This Author Earns $450,000 Per Year from Email Marketing

by Best Seller 25 replies
I came across this online Forbes article the other day: Amazon Pays $450,000 A Year To This Self-Published Writer. It's a great read. Enlightening.

According to this article, a self-published author named Mark Dawson earned $450,000 in one year from an email list of only 15,000 subscribers. And that was back in 2015 ... so, presumably, his email list is now much larger than that and so are his sales.

I think this man is probably an exceptionally shrewd marketer to be achieving results like this. But I also think marketing savvy is only half the equation. Writing quality is a huge part of it.

I think the self-publishers who quickly and haphazardly slap together an e-book and then post it to Amazon through CreateSpace won't see these kinds of results. On the other hand, if they write and publish several books professionally (e.g. including professional editing, graphic design, proofreading), then there is a good chance they can achieve these kinds of results.

Your thoughts?
#off topic forum #$450000 per year #15000 subscribers #author #email marketing #mark dawson
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  • Profile picture of the author MValmont
    Not suprised.

    Self-publishing is a good way to make money
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  • Profile picture of the author TinkBD
    Mark Dawson is a well known thriller writer. He is following the popular fiction success strategy of meeting the readers' expectations AND writing in series/writing multiple books aimed at the same group of readers...

    Fiction writers who know how to market can do quite well... Mark has also been teaching what he knows, so he has multiple income streams.

    An important difference in Fiction Writing as opposed to non-fiction -- Readers buy for entertainment, not to solve a problem, so you can successfully sell multiple products to the same reader pool

    The markets are large and voracious readers watch for the newest books from their favorite authors.
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    • Profile picture of the author John47
      Originally Posted by TinkBD View Post

      Mark Dawson is a well known thriller writer. He is following the popular fiction success strategy of meeting the readers' expectations AND writing in series/writing multiple books aimed at the same group of readers...

      Fiction writers who know how to market can do quite well... Mark has also been teaching what he knows, so he has multiple income streams.

      An important difference in Fiction Writing as opposed to non-fiction -- Readers buy for entertainment, not to solve a problem, so you can successfully sell multiple products to the same reader pool

      The markets are large and voracious readers watch for the newest books from their favorite authors.
      That sums it up perfectly. It reminds me of how savvy writers such as Charles Dickens wrote in the magazines for the new emerging literate classes in the 19th. century. Every week they wrote a chapter of a novel and got paid and a few months later they had a bulky 700 page bestseller for which they got another fee. Multiple streams of income!

      Then as in Dickens' case he got really greedy and made an audio by going on a reading tour around the country.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Schreiber
    That's incredible to pull $450K from a 15K list!

    I've gotta check this guy out.. much to learn!

    Thanks for the read!
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex July
    Why do you all believe that the only source of traffic is his e-mail list?
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  • Profile picture of the author TinkBD
    Alex July -- I don't believe the only source of traffic is his e-mail list... Far from it.

    I do believe he uses it strategically and effectively, but Amazon is also a definite factor.

    He released a new book on Feb 7, 2017 --- #10 in a successful series.

    Currently, that single book is ranked:

    Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,726 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
    #16 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Pulp
    #18 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Spies & Politics > Terrorism
    #21 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Terrorism

    Currently, his Author Rank is:

    Amazon Author Rank
    #69 in Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure
    #89 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure

    Amazon recognizes and rewards dynamic sales.

    An active email list can help an author launch a new book in a way that Amazon will reward...

    ^^^ That is Short Term Thinking ^^^

    The bottom line is, an active email list gives options and helps a savvy author retain control against unforseen market changes.

    ^^^ That is Long Term Thinking ^^^

    His email list IS a factor, but it is far from the ONLY factor.

    If you read my original reply, the factors I listed can be independent of his email list.
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    • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
      Originally Posted by TinkBD View Post

      The bottom line is, an active email list gives options and helps a savvy author retain control against unforseen market changes.

      ^^^ That is Long Term Thinking ^^^

      His email list IS a factor, but it is far from the ONLY factor.

      If you read my original reply, the factors I listed can be independent of his email list.
      And I'll add to this by reiterating that WRITING QUALITY is another huge factor to this man's success. Voracious readers want to read well-written books.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by TinkBD View Post

      Alex July -- I don't believe the only source of traffic is his e-mail list... Far from it.

      I do believe he uses it strategically and effectively, but Amazon is also a definite factor.

      He released a new book on Feb 7, 2017 --- #10 in a successful series.

      Currently, that single book is ranked:

      Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,726 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
      #16 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Pulp
      #18 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Spies & Politics > Terrorism
      #21 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Terrorism

      Currently, his Author Rank is:

      Amazon Author Rank
      #69 in Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure
      #89 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure

      Amazon recognizes and rewards dynamic sales.

      An active email list can help an author launch a new book in a way that Amazon will reward...

      ^^^ That is Short Term Thinking ^^^

      The bottom line is, an active email list gives options and helps a savvy author retain control against unforseen market changes.

      ^^^ That is Long Term Thinking ^^^

      His email list IS a factor, but it is far from the ONLY factor.

      If you read my original reply, the factors I listed can be independent of his email list.
      He's certainly doing more than just using his e-mail list. I'm sure his Amazon sales page is expertly written, and each book probably advertises his next book, and the books he's written before.

      He may also be using KDP free book days to promote his book on multiple websites that offer free books during their free promotional window.

      Offering one book for free at any one time will boost the sales of all the books he has written. I can see how that wold be more effective in fiction.

      And he writes for a ravenous audience. Just having a high ranking in those categories will help generate sales. So he's undoubtedly easy to find on Amazon.

      I watch Youtube videos of Kindle authors that write series fiction...some even hire the writing out..and they earn $5,000-20,000 a month.

      Pick an in demand category, write well, market your new books to your list, (to get ranking short term) and keep putting out product. Sure, I believe half a million a year.


      Added a second later; I just got an e-mail from an author asking me for a review on her book. I followed the link...and the book is $14.95. She wanted me to buy her book so I could review it for her. It made me wonder who sold her on that idea?
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      • Profile picture of the author TinkBD
        Claude -- Yes to all of that except when I took a quick look, the books I saw were not in KU...

        There are a lot of folks doing well in Fiction... In many ways it's a much easier sell than non-fiction.

        And, many are doing VERY well -- life changing money -- without showing up on any bestseller lists or Top 100 lists ;-)
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      • Profile picture of the author quadagon
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Added a second later; I just got an e-mail from an author asking me for a review on her book. I followed the link...and the book is $14.95. She wanted me to buy her book so I could review it for her. It made me wonder who sold her on that idea?
        I suppose shy bairns get nowt.

        If I approach people to do a review I do ask them to buy the book but cover it with an Amazon giftcard.

        You can get affiliate commission when buying gift cards and you get typically 70% on the Kindle book sale.

        On a $5 book

        $500 spend can get 100 reviews and $350 back plus $30 commission

        $350 spend can get 70 reviews and $245 back plus $21 commission.

        And so and so on.

        Added benefit is that reviews are verified on Amazon.

        The real secret is to be choosing reviewers who have bought books in you niche and category.

        If you have these people buying your book you can trigger the Amazon algorithm so that you appear in the 'customers who bought this' section.

        Amazon will then be marketing your book for you.








        Buggar wasn't going to post that.
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by quadagon View Post

          I suppose shy bairns get nowt.

          If I approach people to do a review I do ask them to buy the book but cover it with an Amazon giftcard.

          You can get affiliate commission when buying gift cards and you get typically 70% on the Kindle book sale.

          On a $5 book

          $500 spend can get 100 reviews and $350 back plus $30 commission

          $350 spend can get 70 reviews and $245 back plus $21 commission.

          And so and so on.

          Added benefit is that reviews are verified on Amazon.

          The real secret is to be choosing reviewers who have bought books in you niche and category.

          If you have these people buying your book you can trigger the Amazon algorithm so that you appear in the 'customers who bought this' section.

          Amazon will then be marketing your book for you.








          Buggar wasn't going to post that.
          Yup. I do that now. I offer to gift a book for their review. I don't demand a review, but they know that's why I'm offering the book for free. I just buy the book and send it to their email address, and order it as a gift.

          Yup. I get paid for the sale and earn an affiliate commission.

          I only ask people who have already left a review for a similar book, in my niche. So I know;
          They have an Amazon Account.
          They are used to reading books like the one I wrote
          They are used to leaving a good review.

          In a couple of weeks, all my books will be free (Kindle books) for 5 days...and I'll just include a link to download a book in my e-mail.

          I think I'll just keep doing the "review pitching" on my free days. It saves the cost of a book, and makes it much easier for the person to simply click a link in the e-mail to get the book for free...from Amazon.

          One overlooked source of reviews is other authors in your niche. They are usually readers, and I always leave a review for them..and mention it...when I ask if they want a copy of my books.

          But getting my book listed in the "customers who bought this also bought" gets great results for me. I do it by buying their book (which I would probably do anyway) reviewing it,(On my blog and on Amazon) and then creating a video on Youtube with a verbal review. The video takes them to my blog and my Amazon profile page (where my books are listed).

          So...people who are interested in the book by the other author end up buying both his/hers and mine. Most of the books in my niche (on Kindle books anyway) have one or more of my books as one of the first 8 books listed in "people who bought this also bought".

          But the single most profitable thing I do is create lots and lots of "Sales tips" videos that lead directly to my sales page for one of my books . These aren't reviews of other books, but short videos giving a tip, and then mentioning my book.

          Like I've mentioned in another thread, my next project is getting interviewed by other sales authors on their webinars...and my own webinars. A fast way to build an audience.
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  • Profile picture of the author ankur88
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Another thing I'm going to do to increase my book sales is write several "satellite books" that will be much shorter, on a very specific subject. Maybe 15,000-20,000 words. (about 60 pages in print)

    They will basically be expanded chapters that may eventually be edited, and put in other books.

    But these books will be more promotional, and have lots of offers at the back. A paperback will be $3.99 (or whatever the minimum is to cover the cost of printing) and a Kindle version will be 99 cents (or free). These are purely to sell my other books, my other information packages, and my services.

    I bought this book, and it's a perfect model for such a thing.

    Money Phone by Mike Koenigs. I'd recommend buying a copy just to see how such a thing can be done.

    here's a link;

    https://www.amazon.com/Money-Phone-S...3KCA4S1BP8VXRJ


    Not an affiliate link, I swear to God.
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  • Profile picture of the author chemo38
    "Added a second later; I just got an e-mail from an author asking me for a review on her book. I followed the link...and the book is $14.95. She wanted me to buy her book so I could review it for her. It made me wonder who sold her on that idea?"

    Claude Whitacre isn't the only member of WF to get this crazy request. I offered to review a WSO and the OP countered with a proposal for 50% off of the price in return for the review!

    I chastised the OP and told him to research WSO reviews and learn proper procedures.

    chemo38
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
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  • Profile picture of the author GettingItFor
    I dont know, is it a fact that this is true? If the guy was that good, why is his list only 15,000? Seems fishy to me.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Cage
    It's incredible for a list of 15000 subcribers! I'm trying my best to be able to earn a quarter of that money...
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    • Profile picture of the author TinkBD
      Originally Posted by John Cage View Post

      It's incredible for a list of 15000 subcribers! I'm trying my best to be able to earn a quarter of that money...
      See my previous answer. He didn't make all that money from his list. He made it from selling his fiction books and ONE OF HIS TOOLS IS HIS LIST
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    • Profile picture of the author quadagon
      Originally Posted by John Cage;110322I

      It's incredible for a list of 15000 subcribers! I'm trying my best to be able to earn a quarter of that money...
      I might be mistaken but I can't see where is mentions 450,000 other than the headline and can't see where it says what they pay him for.

      I can tell you I know a couple of authors who earn similar amounts as Amazon affiliates.

      450,000 by 15,000 is $2.5 per person per month. If you have a good list of say sci fi fans it's easy to find other books and products to promote to that list.
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by quadagon View Post

        I might be mistaken but I can't see where is mentions 450,000 other than the headline and can't see where it says what they pay him for.

        I can tell you I know a couple of authors who earn similar amounts as Amazon affiliates.

        450,000 by 15,000 is $2.5 per person per month. If you have a good list of say sci fi fans it's easy to find other books and products to promote to that list.
        It's probable that his list is a small part of the marketing done. There is a whole lot you can do on Amazon, as TinkBD mentioned. It's possible that the author is promoting one of his books every week (a different book) as a KDP free book promotion...or a Countdown book deal for 99 cents. He may be listed on 100 different book sites catering to his niche.

        He may be on 100 different book fan sites that are all readers of his niche.

        He may be advertising with Amazon sponsored ads.

        He may have a huge Facebook following.
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        • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          It's possible that the author is promoting one of his books every week (a different book) as a KDP free book promotion...
          This is one of the tactics discussed in the Forbes article, among other things.
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      • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
        Originally Posted by quadagon View Post

        I might be mistaken but I can't see where is mentions 450,000 other than the headline and can't see where it says what they pay him for.
        The details are included in the Forbes article that is linked within the original post. Hope that helps.
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        • Profile picture of the author quadagon
          Originally Posted by Best Seller View Post

          The details are included in the Forbes article that is linked within the original post. Hope that helps.
          I might be being dense but I can't see it can you direct quote where 450,000 is mentioned.
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          • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
            Originally Posted by quadagon View Post

            I might be being dense but I can't see it can you direct quote where 450,000 is mentioned.
            Oh, I see what you mean now. Yes, it's in the title only. The only other quote within the article that refers to how much he was earning at the time states, "To date he has sold over 300,000 copies of his series about an assassin called John Milton. Dawson says he pocketed 'six figures' last year and he's on course to make much more this year. And he's got plans for bigger and better things for this series outside of print form."

            On that note, I'll also share this blog entry with everyone from Mark's website: https://markjdawson.com/archive/192-...-for-gratitude. At the time he wrote this, his subscriber base had increased to 32,000 readers. Presumably, his annual income has increased with it.

            This man is a prolific writer! Wow! He has more than 20 books listed on his website which explains much of how he's able to earn this type of money. Lots of dedicated subscribers plus lots of books equals LOTS of sales.
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  • Profile picture of the author opsondell22
    Hardwork pays a lot, but it's not as easy as you think. Good job anyway
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  • Profile picture of the author kocher79
    Wow, those results are insane! Haven't heard of him, but gonna look him up.
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