My Amazon 'Best Seller' isn't making all that much :(

31 replies
Just a little FYI

My workbook is #16 in Amazon's education workbook 'best seller' list. Not to rain on anyone's parade but I don't make a heck of a lot of money from it.

Another one of my books is #1 for 'essay writing for kids'. Again, the rank doesn't reflect the income.

I am just letting self-publishers know that getting on the list doesn't equate to riches.
#amazon #making #seller
  • Profile picture of the author forekast
    Thank you for the heads up. I've always wondered if it's an across the board type of deal when you're ranked fairly high. And you just answered my question to an extent.

    Side note - a lot of people like to promise riches if you have a "best seller" - but you just showed that it really isn't always true.

    If you don't mind me asking, how many books have you published so far? Are any of them making generating decent revenue from month to month?
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    • Profile picture of the author dana67
      Do you have any blogs or websites? Maybe you can promote your workbook there and on other sites, social media, etc. where people might have an interest in it? Increasing traffic may help increase sales.
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    • Profile picture of the author theteach
      I have 12 titles. I am in the education niche which I don't think is as lucrative as 'self-help', 'making money', or 'diet'.

      I bring in a few hundred each month. With more promotion, I can probably bring in double or triple that.

      You have to consider that with a self-published book, you will probably earn an average royalty of about $4/physical book (kindle books are another story). Let's say you sell 100 books a month...you will make about $400. Not a lot of money.

      This is why many people are publishing on kindle. You can sell for cheaper and, at the same time, sell many more units.

      I posted my numbers just to show people my experience.

      Hope this helps
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  • Profile picture of the author barbling
    Two people you might want to follow regarding self-publishing on the Kindle platform have free FB groups -

    Shawn Hansen at

    Write Publish Profit
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/WritePublishProfit/

    Di Heuser at

    Secrets to Publishing a Book
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/secr...blishingabook/

    I'm a bestselling author with the

    Ultimate Google Hangouts Roadmap
    Amazon.com: The Ultimate Google Hangouts...Amazon.com: The Ultimate Google Hangouts...
    Thing is - I could easily take that content and create a $9.97 leadgen from perhaps 1/4 of it and then turn the ENTIRE content into a $97 bootcamp.

    Shawn talks a lot about that idea as well.

    I think it all comes down to building up your own fanbase/authority/etc. and going from there.
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    • Profile picture of the author SuperSquirrel
      I think the "lead gen to bootcamp" is the strategy that I've been missing with my fitness books on kindle. Thank you.
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  • Profile picture of the author DianaHeuser
    Theteach,

    Well done on getting a ranking book. There are thousands of people who never ever get that right.

    Jassen is spot-on with his advice. You have to develop a long term strategy for publishing and all the points he mentioned are critical.

    One or two books on Amazon is not going to make you rich. Developing a series is a good start. Have you considered approaching the local schools in your area with your educational books?

    Offline marketing is just as important for an author as online marketing.

    Di
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  • Profile picture of the author onlineleben
    Just found this article where the ranking is explained quite well.
    8 Things Most People Don't Know About Amazon's Bestsellers Rank (Sales Rank)

    As mentioned by Diana above, developing a series is a good idea, but I think you already have a few books in the market. Do they all target the same or similar audience?
    Then it would be good to create an author page within Amazon were all your books arelisted and (I think) you can also interact with your readers.
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  • Profile picture of the author theteach
    Good advice everyone.

    I will look into the bootcamp idea.

    I sell a good number of books offline via my television show. I also conduct seminars in my city where I also sell a nice amount of books.

    The reason for my post was to simply show people that becoming a 'best seller' doesn't mean that the money will pour in. In fact, all the good responses here support the fact that one has to do more than just aim to become a best seller.
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    • Profile picture of the author kellymonaghan
      Don't discount the value of being able to honestly add "Amazon Best Selling Author" to your bio. To many people, that's an extremely impressive credential and can be leveraged for all manner of things -- speaking engagements to cite just one example.

      As to the dirty little secret that Amazon best seller status does not mean riches (or even a huge number of copies sold, depending on the category)...we'll keep that to ourselves.
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      • Profile picture of the author onlineleben
        Originally Posted by kellymonaghan View Post

        Don't discount the value of being able to honestly add "Amazon Best Selling Author" to your bio.
        Don't forget to take a screenprint of the bestseller status.

        In the old days, when Altavista (a SE in the 90s) was still around and it was easy to rank first, I converted a screenshot of a #1 ranking into a big advertisment. People came visiting in droves - Being number one converts into status and trust.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael D Forbes
    Originally Posted by theteach View Post

    Another one of my books is #1 for 'essay writing for kids'. Again, the rank doesn't reflect the income.
    Being the big fish in a 1 gallon fishbowl is not the same opportunity as being the big fish in the Pacific ocean. Your experience is a good reminder that the potential customer pool of a particular niche is worth considering. Thank you.
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  • Profile picture of the author JerryKuzma
    .

    Hi theteach,

    Have you explored the homeschooling market? My wife and I homeschooled our three children, so we know that solid textbooks or curriculum are hard to find.

    Even if you do not focus on the basics but rather the extra-curricular topics, you could do well to promote yourself in that area.

    You could also look into changing the category that you books are ranking in......it is simple to change category and optimize keywords and tags after your initial launch, with a view to ranking in a more lucrative category.

    I also underscore all the other comments in this thread....what a great bunch of authors we have on here today!

    Be encouraged, and have a brilliant day...

    Jerry Kuzma
    UK

    .
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  • Profile picture of the author research
    Originally Posted by theteach View Post

    Just a little FYI

    My workbook is #16 in Amazon's education workbook 'best seller' list. Not to rain on anyone's parade but I don't make a heck of a lot of money from it.

    Another one of my books is #1 for 'essay writing for kids'. Again, the rank doesn't reflect the income.

    I am just letting self-publishers know that getting on the list doesn't equate to riches.
    How many Kindle books do you rely upon to achieve your success. How much kindle book promotion are you engaged in.

    You need to nurture your "Road to Success", it's not an overnight thing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gretchenr
    As a former writer, I'll add to the chorus that the book author thing can't be the end-all but rather your platform. How else can you reach this audience with your impressive credentials? What else can you sell them? Where, from the ebook, can you drive them for more?
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  • Profile picture of the author Derek Felton
    Thanks for the info. I've always wondered about how these lists translate into actual income. I guess you have to find a way to build your list and offer backend products from your rankings.
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  • Profile picture of the author goindeep
    Kindle and self publishing in general is one of the toughest markets in the world. All the people saying you can earn a decent income from kindle are kidding themselves. I done some research a while back that suggested a measly 8% of all kindle publishers earned over 50K a year and most where only doing minimum wage numbers with kindle.

    Most people don't understand the fact that kindle only needs a few sales from everyone, Amazon does not care if your book sells 1 copy or 1000 so long as it has plenty of volume which it does.
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  • Profile picture of the author samithpich
    Hey thanks for sharing your results so far, I appreciate it.

    The way I see it while $400 isn't a lot in the first world it's a whole heap of cash in the third world.

    Also imagine what you'd have to have as capital to save to get a $400 residual check each month (assuming you're getting 5%) thats like $4800 a year and you'd have to have in capital $96,000!

    Not too shabby!
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  • Profile picture of the author Stefan Pylarinos
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author Rhadoo7
      What do you mean by "I don't make a heck of a lot of money from it"? Exactly how much do you make?

      1,000$ a month may not be that much for you if you live in the US, but it could mean "A LOT of money" for someone living in a third world country
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      • Profile picture of the author Patrick Batty
        Thanks for sharing the post.
        So many people blow smoke here, it's refreshing to have someone share the real deal.

        The other day I read a post from a friend of mine that essentually said:

        What is most important factor to having a successful book on kindle
        1) The COVER
        2) The TITLE

        The answer was neither.

        The most important factor is picking a niche / category where there are a lot of sales.

        Effectively he was recommending to write where the volume is, then after that
        the other factors come into effect.

        I realize it's easier to write where we have interests, experiences and skills..
        but I though his post was very interesting.
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        • Profile picture of the author honestt1234
          ONLY if something great is inside.

          Write something great first.

          Otherwise you will get poor reviews!
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    I have a new book that was number one yesterday in its niche and it is number two right now. Yeah, I do not make a lot of money. Well, it does depend on the genre. Worst part is that you have to spend months of hard work to create a good book and then advertise it, but you end up getting paid less than minimum wage.
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  • Profile picture of the author flyingdutch
    It all depends in what (sub) category you are ranking. Here is an explanation of category ranking on Amazon which I just wrote for my next book:
    __________________________________________________
    Now what is the meaning of the following?
    #20 Reference > Kindle eBooks, Writing, Research & Publishing > Editing
    This is the Main category “Reference” in which there is a subcategory “Writing...” in which there is a subcategory “Editing”. (I left out the Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks part, because that just means the top category of the Kindle eBooks store under which ALL eBooks are organized).
    Any book starts in the lowest category where it was submitted. In this example Editing. After a while the book gets into the top 100 in that category. And let’s say that it gets to number 20.
    One level higher up, the category “Writing, Research & Publishing Guides” has its own ranking in which are listed ALL books in ALL categories that are listed under that category. One of them being “Editing”.
    Now on a certain moment the book is going to enter also that top 100. For example on N°50 . This number is of course always higher (=lower ranking) than the category below it.
    In a similar way, after a while, when it gets high enough up in the category “Writing, Research & Publishing Guides”, it will enter the top 100 in the category one level up. The category “Reference”. And let’s say that it ends up there on N°80.
    And finally, when the book really explodes, it gets into the top 100 of the next level up “Kindle eBooks”. But let’s say that that is not the case yet for this book and it is on N° 300 in that highest category.
    So we have:
    Editing: rank 20
    Writing, Research and Publishing: rank 50
    Reference: rank 80
    Kindle eBooks: rank 300.
    This will end up on Amazon as a rank 20, as shown in the image above.
    In other words, the rank within a category that is displayed is always the rank that the book has in the lowest category.
    How can you find out the rank of that book on the other, higher level categories? The only way is to click on that category and see where the book ranks. If you don’t see it in the top 100, it means that its rank is lower than 100.
    After a while , and if the book sells, it will get to N°1 in the lowest category “Editing”. At that moment, the same line on Amazon will show:
    #1 Kindle eBooks>Reference>Writing, Research & Publishing>Editing
    And it will remain like that. Because when the book climbs up in the higher categories, it still will be shown as the line above.
    This is of course a bit of marketing from Amazons’ side. Because it just shows better to display the above line, rather than
    #50 Kindle eBooks>Reference>Writing, Research & Publishing
    __________________________________________________ ________________
    The same holds for other sections that you see on the any page like "hot new releases". If you look at such a page when you're browsing a low level category, you will see books that were just released and "made some sales". My book made it after 1 day into that category with... 2 sales.


    Just to show that "bestseller" and "hot new" is very relative.
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  • Profile picture of the author flyingdutch
    PS: In the above example, when the book gets to N° 1 in the category one level higher, it will be reported as
    #1 Kindle eBooks>Reference>Writing, Research & Publishing
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  • Profile picture of the author johnben1444
    Originally Posted by theteach View Post

    Just a little FYI

    My workbook is #16 in Amazon's education workbook 'best seller' list. Not to rain on anyone's parade but I don't make a heck of a lot of money from it.

    Another one of my books is #1 for 'essay writing for kids'. Again, the rank doesn't reflect the income.

    I am just letting self-publishers know that getting on the list doesn't equate to riches.
    Look at it this way.

    I'm ranked on #1 on Google and not making any amount of money.

    There are many factors responsible for your ebook low sales:

    1. Demand
    2. External exposures (Advertising or Traffic from Google & Videos).
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  • Profile picture of the author Taniwha
    No offense, but I don't know any kids that are doing essays.

    But how about a book: "Essay writing for the struggling college student". I'm sure there are many that fit into that category, and if it helps them, they will probably buy the books you create in the future that relate to them.
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  • Profile picture of the author WFDUDE
    Thanks for the heads up bud. good to know.
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  • Profile picture of the author Edward W Smith
    If you are self published, is part of the reason you are not making a lot of money is because you are using a "print on demand" type publishing model. The cost of the book would be very high under those conditions. Thanks, Edward Smith.
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  • Profile picture of the author Carl Donovan
    Here's a fantastic podcast on the subject. Steve Scott, who I've known of for years and have bought some of his products, is interviewed by James Altucher. Steve has 40+ titles on Amazon and is now clearing $20-40K per month. It took some serious doing, and a lot of time, but the results are clear.

    Interesting bit of trivia from this podcast, last month the guy who hit the #20 spot on the NYT Best Seller list sold 1,800 copies. Scott is selling that many in a week.

    He talks a lot about how he's promoting his books and how he got to where he is now.

    Ep. 23 How To Go From $0-$40,000 a Month Writing From Home
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    • Profile picture of the author nik0
      Banned
      Hardly any one searches for essay writing for kids so your market is way too limited.

      Ranking #16 for the other one is poor, same as with Google you need to be in the top 3.
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