The biggest challenge for travel bloggers is often one of being discovered and establishing a loyal readership. After all, if you have more readers, your blog’s monetization has more potential to earn. And if you have more readers, it’s easier to make industry contacts to help you in your travels. No matter how you look at it, the more ways readers can find you, the more successful you’ll be as a blogger.
For travel writers, adding an e-book to their publishing plans is especially important. Why? Because as well as being a way to attract readers to their blogs, e-books can be a whole new source of passive income.
When the Content Marketing Institute [CMI] summarized its 2016 content and marketing report for business direct to customers [B2C], the number one way of reaching customers (in a blogger’s case, their readers are their customers) was through social media marketing. In fact, CMI research indicated 90% of marketers use social media. That means getting traffic through social media channels is almost as hard as getting your blog found in the first place.
Ideally, jumping into content areas that have fewer fish—or competition—in the sea of bloggers, is the easiest way to find readers. The good news is that CMI research indicated that only 30% of B2C marketers indicated they currently use e-books to spread the word. But jump in quickly, as it’s also a trend that’s growing.
The June 2016 K-Lytics report indicated that travel books have a growing momentum. Momentum is calculated on the rise or drop of the top 100 titles in a specific category of e-book sales on Amazon. So, the faster the books listed under travel move up the general best seller lists, the stronger momentum for the category. In fact, in just one month, this report showed that travel books increased in momentum by 12.5%.
But travel books don’t just have to be listed under travel—nor do you have to think of a travel book you might want to write as being similar to a Backroad Mapbook or Fodor’s Guide. As a blogger, you already take many different perspectives on the stories you write and the destinations you visit. Your travel book could readily fall into categories such as these too:
- History (17.1 % increase in momentum)
- Humor and Entertainment (13.4% increase in momentum)
- Sports and Outdoors (2.1% increase in momentum)
There are a few other things you may not know about travel books that can make the decision to write one a lot more inviting. For example, did you know that Amazon accepts e-books with a minimum of 2500 words for sale on the Kindle? Of course, short-short books should be priced accordingly to satisfy buyers, but think how long it would take you to pull together a 2500 word illustrated book about some aspect of travel, or a travel destination.
Another thing you may not know is that you can use some repurposed content in your ebook, as long as you’re the original creator. So, you could combine a few posts, add a great new introduction and a few extra chapters, spice things up with some of your awesome photos, and release it as an ebook. Maybe something like: Plan a London Weekend with the Kids, where you cover 10 of your family’s favorite places.
If you love Amazon and want to take the simplest route to publishing, you can become exclusive with their KDP Select publishing agreement. It also opens the door in many countries to two of their additional programs, which are closed to publishers who aren’t exclusive: Kindle Unlimited (subscription program) and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (one free borrow per month for Amazon Prime members).
However, if you really want your e-books to travel the globe, just like you do, you can choose Amazon KDP instead, and sell your e-books everywhere else, too. The easiest way to do that is with a distributor (sometimes called an aggregator), who will take care of everything else, from conversion to collecting money and delivering your e-book, once it’s uploaded. My favorite is Smashwords, the world’s largest distributor of independently published e-books.
By now, you’re likely wondering what’s the catch? Really, there isn’t one. If you can create a book that’s technically correct (both writing and formatting), you can start selling it tomorrow.
You don’t even need to make a monetary investment. Here’s how to e-publish for free:
- Create and edit your e-book in a word processor (Microsoft Word is the industry standard, but others can work)
- Format your book according to current requirements
- Create a cover according to current requirements
- Upload your book for conversion to Amazon and a distributor, such as Smashwords
- Use Amazon’s free product number and a free ISBN from your distributor
There are even plenty of free tools to help you market your e-books if you’re building a second revenue stream. Amazon has a great AuthorCentral that provides free author pages that can include everything from your blog to your video channel. Are you familiar with GoodReads? It’s a free website for book lovers to share their favorites—it has an excellent program for authors too.
Or, did you want to give that book away to loyal readers on your blog? You can do that too!
If you’re ready to take the first steps to publishing your own e-books, join Linda at TBEX Europe in her session: Writing an e-Book: From Content to Formatting to Publication
Author Bio: Linda Aksomitis has been an acquisitions editor for an e-publisher, published 20+ print books and ebooks with publishers in five countries, and self-published a dozen books in print and ebook format. She’s also a travel blogger at guide2travel.ca.