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Kindle Income: How to Make a Living Writing Kindle Books for Amazon.  Make Bett

Kindle Income

How to Make a Living

Writing Kindle Books for Amazon.  Make Better Profits and Sell More with These Book Writing Tips.

Alex Foster

This book is designed to provide information, education and motivation to readers. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher and author are not engaged to render any type of psychological, legal, or any other kind of professional advice. The content of each article is the sole expression and opinion of its author. No warranties or guarantees are expressed or implied. Neither the publisher nor the author shall be liable for any physical, psychological, emotional, financial, or commercial damages, including, but not limited to, special, incidental, consequential or other damages. You are responsible for your own choices, actions, and results.

Copyright ©  2016 Alex Foster  All rights reserved. [email protected]

You are encouraged to share all, or in part, any of the content of this book in the name of helping others as long as credit is given to Alex Foster and the book title.

 

Table of Contents

Introduction

Top 20%

Descriptions and Sales Pitches

Setup

Getting Ideas

Time Spent

Planning

The Right One to Write

Psychological Gifts

Speed Writing

Keep it Fresh

Expansion and Extension

Conclusion

[] Introduction

Writing for Kindle can be a miserable experience or an exciting and challenging career.  You can write for Kindle full-time, like I do, or as a side project to test the water.  Either way it’s a challenge, and if you love to write it’s just a matter of learning what sells and avoiding the common pitfalls.

Writing for a living as a self-publisher is not an overnight success story.  It’s realistically going to be a slow journey.  Many people, like me, started writing Kindle books as a side hobby.  This is not the type of career that lets you quit your day job immediately.

Writing is the fun part.  Writing what sells, doing the steps to ensure it sells, like marketing and setup (keywords, genre niche and cover), is the hard part.  Let’s get started!

[] Top 20%

Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist noticed in 1906 that 20% of causes produce 80% of the results .  You can apply his 80/20 rule to pretty much anything.  For instance, 20% of the carpet in your living room gets 80% of the traffic and 20% of your clothes get 80% of your use.  You can also apply it to sales of Kindle books.   Marketing aside, the top 20% of what makes or breaks your book consist of:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Cover

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Title

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Price

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Reviews

The 80/20 rule tells us that the majority of our efforts should be put into what produces the best results.  When you have a strong cover, title, price and reviews, your book attracts attention and doesn’t get skipped over.

One of the first things I noticed when trying to improve my under-performing books was that they had less than stellar covers.  Having a professional cover is a game changer.  It’s the difference between someone clicking your book to learn more or dismissing it right off the bat.  We have all heard “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but we all do and why not?  A cover that sucks typically means the work sucks.  If you go to a job interview wearing shorts and an old Metallica shirt, your future work will be judged on your current appearance.

Here are the recommended ways to create covers:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Purchase an ebook cover creator program (Google search for the newest ones).

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Hire a cover designer at Upwork.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Hire a cover designer at HugeOrange.

I don’t recommend the use of Fiverr.  A quick Google search will reveal a number of covers obtained that infringe on copyright. You can’t expect to pay $5 for a custom drawn cover.

Titles must be simple; the less words the better.  One or two are perfect.  A two word title can be large on a cover thumbnail, making it easy to read.  Save your keywords and longer descriptive titles for the subtitle.  Smaller titles are catchy and attract attention.  Which book would you buy?

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p<>{color:#000;}. STRAIN

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p<>{color:#000;}. KILLER ZOMBIE VIRAL STRAIN

I see great new books die a slow death because of price.  As an author I can relate to slaving away for months to years making that perfect book.  But launching it at $4.99 would mean that not many readers will want to give it a chance:  new book, unknown author, little to no reviews.  A good rule is to price a book at $0.99 until you have secured a respectable position or amount of sales (aim for at least a month).  Then, price the book at market, meaning if competitors to your book are selling for $3.99, then price match.

A new book needs reviews.  People will pass over a book with little reviews in favor of something more secure.  It’s called loss aversion.  People are more motivated to avoid losing than gaining.

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p<>{color:#000;}. “Call now to get your deal!”…or miss out.

It’s what keeps people glued to the slot machine or playing Blackjack.  We hate to lose, and hate the chance of losing even more.  It affects our purchasing decisions.

Look at your book purchasing habits.  Would you rather buy the $2.99 book with four recent positive reviews or the one with fifty?  Which is statistically more secure in giving you what you want?

Follow Amazon terms of service in getting reviews, which means not paying for them, like on Fiverr.  A quick Google search on what Amazon does to Fiverr reviewers and accounts that use them will be sure to deter you.

Approved ways of getting reviews would be on sites like:

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p<>{color:#000080;}. BookBub

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p<>{color:#000080;}. BookCaliber

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p<>{color:#000080;}. HugeOrange

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p<>{color:#000080;}. Goodreads

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p<>{color:#000080;}. Amazon Top Reviewers

Use any method that provides your book for free to real readers who are requested to leave an honest opinion.  If they got the book for free, they must state in the review that they received the book for free.

[] Descriptions and Sales Pitches

Descriptions aren’t in the top 20% of what makes or breaks a book, but they are glanced at before a purchase and, if not done correctly, can be a deterrence (even if they aren’t fully read).

Salespeople call it an elevator speech; a fast sales pitch that you give a prospect when you have very little time.  Like a situation in an elevator where you have the prospect ‘trapped,’ but the doors can open any second and you don’t have any more time.

Your listings description is your elevator speech.  The Sandler Sales Method is a top sales and marketing program with great advice for communicating with a prospect that works for any format, including your description box.  They call it “Spilling your candy in the lobby.”  The story goes that a young man was so excited to see a movie at a theater, he rushes over and gets the usual popcorn, candy, and soda.  Worried about not getting a good seat and fueled by excitement, the young man trips in the lobby sending his stuff spilling and flying all over.  That’s the way a lot of sales people present when it comes to talking to prospects.  They are so excited with the chance to talk, they end up just spewing as much information out, as fast as they can.

Ever been in a market for a TV?  Walking up to the TV department you get two different salespeople calling on you in order.  The first just spills their candy all over the place reciting everything they know about the TV and won’t shut up.  The other sales guy comes over next and asks if you have any questions.

A description that is a wall of text is that sales rep spilling their candy.  Potential readers aren’t going to read it all.  If they are looking at your description box, they are in that elevator.  Why not give them the information they want and nothing else?

Be careful of over-marketing your book in the description.  Don’t over pitch.  We all have learned to turn off a sales scripted pitch because we get bombarded with them all the time.  People can only retain so much information.  The Amazon page your potential reader opens is filled with information.  They are scanning quickly for what they are looking for.  Make it easy for them.

Amazon descriptions allow for 4,000 characters.  That’s a lot.  Don’t use that many.  No one is going to read that much to get the information they need in a description.

NOTE:  The description box is considered metadata (information that is used to rank your book for searches by Amazon).  However, with a quick test you will see it’s not.  Put a word combination in your description box only you would search for.  For example, a code such as “Version IGHJ.”  Now wait a few days for the system to update and search for IGHJ.  Nothing.  Now put that same code as one of your seven keywords or in the title or subtitle and you will find the book easily when searching for IGHJ.  Keep that in mind if your goal is to fill in your description box with as much keyword heavy text as possible.  It doesn’t work, so don’t use it as a dumping ground for ranking.

Many writers will write the description like they wrote the book, paragraph style.  That’s not how people screen for information.  Paragraph style is for focus and attention.  You aren’t going to hold the interest of the prospect in the elevator if you drone on and on.

“Hi Dr. Ford, I work for Awesome Possum Medical and we supply medical beds that have a 350 pound weight capacity with upholstery in puncture-proof vinyl for an extra cost of only $40, but it is limited in the color choices of, maroon, brown, wheat, cyan, baby vomit, azure …”

You are going to bore your prospect right from the start.  Your elevator speech is about  engaging your prospect.  You would ask them if they are interested in medical beds before you continue.  Then, ask if they are interested in puncture-proof vinyl before listing the colors.  You want to qualify in an elevator speech.

“Dr. Ford, you have expressed interest in medical beds, are you interested in the colors available?”  That way you can focus on colors.  Or, if she responds, “No, I want to know about weight capacity,” then you can focus on weight capacity.  But how do you do that in a static communication like the Kindle description box?

Amazon allows limited HTML in descriptions.  HTML allows you to fragment the information you provide.  Let me give you an (incorrect) example:

This book is about dogs, cats and chickens.  I cover everything you would want to know about shaving chickens and cats and fitting them with saddles.  I go over a 12-step method on how to shave a chicken.  I cover why it’s important to shave the chicken before you fit the saddle since the chicken loses about .3 inches overall after a shave.  I cover a 7-step process on the proper way to highlight your dog’s hair hot pink.

You can see how that style would start to drone on if you were looking for quick information.  Especially if you are only interested in the part about highlighting your dog’s hair, but had to read through the rest to get to that point.

This is how you can use HTML to make the elevator pitch: only focus on what the prospect is interested in.

Dogs, Cats and Chickens!

We cover the following:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Cats: A 12-step process on preparing cats to be fitted for a saddle.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Dogs: We go over a 7-step hair highlighting process that will work on all types of breeds and hair types.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Chickens:  How to use the right type of shaving equipment and the best techniques.

I kept this example short and simple to make the point that you want to use the tactic of “asking what the prospect is interested in.”  A good sales rep has that luxury in the real world with a face-to-face interaction with a prospect.  [*Prospects are more likely to buy if you make the information easy to understand and focused on what they are interested in, using HTML formatting.  *]Formatting separates your points for skimming.

Every book, no matter how specific, is going to have layers.  Make those layers appealing and easy for the prospect to understand.

As of the writing of this book, Amazon doesn’t provide a tool bar with easy HTML editing in the standard KDP upload page.  When and if they do, this information is still relevant, just skip the next section on “How to add HTML code.”

How to add HTML code:  If you are new to this, don’t worry, it’s really easy.  Kind of.  It may take a few shots, but once you get it, you’ve got it.  You enter the code to start the code for [*Bold.  *]You must then end each code with a close command like .

For example Bold .  You must end the command with the / symbol or the bold text will just keep going.

bold

italics

Bold Heading Font

 

    underline

Amazon Orange

Here is a tricky one for people new to this.  To put bullet points on something such as:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Cats

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p<>{color:#000;}. Dogs

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p<>{color:#000;}. Frogs

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p<>{color:#000;}. Hippos

You would write it like this:

  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Frogs
  • Hippos

Try to write the description with an emphasis on the prospect’s problem (nonfiction) in mind.  If the prospect doesn’t have a problem for your type of book, then write it with their interests in mind (fiction).

Note:  You should see the code in your description box.  Once uploaded, the code turns to the commands when looked at live on your listing page.

[] Setup

Guiding Structure is a term used to describe a concept about behavior modification.  You change your environment to change your behavior.  Think of how your house is structured.  The entrance guides you to what room?  The stairs, walls and general layout guide you on how you will behave in getting around. A doorway is easy to move through, while a wall would be difficult.

If you want to run first thing in the morning, putting out your clothes and gear the night before will make it easier to get up in the morning to go for that run.  Want to eat more fruits and vegetables?  Fill your kitchen with nothing but healthy fruits and vegetables. Making it easy to eat them and hard to go out and get something else to eat. Easy vs hard.

Want to write for five hours tomorrow?  Make your environment conducive to it; comfortable seating, computer setup, and make sure you’re ready to go the night before.  Arrange quiet time with music that inspires.  Have it all ready to go with snack and food set up.  Don’t get ready that morning and realize you have to clean your computer desk of Mountain Dew cans and Cheetos, all while trying to sneak down an absurd amount of dirty dishes past your awful, mean wife.  Just an example.

Use guiding structure to make writing an easy and completely hassle-free event.  Have a list on your keyboard of ideas and topics you wanted to add right off the bat to get those creative juices flowing.  The hardest part of writing is starting.  The best way to end your writing for the day is setting up the next day’s writing.  Make it fluid and simple to get going.

[*A quiet environment is your most valuable tool.  *]You simply can’t be in flow and multi-task.  Phone, messengers, doorbells, kids, dogs, anything that pulls your attention away is your enemy.  It takes time to get into flow.  If you leave flow, you will need more time to get back in.

Use music to get into flow.  It’s a conditioned response.  I use Pandora, like many writers.  Pick a type of music that helps you write.  Meditation, nature, rock, etc.  Listen to that channel every morning at the same time you start writing:  instant zone.   There’s no better way to get into the zone of writing than repetition.  Over time, the same channel will set you up to get into flow faster.

[] Getting Ideas

You need to write a lot of books if you plan to make a living writing for Kindle.  The writing model I have learned through Kindle is that you need to continually release content.

Write about what interests you.  I focus on mostly nonfiction business books and philosophy books.  I read business journals, marketing, and sales newsletters.  I love philosophy and study everything I can get my hands on.  You likely read a lot of what you love to write.  When you write about your passion, it’s not only easy, but exciting!

Westerns are a great selling niche, but if westerns just aren’t your thing, don’t try to write them.  It will show.  Your passion, excitement and love come out in your writing when you are genuine.  You can’t fake it.  The amount of time and books you need to produce just can’t come from those without a passion for it.

Google has a program called Keywords Tool.  The tool allows you to search keywords about the topic you are writing on to get more ideas on what people are searching for.

I did a search for ‘Gerbil Soup’ and saw that on a global level 10 people searched for gerbil soup last month.  That tells you two things.  First, there are people that eat gerbils, at least ten of them, and it’s not a very popular topic. The Keyword Tool also gave me related keywords.  I see that 673,000 people did a search for Potato Soup.  Maybe that’s a better topic to write about if I am interested in writing about soup.  It’s a great tool to see what’s popular with your core interest topic.

Doing a keyword search saved me a lot of time and gave me the idea to still write about my core idea of soup, but focusing on “potato soup” would net more sales by a large margin.  What else do I see here?  People that search these terms seem to really be interested in “cooking soup at home,” and “how to cook easy soup.”  A lot really are into “cheesy potato soup” and “cream of potato soup.”

I visit Yahoo Answers, to come up with trending ideas, too.  Cool site to get a feel for what people are thinking on a national and maybe semi-global level.  What’s popular?  Are people asking a lot about pregnancy issues?  Maybe a helpful book on that topic is right up your alley?  Do people over the last month or so really seem to be interested in aliens and crop circles?  May be a great book if you like to write sci-fi.  Granted, 90% of the questions are pretty stupid.  The other 10% can give you powerful insight into markets and interest levels.

Another way to get ideas under categories you are interested in is a site called eZineArticles.  You can look up topics and categories to find out ideas and the popularity of those ideas.

A quick way to become profitable with Kindle writing is to write summary books.  If you search for popular books, both fiction and nonfiction, you will find a few summary books following.  When a new best seller drops, writing a summary book is an easy way to make a few hundred monthly.  Many publishers and authors like these types of books because they encourage interest and book clubs use them.  Others (authors and publishers) don’t like summary books and as a quick fix will ask Amazon to take it down.  Always ask permission to write a summary book from the author or publisher to ensure your book doesn’t get taken down.  Be sure not to violate copyright.

[] Time Spent

You gotta love to write like an obsession.  Do you dream about it?  Do you daydream about it?  You need to be passionate about it on a level that makes most think you’re a bit off.

Why all this obsession and passion, and not skill and talent?  Because commitment beats skill, IQ, and any other factor you can think of.  Writing takes time.  Lots and lots of wonderful time.  You hit snags, dips, roadblocks, other obligations, anything and everything in between.  I don’t care how gifted you are at writing, if you can’t commit then begone with you, Sir!

Dr. Angela Duckworth, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, did a study that looked at what behavior and characteristics measure success.  Is it intelligence, ability, skill or GPA?  Maybe something else?  At the elite United States Military Academy West Point, she ran a study based on what is now called “The Grit Test.”  The test has a scale that rates individuals on items, like how they overcome setbacks to conquer challenges and how setbacks affect you.  The study found that the grit score was the biggest predictor of achievement and success.  Grit is basically the ability to stick to something and commit to completion.

Getting something done is a predictable pattern of doing it over and over again until it gets done.  The amount of time it takes to write a book is long.  It’s a true test of grit.

Your money with Kindle will come from bulk.  Quality needs to be there, but the money comes from quantity for a self-publisher.

Many people have a single book that they have been working on and think that’s the goal, to finish that sucker and profit.  It could happen, just not likely.  The self-publishing writing model is not like the publishing model.  A good, average selling book isn’t going to make you rich.  But once your Kindle Bookshelf starts adding pages of uploaded books it will.

My books aren’t going to individually net me a million.  I write mostly nonfiction that brings tightly packed information, which adds value to the reader.  Everyone is going to have a different style.  Do what works for you.  Friedrich Nietzsche said, “You have your way.  I have my way.  As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”

Don’t get caught up in the details on how you spend the time writing or looking for the right formula.  Just spend time doing it any way you can.

A common writing technique called the Pomodoro Technique breaks up time in sections with breaks in between.  The Pomodoro Technique when applied to something that is difficult can help get bursts of focus.  The method is usually applied with 25 minutes of focus with a five minute break.  Mix it up if that doesn’t fit your style perfectly.

I go with a much different method.  It’s called getting into flow.  Think of something you really enjoy doing.  Video games, reading, TV, playing a sport, whatever it is.  You get into a type of flow, your energy is high, you could do your activity until exhaustion.  That’s flow.  If you love writing, getting into flow and riding that feeling as long as you can will produce the best results.  

Let’s take your favorite activity that you could just keep doing forever, and all of a sudden apply the Pomodoro Technique to it.  Kills any flow that you would get going doesn’t it?  The Pomodoro Technique works best for activities you don’t enjoy.  It’s worth a shot if you have problems writing.  Typically the problem with writing is starting.  It’s not continuing.  Once you get rolling, you’re good to go.

Tim Ferriss, the writer of “The 4-Hour Workweek,” said in an interview that he has a goal of writing two pages a day.  That’s really easy.  He went on to explain it’s a very achievable goal, and helps him get started.  Once he gets started he continues past those two pages.  He gets into flow.

Jack Canfield, from “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” says “99% is a bitch, 100% is a breeze.”  He is talking about behavior patterns in people trying to make or break a habit.  Trying to quit cigarettes?  Then going cold turkey is easier than slowly eliminating them.   When you write, do it 100%.  Don’t break it up with five minute breaks, don’t write for a bit then answer your phone.  You are just making it harder to go back and back again to focusing on what you are writing.

Truth is, if you want to take breaks from writing every 25 minutes, you don’t really like to write.  Some people have to “fit in” writing, and if that’s your only way, more power to you.  My first book was written on my iPad in my car between sales calls.  I know the challenges that are presented with people’s writing situations.  If there's a will, there's a way.  But my advice for optimal performance is to give 100% to writing and ride that flow until it ends.

If you want something bad enough then take it.  Grab that dream like a bulldog.  If you have the luxury of trying different techniques then make a record of how much you can accomplish with variations of methods and see what works for you.  It’s worth experimenting early to find your optimal performance for the long term.

There are great authors with brilliant stories that talk about how much they hate to write.  So if you hate to write, but really want to write, then there is hope for you, my friend!  If you fall into that category, try looking into speech to text programs that will write what you speak.  Maybe you have the flow of a beautiful story in your head, but as soon as you change gears to write, your creative side shuts down.  I have never tried this approach, but have heard that software called Dragon Naturally Speaking is a good way to go.

[] Planning

Some writers plan their book first and others write off the cuff.  Either method works.  For the sake of speed, planning is best.  However, there’s danger with the planning method.  Many people, especially the perfectionist types, get caught up in planning and never really progress to the actual writing part.  Some people just love the process of planning and organizing and get caught in a constant whirlwind of planning books instead of actually writing them.

The Japanese have a term for consistent improvement over time called Kaizen.  It’s an idea typically applied to manufacturing where there are many systems and subsystems.  You can apply Kaizen to make small improvements over time to make a better end product.  Think about the first production of a new model car with all of its typical recalls after coming on the market.  Each year afterwards, that model car is slightly improved.  Now try to apply that to planning the perfect book and you get a never ending improvement to a book that never gets published.

A comedic essay was written in 1955 by Cyril Northcote Parkinson in which he said, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”  What has become known as Parkinson’s Law has made its way into popularity since.  If you have a week to pick up bread at the grocery store, it takes you a week.  If you need it today, it takes you a few hours.   If you are a self-publisher, then you miss out on one of the perks of having a publisher:  The boss giving you a deadline.  If you set deadlines for yourself, you’ll find that your work will get done on time.  If you don’t have a deadline to write your outline or to finish the book, you will float around aimlessly, it will never get done.

[] The Right One to Write

You want to write what you are passionate about.  But after that, you need to pick a category or niche within your passion to tackle or your chances of profit are low.

For example, if you like to write westerns, what kind of westerns are people looking for?  Which ones are selling and which ones aren’t?  A common writing trap is to write in a category that is too general or no longer popular.

There is a popular movement in the “creative fields” with the idea that people don’t know what they want.  This has been a very successful model for some.  Henry Ford was quoted as saying, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”  Steve Jobs said, “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups.  A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”  This may work if you are designing something completely different and new.  But for Kindle books to sell, you need to write in categories people “think” they want.

A good idea is to search categories in Amazon and look for rankings.  For example, look at the science fiction section:

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Go to Amazon;

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Click on ‘books’ in the left column;

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Click on ‘Kindle’;

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Click ‘Science Fiction & Fantasy.’

You notice it’s broken down into Fantasy (71,900 titles at the time of this writing) or Science Fiction (54,617 titles at the time of this writing).  Then each of those categories are broken down even further.  Looking under the Fantasy section, I see that the Superhero section has under 200 titles in it, while the Short Story section seems to be booming.  Looking at the Superhero section, the top books are listed under the 2,000 seller rank, which means big sales.  The Short Story section’s top book is over the 2,000 seller rank, but not by much.  So this tells us that both categories sell really well for individual books.  The Superhero section has a lot less competition, and the top books sell better than the top books in the saturated market.  Surprisingly, the Superhero section isn’t dominated by Ironman and Spiderman.  The top books are independent superhero stories.

The standard experience is that if a book is under 25,000 seller ranking, then the book sells well, typically 5 copies a day, around the 10,000 mark.  The lower the ranking the better the sales.

You can be more specific with your search.  Let’s say you really love the idea of aliens from Mars invading and want to write a book on it.  Do a search for ‘aliens from Mars.’  The best selling book with this search is at 425,018.  This doesn’t mean your story will tank, but gives you an idea of market interest.  No one is searching for that specific niche.  But alien horror is doing great.  Writing a book targeted at a popular market is critical for self-publishing profits.

So what’s the right one to write?  The one that is jumping up and down in the back of your mind, high on sugar and caffeine.  With some research, mold that idea into something that sells based on popularity.

[] Psychological Gifts

A great tip in getting readership followers is to give free gifts.  Many niche writers do this since they publish a lot of the same type of book.  If readers are interested in their “How to Tar and Feather Penguins” book, then their readers would probably be interested in their other How to Tar and Feather books.  Having a link at the end of your book for free information in exchange for an email used for future marketing is a great way to go.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Check out this free information LINK on how to prepare tar in cold climates!

As the author prepares his next book on tar and feathering innocent creatures, he can update his audience with an email and hit the ground running with another best seller. Be sure not to over do cross promotions.  More isn’t better.  I typically save my links until the very end of the book, separated from the core content.

The sociologist Marcel Mauss did a study on ancient cultures and world history into how gift giving was used.  Mauss said, “Gifts are never free:  they bind the giver and receiver in a loop of reciprocity.”

Gifts make people feel obligated to return the favor.  A great way to get positive reviews is to give the book away for free for a short time.  People are more obligated to return the favor.

If you have a handful of books in a category that all are on a similar topic, you can provide the first book for free to encourage people to buy your other books.  A free book is a great way to introduce people to your brand and what you have to offer.  Don’t overuse this strategy.  Diminishing returns occur rather quickly.  If you have four or more books in a genre and plan to write more, then giving a book out for free would bring in a lot of people to your book series and brand.  Do it again in the same series and you likely won’t get an increase in followers.

If you follow the typical rhythm of setting up your book to be published in KDP, you will notice you can’t list your book as free.  Here is how to do it:  Amazon doesn’t want you to list it for free, but Amazon has a policy where they will price match if you have the same book listed in other places on the internet.  They want to be the cheapest place to buy ebooks.  List your book for free on a site that allows it, like Shakespir.  If you go to your listed book on Amazon, in the product details area, there is a link called “tell us about a lower price.”  Click it, rat on yourself, and wait a week.  You will get an email from Amazon saying:

Dear Publisher,

We wanted to let you know that we have matched a free promotion on another sales channel for the following book:  How to Make Your Own Underwear Out of Old Frogs

B000NHSKDH

Please allow up to 24 hours for the price change to reflect on the Kindle store.

If you don’t have a lot of books in a specific niche or don’t plan to write a lot in a specific niche, skip giving a book out for free in favor of giving away free information for an email address for future marketing.

If you wrote a few western love books about a cactus and a tumbleweed, then moved on to writing a mystery about a sock disappearance, the following you got that loved the last type of book may not like your new stuff.  Famous writers are all pigeonholed to a degree in what their fans expect and want.  Self-published Kindle writers move around a bit.  We have the freedom to do so!

For example, make a pen name when you write children’s books and a pen name for when you write about your tar and feather obsession.  Your fans for the children books won’t follow you into the other and vice versa.  It will hurt sales otherwise.  The people who find your business marketing books incredible will lose faith in you when they see you also write superhero books.  Keep marketing lists specific to genres and pen names.

[] Speed Writing

The trick to making a living with Kindle is to produce books fast.  The faster the better, without hurting quality.  I have a five step process to do this:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Outline

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p<>{color:#000;}. Rough Draft

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p<>{color:#000;}. Write and write and write

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p<>{color:#000;}. Prepare KDP, cover and set up marketing

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p<>{color:#000;}. Editor

My goal is to write a book a week for Kindle.  I spend about 5+ hours a day on writing from Monday to Friday.  I say my “goal” because that’s not always what happens.  Before I get started Monday morning, I plan an outline.  The outline needs to be flexible/changeable.  Many writers use note cards, since you can put the chapter heading on it and add sub topics on the other side.  Plus, they are easy to manage and arrange.  I personally use mind mapping software on my phone.  You can download free apps or find one for your computer.

A rough outline will keep you moving fast.  If you get stuck on a chapter, then skip it, and you know right where you need to go next.  My outline looks like a mess of ideas.  I throw out about 30% as I move through the book.  Another 30% comes in as I write.   But without an outline, come Monday morning you will be stumped on where to start.  Time is against someone trying to write books fast.  You can do it slowly over the course of a month, but that sounds more like a part-time hobby to me.  There’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s how you want to do it.  But it would take you four months to write what I did in a month.  After a year, that’s a considerable difference in revenue. A book a week scales very well.

A rough draft should be pretty rough.  The rougher the better.  You want to get into flow and just write.  Write like you’re talking to someone about your topic.  To test if you are writing correctly you should see a ton of red underlines on the page..  It’s really hard to not stop what you’re typing and fix them.  But you can’t fix anything.  NOTHING.  Let it go and keep typing.  Work on getting into flow and work at staying in it.  If you scroll up, reread and fix mistakes in the paragraph you just typed, you have to leave flow, and switch to your left brain.  You will then need to get back into your right brain to start the next paragraph.  That’s too much work, and a lot of taxing effort on your part over the long term.  If you find writing a taxing effort you don’t have an outline or are editing as your write. Learn to flow with typing and just let it go.  The rougher that first draft the better.

During the week, normally Thursday, I start to self-edit.  I outsource the cover and fix up loose ends.  I prepare the KDP listing and fill out all the information. If I know when the book will be ready for upload I prepare the first months marketing plan for the book and prepurchase promotional dates with sites like StoryCartel, BookCaliber, ShareGoblin to ensure the process is smooth and they aren’t booked for the day I want.

My self-edited version is then given to my editor.  There are plenty of editors that get paid by the page or hour, and for a small fee you can get your book edited professionally.  No matter how many times you look over your book, even after a professional editor sends it back, you will find errors and things that could be worded better.  It’s a never ending process if you keep trying to edit it.  Just get it to where it’s “good enough” before passing it to a professional.  You can find low level editing services on sites like Fiverr and for a more professional level job check out Upwork and HugeOrange. Keep in mind you get what you pay for!

Friday, I finish up whatever was not finished yet and I start working on my other book for next week.  I spend  the evening and weekends reading and adding to my outline for my current book or the next.  At any given time I typically have two books I am working on, one directly and the other as an outline.

[] Keep it Fresh

The life cycle of a book will go up and down.  Every month take a look at your sales.  The books that start to fall or the books that just never did well can be spiced up to add new life to it.  There are five main things you can do to mix it up:

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Change the cover art

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p<>{color:#000;}. Add a chapter and editing (for improvement)

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p<>{color:#000;}. Change the title and subtitle for better optimization for search terms

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p<>{color:#000;}. Change keywords, description, introduction (since the current setup isn’t working)

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p<>{color:#000;}. Lower the pricing to encourage sales

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p<>{color:#000;}. Do a marketing promotion on one or all of the following top book marketing sites, BookBub, BookCaliber, ShareGoblin, StoryCartel, etc.

Sometimes what appeals to you (cover, title, description, price) are a turnoff to your target market.  A simple change can bring in different results.

For books that have been out a while and seem to be getting stale, let your prospects know you still maintain your work.  Add a chapter and do some editing based on reviews.  Add the new chapter to your description and mention if you fixed any known issues.  If some people found the scaling of a picture messed up for your book, mention it.  For example, put in bold HTML in your description likes this:

New and updated pictures, plus a new chapter on “Why animals love to be tarred and feathered.”

Or add it to your cover as a badge or sticker. “Updated for (current year).”

This will show prospects that the book is new and you know how much we all love new.  Plus, anyone reading reviews about people complaining about pictures being upside down and whatnot will know that it’s been fixed or improved on the updated version they are getting.

Maybe the book title speaks to you more than it speaks to prospects.  Look into changing your book’s name.  If your book is nonfiction, what does your book do?  What’s the problem that prospects have that they would want your book to help them fix?  What are prospects typing in the search bar?  If you have a book about how wearing superhero pajamas gives you powers and called it Be Powerful!, people won’t find it if they search for the pajama wearing interest.  For the people that do find Be Powerful!, they may not be interested in wearing pajamas.  Including a subtitle that makes the book more targeted and specific would help.  For example, How to Wear Superhero Pajamas to Gain Powers would make a great subtitle to Be Powerful!  You want to target searches from your prospect’s mind and be clear in the title what you’re all about.

If you are selling a fiction book about zombies and call it Toxic Chemical Spill, you won’t necessarily grab the attention of zombie fans looking for zombie books.  Put “zombie” in the subtitle and it will stick out for zombie fans and show up in search results.

Don’t be cryptic with your book subtitle.  Let it be known what you have in the book.  Unless you are a famous writer or have a following for your fiction collection, try your best to use as many common search terms in your subtitle as you can while still making sense.

You can mix and match types of titles.  The art is grabbing attention while allowing your core message to come through.  The titles that sell the best for nonfiction are the following:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Numbered/Steps – 8 Steps to Become a Marathon Runner

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p<>{color:#000;}. Benefit/Value Driven – How to Lose Weight

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p<>{color:#000;}. Time Driven – How to Lose 10 Pounds a Week

Keep the title simple, but your subtitle should be a work of art you spent hours on perfecting to match the perfect common searches for your type of book, while still remaining helpful and relevant.  A perfect subtitle appeals to the need of the prospect.

If you have a book that’s not ranking well with low sales, take a look at your keywords, description, and intro.  Consider wiping everything and starting over with a new set.  If your book is called Monster Defense: How to Use Blankets to Help Protect Yourself from Monster Attacks in Bed, the title and subtitle explains what your book is about.  Your keywords match the title.  Do a Google keyword tool search for the terms to find popularity.  Are people searching for different variations of your core theme?  Surprisingly, five year olds don’t search Google and no one did a search last month for blankets helping protect you from monsters.  But people are interested in protecting themselves.  Change keywords and titles to match popularity.  I would change the title to Disaster Survival: How to Protect Yourself and Survive a Disaster in the City” (save book two for the suburbs) and change keywords, description and content to match what people want more while holding integrity to your core interest.

How is the pricing of your book?  Try dropping the price to $0.99 from time to time to encourage more sales.  More people buying the book will increase seller ranking, page listing, and if you are selling a quality book for $0.99, it encourages positive reviews since you gave them such a great deal.  Use the KDP Select free promotion.  Offer your book for free for all five days every 90 days.  That brings in a huge flow of readers.  It’s a great way to up your rank very fast and get noticed more.  Do so alongside a ShareGoblin promotion to knock it out of the park and get people talking about your book on social media.

[] Expansion and Extension

Once you have some books under your belt, a great way to increase overall sales is to start offering your book to other platforms, including paperback.  Barnes and Noble, Smashword, and other sites are great places to get additional sales.  CreateSpace is owned by Amazon.  You can upload your book and set it up for paperback availability with CreateSpace.  There’s some tweaking involved with getting your ecover looking OK on a paperback, but once you get set up they can produce your book in paperback on demand as it gets ordered.  The royalties are very high, too.  They will sell your book to you for cheap and you can then sell it on places like eBay.  Although 80% of your sales will come from Kindle, increasing your sales by another 20% is pretty good too!

[] Conclusion

What I have found is that the self-publishing route is very different than the large publisher model.  You can’t expect to work a year on a book, sell it to a publisher and get an advance on your next book that you then have the luxury of writing and perfecting over the next year.

Self-publishing follows the blog and YouTube model of releasing a lot of content quickly, and over the long term you can make a living doing so.  You must love to write and write what people want.  Quantity is key but not at the sake of quality.  Quality comes from following a strict system and is perfected over time.  If you write crap, it won’t sell long term.

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Kindle Income: How to Make a Living Writing Kindle Books for Amazon.  Make Bett

This book covers the fundamentals to making a living writing books for Kindle. How to set up your book from cover to description to maximize sales. How to get motivated and pick which books to write. A beginner’s guide to starting with Kindle with the intent to profit. How to gather a following and write quickly to publish books faster. Learn how to publish a new book correctly and maintain a large portfolio of books, keeping them generating income long term.

  • Author: Alex Foster
  • Published: 2016-02-29 17:40:18
  • Words: 7784
Kindle Income: How to Make a Living Writing Kindle Books for Amazon.  Make Bett Kindle Income: How to Make a Living Writing Kindle Books for Amazon.  Make Bett