Podcast 48: How Steve Scott Makes Over $40k Per Month Publishing Kindle eBooks About Habits

Podcast 48: How Steve Scott Makes Over $40k Per Month Publishing Kindle eBooks About Habits

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Steve Scott is the real deal.

I met Steve at the New Media Expo conference back in January of this year.  We knew each other virtually before that, and I've always had a lot of respect for his business.

When I met Steve, I was immediately struck with how down to earth and genuine he is.  Not only is he making a killing with his business, but he's also the kind of guy that anyone should get along with.

Perrin and I really wanted to have him on our podcast because we are in the process of launching our own Kindle ebook related to our authority site very soon.  Steve was out traveling the world for a couple of months, so it took a while to schedule a time…but I'm sure glad we did!

In this podcast, we discuss 2 of Steve's sites: SteveScottSite.com and DevelopGoodHabits.com; and of course his Kindle publishing business.  In fact, he was also kind enough to share a link to his author page on Amazon, so you can see a list of all his books!  Check them out at HabitBooks.com.

Steve's advice and story is quite impressive as he is only started publishing on Kindle about 2 years ago and is now making anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 a MONTH!  He reveals regular income reports and has great business tips over at SteveScottSite.com.

Finally, Steve has decided to jump into the podcasting game himself and will be launching it soon.  You can find out more about his upcoming podcast at: SelfPublishingQuestions.com.

Steve Scott Podcast Notes

I highly encourage you to listen to the full podcast below as there are several tips covered there that are not written down in this blog post.  However, if you need to skim, I've written down a good portion of the questions and abbreviated answers below.

What led Steve to starting an Online business in the first place?

Steve was $15k in debt and going through life changes and was trying to figure out ways to make money. He discovered affiliate marketing and went full time around 2005, and has just been improving his business each year since then.

In 2012, he got started in Kindle Publishing.

In his affiliate marketing days, he was creating lots of squeeze pages and using any means necessary to drive traffic and then sold products to those leads.  Most of the tactics he used can no longer be applied any more; however, it taught him many skills that he continues to use today.

Why did you start  SteveScottSite.com?

He started blogging and didn't really have a specific focus, he wrote about health, money, traveling, or anything.  He started to notice that in the comments of his blog, most people were most interested in his internet business.

He eventually started talking more and more about his internet business to evolve where he is now.

What is the Income from your Kindle books?

He started 2014 with income of about $14k to $20k per month.  In May he had his biggest month of $60,000 that month in Kindle ebook sales.  It has come down a little bit, but is has been between $30k to $50k per month recently.

Where Can People Go to See Your Books?

If people go to HabitBooks.com they can see all of Steve's books in the Habit niche; which is what he is well known for now.

How well has your most recent book sold?

The book is:  Master Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Organizing Your Life with Evernote (Plus 75 Ideas for Getting Started).  So far the book has made about $14k in a span of about 2 months.

What's the Process for Launching a book?

Email marketing is pretty much his entire business model.  He likes to launch a book at $0.99, and during that time he tries to drive as much traffic using his email list and Facebook groups he's a part of.  These initial sales can really boost it with Amazon.

So, when he then raises the price to $2.99 the sales “stick” because Amazon algorithm ranks it well.

How many people are buying from your email list vs. new buyers from Amazon?

In the first week, its probably about 80% from Steve's email list and 20% directly from Amazon.

After the first week, it basically reverses where 80% of sales come naturally from Amazon and only 20% from Steve's marketing efforts.

How often are you emailing your list during the launch period?

Steve takes a more long term approach.  He only sends about 3 emails total.

He divides his list in 2: Steve Scott Site list and the DevelopGoodHabits.com list.

The Steve Scott list he emails ones or maybe twice.  For the Habit list he emails the first day and then again 2 days before the price change takes place (goes up to $2.99).

How Big are the email lists?

Steve Scott Site list is about 15,000 people.  This list has about a 20% open rate.

The Habits list is about 17,000. This list has about 30 to 35% open rate.

What is Your Most Successful Book to Date and how is it doing?

The book is called, Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less.  In the last 90 days its done about $25k.  During the launch it was selling up to 100 copies a day.  He's made around 50 to $60k from that one book.

Most of Sales are coming from Amazon then?

Yes.  The catalog approach is good too.  They might like one book and then buy others.  Or they might not like one book, but do like many others that you have in your back cataloged.

Books can almost be like epic blog posts.  By having lots of books on related topics, you can capture an audience and sell more books.

You Launched DevelopGoodHabits.com in January 2013.  How do your ebooks and the site work together?

Its mostly one way…Steve is driving traffic to his email list with the blog. He hasn't done much to promote or link build the site.

The site is now getting 250 to 350 unique visitors a day.

Where Are the Email Subscribers coming from?

Most of his email subscribers on the Habits list are coming directly from the Kindle ebooks.

He has has some growth when he wrote related books and promoted them on Steve Scott Site.

Would DevelopGoodHabits.com exist with SteveScottSite.com?

That's hard to say.  They do work together; however, Steve feels like he could have built DevelopGoodHabits.com on its own.

What are common mistakes that people should avoid?

Don't just copy what other people are writing about.

Make sure the editing and formatting is done properly.  Getting a professional look and editing is very important.

How Important is the Title and Topic of a Book?

When Steve wrote the Habit Stacking book he realized how important the title of books can be.  Look at CopyBlogger.com and and other places to get your own swipe file to start building a word document for all potential titles.

MTurk.com can be a place you can run potential titles through and have people vote on best titles.

What Else are You Focusing on for DevelopGoodHabits.com?

Outside of Kindle books, the site does make up to $1,200 a month in Amazon Associates program.  He also does audio and print versions of books that generate additional revenue.

He is also looking into foreign translations of the books.

Finally he is also looking to do affiliate marketing to his email list as well (made about $1,600 last month selling one affiliate product).

How do You Launch a Kindle Book without an Email List?

You should launch the book for free.  Nick Loper did well with a free launch here; its a great process if you don't have a list or audience.

You can also have an email opt-in in the front of the book to start building out your email list.

Another great strategy is to use the Perma-free technique.  You submit your book to Amazon for 99 cents.  Then go to SmashWords.com and list it for free there.

Amazon will see that free listing and will price match it for free on Amazon as well.

How do you use Lead Magnets in a Kindle Ebook?

Its just an image with a link to a redirect URL, and Steve uses LeadPages.net for his leads.

What are Steve's Thoughts on Kindle Unlimited?

Steve likes that Kindle Unlimited downloads still counts as sales.  This will help move your books up in Amazon's rankings.

They pay $1.80 per download vs. $2.10 for a regular sale.  This is pretty good.

However, Amazon also gets more control with this and he's cautious about relying 100% on Amazon.  He's still undecided how good or bad it will be.

What Else?

The center of your business really should be an email list.  Drive everyone to your email list.

Email marketing works.

Focus on the quality of the content.  You really should write the best possible book that you can.

How Do You Go About Picking Topics for a Book?

Steve tends to write about what he personally find interesting; that's where most of his book ideas come from.

More important than just one topic, find an entire area or market that you know about.  You should also do a little bit of keyword research to see what people are buying on Amazon to see what's selling.  But overall the brand and topics that sells well.

What About Competition Research?

Steve really doesn't worry about competition.  Steve takes  long term approach, and will just continuously publish new books and better content.  By building that categlog, eventually your books will start outranking other people's books that perhaps just worry more about ranking for keywords on Amazon, etc.

Where Can People Following Along with You?

Blog: SteveScottSite.com

New Podcast: SelfPublishingQuestions.com

Listen to the Podcast

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41 Comments for this Post

  1. Rus

    Rus

    Great timing!

    I have an ebook/Kindle book that I wrote a while back and have done little to no marketing. I’ve been thinking about trying to see how well it can actually do.

    Thanks, Spencer and Steve!

    • Steve Scott

      Steve Scott

      Hey Rus… Feel free to email me with your book and what you’ve done. Might be able to give some suggestions.

  2. Olayinka

    Olayinka

    Whoa can wait to finish this podcast, will come back to comment on this interview later.

    • Steve Scott

      Steve Scott

      Let me know what you think Olayinka and if you have any questions.

  3. Alex

    Alex

    Spencer is awesome. Thanks for this.

  4. Zac Johnson

    Zac Johnson

    Always amazing to see these success stories with Amazon Kindle books. Even better when broken down like you did in this podcast/post.

    • Steve Scott

      Steve Scott

      Hey Zac — Happy to share some of my experience with Amazon. Let me know if you have any questions…

  5. Jon Haws

    Jon Haws

    I’ve been doing KDP books for about a year with success, but didn’t know the Smashwords trick to get the book listed for free on Amazon. Thanks for sharing. I will give this a shot!

    • Steve Scott

      Steve Scott

      Happy to share! It’s a strategy that fiction authors use to get attention for their larger series. But did it once and might apply it to my habit books. Let me know if you need more detail about it.

      • Jon Haws

        Jon Haws

        Thanks Steve. Have enjoyed listening to your various interviews across the web and reading your site. I did apply a couple of your strategies and took a book that was ranked 20,000 up to 3,000 and #1 in a VERY tough industry in just a couple days.

  6. Kindle

    Kindle

    Does he write his own books? If not, where is he getting his writers from?

    • Steve Scott

      Steve Scott

      I write like 95% of my books…with a few parts researched. I do hire writers for other projects, mostly using Elance because I like the ability to quickly sort through the qualifications/prices of different bids.

  7. Charry

    Charry

    How many pages do your books have, average.?

    • Steve Scott

      Steve Scott

      Charry — When I first started out, my books were 50 to 60 pages in Word. About 15,000 words. Now it’s upwards of 30 to 35k, which is around 100 pages. Hope this helps!

  8. Jack Gamble

    Jack Gamble

    Wow, those are huge figures for ebook sales. Very impressive. Really shows what can be done!

    • Steve Scott

      Steve Scott

      Thanks Jack! I’d say it’s like a lot of other online income strategies … I spent about two years (almost obsessively) focusing on writing Kindle books. I think the important lesson (for any business) is when you see something that works, if double down on it, you can almost exponentially grow that business.

  9. Velin Naydenov

    Velin Naydenov

    Great podcast as always, Spencer! I’ve found another interesting things to read and check thanks to it, thank you 🙂

    • Steve Scott

      Steve Scott

      Glad you like the interview Velin. Please let me know if you have any questions!

  10. George

    George

    Steve, would you recommend using color or b/w illustrations inside kindle books?
    My subjects require to have pictures. I just don’t know how to format pages with large illustration to be viewed on different screens.

    Thank you for sharing! Awesome info!!!

    • Steve Scott

      Steve Scott

      George — You can use either. Though if you have a large amount of pictures, that could turn it into a large file size. Amazon does charge a small download fee if a book is too large. It’s nothing major, just something to keep in mind.

  11. Ted

    Ted

    Great Podcast! I really enjoyed it, and congratulations on your success.
    I’ve also published a couple of Kindle books but never really knew how to market them, so they never really gained much traction.
    Thank you for sharing your info, really appreciate it!
    Ted

    • Steve Scott

      Steve Scott

      My pleasure Ted. Yes, the marketing aspect is often the most difficult aspect of Kindle publishing. Please let me know if you need help with anything.

      • Ted

        Ted

        Thank you Steve. I’ve been reading thru your website, what a wealth of info. Thanks for that.
        I’m just wondering if there’s anything that can be done as far as promotion for a book that’s been published for 3 years now but hasn’t really made many sales.
        Not sure what the best approach would be there…
        Thanks
        Ted

  12. Hank

    Hank

    I’m still shaking my head over the Amazon Associates income. I’ve never heard of anyone making substantial money from that. I’d say $1200 dollars is a great bonus! When you know how to grow your audience, you can create multiple streams of revenue like he has.

    Fantastic job!

    • Steve Scott

      Steve Scott

      Hey Hank — Yeah, I know some people who do well with Associates, but it’s either high volume or high-ticket items. Honestly, I’m happy with the amount I make — especially since I primarily use the program as a low-tech tracking tool.

  13. ysk

    ysk

    Interesting case study, thanks for sharing.

    40k a month is a lot for an ebook. I dont think I can reproduce those numbers in my own country (The Netherlands)…

    • Steve Scott

      Steve Scott

      You’re right. Honestly, you need to stick to mass market topics and mass market audiences (like the U.S.). That said, I know Amazon is opening a Dutch branch. Who knows? In a few years, it might become a large market…like Germany.

  14. Jitendra Shekhawat

    Jitendra Shekhawat

    Affiliate Program is good source for make money from website because google adsense is not best but affiliate program is best for make money online…if we sale ebook and other affiliate network product and we use adwords then we can get good profit….

  15. Douglas

    Douglas

    Crazy inspiring post! I have a successful ebook already at my blog on graphic design, but not in Amazon. I just signed up and read the 44 questions PDF cover to cover just now. Very cool and I’m inspired to open a new can of worms and do a series of books I was going to do as epic posts on a blog. I’m convinced Amazon can work if you work with it and for it, but while you build your own brand at the same time. No eggs all in one basket, as you say. Thanks!

  16. Neal

    Neal

    Awesome work Scott…congratulations! Very inspiring story 🙂 Good luck with the Kindle ebook launch Spencer and Perrin.

  17. Egacharles

    Egacharles

    Am a music Consultant, and am from Nigeria. Please how can you help me develop my music based on podcast and what you do .thanks..

  18. Jack

    Jack

    Steve,

    Please, make your next 15k income e-book on building, maintaining, and selling from an email list.

    Clearly there is some mad science going on here.

    I will be your first customer.

  19. Robert E. Burns

    Robert E. Burns

    Now, if only I could write…

  20. Charles

    Charles

    Great information here. I think I’m going to try to setup the no cost ebook as mentioned here to try and build a mailing list. It seems that when I offer a free ebook I get a lot of downloads, however few people really want to pay.

    Keep up the great work.

  21. Harshajyoti Das

    Harshajyoti Das

    Hi Spencer & Steve,

    You are so transparent about your whole business/writing career. That’s the most I love about you. Thank you for motivating hundreds of writers like me to keep pushing our boundaries. You have shown us the big picture.

    I have listened/read all your prior interviews.

    The fact that someone can be so open about their Email list, open rate and income is mindboggling. Honestly, I don’t know another person who is so transparent about his business.

    Steve, loves helping upcoming authors and shares his secrets with them. It tells a lot about him as a person. I wouldn’t have taken Kindle publishing seriously, if it weren’t for him.

    Thank you Spencer for inviting Steve over and picking his brain. I did the same for my upcoming book on “book marketing” and Steve was really generous to answer a few queries and offering generous tips about Kindle Publishing.

    You have a nice site around here Spencer. Keep inviting people like Scott and I will make sure, not to miss a single blog post. Already subscribed to your blog.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Harshajyoti! Steve really is a great guy and definitely open about his business…very respectable.

  22. Bas

    Bas

    Hey Steve,

    I have been publishing books as well.

    One tip I can give you (if you need any 😀 I knew you were already pulling in big numbers), put your books also on Createspace.

    It’s really easy and you can even outsource it. This year my paperbacks outsells my kindle books by 40%.

    And I didn’t do any extra promotion for it. Even on free days my paperbacks get sold.

    But it’s the most easy way to double your income. People still buy a lot of paperbacks and it’s not much work for another stream of income.

    Good luck, I have a few of your books and I like all of them! Keep up the good work.

    Would like to hear how createspace will perform for you.

    I really hate it that I didn’t start doing that from the beginning because I missed A LOT of dollars because of it.

    Also this way your book get even more exposure. Link your kindle & paperback so they can be found easily.

    I don’t sell that much books as you, but it took my only a day or so to get my books ready for createspace. Counting the hours these will be 4-figure profit hours because of the money these paperbacks bring me.

    I bet you can beat that 🙂

    Good luck.

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  24. Melissa Contreras

    Melissa Contreras

    Hi Spencer and Steve,

    I really enjoyed this interview. I have been following Steve Scott for quite some time because his philosophy and ethos behind his business really resonates with me and the way I am building my own Kindle publishing business and I found this conversation super helpful. I have subscribed to your podcast because as a result of this episode I listened to a few others and appreciate the great content. Thanks!

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