Top Reasons to Sell on Kindle – Is This the Ideal Business Model?
If you’re looking for ways to make money online, then it pays to think a little outside the box.
Too often we focus only on building websites, on affiliate marketing or on selling services.
But in fact there are countless other options, whether that means building an app for Android, or it means creating an eBook.
And creating an eBook to sell on Kindle might just be that perfect business model you’re looking for.
Read on and we’ll look at some of the ways in which this is an ideal way to make money online…
Selling an eBook on Kindle is a business model that literally anyone can emulate.
As long as you can write and you have a copy of Word (even that is somewhat optional) then you can create a book and upload it to the Kindle Store.
There’s no fee for becoming a publisher and it can all be done in an evening.
The only hard bit is writing the book – but you can easily outsource this or purchase the rights to a digital product if you prefer.
Selling on Kindle is also efficient in as much as you can re-use old content and recycle your products.
For example, once you’ve created an eBook for Kindle, there’s no reason that you can’t also sell it on Nook, on the Google Play Bookstore or on iTunes.
You can also create a PDF and simply sell it from your own website.
There’s also no reason that you can’t create entire series of books reusing certain elements of your content.
It’s Truly Passive
Making money online is a truly passive form of income.
In other words, once you’ve uploaded your book to the Kindle Store, you’ll be able to continue making sales without having to do anything else to promote it.
People will find it on the Store by searching and even if the book isn’t a hit, you can still find that this provides an additional source of revenue as occasional sales trickle in.
There are many online business models that claim to be passive but almost all of them require some form of maintenance or ongoing promotion.
Selling books on Kindle is truly 100% passive!
The fact that you aren’t trading time for money when you sell Kindle books means that it is truly scalable.
In other words, you can take your effective business model and repeat it over and over again to drastically increase your sales.
So you’ve made money from selling one book. What’s to stop you from create another book and selling that too? And then another and another?
Even if all these books only make you $10 a week – once you’re selling 100 of them, that’s then $1,000 a week!
More likely though, what you’ll find is that most of your books don’t make that much money at all – perhaps they make you $1 a week if you’re lucky.
But then you’ll have one breakout hit that drives sales for all the others up and that drastically increases your salary.
This is a game of numbers and if you play long enough, eventually success is inevitable!
How to Write Effectively and Correctly
If you’re going to make money from a book, then it needs to have a clear, concise and accurate writing style.
You could have the very best premise and the very most valuable information in the world – but if you have a poor writing style that sounds amateurish then most people won’t get past the first few lines and you’re going to get bad reviews.
So the question then becomes: can you learn to be a good writer? And if so, how?
Some people will argue that good writing is actually something you either ‘have or don’t have’ but it’s certainly true that at least learning some basic concepts can help a great deal. Let’s take a look…
The Objective of Writing
What exactly is ‘good writing’? While there are many answers, the one underlying truth is that good writing needs to communicate.
That means that your audience needs to understand what you’re saying and get your point.
And it also follows that good writing should be efficient. So that means your aim is to convey the most information in the fewest possible words.
By doing this, you give your reader the information that they’re looking for in the quickest possible time, thereby essentially offering the most value and saving the most time and space!
Writing Should be Fun to Read
If also follows that writing should be enjoyable to read and easy.
You want people to not only get the information you’re trying to put across but also to enjoy the process of getting it.
If your text is very dense or if you use a lot of indecipherable jargon, then you will put people off and this is not effective writing!
Writing is certainly not about showing off how many words you know.
Writing should flow off the tongue and it should sound great when read aloud.
With that in mind then, why do people use ‘big words’ at all? Why not rely on the same few words to efficiently convey meaning?
The answer is simply that vocabulary allows you to put across more specific meaning.
There are subtle differences between words that look like synonyms on the face of it and some words will flow better in a sentence than others.
Therefore, using a range of different words can add color, emotion and drama to your writing which you couldn’t put across with just a few basic words.
For the vast majority of books on the Kindle store a ‘conversational’ tone will be the most appropriate.
These are books aimed at a commercial audience who want to be entertained and perhaps learn something.
But when you’re writing a B2B book on finance, then you need to adopt a more serious and formal tone.
This is another reason why a good vocabulary is a must: it allows you to work within any niche and still sound appropriate.
Make sure that the tone and style of your book is fitting for the audience and the subject matter and this will ensure it is better received.
How to Write a Book That Engages and Grips
If you’re going to make money from Kindle, then you’re going to have to do some writing.
Specifically, you’re going to have to write some books and these are going to need to be engaging both in terms of their title and concept and in terms of their writing and style.
Many marketers make the mistake of thinking that it’s okay to release a sub-par book as long as it has a great title.
Their logic is that a book with a good enough title and subject will sell and at that point it will be too late for the buyer to change their mind…
Apart from this being immoral, it also just plain doesn’t work.
The problem with this approach is that selling a poorly written eBook will result in bad reviews (which will hurt subsequent sales of course) and a lot of people only reading the free sample and not investing in the whole book.
It will also hurt your long-term profitability.
So how do you go about writing a book that will be so stellar that it sells by word-of-mouth? Let’s take a look at some strategies.
One thing that is of course important is your writing style.
Good writing should be engaging and entertaining and should also be grammatically correct (and properly spelled).
While poor spelling shouldn’t impact on the message you’re getting across, it will nevertheless damage your reputation and make you less trustworthy to your readers – which in turn will detract from your readers’ enjoyment.
Make sure your writing style is good enough to charge money and if it’s not… hire someone!
Again, formatting shouldn’t really make a difference to the actual value and entertainment your book offers.
But what it does do is to color the first impression your book makes on readers and to make it look that much more professional and that much more impressive.
So be sure to use proper headings, great images and more to give your books a truly professional format.
Structure and Pacing
Also important is your pacing. This means you need to draw the reader in and make sure to keep delivering value to them.
Try to think about your paragraphs and your chapters like instalments in a television series – ending on a cliff hanger will make sure that your readers can’t wait to turn to the next page.
What’s more though, the next chapter then needs to deliver on the promise of that cliff hanger and not be an anti-climax!
The most important thing of all is that your book offer value.
If it’s non-fiction, then this means you need to provide useable information that can help your readers to achieve more.
If your book is a story, then the value comes from the entertainment factor and you need to ensure your story really moves your reader.
Think too about ‘over delivering’. In other words, if you can offer more value than you suggest in the blurb, then your customers will feel they got a great deal!
How to Add Polish to Your Kindle Book
When you sell a Kindle book, it will be much more than just the topic and writing style that dictates its success.
Also integral to your success will be the length of the book, the way it is presented and the marketing.
And here, presentation is far more important than most people realize.
The right presentation will make your book look that much more professional and be that much more appealing to look at.
It will instantly make it feel like a more premium product and will give more weight to whatever it is you’re saying.
This colors the first impressions that your audience will have and it has a drastic impact on how likely your audience is to buy the full book once they’ve read the introduction.
So how do you add that kind of polish and finesse that will really sell your title? Let’s take a look…
One thing that can make a big difference to the success of your book is the inclusion of any images.
If you include crisp, dynamic and professional looking photos in your book then it will make the page much more appealing to look at and it will help you to highlight and illustrate whatever it is that you’re saying.
The important thing to recognize with your choice of imagery is that Kindle books are normally presented in black and white (though not always any more).
This means that you will need to ensure that your photos can look good in color or black and white and to do that, you need to make sure they are well lit and full of contrast.
There are several different ways you can get hold of the images you want to use. Either you can take the photos yourself, or you can buy stock photos.
You can also acquire stock imagery that has no copyright restrictions and this way you can get images quickly and free.
Headings and Paragraphs
Also important is to split your book up into lots of sections.
This will help to prevent it from looking like a single ‘wall of text’ on every page and will make it that much more approachable and readable as a result.
At the same time, using large headings can help to draw attention to certain parts of the book and give it a more professional appeal.
Fortunately, you can use Word’s built in formatting options to apply this very easily. Use the Home tab and select ‘Styles’ to use different sized headers.
This then also allows you to easily implement a range of other formatting tricks – the References tab for instance houses the ability to implement a menu based on the headers you’ve used, while you can use Design to change the entire layout and style of the book.
Likewise, you can use Insert to add page numbers and headers.
If you do all this and include great looking images at the same time, then your book will look professional and have a sheen that helps it to sell and that delivers more value to your readers.
How to Take Stunning Pictures for Your Kindle Book
Pictures can add a great deal to a Kindle title and really help it to sell.
Not only is the cover one of the most important features when it comes to grabbing attention and drawing people in but the images inside the book will also help to illustrate your points and also make the pages pop more.
This is only even more true now that the Kindle Fire and other full color tablets are becoming more popular as many users’ preferred reading devices.
But the question is: how do you take great quality pictures for your book? It’s not enough just to add images: they need to look fantastic if they’re going to help you sell.
Of course you can use free stock images or you can buy images – but this will pale in comparison to the benefits that come from creating custom images that perfectly illustrate what the text is saying and that your readers aren’t going to accidentally find anywhere else!
So here’s how you do it…
Invest in a Good Camera
A good starting point is to invest in a high quality camera. This should have a decent number of mega pixels and should also have a good lens and lots of features.
A DSLR can help you to pull off more impressive and stylistic effects but it’s not necessary if you want to save money or you’re not sure about learning all the different settings.
A bridge camera is a camera that is much cheaper and that offers a good ‘half-way’ point between a DSLR and a decent superzoom.
Think About Lighting
When you take your photo, it’s not just enough to think about the object itself.
At the same time, you also need to think about the lighting which will have a big impact on how it appears.
Avoid having glare (unless it’s intentional) and make sure the subject of the photo is well lit. Ideally, try to have light hitting the object from the side.
Also important is to compose your shot. This means thinking about the foreground, middle ground and background.
It also means deciding where you want your subject to be among these elements and how you’re going to lead the eye from one to the other.
Having an object out of focus in the foreground, or putting your subject to the left of center can make for a more interesting shot than just taking photos of everything head on.
Tell a Story
Perhaps most important of all is that your photos tell a story.
That is to say that it’s not good enough for your photos to simply be of something: you need to make sure that they express emotion or suggest what has just happened or what is just about to happen.
Instead of taking a photo of a party for instance, you could take a photo of a glass that’s empty with lipstick marks around the top.
This creates much more intrigue because it gets the user to think – which in turn increases engagement for your book.
The Top Niches for Your Kindle Book
Making money from Kindle is in many ways just like making money from any other digital product.
This is a form of internet marketing just like the rest and that means you’re going to need to some marketing.
In turn, this means you need to think very carefully when choosing various elements of your book.
It is not enough to write a great book and market it well: you need to ensure that the book you’ve created also has a clear audience that you’ll be able to market to.
This latter point is actually potentially the most important factor of all when it comes to profiting from an eBook.
It’s not enough to write your book and then decide how you’re going to sell it: instead you need to have a clear plan for how to sell the book and who will buy it at the point when you come up with the concept.
And this means picking the right niche…
Market Size and Value Proposition
There are two key things to consider here.
One is the market size: people will generally want to gravitate toward larger markets at first because they will presume that this creates more potential to sell.
This is why there are so many books on Kindle about fitness, about dating and about making money.
The other reason these topics are popular is that they have a clear ‘value proposition’.
A value proposition is basically the value that you promise your readers will get from your book: not just in terms of enjoyment but in terms of the way it will improve their lives.
A ‘make money’ book offers a lot of value because it promises to make the reader richer: in that case it is actually an investment when they spend money on your book.
While fitness books aren’t an investment as such meanwhile, the insinuation is that readers will become healthier, more attractive to the opposite sex and more athletic.
In both cases, people are willing to spend a lot of money and much more money than they would spend simply to be entertained, or to learn about knitting for example.
But then you have a new problem: these topics are so popular among readers and writers alike that the markets are saturated.
If you write a book on fitness for Kindle, you will be competing with hundreds of thousands of other titles and this will make it incredibly difficult for you to stand out.
Conversely, if you make an eBook on a much more niche topic then you’ll face a lot less competition. The only problem?
No one will be looking for it and you won’t have as many people you can potentially sell to.
So what is the solution? Simple: to find a ‘sub-niche’. That means finding a smaller niche within a bigger one.
So choose fitness – which has that broad appeal and that value proposition – but then target older readers, or perhaps a particular type of training such as elliptical training.
Can You Profit From a Fiction Book on Kindle?
If you’re writing for Kindle as a marketer hoping to make money online, then the chances are that you will be thinking predominantly in terms of non-fiction.
The assumption is that it’s easier to market and easier to sell something that serves a particular purpose or answers a particular question.
So for example, people will very often search for things like ‘how to create wooden furniture’ or ‘how to make money online’ because they are things they want to learn.
This makes them willing to pay (especially if they think they’ll earn money as a result) and it makes your book easier for the right people to find.
But what if you want to write fiction? Writing fiction is certainly arguably more fun than writing non-fiction but how would you go about marketing it?
How to Sell Fiction
The thing to recognize is that when you write fiction, people aren’t going to be searching for it because they won’t know what it is.
Call your book ‘Quest of the Giant Mammoths’ and no one is going to think to look for it.
There are some ways you can get around this limitation though.
One is to make sure that your book includes terms that people will search, or that it tackles a subject matter that appeals to a specific group.
A good example of this might be to write about transhumanism.
Transhumanism is a topic that deals with people enhancing their bodies through technology and there are many forums on the web discussing this movement.
Write speculative fiction on this subject and you will then not only be more likely to get found by readers but you will also have ‘routes to market’ – specific places where you can promote yourself.
Likewise, you can get your book to stand out by making it a sequel to a well-known book or the next book in a franchise.
This can create copyright issues though, so the only way to do this legally is to choose characters in the public domain.
For example, Sherlock Holmes is in the public domain as the author Arthur Conan Doyle passed away long ago.
You can likewise write about historical characters (King Arthur), legends (Robin Hood) or even religious figures (Thor).
Another strategy is to go the opposite way and try to make your book so unique and so interesting that it stands out.
How about writing with a unique writing style for example? Creating a unique format for your book like Cloud Atlas?
Or writing on a subject that people don’t normally touch? If you do this and you do it well, you can potentially create a buzz and this can help do the marketing for you.
At any rate though, you will need to be creative if you’re going to sell a fictional title and it will almost always be more of a challenge than selling non-fiction.
But if it’s what you love, then perhaps making lots of money isn’t the biggest concern for you?
How to Get Good Reviews for Your Kindle Book
Reviews are very important on Kindle.
Of course a good or bad rating can have a big impact when it comes to influencing the buying decisions of your readers – most of us are considerably more likely to buy a book if we think it sounds good according to the previous buyers.
Likewise, if a book is often described negatively then we will often be put off.
Actually though, this isn’t the biggest way that a review impacts sales.
Ultimately, most of us will at least read the free sample of a book on Kindle if we are sufficiently interested in the topic.
The bigger problem then, is that reviews can impact rankings.
If your book has bad reviews, then it won’t rank as highly on the Kindle Store and this will mean that far fewer people are able to discover it and thus spend money on it.
So the question becomes: how do you ensure you get the best reviews? Let’s take a look…
Write a Great Book
This should go without saying but it’s incredibly important to write a good book if you want to get the best reviews.
This means that the writing style should be on-point with good use of language, correct spelling and good grammar.
Likewise though, it also means that the book should be interesting, unique and engaging.
It needs to provide some kind of value and that means that you need to provide some kind of takeaway for the reader.
Write an Accurate Description
In a bid to make the most sales possible on their books, a lot of marketers and writers will write a highly persuasive and sales-y description for their books.
The aim here is to make people want to read the book and to thereby over-sell it.
While this can help to give you an initial surge in sales though, it can also end up hurting you if what’s in the book doesn’t live up to the hype.
Make sure your description is accurate and that you don’t give away all the surprises inside.
You want your readers to come away pleasantly surprised and not disappointed when they’ve finished the book.
Ultimately, a review should tell people if a book is good value or not.
And the best way to make a book good value is to decrease the price – thereby meaning that the readers get more for less.
Actually, one of the very best things you can do for your book in terms of ranking is to lower the price for a while to drive sales and to increase the number of positive reviews.
Another tip is to respond to your negative reviews. Don’t be defensive or aggressive and respect your readers’ right to their opinion.
At the same time though, you should be sure that you respond in order to apologize and to explain your point of view – you can even offer a refund.
This not only shows that you offer good customer service (thereby taking some of the sting out of a bad review) but if you’re lucky they may even change their rating once they feel heard!
More Ways to Sell Your Ebook
If you’ve gone to great lengths to create a Kindle book, then you need to make sure that you absolutely maximize the profit you’re going to get from that and that you promote it through as many channels as possible.
This is why it’s important to recognize that a Kindle book doesn’t just have to be sold on the Kindle Store.
Once you’ve created your PDF or Doc file, you’re free to distribute it in many different ways as long as you’re not part of the Kindle Select program.
This is actually one of the big benefits of selling an eBook because it means you can re-use content – which isn’t the case when you write content for a website (due to Google’s policies toward duplicate content).
So what else can you do to get your eBook out there for all to see? Here are some good options…
One option is to self-publish your eBook.
Once upon a time this was a bad idea because it meant using ‘vanity publishing’ which in turn meant spending a lot of money to invest in thousands of copies of your own book.
Today better means exist thanks to something called ‘Print On Demand’ publishing.
Essentially, POD means that you create a file and then only pay for that file to be printed.
This means you’re paying for the printing costs and not for the books themselves and it means you don’t have anything to lose.
If no one orders a book, there is no cost to you. Self-publishing is possible through Lulu and also through Amazon.
Sell From Your Website
Something else you can do is to sell the book as a PDF from your own website.
You could do this by adding an ecommerce store to a WordPress site for example but you can also do it by adding a PayPal ‘Buy Now’ button or using something like OptimizePress.
Either way, this means you’re no longer splitting the profits with Amazon but it does mean that you’re vulnerable to pirating and it means that you won’t have access to the large audience that you get through the Kindle Store.
Another positive of selling from your own site though is that you can use affiliate programs.
This means that you offer commission to marketers who can help you sell your book.
While this means splitting the profit once again, it also means that you’ll have a legion of people helping you to sell and that in turn means you’ll sell countless copies that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
Trying Other Stores
There are also other stores you can sell through. These include the Barnes and Noble store which lets you sell on the Nook, Google Play Books, iTunes and more.
Again, you don’t have to do this instead of selling on Amazon – you can do it in addition and earn even more profit.
Repurposing Your Content
You can also repurpose your content and use it in other ways: as posts on your blog for example or even as part of a mobile app!
SEO Basics for Kindle
SEO is ‘Search Engine Optimization’. This is the process of editing a website and building links in such a way that it will be optimized for Google.
This means building links (which helps Google to find a site and is viewed as testimony) and it means ensuring the correct use of keywords on the pages.
When done correctly, SEO can drive a lot more traffic to a website by helping more visitors find it through Google.
But SEO isn’t just for websites and it isn’t just for Google.
There are many more search engines out there and many of them we don’t necessarily think of as ‘search engines’.
Of course you can probably guess where this is going: the Kindle store is also a search engine.
In order to find books on Kindle, customers will need to search for the relevant topics and then sift through the top results.
This means you can still perform SEO for a Kindle book, in order to increase your exposure through that search tool and thereby to help more customers find you.
And in some ways, this is just the same as SEO for a website. In other ways, it’s completely different…
The first way you can increase your exposure in the Kindle Store is to make sure your listing is on-point.
The biggest factors here will be the title you choose for your book as this is going to directly impact on what searches bring people to your page.
Of course one strategy is to make your title the same as your ‘keyword’ (the search term you want to rank for).
For example, you might call it: ‘How to Lose Weight With Bodyweight Training’.
While this might work, it can unfortunately undermine the effectiveness of your title by being too ‘obvious’.
Only include keywords in your title then where it is a natural fit and where it doesn’t hurt your brand.
Where you can include a few more keywords is in the description for your book.
Don’t be too obvious though – instead just write enough that relevant words will naturally be included so that Amazon knows what your book is about.
On Kindle, success begets success. In other words, the more downloads you receive and the better your reviews, the higher you will rank.
This of course then leads to more downloads and more reviews creating a virtuous cycle.
Your job as a marketer is to make sure that you get that ball rolling. And one way to do that is to run a promotion.
If you sell your book for less, then this can drive more downloads and also encourage more positive reviews from happy customers.
An even better way to do this is through Amazon’s ‘Kindle Select’ program.
While there are some downsides to being a part of this program, it does mean that you’ll be considered for special promotions which might even result in your book being on the front page.
This is a great way to give yourself that boost and certainly worth considering.