01Why Author an eBook as a Real Estate Professional?
So, if you're capable of writing about what you talk about every day with customers, clients, appraisers, title company people, attorneys, and others in the real estate industry, then you're capable of writing an eBook that will have information of value to the readers. If you did nothing but sit down and write down 20 or more questions you've answered for clients, you'll probably have enough for a Top 20 YourTown Real Estate Questions Answered eBook.
I'm going to give you some options here for eBook creation, as well as whether you just want to offer a simple PDF for download, or actually have an ePub file for better viewing on readers like the Kindle, iPad, Nook, etc. We'll start with the simplest option and move up to actually having your book published and for sale at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony and other eBook retail sites.
For the first and simplest method, go to the next step and I'll give you options for creating a simple PDF file to offer on your website or blog.
02Creating a PDF eBook for Your Real Estate Website or Blog
First let's get to the "why" of doing this. If your website or blog isn't generating quality leads for your business, it's not of value. One of the very best ways to generate good real estate leads is to offer something of value on the site for which your visitors will trade their email address to get it delivered.
The simplest way to create the product, which can be called a "special report" or an "eBook" is to build it in MS Word or another word processor and then create a PDF file. You don't want to offer downloads or email attachments in any other format, as more than 95% of all computers can open a PDF file. Calling it an eBook doesn't require that you offer it in ePub or another eBook publishing format, and most readers can open a PDF anyway. You can use the "Print" function with certain software packages to convert the word processor file to PDF format. So, let's concentrate in this step on the simple PDF. Here are some inexpensive alternatives to the much higher priced Adobe PDF creation software and approximate costs.
Write your book/report in your word processing software, including any images or charts you want to include, then print it to one of these or another PDF creation software package. Now you have a PDF file and can offer it on your site. For a good form package to gather their contact info and even deliver the file immediately, check out my article about Wufoo forms and another about MailChimp.com.
Now let's look at some other options to actually produce an eBook in formats for eBook readers and even the option to publish it to online stores like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
03eBook Publishing & Marketing Services
While these eBook publishing services offer varying levels of service and eBook marketing, you should check them out and choose based not only on cost but what you'll need to reach your goals. If you want to sell an eBook, you can, and for just about any price you want, from $2.99 up. You can do this on most or all of the major store sites depending on each of the services. Offering your book for sale doesn't preclude giving it away on your site for free, and it may convey extra value if the site visitor sees that they're getting it at a 100% discount.
Smashwords - A free level to publish from a Microsoft Word file, and help if you need it or don't want to format the .doc the way that they want it. Approximately an 85% royalty payment to author of what stores pay out.
BookBaby - Basic $99 publishing package or Premium $199, but author gets 100% of what retailers send.
FastPencil - From free to around $299, and from 95% to 86% to author of what retailer sends. You build the book on their site so formatting is done for you, same as BookBrewer.
The retailer, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Sony and others, each take a portion of the sale price, usually around 20% to 30%, so you get the above percentages after that is removed and the proceeds are sent to your publishing service. With most of them you also can get a copy to distribute from your site in ePub or PDF format, so you can give it away if you want.
Join the world of self-published authors, and some of these services will even do print-on-demand hard copies too! Position yourself as the local real estate expert and reinforce that with the fact that you're an author with work published on the subject.
Real Estate Credibility & Leads From Authoring an eBook
Let's start off by relieving some pressure, as an eBook doesn't need to be a literary masterpiece, and can be as short as a couple of dozen small-format pages. It can be an enhanced and lengthened "special report" you've offered before, or even a collection of your most informative blog posts. So, don't stop reading just because you think you must author an encyclopedic classic.