Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How to Publish Your eBook Bundle on BitTorrent

Direct-to-fan publishing is possible by BitTorrent bundles.

You can publish your own BitTorrent eBook bundles and here's how...

There are numerous benefits to getting bundles up and online. In most cases, authors are only seeing bundles as additional profit-makers.

Tim Ferris was one of the first to work this route - as I covered here.

It was because he chose an Amazon-owned publisher instead of Lulu or some other organization. That led to a boycott of his books by numerous booksellers. His solution was to use BitTorrent to distribute a torrent which contained additional materials which supported the book and gave a few hints of what could be found inside. Of course it was free.

What BitTorrent is up to now is to create a paywall, which would finance artists in their work. That project is still in alpha at this point.

The promotional bundles have seen over 60M downloads since it was opened in 2013. There's a Slideshare overview of the process here.

You can now at least take advantage of BitTorrent's wide appeal to a new audience. That's the multiple-eyeballs theory of marketing at work.

How to create your BitTorrent bundle

Of course, you have to sign up first. Visit Only takes an verified email. Simple.

Their User Interface is quite simple and direct. Their instructions:

Step 1: Create a title & description

Title and your publisher name are how users identify your Bundle. Describe important details in one or two short paragraphs.

Step 2: Upload your cover art

Click upload to open the image file picker. Using the recommended size for the images will ensure that your landing page looks great.

Step 3: Add your content

To ensure your Bundle works in all browsers we recommend these files formats: jpg, png, gif, mp4, mp3.

Step 4: Add an email unlock

Check the box to Turn on Email Unlock for some files.
Drag the Email Required To Download header above any files you want users to unlock.
To preview your bundle, click the Save & Preview button.
If everything looks good, go ahead and click the Publish button!
It's all pretty much drag-and-drop for your files - and up to you to create the title (which is limited to 36 characters) and your description (which is unknown, practically unlimited - but good copy never needs to be that long.)

You also have a background image to insert as well, a nicety.

And some of the other features is that you can add in a link to the site, your Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube links. Also, you can directly link to get it sold on iTunes and Googleplay.

This means for any individual book or series, this is an added distributor. (Put this one right between Kobo and your affiliate sales packages/binders. Reason being is that it's a shift to creating and including more materials other than simply publishing single books.)

Once you have your files uploaded, you hit publish - and then get an "Are You Sure?" notice - that you aren't going to be able to re-edit these files once you publish them.
You won't be able to change the files or their order in your bundle once you publish, so make sure it's exactly how you want it. You can change the title, description, and images at any time. 
So you want to make sure all the parts of any bundle are exactly as you want them - the only way to remove content is to cancel the bundle and then re-create it. (Been there, done that...)

When you visit that BitTorrent link for any bundle, you'll be able to see all the free material in their viewer. Images come right up, and PDF's are given a 4-page sample. The email paygate gives you permission to download the torrent file, then you are able to see 5 pages of the PDF online through their viewer. The viewer evidently only needs to download the individual files they want.

That covers how to build your promotional bundles. It doesn't replace the other research on how to get paying bundles up on affiliate sales platforms.

Obviously, you'd include an HTML or PDF file in every promotional bundle which would tell them how to get your other books. All the links to the various distributors and any affiliate sales platform you are using.

Here's an example of the test bundle created for "Masters of Marketing Secrets" series.

[Update: While you can view PDF's online through their online interface, .epubs and .mobi can only be downloaded and views. Code Alert - Meanwhile, there's something to do with setting up links - the trick is to add target="_blank" to your http link. Which means for this bundle, I'll later make the links to ebook distributors all live where they have a page for that series. Nice. It's also recommended you use a link-shortener with tracking.]
[Update2: Seeing Amazon images on other BitTorrent bundles, I checked the code - you can add externally hosted images (img src=), as well as alt and title tags - key to SEO, since they already add nofollow tags. Still playing with this. Limited documentation is found here. You then then use the various promo tools which provide an image with them. Not so obvious would be to create bundles/packages of your book series and post them to affiliate sites, then promote by BitTorrent bundle. This of course leads to more work on enabling affiliate sales...]

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