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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Repurposing Content: A Strategy for Book Authors

A Guest Post by Tom Von Deck

Using a simple MP3 recorder, you can have yourself a book, an audiobook, an ebook or even an email correspondence course in as little as a few hours. Repurposing content means to use the same content for more than one media type. If you already have written a book, then repurposing your book means to offer it as a CD, a CD box set, a digital download or a multimedia course.

Print books are typically priced according to the number of pages and whether they're hardcover or paperback. Your book, if you've written one, probably costs less than $20.00 USD retail. Other media types are not necessarily priced this way. Some authors create multimedia courses and charge hundreds of US dollars for such a course. Audiobooks are often worth more than books. The perceived value is higher even though the content is the same. This is why a lot of marketing gurus don't even write books, but instead create "courses". The course may include a book, but you won't be able to get the book separately on Amazon in some of these cases.

I'm a book guy, so I didn't go this route. I wrote a meditation book called Oceanic Mind - The Deeper Meditation Training Course. This book began as both a print book and a PDF ebook. Since writing it in 2009, I have repurposed the content into several ebook formats and have partially repurposed it into a 400 minute long audio course.

The Deeper Meditation Audio Course
is not an audiobook version of the book. It has a different target audience, and the content is more secular, straight laced and business friendly. However, most of the outline for the audio course came directly from the table of contents for the book.

I used a free sound editor and MP3 recorder with a cheap $20 microphone and produced 65 MP3 files. The hardest part of the repurposing process was that the microphone turned out to be way too sensitive. The MP3s were filled with salivary sounds and breathy sounds coming from my mouth. The sound editing process mainly involved chopping out these fraction-of-a-second sounds. This editing process eventually shrunk my audio course from roughly 8.5 hours to 6 hours and 40 minutes.

The next step was to create 48kbps versions of each of the files for smaller file sizes, and add the correct meta information properties to each of the 65 files, I recorded the course at 128 kilobits per second which is good for making CD's without music. The 48kbps version is for digital download. I wouldn't recommend lowering this bit rate any lower than 48 or else your voice may sound like an alien robot.

After this, I turned it into a ZIP file so that people could purchase and download the course online. I used JZip.com to create the zip file. Now, people can download the course for $39.95 USD and listen to it instantly. Repurposing my book's content allows me to charge more than double what the book costs. Customers usually get a free copy of the book with the audio course, which leaves me with $25-$32 when all is said and done. This is still a lot more than the total retail cost of the book.

There are many resources and shopping carts to sell your repurposed digital content through your own website. Popular ones include EJunkie and Payloadz. Both of these will run you at least $15 USD per month, but there are alternatives. I use ByteCommerce.com which only keeps the money from the 20th sale of an item. That's their 5% cut. The only downsides are that there is less flexibility with handing out massive amounts of coupon codes, and the customer database has less features. There are other options out there, too. Choosing a shopping cart system is a matter of prioritizing your desired features.

There are resources available on the internet to repurpose your content into a CD or a CD box set. CreateSpace and CD Baby both come to mind. CreateSpace is great for box sets, although your royalties are dismally low if you sell them on Amazon through CreateSpace. CD Baby is more set up for single CD's, and there's a slightly less than modest setup fee for each individual CD.

Ebooks are usually the biggest pain in the butt when it comes to repurposing content. There are many online retail outlets, other than your own website, to sell ebooks. Each one has different demands for formatting your book. If you typed your book with a word processing program like Microsoft Word, the formatting of your book will not be fit for some of these outlets. You'll have to use special software to reformat it in Epub, Mobi and other formats.

Luckily, you can refurbish your content into multiple ebook formats in one shot by publishing with Smashwords. Follow their style guide closely when you reformat your book. This will make your ebook worthy for distribution in iBooks, Amazon's Kindle Store, Barnes and Noble's NookBooks store, the Sony Store and others. Smashwords will only take a small cut of the royalties. They are very generous. The only downside is that you get paid quarterly.

Another method of repurposing nonfiction content is membership site coaching programs. Members may pay you a monthly subscription fee to gain access to a site which offers useful content such as video, audio, webpages, chat opportunities with the author and emails. Sometimes the content on such sites is time released so that the student gets a little bit at a time over a certain time interval.

This article can go on forever. hopefully a few lightbulbs went on above your head and you're ready to repurpose your content in creative ways. Enjoy the creativity phase because the repurposing process may become tedious at times. Try to make it a fun journey all the way through. The long term rewards that come from repurposing content will likely be worth the effort.


Tom Von Deck is a corporate meditation trainer, international speaker and author of Oceanic Mind - The Deeper Meditation Training Course. Tom specializes in making meditation a much easier and more customized process for busy people and everyone else from all religious backgrounds and lifestyles. Tom's main site is www.DeeperMeditation.net. His book and blog can be found through the links below.
Tom's meditation book
stress management blog

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