Tag Archives: Kindle Self Publishing

How One Man Generated $746,256.61 In 2014 Using What Was Thought To Be An Outdated Business Model

Today I am going to discuss a business model that has been used very successfully by several people recently but the model itself is an old one. One which virtually died when new technology –– such as colour TVs became cheaper and more readily available –– destroyed its popularity with the masses.

It soon became outdated and was virtually unheard of again until now. The change in modern technology, the invention of the internet and the new phenomenon of the online self publishing system that Amazon Kindle and others have brought to the world has had a strange but interesting twist –– it has brought back the opportunity for people to make money from this old business method.

So what old business model am I talking about here? The business was known as ‘Pulp Fiction’ and it was named after the low grade paper that fiction stories were once printed on. The reason these stories were printed on low quality paper was that it was cheap and made them affordable.

pulp fiction covers 1

The USA had just experienced the big depression and the economy was at a low as was morale, publishers wanted to cheer people up and give them some excitement and adventure to allow them to escape the humdrum life that so many of them were living. But because people had very little spare money they needed to make it affordable and so they came up with the concept of hiring writers to create short fiction stories which they printed on cheap paper and sold cheap to the public.

The writers who needed work were paid pennies which kept the costs down. They might not have liked how little they were being paid but they needed the work. The idea of the Pulp Fiction business was similar to the Woolworths principle of stack them high and sell them low.

Instead of a long novel type book they would produce a collection of short stories and sell them. Many people couldn’t face reading a big thick book, they prefered the thinner comic style magazines. The stories were often in a series and spread out over time just like how TV shows are made today. Each episode is a new mini episode within one big story.

pulp fiction covers 2

Inside these Pulp Fiction magazines were crime and detective dramas, war stories, cowboy & westerns and science fiction stories based in outer space People loved them, people love to be entertained and that is what Mike Shreeve focused on when he made over $700,000 a year by starting his own Pulp Fiction empire.

Before starting his Pulp Fiction empire Mike spent several months studying the pulp fiction writers of the early twentieth century.

Mike along with many others has made good returns by writing short entertaining fiction stories which they have sold on sites like Amazon Kindle, Kobo, B&N and more. There are two ways to make this business work for you:

1 You can either write the short stories yourself which you self publish

2 Or you become a publisher and outsource the writing and then publish the stories under ‘pen names.’

Or there is a third option: do both!

Mike made a great point when he discussed the difference between his business model and other writers: Most writers want to become famous by having a bestseller on one of the popular lists such as the New York Times Bestseller list and those writers dream of that one bestselling book making a lot of money and changing their lives around. Mike on the other hand made his money from many books and not just one.

He said It’s the myth of the bestseller…Authors are the only business people (and if you want to make money selling books you are in business… no two ways about it…) that I know of who think that they can make a year’s salary off the sales of a single product. It doesn’t make sense.”

It is a very valid point, why do authors think that they can change their lives with just one product? Yes it has happened before for many people but it is never guaranteed.

Mike didn’t just write one long bestseller. They can take ages because writers get so lost in the writing. The story they write constantly changes, it is forever growing, it evolves because as you write you think up new ideas to add to the book and also novels have roughly 90,000 words and so they can take ages to write and edit.

pulp fiction covers 3
Mike along with others focused on writing shorter stories (called novelettes ) of 10,000 words more or less and they published them as a series. Any ideas that popped into their heads while they wrote they put into a list of ideas for future follow up stories.

This is what Mike had to say about it all: “Instead of trying to write one perfect book, write a higher quantity of your best books. It’s a slight difference, but so damn important. Do your best work 100% of the time, but don’t pretend you are going to write a bestseller. Instead, pretend that your life depends on finishing your writing for the day. Set higher goals. Get better. I never worry about whether my books will make a “list”. I only care that the books get finished.”

For every book that is finished it can be published and when it is published it has the potential to earn money. Mike had loads published which were bringing in money. In 2014 he published 36 books. If that sounds like a lot of writing to you then do not despair, he didn’t write most of them himself. He outsourced the writing.

David Lee Martin is another successful writer who self publishes short stories. David said that he generally pays between $100 and $130 for ghostwriters to write his short stories. He finds a target niche, creates a story outline with characters etc then sends the information to the writers who write the finished books. He may do some editing but his job mainly is to market the book. He creates the book covers himself because he loves playing around in Photoshop whereas Mike Shreeve prefers to outsource the covers.

So as you can see you do not need to write the books yourself but if you want to then you could. Mike published 36 books in 2014, that would be some going if you wrote the books yourself but I personally would say that –– if you were a discipline character –– you could write 25 great short stories in a year.

That means that you can write one book every two weeks. At 10,000 words per book, writing as little as 1000 words per day you should have a book done in ten days with four spare for editing. Now it sounds a little more achievable doesn’t it? I have tip that can help make writing 10,000 words a lot easier later on in the article.

Kindle Self Publishing Masterclass New ModuleThe more stories you have published the more sales you can generate. Here is something that you should consider as a publisher or writer. When someone reads a story that they really enjoyed they want to read another. If they loved the characters they may want to read another story featuring those characters or if they loved your writing style then they may want more of that. What happens if you publish a book and have nothing else for the reader to buy? They can get bored and forget about you.

Both Mike and David wrote/published under different pen names unlike James Patterson –– who is famous for outsourcing his writing! ––  so to make sure that people can access more of their work (under that pen name) they do something a lot of Novel Authors do not do: They write a series of separate short stories first and do not publish one until they have a few of the series ready and then publish several at the same time.

pulp fiction covers 5

This means that each new book in the series can cross sell the others and that they will be shown by sites like Amazon in the By The Same Author… section. Instead of selling one they can sell several at the same time to the same people without the fear of losing them later. Those who write longer books which takes months or even years to write will be making their fans wait ages for another book which can be damaging to sales.

The price point for these shorter stories vary from between $0.99 to $2.99 –– or pounds if you are in the UK. What is important is that you create great books, they may be short and the turnover is fast but you cannot publish sub standard books. Remember; the Pulp Fiction business of the 1930s printed on sub standard paper but the stories and cover art was the best they could produce. The quality of the stories on those sub standard pages was the most important thing.

James Patterson is one of the biggest selling authors of all time, he writes novels and he can publish a lot of them in a year because he too outsources a lot of the writing to co-authors. He creates the book ideas and sets about creating the characters and story and then has others to flesh it out. I was recently reading one of his books and noticed that all of his books have a lot of chapters and that many of those chapters are just a few pages long. I wanted to know why and so I found out.

james patterson and co authors

James Patterson likes to write a scene as a chapter, so for example, if he had two people talking in a kitchen about a murder, that would be a full chapter. If one of the people left and drove away leaving the other in the kitchen to mull over the discussion, that would be another chapter. So to help you write a short story I came up with a template.

The Short Story Template

When writing a short story of 10,000 words break it up into ten scenes which become ten chapters and each chapter should be around 1000 words each. This will help plan the story and if you prefer change the template to suit so if you prefer write 20 chapters of roughly 500 words and so on. This is not an exact science but a way to help set the story out. As James Patterson would tell you, it is easier to write a story when you have an outline or full plan to work to.

I would also say that the rule is to be flexible. If one chapter has 800 words and another 1057 then so be it. It is just a guide to help write 10,000 word stories. If you need more or less words/scenes and chapters then add them. Do what you need to do but remember, as Mike Shreeve said “I only care that the books get finished.” and so should you. Get them finished and get them published. That is the only true way to start making money from selling books on Amazon Kindle.

After the books are published to Amazon, Mike and David would then start to market them using Facebook adverts to send traffic to the sales page. They also build up email lists by giving away a free story and those email lists have made it possible for them to sell more books without using advertising meaning that they get more money and need to spend less on advertising.

But for now –– if this idea sounds good to you ––  you better start writing or planning your stories otherwise you have nothing to market.

Oh and by the way, I have written just under 2000 words in the last few hours for this article so writing 1000 – 2000 words a day can be done 🙂

Building A Profitable Self Publishing Business Using Amazon & Google

If you have thought about becoming a self-published author but unsure whether you should give it a go or would like to know if there are people doing well from it then you should enjoy today’s article.

I am currently writing a couple of books myself and like most people I am dropping onto them as and when I can.

I could spend more time on them if I chose and have in the past but with so many tasks and projects on the go I find I often put them on the back burner which runs the risk of them not being finished. I don’t want this to happen and I will make sure it won’t… one day 🙂

For this article I am going to use Nick Spalding as an example of an Amazon Kindle success story.

nick spalding

The Story Of Nick Spalding

It seems Nick Spalding was in a similar position to that I find myself in; Nick worked for the Police force in the press office and he desperately wanted to be an author. He decided that he had to take action or his dream would never happen.  It really was a case of ‘now or never’ and so one Saturday morning he sat down to write a whole book in one sitting.

From start to finish was the challenge and so he sat writing for 30 hours, I assume he slept Saturday night and carried on the Sunday but who knows. He created a book with over 50,000 words in that one 30 hour session.

He spent a bit of time editing the book then published it on Amazon’s Kindle platform. His girlfriend Gemma wasn’t so excited about Nick’s new venture and got a bit fed up with Nick constantly checking his Amazon account in the evening for new sales.

He was excited at the fact that he would sell a book here and a book there to people he didn’t know and would never meet. It was quite a buzz. I cannot say how well his first book ‘Life With No Breaks’ did but he went on to write another book called ‘Love From both Sides’  which started to sell very well.

nick spalding books

Nick would sit and watch as the sales grew and went over 1000 sales in the same afternoon. This was very ‘head spinning’ as he put it.

Depending on the price of your book you can choose to have 35 or 70% commissions, the higher you price your books you can then ask for 70%. I believe Nick was working on 35%, the lower you price your book the greater the chance you have of selling more. If he sold a book at £4.95 his 35% commission would be £1.73.

That year Nick sold over 430,000 books on Amazon, so with a 35% of each sale it is safe to say he made some money from them.

Is Amazon A Viable Place For Everyone?

Some people suggest that Amazon is overcrowded with too much competition whereas others will say that the audience on Amazon is huge. We live in a shrinking world, think of how many people own a Kindle or a smartphone/tablet that uses the Kindle app. I for one use the app on my Samsung phone.

The world really can be ‘your oyster’ as they say. If a book sells well on Amazon.co.uk do you think people in the other English speaking nations would not be interested? Look at the TV, films and books we see around us daily, we have a healthy mix from across the English speaking world.

Think of ‘50 Shades Of Grey’ and ‘Harry Potter’ then consider also how many other people speak English as a second language worldwide. It is a huge market and with free social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus it is possible to grow a worldwide fan base from the comfort of your own home.

Real Book Publishing Deal Please Step Forward.

It gets better, Nick was approached by a book publishing company that wanted to sell his books in shops so he was able to cash in twice, he was paid a 6 figure advance for his books.

He now writes full time and has retired from his job in the Police forces press office, he is very happy with Amazon and their self-publish platform as it has, as he put it, bought me a house”

nick spalding 2

What Is Success & Can You Become A Success Too?

Nick is a success story and one of many; he has mastered an opportunity that is open to all of us.

I cannot and will not say that you personally will be a huge success if you give this a try as that can depend on your writing skills and more importantly the niche and style of books you create.

There are many people doing very well writing short stories, fiction of all styles including erotic fiction. Below is an advert I saw on Facebook last Christmas for another popular and successful Amazon kindle writer.

charlotte edwards

I have heard of several people making money from the ever popular information eBooks & how to guides covering subjects like ‘Smoothie Recipes’ and ‘Cures for Anxiety’. There are many people building publishing businesses using ‘Public Domain’ books.

Also success is different to many people and can be measured in many different ways, for example, you might have the idea that you are successful once you have a million pounds in your bank account and you are travelling the world in first class seats.

The next person may see themselves successful when they are free of debts, no longer working for someone else and simply generating money by working from home doing what they enjoy most.

Nick Spalding is a success in many ways, he no longer has or needs a day job, he has generated a nice amount of money which bought a house and he has several income streams allowing him to work from home creating more income streams by writing new books.

That sounds a big success to me and one that I believe many people would be happy with, especially in this day and age with many people facing job uncertainty and struggling with debts.

Can You Do It? Yes   And Here Are A Few Tips To Help You

You might think to yourself that you cannot write or that you are not really good at writing, if that is the case do not despair; we have several different ways that you can create books by doing little writing yourselves.

katie price jordan

Outsourcing The Writing

The easiest way to get a book written which can be ideal for those who are busy working a day job and who is earning money is to pay someone to do the writing for you. It is called outsourcing and you can find plenty of good writers online who will construct a book to your direction.

The Dictaphone Method 

The ex-glamour model Katie (Jordan) Price is now a successful author and she has never written a word herself, she simply talks into a Dictaphone and creates a story which she then hands over to a ghost writer who fleshes it all out with written words.

Dictaphones are pretty cheap to buy and means you can record audio files anywhere then send them to your ghost writer.

Most smart phones come with a built in voice recorder so it really isn’t hard to make audio files of your ideas.

The Story Plan/Background

The other method is to create a story plan; this is similar to a story board often used in making movies except you use words and not images.

You create a backbone to a story in a text document like Word or Google Docs listing all of the main characters, their history, and their important features such as body build, eye colour etc and the places that events occur.

The story plan will list everything you want happening in the story, where it happens, who is involved and in what order.

story background plan 1

These are pretty easy to write really because you are not fattening things out or trying to describe in great detail what is happening with words but just listing everything in a basic straight to the point way.

You may decide to add images to help with the detail for example you may decide that you want some of your characters to spend a night in a beach hut on a certain beach, you have an idea of what it looks like but cannot think how to explain it in your plan so you add images like these.

story background plan images

This is done so your chosen outsourced writer has a great plan to follow and knows everything you need putting into your story. Now this might not be the cheapest way but if you are working and earning that could pay for it, it could save you a lot of time and frustration.

Ideally you want to be in constant contact with your outsourcer so that the job runs smoothly, which in turn means the job is done better and probably faster saving you money in the long run.

Outsourcing can have its downsides, sometimes people just cannot deliver what you would like and many people struggle with the idea to outsource work and rather do it themselves so that they have complete control over everything.

Writing It Yourself

If neither of those outsourcing methods appeal to you and you want to do it yourself the traditional way then you could do what Nick did and spend a whole weekend writing until you were finished or set yourself a set amount of time aside each day or week and work at it when you can.

It could help to set yourself a word goal for each day or week, make a sheet where you can tick off each day/week when you hit your chosen word count.

You might not be in a big rush to become published but it is worth remembering these two points…

The more you write and the quicker you do it means…

  1. You have plenty to work with and edit. (You cannot edit what is only in your mind)
  2. You can get your book published quicker and start to change the direction your life is going.

google search for books

Using Google To Create Books

We live in very exciting times, they are so much different to several years ago. Only a small amount of people were able to create and sell books in the past.

They had to be dedicated and do a lot of serious research. Research would involve buying magazines, books and papers to trawl through looking for information.

There were companies who specialised in paper cuttings. They would buy papers and cut out interesting stories and for a price send you a folder of them. I saw some advertised in the back of magazines where they would send out photocopies of articles. Obviously they couldn’t send out the originals when they were selling folders of UFO news reports in the back of magazines as they were hoping to sell more than one.

ufo paper clippings

[When I created this image where do you think I found the paper clippings? Google of courseJ]

For many aspiring writers, a lot of time was spent at the local library going through books, papers and magazines and in many cases maps too. Imagine trying to write a book in the 1970s about a spy like James Bond who travelled the world, drove foreign cars, ate foreign food and used secret weaponry.

It couldn’t have been easy, at least not as easy as it is today. I personally believe that I could write the backbone of a story in a day from the comfort of my own home.

This would include the places and street names where events happen, the names and ages of the characters, the food and drink they consume, the transport they use and any weapons or tools they need etc.

Another example of a story backbone/plan…

story background plan 2

Writing the story itself is obviously going to take time, this will include detailed descriptions of what is going on, what people are wearing and what they see for example. Also there will be a lot of conversations and interactions to write about. This is harder to construct than the backbone.

You will need to be fairly good at writing and understanding English however what really matters is that what you write needs to stimulate the imagination in people’s minds and takes them away from reality. If you can do that then that is great. Good writing like everything else in life is relative, we Minions often disagree what books are well written. It is interesting how two people in the same room can read the same book with one saying it was brilliantly written and the other thinking a child could have done better!

You do not need to write fictional books or ‘how to guides…’ to make money, there are so many different types of books around that are simple collections of fun or crazy facts and these can be simply created by doing research and rewriting what you find.

‘You cannot copyright fact, only the way it has been written’

This leads me onto true stories like crime and murder, how many books do you see that are written about topics that are by people who have nothing whatsoever to do with the victims or the case itself? What about biographies or stories about famous celebrities? I see many written by journalists or people who simply have access to the information more than actually being part of the celebrities’ life.

The World’s Largest Research Resource Centre Available In Your Home

Well you have access to all of the information you now need to write great fiction, how to guides, true stories, biographies and collections. How do you find all of this great information? It is stored in a vast ‘Raiders of The Lost Ark’ style warehouse.

raiders of the lost ark store

This warehouse is called the internet. It is a huge powerful and fast resource that people…

  • Take for granted
  • Do not know how to really use properly.

Yes as hard as it is to believe, people do not know how to search properly on the internet. I often see people posting really simple questions on Facebook waiting for answers that may or may not come or if they do could take ages where as a quick search in Google or Bing would have given them the answers they needed within minutes or even seconds.

Yes OK some people do it to start conversations or are too lazy to look for the information opting to put the question ‘out there’ and hoping the answer is there waiting when they come back but in reality the question is often never seen or answered.

I mean who actually thinks their small close knit group of friends, family and acquaintances possesses more information than Google with its countless millions of websites? Bit stupid to think that really, I too am guilty of it, but I am happy to say that I now just do a Google search.

Writing books is competitive and not everyone becomes a J.K.Rowling making untold millions but there are a lot of people who are able to make really good money and work from home, anywhere in the world doing what they enjoy because they were selling books just like our example Nick spalding. Doesn’t that sound good?

The wealthiest people on the planet talk about creating multiple streams of income, this way you don’t have just the one wage coming in you have several and should one stream dry up and do badly one month you are still earning from your other income streams.

If you think about it this way, if you wrote 7 books all selling around 20 copies a day earning £50 a book you have 7 x 50 x 7 = £2450 a week which is £10616 a month. Should books 1 & 5 not sell for a week you still have £1750 coming in that week which is a monthly income of £7583.

Some books like those in the self-help niche (Think Chicken Soup For The Soul) or children’s stories (Think Harry Potter) sell millions worldwide and keep selling due to the nature of the book. People are always looking for self-help and answers and children are being born daily who as they grow older will always need to be entertained.  Children still read ‘Danny Champion Of The World’, a book I remember from my child hood, it was written in 1975 by Roald Dahl.

If Ian Fleming was still alive how much do you think he would be earning each year? The creative world is often the most lucrative, ok these are exceptional cases however they were once unpublished and J.K. Rowling was a single mother who originally wrote the first Harry Potter in cafés around Edinburgh, not the easiest starts. So who knows what you can achieve.

the elephant house

Well anyway, I shall bring this lengthy post to a close and let you watch this video. This is one video taken from a tutorial module in the members area of the Tim’s Minions Digital Academy about publishing books on Amazon Kindle. This video was recorded to inspire people to take action and to show you how to use Google search for more than finding funny pictures of lol cats! 🙂

As you will see when you watch the video, it is long and detailed and that is what you always get inside the Digital Academy.