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How to Self Publish a Book on Amazon: 23 Steps to Launching a Kindle eBook That Makes Over $100 a Day

Yes! I Love to Learn

After almost 4 years of blogging and building businesses, here are the most important things I’ve learned…

How to Self Publish a Book on Amazon:  23 Steps to Launching a Kindle eBook That Makes Over $100 a Day

What if I told you that even if you don’t have an audience or email list that you could self-publish a best selling book on Amazon?

Just a few weeks ago Perrin and I launched our very first Kindle ebook.  Now it’s a best selling book in 3 different categories.

I’m about to show you how.

The book was released under a brand new pen name (as part of my authority site project).  We did all of this with essentially no audience, no email list, and no prior experience selling books as a self-published author on Amazon.

No joke.

What you are about to read are the step by step details of how we self-published a book on the Amazon Kindle store and how it has gone on to get 5,895 free downloads in the first 5 days and is now selling extremely well at $2.99.

To clarify, I DO have a large following on NichePursuits.com.  However, I’ve kept this side project of selling my first book on Amazon a secret until now.  I have not leveraged my audience or my name on Amazon.

I launched my book from scratch, the same point that any of you out there would start from.  If you DO have an existing audience, I’ll share how you can take advantage of that.

The best part about this business is that you can literally have something up and selling on the Amazon Kindle store in a relatively short period of time.

I’ll show you how with the 23 details steps below.

Let’s get serious about this.

First, Here’s Some Results

Before I jump into the detailed steps below, I want to share some results with you that display the success the book is having.

Also, please note that I will NOT be revealing the actual book on Amazon in order to prevent copy cats or other negative consequences I’ve seen from previous projects I’ve shared publicly.

I would make more sales if I shared the book publicly on my blog here, but I think that this case study is more valuable if kept a secret for now.

Overall, here’s some quick highlights of the results of our best selling Kindle eBook:

  • 5,895 free downloads in first 5 days
  • # 1 Best Selling book in 3 Different Kindle eBook categories
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank of 2,511
  • Made about $40/day during $0.99 period (7 days)
  • Currently making $100+/day – priced at $2.99

Here’s the graph showing the 5 free days of the kindle book (more details on this strategy below):

kindlefree

Getting 5,895 free downloads is great and I believe was critical to the success of our ebook; however, you only make money once you list it for sale.

Here’s what happened when we listed the book for $0.99 (more on pricing strategy below):

kindle99cents

This is the kind of chart you want to see!  When you are getting 60 to 70 units sold per day, even at $0.99 that is very good.  The KU/KOLL units are from the Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Lending Library programs.  I’m told that these are worth about $1.31 a piece.

Overall, even with just a 35% royalty rate on a $0.99 Kindle book; we were making $40+ a day for the last few days in the chart above.

Not too bad at all.

I will just say that things have gotten even BETTER in terms of earnings once I raised the price of my book to $2.99.

kindlesales

The “Paid Units” (red line) are sales at $2.99, of which I get a 70% royalty share (about $2.07).  The KU/KOLL Units (blue line) are worth about $1.31 each.  You can do the math on your own, but our best selling book is now consistently making $80-$100+ a day.  Sweet!

And here’s the official screenshot showing the books Amazon rank and Best seller status in 3 different categories:

amazonbestseller

(Yes, I blocked out the categories the book is in…I’m just being extra cautious against copy cats).

Thanks to These People…

Before I go into the step by step process below, I have to share that I didn’t figure out this process on my own!  I’ve interviewed both 2 different people on my podcast that are kindle publishing experts: Jonny Andrews and Steve Scott.

I was able to ask both Jonny and Steve direct questions about how to build successful self publishing business on Amazon before I even considered writing my first book.

In addition, Steve has continued to write several excellent blog posts on his blog and has been willing to answer a few private questions via email.  One of the blog posts on Steve’s blog is actually a guest post by Nick Loper from SideHustleNation.com on how he launched a Kindle eBook and got 20,000 downloads in the first week.

Perrin and I followed the steps of Nick Loper’s launch process from that guest post pretty closely.  In addition, Nick also created a more in-depth Kindle Launch Course on Udemy that we purchased as well and followed.  (Nick is offering the course at a 75% discount right here if interested).

So, while many of the steps below do have our own unique twist, I would be remiss to say that Jonny, Steve, and Nick have not provided valuable wisdom in shaping our launch process.

Okay, let’s jump into actually how to make all of this happen!

1. Pick a Broad Niche

In order to pick a niche, I have just a couple of simple rules.  First you want to make sure that people are actually buying books in this niche.

In other words, try not to pick a niche that is so obscure that there isn’t already books on the subject.  You can see some of the best selling books by browsing all the categories of Amazon.

Second you want to pick a broad enough market that at least a few titles could be written in the niche.  A perfect example of a broader market is the market that Steve Scott has chosen “Habits.”  Steve picked the niche of habit development and has now written various titles in that niche ranging from Habit Stacking to Developing a walking habit.

Finally, I would pick a niche that you actually have some interest in.  Whether that’s parenting, camping, or business management; pick a niche that appeals to you and has a fairly large established audience.

2. Plan for Future Success

If you are looking to build a long term self publishing business, you don’t want to be a one hit wonder.  According to experts like Steve Scott and Jonny Andrews, you want to eventually build up your library of book titles.

Once you have a few titles all in the same niche, buyers of one book will browse other titles that you have and will many times buy if they liked your first book.

This is really just a classic example of finding your target market and selling additional stuff to them.  If all your books are on fishing for example, a person interested in catching Bass might also be interested in catching Rainbow Trout; so if you’ve written both these books you can get 2 sales instead of just one.

However, if you’ve written one book on Bass Fishing and another book on Sewing, the chances that the bass fisherman is interested in a book on sewing is very very slim.

So, you must absolutely plan for your future success by sticking in your niche!  So, before you settle on a niche think about whether or not you can see lots of additional book titles in the same market that will appeal to a similar audience.

3. Determine If Books Are Selling Well in Your Niche

If you want to make more than a couple of dollars a month with your new book, you need to make sure that the category you are targeting has enough buyers.  One way to see how well books are selling in your chosen category is to look at the “Amazon Best Seller Rank” of some of the top books in your niche.

This step is so important, and will either solidify your decisions made in steps 1 and 2, or may tell you to completely scrap the niche you’ve picked and try something else.

In a nutshell, I want to see the best sellers in my chosen category with an amazon best seller rank of at least 10,000; and finding titles under 5,000 is much better.  A lower rank means that the book is selling more copies.

If a book is ranked 5,000 on the Kindle store, that means it’s probably selling anywhere from 20 to 40 copies a day (this is not an exact science but just a best guess based on my own book).  A book with an Amazon best seller rank of 10,000 or higher is most likely selling less than 10 copies a day (and perhaps much less just depending on where it ranks).

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to write a book that only sells 1 copy a day.  I want something that can potentially make 4 figures a month!  By looking at the Amazon best seller ranks, you can know if your chosen niche/category has any chance at all of selling that many copies.

Let’s look at a couple of examples.

First, go to the Kindle Store on Amazon Here.

kindlemenu

Now you need to scroll to your category by clicking on either “Kindle eBooks” or “Kindle Short Reads”.  I suggest clicking on “Kindle eBooks” to get the best idea of the general market size.

By going to the Kindle Short Reads you will only see the books selling well that are under a certain length.  This can be an interesting category to compare what other short kindle books are doing on Amazon; however, for research purposes, looking at the overall eBooks section is sufficient.

For example, let’s click on Kindle eBooks, and then “Science & Math”:

ebookscience

Now under Science and Math, there are lots of subcategories.  I want to find the subcategory that most closely matches the book that I plan to write.  So, let’s dig a bit deeper:

riversbestseller

If you wanted to write a book about Rivers…this is the category you would want to check out.  The #1 bestseller in this sub-category is “Blue Mind”.

Once you click on the book, you can then see the actual Amazon Best Sellers Rank by scrolling just below the “Product Details” section.

river1

This book is the #1 Best Seller in the Rivers category, but only has an Amazon Best Sellers Rank of 27,888 overall in the Kindle store.  This is way above the 10,000 threshold that I mentioned earlier.  I also checked several other titles in this category and all of them are well above 10,000.

As a result, I would NOT consider writing a book on Rivers or one that fits into this subcategory.  There just isn’t enough interest from buyers on this subject.

A Better Example

Now let’s find a category that would be worth pursuing.

If we go to the “Crafts, Hobbies, and Home” category and then “Animal Care and Pets” this is what we see:

dog1

I clicked on the Dogs subcategory and can see the “How Dogs Love Us” is the #1 best seller.  How is it’s Amazon best seller rank?

absdogs

This book is ranked #849 overall!  It’s selling REALLY well.

As I look at this book and others in the “dogs” category, many of them are well under the #10,000 sellers rank.  This category would give you lots of potential to sell a lot of books in.

By using this research method, you will know if a category is a good market to go into or not.

4. Brainstorm Book Topics

Now that you have chosen a niche that has a lot of potential for future success and found a category that sells well, it’s time to start brainstorming for the topic of your first book!

My process for brainstorming book topics is to write down about 10 different potential topics in my niche (from previous steps).  So, if I were to going into the Dogs category, I could see that any book related to how Dogs and humans think and communicate is something that people buy.

I’m sure I could come up with a few random titles for this category…

  •  How to communicate with your dog
  • How to Organize Your House with a dog at home
  • Children and Dog relationships
  • etc.

I’m just making this all up at this point, but you get the idea.  Just do some free flowing brainstorming on your specific topic and you are sure to start coming across some topics that could perform well.

By using your own intuition and seeing what books on similar topics are selling well, you can quickly narrow down what the actual subject matter of your book should be.  Unfortunately there is no software where you can punch in your potential book title and see how many copies it will sell.

However, you can use the real world data on Amazon to help you get as close to an accurate estimate as possible.

5. Create a Great Book Title

The title of a book is so critical.  I know that the old saying says, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

However, the reality is that people DO make snap judgements about not just the cover, but also the title and overall feeling they get when they read it and the book description.

The title is your chance to capture the attention of a potential buyer and intrigue them enough to buy the book.

The principles for writing a great book title are very similar to writing a great blog post title or email subject line.  If you study what great copy writers have advised, you are sure to increase your chances of creating a winning book title.

This is not an exact science, but here are a few tips that I’ve picked up along the way.  And to clarify, these are tips primarily for non-fiction books.  Although I’m sure most of these principles can be applied to fiction books as well.

a. State Promise in Main Title

Try to make it clear right away what the reader is going to get from the book.  For example, Dave Ramsey’s best selling book is called, “Total Money Makeover“.  The promise is clear.  Read this book and get a total money makeover.

Another example is Steve Scott’s book, “Wake Up Successful“.  It’s clear the that book is going to teach you how to be more successful in the morning.

However, the sub-title’s of these books really close the sale…as we’ll see in a second.

b. Make the Primary Title Catchy or Memorable

Not every book is going to have a clear promise in the first few words of its title.  That’s okay IF you can make the title unique, catchy, or memorable.

If you can make both a promise AND “catchy”, that’s ideal.  Dave Ramsey’s book “Total Money Makeover” nails both the promise and catchiness.

For example, another Steve Scott book is “Habit Stacking”.  This doesn’t give a clear promise, but it DOES hit a home run on the catchy and memorable scale.

And as we’ll see below, Steve utilizes the subtitle to great effect.  I believe his title and subtitle are a huge reason why its been a best selling book for quite some time now.

c. Subtitle for supporting benefits

People want to know what they are going to get after reading your book.  The sub-title can help you state more clearly what they will get, how long it will take, or other benefits that you want to highlight.

If you want to sell your book, you need to use some marketing tactics…and the subtitle is a great chance to do that.

For example, Steve’s Scott book is “Habit Stacking” has a full title and sub-title of, Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take 5 Minutes of Less

That’s a winner!

See what Steve did there?  In the subtitle he made it sound attainable, “small life changes” in “5 minutes or less”.  The reader is now intrigued with what the small habits are but also knows that they are easily attainable.

Another example?  Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover has an excellent sub-title as well.  “Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness”

The supporting benefits are clear!  This is not just a random plan…this is a “proven” plan to whip you into financial shape.  (The plan on the “makeover” and “fitness” is also brilliant).

No wonder his Amazon Best Seller Rank is 451!

Okay, there’s more to it than a title…but the title IS part of it.

d. Numbers Can Work Well

Numbers in your title or subtitles can work very well.  Hubspot released a blog post with 74 compelling title formulas.

Out of those 74 options, over 50 of them had numbers in the title.

People are drawn in by facts and figures.  If you can include a number in your subtitle, it can be a great way to go.

(Notice that I did the same thing with the title of this very blog post).

e. See What’s Working for Competitors

If you want to know what book titles sell well, why not just go over to Amazon and start browsing the best sellers in various categories?

I’m not advising that you copy anyone; rather you can see the types of titles that work well.  This type of research can really help solidify your ideas as you search for the best possible title for your book.

f. Follow the experts

So much as been written by copy writing experts on writing great book titles, blog post titles, and more.  Here’s a few great resources where you can further your education on writing great book titles.

6. Outline Your Book

Phew!  Now that you’ve done your research and finally settled on a good title, it’s time to actually start writing your book!

That’s right, I think you should create the title before you write the book.  At least for me, this helps guide me in the writing if I know what the end benefit I’ve already promised to the readers.

Writing an outline will help further flesh out the content of your book.  You should write an outline so that you know the content that will be contained in each chapter.

The outline is not meant to be in depth, but rather just the general ideas and main points to be included in each chapter.

Once this outline is complete, the actual writing of the book will be much easier.

7. Write the Book

Once you have created a great title with a promise and outlined the main points of the book, the rest is just filling in all the details.

That’s doesn’t mean it’s easy to write a book, it just means it’s much better than staring at a blank page.  I want to stress that it’s VERY important that you create a valuable book!  We are not in the business of churning out books that no one wants to read.

If you create an extremely valuable book that people want to read AND follow the marketing tactics listed here, then you’ll be much more likely to have a winning combination.  In addition, Amazon knows how long people spend reading your book and how many pages that actually look at.  I strongly suspect (as do others) that Amazon uses this time spent reading a book and pages viewed as a ranking factor in Amazon.

For our first book on Amazon (that is currently a best seller), we followed a fairly simple format for writing the book.

At the beginning of each chapter we mentioned the main point or the most actionable tips right up front.  Then we used the rest of the chapter to provide supporting evidence for why that tip works well.

In addition, if you can provide personal stories from your own life or others to support those main points, your book will be much more interesting.

People love stories.  So, don’t just tell them that they should brush their teeth for 2 minutes to avoid plaque buildup.  Tell them how after you brushed your teeth for 2 minutes each day you met the love of your life after she noticed how white (and plaque free) your teeth were.

You get the idea…don’t just give dry facts; make it real to people.

As far as length, you are in complete control.  However, if you are targeting the kindle market (like I am) you will likely want to write a book that is 10k to 25k words in length.

However, the length of book really depends on your overall goals and strategy.

8. Hire a Proofreader or Editor

After completing your book, you should hire someone to proofread it.

For our book, we just went over to Elance.com and found someone for about $50 to read through our book and make minor edits.

You could also work with a family member or friend that you feel has the skills you need.

9. Insert an Offer to Collect Emails From Your Book

Did you know that your Kindle eBook can also act as a lead generation tool?  Unfortunately Amazon doesn’t allow you to have the email addresses of everyone that buys your book; however, you can put a free offer in the front of your book.

If someone is interested in your free offer, they will click the link, go to your opt-in page, and give you their email address.

Here’s an example of a free offer in the front of Nick Loper’s “Work Smarter” Kindle eBook:

worksmarteroffer

Clicking the link will take you to an opt in page where Nick is collecting email addresses.  This is smart indeed!  Here’s what it looks like:

worksmarteroptin

If you would like another example, I’ve got that for you too!

Here’s the offer in the front of Steve Scott’s Habit Stacking Book:

IMG_2353 (2)

When a reader decides to click on the link, they are taken to a LeadPages capture form.  It’s pretty simple, but effective.  Here’s what it looks like:

leadpagehabit

Being able to build leads AND make sells is one of the beautiful things about this business.  If you don’t have an audience for your first book, you can have an audience by the time your second and third book comes around.

So, if you are capturing these leads and following the other marketing steps I’ll cover, your additional books should be easier than your first.

If you don’t have a free opt-in to give away, you can consider going to master-resale-rights.com where you can buy private label rights ebooks for very cheap.  Not all of these are able to be given away for free, but many of them are.

The best option is to write something up yourself or create some other kind of free gift (video, course, or anything enticing to your audience).

10. Get a Professional eBook Cover

People DO choose books based on their covers sometimes, so you need to make sure yours looks professional.  Luckily, there is no need to learn Photoshop and do everything yourself.

With so many talented freelance graphic designers, it’s very easy to find someone that will create a fantastic ebook cover for you for relatively cheap.

For our book, we just went over to Elance.com and hired someone for $150 to whip up a great looking cover.  Done!

I don’t have any specific advice other than to say, look at what other best selling books are doing and decide what covers you like.  If you can provide some examples of styles you like to your designer, I’m sure you will get something you are satisfied with.

11. Format Your Kindle eBook

Unfortunately, you can’t just upload a word document or a PDF to Amazon.  Your book needs to be in the special Kindle format.

You could go out and learn how to format the book yourself; however, there are a lot of quirks and it’s very simple to just hire someone off Elance to do it for you.

We hired someone for $50 on Elance to get our book in the proper format to upload to Kindle.  It’s that easy.

However, if you really want to learn the steps for formatting your book to the Kindle format, you can go to the official Amazon Kindle Simplified Formatting Guide Here.

12. Write and Format Your Book Description

Now it’s time to actually head over to Amazon and start getting your book ready for sale!  You will list your book at kdp.Amazon.com.

I think its important to put some time and thought into your title and book description before you actually start uploading anything.  The “Book Description” is your best chance after your title and subtitle to close the sale.

In fact, you have up to 4000 characters to give both a more in-depth description of your book and entice the potential reader with the benefits they will receive after reading your book.

bookdescription

Unfortunately, when I look at some books on Amazon, many of them only have a sentence or two under their book description.  And they are often not very good!  You need to focus this message on the reader, how will this book benefit them?

This is your chance to put your copy writing skills to use!

For additional tips on sales copy writing, read these articles:

Formatting

You will also want to format your book description so that it looks good.  Amazon has a good resource on what HTML is supported right here.

And here’s another great blog post that shows what the different formatting options look like and how to apply them.

I personally recommend using the H2 tags for your headers, rather than the larger H1 header.

13. Choose Categories and Contributors

Now you have the chance to add “Contributors”.  This is the author or authors of the book.  This could be your real name or a pen name.  I used a pen name on my first book.

categories

Next, you will need to select the categories that your book most accurately fits into.  This can take a little bit of hunting around to find the perfect fit, but you should find a category that works well for your book.

You are allowed to select 2 categories total.

The only strategy here is to pick the the category that targets your books subject matter as much as possible.

14. Research Amazon Keywords

Amazon allows you to input up to 7 keywords or keyword phrases that your book will show up for.  Your book will also naturally show up for other keyword searches just depending on how well your book is performing and other factors.

Keywords in your book title and book description will already show up in Amazon, so you don’t necessarily need to repeat these keywords.  Although for keywords that your really want to show up for, you probably should have them in your description and as a selected keyword.

But what keywords do you target?  Luckily, you are able to change your keywords at any time, so you are not “stuck” with your initial selections.

It can take some time to learn all the ins and outs, but a great way to start is to use the auto complete function on Amazon as suggested by this great article on GoodReads.com.

So, let’s say you are writing a book on saving money.  You can think of a few phrases people might type in to find a book about saving money.  One of those is likely to be, “How to save money”.

Here’s an image of the suggested searches on Amazon:

savemoney

As a result of these suggestions, you might want to select “how to save money on groceries” or “how to save money at home” as a couple of your keywords.

In order to get additional keyword ideas you can use the Google Keyword Planner or Long Tail Pro (I created Long Tail Pro).  Obviously, I prefer Long Tail Pro because it’s much easier to use and organize the data.

By using Long Tail Pro, you are able to generate up to 800 related keywords to your seed keyword (“how to save money”).  Here’s a few of the suggested terms:

ltpamazon

Long Tail Pro shows the search volume under “local searches” for how many times each month people are searching for these terms on Google.  Obviously the search volume is different on Amazon, but it can give you an idea of what terms are searched for more than others.

My quick test on Long Tail Pro came up with a few good terms that I would consider putting as keywords if I was writing a book on budgeting; like “tips on saving money” and “best ways to save money”.

As you get more advanced, you can go a step further and actually figure out how competitive these keywords are on Amazon.  After all, just because you show up for a keyphrase doesn’t mean people will find you.  If all the keywords you select are extremely competitive you might end up on page 50 or 60 because the first page results are dominated by best selling books with hundreds of reviews.

So, it might be worth your time to research what books are showing up for your potential keywords to see if any “weak” books are showing up.  If books with a lower Amazon Best Sellers Rank are showing up, that’s probably a good sign that your chosen keywords are less competitive.

This can be a lot to take in, I know.

But just take a deep breath and remember: you can change your keywords at any time.  So if your book isn’t performing as well as hoped at first, you can always change your keywords and try again.

15. Choose a Pricing Strategy and Upload Book

Now it’s time to choose a pricing strategy and list your book for sale!

If you don’t have an audience, I highly recommend that you list your book for free the first 5 days. If you enroll your book in the Amazon Kindle select program (which you probably should), you are allowed up to 5 free days every 90 days.

This is the strategy the Steve Scott and Nick Loper recommend.  In fact, we followed Nick Loper’s launch strategy VERY closely throughout the entire process. So if you want even more details, I highly recommend checking out Nick’s course right here that is currently 75% off.

Here’s the pricing strategy that we followed when launching our book, and it has worked extremely well:

  • Free – first 5 days
  • $0.99 – 3 to 7 days after your free days
  • $2.99 – after your $0.99 period

Listing your book for free should help you climb to the top of a few categories within Amazon.  People love free stuff, so your book will get downloaded.  And if you do the additional marketing that I suggest below, you should get LOTS of downloads.

After the first 5 days, your book should be performing well if all goes according to plan (again, see below).  Then when you list your book for $0.99 it’s really the first time you can get some market validation for your book!

Are people actually willing to pull out their credit cards and hit the “buy” button?  Pricing at $0.99 will only earn you a 35% royalty rate from Amazon which is pretty terrible, so you won’t want to leave it here permanently.

However, this discount period can get your book listed not only in special sections of Amazon, but also on other 3rd party deal sites that regularly list kindle books priced at $0.99 (like BuckBooks.net). Then by the time you finally switch your book over to the $2.99 price the sales will continue to roll in from the momentum you’ve built up.

The reason for the $2.99 price is that is the 70% royalty threshold.  Amazon finally gives you a bigger piece of the pie when you list your book at $2.99 or above.

Here’s a quick look at the the downloads and purchases during my books free, $0.99, and $2.99 periods:

kindlefree

As you can see, our free period did very well.  And thankfully that carried on to our $0.99 and $2.99 periods:

amazonpricing

The $0.99 period solidified the fact that people were willing to buy the book.  And even though we got between 60 and 70 units ordered for a few days, we didn’t make tons of money those days.  Each unit at $0.99 in only worth about 35 cents.

The blue line is Kindle Unlimited and Kindle borrows.  These are worth about $1.31 each.  So, I’ll let you do the math if you want to know how much we were making each day!

Once we switched the price to $2.99, the units ordered dropped dramatically.  This was my first kindle book, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I knew it would drop, but didn’t know if it would be that much.  However, I’m told that this is very normal.

So, even though our units orders is much less, our overall earnings is MUCH more than the $0.99 cent period thanks to the 70% royalty.  Again, I’ll let you do the math, but some of the days on the above chart are over the $100 per day mark.

16. Launch to Your List First

The next few steps of the process are all about how to launch your book during that free period to make sure you pick up the momentum you need to perform well when your price goes up.  I want to again re-iterate that much of what I’m about to share in the next few steps is taken directly from Nick Loper’s suggestion from this blog post and his course.

The first step is very simple.  If you have an audience on an email list, tell them about your book!  This is going to be the best way to get initial downloads and reviews.

If you don’t have a “business” list, you can let your friends and family know about your book to get a few downloads.

17. Get Reviews During Free Period

Reviews are so important for your book to do well.  A big part of Amazon’s algorithm is determined by the number and rating of your book reviews.  Get more book reviews and your book should perform better.  Get more high ratings and your book should perform better.

Conversely, if your book starts getting lots of negative reviews, your book will not perform as well.

In addition, a Verified Purchase review is more valuable than a review from a non-verified purchaser.  This is why getting reviews during the free period can be so advantageous.

Someone that goes through and downloads your book during the free period is still considered a verified purchaser!

Here’s the deal, you should really try to get at least 10 to 15 reviews during the free period.  This is going to be the easiest time to ask people for reviews because well it’s free.  Getting as many as 20 reviews during the free period would be excellent!  The more the better.

You should have at least 10 to 15 friends or family members that you can ask to download and review your book. When Perrin and I launched ourbook here’s what we did (and you can do the same):

  • Emailed about 30 people
  • Asked them to download the book
  • Asked them to read it
  • Asked them to give it an honest review

About 50% of the family and friends we emailed actually gave it a review.  So after, the first few days we already had 15 reviews!  Perrin’s aunt only gave us 4 stars, but we’ve gotten over it. 🙂

We also picked up a couple of other “natural” reviews during the first week or so.

18. Reach Out to Relevant Groups and Blogs

Reaching out to both Facebook groups and relevant blogs can be a good way to jump start downloads of your book.

During your free days, here’s a list of the 5 Facebook Groups that we submitted too (and the one’s that Nick recommends):

These are all groups that promote free books, so they welcome your submissions.
Certain niches could have good success reaching out via email to bloggers that are relevant to your book.  Ideally you can do this ahead of time before your launch to have the most impact.
I’ll admit that Perrin and I tried reaching out to several bloggers but had almost no success in getting mentions.  Luckily, that didn’t seem to matter as we still ranked very well naturally in Amazon’s ecosystem with the other marketing efforts that we did.

19. Post to Free eBook Sites

Did you know that there are websites out there that do nothing but list and promote free Kindle eBooks? The websites accept submissions from people, so you should let them know your book is free!

Sarah at SarkEmedia.com provides 72 places you can promote your Kindle eBook when it’s free.  Below I’ve just included the 35 free eBook sites suggested by Sarah.

Here’s a list of 35 free eBook sites:

  1. http://www.pixelofink.com/sfkb/
  2. http://bargainebookhunter.com/feature-your-book/
  3. http://ereadernewstoday.com/category/free-kindle-books/
  4. http://www.freebookdude.com/p/list-your-free-book.html
  5. http://authormarketingclub.com/members/submit-your-book/ (you have to be a member, but membership is free)
  6. http://blog.booksontheknob.org/p/about-this-blog-and-contact-info.html
  7. http://www.freebooksy.com/editorial-submissions
  8. http://www.thatbookplace.com/free-promo-submissions/
  9. http://snickslist.com/books/place-ad/
  10. http://addictedtoebooks.com/submission
  11. http://www.kindleboards.com/free-book-promo/
  12. http://indiebookoftheday.com/authors/free-on-kindle-listing/
  13. http://www.ebooklister.net/submit.php
  14. http://digitalbooktoday.com/12-top-100-submit-your-free-book-to-be-included-on-this-list/
  15. http://thedigitalinkspot.blogspot.com.es/p/contact-us.html
  16. http://freekindlefiction.blogspot.co.uk/p/tell-us-about-free-books.html
  17. http://www.freeebooksdaily.com/
  18. http://www.freebookshub.com/authors/
  19. http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,97167.0/
  20. http://www.frugal-freebies.com/
  21. http://www.ereaderiq.com/about/
  22. http://freekindlefiction.blogspot.co.uk/
  23. http://www.mobileread.com/forums/ (membership required)
  24. http://flurriesofwords.blogspot.co.uk/
  25. http://askdavid.com/free-book-promotion
  26. http://digitalbooktoday.com/join-our-team/
  27. http://ebookshabit.com/about-us/
  28. http://www.ereaderperks.com/about/
  29. http://thefrugalereader.wufoo.com/forms/frugal-freebie-submissions/
  30. http://www.goodkindles.net/p/why-should-i-submit-my-book-here.html
  31. http://www.blackcaviar-bookclub.com/free-book-promotion.html#.UXFB27XYeOc
  32. http://www.totallyfreestuff.com/
  33. http://www.icravefreebies.com/contact/
  34. http://uk.hundredzeros.com/
  35. http://freedigitalreads.com/
  36. http://readingdeals.com/

You can do the submissions yourself, or you can hire someone from FancyHands.com like Nick Loper did. We used FancyHands, it it worked out very well.

Finally, there are also tools out there that can help you submit even faster and to more sites.  BookMarketingTools.com has a submission tool to free Kindle sites right here.

This free period is your chance to really get on the map!  You need to utilize all the marketing avenues that you can to help give your book the best chance of ranking well in Amazon naturally.  Once you start ranking naturally in Amazon and if you book truly is valuable to readers, you should continue to sell well once you switch from free to paid.

20. Ask Others to Email For You

If you don’t have an email list, why not ask others that do have an email list to spread the word about your book?

This can be a little more difficult to do if you don’t already have relationships with people in your niche, but it is possible.

For example, Perrin and I were able to contact someone in our niche that we knew had a large email list and we simply asked them if they would tell their audience about our free Kindle book.  They agreed.

We asked this person to email their list when there was only 24 hours left before our book went to $0.99.  We did that to drive up the free downloads on the last day, but to also get some sales for those people on the email list that missed the free download deadline.

We were clearly getting lots of free downloads before this email went out, but the last day was definitely our biggest free day.  See this chart:

kindleemailblast

I think our book would have done just fine without that email blast (we had over 1500 free downloads the day before); however, it certainly didn’t hurt.

21. Get More reviews

I know I already mentioned it, but getting reviews are SO important if you hope to gain traction in Amazon’s huge marketplace.  As a result, you shouldn’t just stop trying to get reviews when your book is no longer free.

Once our book went to $0.99 we were able to reach out to friends and family and get a couple more reviews.

Although we haven’t tried it yet, you can also reach out to top reviewers on Amazon to see if they are willing to read and review your book.  Here is a list of the top reviewers on Amazon.

Chris Guthrie also has a tool called AmaSuite that helps you find top reviewers and their contact information more easily.  The software has only been privately released at this point, but it will be publicly available soon I’m told.  When its available, you can go to this page to check out AmaSuite.

22. Create a Print Version and Test Pricing

Some people want their books in digital format and others want the physical book.  Luckily, it’s easy to turn your Kindle book into a printed copy using CreateSpace.com.

This is a print on demand service owned by Amazon…so don’t worry about stocking and shipping any physical books on your own.

The printed version can also create a nice price anchor to help your kindle version look like a better deal.

printprice

When people see the $6.99 price this increases the value of the book in their mind.  This is an age old marketing tactic.  People will feel like they are getting a $7 book for only $2.99…what a deal!

So, the only purpose of creating a print version of your book is not to only sell printed copies.  A big reason is to make your Kindle price look like a better deal and sell more copies of the Kindle version.

As you go forward, you should test and tweak pricing on both the printed and kindle version.  Your final price doesn’t have to be $2.99.  If you can sell almost as many copies at $4.99, then you will be making much more money.

I have not had a chance to test different pricing strategies with my book just yet, but it’s certainly on the to-do list.

23. Launch Another Book!

I have been told by multiple successful self-publishers that the real scale of this business comes when you start releasing additional books.  Readers of your first book will start to browse your author page and your additional book titles.

The more quality books you have, the more likely that your current buyers will be interested in something else you have written as well.  Steve Scott attributes a lot of his success (makes over $40,000 a month from Kindle books) to building an audience and having multiple books in the same niche.

So, now that you’ve had some success with your first Kindle eBook, it’s time to leverage that success by creating more and more books in your niche.  This can take a year or two to build up a significant library; however, the business potential is very real.

Perrin and I have already sat down and brainstormed our next book.  We’ve chosen a topic, title, and have started the outline.  We expect to launch our second book in the next 30 days.

Let’s Discuss…

Overall, Perrin and I are extremely happy with the success of our best selling Kindle eBook.  My only disappointment is that I didn’t start sooner!

In fact as I see the huge success and now the huge business potential as we add more titles, I honestly can say that I haven’t been this excited about a new business venture in a long time.  Is the success of our first book out of the ordinary?  Absolutely.

But did we follow some very specific steps (as outlined above) to try and achieve exactly what we did?  Absolutely.

The business potential of becoming a self published author on Amazon is very real, and hopefully some of you are able to achieve the same kind of success that we are currently seeing as well.

I would love to hear any comments or questions that you might have below.  Let’s discuss some of the finer points of the process in the comment section and hopefully we can all learn from each other.

Yes! I Love to Learn

After almost 4 years of blogging and building businesses, here are the most important things I’ve learned…

Related Projects:

169 Comments for this Post

  1. Steve Rendell

    Steve Rendell

    Awesome post guys, really inspirational to read of your success!

    How long was your book, closer to the 10k or 25k limits you mentioned?

    Did you write all the content yourself or was that outsourced to an expert in the field?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Steve! The book is about 13,000 words long. All of the content was written by Perrin or I (we both have a lot of experience in the field).

      • Kimberly

        Kimberly

        Me. (“…written by Perrin or me.”)

        Sincerely,
        Ms. Per Snickety :))

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          Haha. That’s why I need a proof reader 🙂

      • Dale

        Dale

        You both have a lot of experience? Clearly the authority site is about ballet dancing, mystery SOLVED 🙂

  2. Justin Cooke

    Justin Cooke

    Great case study, guys!

    I knew Steve was doing well with Kindle books and it’s great to see someone was able to follow the process and have some success. Even more inspiring is that you did this under the radar, without the NP audience’s help.

    Wishing you well as you explore this new channel!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Justin…I really wanted to try and do this under the radar to show that it really can be done without an audience.

  3. Philip Kleudgen

    Philip Kleudgen

    Hey Spencer,

    congrats on this success! This is something I’d like to do for a long time noe, maybe I should go and just start writing a book. I already have a topic in mind I could leverage for this.

    Do you think a Udemy course would be a good addition for this to increase profits?

    Anyway, thanks for this case study I’m always happy to learn new stuff from you!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Philip. I think you should indeed start writing :). I’ve never done a Udemy course, but my advice would be to start with one or the other (book v. udemy) and see how it goes. If its selling well, expand the business to udemy.

  4. Velin Naydenov

    Velin Naydenov

    Another great post guys, thank you! Really inspirational story, congratulations for the success!

  5. Gillian G

    Gillian G

    This is a fantastic post – in fact it is almost an ebook in itself! Have you experimented with pricing or do you consider $2.99 is the optimum for your subject / length of book?

    • Perrin Carrell

      Perrin Carrell

      we’ve only experimented with three prices: free, $0.99 and $2.99. Of those, our free version got us the most email optins by far, and the $2.99 version made the most money by far. I think more most folks, $2.99 is about optimal.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      We have not experimented with going over $2.99…however, we will. I’ll be experimenting more with the pricing and of course share the additional details in the future.

  6. Khue Tran

    Khue Tran

    Great case study, Spencer! I just launched my first book (10k words) yesterday and will see the result. Thank you for your ebook promoting tips!

  7. Jon Haver

    Jon Haver

    Great case study…shared so much detail it is really helpful! Not in the cards for me right now but possibly in the future and if so thanks for creating such a great resource! Will refer people here when they ask about Amazon and Publishing EBooks.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Jon…glad that you found all the details helpful (took me a long time to get this post written 🙂 ).

  8. Juanita

    Juanita

    That is just awesome. I’ve never taken the ebook approach very seriously in the past because no one has ever explained how to do it step-by-step. But now i see the potential.

    With my business plans already set for the upcoming year (and now THIS) i can already see that 2015 is gonna be exciting.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Juanita! Yep, the business potential of kindle books was never 100% clear for me either until I started researching the process and finally launched a book.

  9. Eve

    Eve

    Thanks for this great post ! A lot of useful information, very detailed and action oriented. Now I undestand how it’s possible to actually make money with kindle ebooks. I was skeptical about it but now I am actually quite interested !
    I loved the joke about Perrin’s aunt 😉

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Eve! The joke is funny because its true 🙂

  10. Matt Kumar

    Matt Kumar

    I’m totally with you for not revealing the actual book, and I hope you won’t reveal authority site or any other URL as well in the future. After Apennyshaved, there were like 20 sites with the same Splash theme about same razors. But with shitty content.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Matt. We see no reason to reveal the books or authority site at this point.

      • Rene

        Rene

        Well, I see some reasons 🙂

  11. Martin

    Martin

    Thanks for this, really enjoyed reading this on my lunchtime.

    My question is, I’m at the point where my eBook is nearly written. My original plan was to use the eBook to help build my list as a free incentive for a brand new website.

    Knowing what you know now….would you publish as a kindle eBook or continue as a regular eBook in order to help build a list?

    I know this would depend on the determining factors such as demand as you have pointed out above. But you have the unique insight into both methods.

    Thanks,

    Martin.

  12. Kent Faver

    Kent Faver

    Awesome resource Spencer – thanks so much. How are your reviews running now in terms of stars? Steve Scott talks about not worrying so much about reviews, but they are important. Thanks again!

    • Perrin Carrell

      Perrin Carrell

      Hey Kent,

      We have 4.8 stars as of now.

  13. Dennis Regan

    Dennis Regan

    Thanks for the rich information! I have experience creating audio books – read along (juvenile) and audio only. Do you know if the eBook format, Kindle or other, can be employed successfully for this type of product?
    Happy to be on your mailing list.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Dennis, I haven’t gone down the audio book path yet, so not sure I have a good answer. I do know that you can sell audio versions of your book side by side with the kindle versions. Perhaps its worth taking your audios and creating a text kindle version.

  14. Sebastian

    Sebastian

    Impressive post Spencer! That actually got me thinking about publishing my own book. Such a shame that all this great info is in English and I am targeting the German market but after reading this, I guess it is worth taking the risk 🙂

    It’s great to see that you got back into writing longer and more indepth posts. Looking forward to your next podcast which I guess will be about the same topic 🙂

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Sebastian! Yep, its been a while since I’ve written a monster long post like this…felt good! Actually the next podcast will be with Brian Dean from Backlinko.com. I’ll release that later this week.

      • Sebastian

        Sebastian

        Ah great, Brian always has some great insights into linkbuilding and general SEO stuff. Looking forward to the podcast!

  15. Brett Simpson

    Brett Simpson

    Just incredible guys! A tight, succinct and detailed look at getting your first book published on Amazon. I love it…

    Thank you for putting this post together and making it seem so easy.

    Yes, please a Podcast on this would be great too

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Brett! Okay, it may be a couple weeks…but I’ll plan on doing a podcast on the subject.

  16. Guens

    Guens

    Wow, I am impressed by your huge success with this experiment. You got me thinking. Congrats!

  17. Jon

    Jon

    You knocked it out of the park with this post. Bookmarked.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Jon…a lot of effort went into this one.

  18. John Perkins

    John Perkins

    This post is awesome! Just what I was looking for as I’ve been trying to publish my first book on Amazon.

    I do have a follow up/housekeeping question. Do you use separate amazon accounts for your books and affiliate? I was just wondering if I should keep it all in one or make them separate.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Actually, they are already on separate platforms. The Amazon Associates program and the KDP program have separate places to login.

  19. Chris

    Chris

    Thanks so much for all the great info Spencer. One question I have for you is how long did it take you to from the point you decided to write your book till was published and successful?

    Also I’ve been following Steve and Nick for a while now and I’ve learned a lot and I’m actually in the process of writing my first book as well with all the tips and resources you’ve listed have been very helpful.

    BTW – I also bought Nicks course a while back on Udemy and that is also a great resource as well.

    Taking Action as I speak!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Chris. The entire process from idea to launch was really not that long. Because it was our first book and we were learning “on the job” it did take a bit longer. I believe it took us around 3 months from idea to launch; however, a lot of that time was just us putting the book on the back burner as we worked on other projects. We have already started our second book, and we expect the entire process from idea to launch to take about 30 days now that we know what we are doing.

  20. Reading Deals

    Reading Deals

    Wow…. this is a fantastic, step-by-step write up. Potential authors will definitely be able to succeed following the steps outlined above.

    The most important? Topic selection and a great cover! If you don’t focus on those two things, all of the promotion in the world won’t overcome a topic no one is interested in or an ugly cover or amateur cover.

    Would you consider adding ReadingDeals.com to your list of sites to promote to as well?

    Thanks so much!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I agree…topic selection and a great cover are vitally important. Glad you enjoyed the post!

      Yes, I’ll add your site to the list of resources. Thanks!

  21. Adrian

    Adrian

    Man this is really great. I’ve always hear that you can get leads and traffic from writing crappy short ebooks and publish them on free ebook websites. But by putting just a little more effort into it and trying to actually write something good, look what you can do ! Build leads, get traffic, make money, and give great info as well. Thanks a lot guys once again for your amazing case studies !

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yep, we are a bit blown away as well. The idea with the book initially was really to just be a lead generation tool, with the hopes that we might sell a few copies. Well, now we are selling so many copies that we are re-directing a lot of resources to expand our Kindle business.

  22. Craig

    Craig

    Great job Spencer and Perrin! Extremely helpful and very inspiring!

  23. Sandy

    Sandy

    Congrats. I think you’ll like Kindle publishing. I have 10 Kindle books published under pen names over 2 years. All 10 bring in money every month but 5 turned out to be winners. All I do now is set up a promo each week for one of the books. Free Kindle promos are o.k. and can move you up in rankings. I use some of the free services you mentioned. But now I mainly use paid promos from Kindle books and Tips and EreaderNewsToday. I’ll probably use Pixel of Ink paid promos once they finalize their program. I’ve also heard good things about Bookbub promos but they’re pricier. Whenever possible, I use paid promos that let you use your current book price or a discounted price. These sites have a LOT of readers and they’re also buyers. I think there’s a lot of money left on the table with free promos. But free promos are helpful when you have a new book.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks for the great tips Sandy! Very cool that you are now essentially always able to be in promotion mode with your books…great idea.

      Also, Im VERY intrigued with he paid promos you are doing. I can see huge potential there…fantastic strategy. I’m sure I’ll “borrow” that idea down the road. Thanks again!

      • Sandy

        Sandy

        Hi Spencer. I think you’ll like the results of the paid promos when you try them. I’ve never lost money with a paid promo. 🙂

        • Ammar

          Ammar

          Hi Sandy

          Out of curiosity, are your books Fiction or Non Fiction? I have been hesitant to try these paid promos, but I think I should experiment!

  24. Brent C

    Brent C

    Gents,

    Its been said a few times already, but awesome post. This is pretty in-depth case study that will help tons of folks go craddle to grave and launch their first Ebook!

    Knowing the success your seeing with this Ebook related to your new Authority site, are you thinking about going back and creating Ebooks for any of your other existing niche sites (A Penny Shaved, the sites you purchased in 2014, etc…) or is this more of a tool you see moving forward as you create new online assets?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I think there is potential to create ebooks in other markets; however, we plan to just stick with the market we’ve picked for our authority project and expanding our library of book titles. We could write several dozen books in this niche and still not have tapped out all the potential. So, we plan on sticking with our one website, one niche, and just dominating and growing it for the long term.

  25. Jason Seale

    Jason Seale

    Great post! Congrats on your ebook success! One question, do you need to deal with sales tax on the ebooks? That is probably different in all 50 states. Does Amazon help with this? Seems like it would be a big pain….

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Jason. Amazon handles all the sales tax issues.

  26. Nick Loper

    Nick Loper

    HUGE post and congrats on the success of the launch! It’s really exciting to see that when you follow the process you can have some great results. I’m already brainstorming my next title 🙂

    • Perrin Carrell

      Perrin Carrell

      Thanks man!

      I really can’t count how many times I said, “Well Nick says….”

      Good on ya 🙂

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Nick! We definitely referenced your stuff a ton during this process.

  27. Internet Marketing

    Internet Marketing

    Great Post Spencer! I was actually surprised when I read the post title about Kindle because you usually share stuff before trying. However, keep it coming.

  28. Russ

    Russ

    Congrats on the success guys! Ever since I first heard a Steve Scott interview I have been mulling over launching a series of e-books. I think you guys finally threw some gas on the fire for me to get going! Hoping to launch my first titles in 2015. Definitely flagging your email to this post for future reference!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Sounds good Russ! I think you just need to pull the trigger and go through the process. You’ll learn a ton…

  29. R J Rogers

    R J Rogers

    Spencer,

    I’ve been following niche pursuits for a couple of years; bought Long Tail Pro, etc. Got a good ‘list’ and some sales of downloadable pdf’s on my website. However, I think you have found a GREAT income producer with this! I’m learning a great deal from reading the comments here, also. I think I’ll edit and convert my pdf’s into Kindle ebooks (condense some and add to others). Great job!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Awesome…sounds great Roger! Glad you found some value from the post and comments.

  30. Sarah Arrow

    Sarah Arrow

    A great post guys, I’m surprised you’re so forgiving of Perrin’s aunt. I wouldn’t have been. Thanks for linking to my post on places to share your books when they’re free. I’d also add search down groups on Facebook on your books topic, get to know people and then let the group know when your book is free. Most groups allow you to set up an event and message the members to invite them to your book party. When I do mine I do extra prize draws for people who leave reviews, random winners from people who comment – anything to drive activity and visibility to my book. When I did that I got an extra 1200 downloads, but it was a good afternoon of work.
    I also drove paid traffic to my books when they’re free, again via Facebook. For $20 you can get another 2-3000 downloads. Some people don’t like to do paid traffic, but I’m all for getting my books into as many hands as possible 🙂
    Wishing you lots of future success
    Sarah x

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks for stopping by Sarah! I was more than happy to link to your site…has a lot of great resources that people should check out.

      And thanks for sharing the additional tips on book parties and ads on Facebook. Lots of great ideas for people to get more exposure to their books.

    • Steve Scott

      Steve Scott

      Actually, they might want to thank Perrin’s aunt. Sometimes a complimentary review that mentions a mild negative, can be more powerful than a gushing complimentary one. Is seems more honest (because it is). Now if Perrin’s aunt gave a 1 or 2 star review -then no visiting her on Christmas day!

    • Josh

      Josh

      Hi Sarah! Any resources on how to get the most downloads for your buck? I just hit publish and will have my free days start in about 8 days, and would love to get those results.

  31. random reader

    random reader

    I really do hope that you’ve done your due diligence and have a proper strategy regarding getting reviews for your book. Probably next to spamming Google to death, Amazon is just 2nd in line with fake reviews all over the place.

    Why? Because reviews trigger Amazon’s ranking engine which then triggers more sales for you. BlackHat techniques are, as anyone would expect, at the top of everyone’s strategy.

    Would you buy a book that does not have reviews? No, you wouldn’t. There is a ton of info about well known authors that payed thousands of dollars for getting sales in the thousands.

    P.S. This post may help you in identifying how many books one can sell based on their rank. http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/8-things-people-dont-know-amazons-bestsellers-rank-sales-rank/

    Cheers!

    • Perrin Carrell

      Perrin Carrell

      Thanks for that resource. However, we didn’t get any fake reviews. We simply reached out to people we knew who might like the book (my Aunt works in our field, for instance) and asked for an honest review. I’m sure that’s well within their guidelines.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I agree…I would never recommend people buying reviews or otherwise trying to game the Amazon system. As you mentioned, reviews definitely help rank books better on Amazon so it can be very tempting for people to use “black hat” techniques. I do think that asking people to download or buy your book and then asking them to give an honest review is just fine (as long as you aren’t paying them to do so).

  32. Leon

    Leon

    Spencer, and Perrin, I hate to be repetitious, but just have to echo the sentiments of the earlier comments.

    What an awesome, resource rich post. Well done.

    I still enjoy muddling around with affiliate marketing and am earning monthly pocket money as an Amazon Associate.

    However, I’ve been procrastinating for some time about trying the Kindle route. Your informative article shows it can be done.

    As an avid reader, I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction.

    You guys have obviously considered each of these avenues during your research. Without disclosing your niche, could you suggest which is best for the rank beginner to tackle first, fiction or non-fiction?

    • Perrin Carrell

      Perrin Carrell

      I’ve only published one book, but I’d wager non-fiction is much easier. With non-fiction, you can write very practical, quick books and create titles that tell your reader exactly what they’re getting (e.g. Steve Scott’s “Master Evernote”). With fiction, it’s tough to know what you’re getting.

      HOWEVER… after talking with Johnny Andrews, I get the impression that if you write fiction and have a loyal following, you can sell crazy amounts of books. So who knows!

  33. Ted

    Ted

    Great post guys, excellent strategies. And very timely for me as well, I hope to have my book out in the next few days and have been following Steve Scott since I heard him on your podcast. I also scooped up Nick’s course on Udemy, it’s excellent.
    Thank you again, Spencer and Perrin, for a wonderful case study and inspiration. You guys are awesome!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Ted…best of luck with your book launch!

  34. Dale

    Dale

    Great post!

    Not sure if I missed it somewhere, but how have the sales held up since late November?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks. Yes, the sales have held up. I posted a couple of screenshots in the blog post above showing the sales through Mid-December. Here’s one of them that perhaps you missed: http://www.nichepursuits.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/kindlesales.png

      • Dale

        Dale

        Awesome, thanks!

        P.S. You should really add an option to get an email when there’s a new comment

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          Good suggestion. I tried it before with previous design and always had issues; may try again now with the new design/backend of my site.

  35. Douglas

    Douglas

    What if you have more than one area of interest, but you don’t want them to overlap when someone clicks your author name to see what else you have for sale? Is there a way to create a pen name?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, you can create a new pen name for different niches. Its very simple, you literally just type in the pen name you want…that’s it.

      • Bill

        Bill

        When using a pen name, do you use a picture or avatar on amazon?

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          You can do either. Picture is probably better though.

        • Bill

          Bill

          Do you just use a royalty picture or do you use your own picture?

  36. Adam

    Adam

    Spencer, thanks for this post! I’m currently working on the 2nd draft of my first book. Once it’s ready for launch, I’ll be sure to put these step to good use. I can’t wait to get this published so I can start another book.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Awesome, I love the enthusiasm!

  37. Melissa

    Melissa

    Great post! I like the step-by-step method. It’s definitely a lot more detailed than how many other sites explain, very actionable.

    Is there an approval process for each kindle book you publish or all get accepted? And can you just start making a kindle ebook with any amazon account or do they vet you first before allowing you to upload your book?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      There is no real approval process. As long as the book is in the correct kindle format you will be able to upload it successfully. There may be some automated checks that look for copied content, etc…but I’m not sure. Its basically instant approval. They do not vet you, just open your Kindle account and supply your basic information (name, address, tin, etc) and you are all set.

  38. Tung

    Tung

    Awesome case study! Congrats guys!

    Glad that I contributed a little bit to the success 😛

    Bought Nick’s course from your link as well. My other projects are doing so well at the moment but will try to get into this business probably next year.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Tung! Best of luck with all your projects!

  39. Shelby G

    Shelby G

    Excellent blog post and very informative. Thank you so much! I love all the information you provide.

  40. Michael Kawula

    Michael Kawula

    Great post and I also leaned on Nick and Steve a lot during my launch in October. They were extremely helpful as was a few others. I did miss moving it first to .99 vs. 2.99 and will definitely try that on the next one. Congrats on the successes ~ Mike

    • Perrin Carrell

      Perrin Carrell

      Yea that was kind of an “Ah ha” moment for us. Because when you do that, the sales go down immediately, and it’s scary. BUT the earnings almost double (at least they did for us), which is awesome!

  41. Personal Tips

    Personal Tips

    Wow..
    I read this blog post for 3 hours.
    Excellent, keep up the great work!

  42. Chris

    Chris

    As of this post, I’ve just scheduled my 2 books to be on free promotion on Kindle for Dec, 18. Thank you guys! let’s see how it goes!!!!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Awesome, let us know how it goes!

  43. avi

    avi

    Hi i am guess your not releasing the book title for us to download it??

  44. Steve

    Steve

    Thanks for this great resource! I have been drafting ideas for a book for some time now, so this will be a great opportunity to make it official and submit it on Amazon. If you choose to use a pen name, do you think there’s any way the book can be traced back to your real name? The reason I ask is because my book idea is based on information I have learned in my current day job (and people I have worked with) and I wouldn’t want my real name to get out.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I see no way for your pen name to be tracked to you personally. Amazon would of course privately know your real name, but no one publicly would.

  45. Nick

    Nick

    This is an outstanding post. Really through. I used a very similar launch strategy to this even getting similar free download levels…kind of let it be after that and my paid ranking has dived so now I need to give it some love again. I’m a hittail user but will have to give long tail some serious though…are they the same thing?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Nick! Hittail is different than Long Tail Pro…I believe hit tail mostly gathers data from your webmaster tools. Long Tail Pro generates new keyword ideas on for any niche you want to research.

  46. Steve Scott

    Steve Scott

    Awesome job guys. A simply fantastic, and in depth, write up. (Thanks for all the mentions here).

    Now I have 2 places to send people when they email me asking what they need to do to make their first Amazon book successful. (This and Nick’s Guest post).

    Keep rocking it! I look forward to seeing more from you guys.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Steve…we appreciate all the exceptional advice you’ve provided both publicly and privately to us along the way. Thanks!

    • Mike

      Mike

      Great post guys.

      I’d be interested to hear from Steve on how often one must continue to publish new books for the income stream to continue.

      For example, say Spencer decided that he was going to publish ONLY this one book — how long would he be able to keep up this $100/day income? Obviously it would vary, but you’d think after time, it would fall off.

      That’s why cataloging is so important — you HAVE to keep writing new books to maintain and increase income. Which can take a ton of time.

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      Yep! Thanks a million!

  47. Michal

    Michal

    Congrats on the solid work.
    A bunch of questions: How much have you invested? Cover? Editor?
    Specifically – how much have you paid for FancyHands.com service? (I understand the monthly plan model; how many gigs it consumed?)

    Did you check out freebie sites which actually have posted your promo? I found that only about 20% actually bother to do it. If you didn’t, then I encourage you to track it with your next promo.

    “extra cautious against copy cats” ROTFL 😀
    If your book is selling in a fairy popular category then you WILL get copy cats. You can’t hide success under stone.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      The amount of money spent was covered in the blog post. About $150 for cover and $50 for proof reader/formatting. We spent $30 on Fancy Hands.

      We’ll have to go back and check which free sites actually posted the book, thanks for the tip.

      Yep, I know there will be copy cats from people researching on Amazon no matter what…but when you have a large audience like mine, with almost all of them being entrepreneurs, I am indeed preventing lots of additional copy cats by not revealing.

  48. Keith

    Keith

    Well done Spencer and Perrin on a inspirational post, it has certainly “re kindled” my motivation to finish and polish my first book. Small question how many hours do you think it took you to write your first book? Keith

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      haha, glad your motivation is re-kindled! :). We probably spent about 15 hours writing the book; but Perrin writes very fast and is highly skilled…so for others it could take much longer.

  49. stephen aidoo

    stephen aidoo

    Thanks spencer,
    This is really inspirational and motivational. After you and perrin announced your resignation from the expired domains and all blackhat or any hat techniques i also decided to make a turn over. I listened to that podcast you and perrin did which was a little bit emotional. However along these road to a new beginning, i think this post shows your seriousness. I was already writing a book to kindle and coincidentally you published this post. Thanks a lot.
    2 questions.
    1.How long did you take to write the book and publish?
    2. I am not a citizen from U.S and was submitting my tax information. since i am an individual, is it required of me to register my business as a company from my country and submit the TIN number because i have none and amazon will hold a 30% of my royalties. Will appreciate if anyone will give me the best option now.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Stephen…yes we are very serious about moving away from “black hat” techniques. All done.
      1. About 15 hours
      2. I haven’t gone through this since I’m based in the US, and I do have an active business entity.

  50. Trav

    Trav

    I am pretty sure that I found your ebook on Amazon. Great job guys!

  51. Ammar

    Ammar

    Spencer – Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Can I ask how big was the e-mail list that sent out the promo on the 5th day? How many clicks did you get from that e-mail promo?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I’m not sure on the exact size of the list, but I do know that it sent close to 2,000 clicks. So, it definitely was the reason for the huge spike the last day of the free offer.

  52. Tom Speed

    Tom Speed

    Wow, what a great post.
    Good luck with this and your future kindle books.
    This post with about 7,400 words would sell quite good as kindle book by itself.
    Good Lead generator (e.g. for LTP) full of usefull content.

  53. Samuel

    Samuel

    Hey Spencer,

    There are some Kindle Courses out there that don’t cover nearly as much as you did in this post. So thankful for you sharing this!

    I wanted to know if you have added any pictures to your Kindle content or plan to? I know some of their devices allow for pictures to be viewed and some of their older digital readers don’t. Was wondering what your position is on using pictures in your Kindle books. Thanks!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      We did not add any pictures other than the cover.

  54. Mushfiq

    Mushfiq

    Excellent work! I admire both of your patience in sharing the information on your blog. If I was making money like that, I would love to tell people that follow me. Good job!

  55. Marjan

    Marjan

    50 bucks for formatting the book?! It’s a ten minutes job, tops! I do it myself for all of my books.

    Also, I have a question. You said it’s best if you publish your book as free, with free promo, then bump the price to $0.99, then after 3-7 days bump to $2.99. But how can you start with free book when it’s not possible?! You must choose 35 or 70% royalty plan, so you can’t be free. Also, all the free promotion websites you mentioned requires you to check in your book 5-7 days BEFORE the promo period starts, so there’s another hole in your story, cause if you started with your book being free you couldn’t possibly apply your book to those websites.
    Also, I did everything you did with your book, with all my books, and maybe few steps more and the best I had was maybe 250 downloads per day, and one of by book is #1 best seller in it’s category. I’m not saying you’re lying but there are a lot of holes in your story, and a lot of links and services advertized in the story. So…you do the math.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Hey Marjan:
      First, let me be very up front; I didn’t make anything up in the blog post. All the numbers, screenshots, and how I launched the book is 100% real.

      You set the price of your book (must be 35% or 70% royalty plan). Then immediately you can start a free promotion (a special promotion for kindle only). There is no issue there, people do it all the time. Secondly, I never said I listed our book on all of those free sites. We listed ours on about 10 (the exact sites that Nick Loper listed in his blog post that I mentioned several times). I was just providing a bigger resource for additional places you can list your book for free.

      Just because your book doesn’t get as many downloads as mine, doesn’t mean there are holes in my story.

  56. Jodi

    Jodi

    Thank you for this awesome article – inspirational and helpful. Question for you, do you think I’m out of luck and possibly on the wrong course if I have no one to ask to read and review my book? This sounded like an essential part of your plan.

    Not a big deal but you mentioned a Udemy course you used but then in the comments said you’ve never done a Udemy course, something is off there – perhaps it was an unofficial course at the time?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I’ve never created a Udemy course, but I have taken a udemy course. Hope that clarifies.

  57. Mark G

    Mark G

    Spencer, did you put a link to your authority site in the book, or collect emails?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Collect emails is primary goal. There may also be a link to our website in the book in there too.

  58. Jason Ramynke

    Jason Ramynke

    Hey Spencer, Been doing well with some smaller Niche sites and have made the jump to an authority site based on my day job. Am loving it and have several books being planned already. You had a couple great podcast guests that helped and this article is great. Thanks from just up the road…. (Yakima)

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Sounds awesome, Jason! If you ever want lunch in the tri-cities…let me know 🙂

  59. Darijan Gasevic

    Darijan Gasevic

    Thanks Spencer, as always, for a great article.

    However, non-US residents should closely consult the list of countries with whom US has a tax agreement. Otherwise you will pay 30% of taxes in the US. Additional NN percent of taxes in your own county and this is, of course, only after Amazon cuts thier “part of the cake”.

    For instance, I am from Croatia and after everyone in this chain get’s their part I would be left with almost nothing. I’d rather make a book for free then. Just for fun.

  60. Kevin

    Kevin

    Holy cow! Good job!

    You have go to be Sh1t1n me… it takes only 13,000 words of value that will benefit you audience to do this? I need to catch up… I write that in 7-10 days including all the research. However, I would obviously plan more, revise more and research more if it is a book since I want it to be super value jam packed with awesomeness!

    thanks so much… I have been hearing about all this Kindle Hooplah, and I think it is time for me to join the party… I have one question my friend, I should stick with one niche, correct? For instance, if I wrote all about self help, then that is all I would want to curate correct? Unless I do other pen names 😉

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, stick with one niche per pen name. If you want to tackle a different niche, just use a new pen name. Best of luck!

  61. Aaron

    Aaron

    Spencer,

    Once again you rocked it out. This is a great post, and packed full of useful info. I just published my first book yesterday and in the first day have almost 100 downloads. It’s great to see the potential of self publishing. Amazon once again comes in as a powerhouse for people building businesses online.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Aaron, great job getting your first book released!

  62. Daniel

    Daniel

    Perfect timing Spencer. I have just started writing a book and have done most of the above processes. I did not know about the marketing bit and this post provides real insights into this. I am hoping I ll get the same sales. Will certainly try my best.

  63. Plamen Ivanov

    Plamen Ivanov

    Hello. This is a really nice and informative article. I promote many books in amazon, but I am not sure how I can start a new one myself. Will check again your blog often to read more valuable articles! 🙂

  64. Jose

    Jose

    What a detailed post! You could’ve easily sold this as an ebook.

    You mentioned adding a link to a bonus as a way to collect emails and I think it’s a great strategy. Do you know if you’re allowed to use links in the ebook that lead to affiliate products?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I’m not sure of Amazon’s policy for affiliate links in kindle books.

  65. Neutral Person

    Neutral Person

    Great article. I’ve almost finished my first ebook and definitely plan to try some of these strategies.

  66. David Azizi

    David Azizi

    Wow! This has to be THE most comprehensive and well written article on publishing on Amazon on the entire internet. For quite some time I have considered writing an eBook on personal injury or car accident lawsuits to help potential clients know if they are getting the proper amount from their insurance company. Rather than go into details, I will say that your post has encouraged me to start this effort in 2015.

    It takes a lot of time to sit down and write legal content but I have learned that this type of endeavor, once complete, will last for quite some time. I will also be able to suggest an Amazon.com link to those that need help.

    Thank you so very much for this resource and if I ever need a kick in the rear to get my eBook complete I will just come back to this post!

    David

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks for the compliments David! I think Amazon books have a lot of potential in certain markets. Best of luck!

  67. Jimmy Sumpter

    Jimmy Sumpter

    Can I ask is this book in the MMO sector?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      The book is NOT in the make money online sector.

  68. Jonathan Okocha

    Jonathan Okocha

    Hi Spencer.

    I’m your fan and even though I don’t come here frequently.. but sometimes I bump in.

    Several times I subscribe to your post but don’t get any update.
    Really nice to read your post.

    One question though.. what if you are can not write.. or find a niche you are not so good with. Do you thing hiring a writer would still bring good success?

  69. Nick Logan

    Nick Logan

    Great post! There are some links you shared that really are useful. I saved them to my ‘pocket’ for future reference.

    I felt the same way when I started with Kindle business 4 months ago: why not earlier! But…it is never too late 🙂

    Thanks!

  70. Pat M

    Pat M

    This is an amazing read. I have self-published 3 books. How do you think your method would work on an existing title if I took one of these titles and picked up with step 14?

    Many thanks!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I think it could really help. I think the additional marketing could definitely improve sales.

  71. An Quach

    An Quach

    Great case study Spencer!

    I published 3 book in a row and waiting for the result.

    Thanks!

  72. Jamie

    Jamie

    I just want to thank you for this awesome article. It gave me confidence that even without an existing platform, I can have a successful ebook launch.

    I just launched my ebook this weekend and following the strategies you teach here, my launch was successful beyond my wildest dream. 🙂 I did the free promo for 2 days because I didn’t want to waste the 5 days ‘quota’ while I’m still figuring things out. I managed to reach #99 in the Free store, and my book is currently priced at 99 cents. It’s selling well and I sure hope this momentum will continue, especially after I change the price to $2.99.

    Thanks again for this article.

    P/S: The course by Nick Loper is great too. Highly recommended.

  73. Jamie HIll

    Jamie HIll

    Great article , I will be trying these suggestions out for my next book launch, hopefully the results will be similar.

  74. Ammar

    Ammar

    Spencer – How are sales holding? Are you still on track to clock $3k / mo.? Thanks!

  75. Jamaal

    Jamaal

    Hello Guys,

    Great post! I have my first ebook ready to go, but I’m not able to get much info on the copyright. I want to try the kindle thing, but haven’t heard any clear cut advice on the copyright info. What’s the best way or template to put in a book so I’m covered using this strategy? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again

  76. Christie Moore

    Christie Moore

    This is a great article. Really beneficial and worth sharing and of course following.

  77. Eve Smith

    Eve Smith

    Thanks for this beneficial information and i hope that these ideas will helps me to earn more..

  78. Dale

    Dale

    I just published a book, albeit in a smaller category.

    Through the 5 day free promotion, it had about 1000 downloads and has 7 5-star reviews. It was ranked #1 in both of its sub-categories pretty much the whole time after the first day.

    Today, I began selling it for $0.99, only problem is that when it transitioned into the paid store, the book dropped to #90 in its small category. So far – no sales; very disappointing.

    Do you mind sharing what happened the day you finished your free promotion and switched it to paid? (If you recall)

    Thanks

    • Geoff

      Geoff

      I also didn’t have good results: I’ve created 2 TOP quality books (20,000+ words written by professional writer and edited by a professional editor and professionally designed cover). I made sure the the books are of top quality. I did a massive launch to these books for $0.99 and I got them into the first places in their category. I got amazing reviews (one of the books got 27 – “5 stars” reviews). (I sold 200 books in the first 3 days of the launch)

      But, a few days after the launch sales TANKED and didn’t recover since. I can honestly say that I sell more books directly from my website (in PDF format) than what Amazon does.
      I am happy to get advice / suggestions.

      • Spencer Haws

        Spencer Haws

        Sounds like you did everything right for the launch, reviews, and a quality book itself. Would you mind sharing what category the book was in? That is the only thing I can think of is that you picked an extremely difficult category that has established books or authors. Some broad categories or competitive categories can be extremely difficult to crack. Whereas the more “niche” categories don’t take as much work to rank well in Amazon naturally.

  79. Aparna

    Aparna

    hey, i loved the descriptive article as it was very helpful to me. everything was detailed in the article and thanks for the marketing ideas.

    One topic i wanted more clarity on was the ISBN number and copyrights? how will these be managed and who would be responsible for this, Amazon or the author/writer?

    Thanks in advance

  80. Dave Specht

    Dave Specht

    Loved the post! It was FULL of value and super timely for me to find. I’m getting close to finishing the manuscript for my first book. Thanks Spencer!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Glad you enjoyed the post Dave…thanks!

  81. Hasib

    Hasib

    It’s actually marvelous. I am just speechless. Waiting for such kind of posts again.
    Thank You

  82. Jason

    Jason

    How do you determine if a niche is too saturated or not to try and enter?

  83. young hopes

    young hopes

    Thanks Spencer for this amazing post, i am also trying to publish one and definitely would be following your steps. However, i have a question to you- the way you have tried to figure out the niche in Amazon for this kindle book, by looking at the “Amazon Best Sellers Rank” given at the bottom of the book, is it possible to do this for any other product too and not just the kindle books?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, the Amazon Best Sellers Rank is available for any category on Amazon.

      • young hopes

        young hopes

        Hello Spencer, thanks for your response. With regard to Amazon Best Sellers Ranks for Each Product- should we go with low rank products or with high rank. Eg: Hamilton Beach 58148A Power Elite Multi-Function Blender has a rank of 96 in Kitchen & Dining while Black and Decker BL1820SG-P Fusion Blade Digital Blender has a rank of #4,774 then which one should we choose to write?

        I know this is basically a post on Amazon Kindle books and i am writing on amazon affiliates but this is so because of the way you have taken out the niche for writing the kindle book based on the rank.

        Sorry my questions might be very naive type but i am a struggling affiliate marketer and i have not much experience in this.

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          The ranks simply tell you how many products are being sold. Determing what products to go after is a complex process and involves more than just the amazon best sellers rank. I wouldn’t be able to give a sufficient answer here in the comments. The answer is, it depends! (Unfortunately that’s not a very good answer, but its true).

  84. Will Ward

    Will Ward

    Super useful post. I’ve also had good luck promoting in the free ebooks subreddit:
    reddit.com/r/freeEBOOKS

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yep, we discovered that subreddit (and others) after publishing this post that seem to work well. Thanks for mentioning!

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