Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Are Ebook Covers and Book Covers Important?

Good morning, readers. I can't begin to tell you how
many emails and calls I receive about ebook covers from

- Are they important?
- Do they really help sell ebooks?
- Can I do it myself?

The answer to all of these questions is "Yes".

Walk into a book store and scan the store. You will see
shelves with book covers facing outwards and shelves with
book spines facing outwards. Which shelves will you walk
towards first? The ones with the covers facing outwards.


We all have predispositions towards certain colors and
images. For instance, many covers use pictures of
attractive people. Sex and sex appeal sell books. We like
to look at attractive people, so we are naturally drawn to
covers with beautiful women and handsome men who are
athletic or well-dressed. It's a natural instinct. And it's
a good reason to use pictures of people, even yourself, on
your own cover.

We are all drawn to certain colors based upon our mood and
preferences. For instance, I like the color green, so I am
naturally drawn to anything green. Other times I may be
feeling romantic so I am drawn to reds, pinks, purples,
blood and passion colors.

We also understand good design -- it is part of what make
us tick -- we recognize a cool looking car when we see it.
We see symmetry and balance. It's why we are drawn to art
and also why we find ourselves attracted to another person.
A book cover that reflects good design is attractive to us.

All of these things go into cover design. So as you can see
covers are important and they do sell books and ebooks.

In fact, a cover is even more important for an ebook
because it is an intangible product. You can't hold an
ebook in your hand and scan it to determine if you like it
or not. You can't form a connection or desire with
something you can't hold and examine. So the cover makes an
ebook tangible, and begins to build a relationship with a
prospect and helps create a desire to learn more and own it
and read it.

Now the big question is to whether to hire someone to
create your covers or to design them yourselves.

While you don't need graphic talent to design a decent
cover, it helps. But certainly there are many tools
available to help you create covers reasonably easily.

A really good cover designer is going to charge you $147.00
for a single cover, but you can acquire tools for less that
will enable you to create endless covers. So owning these
tools is a good investment if you will be publishing more
than one ebook over your lifetime.

The real question is this: what makes a good ebook cover

I have the answers for you in my new ebook Designing Ebook
Covers, and I have just lowered the price from $47.00 to
$27.00 for a limited time. Go check it out right now before
the price goes back up:

All my best,

Steven Schneiderman

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Don't Make These Video Mistakes!

Good morning, readers. Are you using video in your web
sites? You know it amazes me how many people utilize video

For instance, many folks -- the vast majority -- simply
upload their videos to YouTube or other video hosting
sites, and then cut and paste a line of HTML to add their
video into their web pages. While this is very easy to do,
it is also not the recommended way to do it.


Simple. At the end of your video, YouTube and most of the
other video directory and hosting services display
thumbnails of other people's videos. Sometimes those videos
are inappropriate for your site and your visitors.

After all, if you are trying to sell or promote something,
whether it's yourself or a product, do you really want them
to sit their watching videos from other people after they
watch yours? No, you don't.

Some video hosting services add advertising at the end of
your video. And those ads link to other people's sites.
This is a great way to encourage your visitors to abandon
your site prematurely before buying from you.

Not smart.

Now I know a lot of people say they don't know how to add
video to their own site. That's silly. There are many
low-cost and simple tools available to do this:

Video Web Wizard 2.0 - You simply browse to your file, pick
a video player, and click a button to convert. Then FTP the
files to your site and you are pretty much done.

Pinnacle System Studio 12 - You can get this online or in
your local computer or office supply store. It is a full
production studio. You import video from DVD or camera,
arrange scenes, add titles and special effects and music.
Look like a pro. Save in multiple formats including Flash.

Screen Cam Generator - This is a Camtasia clone. If you
can't afford the real thing, this less expensive version
may do the trick. It can capture videos of on-screen
activity, you can narrate, add music, and it has many other
cool features.

Visual Communicator - This is considered the creme of the
crop and enables you to shoot videos from your PC/laptop
with a webcam, read from a teleprompter, fade and
transition, add credits and effects, and even superimpose
yourself against a virtual set using a green screen.

Skin My Video - This is a collection of video player skins
to dress up your your web page and make your video look
cooler and more professional.

Video Post Robot - This tool will enable you to upload your
video to multiple video directories like YouTube among
others in a semi-automated fashion. A real time saver.

Instant Video Generator - This is one of the oldest and
easiest ways to add video to your site. Shoot your video
using your webcam, and then copy and paste one line to your
web page. Instead video!

Video Skins Pro - This is a brand new collection of video
skins for your video. You receive over 100 different
players in different sizes. Copy and paste HTML to your
page. Very easy to use.

Most web hosts will allow you to store your video files on
their servers. Even the most basic accounts can usually
handle this. Will your bandwidth costs go up by storing
your video on your web host? Possibly, but only if you the
videos are large and you get unusually high traffic. Try it
for a month or two and then consider choosing a different
web host plan.

So think about your present video strategy and look for
ways to make it better. Stop encouraging your visitors to
watch other people's videos and to abandon your site before
they take your call to action. It's not good business.

All my best,

Steven Schneiderman

Monday, October 27, 2008

New Cool Business Card Creator and other stuff!

Good morning. It's f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g in Tulsa this morning. I
hate this time of year. It's only been Fall for a month and
already I yearn for Spring!

Have a quick update for you -- two reviews -- one is an
incredibly helpful tool for everyone who has a business --
and the other is for a cool new toy that I know I want for

The Business Card Creator

Laughing Bird Software makes some of the easiest but most
powerful graphics tools around. Even if you are graphically
challenged, you can create amazing looking graphics.

Well, they just released a new tool called The Business
Card Creator. It comes with a library of professionally
designed templates which you can quickly and easily
customize on-the-fly. You can then either print them on
business card stock on your inkjet or color laser printer
or you can click a button and upload the graphics file of
your new business card to VistaPrint where you can get 250
full color business cards printed for under $20.00. Read my
full review here to see a sample of my new business card.


Do you like to watch DVD movies or play video games?
Imagine putting on a pair of sunglasses that enable you
watch your movie or game on a 52 inch TV inches away from
your eyes. It's like something from the future. You have to
see this to believe it. Total immersion.

This is going to be THE toy for adults this Christmas.
Check it out and then tell your spouse or significant
other, "I want HeadPlay for Christmas". Check it out here.

Last recommendation for the day. If you can't afford hiring
a consultant like me to assist you with your marketing
efforts, consider joining this new site run by marketing
expert, Armand Morin.

I can vouch for his creativity and marketing savvy. He's
made millions and built an online marketing company second
to none. This new service is bound to be one of the most
helpful marketing tools to hit the Net in years.

Armand is going to do free webinar on this Wednesday, the
29th, and I recommend you sign-up to listen to him. You'll
immediately see this guy knows what he is talking about and
you'll see how valuable his new Marketing Tutorials site
will be to you. Click here to learn more.

All my best,


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Chill in the Air

Good morning to all. Getting a little nippy out there in
the morning while waiting for the school bus with my kids.
Yikes. Can winter already be around the corner. Time to
shut off the A/C and turn up the heat. Momma, throw another
log on the fire. Daddy's home.

Oddly found myself alone this weekend. Wife and daughter
went on a Girl Scout camp out and son went to circus and
slept over friend's house. That left me alone for 24 hours,
and it felt really odd. Of course, I managed to fill the
time doing laundry (have to separate the loads in every hue
of the rainbow as my wife taught me or else I risk death if
the colors bleed), catching up on the bills (am I the only
one who hates this?), and working till 3 am on various
client projects. Yeah, nothing like a little down time when
the family is away!

As has become my tradition on my Monday morning rants, I have
a little something for everybody. First, here's some cool
new tools I reviewed this weekend:

Auto-Submit Article Machine:

If you need to stretch your promotion dollars, publishing
articles on free article directories is the best way to get
free back links to your site, This new service makes it
quick and easy business to submit your articles to the top
directories on the Net. Very easy to use. Intuitive and
good value. Improves your ranking. Learn more about it here:

Transfer My Video:

If you want to convert and transfer your favorite videos to
your iPod or other hand-held device, then this software tool
is exactly what you need. It makes a normally confusing
process push-button easy. Learn more about it here.

Next up, if you subscribe to other marketing newsletters,
have you noticed that everyone is using the economy as a
means to push their product? Every headline says something
about the failing economy in an effort to make you overly
concerned or alarmed. Like if you don't buy their product
right now, you are going to wind up on the street. So much
for scare tactics.

I agree times are bad, but I don't think that means you go
out on a shopping spree, buying a million useless ebooks and
software packages. Typically, those that invest in their
marketing and promotion during bad times will prosper more
than their competitors who tighten their pocketbooks. Why?

Well, the natural reaction to lean times is not to spend
money on marketing, advertising, promotion, new design or
new copy. That gives you a competitive advantage when you
do the opposite. So look around your niche and formulate a

Look for free or inexpensive ways to market yourself. And
if you don't have the right knowledge or tools to exploit
these areas then you should make some inexpensive
purchases to widen your knowledge and understanding. It's
the prudent thing to do. Here are some suggestions for you
or even for your employer:

1. Now is a good time to use Google AdWords to generate
traffic for your web site. Regional businesses should
exploit the power of local ads to focus your traffic and
generate more local buzz. If you don't know a lot about
AdWords get educated. The best ebook is this one.

2. Polish your site so it rises organically in the major
search engine rankings. I know a little about this. As most
of you know, my product reviews usually rise to the top 10 on
page 1 within a matter of a few days of publishing the
review. There is an art to this. You can accomplish similar
success. Read my ebook here.

3. Now is a good time to freshen up the look and feel of
your site. How is that ebook cover working for you? How is
your header graphic performing? Does your site have that
attractive Web 2.0 look? If the answer is "No" then you
should focus on appearance this month. You don't have to
be graphically skilled. There are tools you can buy that
make it easy for anyone to enhance the look of their site. Go
here for ideas.

4. How is your headline and sales copy converting visitors
to sales? Has your site performance stagnated? Are you
using email wisely to stay in contact with your prospects
and customers? Do you automatically send new subscribers a
series of emails through an autoresponder? If you answered
"No" then it's time to consider the possibilities.
Recommended tools include:

Headline Creator Pro - simple brainstorming tool

Secret Marketing Strategies - cheap killer ideas

GroupMail - perfect way to personalize and blast emails

Insider Secrets to Email Marketing - he Bible of email

If you invest a little time now, you can leap frog over
your competition. Don't ignore this call to action. Now is
the time to do something. It will make a difference in your
revenue later.

OK, another thing you should be doing is expanding your
network. I favor LinkedIn which is a business-oriented
networking service. Join it for free here.

Then start searching for people you know and start
connecting withe them. Then look at who they know and ask for
introductions to widen your reach and develop new
relationships. Get testimonials. Find new opportunities.

Then get linked in with me:

Alright, now it's time to get to work and embrace the day!

As usual, the first call or email is on me, so feel free to
send me your questions, and I will do my best to help you.

All my best,


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Guard Your Online Identity!

Today I wanted to remind you to safeguard your identity online. If you have a web site and include your signature within the site's sales letter, you are a sitting target for identity theft. All someone has to do is save the image of your signature from your web site and print it on a check with their inkjet printer.

That's pretty scary isn't it? About 6 months ago I realized this and immediately removed my signature from every one of my sites.

Don't believe me?

Do a search using Google image search for "signature.jpg":

It's a forger's dream come true.

Better get moving.

Until next time.

Steve Schneiderman