Publishing eBooks on Kindle: Can it really become a business?

18 replies
Hi everyone,

I'd really appreciate your input on this.

I've been studying the issue of writing and publishing / selling eBooks on Amazon Kindle during the last 6 - 8 months , and I even published some non-fiction children's books...

The issue is that sales are so few (although I'm trying to promote my "KDP free days" and I'm getting some nice reviews) and commissions are so low (An average children's book sells at US$ 0.99 and leaves you with US$ 0.35 or so...), I'm really not sure if there's any way I can make a viable business from it, and by saying a "viable business" I mean a steady monthly commission of US$ 5,000 - 7,500...

I'm thinking about getting away from children's books and focusing on unique travel guides (travel content is, actually, my main expertise) but, again, travel guides in eBook format do not seem to be selling very well (other than the very reputable publishers, like "Lonely Planet")

Does any of you have any ideas on how to make good, steady income from non-fiction eBooks on Amazon?

Thanks, Roni
#amazon #business #ebooks #internet marketing #kdp #kindle #publishing
  • I have a friend who makes a living entirely off of Paypal books, but this guy is one of the most well known individuals in his niche. He also writes very controversial political articles and gets traffic that way. I'm not sure you'd be able to replicate his success just writing standard IM pieces.
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    • Profile picture of the author RevenueGal
      You definitely need to consider what is selling before choosing to dive into another niche topic. If traveling is your expertise, then see if you can find a twist that would be sellable besides just the normal "travel guide".

      You definitely need to do some marketing strategies of your own to get more sales rolling in initially. And, of course, the more products you have out there, the more your sales will increase...so that takes some dedication of publishing on a continual basis. But, do consider what IS selling...and make sure there's a good demand for your topic.
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      • Profile picture of the author AnniePot
        I didn't really start making any decent money with Kindle until I switched to writing Fiction. I suppose this may be influenced by the fact that I've always enjoyed 'spinning a yarn'. I won several short story contests when I was younger.

        I began on Kindle like many others, writing non-fiction, but it can be hard to develop an enduring income on a niche where what I write today will remain fresh and topical in two, three, even five years time.

        On the other hand, a well written 30k - 40k word fiction book will be evergreen. The content (normally) won't become dated. An author can also build upon his/her success by writing books in series, this is how I'm expanding my sales figures significantly.
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        • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
          Banned
          The people I know who are doing it full-time and making a living from it are all fiction writers, I'm pretty sure ...
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  • Profile picture of the author petelta
    I combine Kindle books with my facebook marketing techniques and it works well.

    Nurse fan Page => Kindle Book on Being a Better Nurse
    Marijuana Fan Page => Kindle Book on special brownie recipes

    Things like that do well. As Alexa stated, most people I know who do this for full time income write fiction though. Kindles are just another piece of my entire puzzle and not the main money maker for me.
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  • I've been in a Kindle publisher for a while and I can tell you it is not easy. And to make $5,000-$7,000 is VERY HARD! You can expect to make those figures if you are a VERY GOOD WRITER and write at least 10-12 excellent fiction stories as part of a series (by that point you will have established a fan following) over a period of two years.

    This is what it takes. It is not easy and the money won't come in easily.

    The most successful Kindle publishers like some of the other posters in this thread mentioned are fiction publishers and even more specifically like AnniePot mentioned writing your OWN fiction not getting it outsourced. Cheap doesn't sell in the Kindle world. Amazon has made so many changes the days of easy Kindle money are long gone!
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    • Profile picture of the author AnniePot
      Originally Posted by marktheonlinesurfer View Post

      The most successful Kindle publishers like some of the other posters in this thread mentioned are fiction publishers and even more specifically like AnniePot mentioned writing your OWN fiction not getting it outsourced. Cheap doesn't sell in the Kindle world. Amazon has made so many changes the days of easy Kindle money are long gone!
      I think publishing through your own "voice" is critical to your success.
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  • Profile picture of the author Slate Marketing
    I know many people making six figures publishing on the Kindle, some are even making seven figures. You can do that whether it's Fiction or Non Fiction.

    The KEY is to build what I like to call an "author brand", which will serve to separate you from the zillions of other people creating books.

    Pick a topic and then DOMINATE it. Build a brand and presence around that topic and yourself. If you pretty much do the opposite of what 99% of other Kindle authors and marketers do, you'll be on the right track.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
    To me, publishing on the Kindle platform is just that, a platform via Amazon; it's not a business unto itself. Can you build a real business around it? Sure, people have, people are doing it right now, and people still will ten years from now and that's because they're taking a long-term approach.

    The ones that will still be earning income ten years from now approach it as a business, meaning Amazon is merely one platform; so like any business you want to increase exposure and profits, which means using other platforms. It's a great distribution channel, but many marketers and authors are ignoring the basic marketing fundamentals. I see tons of authors with no website or blog. I see many ebooks with no resource links or cross-promoting their others ebooks (or products).

    Even worse than that, they might have one but they aren't collecting e-mail addresses or some other form of contact information. There's no back-end strategy in place and no real promotional strategy in place.

    I've just started on the Kindle platform because I see HUGE potential here. Most of the successful authors that I've masterminded with tell me it can take anywhere from 6 to 12 well-written ebooks before they hit that "sweet" spot of making a decent 4 figure monthly income. And that's with no back-end strategy.

    Most of them have admitted to me that sometimes a book will take off or go viral and they're not exactly sure why. Kind of reminds me of the old EZA days when an article would take off like gangbusters. lol

    Building a business around the Kindle platform is very viable, but it's a marathon, not a sprint. Too many people put up a couple of ebooks and then they get discouraged and quit. The key here is to see the big picture and realize this is not an instant money maker for the vast majority of people.

    What I'm doing with most of my ebooks is I have a version for Kindle (short version) and a longer version (with more value, higher price) for other platforms like Clickbank. I'm testing audio ebooks (Audible.com) and the iTunes platform to funnel for more leads. I'm sure I'll have a killer strategy in place 6 to 8 months from now. But it takes time, some testing, and yes, great content in your own voice.

    I know people doing very well with their outsourcing strategy, but I prefer to write my own stuff at this time (I really enjoy the creative process of writing). It's actually pretty easy since I use Dragon Naturally Speaking (I can't stand the Windows speech to text) to create my content. It's in my own voice, literally, and it's always high quality.

    That's my long-winded answer: YES.

    RoD
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    • Profile picture of the author KateD
      Originally Posted by Rod Cortez View Post


      The ones that will still be earning income ten years from now approach it as a business, meaning Amazon is merely one platform. It's a great distribution channel, but many marketers and authors are ignoring the basic marketing fundamentals. I see tons of authors with no website or blog. I see many ebooks with no resource links or cross-promoting their others ebooks (or products).



      RoD

      Very eloquent, Rod.

      The thing is, there are so many different ways to USE Kindle. Sure, you can simply write and publish, and you may or may not do well. But you can also use social media (ie. Facebook, Twitter, etc) to further promote your titles. You can use Kindle as a marketing tool for other internet income streams. You can collect email addresses and build a nice, mailing list.

      There's no one size fits way of using Kindle. And like you said, it is just ONE of the many platforms available. I have a growing portfolio of fiction titles (erotica), but I also have non-fiction titles as well.

      My goal is to create content, and then spread it over as many platforms as possible (Nook, Apple, Sony, Kobo, etc).

      But yes, it can definitely be part of your business.

      KateD
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      --->I can also write other fiction (horror, romance, mystery, etc). Just ask me, I don't bite. :)
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      • Profile picture of the author iSoftware
        What people have to understand is that Amazon sends you SALES not CUSTOMERS.

        THE person (or company) who owns the customer relationship has a "real" business.

        While Amazon is a great platform, people need to understand that until you have customer data on file (the email address, mailing address, purchases at certain price points, etc) of your readers, you are effectively putting all your eggs in one basket.

        Having said that if you build up a real life author platform - where people start looking for you, and develop a buying relationship with you - then you have the makings of a long term business.
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        • Profile picture of the author KateD
          Originally Posted by iSoftware View Post


          Having said that if you build up a real life author platform - where people start looking for you, and develop a buying relationship with you - then you have the makings of a long term business.
          Yes, having a fanbase is LUCRATIVE om Kindle. It should be a goal for Kindle publishers.

          KateD
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          Why Aren't You Making Money On Kindle With Erotica?


          --->I can also write other fiction (horror, romance, mystery, etc). Just ask me, I don't bite. :)
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  • Profile picture of the author katequinn1983
    Banned
    If your expertise is travel content, you should give it a try. From my point of view fiction books are much more attractive for almost any sort of audience.
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  • Profile picture of the author theteach
    I don't believe it is a true business because ultimately, you don't have control. Amazon, at the blink of an eye, can cut you off. Then you have nothing.

    A real business is an asset that YOU control. When you receive a paycheck, you are at the mercy of someone else.
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    • Profile picture of the author KateD
      Originally Posted by theteach View Post

      I don't believe it is a true business because ultimately, you don't have control. Amazon, at the blink of an eye, can cut you off. Then you have nothing.

      A real business is an asset that YOU control. When you receive a paycheck, you are at the mercy of someone else.
      Very true. But authors can do their best to minimize this risk by diversifying their published titles over B&N Nook, Sony Reader, Apple iStore, Kobo, CreateSpace (for printed books), etc.

      I still believe tht it is a business. Even if Amazon did cancel your account, you would still have the books to published in a variety of other sales channels.

      KateD
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      Why Aren't You Making Money On Kindle With Erotica?


      --->I can also write other fiction (horror, romance, mystery, etc). Just ask me, I don't bite. :)
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  • Profile picture of the author Venturetothetop
    Correct me if I'm wrong but '50 Shades of Grey' was one of the biggest selling ebooks before it was republished as a physical book which you can't seem to get away from.

    So the answer is yes, people are definitely making a living from Kindle and not all of them had 12 books before that happened.

    I think someone above mentioned it well by saying that if you did nothing but put the books on Kindle (no outside promotion or sensible cross selling) then you can reach 4 figure income with 6-12 good books.

    Thats not bad really, because it means that if you do things right, you can reach that level of income much sooner.

    Simple things like promoting you book to ebook review sites (tons of them, including a handful that really matter), doing interviews, some seo etc will all help.

    I leave you with the thoughts of a certain author called 'Tim Ferriss' who wrote some book about '4 Hour Work Week'.... it is well known in literary circles that this guy worked non stop for months before his launch persuading people to review his book. (Irony hey...)

    The best comes to those who help themselves.
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    Hi roni:
    I can spend thousands to promote one book - just one. This is not ebay, as you need to do promos. Other wise, people will not find you. Please work on getting reviews from big name reviewers. Your book needs a lot of reviews. After getting a lot of sales and reviews... amazon puts you in "HOT NEW RELEASES" Basically, they promote you. This is like the gallery in ebay, but not the same. It is important to attain critical mass. Word of mouth will help you. Become the number one book in your niche and this is not easy. Frankly, my advice is to go for a niche that is very narrow. It is easier to be a big fish in a small pond, than a little minnow in an ocean.
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    • Profile picture of the author LilBlackDress
      Yes you sure can make a living on Kindle with fiction or non fiction books. And you do not have to spend a fortune to promote them. I did all free promos on several of my books and have sold many thousands of copies.

      It is important however, to write what will sell. If you are looking at a niche area and books in that area are not selling, odds are good yours won't either. Not always though, I wrote one book on a topic that had not been selling and ended up selling quite a few copies - even hit the best seller list in its category, so yes it can be done.
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