From Lewis Cunningham
Viral Marketing With Ebooks
Are you looking for new ways to put your business in front of a
technical crowd? Are you trying to reach a new audience for your
software and services? Press releases might get the analysts talking
but they really don't get into the hands of the right people, the
people who are willing to pay you.
Print magazines are going the way of the dodo. I'm a technical
guy. I like to keep up with many different technical areas and
technology news but I'm inundated with magazines, almost all of them
free. If you put your ad in one of these magazines, I'll probably
never notice, even if I do get time to read the magazine (many of
them end up in my recycle bin unread).
Online advertisements work. Google and many other advertising
companies are making a killing. They're even targeted well to a
degree. Is there a downside to them? Yes, there is. First, I don't
particularly like the bidding system, second you have to keep paying
to keep the ads going, and third, I use ADBlock
to block online ads.
So, how do you get your company, product or service information in
front of a targeted group and keep it there? What you need is
something viral that will be valuable long after the initial viewing.
That's where I comes in.
Ebooks and Whitepapers
I am writing a series of EBooks and whitepapers. An EBook is like
a white paper but longer. In general, I would say a whitepaper runs
2-10 pages while an EBook might be 25, 50 or even 500 pages. My
EBooks will vary in size based on the topic.
Another difference between whitepapers you may be familiar with
and my products is that most whitepapers are more marketing than
helpful. As a techie, I have read many whitepapers promising the
secrets of new technologies or hands on, walk away tips for enhancing
my skills and all I got was a 5 page marketing handout for some
product I had never used or heard of. That's a sure fire way to end
up in the garbage.
I don't write marketing drivel (or Marketecture as it is called),
I write references and how-tos. Intro To SQL, Intro to
Relational Databases, Modern Replication Tools, Running
Oracle in the Cloud. These are all EBooks (or real, technical,
useful whitepapers) that will appeal to a wide variety of readers.
And since these are free references (in Adobe PDF), they will be
passed around, virally, and be used and referred to again and again.
Free as in Free Beer
Free? Why would I write free EBooks? I don't know about you but I
like to eat. Even more importantly, I like to feed my family. I also
like technology and I like to write. So how can I, and why would I,
give these EBooks away?
I want these books to go viral. On my blog, An
Expert's Guide to Oracle Technology, one of the most frequent
questions is what book should someone use to master a particular
technology. Usually, the person would like to read it for free, if
want to write books that are useful to the person reading them. This
is where you come in. I am looking for sponsors and advertisers for
these EBooks. I'm not going to plaster the books with so many ads
that it gets distracting to the reader. I just want one (or maybe a
few) sponsor(s) per book. What would a sponsor get? See the image to
the left. Click the image to see a larger view.
Did you notice the title bar (blue at the top)? How about the
"Sponsored By" at the bottom? How would you like to be
"Company A"? "Company A" is what I call a primary
sponsor. Only one sponsor can be a primary sponsor. The primary
sponsor gets top billing as well as two, full page ads, several
banner ads throughout the book and an “About This Sponsor”
section in the preface of the book.
"Company B" is a sponsor. There may be a few sponsors
per book. A sponsor gets a half page advertisement and a one or two
paragraph write up at the end of the book.
A book may have an exclusive sponsor. Advertisements and company
write ups would be discussed on a case by case basis.
addition to sponsors, I will be offering a handful of banner ads.
These ads will be placed in the middle of the page so that readers
will more likely stop and read the ad.
One benefit of ads in an EBook is that they can't be turned off.
There are no AD blockers for PDF files. If you provide a link to
your web site, that link will be included in the final PDF and
readers can click straight through to your web site. Click the
picture to the left for an example of a PDF click through.
In addition, if you sell a product or service, I can write an
EBook or whitepaper for you on that topic. The caveat here is that,
as part of this series of documents, I am interested in writing
references or how-tos rather than straight marketing whitepapers. I
am willing to discuss any of your writing needs, however.
If you have an idea for an EBook, that you would like to sponsor,
please contact me with details. I will research your topic and,
based on your requested topics, provide, at no charge, a table of
contents and an estimated cost of sponsorship.
Wide Internet Placement For Your Company
Where will these books end up? Electronic versions of the ebook
will be made available, for free, on a high-traffic blog (An
Expert's Guide To Oracle Technology) and my own web site
Extracts, and potentially entire books, will be made available though
online file sharing sites such as Scribd.com.
Your sponsored book will be available, at a very low price, at
many online ebook bookstores, including the Amazon
Kindle Bookstore, and Mobi
Pocketbooks. The book will also be available for sale through
it's own E-Store.
Of course, you may also make the ebook available on your own, or your
Print versions will also be made available through online book
stores such as Amazon.com
For a fairly low cost, someone who wanted a hard copy could order one
online. This means that, if you are an exclusive sponsor or if you
ask me to write about your product or service, you would be able to
order hard copies for passing out to customers or at events like
The ebook will also be fully
searchable through Google Books. Someone may search for a term
related to your company, and your information will be available
through a valuable ebook. Your company gains mindshare through the
simple queries millions of internet users run everyday.
All of these sites will contain information about the primary
sponsor. The name of the company at a minimum. Most of these sites
allow a preview of the book, including the preface where your
company's description and contact information will be available.
Contact and Pricing
The cost of being a sponsor or advertiser varies based on the
type, topic and length of the EBook. The length of the document will
determine the number of available advertising slots. Costs will be
comparable to what you might be charged for a single whitepaper but
the ebook will be worth so much more.
Related blog postings, podcasts and webinars based on your
sponsored ebook may be made available to the general public.
Sponsorship opportunities for these webinars will also be available.
The primary sponsor of any ebook will be given priority for these
If this is of interest to you, please email me at
for additional details and the current set of topics that I have
planned for this series. If you would like to see my technical
qualifications, please ask for a resume.
I would also like to discuss any additional writing needs that you
may have, including whitepapers, sales copy and marketing literature
such as brochures and direct mail.