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SPQ 032: Can You Build a Book Business and Generate $10,000 Per Month?

Written by Steve Scott on January 25, 2015. Listen to SPQ: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS Feed
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american dollars in the handsThe Question…

Sherese asks, “What advice do you have for someone who wants to get into the Kindle business and has a dream of making $10,000 per month in residual income, but without an established platform?” She has always been attracted to Kindle and the idea of producing content for the Web.

Steve’s Answer…

A lot of people ask Steve how to make a certain amount of money per month. He says it’s very hard to make $10,000 per month. Even if you do everything right, it doesn’t always happen. Many full-time authors still haven’t reached their income goals. It’s not something you can do in a couple of months.

Competition in the self-publishing space is getting fierce. People are starting to understand the importance of branding and the overall reading experience, making it difficult for new people to come on and generate a substantial income. It is possible, but it’s difficult.

It’s better to focus on a small goal at first. Don’t quit your job or try to overhaul your life. Focus on generating a few hundred dollars or $1,000 per month. Then scale up from there.

You need to do a number of things to generate this kind of income. Here are six strategies to use to generate income from a book-based business.

  1. Author Platform

Steve believes this is the most important aspect of generating income with a book-based business. If you don’t have one, you need to go out and build one. When Steve started blogging in 2010, he started with nobody. He built his platform one blog post, one email, and one tweet at a time. It takes time, but it is doable. Steve talks at length about building an author platform in episode 13.

  1. Email List

You need subscribers to buy, read, and review your books. You also need people who know, like, and trust you. Everything should point back to your email list, from your blog to your YouTube channel. In episode 7, Steve discussed his email marketing strategies.

  1. Niche

You need a profitable niche, but you also need to have passion about your niche. Pick something you feel strongly about. Make sure you can add value to that niche. Once you have an audience, find out what they need. Ask questions and find out what problems they are facing. This makes it easier to develop content people will buy. Create books that are an inch wide and a mile deep. Don’t try to answer every question about a topic. Pick one or two problems and drill down to help people solve those problems. Episode 3 and episode 4 cover these topics.

  1. KDP Select

You need to leverage the KDP Select platform. If you don’t have an existing platform, KDP Select will help you build one. Steve says 80 percent of his subscribers come from his Kindle books. There are two ways to leverage this program: create a great title and hook for your book, and launch your book with an epic launch.

With an epic launch, you want as many people as possible to download your book. Nick Loper had 20,000 downloads during one of his launches. Scott Briton had 40,000 downloads. Spencer Hawes from Niche Pursuits got thousands of downloads during his recent launch.

Continue using this model by leveraging the KDP Select platform. Focus on Amazon to get as many book buyers and email subscribers as possible.

  1. Scale

Focus on the things that are doing well; get rid of everything else (focus on the winners and ditch the losers). If your books are doing well, figure out why they are doing well. If a book isn’t doing well, try to figure out why it isn’t doing well. Build on your small successes and continue building your list.

Steve recommends re-investing the income you generate. Use it to create audiobooks or print books, invest in foreign translations of your books, or move on to other platforms. Identify what is working for your business and keep doing it.

  1. Daily Action

Work your business on a daily basis. It’s kind of a grind, but you need to do it. This is what helps grow your business. Devote 15 to 20 hours per week to your business, but make sure you focus on the 80/20. Your time is best spent on marketing and writing your business. I talk about this in episode 18.

A full-time author business has a lot of moving parts. It’s not possible to sum it all up in one episode, so go back and listen to previous SPQ episodes to learn more about each topic. Steve discusses his personal successes and challenges in each episode.

Resources and Links

SPQ 003: Determining the profit potential of a book idea

SPQ 004: The importance of focusing on one niche at a time

SPQ 007: Email marketing best practices for authors

SPQ 013: A step-by-step plan for building an author platform

Nick Loper: Take a look behind the scenes of a 20,000-download book launch

Scott Briton: How to get an ebook to #1 on Amazon

Spencer Hawes: A list of 23 steps to publishing a book that makes $100 per day