Give Your Self-Published Book the “Loose-Leaf Test”

How do you ensure that the information products you sell online give fair value to your customers? One way is to follow Internet marketing guru Fred Gleeck’s “10 times” rule. Fred says that the information products you sell should be worth at least 10 times the price you charge for them.

Alex Mandossian and I were discussing this in a recent ETR teleseminar – and looking for a way to determine whether a particular product and price point meet Gleeck’s criterion. The solution we came up with is something I call the “loose-leaf test.”

Here’s how it works…

Traditional nonfiction paperback books (around 200 pages long) typically sell for $10 to $20.

To determine whether your e-book is worth 10 times that amount – Gleeck’s “10 times” rule – print out the book manuscript on 8.5 by 11-inch sheets of paper. Now, three-hole-punch those pages… put them in a three-ring binder… and maybe even add tabbed dividers to separate the sections or chapters.

Information products in three-ring binders are typically dense in content… and consequently command much higher prices than bookstore books. It’s not unusual for these “loose-leaf services” to cost $100 to $200 or more per copy. (One loose-leaf service for executives on how to write and give speeches, American Speaker, sold for $297.)

Does your $20 e-book contain enough valuable, in-depth content that you could reprint the thing in a three-ring binder and sell it for $200 to customers who would feel they got fair value for their investment… and not ask for a refund?

If it does, you can rest assured that the content you deliver in your book is indeed worth at least 10 times more than the $20 you intend to charge for it.

However, if you think customers who would pay $200 for a loose-leaf version of your book (remember: same content, just different packaging) would feel gypped and ask for their money back, then your book doesn’t follow Gleeck’s “10 times” rule.

I increasingly see nonfiction business books that are thin and light. They present just one or two new ideas, often in a book of 150 pages or less.

If people buy such a book in a bookstore, they probably won’t complain. Expectations for trade books are modest. If it’s a good read, they’ll be satisfied enough.

But your customers perceive that information products published and sold online contain more specific and highly specialized content than “bookstore books.” So if you are an Internet information marketer, you have to deliver far more value to your customers for their money.

Gleeck’s “10 times” rule – and the Bly/Mandossian “loose leaf test” – help you ensure that you’ll do just that.

I have discovered that if the customer thinks an information product is worth the $20 he paid but no more than that, he still may be dissatisfied and want a refund.

One customer, JB, recently asked for a refund on one of my e-books. He wrote: “Your e-book was certainly worth the $19 you charged me, but no more than that. So please send my money back.”

At first, I thought, “How odd!” JB said the product was worth what he paid for it. So his desire for a refund made no sense to me.

But in Internet information marketing, we make big promises in our copy to grab the reader’s attention and make a sale. (In a bookstore, by comparison, the only “selling” is usually done by the book and its cover.) JB apparently felt that the book did not live up to the copy on my landing page, and was disappointed on that basis.

The solution, of course, is to charge less (not very desirable), write weak copy (also not a good idea), or, preferably, make the product stronger. Add content until the product meets the Gleeck/Bly/Mandossian test – and delivers content not just worth what you charged for it, but worth 10 TIMES what you charged for it.

When you sell an item worth $200 for $20, customer satisfaction will soar and refunds will be minimal to nonexistent.

As a famous marketer once stated: “It is our goal not to give the customer her money’s worth, but to give her MORE than her money’s worth!”

Or, more specifically, at least 10 times her money’s worth.

[Ed. Note: Info-publishing is one of the easiest and most potentially lucrative businesses you can go into. But if you don’t know where to start when it comes to creating your own info-publishing business, don’t worry. ETR is here to help. As a member of our elite Internet Money Club, our team of experts will walk you, step by step, through everything from setting up a website to creating your products to writing sales copy, and much more. Get the details here.

To learn more marketing secrets from freelance copywriter and marketing expert Bob Bly, sign up for his free e-zine, the Direct Response Letter. Do so today and get $116 in bonuses.]

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Bob Bly

Bob Bly is an independent copywriter and consultant specializing in business-to-business and direct marketing. He has been hired as a consultant by such companies as Sony, Chemical Bank, J. Walter Thompson, Westinghouse, and Prentice-Hall. Bob is also the author of more than 50 books including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Direct Marketing (Alpha Books), Targeted Public Relations, Selling Your Services, How to Promote Your Own Business, and Keeping Clients Satisfied. A phenomenal public speaker, Bob will share with you how easy it is to start your own business. Whether you’re ready to quit your job or are just looking to make a little money on the side, you’ll want to hear Bob’s advice.