As you probably could already tell by reading this blog, I tend to focus on doing things the smart way. In life, there are always two ways to do things: the smart way and the dumb way. The dumb way, unfortunately, is the hardest way possible. You end up losing time, effort, energy and money. You’d be better off not doing things the dumb way.
Unfortunately, most people insist on doing things the hardest and dumbest way possible. They end up burning through a lot of cash, time, effort, and most importantly, emotional motivation until they figure out that their chosen path is not the way to go. Thankfully, there’s always an easy way forward and this is the smart way.
The smart way, if done properly, is also the easy way. You need to keep this operational dichotomy in mind when it comes to publishing your own books. You have to understand that while self-published books can lead to tremendous payoffs, it can also lead to massive headaches and you might end up so discouraged that you quit. As you probably already know, the only way to fail in life is to quit. As long as you’re in the game and haven’t quit yet you can still succeed. I need you to focus on these facts before I launch into how to self-publish books the smart way.
Kindle is a modern-day goldmine… no joke!
Amazon.com self-publishing platform, Kindle, is a modern-day goldmine. This is not hype. This is not a joke. This is the real deal. By simply producing a book and promoting that book properly, you can make money. Not just today, not just tomorrow, but a long time to come. The best part of it all is that it is a classic example of online passive income.
How is this possible? Very simple, Amazon has a tremendous amount of internal traffic. This is traffic that is independent of Google. This is traffic that is independent of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. There are many people that just go online and head straight to Amazon. You tap into that huge amount of traffic when you publish on the Amazon Kindle platform.
The other secret to Amazon’s powerful dollar creation system is its sales focused layout. You have to remember that Amazon wasn’t formed yesterday. Amazon has been around since near the beginning of the commercial internet. Throughout those years, it has tightened its game. It has evolved to its current look and feel and adopted the specific technologies that it currently uses because it is focused on sales.
The whole Amazon platform is a sales optimized conversion machine. You tap into both of these factors when you put your product on Amazon. That’s why I can say with a straight face that Kindle is a modern day goldmine. If you know how to play it right, you can turn it into a powerful passive income platform.
How does Kindle passive income work?
Put simply, you only need to publish a book once and it would make money many times over. It really is that straightforward. Best of all, each new book that you publish adds value to your previous books. You’re going to link in your new book to your previously published titles. This way, people who buy your new books can find your old books easily and buy them. People who then buy older books can also find your newer books because you include a mailing list link in the first page of your older books.
Simply put, paired with list building you can create an upward income spiral. Older books promote newer books, newer books promote older books. The bottom line is each new book helps add value to your author brand. You may reach a point where it takes less and less effort on your part to promote books because you’ve published enough books out there that you’ve created an internal promotion system courtesy of Amazon.
First things first: Figure out which type of self-publisher you are
Now that I’ve gotten you excited about publishing e-books on Amazon’s Kindle platform to make passive income, we need to slow down a bit. I don’t want you to get so excited that you just get out there and slap together a book and fail. That is not doing things the smart way. Instead, you need to ask yourself which type of self-publisher are you?
Are you focused primarily on the selling process, meaning you don’t really care as much about becoming a published author? Your main focus is to make money off Amazon Kindle. Or, are you more of an author? In other words, you’re focused more on the creative process. You like to write and you’d like to have an outlet for your published work. Make sure you figure out which type of self-publisher you are because the strategy that you’re going to be pursuing will be dramatically affected by which type of publisher you wish to be.
Research’s importance varies based on which type of publisher you are
I know there are lots Amazon Kindle guides out there. They keep saying the same thing that niche research is important. I’m not disputing that at all. What I am saying is that its importance depends on which type of publisher you are.
If you are going to self-publish purely for personal expression because you’re an artist and a writer, niche research isn’t as important. Your focus is primarily on writing that great all-American book. You’ll just have several books inside you and you just want to get it out through the creative writing process. In that case, niche research is not a big deal. You just need to write out those books, publish them on the Kindle platform, and promote them so they sell. On the other hand, if you wish to publish and make passive income, niche research will make or break you. It’s that crucial.
Why niche research is crucial for Kindle passive income seekers
You have to find niches with demand that is so massive that even weak books can gain traction. What I mean by this is that the particular category of the books you publish are so popular that even if you ranked fairly low and it takes a bit more effort to find your books, you can still sell books. You need to focus on that level of demand. There are too many Kindle authors that think that they need to find less saturated and less competitive niches. The problem with those is if you are not ranked highly enough, you’re not going to sell much of anything. This is why you need to nail niche research down.
As a broad overview, doing niche research is actually pretty simple. Focus on books that are in categories that have high demand. Second, focus on books published older than six months. This is crucial because if the book is fairly new and has been promoted heavily, then you will get a distorted view of the actual demand for that niche. You know you are in a hot niche when a book has been published a year ago and it’s still selling really well. There’s something about that niche.
Also, pay attention to a niche’s books overall rankings. If you notice that they tend to collectively rank highly, this means that they are in a very popular niche. After you’ve done all this heavy work, the next step is to research top sellers. There’s something about the authors behind these books that result in these books selling really well.
Your job is to figure out that “special sauce” that they have. Maybe it’s the way they present their information. Maybe it’s the particular subtopics that they dwell on. Whatever the case may be, figure out what attracts so many niche fans to their output. Make sure you reflect those factors in your own books.
Publishing like a pro
The first step in doing well on Kindle is to establish a mailing list. I know you’re probably thinking that this is putting the cart before the horse, but I beg to disagree. You have to remember that if you build up a list, you create a built-in demand for your books. Of course, not everybody on that list will buy, but if you build the right list you would at least have a ready built-in audience of buyers for your output.
Next, figure out hot selling covers n your niche. There’s a reason why certain books sell well and part of that equation is the quality of the covers. I know you’ve probably have heard since grade school that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Well, that’s great on a philosophical level, but on a practical level you need to get rid of the program. On Amazon Kindle, people do judge a book by its cover so if you notice that the top sellers have certain common design elements, make sure those elements are also included in your own book’s design.
Finally, you should also do your own supplemental promotions. Don’t just rely on Amazon’s built-in book promotion program, KDP Select. You have to promote via blog, social media or other places online that can drive free traffic to your book’s sales page.
Use the KDP Select program to your advantage
KDP gives you a 5-day free promotional period. In this period, people can click on your book’s sales page link and download your book for free. When you do this and there’s enough people who download your book, your book will automatically be listed as one of the most popular books on Kindle. Of course, it would be ranked as a top downloaded free book. Still, if enough people see that there’s a tremendous interest in your book, this can translate into sales once your KDP Select 5-day period is over.
Keep in mind that you only get this 5-day window every quarter. Every 3 months, you get 5 days to distribute your book for free. To truly make this program work for you, get a lot of reviews first. This can be as simple as joining lots of Facebook groups that cater to authors. Promote your book during its KDP Select free download period. Get as many other authors to download your book and share their feedback. If you get enough positive reviews, this can have a very powerful impact in your book’s sales.