Something great like I had made well over $1,000 in my first month or that my book has been downloaded over 10,000 times.
… unfortunately that’s not how it’s gone at all.
As you may already know, last month I released my first eBook.
Though I’m very proud of what I’ve created, I will say that in all honesty this new venture is proving to be more challenging then I originally thought!
But that’s how these things go. Developing a true passive income stream is a business, and sometimes you got to try more than one thing in order to make a business really work out!
So in this post I’m going to share with you the brutal truth of how the first month of my eBook sales have gone and what I plan to do going forward with this income generating effort.
Things I Got Right with eBook Publishing:
Not to toot my own horn, but there were a few things that I believe I did somewhat correctly in order to give this eBook venture at chance at being successful.
The eBook Itself:
For starters I can tell you that I’m very happy with the book I created.
Although it was not a quite as long as I wanted it to be, I still feel like it was more than adequate length for what an eBook should be.
On top of that I feel like there was a tremendous amount of value packed inside each and every chapter. I tried very hard to make the advice actionable!
Like all new ventures, I did a fair amount of reading success stories before even started a lick of content.
Three resources that really seemed to help me out were:
- A post on Niche Pursuits by Spencer Haws about how to make $100 per day with Kindle.
- An eBook by Chandler Bolt called Book Launch.
- A podcast on Smart Passive Income with Steve Scott. Steve Scott is a self-published author who makes well into five-figures per month with his collection of Kindle books.
Much of the strategy that I used (and some of the other things I’ll try) were from these sources.
Positive reviews are gold on Amazon!
The more of them you have, the better your chances of moving up in the Amazon placement ranks.
Before the release of my eBook I reached out to several friends, family, and other bloggers to try to gain some early support.
Thankfully a number of them came to my support – and I very much appreciate it! Angry Retail Banker even wrote a phenomenal review of the book!
Look around on Amazon and you can find a lot of eBooks that are strong competition for less than the price of a cup of coffee!
So at the strong recommendation of the resources I mentioned above, I decided right off the bat that I was going to play ball and offer my book at the incredibly low price of $2.99.
Kindle Direct Publishing Select:
When you publish a book on Amazon, right away they start pushing this thing called “KDP Select” on you.
And you should do it!
KDP Select allows you to promote your eBook for free for five days.
I know you’re probably wondering …
… I just spent an incredible amount of time and effort creating this eBook. Why in the world would I want to give it away for free?
Believe it or not, this is a very popular strategy suggested by lots of eBook publishers. What it does is to get your book in the hands of as many people as possible.
If those people leave a positive review, it will count as a verified review since they actually bought it from Amazon.
That’s good news for you!
On top of that it also increases the chances that they will tell people they know about the book and promote it for you.
In other words, though you won’t make any money, there are plenty of residual benefits that you potentially derive if this part of the strategy is successful.
So How Has My eBook Done So Far?
Unfortunately my eBook has only generated less than $50.
At a price of $2.99, Amazon gives you a 70% royalty. That means I’ve had just over 20 paid downloads.
I will be completely honest in saying that that is far, far below what my expectations were.
Now the free period was a different story. During the five days that my book was free I had several hundred downloads.
I’ve heard that this is not uncommon because people constantly look on Amazon to hoard free stuff, especially when it comes to free ebook publishing.
My only hope is that some of those people who downloaded my eBook for free will come back later and leave a positive review and or tell their friends about it.
Things I Realize Now I Should Have Done Differently:
Since releasing my eBook I’ve read a couple of other eBooks about eBooks (… try to follow that …) as well as numerous blog articles from successful self-publishers.
More Promotion During the Free Period:
One of the things I realize now I should have done better: Promoting the book during the free period.
Like I mentioned, more downloads increases your potential for getting more verified reviews. That in turn can help you get in the Top 100 or even Amazon’s Recommended Books.
Kindle Select allows you to make your book free every 90 days. So in another month or two, I may retry this strategy doing more up-front promotion.
ANY Guest Post Promotion:
Why I didn’t line up a number of guest posts on other personal finance blogs aiming to promote my new book, I have no idea. But its something I should have definitely done.
Not Appealing to a Worldwide Audience:
Seeing just how many countries Amazon works with, I now realize it would have been smart of me to make the book a little more appealing to a worldwide audience.
Most of the principles I outlined in “Save Better!” would actually work anywhere. However all of my examples were perhaps a little too specific to just U.S. tax-sheltered retirement accounts like 401k’s and IRA’s. Our friends in other parts of the country like Canada, the U.K., Australia, and other places probably would have loved to see examples of how this could work for them too.
Low Price Strategies:
One strategy I might try to use is to lower the price of my book to $0.99 and then work it back up again if/when it gains more momentum.
Again I realize that may seem insane, but similar to the free strategy a super-low price may attract a higher volume of verified readers. That could in turn increase my chances of more positive reviews.
Though it doesn’t seem like it, there are a lot of self-publishers who will argue that people are far more likely to download your book at $0.99 rather than if it is $2.99.
Too Competitive of a Niche?
Another thing that is worth mentioning is that probably one of my biggest mistakes was to write a book about personal finance in the first place.
The personal finance niche is completely saturated!
One of the strategies that a lot of self-publishers promote is to seek out topics where there aren’t so many eBooks or publications about them. In other words find a low-competition market to rule!
Unfortunately you can’t say that about the personal-finance niche.
Search any money related keyword on Amazon and you’re bound to find a monotony of eBooks as well as electronic versions of the big-name authors that you would regularly find at a traditional bookstore.
Whether or not that’s true, I don’t really care!
Personal finance is a subject that I am very passionate about. And I believe that I have a lot to offer anyone who’s willing to listen (or in this case “read”).
So even though the money-book market may be saturated, I do feel in many ways that I have a better mousetrap to offer my customers.
And hopefully over time they agree with me!
Next Steps Going Forward:
All in all, if we take this first month of $50 and project it over 12 months, that’s a return of approximately $600 for the year.
Though that’s not as much money as I had hoped to make from this effort, that is still more than my initial investment. Plus I’ll take $600 extra this year to help out my savings goals any day!
So with that said I’m still going to continue to research and look further into how I can get better at promoting my eBook so that this effort turns into a success.
I’ll be trying some of the things I’ve already mentioned here as well as looking for new and creative ideas from those who have found success.
How about write another one!
You heard me right.
I have already went ahead and drafted a +10,000 word first-draft for my second eBook.
Immediately following the publication of my first eBook, I was very excited about the whole process and quickly came up with about three other ideas for future publications.
I got a little overly ambitious and immediately went straight ahead with writing one of them. I guess I had a lot on my mind to get out!
Though this new eBook I’m writing right now was originally going to be a leader magnet, once it got close to the 10,000 word mark, I decided it might be more appropriate to use it as my second Kindle publication.
(I will probably end up creating a different lead magnet such as a shorter eBook. Having a lead magnet is definitely another thing I want to have ready to go before I publish anything further.)
I’ll soon be beginning the first round of editing. Based on how things went during the last eBook, I found this part of the process to be the lengthiest and most intense.
I’m tempted to believe that with the second book I may be able to avoid some of the mistakes I made with the first one. Plus I feel like this will give me the opportunity to experiment with some of the more refined techniques that I’m coming to learn about eBook promotion.
Success or failure, I would like to see three eBooks to my name available on Amazon before the year is over.
Even though that is a very ambitious goal, I do believe it is something that could take my passive income pursuits to a whole new level.
Readers – How many of you have published an eBook on Amazon Kindle or elsewhere? What kind of strategies do you feel contributed to your success? What would you do-over?