November 2013 Kindle Income Report

Introduction

Welcome to the second Kindle Income Report. I’m writing these reports on a monthly basis in an attempt to capture the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to my Kindle Publishing business.

My goal is detail important events that happened the previous months, how much I made (or lost) during the month, key takeaways I learned and what I’m working on in the coming months. Since Amazon doesn’t release my monthly earnings until the the 15th of following month (November’s earnings were released on December 15th) I plan to write up a report around the 15th of each month.

Let me be clear from the beginning – this monthly report isn’t to claim I make the most money on Kindle or beat my chest as the works greatest publisher – I don’t and I’m not – but rather take a few minutes to capture and reflect on the previous 30 days.

Important Occurrences In November

Based on what I talked about in last month’s report I produced two holiday recipe books centered around Thanksgiving  & Christmas in November. I did this to take advantage of the fact that most people are “forced” to do seasonal activities (like holiday meals) and that there are people who need your help preparing a meal. Here is a quick breakdown of what I did.

First, please understand I burn eggs and everything else I try to cook – yet I was able to become a top selling author in this niche in a matter of days with this strategy. I hired an outsourcer to find and rewrite existing recipes – being sure that everything passed Copyscape standards and was above board and legally compliant. I then found stock photos to match up as many main categories as possible (Desserts, Appetizers, Main Meals, etc). Finally I put together 3 complete meal plans and shopping list for people to use and as a way for me to capture people’s email addresses. I also created a high quality looking book cover using someone off of Fiverr to ensure that we stand out from other books in our niche.

Like I mentioned last month I hired two writers to work on the books simultaneously (one for Thanksgiving, one for Christmas). The first writer flaked on me but I was able to salvage the book by having the second writer do both books for me thanks to the strategy I detailed last month.

Here is the cost breakdown of the Thanksgiving book:

Writer: $75
Photos: $5
Cover: $5
Formatting: $5
Promotion: $30

Total: $120

Once I had the Thanksgiving book done, I decided to try a new promotional strategy with two providers on Fiverr. I paid extra to get the jobs rushed (I had no choice since I was behind due to having to fire one writer) so the total cost was $30 (normally it would only cost you $10 to $15).

I’m calling this new promotional strategy “Pump The Brakes”. Using PTB it allowed me to leverage free traffic and convert them to paid buyers. With this strategy we got over 4,000 free downloads and 94 buyers/borrows of the book in 4 days. We paid for the cost of outsourcing and promotion of the book in 96 hours, got 15 authentic reviews, and got all the way to #2 in the seasonal, Thanksgiving, and holiday niche in the paid ranking. We settled around 4,000 Amazon Best Seller Ranking. Needless to say I’m happy with the strategy and results it produced.

Income Breakdown

So in November I made $358.91 from my Kindle books.

October: $164.16

September: $180.68

August: $122.86

The difference between October and November is an increase of sales of $194.75. The majority of that increase is directly related to our holiday book and the sales that it brought in this month.

Our Children’s book continued to sell ok with little to no promotion. We did try the same promotional method that we used on our Thanksgiving book on our Dinosaur book with lackluster results.

So far the Dinosaur book is the only book that I’ve published that hasn’t produced a profit and I am going to try and fix that in the new year.

Key Takeaways – November 2013

The two big takeaways from November were how I approach and scale books in a new niche along with a better understanding of the “perfect storm” needed to have a successful book.

My goal with any new niche book is  to provide “proof of concept” for me. I always treat the first book I do in any new niche as an experiment and or game, that way I don’t get upset if sales are crappy and more importantly I continue to test and explore different strategies. That’s what the Thanksgiving book was to me. Once it produced a profit it let me know that

Now that I have proof of concept, my goal is to expand my reach in the holiday market with different books. Ideally, my first book will be a general interest book centered around the holiday or specific event (think Thanksgiving). Once those books prove profitable, I will niche down to specific diets/fad centered around the holiday (think Low Carb Christmas, Paleo Thanksgiving, etc).

The other thing I took away from November is the need for a “perfect storm” when it comes to promoting and selling your books. For instance, had I done the same effort I did this month for the Thanksgiving book in July the results would have been disastrous.

Here’s what you need to be successful in promoting and selling your Kindle books:

1. A few reviews prior to do heavy promotion (try to get at least 5 reviews from places like this Author Advantage).

2. A professional cover that stands out from others in the same niche.

3. Free traffic and downloads to boost the rankings in Amazon Free Seller Ranking. Once you have at least 1000 downloads of the book during your promotional period, you have a better chance of having a winner.

4. A “piggyback topic” (PBT) that capitalizes on life or seasonal events. This is a big discovery for me this month. By capitalizing on life events and/or seasonal holidays you have a real opportunity to cash in, in the short term.

In checking just now, it appears this month we’ve sold an additional 12 copies of our Thanksgiving book in December. I expect those numbers to go down the further we get away from the holiday. The key with these books is to take advantage of each event and get a burst of sales by piggybacking on what is already going through your buyers minds.

They aren’t thinking – “Oh here’s something new I’m interested in learning more about” it’s more like “I have to do this no matter what, I need help doing X, where can I get some help?”

It’s about filling an existing need instead of creating a new want.

As far as sales, while you may only get sales for a month or two, you typically get a large enough volume to make it worth the investment. Plus, if you pick evergreen topics (like Holidays), you get paid year after year for the work you do once.

These books become like plaque – they build up over time and get bigger and bigger each time you produce a new book.

While my single Thanksgiving book was only able to produce several hundred dollars in a single month, having 3 or 4 books centered around Thanksgiving and the various sub niches has the potential to produce 4 figures each holiday period. Multiply that by each major holiday / life event and I really can’t see how I won’t be able to break 4 figures each month consistently by the end of 2014 using this one strategy.

Looking Ahead

Where the hell did 2013 go? I can’t believe that in 2 weeks we hit the reset button and start fresh in 2014. Here’s a quick breakdown of what I’m trying to accomplish in 2014:

1. Make a  $1,000 or more per month from Amazon as result of my publishing efforts.

2. Continue to explore non fiction niches and piggyback of popular subjects and events.

3. Explore fictional writing in several different niches (I’ll share those niches when the time is right)

4. Continue to perfect my promotional efforts and set things up to be more automated and less hands on in 2014.

Here’s what really matters – I want to do these things but then I want to share it with my students so they can get the same (and hopefully better) results. It doesn’t matter what I can do it as much as it matters what others can do with the information they’re given.

Wrap Up

Now that November is in the can, I’m working hard on making lightning strike twice with our Christmas book. Provided it produces a profit I’ll be spending the new few weeks getting additional books written in preparation for next year’s holiday season along with capitalizing on new niches and fads in 2014.

I’m also working on my first illustrated book along with a new non fiction niche I’m about to enter and dominate (ok maybe not dominate, but make a healthy profit from).

As always I thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read this report. I know 10 minutes is an eternity in Internet time but my goal is to make this the best 10 minutes you spend each month.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask them in the comment section or share them with me via email.  Until next month, Happy Holidays and here’s to an amazing 2014 together.

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