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November 13 2013


Deal of the Week: jQuery Trickshots Teaches You 100 Advanced Techniques for Less than a Movie Ticket


The neat thing about programming is that there are always tons of different ways to accomplish the same result. Some are tougher, more complex, and take a lot longer to implement. Others, however, can make your life incredibly easier and save you a load of time… like JavaScript and the wonderful jQuery library. With the right knowledge, jQuery can perform some fantastic functions with very little programming needed.

August 10 2012


1WD Ebook Launch Case Study: How To Get 8000 Downloads in 3 days

Two months ago 1stwebdesigner launched three ebooks, stepping into this market for the first time. We planned our promotion in a way that we had 8,000 free downloads in three days, which resulted in $1,000 profit for the first month through Amazon. The following month we did even better, closing to $2,000 for July. The best thing about this promotion is that I know we’ll be making $1000 per month passively and if we want to make more it will depend on our own promotion. These numbers may not seem impressive compared to a $100,000 launch, but I like that this money is earned passively, it’s a nice side income, regardless of whatever we are doing. Mainly it’s because of the huge Amazon market itself, giving us a regular 500 sales per month.

Would you mind earning $2,000 monthly as side income? Please don’t read further if these numbers don’t sound good enough for you! Search for the next quote about Scamworld, where gurus will teach you how to make millions! Hell yeah – that’s what I am talking about! In this post I will reveal details how we came up with the idea for ebooks, promoted them on Amazon to get rankings and leveraged their market. My aim is to show you how you can do the same thing and possibly perform even better. When it comes to internet marketing, I love this quote “If something sounds better than it is, it’s not true“. Rarely are there exceptions, but so many people offer the promise of untold riches by revealing their big secret which will help you make thousands of dollars just to get you to buy their $200 product. The sad truth is that there is no easy way to earn money online, and writing an ebook certainly isn’t an easy way too do that, but with book digitalization – Kindle, smart phones, and tablets – there is a big demand for digital books. If you enjoy writing you should jump on board before it’s too late! Excellent reading from Verge about online marketing, this article is all about scamworld, while I do not agree with the writer’s angle, because I personally met several of these people in Underground Seminar 8, I suggest that you read this article and watch the video. It will explain a lot about how online marketing works.

Scamworld verge

The cool thing about digital books is that they are super easy and cheap to create. With printed books, you needed a serious budget to print it or you needed to collaborate with a publishing company which takes most of the profit . When I went to Underground Seminar 8, there was a big talk about how there is a big demand now for digital products – coaching, ebooks, video, audio training. And there is this window – two years, then there will be enough supply for that demand. Right now there isn’t. So why haven’t you created your ebook or coaching program already?

Note: If you enjoy creating training videos, check out Labvidz, which makes it easy to create membership websites and help you make money from them.

With this newly gained experience, last March I went back from USA to Spain, Tenerife where I was staying at the time. I thought a lot about how bloggers are in a good position, they need to create content on a daily basis, it’s a no brainer to put this content in books after a while! Here is a popular example: SmashingMagazine is already doing that with their content!

They create high quality educational articles which are published on their blog and they have a second use for that content in mind. They write articles in a way that they can put them in ebooks and earn extra cash. It has been proven countless times that people are ready to pay for products and services that save their time. You can read everything for free on SmashingMagazine, but if you buy their ebook you do not pay them for fresh information, you pay them for a nicely formatted and categorized book. In this case what are you selling, content or formatting? If you are considering starting a blog or you have a blog already, wouldn’t it make sense to write articles that you can later put in an ebook and earn some extra cash? Just think about it. There are 2 ways of writing ebooks:

  1. Work on a 300-500 page book covering one topic comprehensively by researching, and sharing, the best information possible on that topic. It will require several months of your time and money to hiring an editor and someone to format the book, but you’ll be able to charge $30-40 for that book no problem!
  2. Write several small 50-paged books each solving one serious problem or question people have. It will require several days of your time to write each book and you’ll be able to charge $1-$5 for it.

I picked the second way because I just wanted to test out the waters and see how profitable book writing is, taking the smallest risk possible. I would totally recommend this approach! It is very low risk (mainly just your time), it won’t take a lot of time or cost a lot of money even if you choose to outsource everything.

Research topics to write about – find problem to solve, trendy topics

Quora questions

The most important task before you start writing is to find a really good problem to solve and find other people’s pain point – the so called bleeding neck. How do you do it? You need to pick a good niche you are knowledgeable and passionate about. Think about your target audience – can you imagine 1,000 people who would love to have your book? I would suggest using Amazon in order find best-selling topics, there is a lot of space for spying! You can find book rankings and sort of understand how many books authors sell to understand what’s trendy right now. Here is a little cheat list for you..

  • With 15,000 Amazon best sellers rank ~300-350 books are sold per month;
  • With 20,000 rank ~200 books are sold per month;
  • With 40,000 rank ~100-150 books are sold per month.

When you are searching for topics to write about, check book rankings and calculate how many sales authors are getting. If you can see at least three books doing well in your chosen niche, you can probably expand on a topic and write a new book about it. I wanted to point out that Kindle’s book section is fairly new so there is a lot of opportunity right now, a lot of free spots you can fill! After you have your topic in mind, next you should head out to Q&A websites like Quora or StackOverflow, forums and search for the most popular questions asked there about your topic. Those questions can help you make a great outline, what you can write about. Amazon rankings

When you find a topic to write about and also have a detailed table of contents, check if you have written something about that topic already on your blog, try to leverage your existing content. That’s what we did, we picked topics and then I advised writers to try reusing existing content so they didn’t have to write everything from scratch.

Find writers if you want to outsource the actual writing

If you want, you can even outsource book writing like I did. I would absolutely love to write a book myself, but I knew it would take a lot of time I didn’t have. If you’re busy with your daily job, but can spare some money to hire a good writer – do it. I found three good writers where each was an expert on his topic. Consider using job boards:

When you are going to launch a book for the first time, there will be so much more to do than just writing – be aware.

You will need to learn:

  • how to market, promote books;
  • how to prepare them in right format;
  • learn specific tricks about platform where you’ll publish book, for example Amazon.

All of those things take time, think again about outsourcing some aspects, maybe you have friends who can help you out?

I wanted to mention another book writing approach, if you will write it strongly based from your own experience.

Here are action steps:

  • Find a good topic for a book, write down an outline
  • Having an outline in front of you, take a microphone and record everything
  • Hire some guy and ask him to transcribe everything!
  • Hire a good proofreader to check for spelling errors, read book again and it’s ready!

Sell your ebook on your own site! How? Keep reading!

Kdp select

If you have a good existing site with a great following you definitely should launch an ebook on your own site first. Personally I am not sure if I made a mistake or not, but I started with Amazon, driving all traffic to Amazon and of course they took their cut. I did it because I wanted to increase sales as much as I could in order to get better rankings there.

The higher you are in the rankings, the more people will see your work and consider buying it! Amazon is awesome if you are starting out fresh! After I fully tested ebooks on Amazon, I used Sellfy to check how well we can perform on our own by selling books directly to 1WD readers without 3rd parties (Sellfy takes just 5% from each sale). The Sellfy app comes in handy because you can start selling digital products in 5 minutes, they accept Paypal and encourage social sharing. If you are curious about how it looks like, here is our Responsive ebook’s Sellfy page.

sellfy application

It is super easy to sell books through Sellfy: you register, upload books and immediately receive a button that you can embed on your site. The hardest task is to create a good landing page which converts.

What to include on your landing page:

  • book cover
  • description
  • testimonials from people who bought your books
  • table of contents
  • free chapters if possible, look inside preview images
  • short intro about author
  • …and obviously call to action button.

If you can create a video preview, definitely do it! Images are more powerful than words and videos are more powerful than images! Besides, you can use Youtube and work to get a good position with it on Google! Google owns Youtube and they love videos! Use Fiverr to promote your videos! Here is my channel, I spent $100 on Fiverr to get comments, views and likes. We aren’t in the first position yet for our keywords, but those videos are definitely helping!

Okay, let’s move back to the landing page. Once we had the landing page we used the following elements to drive traffic to site:

  • Hellobar which pops right on top of the site,
  • sidebar dynamic element,
  • we published an article announcing this news (as you may know already),
  • used social sites,
  • existing mailing list

This is how well we did on Sellfy first month:

  • 1753 product views
  • 160 sales
  • $731.13 in revenue

I think we have quite low conversions, but we also don’t have a very good landing page…yet.

Sellfy sales
It is much easier to launch when you control everything yourself, like I did with Sellfy. But let me expand more on Amazon and tell why I chose it in the first place.

Selling books on Amazon

Selling books using 3rd parties make more sense if you don’t have an existing channel yourself.

I chose Amazon because I heard a lot of praise about how powerful a channel it is and KDP select Kindle publishing is still very new, so there isn’t much competition right now.

Amazon stats:

  • Latest web design trends sold 146 times
  • HTML5 Basics – 185 times
  • Responsive web site design – 245 times
  • Total earnings for 2 months – $2,000

What I like with Amazon is that after the first month’s active promotion, the second month I didn’t promote these books at all, but still was able to earn $1,000. This result made me say: it is passive income, where you can leverage from Amazon’s internal network and promotion. Pretty cool, you just need to do the first round of promotion, then you can forget about books and have nice side income!

The only thing I disliked was how hard it was to navigate through their system and how much you need to learn about their promotion. That’s what you get when you use 3rd parties – you need to play by their rules. You need to learn how to:

  • get testimonials and ratings – super important, people will look at these numbers and actual reviews in order to decide whether to buy this book or not
  • how to format Kindle book, how to create working table of contents.
  • how to get into “Customers Who bought this also bought” section, kind of like related reading
  • how to create good cover, good book title, and how to test them.

I personally learned everything about Amazon from this awesome 94-paged book Kindle CashThe Beginner’s Guide to Creating, Marketing, And Publishing On The Amazon Kindle. Originally I wanted to cover all these steps myself, but I understood it’s not possible to put everything in one article. If you enjoyed this article and are serious about creating a book to sell on Amazon, read that book!

Key takeaways from ebook launch

Now I will list what I found to be the most powerful and important techniques which made this launch successful:

  • Having a good designer to design unique covers, format PDF book – what many books lack is a really unique book cover that stands out. This is especially important in the Amazon market with countless ebooks competing. The same goes for the PDF book, presentation makes or breaks the reading experience.
  • Having a friend knowledgeable in SEO to help in keyword research – I am quite skilled myself, but just asking for some help and advice on book titles helped a lot. Each ebook we published we wrote down like 20-30 title variations to pick from. Remember, book covers and titles are sometimes even more important then whole book. Sounds crazy, but the same way article headlines are read and shared just because of a good title, same applies to books. Google Keywords is your best friend at this stage.
  • Planning – if I wouldn’t have planned everything, I could have easily gotten lost and the ebooks would have taken several more months to be released. Focusing on the right things at the right time helps so much, understand your strong points and outsource your weak points. If you aren’t a good writer, but you are an excellent marketer, it will be so much cheaper and faster to hire a writer and not be bothered with the painful process. If you are not good in keyword research, find a friend to give you a hand, reach out to forums! Before you start, plan every big step and stick to a schedule!

Mistakes I made, what I would have done differently

Ok, you read a lot of “smart” advice, now you want to hear what I did to mess up in this launch? It was my first launch so there were still a lot of little mistakes:

  • Not using my existing readership first – as you know, I started the ebook promotion on Amazon, and I gave away 5,000 free copies at first just to get good rankings there. While it helped, I think I would have made much better profits if I would have offered the books for free for a day and then sell these books directly on my site. That first big promotion I did all went to free downloads. I didn’t hear too much appreciation for this step unfortunately, which means next time I will give the books away free for just one day and leverage my own network at first.
  • Underestimating product price – this is tough point and there is very good discussion ( two case studies) between Sacha Greif and Jarrod Drysdale. Sorry Sacha, but I took Jarrod’s side, where he suggested to focus on making more money from fewer sales. At the start I was very hesitant about putting a specific price on these books. I started with $0.99. The problem with low pricing is that people don’t mind too much if they pay one or five dollars. If price is just a buck they think it’s low quality. Don’t undervalue your product! Test how much you can increase your book price versus sales, you will never get it right the first time. I certainly didn’t.
  • Bad landing page – previously I listed tips on what makes a good landing page. Unfortunately I didn’t create one myself the first time. We had it planned, but when Amazon books went live I put my whole focus on promoting them, so my landing page didn’t get properly designed and filled. Now I am putting a lot of time in designing the perfect landing page for books, will A/B test it and hopefully it will improve conversions. Oh, and if you’re too lazy, Amazon is a good alternative, they are famous for their crazy A/B testing everything.
  • Formatting Kindle book – when I wanted to publish a book on Amazon, I automatically assumed they accept PDF books. I was surprised that they do not and you need to create book in .mobi format. I browsed the internet desperately to find a good guide on how to create those kindle books and unfortunately for me, not many Kindle authors use Macintosh. Also I wasn’t aware of how hard it is to create a working table of contents, by working I mean, that you can click on the navigation and it takes you to the right section. In the end I was grateful to find a paid Mac application Abulafia, which thankfully made the whole formatting process easy.

How did we get 8000 downloads in 3 days?

And finally let’s get to the most exciting part! At first I thought we got 6,000 downloads, but then I remembered I need to also check UK, DE, FR, ES and IT stores! So there it is, 6,000 downloads from USA Amazon and 2,000 more from the other stores! Here’s the exact steps we took:

Once we got all books completely ready to publish for Amazon, we started to build some interest on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and sent an email to our 20,000 subscribers. It was a week before we actually published those books. We started building interest by telling them, that after seven days, we will release the ebooks for free for three days to our loyal subscribers. We prepared the newsletter to let people know a bit about those books explaining what they will be about and what’s inside. Valuable Free Offer From 1WD You Don’t Want To Miss: Watch Your Inbox On Monday! – this is the email subject we used. We received good interest from subscribers and on social networks – who doesn’t like free stuff? After a week, the ebooks went live and we sent a second email, and a day after one more follow-up email to those who did not open the previous emails:

  • Obtain Your Copies of Three Free eBooks and Gift Inside! – here we gave links for free download on Amazon, offered even one more gift which was our video course on how to create animated video previews. After that we politely asked for help to spread the word and show their appreciation that they get all of this valuable stuff completely free. This email got 4,747 opens and 2,413 clicks on links.
  • Warning: Three Ebooks From 1WD Just For Two More Days! (+Surprise Gift Inside) – after one day I sent one more email to all unopened mails with a different headline letting people know those ebooks and gift will be available for only two more days. I am glad I did that, because the second email got 1,532 opens and 812 clicks on links.

I can gladly say that these two emails gave the most downloads and helped to spread the word! It’s basically 3,200 clicks from doing just that! Ask again, why you don’t have email list yet? It will help kickstart each launch and promotion you want to do!

Ebook landing page

What else did we do to promote those books?

  • Posted an article on 1stWebDesigner showing in detail what’s inside books – Super Hot News: Get 1WD Three Quick EBooks Now For Free Just For Three Days! This post alone got 161 tweets, 70 Facebook likes and 42 comments. I carefully followed the conversation there to find any problems people may run into. This article received 906 visits throughout these three days!
  • Shared article several times on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ asking people to retweet. Throughout these days I think we tweeted about these books ten times to make sure everybody who’s interested will see them.
  • I asked all my friends to download the ebooks on Amazon, like them and leave testimonials. Downloads, testimonials and likes are important to get higher on Amazon’s best sellers rank as well as individual categories.
  • Submitted ebook landing page on Reddit’s /r/web_dev, where it got 47 up votes and developed healthy discussion with 29 comments. We tried submitting it to /r/web_design so that people will receive the eBooks for free, but their mods didn’t like the idea of giving free ebooks to their subscribers.

Here is summary of the biggest traffic sources for our ebook landing page:

  • Direct traffic – 1,618 visits (probably from emails)
  • Twitter – 796 visits
  • Reddit – 681 visits
  • Facebook – 281 visits
  • Google – 255 visits (no idea how Google got into list)
  • 1stwebdesigner article – 102 visits
  • Google Plus – 56 visits
  • Pinterest – 45 visits (submitted there too, but even with a large following people don’t seem to be eager for books there)

Ebook analytics

What was challenging is that it was hard to decide which page we should really promote – the article on 1stwebdesigner, the ebook landing page or the Amazon links. In the end we put our focus on the landing page because that’s one link compared to three on Amazon.

I wanted to show these numbers because as you can see there isn’t that much traffic from all social networks and even from 1stwebdesigner or the mailing list itself! How the hell did we get those 8,000 downloads?

I’ll let you know in a moment, because I still have some secret tips to share with you!

The reason why we chose Amazon in the first place was to test their internal network, to understand how powerful their system is.
Amazon best sellers

This is the Amazon Best Seller list. Usually when people are searching for new books to read they often use best sellers lists! Thanks to our promotion all three books got on the prestigious web site design Top 100 free list. All these books shared the first three places!

Amazon has it’s free promotion on KDP Select, where every three months you can offer those books for free to bump up sales numbers! If you get high on this list you can easily get more downloads, testimonials and likes!

While there is the best sellers rank, there is also very useful section Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought:
Customers bought amazon

With more downloads you have a better chance to appear in this list. Similar blogs have related reading, this list is great for conversions to related sales!

Only downside is that Amazon doesn’t offer detailed analytics about conversions, they don’t show you where your sales come from, so it’s really hard to understand what exactly worked. And that’s why I suggest now to try to leverage from existing readership first, where you can check traffic sources, test everything, create funnels.

But if you don’t have a readership, you can see Amazon is an excellent starting point! When you launch just make sure you notify all your friends, family members to gain more downloads and testimonials!

Conclusion – Is book launch profitable vs efforts?

When I was doing research about other people book launch case studies I noticed a lot of discussion how profitable book launch actually is. While it’s cool to have a book published with your name on it, calculate your time carefully and make sure you do your research at first.

Jeff atwood quote

Jeff Atwood says:

In short, do not write a book. You’ll put in mountains of effort for precious little reward, tangible or intangible. In the end, all you will have to show for it is an out-of-print dead tree tombstone. The only people who will be impressed by that are the clueless and the irrelevant. And here’s the best part: you can always opt to create a print version of your online content, and instantly get the best of both worlds. But it only makes sense in that order. Writing a book may seem like a worthy goal, but your time will be better spent channeling the massive effort of a book into creating content online. Every weakness I listed above completely melts away if you redirect your effort away from dead trees and spend it on growing a living, breathing website presence online.

Before you start you must understand how expensive book writing will be for you in terms of money and most importantly – TIME. If you can earn $3,000 monthly, and you spend one month writing an ebook, it will cost you $3,000 to write full-time! What I recommend is to do what Jeff suggested – write blog posts, which you can later convert to a book. Or you can do what I did – start out with smaller books, create 50-page books that answer a few questions in detail!

Sacha Greif, for example, wrote an ebook about UI design, where he designed an open source chat app from start to finish. That’s not that hard right? But now you have a product to sell! Sacha Greif reached $10,000 in profits in his first month!

Here is full case study about his launch.

Sacha greif ebook

Have you ever thought of writing a book? If you wrote it already, what did you learn from your launch? If you have always dreamed about writing, but never started, what discouraged you? I’ll keep a close eye on the discussion and will try to help you find answers to inspire you to get started! What mistakes did you notice from this launch? What would you do differently? Let me know in comment section!

Sponsored post

July 24 2012


Getting Good with PHP: New Rockable eBook

PHP is a big language. I mean, really big. Big in more than one way. This makes it somewhat challenging to learn, especially if your skills lie on the front end of the web. But it doesn’t have to be so hard anymore. Today, I’m going to introduce you to a project I’ve been working on for a while: Getting Good with PHP.

You’ll Get Good at PHP

Getting Good with PHP is the latest book in my Getting Good with … series; and just like the others, it’s designed to take you from ground zero—knowing nothing at all about PHP—to what I like to call the “advanced beginner” skill level.

My goal was to write a book you could read in a couple of hours, or work through in a weekend, so I can’t cover everything there is to know about PHP. However, if you’ve never written a line of PHP before (or at least, not very many lines), this book should get you to a place where you know enough to be comfortable with basic PHP scripts, and are ready (and able!) to learn more.

Should I Learn PHP?

Learning at least a little PHP is essential for the web developer of 2012.

With some of the recent articles about whether PHP is a good language or not, you might be on the fence about learning it. Here’s my thought: with PHP being the most commonly used server-side language, you can’t really be a web developer these days without knowing at least a little PHP. But it’s more than that: there are large, friendly web communities based solely on PHP libraries and frameworks, like WordPress or Laravel. And even outside of these communities, there are tons of helpful resources and tutorials for upping your PHP knowledge. To me, there’s no doubt that learning at least a little PHP is essential for the web developer of 2012.

What You’re Getting

Five chapters there are, in this book:

  • Chapter 1: Getting Up and Running
  • Chapter 2: The Nuts and Bolts of PHP
  • Chapter 3: PHP’s Control Structures and Built-in Functions
  • Chapter 4: PHP Forms and Persistence (Cookies, Sessions, and Databases)
  • Chapter 5: Security and Problem Solving

Want a Sample?

Of course you do! Here’s the first 15 pages, for your perusal.

Don’t Buy the Book If …

I want to make one thing clear, though. This book really is for the absolute beginner. If you’ve already read a PHP book, or worked through a series of tutorials or screencasts introducing you to PHP, you’ll probably find my book a waste of time and money. But, if you’re new to this world, this is the book for you!

February 27 2012


How to Write an eBook that People Will Actually Read

Are you looking for new ways to deliver in-depth content on a topic specific to your website? If so, ebooks are a great way to take your audience deeper into some aspect of your subject matter. Through the advancement of technology it’s easier than ever before in history for you to become an author by writing an ebook. With that said, there are things you should do to ensure your ebook is read by as many people as possible. In this article we are going to uncover the benefits of writing an ebook, provide tips for writing a successful ebook, and discuss how you can streamline the Ebook writing process.

Benefits of Writing an Ebook

Having a blog on your website is an absolute must. That said, blog articles serve a specific purpose. A best practice for blogging is to provide content in easily digestible chunks that readers can find, read, understand, and share all within a few minutes. An ebook allows you to expand on topics that you write about on your blog. Writing an ebook allows you to go more in depth on a given subject. Those of you who decide that writing an ebook makes sense as a content marketing tactic for your brand will uncover a number of benefits from your efforts. Here are a few benefits of writing an ebook:

  • Positions you as an thought-leader on the subject that you write about
  • Allows you to collect email newsletter subscribers during the ebook download process
  • More searchable content that attracts new visitors to your website
  • Generates buzz on social media tools like Facebook and Twitter
  • Can lead to more business, news coverage, etc. for you
  • Adds more value to you current audience and helps to form even deeper relationships with those folks

The list above is simply the biggest benefits you’ll receive if you write an ebook that people actually read. There are a number of secondary benefits that you will also receive by taking the time to write an ebook. If this has convinced you that writing an ebook might be worth your time, then let’s dig into the components of a successful ebook.

ebook tips

Components of a Successful Ebook

As we alluded to earlier in the article, the advancement of technology has made it easier than ever before for all of us to become authors of ebooks. With that said, just because it’s easier to write and publish an ebook, doesn’t mean you’re going to be good at it. The main goal of writing an ebook is for people to actually read it. The next goal is for the ebook to be valuable enough that the people who do read it will then share it with friends. So, how do you write an ebook that people actually read? Let’s dive into some of the main components of a successful ebook:

  1. Trendy topic – Don’t write about something that’s been written about a lot in the past. If you do pick a saturated topic, be sure to take the conversation in a different direction than most have done in the past.
  2. Research – Be sure to do your homework during the ebook planning phase of the process. You want your facts to be accurate and backed up with links.
  3. Outline – Start by creating an outline of the main topic areas that you’d like to write about in your ebook. This will keep you focused during the writing process.
  4. Design – Be sure to add imagery throughout your ebook and come up with a ebook design template that includes your branding elements.
  5. Table of Contents – Include a Table of Contents up front so readers know what to expect when reading your ebook.
  6. Ebook Length – If possible, keep your ebook short. Anywhere from 15 – 25 pages makes for a great length. Readers can get through it in an hour or so.
  7. Proofread – Be sure to edit your ebook for format and proofread your copy before publishing. The internet opens you up to many great things, but it also provides a channel for everyone to nitpick. Don’t give them a reason to.
  8. Promotion – Promote the “you know what” out of your ebook. Submit it to free ebook publishing sites. Use social media. Promote your ebook on your website. Get local media coverage. Ask for reviews from leaders in the topic area that you’re writing about. You know the deal…

If you are sure to include all of the components above you will have done more than most ebook authors. Following the steps above will position your ebook for success.

Ebook Writing Tips


Now that we understand the benefits of writing an ebook and the components of a successful ebook, let’s review a few writing-specific tips. Writing an ebook can seem like a daunting task for first-time authors. It doesn’t have to be. Here are a few tips to keep you on track during the writing process.

  • Stick to your outline as this will keep you on track
  • Carve out a few hours in your schedule where you can sit down and write
  • Reduce distractions during writing time
  • Get a first draft written before worrying about editing or tweaking your format. Getting caught up in minor details during the writing process can lead to a number of unnecessary issues.
  • Once your first draft is finished take a break and come back to do your review with fresh ideas
  • Have someone you respect review it and provide you with feedback

Writing an ebook doesn’t have to be difficult. It really all comes down to staying on task. During the writing process you can get caught up in the details. Don’t let that happen to you. Get that first draft down and then go back and tweak. Once you have your ebook content ready, it’s time finalize your ebook format.

5 Ebook Formatting Tools

Before you can submit your ebook to some of ebook publishing sites like Amazon, Lulu, and others, you have to properly format it so it will be accepted by those sites. You need to convert your ebook into an ePub, so that it can be read on major eReaders like iPad, Nook, and Kindle. Here are a few tools to help you get started:

  1. Mobi Pocket – This ebook formatting tool is free and lets you create an eBook from HTML, Word, and image files.
  2. Scrivener - Scrivener is a content-generation tool which allows writers to format ebooks and other long documents.
  3. Calibre – Calibre is another FREE ebook formatting tool. You can create an eBook for the major eReaders like Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc. The one negative we have found is that it does not support Microsoft Word files.
  4. iBook - Use iBook from Apple to convert your ebook into an ePub so that it functions beautifully on the iPad. This app is extremely easy to use. You can convert your ebooks into ePub files in minutes.
  5. BookGlutton: BookGlutton is a free ebook conversion tool which lets you turn HTML books into ePub files for use on various ebook readers.

Now that your ebook is formatted properly, it’s time to publish it!

Ebook Publisher Websites

As we mentioned above, there are a lot of ways to get people to read your ebook. One of the best things to do is to submit your ebook to ebook publishing websites. Here is a list of some of the best ebook publishing websites that you should consider publishing your ebook to:

  • is a self publishing website whereby you can even sell your ebook online
  • allows you to publish your ebook, offer it for free, or sell it online
  • offers free distribution of your ebook
  • is a leading supplier of books to libraries and retailers worldwide
  • is a new ebook marketplace for you to take advantage of

These are just a few of the many ebook publish websites. Just do a simple Google search on “publish my ebook” and you’ll see all of the great ebook publishing websites out there for you to publish your ebook to.

Can You Write an Ebook People Actually Read?

YES! The answer is yes. That said, will you write an ebook that people actually read? Please share your comments below and tell us if you think writing an ebook is worth your time and if you plan to do so. For those of you who HAVE written an ebook in the past, please share with us any feedback that you think might benefit those of us who are taking it on for the first time. We appreciate you taking the time to leave your comments below.

August 23 2011


You are the map maker

Your best idea

“What’s the formula for blog posts that will get the greatest number of retweets? Which new product or service will make you the most money? Do you know?

“The truth is that nobody knows for sure what’s going to work. If they did the J.K. Rowlings of this world wouldn’t get rejected by twelve publishers. There is no cast iron guarantee, no secret formula. There is no map to your success.

“This means that you are the map maker. You are responsible for shaping your journey and creating your own success. I know many inspirational entrepreneurs and creative business owners who have done just that and I wanted you to hear some of their stories.

“So today I’m sharing a beautiful book with you that’s been six months in the making.”

Today sees the release of Bernadette‘s ebook You are the map maker.


Eric Karjaluoto@karj
Nubby Twiglet@nubbytwiglet
Chris Guillebeau@chrisguillebeau
David Airey — @DavidAirey
Lee Newham@goodpeopletweet
Mark Bloom@MashCreative
Reese Spykerman@reese
Jessica Hische@jessicahische
Derek Sivers@sivers
Jonathan Woodward@jonwoodward
Blair Thomson@BlairThomson
Lea Woodward@kinetiva
Tara Gentile@taragentile

Article headlines in the ebook include: Why do we compete to be average? Lessons for designers to embrace. How do I get freelance work? All the money you make will never buy back your soul.

You are the map maker

You are the map maker

You are the map maker

You are the map maker

The free ebook is available for download on the You are the map maker website, with design and art direction by Believe in.

80-page softback and hardback books are also available at cost price.

Very well done, Bernadette, Blair (and team). Love it.

Published on David Airey, graphic designer

Logo Design Love, the book

Related posts on David Airey dot com

July 06 2011


Getting Good With JavaScript: New Rockable Book (Plus a Free Sample!)

Advertise here

You’ve been writing HTML and CSS for a while now, and are pretty comfy with it. Scratch that: you’re uber-comfy with it. And you’re ready to move on to the next level. But that means learning JavaScript! Yikes!

Learning JavaScript isn’t as hard as you might think. However, there’s a bit of a problem: there’s a lot of bad information out there. And how are you—the HTML and CSS expert who knows nothing about JavaScript—supposed to discern the good from the bad?

You Needn’t do it Alone!

In Getting Good With JavaScript, I’ll quickly take you from novice to advanced novice! “Wait, what?” you respond. Yes, advanced novice. Let me explain:

There’s more to learn about JavaScript than anyone could put into a single book. This book doesn’t get anywhere close to attempting that. It doesn’t even try to cover everything the normal JavaScript-for-beginners book covers. Instead, I’ll give you a solid foundation by clearly explaining all the basic syntax. Once that settles, we’ll go on to covering several important concepts, features, and best practices.

Book Cover
eBook (PDF, ePub, and Kindle) and Screencasts – $19 – Buy Now
Print Book, eBooks, and Screencasts – $24 – Buy Now

Best Practices?

. . . that reminds me: I’ve attempted to make this book pure as a blank text editor. You won’t find any bad practices or bad features (gasp! They do exist.) outlined herein, not even for the sake of completeness. As a beginner, you can be sure that everything you’re learning is considered best practice by the industry heavyweights.

So, no, this book isn’t the JavaScript book to rule them all. And that’s not the goal. If this book takes you from not knowing a thing about JavaScript to being comfortable with writing (relatively) simple code and ready to learn intermediate and advanced techniques from the plethora of awesome sources available on the web, it will have done its job.

What You’re Getting

  • Chapter 1: Getting Started
  • Chapter 2: The Basics
  • Chapter 3: More Basics
  • Chapter 4: More Concepts and Best Practices
  • Chapter 5: Working with HTML

It’s all packed into about 140 pages; plus, it comes with almost 6 hours of screencasts, and over 100 example files.

The Official Pitch

Ever wanted to spice up your websites with a dash of JavaScript, but not known where to start? In Getting Good with JavaScript, author Andrew Burgess breaks programming in JavaScript down into easy, straight-forward principles and practices.

This book will introduce you to important programming concepts, show you how to write your first scripts, and make you comfortable with JavaScript code. You’ll learn

  • The basics of types, variables, and operators
  • Best practices for efficient coding
  • Testing and optimizing your JavaScript
  • Interacting with HTML elements

Andrew Burgess will help you get past the learning curve and get you Getting Good with JavaScript.

eBook (PDF, ePub, and Kindle) and Screencasts – $19 – Buy Now
Print Book, eBooks, and Screencasts – $24 – Buy Now

Sample Pages

Nothing beats trying before buying, right? You can check out some sample pages for absolutely free right here, right now.

About the Author

Well, you guys all know me, right? I’m a staff writer here at Nettuts+. I’m also the Web Development Reviewer on the Tuts+ Marketplace. I’ve been working with the web for 5-6 years now, and prefer JavaScript and Ruby over anything else.

November 04 2010


Getting Good With Git: New Rockable Book

If you’ve been writing code for any length of time, you’ve probably found that experimenting with different ideas for your code and keeping different versions of pieces of a project isn’t always easy to organize. Furthermore, you want to code, not manage files. You should be using Git, a version control system. And now, with my newly-released Rockable Press eBook, Getting Good with Git.

PDF eBook and Screencasts – $19 – Buy Now

In this book, Andrew Burgess will take you from knowing nothing about source code management to being able to use Git proficiently. You’ll look at why you should use a version control system, why Git is better than the other options, and how to set up and use Git. This book covers some of the advanced features of Git, and includes an appendix of other resources that will take your Git knowledge to the next level. We’ll even get to know GitHub!

What’s Covered?

  • What Git is and why you should use it
  • Setting up Git on Windows and Mac
  • Using the command line
  • Using Git to manage your source code
  • Sharing your projects on GitHub
  • Much more, in 104 pages and 2.5 hours of screencasts

Already got the Book for Free?

Getting Good With Git was the free file of the month on the Tuts+ Marketplace during October, so there’s a good chance you already have the book! That’s great, but what about the screencasts? No need to purchase the whole book again. You can buy just the 2 and a half hours of screencasts that will walk you through the whole book for only $9.

2.5 hrs Screencasts – $9 – Buy Now

Sample Pages

Not sure about this purchase? You can download the first 13 pages of the book for a taste of what you’ll be getting. And don’t forget about the screencasts!

About the Author

That’s me! I’m Andrew Burgess, a staff writer here at Nettuts+. I’m also the Web Development Reviewer on the Tuts+ Marketplace. I’ve been working with the web for 5-6 years now, and prefer JavaScript and Ruby over anything else.

October 05 2010


Getting Good with Git: Free eBook!

Those of you who follow us on Twitter may have heard that, for the last few months, we’ve been preparing an exclusive ebook on Git (the most requested topic). I’m pleased to announce that the project is now complete, helmed by assistant Nettuts+ editor, Andrew Burgess! For the entire month of October, “Getting Good with Git” is 100% free to all.

Git is confusing — really confusing! Make things easier on yourself and grab this free ebook.

Getting Good with Git

So, you want to learn about Git, the fast version control system? Then you’ve come to the right place! In this eBook (free for the month of October! Usually $10), I’ll be guiding you through the sometimes-confusing waters of using Git to manage your development projects. The eBook clocks in at a solid 104 pages.

- Andrew Burgess

What’s Inside?

Chapter 1: Introduction to Git

  1. What is Git? 7
  2. Why Should I Use a Version Control System? 9
  3. Where did Git Come From? 10
  4. Why Not Use Another Source Code Manager? 10
  5. Summary, 11

Chapter 2: Commands

  1. A Warning, 14
  2. Another Warning, 14
  3. Opening the Command Line, 15
  4. What You’re Looking At, 16
  5. Commands, 17
  6. Advanced Command Line Skills, 24
  7. Summary, 25

Chapter 3: Configuration

  1. Installing Git, 28
  2. Configuring Git, 33
  3. Using Git, 34
  4. Referencing Commits: Git Treeishes, 51
  5. Summary, 52

Chapter 4: Beyond the Basics

  1. Git Add Revisited, 55
  2. Git Commit Revisited, 65
  3. Git Reset, 66
  4. Git Checkout Revisited, 67
  5. Git Diff, 68
  6. Git Stash, 70
  7. Working with Remote Repositories, 71
  8. Git Rebase, 78
  9. Summary, 81

Chapter 5: GitHub

  1. What is GitHub? 84
  2. Signing Up, 84
  3. Tour of the Tools, 87
  4. Creating a GitHub Repository, 92
  5. Forking a Repository, 96
  6. Summary, 101

Appendix A: More Git Resources, 102

Appendix B: Git GUIS, 104

Free Download: “Getting Good with Git”

The Tuts+ Marketplace

September 24 2010


Online edition of ‘Thinking with Type’ by Ellen Lupton

A book every Designer should own, Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton, now has a new online edition finished off with Typotheque webfonts.

September 16 2010


Theme Tumblr Like a Pro: New Rockable Book

As Tumblr continues its path toward domination, I was shocked to find that there isn’t a single Tumblr book available anywhere…until now! Tumblr is fantastically intuitive, however, there’s a great deal of power available to you — if you learn how to harness it! That’s my goal in this new Rockable Press book + companion screencasts: teach you how to be a Tumblr pro! Along the way, we’ll learn how to create customization options, work with the Tumblr API, allow for added functionality, and a plethora of other awesome things!

PDF eBook, $20 – Purchase

Tumblr’s streamlined approach has made it one of the web’s fastest growing blog platforms. In “Theme Tumblr Like a Pro,” Nettuts+ editor, Jeffrey Way, will teach you everything you need to start making powerful Tumblr themes, while maintaining the platform’s core principle: simplicity. As an added bonus, we’ve included a companion screencast for every chapter, for the visual learners out there! By the time you finish this book, you’ll be a Tumblr master!

What’s Covered?

  • The basic structure of a Tumblr theme
  • The various post types
  • Creating an options “panel” to provide maximum flexibility for the users of your theme
  • Using the Tumblr API
  • Various Cookbook recipes
  • Displaying Tweets (while improving Tumblr’s provided JavaScript!)
  • Combining Tumblr with JavaScript
  • And so much more, over the course of this 135 page eBook + companion screencasts.

Sample Pages

If you’re undecided, you can Download the Sample Pages (18 pages). But, don’t forget, it also comes with hours of video training for each chapter.

About the Author

Jeffrey Way is part of the Envato team. He is the Editor of Nettuts+, a web development tutorials blog with over 70,000 daily readers, and he’s also the manager of the popular marketplace for web developers, CodeCanyon. He has been in the web industry for over 5 years, with expertise in HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, jQuery, CodeIgniter, Tumblr, and WordPress.

PDF eBook, $20 – Purchase

July 27 2010


New eBook From Smashing Magazine: Mastering Photoshop For Web Design

Smashing-magazine-advertisement in New eBook From Smashing Magazine: Mastering Photoshop For Web DesignSpacer in New eBook From Smashing Magazine: Mastering Photoshop For Web Design
 in New eBook From Smashing Magazine: Mastering Photoshop For Web Design  in New eBook From Smashing Magazine: Mastering Photoshop For Web Design  in New eBook From Smashing Magazine: Mastering Photoshop For Web Design

Mastering Photoshop for Web Design is the third book in our eBook series, and it’s definitely the best eBook we’ve published so far. It was written from scratch by our regular writer Thomas Giannattasio, exclusively for Smashing Magazine and its readers. We are very proud of the result, in particular because of the high quality of tips, ideas and techniques that Thomas — who is a deep expert in Adobe Photoshop — presents in his book.

Book-main in New eBook From Smashing Magazine: Mastering Photoshop For Web Design

Mastering Photoshop is written for advanced and intermediate designers who want to brush up on their workflow and improve their Photoshop skills. The eBook contains 178 pages, explaining fundamental techniques that Web designers need to know to produce high-quality work in Photoshop. You won’t find any generic step-by-step tutorials or learn random effects. You will gain a profound understanding of what you can do with Photoshop and how to use it effectively in your work.

All chapters have undergone a careful technical review by well-known designer, illustrator and speaker Elliot Jay Stocks. The book was proofread by our regular proofreader Andrew Lobo, and it has an attractive layout. The PDF can be printed and read on all devices.

The Author

Thomas Small in New eBook From Smashing Magazine: Mastering Photoshop For Web DesignThomas Giannattasio is an interactive designer who resides in the Washington DC metro area. He specializes in Web design and front-end development, particularly art direction, website design and application design, and has 14 years of experience. Thomas cares strongly about typography, simplicity and user experience. He works as a senior designer for a global marketing firm and freelances under the name attasi.

Thomas’ articles on Smashing Magazine prove his expertise in Photoshop: The Ails of Typographic Anti-Aliasing and Unknown Photoshop Tricks and Time-Savers are two of the most useful Photoshop-related articles that Smashing Magazine has published over the years.

The Expert’s Opinion

Elliot-small in New eBook From Smashing Magazine: Mastering Photoshop For Web Design“Photoshop is a powerful tool, and although the basics can be easy to grasp, mastering the application can be extremely difficult. This is where Mastering Photoshop comes in: it takes readers through the app in depth and relates all tasks back to the creative process. There’s much to learn in here, for beginners and experts alike.”

— Elliot Jay Stocks, designer, illustrator and speaker

The eBook, in PDF format, is ideal for archiving, for armchair or mobile reading (including the iPad and iPhone via iBooks and other apps) and of course for printing. You can order your copy of Mastering Photoshop for just $19,90 (or €16.95 if you live in the EU) starting now and exclusively in our Smashing Shop.

Mastering-photoshop-sm in New eBook From Smashing Magazine: Mastering Photoshop For Web Design

Button in New eBook From Smashing Magazine: Mastering Photoshop For Web Design

The book contains eight chapters:

  1. Color Management
    Colors can appear lighter or darker, more or less saturated, cooler or warmer, or just plain wrong depending on the user’s environment. This can be quite a problem, especially with a client’s brand-specific colors. As Web designers, our responsibility is to ensure that the experiences we craft are as true to the original as possible.
  2. Paths
    While Illustrator’s vector tools are much more powerful, Photoshop’s benefit lies in its ability to blend vector and raster data together seamlessly. Because Photoshop documents are based on a pixel grid, the path tools in Photoshop make them superior to Illustrator for designing on-screen media.
  3. Layer Styles
    Layer Styles are essential to creating flexible and non-degradable documents, because they’re separated from the layer’s actual content. In this chapter, we’ll cover how to create great-looking and reusable styles. We’ll also cover some unique effects and non-typical uses that help to consolidate excess layers.
  4. Brushes
    Mastering the digital brush is by no means easy. It carries the same difficulties as the sable brush hidden at the bottom of your art bin. In fact, the difficulty is multiplied by the disconnect between the hand and monitor. Developing Photoshop brush skill takes time, but it is well worth the effort.
  5. Typography
    While the majority of type on the Web is rendered by HTML, Photoshop is still necessary to handle treatment beyond the grasp of CSS. In this chapter, we’ll explore Photoshop’s type tools and discover ways to maximize the software’s typesetting capabilities.
  6. Photography
    A photograph — especially of the human face — immediately draws the user’s attention and can be used to direct eye flow to important areas of the page. Placing a large photograph above the fold is a common way to provide an entry point to the content. Because photographs are high above other elements in the hierarchy, they need to be handled with care and precision.
  7. Exporting
    Once you’ve polished every last pixel, it’s time to get your work into the browser. This is a pretty straightforward process, but properly optimizing your images is crucial. You need to maintain a balance between clarity and download speed. This requires multiple formats, varying levels of compression and other optimization techniques. In this chapter, we’ll explore the workflow of exporting images via the “Save for Web and Devices” dialog.
  8. Summary

Sample Chapter and Screenshots

You can download the Chapter 4, Brushes (4.7 Mb, PDF) for free. Please consider buying the eBook if you find it useful or helpful.

Preview-2-small in New eBook From Smashing Magazine: Mastering Photoshop For Web Design
Large view

Preview-3-small in New eBook From Smashing Magazine: Mastering Photoshop For Web Design
Large view

Preview-5-small in New eBook From Smashing Magazine: Mastering Photoshop For Web Design
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Motivation behind the book

In the foreword, Thomas describes his motivation:

“This book was written in the hope of filling a gap — a gap that has existed for as long as designers have been using Photoshop for Web design; a gap that we so often fill with tutorials focused on the latest trends and on
inspiration galleries that are quickly browsed and forgotten; a gap that is growing as quickly as our technologies. It’s a gap of foundation.

The fast pace of the Internet has focused us on the latest and greatest techniques, which typically have a lifespan of only a few months. Rarely do we focus on the fundamentals — the principles that outlive the trends. Unfortunately, the principles often appeal to us less than the shiny and new.

Photoshop tutorials offer quick results. They hold our hands step by step until something incredible appears, but they rarely explain in depth the principles that allow us to create something unique and incredible of our own. If you’re a beginner, I hope this book gives you the comprehension you need to bring your ideas to life. If you’re a veteran, I hope it unveils some of the mysteries that have always boggled you.”

The book is not protected by DRM and is available exclusively in the Smashing Shop. Please respect our work and the hard effort of our writer. If you received this book from a source other than the Smashing Shop, please support us by purchasing your copy in our online store.

Button in New eBook From Smashing Magazine: Mastering Photoshop For Web Design

Thank you.

© Vitaly Friedman for Smashing Magazine, 2010. | Permalink | Post a comment | Add to | Digg this | Stumble on StumbleUpon! | Tweet it! | Submit to Reddit | Forum Smashing Magazine
Post tags: ebook, mastering, photoshop, smashing

March 21 2010

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