Electronic Books, eBooks, have been good to me. eBooks have been very good to me. You should read that like Garret Morris did on Saturday Night Live back in the 70s. Been a while since I thought about those skits. 🙂
I started selling eBooks as PDFs back in maybe 2002 or 2003 or so. I still sell PDF eBooks today, and eBooks are still very good to me. However, in 2014, I relented to pressure from a lot of people and started selling eBooks on Amazon Kindle as well.
As I researched the Kindle scene, looking at what other successful people were doing, I found that the sweet spot for pricing on Kindle books seemed to be $2.99. Wow. Up until that point, my eBooks were price at the low end for $29.99, and going up to $50 for the PDF eBook. I would certainly have to sell a LOT more books to justify going from $50 down to $2.99 per book! Could I really sell 15 or 20 times as many books on Kindle as I was doing on my own eCommerce store? What would I do?
The more I thought about it, I realized that my higher priced books were long, all-inclusive manuals for how to do certain things. After I started reading some of these $2.99 titles, I found that they were more like “pamphlets” or short books that were more targeted on smaller “to do” things, and not one book for a larger number of small tasks that added up into a bigger problem. Because of this, I made some real adjustments about the way I was writing. What used to be a chapter in a larger book became an entire eBook that would sell for the lower price that Kindle was getting, or seemed to be.
I was expecting that I would sell dozens or even hundreds of copies per month of at least some of these titles, it just did not happen. I might sell 5 or 6 copies of a certain title in a month. For a $2.99 Kindle book, you get about $2 as a royalty. So, if you sell, say 10 copies in a month, you have made a whopping $20. Not much worth it. I believe in streams of income, but that is more of a trickle than a stream, don’t you think?
My next step was to come out with a large volume of Kindle books. Instead of having 20 Kindle titles, I would have hundreds. If you sell 10 copies each of 100 titles, that is 1,000 copies sold in a month. 1,000 books sold at $2 royalty per book would be a nice stream of income, don’t you think? Writing the Kindle books was easy because at $2.99 they did not have to be really long books. I really thought that this was going to be a bonanza. It didn’t happen, though. Yeah, instead of earning $30 or $40 per month from Kindle sales, I started earning $100 per month, or close to that (more than $100 or less). Still, nothing to set the world on fire.
So, what would I do?
I gave up on Kindle. I let the titles that I had on Kindle stay there and collected $75 to $125 or so per month, but I really did not worry about developing more titles. I just did not feel it was worth the effort. to do more.
My Paperback Project
In 2015, I decided to get into paperback book selling in addition to eBooks. As I worked up toward selling paperbacks, i started following a number of writers who were in my niche. I wanted to see what they were doing, and what was successful for them. Some of the people that were experiencing the most success on Amazon were selling Kindle and Paperback copies of the same books, which is very easy to do on Amazon. What I noticed, though, is that these most successful writers were not selling their Kindle books at $2.99 as so many others were doing. The most popular price that I saw was $9.99. Hmm… that is not bad!
I decided to start emulating these successful Amazon writers and see if I could duplicate their success. Thankfully, I can report that I have had great success!
Right now, I have probably 100 to 110 Kindle books at the $2.99 price point. I have around 150 Kindle books at $9.99. I would say that 80% of my Kindle sales are of $9.99 Kindle books! For a $9.99 Kindle book, the royalty is about $7. As I said previously, a $2.99 Kindle book gives a royalty to the author of about $2. That is more than 3 times the difference!
My advice to others writing books for kindle publication?
- As long as you are writing the book anyway, publish both in paperback and eBook format
- Take advantage of selling eBooks on Kindle and also PDF format (PDF will be on your own website)
- Watch other writers to see who is successful and try to emulate the things that are bringing them success
- Offer your writing in both paid and free formats. Write blog articles for free where people can see what your writing is like. If they like it they will buy your books
- Keep writing! Don’t give up too soon
To me, writing is therapeutic. Writing helps me arrange my thoughts and I enjoy it. Being paid for that writing is icing on the cake! Give it a try, you might find the same!