I love learning about new categories and sales strategies. I’ve spent so much time in the tech and business book world that I’ve missed some fun spaces.

We adopted a dog last week. He’s about one and we don’t know much about his prior history except that although he is generally good natured, he was in a house without kids and cats, while we have a few of each. So this is a new adventure. Our last dog was very obedient from the get-go and lived only to please and if we wanted him to live with cats, that was fine by him. The new guy, Montana, has a much more pronounced prey drive, so we’re doing everything we can to try to acclimate him to his new situation while protecting our feline relations.

So, as with anything new in our lives, we first turn to the web for answers. What I’ve found is a huge market of competing ideas and philosophies on dog training. And a surprising (to me) number of trainers have self-published books or ebooks and they’re doing a credible job of online marketing using a mix of free content, eZines, bonus eBooks, add-on videos, audio teasers, forums and email consultations: a many headed hydra of content.

When I have questions about my dog’s behavior I want the information right away, and I can tell that other dog owners are in the same boat. These sites make it easy for me to get a sense of the training philosophy and the trainer and offer me lots of free goodies and sneak peeks at useful tips and techniques. You can see one good example at Adam Katz’s page here .

What’s notable is that these are writers who might not have the kind of profile needed to really make a trade book work, but they can find a reasonable market by selling their books and videos directly to the public, and with a much higher rate of return for each copy sold.

I’m not sure who said “content is king,” wait, I’ve googled it: yes, Bill Gates said this (among others) in an essay from 1996, where he also said, “If people are to be expected to put up with turning on a computer to read a screen, they must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will. They need to have audio, and possibly video. They need an opportunity for personal involvement that goes far beyond that offered through the letters-to-the-editor pages of print magazines.”

Even for 1996, none of that was really rocket science, but it’s certainly the state of the web today, and it obviously works for writers and business-people who can integrate content into their online business model.

Re Montana, we’re not very hopeful about the cat situation, but we’re going to keep working on desensitization and correction, and while we’re at it we’ll have plenty of support from online resources as well as professional trainers.

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