Love Kindle publishing? Me, too. I adore it. If you’re a reasonably competent writer, and pay a little attention to what’s selling, you can make more money as an author than you can at any other trade. Or profession, for that matter.
My Dad’s been gone for 30 years. I miss him, and smile whenever I remember how he much complained about my writing. “It’s not a profession — it’s gambling,” he’d repeat when I told him about my latest article sale or book contract.
Today, self-publishing is far from a gamble, it’s a sure bet — if you keep publishing.
Within a couple of months, in October, we’ll be busy helping clients to make the most money possible from their holiday season trading. I’ve already asked my copywriting clients send me their ideas for their Christmas advertising now, so that I can pencil in their projects.
Once you’ve got your clients organized for holiday season trading, take an hour create some plans for your Kindle publishing.
An aside. I originally developed this list of publishing tips for my students in 2016. I hope it helps you, too — it doesn’t much matter when you read it. The tips hold up.
Make Kindle publishing your six-figure profit center in 2018
1. Build your readers’ mailing list: one name at a time
We’ve often discussed your readers’ mailing list. In this article on front and backmatter of your ebooks, I said:
Include a link to your mailing list signup page in the front matter
This link is just a couple of lines: “join our mailing list at (URL) for a free short story.” Include the link in your backmatter too.
In your ebook promotions, focus on getting readers onto your readers’ list. That gives you the opportunity to contact them when you have a new release — it’s the only way to guarantee sales.
2. Think series, and serials, for profitability
Think short stories. And series, and serials too. Yes, do publish novels, but use short material to build your readership, reader by reader.
You know I’m a fan of serials. Whenever you release a new episode, it gets you onto Amazon’s New Releases list.
With the number of ebooks flowing onto the ebook retailers, when you’re planning a new ebook, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, ask yourself: “How can I develop this into a series?”
The episodes of your serials can be SHORT. Think in terms of 5,000 words per episode. If you create TEN episodes of a serial, that’s a 50,000 word novel. You can make a serial as long, or as short, as you wish.
3. DO focus on faster publishing to grow your catalogue, and enhance your profitability
Today, it’s very hard to make much of an impact and gain traction with just a few books. When authors tell me: “I’ve published X, X, and X — but I’m giving up,” it’s my pleasure to boost their confidence and get them writing again.
A couple of months later, when they call me to crow about the sales, I get huge satisfaction. Do whatever you need to do to maintain your confidence. You will succeed. Publish good books, and keep writing. Put your rear end in your chair, and keep it there. 🙂
4. Schedule your writing time: build your writing muscles
Your writing muscles take time to build, just like your physical muscles do. Be satisfied that you’re writing. Don’t push yourself too much before you’re ready to write more. If you can only achieve 200 words a day, that’s fine. Be happy with that.
Gradually, you’ll find yourself writing more, and your daily word counts will increase. Take your schedule seriously, no matter how much, or how little, time you have to write each day.
5. Travel from go to whoa in your first draft: keep up your momentum
Writing, and trying to edit simultaneously, is the single biggest pitfall for many writers. Editing while you’re writing is pointless. Please don’t do it. Write your first draft through to the end. Then edit.
6. Take time to scout the terrain: what’s selling, that you could write?
READ. You’ll find free ebooks in all genres and categories on Amazon. Read for entertainment, as well as for market research. Try to guess why hot sellers are selling. Make notes.
If you find yourself thinking — I could write that! you almost certainly can.
7. Collect ideas: become a magazine maven: watch for emerging trends
Writing nonfiction? Magazines are your friends. Magazines know what their readers want to read. Again, make notes. If you see that a particular topic is gaining traction in several magazines, check Amazon. How many ebooks have been written about this topic?
Some authors imagine that they should look for a “niche” that no one else is covering. Two points about that: finding a valuable unexploited niche is almost impossible. If you do imagine that you’ve found such a niche, you’re taking risks. What if there are many good reasons that niche is untapped? Write for audiences which exist, if you want to make sales.
8. Get organized: write wherever you are
We’ve discussed boosting your income with writing prep. Get organized so that you can write wherever you happen to be.
I edit my ebooks on my iPad. Editing time isn’t writing time… and yes, if you hire editors, you still need to do your own editing. It’s your book. You know what you want. Edit your book yourself FIRST. Then, and only then, hand it to someone else to edit.
Update: if you’re a Scrivener user, you’ll appreciate that Scrivener iOS is now available, making it much easier to take your latest novel with you, and write anywhere.
9. Invest part of your profits: advertise your bestsellers
Your books are making money. It’s time to invest in them. Set aside ten per cent of your income for promotions. Promote the books which are already selling, and remember to promote your readers’ list too. Sadly, I see some authors building and building their lists, but failing to build a relationship with their lists’ members. Treasure your readers.
10. Strategize your publishing program for the next 12 months
What are you publishing this month? Next month? We’ve discussed the importance of publishing regularly. Create a publishing program. Make it as blue-sky as you like. Set goals, and deadlines.
Try to keep your deadlines. You’re in control. Only you can decide how much you want to publish. As an author, you have total control of what you publish and when, and yes, how much money you want to make.
Have fun… there’s never been a better time to be an author. Happy writing. And publishing. 🙂
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Updated: January 5, 2018
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