Good horsemanship is built on solid basics…so is good business!

Posted by Lisa Derby Oden
Lisa Derby Oden
I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that
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on Sunday, 17 June 2012
in Guest Blogger

Get Paid More for Your Horse Knowledge by Writing, By Nanette Levin

This is an exciting topic that Nanette Levin shares with us! When you're looking for ways to generate more revenue from your area of expertise, sharing what you know can be a great way to accomplish that. You'll also enjoy listening to our upcoming audio library addition that discusses other aspects of this topic.

Today there are so many ways you can get paid to write about your passion – even if you don’t have a portfolio – it’s foolish for any owner of an equine-related business to disregard the possibilities and avenues to access these opportunities.

Few would argue the point that being a published author lends credibility. I won’t comment on the quality of some of what’s being published today, but suspect my critical eye as a longtime paid freelance writer is not typical of most readers. Regardless, if you’re in the equine industry and aren’t capitalizing on the power of the printed (or electronically delivered) word to help share your vision, reach more prospects and attain a broader reach, you’re missing out on the chance for vast reach and additional revenue.

There are so many ways you can get paid to write, but, for the purposes of this article, I’m going to focus on what you can do with Amazon via their Kindle program.

Horse people pay to subscribe to free blogs

I honestly can’t believe this. In fact, I forgot about it. Last year, I offered the Horse Sense and Cents® blog as a young horse training resource for 99 cents on Amazon as a Kindle edition. Dana Lynn Smith offered the idea along with a step-by-step process so easy I jumped right in and made it so. Frankly, Kindle provides outstanding directions and amazing customer service, so even the technology challenged (guilty) can navigate their offerings with ease. Anyway, checks are coming in for the free Horse Sense and Cents® blog (http://www.HorseSenseAndCents.com/blog) in $10 increments with Amazon taking 70% (if the cost was $2.99 - $9.99 they would only be taking 30% but my goal was eyeballs). That’s over 33 new subscribers for every check I get. Who knows how many others have found the blog and become loyal readers because of the listing. That’s the exciting part. Never figured I’d make a dime from this ‘product’, but saw the potential power of free advertising to such a vast audience.

You can sign up your blog with Kindle at: https://kindlepublishing.amazon.com/gp/vendor/sign-in.

How Kindle works

For those of you not familiar with Kindle as a business resource and how it’s structured relative to payment, you can download a document or website at no cost to you beyond your time. Amazon handles all the billing and automatically deposits money into your checking (or PayPal – perish the thought) account every month (provided sales are $10 or more).

Kindle (Amazon) pays 70% of the purchase price to you on items priced in the $2.99 to $9.99 range. For products on the other ends of the spectrum (lower or higher), it’s 30%. This works for e-books too. You can even use their calculator (that’s updated daily) to automatically adjust price for buyers in most European countries.

You need to sign up with Amazon as an author or publisher. That’s easy to set up too. We already had an account because we’re offering the Turning Challenging Horses Into Willing Partners book as a Kindle Edition (http://www.amazon.com/Turning-Challenging-Willing-Partners-ebook/dp/B005NIXVEG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1324393794&sr=8-2), but you don’t need to have a full length book to offer content for sale. Here too, there’s no cost for the listing upfront – Amazon collects when you sell. If you have valuable digital content that others may find useful, it’s a resource worth checking out. Free or for a low fee, if your content is relevant, people will find it and buy.

Downloading a book is a bit more complicated. I would recommend engaging the services of a graphic designer who understands coding and Kindle for this one, but if you’re determined to do it on your own, Amazon provides an excellent step-by-step process that includes walking you through how to format your document in Word and ultimately transform it into an HTML document in Word for download.

I’ve had some challenges getting the inside cover page to work with the e-booklets (delegated the formatting and Amazon set up of the Turning print book to others), but otherwise have been able to upload two e-booklets (Reaching Alpha Horses and Bringing Home an Off-The-Track Thoroughbred. We have the e-booklets on our website too (we’re using E-Junkie for our shopping cart, which is an easy and inexpensive way to automatically deliver purchased electronic documents) but believe the reach Amazon offers value far beyond their cut.  

e-booklets on Kindle

Kindle’s been pushing and promoting their novelette initiative of late. We produced our e-booklets prior to this launch, so we haven’t explored it yet, but will in the future. This offering involves short stories, books and other material in the 5000-10,000 word range.

One of the challenges we’re finding with the e-booklets (they don’t have an ISBN attached to them like the books and don’t come up in keyword searches beyond exact pairings of words in the title) is people finding them. Comments and purchases seem to drive the way listings show up (or even if they do at all) with these shorter missives.

Given our desire to get eyeballs on the these e-booklets (we have several more in the pipeline), I’d be happy to provide any reader of this blog 15 minutes of free phone consult time ($28 value) if they purchase one of the two current e-booklets ($2.99) and post a review on Amazon. You can find these as Kindle editions at Reaching Alpha Horses and Bringing Home an Off-The-Track Thoroughbred, or if you’d prefer a PDF, the e-booklets are available on the Horse Sens and Cents website. .

Amazon Associates

Another interesting option is the Amazon Associates program. If you’re an equestrian enthusiast that does book or product reviews, this might be a good tool for you to integrate into your blog or website to collect a little bit (usually 4-6%) on items you recommend that are ideal for your readers.

If your following is built on trust, throwing ads in without personal proof or context is short-sighted. If you use it to help readers find what they want, however, they’ll appreciate the convenience. As an example, you can buy Denny Emerson’s book, How Good Riders Get Good through an affiliate link to Amazon on the Horse Sense and Cents® website. It’s a great book for anyone who has wondered how others have become – or dreamed about being – a top level rider. Denny’s also a contributor to our Inventing Your Horse Career audio CD series (as well as the Turning book – the only one featured in both products), so obviously, we’re really impressed with his mindset and message. Offering an easy link to his book helps him, gives us a little income for the plug, but most importantly, creates an easy way for our visitors to find a valuable and pertinent resource for achieving equestrian excellence.

Get smart about building awareness while making money doing it

If you’re looking for a way to spread the word about who you are and what you’re doing, Amazon offers a lot of interesting ways to get the word out with products for sale. Of course, you can offer these for free too, but why not consider putting some of your best quality content up there for an inexpensive opportunity to those who seek what you offer and can’t find you otherwise? Plus, that whole notion of being a published author visible on a go-to site for information product purchases will lend credibility what you preach. What’s nice about Amazon is once you set up your account, download your document and create an author page, orders and payments are on autopilot. Why not give it a try?

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About the author

Lisa Derby Oden

I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that is! Early in my career I owned and operated Derby Farm, a riding stable in Buxton, Maine. I have also worked as a freelance riding instructor and bring all this practical experience to my consulting work. Blue Ribbon Consulting focuses on business and nonprofit development in the equine industry. I provide evaluation, planning, research, marketing and problem-solving services to take you successfully through all your horse business transitions. I've worked with clients around the world, and have received state and national honors for my work in the equine industry. Since I love this industry and believe in it, I've also been a nonprofit founder, board member, and executive officer for local, state and national organizations. I've worked with nonprofits in strategic planning, program development, corporate development, fundraising, grant writing and grant administration. Part of this wonderful journey has also allowed me to serve as adjunct faculty and guest lecturer at several universities, and to deliver business development, marketing, and leadership seminars throughout the United States. I also developed and oversaw the Entrepreneurs Resource Center for a community college. I've published two books, have been a columnist and freelance writer for many trade publications, and am a partner in the CD series “Inventing Your Horse Career.”

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