What’s up everyone? I’m doing a quick guest post here and I’m hoping to provide you with a tonne of value and actionable content. This post is going to cover how I make money online with ebooks and how you can do it too – including step-by-step instructions for publishing your first eBook!
So, I won’t bore you with too many details about myself as I know you want the good stuff and not a biography, but a short paragraph is probably a good idea so that we at least know each other a little…
My name is Pete Arnott, I’m 25 and I was born and raised in sunny Scotland – and if you’re wondering, yes, Haggis does tastes amazing. Out of sheer necessity and desperation to make a few bucks online (my other ventures weren’t doing too well) I decided to dive into publishing Kindle books.
To cut a long story short, I made a few dollars on the very first day I published an ebook, which was incredibly exciting as I’d never made money online before. Those few dollars got me excited enough to pursue it further and within 6 weeks I’d made just shy of $1000, and that’s when I got really excited.
Now we’re at today and I make $5000 per month with only a few hours of work per day (I outsource nearly everything) and I’m location independent, happy and free to work on other businesses.
And I want to show you how you can do it too.
Table of Contents
Understand the eBook Self-Publishing Opportunity
Self-publishing for cash flow is getting more and more popular, before we dive into the “how-to” content I want to quickly explain why publishing on Amazon is so awesome.
The Barriers to Entry That Usually Come With Starting a Business Don’t Exist
- You don’t need any special software
- You don’t need to be an expert, authority figure or even have an audience
- You don’t need to sell to people or even speak to your market
- You don’t need to connect with influencers or network
It’s Low Cost (or Completely Free) with Tasty Margins
You don’t need offices, you don’t need any special software and you don’t have to spend $1000s on purchasing product
You can hire ghost writers for an absolute steal, I’ve had books written for $15 before. Or you can write the content yourself for free. Or you can use ninja tricks to get free content created for you by others
Once you pay the ghost writers, very low, one-off writing fee everything after that is profit… forever. No recurring fees.
Plus, once you get up and running you can start to build an email list that is 100% yours and 100% separate from Amazon so that you can sell on the backend of your books directly to your email list.
The Opportunity is Huge
Amazon is a monster, they are literally taking over the internet shopping industry and this means books too.
The whole book industry is moving towards ebooks, just think how many people you know who own Kindles – my 85-year-old Granny even has one haha!
People don’t even need a kindle to buy your books. You can now get the kindle reader app on phones, tablets, desktops and laptops.
It’s a buyer’s marketplace, people don’t go there to browse or do research, they go to buy. This means making a sale is incredibly easy, the shoppers are actually ready and willing to purchase
Amazon is focused primarily on growth and expansion, they actually want to sell your books which means they do all the selling for you (if you know what you’re doing).
You Don’t Need to Do Any Outside Marketing or Promotion
You obviously can if you want, but nearly all of my promotion work is done by leveraging Amazon’s algorithms to do the work for me.
The level of info that Amazon has on your prospects is insane. This means that they are absolutely outstanding at targeting people for you.
It’s Relatively Passive
You literally make money as you sleep, or my personal favourite…when I go to the pub haha! I would never lie and say it’s completely passive, I don’t actually believe any business is, but once the initial setup work is done and once you learn the basic A-Z of the process it becomes very low touch to run.
The initial work is hard but once your foundations are all laid, you will see your little empire grow and grow. I like to tell people it’s like the creation of a skyscraper. It takes time to get planning permission, dig the foundation holes, lay the foundations, build the initial structure but then the floors rise incredibly fast!
So, all the above is why I love Amazon and self-publishing… but now let’s get onto the good stuff.
The 7 Steps to Publishing Your First Book
Lets’ go over the A-Z process of what you need to do to get up and running with your publishing biz.
I’m going to do it from a 30,000 ft perspective as deep diving into each section would take far too long.
Step 1: Research
First things first, let’s all but eliminate the risk of your book failing by doing some market research.
Lots of publishers make the mistake of publishing something they are passionate about, or something they think will intuitively work, or something based upon some google keyword research.
Now, while all these strategies can work, they aren’t sure things. I call this “hope publishing” and I don’t like it.
Instead, let’s identify what people are already buying and asking for more of. Doing this all but eliminates the chance of your book failing as you are working on a “supply and demand” model.
The great thing about Amazon is that is a buyer’s marketplace and it organizes its store as such. It literally tells you what is popular, what is selling and what’s in demand.
So, the key research point you are looking for on the Amazon Kindle store is patterns.
Patterns explain behaviours, we can look at them to find purchaser behaviours, spot trends before they appear and they give you an insights into the collective mind of the marketplace.
What You Are Looking For…
- Multiple books all focused on the same niche topic (see video below)
- The position of these similar books within A) the overall store and B) the top 100 for their category
- A non-crowded marketplace, we want to exploit less known niche markets to find ones we can easily dominate
When you identify these 3 main points you should be pretty confident about your book topic choice.
Step 2: Crafting Your Book Outline & Content Creation
As you’re going to be hiring people to do the writing for you you’re going to need to provide them with an outline.
I like to leave my outline pretty bare, I don’t want to stifle my rock-star ghost-writer’s creative ability, and frankly, I don’t want to spend too much time doing it.
I do however, like to give them pointers.
The pointers I give are all based upon market research and giving the market what they want. I learned this trick from Tim Ferriss and it is absolutely phenomenal… go to the reviews section of the books you’re going to dominate and look at the following:
- What people hate in your competitor’s books
- What people love in your competitor’s books
Doing this is such a simple way of giving the market what they want. Take advantage of the transparency that Amazon provides via the review system.
You can also check out your competitors table of contents within their book to get a good idea on what topics to include and how to structure your book. You can do this easily for free, and is a great way to remove the “what should my book include” barrier people often stumble on.
Next up you should outline your book via bullet points and maybe one short paragraph explaining the flow you want the book to take. This is the document you’re going to give your ghostwriter and they will do all the research and writing after that.
Step 3: Hire a Rockstar Ghost Writer
There is a lot of absolutely awful writers out there, so make sure you weed them out. Secondly, you never want to accept the writers first $ per word bid, you want to negotiate them down. The lower your cost of production, the better your margins and then you’ll see a much quicker ROI.
There are hundreds of places to hire writers, there is the common ones such as Elance, Craigslist and Odesk, then there is other lesser known places you can go – which I actually prefer as you tend to get higher quality and lower costs.
The key to this step is testing prospects to avoid headaches later on. I have maybe 6 or 7 ‘finished’ books that are 100% unusable and will never see the light of day, all because I didn’t do any due diligence with my writers. But hey, we live and we learn right?
Step 4: Title & Cover Creation
Your title and cover are two of the most important aspects of your books. Now obviously the quality inside your book is hugely important, but the cover and title are what will get people buying your book.
If you get the cover and title correct you will entice more people to view your books individual page, then you can turn prospects into buyers.
I like to do this by breaking people’s attention as they are scrolling through the bestseller list, or the result page for their specific search phrase.
So, how do you break attention and get people to click-through to your books page (where you then need to convert them from prospect to buyer)?
Stand out and be different. As the eye is rapidly scrolling through the list you want something that stands out and causes their eye to pause. The way you do this is by making your cover different from anything else, a simple example would be: all other covers are pink, then go with bright blue.
Now that you’ve stopped their eye movement your cover should clearly show what the book is about. The purpose of this is to make them ‘need’ to read your title to get more details.
So now we are at the title portion and it is utterly essential that your title is strong.
If your title doesn’t convince the prospect to go visit your books page then you’ve just lost that sale. Basically this comes down to copywriting.
Apply copywriting techniques to your titles to increase your click-through rate. I won’t go deeply into copywriting techniques here as it would take a book onto itself, plus I am not an expert or even particularly skilled at writing copy, instead I just make sure I apply a few key techniques.
Speak to your prospect. Use words like “you” and “your”.
Speak in terms of benefits. Make the benefits of your book clearly identifiable to your prospect. If your title can provide the thing they want, you’ve done 80% of the work.
Don’t attempt to be witty or funny, don’t use inside jokes and don’t use puns. Make your titles blatantly simple and obvious. Good titles don’t confuse readers, they make it blindingly obvious as to what the book is about.
Don’t be afraid to make your title long. Short titles may sound better and seem more impactful, but they’re not. Go long.
You will also be adding keywords to your title, but be very careful when doing this. Do not just keyword load your title, if you do this it won’t roll well off the tongue. It’s important that your title is natural and not a pain for people to say.
Blending the keywords into your title is a bit of an art form and can be hard to grasp but I have one little test I like to do whenever I’m creating titles. Say your title out loud, if it sounds stupid or is hard to say, then go back and fix it.
I think one of the best examples of this is by Tim Ferriss with his first ever book:
Now go hire a cover designer and get an awesome cover made, or do it yourself if you’ve got design skills.
Step 5: Write A Killer Description
This is linked to the above section as it uses the same principles: grabbing attention, holding attention and copywriting techniques.
Your description can be make or break for your book, lots of people will buy on the strength of the title and cover alone. However some will require a little push to purchase and this is where a killer description will convert them.
Your description needs to act as a mini-sales page for your book and you do this by applying copywriting principles to your book. Make sure the description sells why they need to buy your book. This is the only part I write myself as I feel I can do a better job than my ghost-writers.
Never underestimate your book description, when I started out I didn’t care much about it. Don’t make my mistake.
Step 6: Publishing Time
By now you should have your manuscript and cover returned to you,
Check the quality of each and request changes if necessary. If you’ve done the hard work upfront and hired awesome people then your work will be high quality and you will be ready to rock. If small changes are required then you can head over to fiver to get people to make the necessary edits for you, or do them yourself.
You now need to format your book so it is ready for uploading, again not going to blab on for pages and pages about how to properly format your book, just go check out kdp.amazon.com to find the details and instructions for formatting that your need.
Whilst you’re at kdp.amazon.com sign up for your free account too – this is the platform you will be publishing on and will be where you run nearly every aspect of your book from.
Set up takes only a couple of minutes, is 100% free and afterwards you will be ready to rock.
Now, when you actually start to upload/publish your book you are going to have to do a few critical tasks such as keyword selection and category selection among a few others.
This is a key step, choose your categories and keywords wisely.
Once you’ve done this go hit up the “preview” of your book and make sure it all looks awesome and is properly formatted.
The most common formatting mistakes I see are:
- Bad page breaking
- Spacing errors
- Lack of continuity in the formatting
- Inactive (or lack of) table of contents
- No bookmarks used
Flip through every page of your book and check it all, if it looks good then let’s move to the next section. Hit ‘save and continue’ to head over to the pricing page.
Once on the pricing page you want to set everything to the lowest royalty rate and make your pricing 0.99c. Obviously we will increase this later to start making money, but the reason you want to go at 0.99c to begin with is to get some initial traction on your book.
Hit publish once you’ve done this and then wait 12-24 hours until your book is live.
Boom! You’re now a published author.
Step 7: Launch and Grow
Now that you’ve done all the hard work and published your book it’s time to grow your empire and build cash flow.
If you’ve done every step correctly your book will see some sales, but not enough volume to get excited about, in order to make big bucks you need to do a few key strategies.
Remember you want to avoid “hope publishing” so you’re now going to launch your book. I’ve developed a launch strategy that works like clockwork, it’s the exact strategy I use to get 13 #1 bestselling books and best of all it can be replicated.
The reason it works so well is that it uses a combination of internet marketing strategies and mental triggers (things most publishers know nothing about). The launch will harness techniques such as social proof, price anchoring, pricing strategies, time constraints and ethical bribes to skyrocket your book up the charts.
A 30,000 ft perspective of the launch is bullet pointed below:
- Publish your book at 0.99c
- Get some honest reviews for your book
- Use the KDP select program to give away your book for free. KDP gives you 5 days (every 90 days) in which you can give your book away for free and doing this helps get your book some initial traction. Books that do well on free promotion will “tell” Amazon that your book has a high likelihood of doing well in the paid charts and this will cause Amazon to promote your book for you.
- Rinse and repeat to keep your book high in the charts.
There is a bunch of other ninja tricks you can do, but I don’t want to deep dive into those in this post as it will be overwhelming.
If you’re interested in learning more than feel free to contact me. Always happy to connect with people. Or, you can check out my free video training on publishing with Kindle by visiting www.TheKindleCashFlowSystem.com
In the video training I will cover the following, and much, much more:
- How to build an email list that people pay you to get onto
- How to become a respected expert and authority figure in any market you want
- The #1 bestseller launch strategy I developed
- How to get free content written for you
- How to crush your competition
- How to use the ‘compound effect’ to rapidly scale your cash flow with ease
Cheers and I truly hope you’ve enjoyed this post!
Pete Arnott is a young entrepreneur from the ever-sunny land of Scotland. He runs a small, online publishing company that he uses to cash flow his life and other business ventures.