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Kindle is still a good ticket item to make bank.

Discussion in 'Making Money' started by poetry1969, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. poetry1969

    poetry1969 Junior Member

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    Kindle is still a good ticket item to make bank.

    I know some of you jumped on the Kindle train last year, dumping short books into Amazon KDP in order to capitalize on the easy money. It was easy money! I made enough to make it worthwhile, and I even had to give up writing web content for a while in order to keep my own projects on track. Like many of you, I have several different talents and income streams. Amazon fit nicely into my life because, among other things, I?m a writer.

    It all changed this year. Kindle no longer results in payouts the way it did. However, I have some good news. It still makes good money if you change your tactics a bit. Before recent changes, a customer needed to get your book and read 10% of it before you would get paid for an Amazon ?borrow.? Before I go any further, let me disclaim that I won't explain all about how the Amazon program works, or how to convert to Kindle format, or any of that. Seriously, you can go find out all that with a few clicks so don?t belabor this thread with those queries.

    It used to be, that with a 20-page book, you could get paid simply by padding the entry pages. The Kindle Unlimited plan made earning money very easy. A reader could grab the book on Kindle Unlimited and they only needed to read 10% of the book, that?s just a few pages, and ChaChing (you made money). Now that has all changed.

    Like before, you still get a commission if someone buys your book traditionally. But today, people aren?t buying nearly as many books now that Kindle Unlimited (KU) has become so popular. I?m focusing on KU because that?s where my revenue is headed. My revenues are up 15% since I changed strategies. My commissions on traditional sales are down almost 20%. Everything I see in my dashboard makes me believe that marketing to KU is where the money is?and things are definitely trending that direction.

    What is important now is getting customers to read more pages. Even more challenging is the fact that Amazon has closed some loopholes. Writers used to be able to increase font sizes, add lots of pictures, or otherwise make a 50-page title into a 150-page offering. That doesn?t work anymore either. I?ve tested several uploads recently, and the page count is the same, regardless of changes like that. Amazon now indexes your page count based on a conversion formula, which is independent of your formatting. It takes into account the overall word count.

    What this means is that the page count is independent of what you read on the Kindle screen at any given time. Let?s say you have come to the end of a chapter, and you have a blank page, a new page featuring the chapter number, followed by another blank page to start the text. This looks very pleasing to the eye, but you are not credited for all those pages as the customer scrolls through. Your page credit comes when they have read a sufficient number of words.

    OK, enough with the backstory. You came to read how to make money. First, the cold reality?readers won?t turn pages if your product is poor quality. You need to write well, or hire someone who writes well. Your topic needs to be engaging, and you need to provide popular content. One way to know what is popular is to check the bestselling books. Another way, and the strategy I employ, is to navigate to particular subtopics, and experiment with entering different search criteria, as a reader would. Common search terms are revealed in the search bar on Amazon. You can easily discover what readers are searching for, and write with the goal of appealing to those criteria.

    Now, let?s talk strategy. Instead of writing a single stand-alone book, write a series. Unless you have an established readership, the sales won?t come right away. Just keep writing until you have a complete book, broken up nicely into 3 different titles, e.g., The Hostile Vampire from Hell (Parts 1,2,3). Get them all enrolled in the KU program. By now, you will be making some money, unless your book stinks or you picked an unpopular subject. Hey, that?s on you?

    Here?s the magic. Go get your first book (Part 1 of the series) listed somewhere online for free. This sounds counterintuitive, especially since all KU readers have the ability to get the book under their plan without paying extra. BUT, it works because Amazon will match prices. Amazon receives a complaint from your sister (or anyone you pick) that book 1 is available for free elsewhere and he/she wants it free from Amazon too! They will change your first book to free in their system. they won?t even ask you. How rude! (But AWESOME!)

    You can also list a 4[SUP]th[/SUP] book, the entire series in one bundle pack. People who don?t like to buy series books will buy the bundle to save money and own the book.

    Now, if you have done everything right, people will start buying the free book like crazy. People like free books. They are not ?borrowing? the book. They actually get to keep it. Where you were once limited to a few free promotional days in KDP, you now have a solid and long lasting promotion running. This is a loss-leader. You don?t care that people get the first part of the series for free. The fact that a few thousand readers get it free only makes it work better. Your book can get hundreds more reviews, and even though it?s free, it is still considered a ?purchase? in the Amazon system. Your book receives good rankings, and has lots of reviews, and even more people want that free book. If they enjoy the book, they will borrow or buy books 2 and 3, and you will clean up.

    I hope you see how effective that can be. But, there are a few lessons to learn here. Let?s call them tips to help you succeed. The first book in the series should be your best. Even if the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] and 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] books are not as good, the first one has a special purpose, to hook the reader. They have to move to book 2 in order to find out what happens in the story they are already invested in. They make assumptions about the quality of books 2 and 3 based on the first book. To be fair to the reader, they should all be good books, but if you don?t have money for professional editing throughout, spend it on book 1. Also, in terms of overall page count, book one can be a little shorter. Books 2 and 3 will generate more revenue by having more page turns.

    Warning: If you get antsy, and you don?t wait until you have all three books before making your marketing move to get book 1 listed as free, you may regret it. I?ve done that and Amazon kicked my book out of KDP. That was an awful lot of trouble. I ended up writing a prequel, and relabeling all the books. Eventually I was able to get the prequel listed for free and the rest of the series did well.

    Let?s get real. There are some real cons to this money-making program. When I say you can make money, you really can?good money?but you invest a lot of time upfront, and money. You have some risks and there are unknowns. You won?t know exactly how well your book will respond in the market. You might make mistakes on your first few as you learn the categories that sell well, etc. Moreover, it?s hard work. This is not a get rich quick deal. If you want a free lunch, try something else. But, if you?re like me, I?ve bought many programs to make money. This takes more effort, but also has good rewards. The revenue is decent, and you are still making money on books 1,2,3,4,5 while writing book 6? It builds up over time, but even your first book can make good money if you produce a good quality product, market it using the strategy above, and choose a good topic that is in demand.
     
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  2. Sythix

    Sythix Senior Member

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    Good write up OP. I still get dribbles of income every month from my Kindle books (not much), but enough to remind me that is truly is an incredible passive income system once you do the upfront work and get published.

    I've always stuck to how-to guides and evergreen niches. I have yet to write a fiction book yet.. do you recommend it? I guess I always veered away from it because I always thought people don't like reading stories by "non name" writers. But I do know people will pay for information.

    In any case, great tips OP.
     
  3. poetry1969

    poetry1969 Junior Member

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    Hello Sythix,

    Fiction will do well if you do some planning. As an unknown writer you have to approach things more strategically. Check the movies that will be released next year, for example, and be prepared with a title that will mesh with that buzz. Also, shy away from seasonal titles. Christmas books will not sell well all year long. You have two choices, hit the trends or go with the classics. A good ghost story will sell. A ghost story about Al-Qaeda terrorists being massacred by the ghosts of 911 victims will sell better. You get the idea.

    Yes, "how to" books are always good.

    Good Luck.
     
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  4. theconscience

    theconscience Regular Member

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    So I have been doing a 4 book series up to now for kids and with awesome artwork and character idea not telling here and I have no sales at all so I did not put for free any of them.

    I hired an artist and hired a ghostwriter for the second and third ones and each book has 3 short stories.

    So what you are saying is put first book on KDP?

    I also submitted to a publisher but they take like years to get back even with an initial answer the big publishers

    So when I see all these Kindle threads I wonder are you all telling truth or just bollocks.

    Ah yes, I also have then as physical copies on Createspace
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2015
  5. theconscience

    theconscience Regular Member

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    Are you sure this is gonna work OP?

    In that Amazon will see its free and make it free on Amazon?
     
  6. faithjhung

    faithjhung Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Great read. I really like how you wrote this post. Its professional, and makes the reader read more. So now I know why you got successful in your Kindle banking.

    Anyway, I think books are 30% quality, 30% marketing & research 40% luck
     
  7. poetry1969

    poetry1969 Junior Member

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    @theconscience... I put ALL the books on KDP. Once the first one is free, it surges. The others are also on KU, free to unlimited subscribers to read, and $2.99 for others to buy (which is why posting the bundle is a good idea). But for the KU readers, each time they read it, you get paid for every page they read. I hope that clarifies things for you.

    Another person asked if I'm sure this will work. Nobody can guarantee that you will execute this successfully. I do, and it works quite well for me. There is plenty of room and Amazon adds money to the KU pot as it becomes more popular. All that said, I'd be an ass to make a guarantee. All I can honestly say is I've faithfully shared the best recipe for success I have found. It works today. There are so many subcategories of books, even if you all jumped in, I doubt if your impact my sales, so I'm happy to share this.

    If you write a crappy book, or something people are not interested in, nothing will make people read it.

    Let me add this data. Some of you might want to know this. I added a book in November. I did not promote it at all. From Nov -- through march it only received 32 sales. So, you can't just put a book up and expect it to take off. many don't, even if it's a good book. From those 32 initial sales, only two people gave it a review. That sucks. After I had the whole series finished and got the first book listed as free (noted in the original post) the sales went from 32 in 5 months to over 50 traditional sales every month. Since Amazon made the change to page reads, that series started making double the income on KU page reads, on top of the traditional commission. Others have done well too. ---- Reality check. Nobody can guarantee you lightning success because so much is up to you. Also, some books will do better than others. The income builds as you add more titles because profits come in concurrently.
     
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  8. theconscience

    theconscience Regular Member

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    So to summarize you put all books on KDP then make one free on another site.

    Amazon see its free so make the first one free on Amazon.

    All books are auto enrolled in KU and the cash is then starting to roll

    Yes?
     
  9. poetry1969

    poetry1969 Junior Member

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    Yes, that's the gist. I have never tried a book for children, so I can't offer much help there. Kids books usually have low page counts. The system pays by pages read. As such, it might not bring in the kind of income you hope for. That said, if you are not making any money on your book at all, then you don't have much to lose.

    Also, if you are shopping your book around to publishers, most will not consider a book that was previously self published, e.g., Create Space, etc. So, you might want to factor those circumstances into your overall decision making.

    Good Luck. I hope you thrive.
     
  10. domainmadness

    domainmadness Senior Member

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    Good money in this case means $XXX, $X,XXX or $XX,XXX / month?
     
  11. poetry1969

    poetry1969 Junior Member

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    Fair question. My best success was $2,356 in a month from one title. My worst currently running book made $246 last month. So, we're not talking millions of dollars. But, considering that books sell for years, it can really add up to a nice overall profit from the time investment.

    I'm not claiming to be the best selling author. You might do better. MANY people do much better than I do at this. I'm sure many do worse too. I think it's worth a try for anyone though. I see many people in these forums who work very hard and are satisfied with much less. Kindle books provide a chance to do well financially. But if you have something else going on that pays better for the time investment, as many here seem to have, then it might not be for you.
     
  12. l1555

    l1555 Newbie

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    Exactly, here it can generate a good profit through years.
     
  13. theconscience

    theconscience Regular Member

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    Thats right passive income for years

    How to do with single book?

    Perhaps put half free on another site and say at end buy full book on Amazon?

    Will it blend-- I mean will it work?
     
  14. theconscience

    theconscience Regular Member

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    How people doing on Smashwords?


    Also Smashwords publish on IOS too I believe, but problem here is how can you profit with ads if selling free on IOS?
     
  15. Diophantus

    Diophantus Junior Member

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    I have a little bit of experience with this... I have written several books myself and have ghostwritten for several people. There is money in books, even in this digital age of free information.

    Learn good formatting practices. That's really important, and there are some seriously shitty formatted books out there. Put some time and energy into it. This will literally pay off in the long run. I will close out a book and get a refund immediately if I can't read it because of this problem.

    Getting the book in front of eyes in as many ways possible is of course the best way to maximize the amount of money you can make from said book. Quality content goes without saying.

    What I plan to do is take advantage of the KDP select program to garner as many free DL's as I can. From what I understand, the more downloads you get through Select, the better chances it will have in ranking decently when it goes to paid. I started a YT channel not too long ago, and I am steadily growing a subscriber base. After I have reached a particular amount of subs, I intend to write a book related to my niche and launch it off on a 5 day free trial. I will plug the book in the beginning of a new video, on my blog, FB, etc.

    It's beautiful, because you are not charging anyone for anything directly. People love free. Say you have 100,000 subs on YT, which shouldn't be insanely difficult to get if you have good quality content over a period of time. Even if a measly 10% download the book, you are looking at 10,000 DLs for that book during the free period. Gather up some reviews from local people you know, compound your efforts with conventional free book promotion (Got a blog to go with that channel? PROMOTE IT) and you are looking at some serious exposure.

    After it's all said and done, sweeten the deal during paid by keeping at 99c for a week. Then push it to 2.99.

    If you do your stuff correctly, you are looking at multiple income streams from several sources:

    1.) YT ad revenue (gravy money, but money nonetheless)
    2.) Kindle Royalties
    3.) Blog ad revenue
    4.) Residuals from other products listed on your blog, Amazon Affiliates, etc.

    Like anything else, it is about the diversification. Spread the risk around a bit. Contribute something awesome to your niche.
     
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  16. theconscience

    theconscience Regular Member

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    Anyone made more with Smashwords/ IOS than Amazon?
     
  17. theconscience

    theconscience Regular Member

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    Has anyone in UK tried to get an IRS ITIN number for Smashwords?

    Othewise Smashwords have a 30 percent witholding.
    Smashwords actually make it as awkward as possible for this as other people you just have to send a W8 form by email and Smashwords require physical posting and also an ITIN number from the USA IRS.

    I called the UK office and of all my bad luck which I do not get surprised at after half a century, in which a recorded message said they were closed for phone applications and closing permanently in September .

    FUCK MAN
     
  18. theconscience

    theconscience Regular Member

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    So I posted application to get ITIN number from USA to be tax exempt.
    However, I am not sure if I want to publish on Smashwords.

    How many people do you think are subscribed to Kindle Unlimited?
     
  19. Flodner

    Flodner Regular Member

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    Thanks for good info.
    I'm also publishing on Kindle, but didn't do much income. However I understand that it should require time, good selections of niche and marketing