Friday, January 15, 2016

Ten Tips to Help You Make a Full-Time Living Selling eBooks on Amazon Kindle

Today I want to talk about an easy way to make money from Kindle that helps writers earn not just from selling their work but also from giving it away free of charge on Kindle.

Why give your work free of charge on Amazon?  Several reasons, really, including:

-  Free copies create a feel-good factor that tempts readers to leave reviews that are almost always more favourable than reviews from paying customers.  Reviews, especially good reviews, are essential to attracting paid for sales. 

-  Despite what I’ve heard so many times to the contrary, it seems you can use Kindle eBooks, even preview samples and free downloads to promote affiliate products and/or grow a mailing list for promoting your own and other people’s goods for the indefinite future. 

As far as I can see Amazon don’t allow their own affiliate offers to feature inside Kindle eBooks but they’ve done little - I reckon nothing - to stop top contributors growing mailing lists and promoting affiliate products inside thousands of sales and free downloads each week.  And that’s where many writers and publishers seem to be making a good part of their income.

And knowing how they make money giving their work free of charge is the reason I’ve spent the last month researching other people selling on Kindle and reading comments by top research companies and compiling tips to help total newbies begin making a good living promoting eBooks on Kindle, both paid for and offered as free downloads.

Here are ten tips to help you get started:

#1- Find a niche to write about.   Choose a niche that’s popular on Kindle and has lots of searches each month but with few suitable titles available.  This takes time as well as being a tad monotonous but well worth the effort once you find a subject almost guaranteed to make money for you. 

One way to find a potentially very lucrative title for your eBook is to type niche market keywords into the search box at Amazon, then choose ‘Kindle Store’ from the dropdown menu.  Look for words returning less than twenty titles, then click inside a few of those titles looking for any with double number reader reviews, preferably from people who’ve actually bought the book.  You’ll find reviews from actual buyers marked ‘Amazon Verified Purchase’.  Reviews from paying buyers reveal titles that are popular and lucrative for other people to write about. 

Next you jump in and ‘reverse engineer’ those best-selling titles.  In this case, reverse engineering simply means studying other people’s products looking for reasons for their success: noting whether longer works tend to outsell shorter, spotting similar keywords in several best-selling titles, studying contents pages and checking sample downloads, and so on.  When you think you know what makes one title super successful and another a hopeless flop you model your own title on the best of the bunch - but make yours better, of course.

#2 - Create peripherals like book illustration, title, chapter headings, book description and promotional pieces before starting work on researching and writing your book.  Doing as much work as possible in advance of writing helps keep you focused and your work concise and to the point.

#3 - Create an attractive book illustration and compelling title.  Your image and title should be eye-catching and say what your book is about and how it benefits readers.  

Your title must include words and phrases commonly searched for on Amazon and outside search engines.  You’ll find high frequency search terms for your titles by keying words relating to your niche subject into the search box at:

Using high frequency keywords in title and description gets your eBook noticed by search engines and spotted by potential buyers and freebie seekers on and outside of Amazon. 

Conversely, choose a title based on words no one keys into search engines, provide a book illustration that never gets noticed, and even the best researched, most professionally written eBook may never attract buyers.

#4 - A week or two before your product is ready to launch, write reviews for it on appropriate blogs; get bloggers and website owners to write reviews for you in exchange for payment or free content for their sites.  Ask for reviews to be published as soon as possible after your eBook launch, preferably on the actual day of publication.

Achieving early reviews helps your eBook rise in Amazon’s best seller lists - even if it’s only been downloaded free of charge.   

#5 - Browsers get to sample the first ten per cent of a book and it’s important to make that ten per cent compelling and interesting and packed with benefits and solutions to problems, etc.  One way to achieve your aim is by replacing copyright notices, disclaimers and other pre-reading matter normally found on the first two pages, with a preface or author’s introduction.  Make your preface or author’s introduction, or both, more like sales letters than basic information.  Include cryptic clues about the contents of your book, hint about benefits found in certain chapters but don’t tell the whole story.  The idea is to make readers curious and keen to buy or download your freebie eBook right away.

#6 - Grow your profits by getting readers to perform some money-making action from inside your eBook, such as by clicking on a link through to an affiliate product or signing up to your mailing list for more information about the subject of your Kindle eBook.

But be careful because Amazon does not want writers and publishers using Kindle purely as a marketing tool and will remove blatant advertising products.

You have to be unobtrusive and make it appear you are doing readers a big favour when you suggest they visit your website or sign up to your mailing list or click on some link in your eBook that takes them through to a money-making page.  Offering something like one-to-one email advice should work well, as will the offer of a free report to help readers grow knowledge gained from your Kindle book as long as that knowledge is additional to promises made in sales material for your book.

#7 - Your book description is a vital part of the selling process and, like your sample preview, it must be interesting and make readers keen to buy or download your work.

Answer these questions in a non-fiction eBook description:

-  What problem, task, subject does your book tackle?

-  How do you address the problem, issue, need, passion on which your book is based?

-  What benefits will readers achieve from your book?

-  What problem will readers encounter if they don’t read your book?

-  What can you reveal to readers that they don’t know already and which they won’t find from any other book on a similar subject?

-  Why are you qualified to write about your chosen topic?

-  Do you have any examples of people using your technique or ideas?

-  Do you have complimentary quotes or testimonials?

#8 - Readers like to know non-fiction books, especially ‘how to’ titles and others containing website addresses, are up-to-date and in usable condition before deciding to buy.   There’s a tendency to be suspicious of information products published two or three years ago with no obvious sign of having been updated.  Solve the problem by actually making regular updates and overprinting the image of your book with something like ‘2015 Update’ or ‘7th REVISION’.  Add the same details to your title and description.

#9 - It’s one thing having a great book that’s ranking high on Amazon, but quite another to actually make money from all your hard work.  One way to make money is to write for people with money to spend and avoid creating titles for people who can’t afford to buy your eBook or products recommended inside. 

Learn whether people are spending on the subject you are writing about by keying the main search terms for your book into Google’s search box.  If no AdWords appear from your search, it’s safe to say your subject is not currently attracting advertisers.  And no AdWords promotions generally suggests your chosen keywords are not worth writing about.

#10 - You can write under several different pen names inside one Amazon Kindle publishing account and it’s a good idea to choose pen names to match your chosen niche subject.  Two reasons: one being that some subjects are more appropriately written by men than women, and vice versa; the second being the same author name on eBooks in very different niches will make you look like a jack of all trades and master of none.  

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