Langford of Keeper of the Home and I launched about six weeks after my eBook launched. It was too much too close together, and I started to burn out. I have taken a lot of time off this summer–with the help of some guest posters and a few staff members–because I really needed it after the book launch and bundle sale projects.

4. Just do it. I debated for a long time about what to write and when to write. But I finally just had to decide to carve out some time and do it.

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