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Follow along as the Profit Goblin tries to crack Amazon. I'll lay it all bare!

Discussion in 'My Journey Discussions' started by ProfitGoblin, Jul 13, 2013.

  1. ProfitGoblin

    ProfitGoblin Newbie

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    I?ve made a good amount in the past from some of the traditional online marketing methods: Pay Per Click, SEO and Niche affiliate sites, as well as Youtube and Email List Building. But something I?ve never really dabbled in and I?ve been hearing a huge amount lately is the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing service.


    I?ve decided to try to break into this market to see how the revenue stacks up and whether this can become a viable part of my online strategy. And I invite all you to come on this journey with me.

    Every week (or more), I?ll post an update on my activities around producing and promoting my ebooks as well as share my revenue and sales numbers in the hope I inspire some of you to take action. My strategy in this space, after doing some research is simple.

    There is a lot of really rubbish content on the Kindle store, churned out by internet marketers hoping to make a fast buck. I?m prepared to invest a good amount upfront in producing GREAT QUALITY content for my books, in the hope that this quality establishes niche authority and therefore as well as book sales, acts as a lead generator for my other activities online. I plan to outsource all of the non-fiction writing to a ghostwriter as I don?t have the time to write this stuff all myself.

    However, I will be dabbling in writing some short fiction stories and seeing how these stack up alongside the non-fiction works. I consider these more 'leisure' than 'work' :)


    I make no grand claims to publish ?x books per week? as I think people underestimate the commitment sticking to these plans take. Simply, I will be releasing books whenever they are ready and of a high enough quality to go onto the market. Ideally at least one per month but perhaps more often if I can find high enough caliber writers to keep up.


    Ok, so here?s where I am so far?.


    Software Purchased
    Although strictly not necessarily, I did decide to invest in the KD Suite tool to help with my niche research. This is actually three tools in one, which automate many of the tedious aspects of performing keyword research. In a nutshell it does the research for you and gives you insights of what sells best. Key features I was interested in about the tool:


    • Find profitable niches in the bestseller section
    • Estimated profits ? a module of the tool estimates the future profits of your ebooks
    • Keyword Research ? the tools provides you with the most popular terms that buyers are looking for when using Amazon search
    • Help finding reviewers for your book
    All of the tools/functions can be performed by hand but honestly, it?s so slow that the time I save using this tool makes the investment well worthwhile and my long terms goal is to create a system I can scale, so automation and outsourcing are of great interest to me.

    This isn't a testimonial so if you want to buy it, google it :)


    Book 1 (Non-Fiction)

    I?ve done a fair amount of niche research on the Kindle store and have identified what I hope to be a decent market to enter. I started by buying a couple of the best selling titles in this section (hey, gotta do your market research right!?) and reading through them not to copy, but to see the kind of ground they cover and understand the level of detail they go into. Most importantly, I was looking for areas they?d missed or not touched upon to give my book it?s own unique spin. From this exercise I was able to come up with:



    • 12-14 example chapters/themes for the book.
    • A working title
    • An idea of my target demographic and how I might start marketing to them

    Next I headed to iWriter and oDesk to try to find a high quality writer for my work (unlikely I know, and I was willing to pay well. My plan is to checkout Guru and Freelancer next). I submitted a job on iWriter for just one chapter, to see how different writers performed and promptly rejected the first four attempts, as they were clearly written by a non-English speaker.

    Attempt no5 was passable so I accepted it in terms of the job I?d posted, but I?d already decided it wasn?t high enough quality to go into a book that I?d be happy to sell. So that was scrubbed for now. I remain skeptical I'll find good enough writers there for my purposes.

    Next I looked through my oDesk applications. I had the usual responses from offshore workers and the quality was mostly poor to average. One application stood out however, from an American teacher and ghostwriter who?d studied in the field that my book was based in.

    She sent me some really good samples of her writing and I tried to imagine myself as book purchaser reading something she?d written. Happy, I agreed to her terms: $180 for a 10,000 word book delivered in a week or so.


    As of today, we?re about 4 days into the contract and I?m awaiting delivery of my first book.


    Still to do:
    - eBook Cover: I?ll likely do this myself as I am reasonably handy in Photoshop and have sold ebook designs on Fiverr previously (mainly to sharpen my design skills)

    - Setup webpage/fanpage/twitter for the author ? to build readership and link titles within the same genre.
    - Get a landing page together and create a sales funnel for the books readers.

    - Find an editor to help format page ready for upload



    Book 2 (Fiction)

    I?ve started writing my own short story. It?s kind of in the Sci-Fi genre, a little like a cross between Heroes and Highlander I guess??I didn?t worry so much about research for this one as the Fiction writing I?m doing more for enjoyment. If I get sales from it, then great, but I?m not expecting anything much to come from my own writing. I?m focusing my money-making primarily around the outsourced books. Nevertheless, I?ll be including these books in the earnings report that I post. One thing I am considering is some outsourced fiction in the popular markets, e.g. teen vampire, erotica and so on. I'm considering flyering at a local University to see if I can find any English students with stories to sell or willing to write for me.


    Word count progress so far: 2,256(Aiming for around 10,000) after 2 days.


    Summary:
    Outgoings:

    • $47 for KD Suite
    • $180 for Book #1 ghostwriter
    • Total: $227

    Income:


    • $0

    Net Profit:


    • Total -$227

    I'm actually going on holiday for 10 days so my first update will need to be on ice until then, but when I return I should have the first draft of book number one ready to go. My intention is to spend some time laying by the pool and finishing off my fiction short story - hopefully my first two books will be published within a week or so of returning.

    Profit Goblin
     
  2. 7878

    7878 Executive VIP Premium Member

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    Grats on getting started. $180 is a small investment to test a writer out, but we wary of too-good-to-be-true rates for content when it comes to ghostwriters. The discount usually shows in the finished product.
     
  3. ProfitGoblin

    ProfitGoblin Newbie

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    Agreed - I'm definitely not convinced it will be where I need it to be, but worth a try. Another writer I find via their website looked very good and was looking for around 350 - they may well be my next option...
     
  4. ProfitGoblin

    ProfitGoblin Newbie

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    Quick update for today. I managed to write another 700 words or so of my fiction piece and got an update from my ghostwriter on the non-fiction book. That should be good to go back around Weds. Will need to wait until I'm back from my holiday before I can get it uploaded.

    Just started researching a second book topic in a niche related to book #1. I've found what looks like a very good ghostwriter who has offered to write this one at $200 for 10,000 words, I'm thinking I'll use him and then see how he stacks up to writer number one..

    Next on the list to do - run up some flyers and do some offline marketing at local university to find some more writers :)

    Keep you posted.
     
  5. Cloudbacklinks

    Cloudbacklinks Regular Member

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    Interesting journey, wish you all the luck with those writers. How do you sell these books exactly, do buyers flood right in if its a good book?
     
  6. ProfitGoblin

    ProfitGoblin Newbie

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    I'll be selling via the Kindle store, using the Kindle Direct Publishing Program. Basically you agree to 3 months exclusivity to Amazon and they help you promote the book and offer it free for a few days each quarter, which helps get reviews and traction.

    After the 3 months period, there are options like Barnes and Noble, Itunes, not to mention book specific websites, blogs and so on.
     
  7. ProfitGoblin

    ProfitGoblin Newbie

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    I'm currently sat in a hotel room in Portugal, so just a brief update.Wrote more of the short story today, now up to 4600 words so that is progressing nicely. Also, my ghostwriter delivered my non-fiction book and am really happy with the results. Will a need a little editing for sure but 90% of the content is spot on. I'll be doing that sat by the pool drinking a beer over the next couple of days. Currently feeling pretty confident I'll be able to publish both books once I get back to the UK...
     
  8. Getwhatchuwant

    Getwhatchuwant Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Nice journey as far as writing fiction how do you instruct the writer to write?

    Do you give him a concept and tell him to go with it or are you more detailed.

    For example do you tell him "I want my book to be about monsters and robots" or do you tell him something like "I want my book to be about monsters arriving through a rift in the pacific ocean and the governments of the world got together and create a robot defense program to combat them."
     
  9. ProfitGoblin

    ProfitGoblin Newbie

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    So far I've asked them to outline the plot and themes to me when they apply, within the genre I choose, then let them write their own material
     
  10. ProfitGoblin

    ProfitGoblin Newbie

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    Quick update on my journey now that I'm back from my holiday. Finished editing and tidying up my first book, a non-fiction offering in the relationships niche. I bought a $6 vector image from Shutterstock and proceeded to design a cover for the book in Photoshop CS6.

    Everything has now been uploaded to Kindle Direct Publishing and the book went live yesterday. So far, 0 sales! Woohoo! In all seriousness, I now need to start promoting and also setting up the KDP 5 day free download.

    I'm considering buying a gig on Fiverr where someone will submit the book to 25 free ebook sites for its promotional period, with the aim being that it gets enough free downloads during this time to help it's visibility for paid sales in the period after. We'll wait and see whether that works at all. I need to get a few decent reviews first ideally, so people feel more confident to download...

    In the meantime, I've also hired 3 new writers on oDesk.

    I've tasked each of them with writing me a 4 book series of stories of around 10-15k words; effectively novelettes. All of the writers are based in North America and I'm in for a total of just under $500 for all 12 books. Delivery is expected in 4 tranches over the next 8 weeks or so.

    My intention being to sell the book individually as well as a package. I'm also going to be pricing the first book lower to try to "hook people" and encourage them to buy the other books in the series. These are fiction novels in the Sci-Fi and Romance genres.

    Quick update on my own piece of fiction that I'm writing myself is coming along slowly. I'm at around 5k words but intend to make a concerted effort to finish over the next week or so, time allowing (my wife is forgetting what I look like!)

    Total spent to date: Around $150
    Total committed future spend: Around $500
    Total Income: $0
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2013
  11. WhiterThanWhite

    WhiterThanWhite Junior Member

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    Subscribe. I have been lurking with KD journals and this seems more detailed and more exciting. Will be waiting for your update. Good luck btw. :)
     
  12. kinlee

    kinlee Supreme Member

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    I'm glad you're keeping this journey detailed, I'll be following you. Good luck! :eek:
     
  13. surfbay

    surfbay Junior Member

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    Good Luck and best wishes . . .

    Keep on keeping on
     
  14. ProfitGoblin

    ProfitGoblin Newbie

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    Thanks a lot, it's as much a journal for me to look back on so ill definitely be keeping it detailed. My bigger problem is I'm impatient and want all my books ready now so I can start promoting them. I'm probably going to focus more on fiction than non-fiction to begin with.
     
  15. ProfitGoblin

    ProfitGoblin Newbie

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    So far I have one book up on the Kindle store. Today, I moved the price down to just 99c as I want to try to get a few reviews and sales before I run the free download promotion for 5 days. From all of my research having some good reviews by this point is pretty important to get the most out of the advertising that Amazon do on your behalf. So it's been at 99c for about 12 hours now and the book now made it's first sale. A whopping 35c commission in the bank!!

    Onward and upward!