How to Create a Workshop From Your Ebook

How to Create a Workshop From Your Ebook

So you wrote an ebook… now what?

Most people just slap their ebook up on their website and offer it to blog subscribers as a free download. A few others stick a price tag on their ebook and try to make a few bucks. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, passive action leaves potential on the table collecting dust.

Want an idea that turns your ebook into your best business asset ever?

Use your ebook to create a workshop.

Ebooks don’t have to stay online. There’s no reason they can’t be used outside the virtual world and work to engage new potential clients. In fact, using your ebook as a marketing tool in your workshop could light up your sales – and bring you plenty of credibility.

It’s easy to create a 3-hour ebook workshop using your ebook content. You have workshop potential in the palm of your hand.

For example, you could use your ebook to prepare worksheets for the techniques you outline in your content and then work with people in person, in a hands-on setting to help them really grasp the material.

Or you could put together a presentation that takes your ebook material to the next level, discussing advanced techniques or relevant strategies you didn’t cover in the ebook content.

Or you could write a speech that helps people understand why your ebook’s topic is important to them, and how they could apply the advice to their business.

This isn’t hard: You have all the material. Your ebook is written. All you need to do is take your good advice, pull it back out of the pages and bring it into the real world.

A workshop can be a powerful event for your business. It lets you introduce your services or products to fresh clientele – people who may not know much about your business. They soon will: You can engage with everyone at your workshop and actually shake their hand. They’ll listen to what you say with interest, and they’ll see for themselves that you have expertise and experience.

And that, my friends, is a wonderful thing.

In-person workshops work.

I know this is probably a surprising fact, but it’s true: Most people don’t spend hours every day surfing the blogosphere like we internet-savvy people tend to do.

Most people actually have lives outside the computer. Most barely even log on to do more than check out Facebook. They have full time jobs and families. They don’t have 6 hours every night to browse the latest articles of this or that blog. They aren’t spending their weekends on the web.

They’re not like us.

That means it’s very worthwhile to spend time in their world – and in their world, in-person meetings, physical-presence workshops and short weekend courses or after-work training sessions are pretty common.

Even if everyone were internet buffs, there’s nothing quite like having a normal, everyday sit-down conversation with a potential client. It’s always fun to meet people face to face for a good conversation. (Yes, even if you’re an introverted web recluse.)

And when it comes to business, there’s nothing better than being able to talk over techniques, answer questions, provide reassurance and offer extra assistance with someone right there in front of you, listening to every word you say.

Personal engagement goes a long, long way for sales.

That’s why a workshop is perfect for your business.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Start small. Don’t go for a weekend ebook workshop if you’ve never done this before – keep your workshop short and practical, and limit attendance to a small group of people. That way, you’ll never be overwhelmed and can handle the event easily.
  2. Plan out your workshop – know what you’ll cover and how it relates to your ebook. Expand on material or dig deeper into the topic. Prepare bullet points. Know what you want to say – and practice it out loud to make sure you have enough to talk about for two hours or so.
  3. Prepare handout material. People love this stuff – worksheets, checklists, take-home material… You don’t have to think of anything new, because your material is all right there in the ebook you wrote. Use what you have and recycle sections into complimentary material.
  4. Book your room. You could offer a lunch-style workshop, where attendees enjoy a restaurant meal while you talk, or you could host a more private workshop in a hotel meeting room. Choose the setting that helps you create the ambiance you’d like, from casual to formal. You could even invite people to your home office, if you’d like – just make sure you have the space and enough chairs for all.
  5. Contact local business organizations in your community and tell them what you’re up to. The nearest Chamber of Commerce, for example, or maybe a Business Development Group. Hand them a flier that outlines your workshop and the benefits of attending, and ask if they’d pass word on to their members. You could even ask if they’d sponsor your event!
  6. Buy an ad in the paper. Put up a poster. Hand out brochures. Call companies and suggest they have staff attend. You can also ask people to book in advance so you know how many people will be attending your workshop.

Then go have fun. Your first workshop doesn’t have to be a stunning success, and you can even make a little joke about it being your first time when you begin. People understand, and no one expects Hollywood quality.

What they do expect is value. Teach them. Educate them. Inform them. Amuse them. Help them have a good time and get them involved with those worksheets you prepared. Have brief question periods every now and then and keep conversation moving along.

Oh, and don’t forget to hand out a free copy of your ebook! Offer it to attendees at the beginning of the workshop so they can refer to it as you speak, hand it out halfway through so they can use it in tandem with their worksheets or pass out copies at the end as a parting ‘thank you’ gift.

Then pat yourself on the back. You’ve just turned your ebook into a valuable marketing tool. You’ve engaged with people who may become your next customer because you’ve offered proof of your expertise.

And hey – you tried something new! Congrats, you.

Don’t have an ebook for your workshop? We’ve got your back. Check out James’ newest course on ebook writing coming your way this April 8. You’ll walk hand in hand with James through every step of writing your best ebook ever, including the “how to actually write it” techniques that let your words shine like gold – and that bring you back plenty of cold, hard cash.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

Join the Discussion. Click Here to Leave a Comment.

  1. This is just what I needed to read and hear. So much good information and something that I have been thinking long and hard about. Some questions that I have had in my mind for while over this topic though if you don’t mind me asking are the following:

    1.) Should I charge for this workshop and if so, how much to start?
    2.) If I don’t charge than what’s the actual next step pitch so to speak
    3.) What about partner up with a meetup group, local library, etc?

    Again just some thoughts that I have been wrestling in to taking action toward something like this!

    Thanks so much,


    P.S. I admit one of my fears is not being a big name and not being ablt to attract even a handleful, but your tips are comforting to read!

    • Those are good questions, Eric, so here’s what I think:

      1.) Should I charge for this workshop and if so, how much to start?

      The answer to this depends highly on your particular and specific goals. Are you looking to market your new business and no one knows of it? Offering a free workshop might create good engagement. Are you already well known? You might be able to charge. Do you want to get people interested in something else you sell? A free workshop that leads to a paid consultation, for example… good idea!

      So think about this. Play around with the options. There are plenty!

      2.) If I don’t charge than what’s the actual next step pitch so to speak

      It’s as easy as finding a location, advertising or talking about it or marketing it, and collecting registrations. Voila!

      3.) What about partner up with a meetup group, local library, etc?

      Absolutely. We have a local business group that helps women become entrepreneurs, for example. Contacting that group and offering them the workshop for their members would be smart!

  2. Great idea, James! Thinking about writing an ebook specifically designed around an in-person workshop now. It might help to have that idea in mind before you start putting the book together… Thanks!

    • Not necessarily. Many people have ebooks writing ages ago that could be doing a lot more for them, and maximizing those ebooks by turning them into workshops means their idea is already in mind.

      Having an idea about what you’d like to ACHIEVE is crucial, though! You want to get something out of this at the end beyond a nice afternoon having fun.

      (PS: If you’re thinking about writing an ebook – and that’s a great topic, if I do say so myself – you should check out my upcoming course:

  3. Fascinating. I need to do this.

  4. What the hell?? Amazing! Still cranking out Awesome, you! Thanks!!

    And this is the second attempt at this comment – y u no want me to talk?? 😛

    • I love your talking… but it seems there was no first comment (even in spam!) so… um… yeah. I dunno what happened there. I blame the weather.

  5. My main concern is not making my name so famous nor being billionaire because historically I was born like that though some of historical events has turned up side down. But , my concern is when someone like is too honest and trustful when the world does portrays different image. Rather big number of that I have met here and there are so busy to make money and busy to corrupt people and create confusion. While you , it seems you are doing a charitable writing work.

    If I say you too honest and trustful , will you blame me for that?

    Ntarugera François

    • Coming from a business perspective, I think that if people will benefit from your information, sharing it in a workshop is a great idea. No corruption or confusion!

  6. Good topic James,

    I can speak to this from experience,

    I created a free website workshop last year and it has been popular with my audience.

    The content of the workshop actually was just the beginning of my eBook.

  7. I totally agree! As much as I love blogging and being online, I love in person gatherings, workshops, conferences etc.

    Can I add to that? Another way to market your ebook is to present at conferences. That way the planning and marketing is already done for you, and it makes you seem just as credible.

    I actually have it on my editorial calendar to have a month when I offer in person workshops on relevant topics.

    Great idea!

    • Smart one, Sarah – planning ahead is the way to go, and throwing workshops on a regular basis really gets people coming back to hear what you have to say. Repeat business is always a good thing!

  8. Hi James,

    Funny you should write this. I have been brainstorming how to take my site on stress and weave online and offline events & products.

    I have a site on stress. What I find is that the 2 groups (at least in the health niche) are pretty separate. The people I know who want yoga-ish classes on stress, have little experience with the online world. The online people might be a little more flexible, but of course we run into geography issues.

    I have some ideas (more info to come later! wink) of how to solve this dilemma.

    Thank you for the post. Very timely!

    • Well now you have me curious, eh?

      You’re right that different groups present different challenges. What I personally really like is that being able to reach them online AND offline is a two for one win – and the fun is is in figuring out how to bring them all together, or reach them separately.

  9. Good stuff, James. Do you have thoughts on the advantages/disadvantages of holding a workshop online, in a webinar setting, versus in person? Seems like you could bring more participants to a webinar, particularly if you live in an area where your workshop materials might not have broad appeal. I suppose I’m thinking of a presentation-style webinar, which then moves to a Q&A.

    Of course, I’ve seen more than a few webinars with their share of technical glitches, and it’s also easy to tune out of webinars (though if there’s a fee, you have more of a captive audience). Online doesn’t have the immediacy of the flesh-and-blood touch either. I’ve toyed with the idea of doing a “writing the personal essay” webinar because I have a lot of experience, and could base the ebook on a Writer’s Digest essay of mine from a while back. Thanks for stirring the pot!

    • The problem that I’ve personally seen with online-only workshops is that the number of people online is actually… well, rather small. The number of people who have full time jobs, don’t surf the internet, don’t hang out online… it’s HUGE. And often neglected, because those of us online tend to forget that we’re a small (rather incestuous group).

      I also think that there’s more value to us, as business owners, in removing the isolation that online-only creates. Getting out there in person requires a whole different skill set (like finding something else to wear beyond pyjamas) and rounds out our knowledge.

      The personal value is also far, FAR more interesting, I think. The engagement you can create, person to person, is about 100 times more than what you can create online… even with those really nice videos that “speak” to one person but that are actually pretty generic.

      I think being able to take the assets you have for either world, online or offline, and crossing it is a smart idea. Why not hold a workshop then replicate it in an online version? Or record it and offer that to your audience? And vice versa – take an online course and bring it to the “real” world. Etc, etc… the possibilities are endless, really!

  10. Hi James,

    Question: When you say give out your ebook before, during or after your class. Do you mean you give them a hard copy of the ebook, or just give them the link? Worksheets are tricky in online ebooks, do you print out just those pages… print is so expensive.

    Best always. Bet your ebook workshop will ROCK!

    • I mean give them out a hard copy. Which doesn’t have to cost very much, actually – If you just take the black and white content, you can bring that to a local store that does cheap photocopying (I’m thinking Staples in Canada) and have them whip some out.

      The cost of having them printed is also fully business deductible… as is your car trip there and every other expense related to getting that workshop set up and in the can!

  11. Hi James,

    Long time listener, first time caller 😉

    I love this! 1.5 years into blogging I’m finally doing what I’ve wanted to do for a long time – build a local speaking platform and this is just the post I needed to read. Just starting to reach out to places like our local chamber, rotary, etc, but am hitting some brick walls. Now I’m thinking (thanks to you) why can’t I just do this on my own? WTH, right?

    Thank you. I know people always write this, but I just bookmarked your post, really.

    • Exactly so. Get a good plan going, get those fliers and newspaper ads out, call people up… make a list of how many people will attend, book a nice restaurant for 15 tables and away you go.

      THEN those business groups will pay attention, eh?

      Out of curiosity and in the name of brainstorming, what specific pushback have you encountered? What do they say or not say? Let me know; let’s see what we can work out that might help.

      • That would be the goal :) Thanks for the tips.

        It’s really that I have not established myself as a speaker, beyond Toastmasters. I’m building a platform and will start small as you suggest. Should be fun :)

  12. Great advice. I did this some years ago.

    The biggest benefit? Extra clients who approached me long after the weekend workshop, because of the small amount of PR I did.

    I sent out a several press releases — three months before, two months before, a month before and a week before. Great attendance, plus a photographer from our local paper. Result? A newspaper story, and a couple of radio interviews.

    Although there aren’t as many newspapers around as there used to be, you can still do PR. Make sure you do it well in advance.

    You may be as amazed at the results as I was. :-)

    • Great feedback, Angela, and thanks for pointing out that the marketing and PR can often be a big bonus on its own, even if the people who read the ads don’t attend the workshop.

      I also never thought about the interview potential, but you’re quite right, and I’m glad you mentioned it. It would also be smart for people to call the newspaper and ask for the interview BEFORE the workshop, to help boost attendance. Especially in small towns, newspapers are always looking for upcoming stuff to talk about!

  13. Wow…an excellent post with great ideas for implementation!

    In my struggles to get an online business up and running I have completely overlooked the potential value of local workshops. I love presenting workshops, but I’m retired (and then some) and don’t really want to base my business on the need to travel. However…

    Workshops will not only get me off “top dead center,’ (which is not the least of my problems); they will identify how potential customers think about their problems and what they really want to accomplish. Participating in forums may be helpful but the live discussions and feedback at a workshop are much more valuable.

    Thanks James, this post and the great comments and replies have given my mind (…my mind???) a much needed kick in the you know where.


    • You know, every time I have an in-person meeting with someone, I come out feeling jazzed and excited and thinking about what he or she said, brought up, asked… sometimes just the look on their faces is worth a valuable sum, because it shows you just how frustrated they are with a problem you can solve or how keen they are to learn what you can teach, and so on.

      And you’re very welcome for the kick!

  14. Thanks for the awesome post James. I had been mulling over basing a presentation or workshop on a cheat-sheet I’ve just finished. I’m thrilled you’ve validated my idea!

    One thing though… I’m a green skin when it comes to creating a workshop or preso. Is there a book or a e-course that you can recommend for learning how to create a workshop that rocks?

    • You know, when I wrote this post I tried to find a good book or resource on Amazon that I could point people to. And sadly, I could. not. find. one. that I would honestly say is worth the $10. It was kind of sad, actually!

      Maybe I wasn’t looking in the right places or sections, or maybe someone else has found a great resource they’d like to share here in the comment section. (Or if you find one, let me know! I’d love to review it!)

      I do have a couple of upcoming posts that will help out with the “how to set this up”, so stay tuned for that. I think you’ll really enjoy them, Charles!

      • A couple of years ago, when I was thinking about doing a workshop, I bought Getting Started in Speaking, Training, or Seminar Consulting by the great Bob Bly.

        There are only a couple of chapters on actually producing the workshop/presentation, which provide a good overview. But the book does include a good business model/promotion plan for adding workshops to a professional services business.

        Look forward to reading your follow ups.

  15. I believe that conducting a workshop is one of the greatest gifts an author could ever give to their students.

    But in my eyes, for it to truly be a gift, it has to be a workshop; not just a lecture.

    It is my firm belief that learning = behavior change. Learning is not having new realizations, not hearing a new piece of trivia and filing it away and not merely memorizing something and parroting it.

    A true learning is when you change your behavior and start putting the new realization into action on a consistent basis and you start getting real world feedback that allows you to assess your progress and modify your approach to getting your desired outcome.

    So for me, a workshop needs to be geared towards satisfying all four of the learning styles – What, Why, How-To, and the What To Do Now.

    This is the difference between a lecture and training. A training addresses all the learning styles – it explains what it is the person needs to know, why they need to know it, gives a list of procedures for how to get to the desired outcome and then puts people through guided exercises that get people taking their first steps towards making the learning a part of who they are.

    But the most important part of this equation is the What To Do Now and as an information addict/self improvement addict I’ve seen that too many people go to sleep at the wheel on this step.

    When guiding anyone towards realizing a bigger and better result, it’s so crucial for the leader to put together a well-designed progression that makes it all but impossible for the student to fail as long as they follow each step. Most content marketers won’t do this because they’re lazy or they can’t do it because they aren’t speaking from wisdom. And, in my perspective, this is part of the reason why very few people succeed with the information products they buy. The other part is being too lazy to do anything with what they have.

    Another belief I think is valuable for the honorable content marketer to embrace is that of, “If the student didn’t learn, the teacher didn’t teach.” This was the core ideology that Michel Thomas operated from and with this premise in mind, he developed a system that allowed him to train Hollywood celebrities, big corporate tycoons, and even kids from the worst ghettos in Los Angeles how to fluently speak a new language in 5 days.

    There is a system, a process for building exercises which would take forever for me to lay out here but one thing I would highly recommend that anyone who is serious about teaching via workshop do is go get the book, “The Future Of Learning” by Wyatt Woodsmall.

    The book is the modelling of and distillation of the legendary Michel Thomas’s method of teaching and is infused with Wyatt’s wisdom that comes from him having crafted exercises for Olympic divers, for the US Army with Tony Robbins, and a whole ton of other experts over decades.

    We as your fans are lucky James to have you giving such awesome advice about what it takes to make the most of our information businesses. Thank you bringing the awesome sauce year in and year out. :)

  16. Inspirational post James! I’ve been working towards this for a very long time, the big obstacle being that I’m very attached to my pajama-style work schedule. What little in-person networking and teaching I’ve done has been extremely successful though with some very positive results and I have plenty of written content I can use to build a workshop. You really lay it out in a “this is so simple, how can you not” format – I suppose I need to get my butt in gear now.


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