People will tell you that every single method of making money online is saturated, or it will not work any more.
What makes publishing material for consumption through Amazon’s Kindle different is that it is an evergreen way of building an online business empire.
People will always read books and there will always be a market for people who want to quickly consume well packaged information to help them solve a problem.
So Kindle publishing is a great way of setting up an online income stream for the long-term. You only need to publish a book once and it can bring new revenue basically forever. Mixed with the lack of infrastructure required, it makes this strategy great for cutting your teeth in making money online.
In part one of this three-part series we talked about the background to setting up your Kindle publishing empire, including how to come up with one great initial idea to get started with.
In part two we are going to discuss the process of how you can easily create and publish your first Kindle format product. Following on from this, in part three we will complete the information loop by talking about how you can market your new Kindle product for maximum profit.
How to write your first Kindle book quickly and easily
The actual product is key to your long-term moneymaking success in Kindle e-book publishing. Although marketing techniques will always matter and will frequently change, it is the content of your book that will make you money forever.
So in stark contrast to some other information products, the Kindle book you create needs to be a great product that attracts good reviews and recommendations for the long term.
You also need to look at your overall publishing empire strategy.
The Kindle publishing empire strategy is a long-term one that will embrace multiple products. Producing a poor product, even if all the others are great, can have a damaging effect on the brand you are trying to build.
And that is how you need to think. You are building a brand for the long-term. So the quality levels need to be high and the formatting consistent to ensure that you encourage good reviews and repeat custom.
This means your own personal quality control needs to be high. There is no excuse for allowing a shoddy book to slip into your Kindle publishing empire catalogue. If it’s not up to standard then it should be reworked or ditched, to avoid endangering your entire new online business.
Hopefully you are understanding the lesson that I’m asking you to learn here. You have to invest time and effort in making sure that the products you release are of the highest possible quality, to build a brand.
Should I write my Kindle book or employ a freelance writer?
There are two completely legitimate ways to get your first book written. You can either write it yourself, or employ somebody else to write it for you.
If you are writing the book yourself then you need to be honest about your own subject knowledge and writing skills. If the book is poorly constructed and full of gaps then people will reject it out of hand.
Be honest with yourself about whether you have the ability to write your own products. Not everybody has the ability to write well. The problem is that many people believe they have.
If you are convinced you have the ability, then you should start by writing a short introduction and then putting it out to impartial sources for feedback. I have met people before who are convinced that their English skills are top-notch, their knowledge is great and I creativity is amazing. But reading what they have written, it’s really hard to have to tell them that it’s simply not professional quality.
Good enough is not good enough to consistently sell Amazon Kindle products. In exactly the same way as some people are tone deaf, which leads them to believe they can sing when they can’t, so you may have to acknowledge reality when it comes to writing.
But the great news is that high quality writers are available quickly from the Internet. Freelancing websites will allow you to quickly select a high quality writer with great feedback to do your project for you, at a reasonable price.
Writing is a skill and by selecting a high-quality freelancer you address two issues:
- You free up your own time to look at other issues around starting your Kindle publishing empire
- You maximise your chances of producing a high quality product
Everything you need to know about hiring a freelance writer
If you go down the road of employing someone to write the book for you, then you need to ensure that they understand the topic and can write incredibly well for you.
This can be quite daunting, as for many of you starting out down the road of starting your own publishing empire, this may be the first hiring decision you have ever had to make.
So let’s go through the key things you will need to know to successfully hire someone and complete the project.
- You need to be clear on your own expectations of what they will produce
It’s no good chucking a rough brief at someone and expecting them to return a perfect million-selling manuscript. You are in charge of the project and the rubbish in, rubbish out rule will always apply.
The writer will need as much information as possible about the following things:
- The style of writing you are looking for
- How technical and in-depth you want to go
- Clear comparisons from similar pieces of writing
- Sources and other documents that may help them
- A clear statement about the issues you want the book to address
- Exactly who the book is aimed at and should be pitched for
Remember that you are the one who has gathered the details through research to get to this stage. So not passing on all your information and expectations, expecting the writer to perform miracles from scratch, is setting your entire project up for a fall through nothing more than personal negligence.
- Be clear on the size of the project
Once the writer has seen exactly what you are expecting, they will be able to give you a rough size for the project, in terms of an estimated word count.
Alternatively, you may have a maximum word count in mind.
However you get to this, it’s important that you are flexible. If the topic needs more words to be covered in detail, then allow it. If it’s covered in less than the agreed word count, there is no point in stuffing in extra sections for the sake of it.
Flexibility is key when it comes to determining the word count for your project, but you should always have a rough size for your project in mind.
- Be clear on the cost of the project
Especially if working with a freelance writer for the first time, be clear on your project cost.
You can either agree a fixed price for the entire word count, or a word count rate, often as a price per 500 words.
It is vital you factor in flexibility when deciding this. As we have just discussed, sometimes your project will naturally require more less words.
So if it needs another 2000 words to raise the quality and complete the topic, then build that possibility into your budgeting and allow it. Saving yourself a bit of money for the sake of it will only lead to you having an incomplete product.
- Agree a delivery timescale for your project
Depending on the length of the project, you will have to agree with the writer for it to be completed within a realistic timescale.
I mention a word realistic, because if you pressure your chosen writer based on an unrealistic timescale you will not only ensure they turn out substandard writing, but will also increase the chances of them not wanting to work with you again.
It may be perfectly possible for a freelance writer to fit a 2000 word piece into their current working week, but to expect them to complete a 75,000 word Kindle e-book in two weeks, when they already have work to do, is usually going to be unrealistic – and if they can then you should wonder why they are not already busy!
Always have a rock solid outline before you start
Whether you decide to write the book yourself or hire a writer, it is really important that you plan out the structure of your book before writing begins.
Chapter titles, with bullet points highlighting each major point to be made are the bare minimum that this outline should contain.
The more of a comprehensive blueprint you can create, in terms of structure and content, the more smoothly the writing will develop and the better the end result will be.
Imperfect planning leads to imperfect results. This will not be more true than when you view the finished result of a writing project that was not comprehensively planned in advance.
Never publish without refinement
When we talk about refinement, we are talking about not publishing the first draft.
Okay, if you are working with a writer you trust, or you are writing for yourself, and you are completely convinced of the quality, then sometimes you can publish your first draft, but the truth is that most the time this is simply not the case.
Once the first draft is published, you need to get it read by several impartial people who know the subject. Get their feedback and refine the draft.
Then get the new draft read again by those people and others. Always make sure you read it yourself several times as well.
Once you are happy with the structure of the final draft, you should then organise a final edit, perhaps even through a professional proofreader.
Once the draft has been refined and proofread, it is ready for publication.
Publishing your first Kindle book
Now things are starting to get exciting. The research and hard work has been done, your first book has been written to a professional standard and you are now nervously getting ready to publish it.
This can be a nerve-wracking time as your hopes and fears are about to come true. I have seen authors who have actually stalled at this point because they fear that their expectations were unrealistic and now confronted with reality, they basically freeze.
As long as you have followed every piece of advice so far then you have no fears to worry about. Your product will be of a high quality and ready to publish on Kindle.
An amazing title will do amazing things
Although this will have been planned from the start, before you publish you need to refine the title of your book so that it draws potential customers in.
The title is vital.
It needs to talk directly to the people who will be interested in the content of your book. It needs to tell them that what they will purchase can answer that problems and give them a clear path.
The golden rule is you simply cannot take enough time to craft an amazing title.
Some copywriters for example spend more time writing and rewriting the perfect title than they do on the rest of the piece of writing that follows it. The fact that sales writers spend that much time on the title should tell you how important it is for the success of your book.
As an example, look at the title of the classic marketing book by Dale Carnegie, “How To Win Friends And Influence People”.
It’s a simply amazing title.
This book is going to tell you how to get more friends. It is going to tell you how you can influence people. It’s going to tell you how to Win friends and influence them. It is inferred that by winning friends you will be more popular and successful. It’s also inferred that by influencing people you will enjoy great success.
All of that from a simple but effective title. Who wouldn’t buy that book, with a title like that?
Keep the formatting simple stupid
It’s too easy to get fancy with your formatting.
People want to read the words and quickly cast their eyes over any supporting pictures and diagrams. They want the meat and they want it quickly – they are hungry!
So be creative when needed, but it’s better to keep things plain and simple than to get complex.
If you get to crazy with the formatting then you will distract people from your key messages and they will not have such a good reading experience. They will lose the thread of what you are saying and be less likely to see your book is a great read.
Choosing the price is not a simple decision
You can set any price you want on the Kindle platform. How much do you think your new masterpiece is worth?
I bet it’s five times what people will want to pay!
There are lots of variables you have to take into consideration. If your price point is too high then you may have low sales. If your price point is too low, then you might sell lots of books but be leaving money on the table.
Setting your price is all about finding the sweet spot. Just the right price to make the most money.
A good starting point is to see what the prices are of books you are competing with. This is something you will have done in your initial exploration work.
If it’s a quick guide to a topic, and you are competing against several other quick guides, then you may need to price yours more cheaply to entice people to look.
On the other side of that, you could be at the top of the potential market. Your strategy has been to look at what is on offer and go one step further. In this case, and increased price point may send the message to potential buyers that your book has a premium price because it is premium quality.
Reputation will also be a factor. If this is your first book, then sales and feedback are important, even if you are not making much money in order to get them.
Once your Kindle publishing empire established and you have a reputation and repeat buyers, you can raise your price point and still get people to pay.
Finally, when it comes to pricing always use tried and tested pricing structures.
$4.99 and $5.00 are effectively the same price. The reason people price at $4.99 is that because the starting number is four, it can psychologically lead potential buyers to feel it’s at a lower price.
One of the Kindle books I have helped to publish, “How to fly for free”, will highlight to the importance of pricing your product perfectly.
The book is listed on Kindle at $9.99, which is right at the top of the price range for the highest royalty structure. But why is this published at a higher price than others we have published?
The answer is that the book promises to save readers far more than the purchase price. Someone who is interested in this book will see it as an investment that could pay off big time in terms of free airline tickets.
So they won’t bother worrying about spending an extra few dollars on the book when they are weighing up that purchase cost against the potential of saving thousands of dollars.
Thinking about what your book has to offer in terms of return on the investment can help to determine how much people will be willing to pay.
Understanding the basics of the Kindle royalty structure
There are two options on the Kindle publishing platform that you can choose from. The first is 35% royalties and the second is 70% royalties.
Now obviously you would much rather get 70% of your book sales than 35%.
But to qualify for the 75% threshold you need to price your book at less than $9.99. Above this you can only select the 35% option.
So it always going to be beneficial to keep your product below $9.99. Amazon obviously sets their royalty pricing structure this way to encourage publishers to offer books within the price band that people are more likely to impulsively purchase within.
Wrapping it up for part two
I’m guessing you now pretty pumped up and already looking around the topics you can create books on to get your foot into a niche with. If you have read part one then you will hopefully have already done this step.
And you should be pumped up.
Once you get your first book published, the ball will be well and truly rolling on your Kindle publishing empire.
It’s an industry where you can make really good money with no online infrastructure and without a vast general technical or marketing knowledge.
In part three we will look in detail at how you can promote your first Kindle book both during the product creation process and afterwards.
If anything is unclear about what I have told you here, then feel free to ask away using the comment form below – I always love to read your thoughts.