When Should it be an E-book?

Self-published books are the new business cards. At least, according to the latest entrepreneurial bandwagon. The problem is that not every idea, or even collection of blog posts should be an e-book or a self-published print tome. Choosing the wrong message for the media can actually hurt your reputation—or make you a good illustration of the quote, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

Anyone who has taken my classes has heard me talk about fulfilling expectations. Anything with the term “book” attached to it (e-book, self-published book, text book, etc.) comes with certain expectations. It’s going to have some length to it. It’s going to provide information or entertainment in a coherent format. It’s going to have been through an editorial process of some nature. At minimum, it should have good grammar and spelling.

Add to that, writers and entrepreneurs alike are chronically faced with the problem of needing fresh web content and social networking content at the same time.

So here are a few tips on when and how to match what you have to say with the different publication options.

Free, fully public media:

  • If it’s a timely comment – Tweet it.
  • If it’s a short personal observation about the world around you – Facebook it.
  • If it’s an article incorporating personal perspective and public knowledge or news – Blog it.
  • If it’s a how-to demonstration – YouTube it.

Media for which you may ask for personal information or payment:
(note: this level of offering needs to be competently edited.)

  • If it’s a technical document between 5,000 and 20,000 words incorporating your proprietary expertise or research – Whitepaper it.
  • If it’s a technical document of 20,000+ words or a collection of whitepapers or blog posts – E-book it.
  • If it’s a polished, vetted, e-book and you need to be able to sell or hand it out in-person – Self-publish it.

Don’t let the misclassification of a document affect your credibility. Be sure to carefully match your content to the expectations of the reader. Happy writing!

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This entry was posted by on Wednesday, July 25, 2012.
Filed under: Articles, Blogging, For Writers, Marketing
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