Part Four: How to Earn $1,000 a Month From Self-Publishing

part1-selfpublishing part4-selfpub

This is a four part series. You might want to start from the beginning. Click here to view part one.

4. September-December

The time has come to really kick things into high gear. You’ve got an entire trilogy of books available. That’s more than most traditionally published authors put out over two years, and it’s worth celebrating. In this final quarter, you’re going to use the power of free to boost your sales. You’ll also take your shot at email advertisers while trying to determine what else might give you a sales boost going forward.

Task 1 – Make Book #1 Permafree

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Promotional strategies change over time, but as of right now, the best one for a new author is to make the first book of your series permanently free. You accomplish this by changing your book price to free on the non-Amazon platforms, and by reporting the lower price on your Amazon sales page. From there, some authors will ask their peers to report the lower price, while others will ask KDP support to make the change for them. Whichever method you decide to use, make sure your book is linked up to the future books in your series.

When you listen to podcasts discussing the secret of some authors’ success, lots of indies point to when they went permafree with their first book. This model opens the marketing funnel much wider at the top. When 10 to 100 times as many people read the first book, there’s a much higher chance that more readers will move onto book two. It can be painful to see your first book out there for free, but it’s currently one of the most effective ways to increase the sales of your later books.

As you work to make your book permanently free, make sure to break ground on the fourth book in your series as well.

Task 2 – Get Email Advertising like BookBub

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Once you go permanently free with your first book, you open yourself up to a whole new side of email advertising. Through Amazon’s exclusive KDP Select program, you can make your book free for up to five days in a 90-day period. This allows you to apply for a BookBub’s service for listing free books, but it doesn’t let the email marketer promote your books to non-Amazon platforms. When your book is permanently free across the board, email marketers can send out the promotion to buyers at Apple, Kobo, Google Play, and more. Combining a permafree book with a successful BookBub is one heck of a jumpstart to any indie author’s sales. Make sure when you apply for a listing to choose every date in a 30-day range as a potential promotion slot. This will give BookBub the flexibility it may need to place your book.

Task 3 – Reach Out to Reps

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Every platform except for Amazon has more than book discoverability in mind. Retailers like Nook, Kobo, and Apple are interested in promoting books that will make them money. Representatives from each of these companies have worked with certain indie authors to include them in storewide sales and email campaigns. In most cases, the reps contacted authors directly when they saw how well their books were selling on that individual platform. It can feel like a Catch-22. You need contact with a rep to get a major sales boost, but a rep will only contact you if you have good sales to begin with.

You can overcome this hurdle with the right connections. When you know somebody who works with a rep, you can often ask them to make an introduction. There also may be opportunities through social networking sites like LinkedIn. Even if you get in touch with a rep, make sure you have a solid pitch ready to send. If you can line yourself up for both BookBub promotions and individual platform promotions, then you won’t have problem reaching a consistent four-figure payout.

Task 4 – Try New Things

Email advertising campaigns and connections may be the most effective way to get your books selling on multiple platforms, but these certainly aren’t the only ways to get fans. Readers come to new content in all sorts of ways. Younger book buyers learn about readers on WattPad and YouTube. Some audiophiles find out about up-and-coming scribes through serialized podcasts and Podiobooks. Getting immediate sales from your books isn’t enough. You need to go outside the box to try to find new readers. There’s a maxim that says 1,000 true fans will keep you sustained as an artist. Unless you’ve reached or exceeded that same number of consumers who will buy everything you put out without question, then you need to continue building your brand.

Each year, dozens of new tools and ideas come to the forefront. Pick one and work it extremely hard. Outreach projects have a tendency to fail, but you’ll never know if you don’t put in the effort in the first place.

Task 5 – Plan Out The Next Year

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Thankfully, author careers can last much longer than a single year. The final task of your year-long journey should be to plan out the next 12 months. Putting another four books on your production calendar and giving yourself a series of marketing challenges may be just what you need to jump from four-figures to five.

Taking the Micro-view

Seeing an entire year’s worth of work on a single page can be overwhelming. Try breaking down each task into smaller bite-sized chunks. The most successful writers aren’t always the ones who have a massive scope of their growing careers. Sometimes, they’re simply masters at taking on one small task every single day, doing it to the best of their ability, and then suiting up to do it all over again tomorrow. Four-figures of self-publishing income a month will come to those who can plan and achieve the daily task every day for an entire year. Come gold rush or empty mine, these are the authors who will find lasting success.

Part Three: How to Earn $1,000 a Month From Self-Publishing


This is a four part series. You might want to start from the beginning. Click here to view part one.

3. July – September

With six months of hard work under your belt, you’re bound to have a small but dedicated following as well as two products in a variety of stores. The third quarter of the year is about continuing to grow while taking advantage of everything you’ve gathered thus far. Even if you haven’t topped 100 sales a month at this point, you’re still setting yourself up for success with a solid foundation.

Task 1 – Write Your Third Book

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It almost goes without saying that you need to keep working on your series. For many authors, the third book is what helped them approach their earnings goal. There’s also a good chance that by the time you’re writing your third book, you’ll be much improved compared to when you put together the first one. Not only do you have a system, but you’ve trained up your writing muscles to put out cleaner content. No book you write will be easy, and some will be more challenging than others, but you’ll get better as time goes on.

Task 2 – Use Giveaways to Build Your List

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With six months worth of clear calls to action in the front and back of your books, as well as a popup on your site, you’re bound to have at least a hundred subscribers by this point. The use of giveaways can help you to double or triple your current level of followers, while finding new true fans in the process. Rafflecopter and KingSumo Giveaways are two of the biggest giveaway platforms, and you’re likely to get strong results from either.

Like releasing a book, it’s not enough to just put a giveaway out there and hope for the best. You’ll need a strategy to ensure that people outside of your list find out about the promotion. There are multiple giveaway websites out there that let you post a link to your sweepstakes, and you can team up with other authors to increase the reach of your event as well. Keep in mind that not every email you collect from your promotion will be an active and engaged reader. Some people enter giveaways to win prizes and then move on. The trick is collecting enough entrants and email addresses to ensure that your efforts are worth it.

Task 3 – Enlist Your Fans’ Help

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As you continue to build your list, there are many ways that your existing fans can help give your career a boost. Many successful authors have brought all their biggest supporters together in street teams that help them promote their latest books. These fan clubs do everything from posting honest, positive reviews on every platform to spreading the word on social media. How do you know whether or not you have dedicated fans? Simply ask them if they would help you out with a review or a social media share. If nobody steps up, then you may have to do more work to recruit additional fans.

Even if a street team isn’t in the cards during the third quarter, it’s still a great idea to ask for small favors along the way. Ask the members of your list if they’d like a review copy of your next book. Segment the ones who come through and give them every book you ever put out. Ask them to post reviews on Amazon, Kobo, Apple, Google Play, and Nook. Early reviews matter more than the few sales you would have made if your fans hadn’t gotten the books for free.

Task 4 – Re-Invest Your Earnings

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It can be tempting to scale back your hours at work or immediately spend the money you’ve made from publishing in your first six months. If your goal was to make $100 a month, then that wouldn’t be a big deal, but you’re seeking a solid four-figure monthly payday. That’s why you should re-invest your short-term gains back into the business. There are a few different ways of doing this.

The obvious publishing expenses include covers and editing. Once you’ve got enough money saved up on those fronts, it’s a good idea to start outsourcing repetitive tasks. It may seem like a waste to shell out money for things like formatting and hunting for book reviewers, but there are few better options when your time is so limited. Each time you get someone to do a task for you, you save time that you could’ve used for writing and marketing. Every few tasks you outsource, you end up saving an entire workday. Build up enough saved days and you’ll find yourself way ahead of where you could’ve been before outsourcing.

If there aren’t any pressing needs for your publishing income, then you should consider saving it up for future production or advertising expenses.

Task 5 – Concentrate Your Resource

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The best part about tracking data is taking a look at your results. By using tracking links and a reputed email marketing company for the first half of the year, you’ll have tons of data to examine. At this point, you should know which of your marketing strategies works the best, how well your first book sells through to your later works, and how many people are clicking the links in your emails. Knowledge is power; but only if you apply it.

Write down everything you’re doing that’s working and not working. Determine if it’s worth continuing to do the most ineffective things on your list. More often than not, something that you do every day may no longer be worth your time. Strong data will clue you into such time sucks. Spending too much energy and money on something that isn’t contributing to results will keep you from reaching your income goal.

Click here to read Part 4.

Part Two: How to Earn $1,000 a Month From Self-Publishing


This is a four part series. You might want to start from the beginning. Click here to view part one.

2. The Second Quarter: April – June

Your first book is out and you’re starting to gain traction with fans. Even though instinct may tell you to go out and market your book, you’re still in the building phase. If you have to choose between marketing your first book and writing your second book, then the next book should almost always be the path you take.

Task 1: Write Your Second Book

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It doesn’t matter if you write fiction or non-fiction. The second book you write should be a part of the same series as your first. You’re setting up a funnel for your readers. When you’ve written a bunch of standalone books, you have no way of knowing if readers who liked one will like the others. By writing a series, you’ll give existing readers a chance to read new work that they’re already inclined toward liking. It also provides new readers with a chance to purchase something else if they stumble upon your first book.

Write your second book using the method you perfected during the first quarter of the year. It should be easier the second time around, but if you run into any stumbling blocks, make sure to consult with your beta readers, editors, and fans to give you the boost you need.

Remember to brand your cover and blurb similarly to the first book in your series. Readers should be able to tell that they’re all connected.

Task 2: Connect With Authors and Host an Event

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Writing is no longer a solitary sport. Most of the authors who’ve learned the tools they need to succeed picked up those skills from other authors. Some writers go about networking in the wrong way. They’re only looking to take information without giving. You’re going to go in the complete opposite direction.

Host a multi-author event and ask the other members of your genre to be a part of it. This can be a Facebook event, Google Plus Hangout, in-person, or on another platform. You can also include a multi-author box set or other types of collaboration as well. Make helping these other authors find new readers the primary focus of the event.

When other authors see that you care about helping people, they’ll want to help you as well. It takes a lot of time to organize, but the insight and connections you make from these events are priceless. During the event, feel free to ask questions about platforms and marketing. Find out new information about what works without being too pushy. You never know how these connections will pay dividends, but you can be sure that they will.

Task 3: Optimize Every Platform

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As part of a recent series of articles for Author Marketing Institute, we’ve talked about getting a foothold on other platforms. You can go exclusive on Amazon if you want, but that will cause you to miss out on at least four viable platforms where you can find new readers. Learn as much as you can about Apple, Nook Press, Kobo, and Google Play. Once you’ve placed your books there, figure out everything you can about Audible’s Audiobook Creation Exchange and translation services like Babelcube. Take advantage of all possible opportunities to earn money from your books.

Task 4: Improve Your Habits

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You’ve build up some strong habits for writing, publishing, and marketing in the first quarter. The second quarter gives you a chance to strengthen those skills. Aside from repetition, one of the best ways to improve your habits is to brainstorm ways to increase your productivity.

Sit down with a blank word processor doc or a sheet of paper. Pick an area of your business that seems to be lagging behind the rest. Use stream-of-consciousness writing to brainstorm the issues with your current system and ways you might be able to patch them up. You’d be surprised by how much a daily brainstorming session like this can fix most of the issues with your business over the course of a few weeks.

Task 5: Apply Your Findings

If your data collection has been comprehensive, then you may have some action steps worth taking. Let’s say that Facebook is the top referrer to your website’s book page. That may be a clue to start putting more time into the social media platform.

Do you have three fans who do all the commenting on your blog and reply to all your emails? Consider asking them to be a part of your street team to promote your book for you. Does one platform sell better than the others? See what you can do to enhance editions of the book sold at that location. There’s no point in gathering data if you aren’t going to use it. Learn everything you can from the information you’ve collected and apply it to your business.

Click here to read Part 3.

Practical Tips for Easy Air Travel

Practical Tips for Easy Air Travel by [Right, Ani]by Ani Right (Author)

Have you ever found your date via a special app while waiting in transit in the airport? Or have you tried mystery shopping to earn some pocket money in the airport shop? Do you know that professional thieves enjoy working on board?


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AMC Buzz Team – June 23

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