I was recently the victim of an e-book thief. It’s not something you can easily prevent, and you won’t get much help from Paypal if it happens using their service (as it frequently does). Here’s the gist of what happens.
- Someone uses a credit card or Paypal account to purchase your e-book.
- They wait until they receive the download.
- They dispute the charge, claiming they were a victim of fraud (as in someone stole their card or accessed their account without their permission to make the purchase).
- You’re pretty much SOL with Paypal as they don’t protect you with digital product sales (despite the fact that they actively promote their service for the sellers of digital goods).
In the several years I’ve used Paypal to sell digital goods, this never happened to me until recently. Then I was suddenly hit with two of these complaints within a week. One was disputed just 7 minutes after the purchase was made (a pretty good sign you’ve just been screwed).
So what can you do about this kind of theft? Unfortunately not much. These disputes won’t hurt your own reputation with Paypal because they know you have no control over the payment information others provide. But they also don’t intervene on your behalf even when the claim is utter BS like my little 7-minute wonder.
You can stop using these payment processors for sales. But that would hurt a lot of legitimate buyers. Given that I’m not one to tolerate this kind of crap, if I found out exactly who did it, I might very well pursue it further. But in this case it isn’t worth it.
What’s the biggest risk of this? It’s not that some dumb schmuck is going to steal your hard work. It’s that this kind of content thief sometimes also tries to distribute that work. That means you could find your paid e-books up for sale by a third party, completely cutting you out of the sale process (and potentially undercutting you). Or you might find it added to free .pdf distribution sites (although I have a long history of dealing with them in these cases). For now all I can do is keep an eye out for the stolen goods being distributed elsewhere.
Have you had to deal with digital content thieves? Were you able to do anything about it? If so, I’d love to hear your suggestions, so share them in the comments below.Read More
Today I finished outlining a short e-book. It’s for a series tied to my book-in-progress, The Query-Free Freelancer. It will be a part of a series of short e-books, inspired by friend and colleague Lori Widmer. The e-book series is designed to give readers something to tide them over while I finish the book. It will also help with brand recognition for the book (or series) and hopefully serve as a good platform piece to draw in others who might be interested in the later book.
The price of this e-book will probably be $4.95 — half the price of the last e-book which was a bit longer, and significantly less expensive than my more comprehensive Web Writer’s Guide e-book (also intended to be a series).
While this project is in the works, I thought it might be a good time to talk about the benefits of short e-books like these (25 pages or less for the sake of argument).
5 Benefits of Short Form E-books
- With very short e-books, you can price low to appeal to new readers without de-valuing your work or the information provided. Keep in mind we’re talking about “low” prices in terms of information product e-books — not fiction on oversaturated marketplaces like Amazon where rock bottom pricing has turned into a marketing frenzy.
- Short-form e-books let you release longer content over time. You might actually make more for the same amount of content if you break it up in smaller chunks than you would with a longer book — especially if you’re new to e-publishing and don’t already have a solid reader base.
- There are different standards for shorter e-books. A 15 page tutorial-based e-book for example won’t have to go through the same process as a print book to sell well. You can get by without several editors, a typesetter, or some other traditional publishing professionals. Of course how much you can do on your own depends on your release plan. I sell these only through my own sites as I already reach a good portion of my target market. If you want to compete on large marketplace sites, you might want to go for that professional design work afterall.
- These e-books are quicker to produce than longer versions. They get right to the point and can be written in a matter of days. I wrote my first in a Saturday afternoon and released it the following Monday. That one was for my former client base to explain concepts I found myself repeating to different people almost daily. While I now give it away for free, it used to sell for $17 (at 18 pages in the original version).
- Along those lines, short e-books can be wonderful portfolio pieces. Keep them informational. Teach people something. And show off some of your expertise. If you’re a service provider like I am, those short e-books can bring in quite a lot of work. In addition to selling the short e-book I mentioned above, it also brought in thousands of dollars in new client projects.
I’m finally launching my 30 Day Marketing Boot Camp for Freelance Writers tomorrow at AllFreelanceWriting.com. But by reading this blog you can access a special early bird deal — a one day sale today for 50% off the normal price of $9.97! That’s right — you get HALF OFF. But the sale only lasts until midnight. Spread the word and get your copy today!
To buy your copy just visit the e-book page on the writing blog and enter coupon code BOOTCAMP50 to get your copy of my latest e-book for only $4.98!Read More
Just a quick update on the first draft of The Query-Free Freelancer — it will be finished ahead of schedule!
As of tonight (I just finished Thursday’s scheduled writing early), I only have 7000 words to go before I hit the rough draft target for the nonfiction book-in-progress. By no means does that mean it’s soon going to be published. But this will be my first completed book draft, despite several previous outlines (fiction). So it’s very exciting for me, and it has me all geared up for the novel draft I’m starting in January assuming I have that outline finished before the end of this year.
On another note, I will also be releasing an e-book under the QFF brand — a 30 Day Marketing Boot Camp for freelance writers — this coming Monday. Actually, I’ll announce a sneak preview purchase day this Sunday exclusively here on this blog. Sunday will also feature a one-day sale for 50% off the $9.97 purchase price.
Things are going really well with personal projects right now, even if not where I’d like them to be on the client side at the moment. I’m feeling pretty good overall though, and the time going into these books, e-books, and site launches looks like it’s going to pay off nicely in the long run. Next time I’ll tell you about my next big project kicking off in 2011, how it ties to the upcoming murder mystery novel series, and how I intend to make money from the series beyond trying to sell books.Read More