70 - Make a Fortune with Ebooks: Tom talks Ebooks - Screw The Commute

70 – Make a Fortune with Ebooks: Tom talks Ebooks

Ebooks or Electronic books. I’ve been selling them since around 2001 and I’ve made a literal fortune doing so. Ebooks are 97% profit. What other legal product has that much profit? I half-jokingly say you have to be a moron to not be able to make money with a product that has 97% profit. Today, I’ll be talking about both PDF Ebooks and Amazon Kindle Ebooks.

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Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 070

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[01:57] Tom's introduction to Ebooks

[02:49] PDF and Kindle Ebooks

[04:22] You CAN write a book

[06:42] Tips for writing

[12:18] Writing a quality Ebook

[16:28] Formatting a PDF Ebook

[18:50] Several BIG mistakes people make

[20:54] What can you do with PDF Ebooks

[24:06] Sponsor message

[26:01] PDF Ebooks can lead to other things

[32:46] How to deliver your PDF Ebooks

[36:14] Amazon Kindle

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Related Episodes

Shopping Carts – https://screwthecommute.com/10/

Jo Hausman – https://screwthecommute.com/69/

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Episode 070 E-books. This is one of my Monday in-depth trainings. Every Monday you can expect a topic that has either made me or saved me lots of money. On Wednesdays and Fridays I interview other great entrepreneurs so you can learn from their journeys.
Episode 069 Jo Hausman She’s a radio host and overcame lots of adversity to get where she is today.
Quick announcement. Our podcast app is now in the app store. You can do lots of cool stuff conveniently right from your mobile device. You can download from the app store.
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Main Event
E-books or Electronic books. I’ve been selling them since around 2001 and I’ve made a literal fortune doing so. E-books are 97% profit. What other legal product has that much profit? I half-jokingly say you have to be a moron to not be able to make money with a product that has 97% profit.
Today I’ll be talking about both PDF e-books and Amazon Kindle e-books. There are fancy e-books that will flip the pages for you and do all kinds of fancy stuff, but so far many of them are far more trouble than what they’re worth. Everyone knows how to open a pdf file, and if Kindles are easy to read. I’ll start this discussion with PDF e-books. Before I get started, I want you to know that even if you have a local business or brick and mortar store, you will still be able to take great advantage of what you learn about e-books. I’ll even have a special section for you later.
You see PDF e-books are the first product I have my students create and then later I have them do an Amazon Kindle version. Why do I start my students with PDF E-books? Because it’s extremely low risk. All you need is a computer and a word processor which pretty much everyone has. You could actually create one on your smart phone or tablet and lots of people do. I just find it much easier to do it on my laptop. The only other thing you need is a pdf creator. If you don’t want to spring for the gold standard Adobe Acrobat, there are numerous cheap and free PDF creators out there that will get the job done.
I actually have one PDF E-book that is given away for free and has brought in $3.5 million dollars so far and still brings in anywhere from $7000.00 to $15,000.00 per month. I know that sounds like BS, but I’ll tell you later exactly how that works. Another great thing about e-books in general is that if you want to change something, it’s very easy. If you have a printed book it’s a much bigger deal if you have to make changes.
You can write a book.
Before I get in to the ins and outs of e-books let me address a very common mental issue I run in to with many people that come to me for help. A tremendous number of them firmly believe they could never write a book. This is hogwash. I know a guy who can barely read who has I think 14 best sellers. I know a 12-year-old kid who has written three books. You can do this and I plan on making you a believer right now.
Hey, and if you already know you can write a book, listen anyway because you just might pick up some mental tips I use to get the job done faster and more efficiently.
First of all, you don’t have to write one word. You can just talk and record what you say. You don’t have to worry about perfect grammar, spelling or anything. Just send your stream of consciousness into a recorder. Editors and ghost writers are easy to find and they can take all this audio and turn it into a book for you. I have a cheap transcriptions service for you that will transcribe an hour’s worth of audio for only $5.00. I’ve got a video about it in the show notes. https://youtu.be/VmPtVuke0OE Or you could just Google transcription Tom Antion. And you’ll find the video I did about this transcription service.
If you like to write, then that’s fine too. You probably still should have an editor look your work over because it’s pretty hard to be objective on your own work. The brains and minds of book editors astound me. On one of my major books the editor said to me, “Tom, this sentence on page 263 really belongs in the second paragraph on page 75.” OMG She was exactly right. I would never have caught those kinds of things.
Now this episode really isn’t about teaching you how to write a book. I’ve interviewed several other people about that. However, I’ve written 17 books at the time of this recording and I have some tips I think will help you.
Tip 1. Write “How to” books. I’m not smart enough to write a novel with plot and character development. How to information is way easier to write and it sells way easier than fiction. All you have to do is teach someone how to do something and put the instructions in the book in a logical order. It’s way easier than fiction and way more profitable for most people and businesses which I’ll cover later.
Tip 2. Carry a digital recorder with you at all times. Now, I just use the recording app on my smart phone. I find it very difficult to just sit down with a blank screen and start writing a book. What I do is decide on a topic and then think about it over a couple weeks. Every time I think of something that should be in the book, I just make a quick audio note to myself in my cell phone. I don’t dictate the entire thing like a lawyer would. I just remind myself of the idea and then later type up the full idea. The reason I say have the recorder with you the entire time is that ideas and thoughts are fleeting. I can pull into my driveway with the best idea I ever had in my life and forget it before I open the front door. So, you gotta record it immediately. And I mean immediately.
Tip 3. After a couple weeks of collecting ideas in a word processor file, I sit down and start to organize the ideas that go together. These will be your chapters. Then I organize the chapters into a logical order. For instance, if you were writing a book on how to build a shed, you wouldn’t put the “tools needed” and “materials list” at the end. They would go at the front. So, just be logical about it.
Tip 4. Come up with a simple and clear title like “How to Build a 12 x 16 Shed in a Weekend” or something simple like that. Simple and clear sells much easier.
Tip 5. Pick any physical book you own and then start putting pages in your word processor document to match the same pages in the physical book. You don’t have to fill them in yet. Just make the pages and label them. You have a title page, a copyright page, a table of contents, maybe a foreword, an introduction, chapters, conclusion, about the author. And you can put in advertisements for your other products and services. So, you’re basically just roughing out the outline of the book.
Tip 6. Just start popping in whatever you have into the individual pages and chapters. Then you can write it if you want, or turn it over to a ghost writer and or editor.
Tip 7. Get e-book covers and graphics made. There are computer programs that help you make them yourself or you can get someone to make it for you. The cover is actually just the advertisement you put on your website or Amazon to show that it’s a book. It’s better to have more than one cover. You can have a fancier 3d looking cover for your website and a flat cover which is what is required by Amazon’s Kindle. You want graphics and pictures that are to be in the book or on a website for that matter to be low resolution typically 72 Dots Per Inch (DPI) This doesn’t mean they will look bad. It just means that’s all a typical screen can display. If you put high resolution graphics in which are typically 300 DPI, the graphic won’t look any better. It will just make the page load slower and you don’t want that.
Tip 8. Decide what you want to promote in the book. You can have links to your own stuff or to affiliate stuff or both. You have to be careful in Kindle because they don’t like affiliate links and if you have them, they may not approve your e-book. So, the best practice is to talk about the affiliate product in the book, but make a plain looking link to your website. When someone clicks on it, they go to your site where you can then put the affiliate link.
Here’s some resources to get all the above done:
https://www.Upwork.com is where you can find editors and ghost writers.
https://www.Fiverr.com is good for cheap graphics and e-book covers.
OK. That should be plenty enough for you to get an e-book done on whatever “How To” topic you want. If you already know how to do what you’re writing about, you won’t have to do much supplemental research. If you don’t know how to do the how to topic you are writing about, you can still do it and turn out a fantastic, quality e-book using the crazy good method I outline next. So, there’s absolutely no excuse that you couldn’t write an e-book.
Basically, you will be the publisher AND author of the book. The difference between you and a regular publisher is, by using this method, you don’t have to pay royalties to authors. You get all the money. So, here’s the method. First you have to know about discussion boards AKA forums. These are places where people discuss issue about usually a single topic. There are discussion boards on just about every topic on earth. You can find them online by simply doing a Google search for [topic] + discussion board or [topic] + forum. You can find groups on Facebook too. Just before I recorded this and just for fun I searched for “pig farming” on Facebook and found lots of groups on pig farming LOL
Anyway, when you identify one of these discussion boards, they usually list the person making a comment or answering a question on the left-hand side of the page and frequently they show how many posts the person has. Some discussion boards call you a “senior member” or something like that after you’ve made so many comments or answered so many questions.
You hang out and watch what the people are discussing and you note down all the senior members or those that have lots of comments and questions. Let me relate the actual method by telling you about the time I was sitting in first class next to a guy who looked to me to be in his mid-forties. In the seat back pocket in front of him, were a bunch of go kart magazines. I asked him, “What’s up with the go kart magazines?” His face lit up. He said he and his sons race them on the weekends. I asked him how much they cost. He said, “You can only get a piece of junk for about $10,000.00. $10,000.00 DOLLARS! What? He went on to say his were about $30,000.00 apiece. I’m doing the math in my head. Three boys and himself with $30,000.00 go-karts. A big trailer to pull them along with a monster truck, extra tires, wheels and engines…..The guy had several hundred thousand dollars tied up with his racing go kart hobby.
OK. Now back to writing a book. Let’s say I wanted to write an e-book titled “How to Buy Your First Racing Go-kart.” I would go to one or more racing go kart forums or discussion boards like I said before and note down the people that had the most comments and all the senior members. Then I would approach them like this, “I’m writing a book on how to buy your first racing go kart and I’d like to interview you.” How many of them do you think would turn you down? Heck all they do all day long is talk about racing go karts. How much do you think they would charge you for the interview? Answer: Nothing. Who do you think would help you promote the book when it’s done? You guessed it. All the people in it who want to brag to their friends they were quoted in a book. Here’s the important questions. Who gets all the money? That’s right. You do. You have no royalties to pay.
You just created a quality e-book on a topic you know nothing about and you own the intellectual property rights to it. You own the book.
You might want to have a simple agreement with the people you interview outlining the fact that you are using the information in a book for profit and they have no rights to the book, etc. That’s very common.
First, we start with the dimensions of a PDF e-book. In the USA we use Letter Size which is 8.5 x 11 inches. In most other countries around the world they use A4 size paper which is a slightly different size than USA Letter size. This doesn’t matter much if people just read it on the screen, but it could be an issue when printing. I sell e-books all over the world and have never had any complaints, but I just want you to know about the different sizes in case it ever comes up that you get a complaint when people are printing out your e-book.
I use a 14- or 16-point Times Roman Font for the body copy. You want the font to be bigger than for a printed book so people can easily read the book on a screen. You see people get eye strain and headaches and so forth and you don’t want that. But you don’t want to make the font so big that it looks like a children’s book if the reader prints it out.
I use 20- or 24-point Arial font for subheadings and as big as you want for Chapter fonts. Just don’t make the mistake of putting things like Chapter 1 on a page by itself. People get mad if they print out the e-book and you wasted an entire page with not much on it.
I use 1 inch or 1 ¼ inch margins on the left and right. At the bottom I always put a footer with the page number, and contact information. Page numbers are critical because if someone prints out the e-book and accidentally drops it, OMG they will have an extremely tough time putting the pages back together and they won’t be very happy with you.
I also make the table of contents listings all clickable to their respective parts of the e-book. In Microsoft Word this is the Bookmark function. You can probably find YouTube videos showing you how to do it. When you’re in my training program we tutor you on all these kinds of things to save you lots of time.
All the formatting things I just covered are pretty darn simple in any word processor.
Now let me tell you about several big mistakes people make with PDF e-books. One mistake is they don’t use color. Color is free in e-books. It’s extremely expensive to print the inside of a physical book in color but not so in e-books. Use color judiciously to make your e-book look nicer and make it look like it has higher production value. For instance, you could make all the chapter headings a certain color. The subheadings could be a certain color. You could highlight important parts in red or yellow, etc.
The next big mistake is people don’t put clickable links in their e-books. These links could be to their own products and services or to affiliate products and services. The best practice to make sure the links are clickable is to use the entire http://www.website.com and you must leave a space at the end. Don’t put a comma or a period. It must be a space. No website link has a comma or period at the end so the link won’t be recognized as clickable. Don’t take chances with this. You want to make sure the links in your e-book are clickable.
The other three formatting mistakes is that I avoid underlining and italics and I make sure I put captions under pictures. Underlining on a screen sends the message that the underlined items is clickable. When your underlined text is not clickable because all you did was underline it people think there is something wrong with your e-book and you don’t want them thinking that. I also don’t use italics. Italics can look really bad depending on the size and screen resolution so I just avoid italics. If I have a book title or something is there, I just put quotations marks around it.
What can you do with PDF e-books?
Remember we’ll get to Kindle E-books later.
What most people think of when they think of writing a book is that they can sell it. Well, you certainly can, but there is much more that you can do with it. First, let’s go ahead and talk about selling your e-book for cash flow.
PDF e-books on “How to” topics sell for as much as or even more than printed books. One big benefit of e-books is the fact that they are immediately deliverable. You can locate, purchase and be reading an e-book in less than five minutes. This immediacy has a great value to people. The book can be less substantial than a printed book on the same subject and still command the same price because it’s delivered exactly when someone needs it.
You want to keep this in mind when thinking about topics for your e-books. Anything that has immediacy or pain involved sells easily. Examples from my collection are my Eulogy and Wedding E-books. The funeral is going to happen whether the person is ready to speak or not. They most likely are in pain from their loss. The eulogy e-book helps them get through a very trying time. The wedding speech and wedding toast books I have are frequently bought by guys drunk at the bachelor party who at the last minute realize they have to say something the next day at the wedding and they’ll look like an idiot forever on video if they mess it up. So, they buy my books. We sell quite a few also to the brides who know the best man and fathers are going to screw things up and be half drunk so they give them a copy.
Talk about pain. I did over a thousand tennis serves one month and one day I woke up and my hand was tingling. I Googled it and it looked like I had blown out one of my cervical vertebrae. I was freaking out thinking I wouldn’t be able to play tennis anymore. Without hesitation I bought a $97.00 e-book specifically to cure that problem and it did.
So, you can sell e-books for cash flow alone on any topic you can think of….that somebody wants, of course. I’m just saying topics that have urgency and pain sell easier. Heck, I’ve bought e-books on tennis, dog training, bat poop removal, selling t-shirts and jewelry and tons of other things that interest me. My students have written them on elder care, breast health, success, real estate and hundreds of other topics. Few, if any of my students have made money selling fiction. I usually tell fiction writers to finance their fiction writing by selling “how to” e-books. They can even put them under a pen name so it doesn’t dilute their fiction writing brand if that suits you best.
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Something else I forgot to tell you. The Eulogy e-book sold $42,000.00 a year for 9 years straight and the combination of the wedding speech and wedding toast books sold $72,000.00 a year for 9 years straight and they still sell today. So e-books can be very lucrative.

OK. So, you can sell e-books and just make the money from the sale of the e-book minus whatever costs you have in credit card and PayPal fees plus whatever automatic mechanism you use to deliver your e-books. We use and promote http://www.KickStartCart.com our shopping cart system. I covered shopping cart systems fully in Episode 10. You’ll probably want to go back and listen to that episode if you’re serious about selling online.
If you just stop here, you are really limiting your potential for making money with your e-books. You need to have the attitude that the book will lead to other much more lucrative things. With PDF e-books you can have clickable links. These links can lead to other products and services of yours and in the same book you could have affiliate links leading to other people’s products and services where you get a commission. Truth be told, I make more money from the links in my e-books, than I do from the sale of the e-books.
Earlier I told you I’ve made $3.5 Million Dollars so far on one free e-book. I know that sounds like total B.S., but let me tell you exactly how that works. The general method is you write a book about the benefits of some tool or service, but the person can’t get those benefits unless they buy that tool or service. It could be your product or an affiliate product. When someone buys the tool or service you get the money for the sale, or you get a commission. If it’s a tool or service where they pay monthly or yearly, you get paid over and over again. If it happens to be someone else’s product and it pays over and over again, then it’s called a “residual affiliate program”. And it’s one of the things that also sounds like B.S. where I can legitimately say, “I couldn’t stop the money coming into my checking account if I tried.” …Couldn’t stop it. I’d have to close the accounts and move to Mexico and hide out, but who would do that right? The money just keeps coming, and coming and coming. You promoted the product or service once through your e-book and the money keeps coming as long as that person stays in the program you promoted. So, keep your eyes peeled for residual affiliate programs. And http://www.KickStartCart.com by the way is one of them.
I want as many possible copies of that e-book to get in the hands of entrepreneurs as I can. That’s why I give it away. You could do the same thing.
Another enormous e-book I had, had over 700 links to various products and services that either I offered or affiliates offered. This e-book cost $97.00 but I made hundreds of thousands on the other products and services talked about in the book.
So, you really need to think in terms of how can I give good value in the e-book itself and at the same time lead people to other things that bring me money. This is critical for getting the most out of the time you spend creating your e-books.
You may have heard the term lead magnet. This is something given away for free to get someone to opt in to your email list. PDF e-books are great for this. Of course, when someone gets the e-book it should give them great value on its own and lead them to your other products and services and affiliate links.
How Brick and Mortar Businesses Use E-books
For those of you that don’t know, the term “Brick and Mortar” simply means a physical business like an ice cream shop, pawn shop, restaurant, doctor or dentist’s office, small engine repair shop, handy man, or anything the average person would consider a local business.
These business on the surface appear to be local businesses only which are limited in their service area and the number of people that could possibly use their service. This severely limits their income. Smart brick and mortar entrepreneurs write e-books about what they do that can sell around the world adding a 97% world-wide profit stream to their existing local business.
One of the biggest mistakes I see small business owners make is that they think if they tell someone else how they do their business, that the other person will steal all their business. The reason this is not sound thinking is twofold. 1. Most people wouldn’t lift a finger to do your business if you pretty much gave them the keys to the front door and 2. There are potential billions of people you could sell your e-book to around the world. Which do you think would make you the most money….. Selling something to a world-wide audience at 97% profit, or slaving away taking care of a limited number of customers, with only so many hours in the day in a limited market. If you answered slaving away in a limited market, you should not be allowed to cross the street by yourself. LOL
Here’s some examples: An ice-cream shop sells an e-book on ice-cream cake recipes and instructions on how to make them. The small engine repair shop sells an e-book titled “How to save a fortune on repairing your riding mower” or go-kart or weed eater, etc. Whatever. They could have a whole series of e-books. A dentist sells a series of e-books on making sure you don’t get ripped off when you need a crown, a root canal, veneers, braces or whatever. A handyman might write and e-book on how to start a handyman business. You have to think about what you do and teach people how to save money having it done or to learn how to do what you do. Either one will sell. I suggest eventually you will make more money teaching what you do than actually doing it.
Another thing your e-book will do is it will expand your service area. Depending on the nature of your product or service, when people see you’ve written a book about it, they perceive you as the expert and the will buy from you and have you ship the product or they will travel to you because they think you’re the best one to provide the service. They’ll either have you ship the product to them from far away even though they could maybe get it locally, but they want to buy from you because you wrote the book on it. Or they’ll travel to you because you are the expert.
Delivering Your E-books
Don’t worry I’m going to get to the Kindle format in a bit, but now I want to talk a little about how you handle your PDF books and deliver them when someone buys one from you. We have other episodes on selling and upselling so I won’t cover that here. I just want to talk about the mechanics of how you do it.
If it’s a paid e-book, it should be delivered automatically by your shopping cart system. It’s totally ridiculous to expect people to purchase and wait until the next day when you email them the e-book as an attachment. You will lose many sales and get lots of refund request and pretty much look like a stupid, pitiful businessperson. As I said earlier, part of the allure of an e-book is that it’s delivered immediately. If you try to cheap out and do things manually, like I said. You’ll just look stupid and emails with attachments frequently get caught in spam filters which will generate even more refund requests and complaints that you’re a rip-off because it’s common knowledge an e-book will be delivered instantly. If it isn’t, you’ve got trouble.
We use http://www.KickStartCart.com (covered in episode 010) It’s a complete shopping cart system. One of its functions is digital product delivery. When someone purchases your e-book, the cart collects the money and release the e-book to the buyer instantly. The cart has another feature that good carts have. The download link the buyer gets automatically becomes non-functional after 24 hours. This is so someone can’t post the link on some discussion board where thousands of people could steal your e-book. ….at least for more than 24 hours.
When you have a lead magnet or free e-book to give out, we use another function of the cart. With free e-books we want the maximum number of people to get the book. So, you put the e-book on a page in your website. Nobody knows about it. You create an opt in form in the shopping cart and tell the cart when someone fills in the form, show them the page….that’s called a “hidden page” … where they can download their e-book. Again, it’s all automatic and you look professional.
You can also deliver the e-books manually when it makes sense and doesn’t hurt your reputation. You may meet someone on an airplane or at a networking meeting where your e-book comes up in conversation. You tell the person you would be happy to email them a copy. If the size of the e-book is too big, we use a free file transfer service called http://www.WeTransfer.com that will deliver a file up to 2GB. And let me tell you, if you’re file is bigger than a couple megabytes, you have done something wrong…..most likely you put in high resolution graphics and pictures. You’ll have to replace them with lo resolution graphics to fix the problem.
OK. Now let’s tackle Amazon Kindle
First, I wouldn’t bother with any other formats like Barnes and Noble’s Nook and whatever other format is currently out there. Why? Amazon is the 900-pound gorilla. No one on earth comes even close to competing with them in e-book sales. And there’s another reason. Amazon has a deal they will make with you that if you have your e-book exclusively with them, for 5 days out of every 90 they will give the book away.
As I said before with my books, I make more from the links in the books than from the books themselves. Amazon has potentially hundreds of millions of people they could expose my books to. One time in the five-day period they gave away something like 2700 of my e-books which brought in way more affiliate sales than I would have made by simply selling 2700 Kindle e-books which are typically priced much lower than PDF e-books.
OK. So how do you create the Kindle version of your e-book? The first thing I do is take the PDF finished version and copy it with a new file name that has the name “Kindle” in it. That’s so you can keep track of the different versions of the e-book.
Then I strip out the footer with the page number in it. You see, Kindle doesn’t have page numbers. Kindle books have “locations”. The reason they have locations is so you can vary the font size which in a PDF e-book would throw off the page numbering.
I won’t get into the specifics of converting to Kindle because it changes all the time, but Amazon is only too happy to help you with this and there’s plenty of inexpensive Kindle books to teach you. Of course, we will teach you and tutor you one on one if you’re in my mentor program at https://www.GreatInternetMarketingTraining.com You basically upload the file to your KDP that’s Kindle Direct Publishing account and Amazon does the conversion. You can even see how the book would look on different devices like a cell phone, tablet, kindle fire device, etc. right there before you publish it.
Just this week as I record this Kindle is coming out with some new and much easier to use formatting programs to help you create your e-books.
What I want to tell you about Kindle e-books are a few tips that will help you best take advantage of the format.
One tip is that Amazon loves you to make series of e-books where one book leads to the sale of the next one and that one leads to the sale of the next one and so forth. So, instead of doing one large e-book, you might make each chapter an e-book in itself and make it part of a series where people can by one part at a time or purchase the entire series. Amazon loves you for this.
Now before I finish this episode, I want to give you a super trick to benefit from your Kindle e-books whether someone buys it or not. If you’ve looked at books on Amazon for a while you have seen the “look in” feature which allows you to preview a small part of the book. What I want you to do is give some kind of super “lead magnet” on a page by itself near the top of the e-book. Maybe you give away the audio version of the e-book, or some videos or anything that would be of value to the audience for your e-book. That way people that didn’t even buy your e-book but saw the lead magnet can still come over to your website and opt in and get on your list where you can send them all kinds of offers in the future. Now this is a Ninja trick LOL.
OK. I know this was a long recording with a lot to absorb, but bottom line e-books can really make you lots of money, they are easy to write and one other thing. They are easy to edit. If something changes in a printed book, you have to throw it away. With an e-book you simple reedit and reupload and you’re good to go.
So That’s my episode on e-books. If you want help implementing all these steps and the myriad other details of having a successful online business myself and my staff of subject matter experts will tutor you and help you one-on-one. Check out my mentor program at https://www.GreatInternetMarketingTraining.com

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Next episode 071 Judith Briles Don’t’ miss that.
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