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How to Publish an Ebook Series – Part 5: Tools and Automation

How to Publish an Ebook Series – Part 5: Tools and Automation

By Pat Flynn on

Note: Some of the details regarding online payments may be out of date. For current recommendations regarding selling your ebooks, check out my guide eBooks The Smart Way (Editor’s Note 09/2015).

Have you ever seen something awesome and then say to yourself, “That is SUCH a good idea!!!” I’m sure you have. I do this all of time—especially when I see a vending machine. Yes, I think vending machines are awesome. Whether it dispenses toys, sour coated gumballs, or Doritos—the fact is that there is somebody (who is not present) making money for doing basically nothing. That person (or company) took time to set it up, stored it full of goodies, and after that just waits for the cash to roll in. Genius.

This is the same kind of idea (and really the huge advantage) of selling an eBook online. How I setup the automation process (my vending machine) with my eBook is what I’m going to go over today.

Recap

We’ve covered quite a bit of information so far already:

  1. Part 1—Why I chose to go with an eBook rather than a hard copy version.
  2. Part 2—How to Get Started after you have an idea about what you want to write about.
  3. Part 3—Important things your eBook you should include.
  4. Part 4—Getting Ready to Sell it Online.

Now that the eBook is done, it’s time to set up your system. One of the most common questions I get is what websites and services I use to automate everything. I’m excited to share this with you, but before I do, let’s again look at automation and where we stand in the equation.

In my post titled, The One Thing You Must Know About Passive Income, I described that automation is the most important aspect of setting up your passive income empire. If you remember, I showed you this basic chart:

As you can see, the only way we should be involved in the system is on the receiving end of some cash. Here are the tools I use so you can do this:

E-Junkie Shopping Cart

Although it has a funny name, if you’re selling stuff using the internet, e-junkie is a great option. I love it. Here is a quote from their website summarizing what they offer:

“E-Junkie provides shopping cart and buy now buttons to let you sell downloads and tangible goods on your website, eBay, MySpace, Google Base, Craigslist, and other websites using Paypal Standard, Paypal Pro, Google Checkout, Authorize.net, TrialPay, ClickBank, and 2CheckOut.”

How Does it Work?

Once you have your product, you upload it to e-junkie. You specify a price and then it spits out a code for a “buy now” or “add to cart” button that you add to your website. That’s basically it!

Here are a couple screenshots of what it looks like on my end:

Product Configuration

Button Code Generator

Instead of using their buttons, I used a different one that I found that was proven to increase sales, which I actually wrote an entire post about. Anyways, to give you an idea of the user experience, here are some screenshots from the customer’s end, using e-junkie:

A Button on my Sales Page (click here to see it live)

The button takes them to the shopping cart:

After checkout, they fill out billing info:

After the payment is finished, their web browser is redirected to a thank you page on my website. I’ll talk more about the thank you page later, but it’s useful because it provides confirmation of the purchase, and it can have the instructions for download (i.e., they should get an email within 5 minutes), and if they have any problems to contact me, etc.

Within the email that gets sent to them (automatically), there’s a link to download my eBook to their computer. Then, the transaction is complete, and everyone is happy. All of the emails are sent automatically, the products are delivered for you…what more can you really ask for?

How Much Does it Cost to use E-Junkie?

You’d think they would take a percentage of each sale, but they don’t. If you have between 0 and 100mb of product(s) stored on E-Junkie, it will cost you a whopping $5.00 per month. Above 100mb it’s $15.00 per month, and so on. Not bad at all. Really, it’s a small price to pay for such a good service.

Personally, I pay $15.00 a month because the audio files are quite large, but one-third of one sale pays for the service. Sweet.

Other E-Junkie Notables That I Took Advantage Of

  • A free one-week trial
  • Good customer service and forums
  • You can create your own discount codes for promotional offers and friends
    • I’ll go into more detail about this later in the marketing segment(s).
  • Affiliate management for your products
  • Customize emails that get sent to your customers
  • Can broadcast emails/newsletters to all of your previous customers
  • You can easily update your products and change prices if you wish

There are other websites that are similar to e-junkie, but I found this one to be the best for what I’m doing.

To use e-junkie, however, there is one more thing you’ll need, a payment processor. I use two: Paypal and Google Checkout.

Paypal

I’m sure most of you have heard of paypal before, and probably have an account too.

When you sign up normally, you are free to use the “Paypal Standard” features on e-junkie. This means that in order to receive payments, they must be from a customer who also has paypal. This narrows down your customer base…bigtime. In order for people to use their credit cards in your automation process, you’ll need to get what is called “Paypal Websites Payments Pro”.

When you apply for Paypal Payments Pro, you are given an API number which integrates right into E-Junkie. You have to prove that you’re going to be selling something and doing business online. Paypal will ask you (via phone) questions when you apply, and you should be ready to answer them.

Don’t worry, you can easily get approved if you can explain what you plan to do. Make sure you mention you’ll be integrating Paypal with E-junkie. Also, ask give them your website url and your sales page if you have one already (I’m kind of working backwards here, but I’ll go over the parts of a landing/sales page in my next post), and even offer to show them your eBook is you’re comfortable with that. This should do the trick. Be professional, and you should be fine.

After you’re approved, integration with E-junkie is fairly straightforward. I won’t get into the details here, but there are easy to follow instructions on E-junkie’s website that can you can use.

Cost

The price to use Paypal Payments Pro is only $30.00 a month. Before my eBook went live, I was pretty reluctant to commit to this much each month, but having the capability to accept credit card payments and automate is essential and really, $30.00 per month is again a very small price to pay.

Also, paypal takes a small commission for each transaction. To give you an idea, paypal takes $1.17 every time someone purchases my $29.95 eBook. It’s not much, but it does add up. There’s not really anything you can do to avoid this, but do know that you can write off these fees on your taxes (if you’re a business entity).

Google Checkout

Google checkout is basically the same thing as paypal, and I created a merchant account with them and also integrated it with E-Junkie so I could receive google checkout payments as well. All I’m really doing is giving the customer the most payment options. It’s not a bad idea, even though most people will probably pay by credit card.

To give you an idea, about 90% of my customers pay via credit card, 7% via Google Checkout, and 3% via their own paypal accounts.

Up Next

So I hope this answers a lot of your questions about what exactly I use on my website to help me with payments and delivery of my online products. I’ve shown you all the parts of your “vending machine”. Next, I’ll go over where you should put it and how you can make it better.

To be exact, in my next post, I’ll talk all about the landing page—the page people will see and read about your product before they take action and purchase it. This is such an important topic, I might spend two days on it—we’ll see. You can have the best product in the world, but if your sale page sucks, you’re not going to sell anything. Make sure you come back and check that out soon.

Thanks for your continued support and as always, comments and questions are welcome!

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