Guest post by Eric Giguere
Most nonfiction books eventually stop selling because they’re outdated in some way. This is especially true of technology books—often outdated the day they’re published—but it applies to almost any book.
The obvious solution is to publish a new edition of the book with revised material, but that’s not always possible. The publisher may not want to revise the book. Or you may not be interested enough in the topic any more to do the revision. Either way, you don’t normally see more money from that book once it’s stopped selling. But, with Google AdSense, you can make more money from your old material by putting it on a website and displaying targeted advertisements next to the content.
How you do this is very simple. First, obtain the rights to the material if they’re not already yours. This may require some negotiation: if your book’s not formally out-of-print yet, ask the publisher to revert the rights back to you. If they’re unwilling, ask them if you can at least have the rights to place some of the book content (like the most important chapters) on your own website. They may be more amenable to that.
Once you have the rights, convert the material into a set of HTML pages. How easy this is depends on whether or not you have electronic versions of the original text. If you have to retype everything, it’s probably not worth the effort. Note that you can also extract the text from the PDF files that the publisher might have sent you at some point during the proofing process.
Converting the content to HTML will probably take several hours to do a good job of it, so don’t underestimate the time this step will take. Here are a few rules to keep in mind:
Put each section or subsection on its own page. Don’t do one chapter per page. This will expose the reader to more advertisements, which means more chances for you to make money, and it also ensures that the advertisements that are shown are better targeted.
Keep simple search engine optimization (SEO) principles in mind when you create the page. SEO is important because a lot of your traffic will be from the search engines, so you need to make sure that the search engines can find your content appropriately.
For example, the title of the HTML page should be the title of the section, not something like Section 12. Even the name of the HTML file itself should be based either on the section name or else the keywords that best describe what the section’s about. Place the section title in an headline tag.
Highlight the occasional important keyword in bold. Rewrite a few sentences here and there if necessary. There’s lot of material about SEO available for free on the Internet to guide you.
Organize the web pages intelligently. Make sure that each section links to the next and previous sections in the book, that there’s a table of contents page listing all the sections, that each section also links back to the table of contents. Make it easy to jump around the book.
Put the pages up on a site. If you don’t have your own site, get one. It’s cheap and easy. Get your own domain name. Never use someone else’s free domain name.
Join AdSense. Once your site is up, apply to join Google’s AdSense program (http://www.google.com/adsense). AdSense is a program that allows you rent space on your web pages to Google, who then uses it to display advertising. You get a cut of the money they make from the advertising – whenever a visitor clicks an ad.
For a quick summary of how AdSense works, see http://www.memwg.com or read my book, Make Easy Money with Google. There are other advertising programs out there as well, but AdSense is the best to start with unless the content of your book doesn’t fit within AdSense’s content guidelines.
Place the AdSense code (you literally cut and paste it) on your pages. You’ll start seeing contextually-selected advertising. Whatever you do, though, don’t click any of the ads yourself –you’ll get yourself kicked out of the program.
Start getting traffic to your site. Submit it to the various search engines. Place a link to it in your email signature. Tell your mailing lists about it. Encourage other websites to link to your new site.
If you’re into blogging, you can also republish the content in a blog, either in addition to the website or as a replacement to the website. Blogs can be real traffic generators, so they’re good to have.
You probably won’t make a lot of money with this, but it’s definitely possible to make some money this way. And doing this simple program might make you see your content in a whole new light. You might find your self wanting to use the content as the basis for further articles or even books.
About the Author
Eric Giguere wrote Uncommon AdSense: Expert AdSense advice in one convenient package. You can learn more about the book at http://www.memwg.com or by mailing Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org.