1-Sentence-Summary: Make A Killing On Kindle shows you how you can market your self-published ebooks on Amazon the right way, without wasting time on social media or building a huge author platform first by focusing on a few key areas to set up your book for long-term sales in just 18 hours.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Michael Alvear is a TV personality, LBGT rights activist and writer on all things sex, dating and relationships. He used to host a show on British television where he and his co-host installed cameras in couples’ bedrooms, who had problems with their sex life, and then gave them tips and homework to help improve it.
It’s a sensitive topic and taboo to talk about, but if we’re honest, it really deserves our attention. After all, sex is a crucial part of a good relationship, if communication matters anywhere, it’s here. Eventually, since he was writing so much about sex, he figured why not try self-publishing books about it?
His ebooks went on to be successful, selling over 100,000 copies to date. Now, with newer options like the Medium Partner Program, self-publishing isn’t the only way writers can make money, but it’s still one of the newest and most interesting ones. In Make A Killing On Kindle, he breaks down his marketing process.
Here are 3 lessons to help you make money with self-published books:
- Forget social media and author platforms when you’re just starting out.
- The two things you absolutely mustn’t screw up are your book’s title and cover.
- You should get a handful reviews early on for each book, as they drive sales a lot.
Ever wanted to self-publish a book on Amazon? This is your checklist for making sure it’ll sell (and not just on launch day).
Lesson 1: Social media and author platforms suck for beginning authors to sell their books.
There’s a million websites out there, claiming to teach you how to make a living selling Kindle books. But because there’s a plethora of self-publishing authors right now (since it’s so easy), marketing your book has replaced actually writing it as the toughest part of making this business work.
Most authorities in this space tell you to market your books in two specific ways:
- Be on all social media.
- Create an author platform.
According to Michael Alvear, both of these SUCK for first-time authors. Here’s why: While they both have great long-term upside, they’re useless in the short term, because their effects only kick in at scale.
For example, while it’s very hard to directly sell on social media, the effects from having a brand and people discovering your work are real, even if Twitter accounts with 200,000 followers just get a few clicks on their tweets. But nobody has 200,000 followers if they’re just starting!
The same with author platforms. Even if you get 20% of people to open your emails and 10% of those to click on links to your articles and books, that’s just a 2% potential conversion rate – meaning you need 10,000 email subscribers to sell just 200 books. Those won’t land on your mailing list over night.
But what should you do instead?
Lesson 2: If you screw up your book’s title or cover, it doesn’t matter if the content’s great.
Well..how about focusing on the very basics first and starting with not screwing up your book’s title or cover image (which is something most people get wrong, including myself).
In terms of title, I think I almost did alright with my very first Kindle ebook “How To Google: The Ultimate Guide To Finding Everything,” but with the cover, not so much (designed it myself, HUGE mistake).
People on Amazon scan, they don’t really read, so your title must be short, clear, attractive and descriptive. If I don’t know what your book is about in two seconds, my eyes have already moved on to the next one.
For example, which one gets your attention more:
- You Can Do It! The Power Of Managing Your Inbox Down To Zero
- Daily Inbox Zero: How To Eliminate Email Overwhelm
The first one you’d have to read all the way to the end to even know what the book is about. The second one gives you the end result instantly – and thus makes you perk your ears (and eyes) up.
Speaking of eyes, the next thing you see after the title is the cover. Don’t design it yourself. Just don’t. Spend whatever you can afford, whether that’s $50, $100 or $500, but please, get a professional to help you with this.
Lesson 3: Get a handful of reviews right when you launch it, so Amazon starts to pick it up and promote it for you.
With a good title and solid cover to make sure people who see the book actually buy it, what remains is to get Amazon to show it to more people.
The number one way in which you can do this is by getting reviews. The more reviews, the higher a book ranks, the more sales it makes, the higher it ranks. Getting just 5-6 (good) reviews in the first few days of launching your book can take it all the way to your category’s top 10.
Organically, only a tiny fraction of people reviews books on Amazon. Even Harry Potter books are reviewed by just 0.0002% of all buyers. However, having just 2-3 reviews more will greatly increase your sales ranking.
What you can do is when your book launches, ask friends and family to write 4-5 great reviews for your (5 stars), then get 1-2 with 4 stars and 1 with 3 stars (it’ll happen sooner or later anyway) with some proper criticism and you’re off to a good start!
My personal take-aways
Make A Killing On Kindle has been updated and revised in a new, 2018 edition. That’s good, because in internet years, something that was published originally in 2012 is already considered old and quite possibly outdated. The principles, however, are still sound regardless. They’re mostly about what makes a book a good book in general, with focus on how specifically this translates to a book on Amazon. Don’t throw a lot of money down the toilet – this book really tells you all you need to get going and publish your first 2-3 books, then you can learn more.
What else can you learn from the blinks?
- How many people in the US even own an ebook-reader
- What you can do to make sure your keywords and category are the right fit
- Which perspective to write your books description from
- Where to place your introduction
- How to find the right price for your book
- What you can do to set your book up so it becomes a tool for selling more copies of itself
Who would I recommend the Make A Killing On Kindle summary to?
The 14 year old top-of-her-English-class student, who loves to write short stories in her spare time, the 39 year old author, who’s sick of getting turned down by publishers and wants to choose himself, and anyone who’s looking for a side hustle to supplement or replace their normal job’s income.