The Power of Re-Purposing Content Helps Sell Books

I've always been a big believer in re-purposing content -- re-writing and re-publishing articles into presentations, turning press releases into web content, turning web content into e-books. And a recent experiment proved the power of revising my past submissions I'd already made to a popular article directory, EzineArticles.com, and turning my words into an offline business magazine article to reach a whole new market. You can too.

Here's how I did it:

The story begins in January 2012. I was reviewing progress we'd made selling used books online on the Amazon Marketplace over the previous year. I realized the many lessons that I had learned along the way could be valuable to other wanna-be used book sellers. It's a simple, no-frills way to make extra money online that practically anyone can do in their spare time. I decided to make an outline on what I wished I'd known from Day One, then took that outline and wrote a how-to e-book on how others could copy my success.

I decided that since I was selling used books on Amazon, I might as well sell my e-book on the Kindle Direct Publishing (DTP) platform. It was a simple process. I formatted the ebook myself, created a crude cover myself, and uploaded the ebook myself.

I made the bonehead decision to be clever with my headline (never a good idea): "How To Make Easy Money Selling Dirty Used Books On Amazon." My original idea was to explain that many of the used books I buy for pennies on the dollar are dirty and dusty; but I can turn around and sell them for  5, 10, maybe 20 times what I'd paid for them when they sell online. But my attempt to be clever came back to bite me: I overlooked the fact that people would think this had something to do with porn. I quickly re-titled and rebranded the ebook with the title, " How To Make Easy Money Selling Old Used Books On Amazon ." Slight wording change. Big change in sales. People started downloading the ebook. I was racking up sales on autopilot.

My next step was to publicize my new creation. I turned to my good friends at EzineArticles.com, and authored about 12 different articles on the subject of buying and reselling old used books, working from home. Some rehashed the info I'd put into individual chapters, while others gave brand new insights and overviews on the business of home-based bookselling. In my book, EA is a great way for authors to have their work republished by ezine and website publishers, and to drive more organic traffic to their own business website. The tools at EA are fantastic. They make writing the articles a snap. And, when the article is added to their directory, I was seeing a nice pop in traffic, as those articles tended to rank very nicely in the search engines Yahoo, Bing and even Google (sometimes). But sadly, those high rankings would fade, and those articles tended to drift down, down, down in the rankings until they were virtually invisible.

One day in April 2012, I made a list of ways to improve traffic to my Amazon Kindle E-book page to help improve sales, and I jotted down "Get article published in business magazine." As motivational speakers and authors always say, you don't really have a goal until you have it written down. I decided that I would get my work I'd already researched and written about and published at EzineArticles.com, and revise and re-purpose it in a magazine.

Which magazine?

I had no clue.

So I did an Internet search using the phrase "home-based business magazine" and researched the contact forms of the magazines that looked promising. Some listed writer requirements. Some didn't. Some made it easy to find the information. Most didn't. Some magazines we're magazines at all, they were websites posing as magazines. Some magazines weren't magazines at all because they had gone out of business. But I found about a half dozen titles that seemed to fit the bill as a work-at-home publication, glossy newstand magazine which published either monthly or quarterly. And then I began sending e-mail queries.  Those e-mail were worded like this:


Dear Editor,
Thank your for the opportunity to have my article considered for publication in your magazine. You can publish this article for free in your magazine and on your website, provided the following author's resource box is included at the end of the article:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steve Johnson's newest e-book "How To Make Easy Money Selling Your Old Used Books On Amazon"  is now available in the Kindle E-Book Store at Amazon. You can read a free sample chapter here:
 
http://www.amazon.com/
dp/B007H3JEKA

Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,
Steve Johnson

==============================
=
Article Length: 1295 words
==============================
=
How to Start Your Own Online Used Book Store
By Steve Johnson
(My article was attached here.... all 1295 words of it!)

It wasn't long -- perhaps a week -- when I received the following e-mail from the editor:




Hello. Thank you for emailing your press release to Home Business Magazine titled "
How to Start Your Own Online Used Book Store."  We  are  interested in possibly reprinting  it in the  July/August 2012 issue or a future  issue of Home Business Magazine.  You would be sent a copy of the issue once published. The reprint will include the following contact information at the end that will generate a response for  your client, your business, and your website:
Steve Johnson's newest e-book "How To Make Easy Money Selling Your Old Used Books On Amazon"  is now available in the Kindle E-Book Store at Amazon. You can read a free sample chapter here:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007H3JEKA
If possible, please provide a high resolution photo of   yourself/your client  by  April 25th, 2012,  5pm CST to me via email to go with your credits. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Stacy Ann Henderson, MBA
CEO/Editor-in-Chief
United Marketing and Research Co., Inc.
Home Business Magazine


I waited about 2 months, and then at the end of June I received a copy of this magazine in the mail:


My eye was drawn to the front cover.... spotting the title of my article for all the world to see!


Flipping open the magazine, I found my byline displayed under my headline:


And, most importantly, when I checked at the end of the article, there I found the payoff .... my author resource box, suggesting that the reader go download a free sample chapter of my e-book in the Amazon Kindle Store!



Sweet!

No, I didn't earn a writing fee. But the extra exposure was well worth the little bit of work this required and the short amount of time it took me to re-purpose the material, contact the magazine editors, submit my work and get added exposure to an offline market I had not been able to reach by only advertising and networking on the Internet.

To sum it all up, my advice to other e-book authors or website content creators who want to re-purpose your content can be summed up as follows:

1. Research and write the best content you are able to produce.
2. Write on a subject that appeals to a niche market that has money to spend and urgency to uncover the information you are an expert on. Publish to your own blog, to your website, or to an article directory (as I mentioned before, my favorite one is EzineArticles.com).
3. Make a decision to expand the reach of your work and brainstorm all the possible ways you can revamp, reconstruct, or re-purpose your work. Write with your new niche market in mind. Put yourself in their shoes. Explain terms and techniques perhaps old hat to you but completely foreign to them. Provide step-by-step how-to descriptions. Don't forget to decide what you want them to do (i.e., in my example, the entire article was tailored to whet their appetite and then get them to link through to my Amazon Kindle E-book sales page to read the free sample chapter. Offering them the free sample is a no-risk way to invite them to browse my content and -- hopefully, fingers crossed! -- buy my e-book. Keep your endgame simple and direct. Asking your reader to make too many decisions at this point will ensure they will make none.
4. Once you've made your decision, follow through that same day getting started seeking out contacts, emails, phone numbers, addresses, websites and anything that will move you toward your goal. I like to say, "You can't do everything at once... but you can do something at once." Do something. Every day. My advice: Set a goal. Set a deadline. Set yourself down in front of your computer and follow through.
5. Once you get favorable feedback, immediately follow through and provide them everything they need. I procrastinated in getting my photograph e-mailed to the editor before the publication deadline. I don't know that having my photo in the resource box would help response. But I should have followed through. I'll remember to do that next time. Don't make that same mistake yourself.
6. Wait. Patiently. Don't call or write the editor. They sent my copy of the magazine as they promised. I just got busy working on other projects. When the magazine arrived, I'd nearly forgotten about it. Then, when I recognized my article title on the front cover, I was happy I'd spent a few hours of my time to follow through and get the extra exposure from the articles I'd already published on EzineArticles.com.
7. Repeat Steps 1-6.

Re-purposing content is a simple way to increase the return on investment from your previous work, and it's a great way to reach out to new readers and prospects as well.

I'd say the experiment went rather well.

I'll post more in about one month (July 2012) to determine if my little experiment paid off with increased views -- and higher sales -- of my e-book. Stay tuned...

And who knows.... maybe this article on my blog is simply another attempt to re-purpose something I have already re-purposed.... and could in itself be a good candidate to republish as an e-book on Amazon Kindle, teaching others how to save time and get more exposure for their infopublishing business! Like I said earlier.... stay tuned....

UPDATE JULY 21, 2012: So far this month sales are slightly ahead of previous months, and they are staying steady even though I increased the sales price to $4.99. There a fewer visitors 'borrowing' the e-book through the Kindle Lending program; even those are a profitable source of revenue. In my last report the borrowed books were netting royalties of $2.08 each. I'll report more by August 1st on total sales to determine if offline marketing such as this experiment were worth the investment of time and effort... aside from the bragging rights to being published in a magazine!
UPDATE AUGUST 4, 2012:  Summing up the past month after getting my e-book extra attention from this magazine, total sales dropped toward the end of July. As I noted earlier, I raised the price to $4.99 mid-month. Then, I decided to drop the price to $2.99 and eeked out a few extra sales before the month's end but earned about $1.40 per sale less than the first part of the month. All in all, I'd say that getting my article published in the magazine as described above was important, it is not the most important way to drive sales. I'm convinced now that a similar article published online, whether in a blog or an ezine, can indeed trump an offline article in a magazine or newspaper.