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Archive for June, 2011

Should You Write an e-Book?

June 27th, 2011 by Bob Bly

The overwhelming majority of e-books I see fall into one of two categories.

The first category is lousy quality in writing, editing, and page layout. They?are extremely amateurish?and therefore not worth reading.

The second category is e-books on the same? old topics that have been done 1,000 times before — topics like leadership, marketing, sales, starting a small business, how to get rich online. Not only are they on topics that are already overdone, but they repeat virtually the same information as other e-books on the topic.

If you are going to write a crappy e-book … or write an e-book that simply regurgitates other e-books on the same topic … I would urge you not to. The world doesn’t need more mediocre content.

On the other hand, if you think you can produce a quality e-book with original ideas, analysis, strategies, and content — fresh thinking the reader has not encountered before — then I say go for it.


Category: General | 52 Comments »

Protecting Your Intellectual Property Online

June 20th, 2011 by Bob Bly

One of my subscribers SP writes: ?How do I stop people who buy my e-books from making illegal copies and giving it to their friends??

?Here are a few techniques that offer a degree of protection:

?1?Have a copyright page in the front of the book. Add a copyright notice. Mine reads:

??? Copyright 2010 by The Center for Technical Communication. All rights reserved.?

?2?Register the copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office in Washington, DC:


?3?Lock the PDF so the contents of the book cannot be altered and the copyright information cannot be removed.

?4?Place this warning on the copyright page:

??This is NOT a free e-book!

??Purchase of this e-book entitles the buyer to keep one copy on his or her computer and to print out one copy only.

??Printing out more than one copy or distributing it electronically is prohibited by international and U.S. copyright laws and treaties, and would subject the purchaser to penalties of up to $100,000 per copy distributed.?

?5?Within the text of the book, put URLs of the landing pages for your other products and offers.

?That way, if the book is stolen and passed around illegally, you?ll at least get lots more orders from it.

?6?Offer an extra free bonus the readers of the e-book can download ONLY if they are ?authorized owners? of the e-book.

?That way, someone who has an illegal copy and wants the free bonus will go pay for a legal copy to get the free bonus.

?7?Don?t spend a lot of your time and energy worrying about people copying and stealing your stuff.

?Most people are honest. A few aren?t. In the long run, you won?t really be hurt by the few cheaters here and there. Dedicate your time and energy to other, more important issues.


Category: General | 83 Comments »

4 Things You Need to Know About Refunds

June 11th, 2011 by Bob Bly

Many marketers, both large and small ? and I include myself among the latter ? go bonkers when customers return products for refund.

BK, an executive with one of the biggest and most famous direct marketing publishing companies, told me each refund request drives the company?s owner crazy.

?Our books contain great information, incredibly valuable,? the boss says. ?Why should we allow someone to read the book, benefit from all that great content, and then cheat us by sending it back for a refund??

Perhaps you may feel similarly, or you?re asking the same question. If so, let me share with you a few important facts about refunds in your business.

FIRST, a refund doesn?t mean your product is bad or the customer doesn?t like it.

It may mean that, after reviewing your product carefully, they decide your product is not right for them.

Example: a customer returns your $300 DVD set on investing in real estate.

?It actually seems like a great program,? the customer says in his refund request. ?But after watching it, I?ve decided this isn?t a business I want to get into ? it?s just too much work!?

To me, this is a perfectly legitimate ? and reasonable ? position for the customer to take ? don?t you agree?

In this case, offering a refund is not only a legal requirement, but also eminently fair:

Why would you want your customer to be out of pocket $300 for something he can?t use?

SECOND, offering a refund doesn?t cost you money. It makes you money.

Novice marketers fret about offering a money-back guarantee.

?If I do that,? they worry, ?won?t some customers take advantage of me by reading my book, profiting from the information in it, and then sending it back for a refund??

Yes, some will.

But here?s the thing: offering a money-back guarantee reduces buyer reluctance and increases buyer confidence ? resulting in more orders.

In almost every instance, the greater revenues and profits from the increase you get in orders by offering a guarantee is MUCH greater than the small amount of money you lose issuing refunds.

After all, would you buy a product for $30 or $100 or more ? sight unseen ? without a money-back guarantee?

Of course not.

THIRD, longer-term guarantees are better than shorter-term guarantees.

If you are currently offering a 10 or 15-day money-back guarantee, extend it to 30 days.

Already offering a 30-day money-back guarantee? Test a 60 or 90-day money-back guarantee.

The longer guarantee term invariably increases response rates and sales, because it eliminates the concern buyers have with short guarantees ? specifically, that they will forget to open and try the product — and by the time they get around to looking at it, the guarantee will have expired and they?ll be stuck with it.

But amazingly, the longer guarantee actually reduces refund requests, rather than increases them.

Reason: the buyer is in no hurry to evaluate and return the product, because you are allowing him to try it according to a more leisurely schedule.

Result: the buyer soon forgets about the guarantee ? and whether he actually uses the product or not, just keeps it.

FOURTH, generous guarantees sell more product than miserly guarantees.

Ever see a guarantee that says money back if product is returned ?in saleable condition??

The prospect worries that you?ll claim it arrived scratched or broken, and won?t honor your guarantee because it?s damaged and can?t be resold.

Similarly, some sellers of information products offer a money-back guarantee, but only if you offer documented proof that you followed their system and it did not work for you.

But what if I get your system, and something comes up, and I decide I don?t have time to work through it ? are? you telling me I?m stuck with it because I didn?t use it?

The more unconditional your money-back guarantee, the higher your response rates.

Conditional guarantees depress orders.

Here?s one interesting thing to consider?.

A year or so ago, I began selling e-books online.

With a physical book, the guarantee is: if you don?t like it, return the book, and we will refund your money.

But you can?t really return an e-book.

I thought about eliminating the guarantee, but realized this is absurd.

So instead, I stress the fact that they can get a refund without returning the product in my guarantee, rather than downplay it.

My standard e-book guarantee reads:

?If you are not 100% satisfied for any reason ? or for no reason at all ? just let me know within 90 days.

?I?ll refund your $29 payment in full. No questions asked. And you can keep the e-book FREE, with my compliments. That way, you risk nothing.?

Result: my refund rate on e-books is lower than for any other information product I sell, including CDs and hard copy books.

In fact, I get very few refund requests on e-books, though one could say my guarantee openly invites people to take advantage of me.

My conclusion?

Yes, there are a few con artists out there.

But most people ? especially when you are open and fair with them ? are honest, and will be fair with you in return.

So, follow my advice on refunds in your business. Then watch your sales volume ? and profits ? soar.

I guarantee it ? or your money back!


Category: General | 58 Comments »

Is Your Job Fun?

June 2nd, 2011 by Bob Bly

My job is writing, and I have always found it fun as a rule, though not for every minute of every day.

I was thinking about what it takes for a job to be fun and I think three conditions must be met:

1. You find the job interesting. For a writer like me, that means you find the subject matter interesting.

2. You go about your work as if it were valuable and important — even if it is not.

3. You have the right amount of work — enough to keep you productive and busy, not so much that you can never dig out of it.

Do you agree with these 3 requirements of having a job that is fun to you?

Any I am missing?


Category: General | 92 Comments »