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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

ClickBank or Kindle - Which Is Best for E-book Writers?

I received a couple of questions yesterday from a buyer of several of my writing courses (and affiliate for them), Gibson Goff.

I thought Gib's questions were so interesting that I should really reply here for the benefit of other readers as well.

Here then is a slightly edited version of his message...

I'm writing two books in Open Office, and was going to PDF them, and upload to Clickbank. Then just market the cr*p out of them.

Question 1: What platform/route do you now recommend to bring my eBooks to market? As a new writer, should I go after Kindle, or PDF, etc? I just need a direction.

Question 2: You have also given software links for formatting the ebooks. I downloaded them, and others also, I believe. Do I write the books in Open Office, then move them to the eBook software?

Or should I work within the software alone, from the start?

As I said to Gib, in a way I could answer both these questions with just two words: It depends!

However, that's probably not the most helpful answer, so here are a few more constructive thoughts.

Taking question 1 first, while Kindle is flavor of the month at the moment, ClickBank is still a good choice for some types of e-book.

That applies especially with money-making and money-saving guides, for which it's possible to charge a premium price (as buyers will presumably get their money back and more by following the advice given).

ClickBank has several advantages for this type of e-book. For one thing, you have complete control over your sales page. It can be as long and detailed as you want. You can list all your book's USPs (unique selling propositions), and include graphics, quotes, sub-headings, testimonials, guarantees, bonuses, and so on.

Your options with Kindle sales pages are much more restricted - you have to follow Amazon's rules, and have only limited control over pricing, marketing, descriptions, and so on. Neither is there any easy way to offer bonus items.

The other big advantage of going with ClickBank is that it gives you access to their massive network of affiliates, who will sell your e-book on your behalf (as long as you make it worth their while with commission).

ClickBank does have one drawback in that there is an initial set-up fee of $49 (though you can then sell any number of products through them for no further charge). In the overall scheme of things this is not really such a big deal in my view, but you can always check out lower-cost or free alternatives such as e-junkie and JVZoo if you prefer.

I have, by the way, released a guide to creating this type of e-book called The 10-Day E-Book. This focuses on creating a money-making e-book and marketing it through ClickBank or similar platforms.

ClickBank is not really a suitable medium for selling most fiction or general-interest non-fiction e-books. In these cases, Kindle is probably the better option.

It's actually quite straightforward to create a Kindle e-book and upload it using Kindle Direct Publishing (this is discussed in my other course, Kindle Kash, of course). Doing this will give you access to the huge and ever-growing market of Kindle e-reader owners via the Amazon store.

As mentioned above, you won't have the same control over your sales page as with ClickBank, and you are unlikely to be able to command premium prices. A growing number of authors are seeing good sales from Kindle, however, and even if you're only earning a dollar or two per sale, it all adds up. If you're aiming for the mass market, Kindle is probably the way to go.

Moving to Gib's second question, if you're publishing to ClickBank, you will almost certainly want to save your e-book as a PDF. This is readable on most computers, regardless of the operating system they use or the software they have installed.

You can also set various security options on a PDF to reduce the risk of copyright theft.

It's very easy to create a PDF. Most word-processing programs nowadays have a 'Save to PDF' option, or there are software tools you can use (PDF-Creator from my sponsors, WCCL, for example).

If you're going to create a Kindle e-book, my recommendation (and also that of the KDP Simplified Formatting Guide, incidentally) is to write and edit it in Microsoft Word or the Open Office equivalent, then save as a filtered HTML document (use Save As: Web Page, Filtered in Word - this helps minimize superfluous code).

It is possible to upload this file to the KDP website without further manipulation, but I wouldn't recommend that. In my view it's best to use a software tool such as Calibre to get your e-book looking exactly as you want prior to publishing it. This guest post last year by David Robinson reveals how he uses Calibre to do this himself.

There are other options as well, of course. Personally, I use the free MobiPocket Creator, as detailed in Kindle Kash. There are also some paid-for options that claim to be easier to use and more up to date, such as this one currently on special offer at the Warrior Forum.

Thank you again to Gib for some interesting questions. I hope I've answered them, more or less, in this post, and also provided some food for thought for other aspiring e-book authors.

If you have have any further questions or comments on this subject, please do leave them below.

Photo credit: Thinkin' About the Code by Ed Yourdon on Flickr. Reproduced under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0 Generic Licence.

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Anonymous Gibson Goff said...

Thanks for that simple to follow, information packed answer, Nick. That is exactly what I needed.

I can see the definite benefits to each avenue described. Therefore, my choice is - 'all of the above'.

I can see the mass appeal of the giant - Amazon. And I like the control available, and the affiliate offerings of Clickbank.

When I read the post about Calibre I too downloaded it. Now, knowing there are others available, I'll finish in Open Office, and transfer as needed, to the specific sales venue.

As always Nick, your advice is spot on for me. Thank you so much for taking the time to help me, and I'm sure, many others with this post.

2:51 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thanks, Gib. Glad you found my comments helpful.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Rohi Shetty said...

Hi Nick,

Thanks a lot! I found this info very useful indeed.

4:22 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

You're welcome, Rohi. Hope your writing career is going well.

10:04 AM  

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