Experimentation will be the name of the game in as authors retool and re-think their email marketing strategies. This will be true for traditional publishers and indies alike. We think more authors will start dipping their toes into direct sales and owning the relationship with their readers, and we see a lot of them using exclusive content and bargains for their true fans.
That will only grow as we move into the new year. Our data shows that readers are willing to pay for exclusive content and great bargains. What this means for you : It will be easy to get distracted by all the Direct to Reader chatter in Many indie authors are already connecting directly with readers due to the nature of being an indie author.
Focus on the activities that you know work to communicate and engage with your readers. Pick one new Direct to Reader idea to experiment with in Audiobooks were the fastest growing segment in the publishing industry last year. For traditional publishers audiobook sales mitigated declines in ebook sales, and trad publishers are bullish on audiobooks going into Findaway voices launched in July giving indie authors an alternative to ACX and an efficient way to distribute their audiobooks to multiple retailers.
All this combines to give indie authors more control and more opportunity over their audiobook catalog. The dynamics—ease of access for consumers, lifestyle habits, increased market competition, new selling models—have all synced up to create significant staying power. It should surprise nobody when the market size of audiobooks surpasses eBooks in a few years.
In , we expect to see independent authors empowered to capitalize on this explosive growth. Indies will take advantage of wide distribution domestic, international, and public library , realize the advantages at key retailers of setting prices to meet consumer demand, and benefit from more discovery tools created to connect authors with their audiences outside traditional audiobook credit models. What this means for you : Producing an audiobook runs into the thousands of dollars or requires giving up significant royalties and is still a significant investment for authors.
New authors who find the price tag too steep are best off focusing on building their catalog of ebooks first. Authors who are looking to invest in their publishing business should definitely have audiobook expansion on their list for All authors should keep an eye on the market and look to support audiobook retailers and production companies that are author friendly.
In February of Amazon made changes to its affiliate program that in effect dropped the payouts that affiliates were receiving. On January 1st of this year Amazon decreased the affiliate commissions on Amazon devices. We anticipate this trend will continue in because once Amazon has the majority of American households as customers there will be less incentive to pay affiliates to drive customers to Amazon. In the publishing world the impact of a less generous affiliate program is felt most acutely by book bloggers and deal promo sites that are running either solely on affiliate income or using affiliate income to significantly supplement their business.
Amazon will also continue to be aggressive in enforcing its affiliate policies, banning or dropping deal sites it deems to be in violation of its terms. These two trends will couple to remove book bloggers and deal sites from the eco-system. What this means for you : If you have relationships with book bloggers who actively review and promote your book free of charge, would be a good year to donate to their blog or purchase some paid ad slots to ensure they stay in business. Expect to see price increases on some deal sites as they try to supplement the affiliate income they have lost.
Could you make millions by self-publishing?
But they should. If the author community banded together to demand a transparent and speedy process for exoneration in cases of false rank stripping, Amazon may listen. In authors should look for opportunities to voice their concern over this practice.
David Gaughran has done a good job of documenting and explaining specific cases and would be a good place to start to get educated on the issue. Kindle Unlimited remains the largest reader subscription service, but others are trying to make inroads. Apple and Google lack a subscription model for books but do have experience deploying subscription services for music. One of them could easily roll out a book service. Despite more competition, Kindle Unlimited will continue to dominate market share in and more authors are likely to opt-in to KDP Select so they can be included in the KU payout pool.
Whether you like the KU model exclusivity, payout based on a pool is irrelevant for most authors. What this means for you : Whether to enroll or de-enroll in KDP Select will be the primary decision that most authors agonize over in For most authors, the answer will likely be to enroll in KDP Select. This will provide short-term earnings increases to authors but at the painful cost of having all their eggs in the Amazon basket.
Indies who persevere and continue putting out books slowly increase their earnings over time. Is it easy? Will it take time? They will continue to grow their businesses in and a new batch of high-earning authors will join their ranks. What this means for you : Successful indie authors see themselves as entrepreneurs who are running a business.
And they are. Their product is their books. Successful authors are those that focus on their business and manage the ups and downs. In be honest with yourself. What are your goals? Are you writing to pursue a passion? Are you writing to supplement your income? Are you building or growing a business? Then align your efforts with your goals to achieve what success means for you.
This tells me that authors who build devoted followings have pricing power. These reports show that yes, ebook sales are declining for traditional publishers, but that does not necessarily hold true for ebooks published by small presses and indie authors. As an author, you are best off ignoring the pundits to focus on your writing instead. There are readers out there who will pay for your work and your job is to find them, connect with them and write for them.
There you have it, the publishing trends we predict will shape publishing in the coming year. Audiobooks will continue to be a bright spot for the publishing industry at large. Amazon will continue to be the thousand pound gorilla with more authors flocking to Kindle Unlimited despite other retailers trying to compete. Marketing will be the primary challenge for everyone in as costs on platforms like Facebook and Amazon Ads continue to climb.
It is also a good idea to give away your book for free initially to jump start sales. If the product is good enough, it will spread through word of mouth and you can alter the list price accordingly. The book description is important for telling the readers what to expect in the book. This is where you put your blurb and review snippets from bloggers.
Look at books in the Amazon Top to see how they capture reader attention and write their blurbs. Gathering positive reviews will go a long way in pushing your eBook towards the bestseller charts. Your best bet is to leverage your existing relationships with your Twitter followers, blog readers, friends, and relatives to get positive reviews. It also helps to create narrative arcs that span several books something that can be done with non-fiction as well to keep readers coming back for more. Once you are an established presence in the market, your name alone will attract the curious and the faithful.
Caveat lector: be aware that success through self-publishing is rare and hard fought. Eisler compares publishing to the lottery, where few can get in and even fewer can succeed. Did you like this post? Would you like more of this type of post? If so, please let me know in the comments. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you.
Who was interviewed? Check it all out by clicking here. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration.
Like Like. Like Liked by 2 people. Thanks for the comments, guys! Yes, my old blog is unbelievable. How did I think those colors would work out? Like Liked by 1 person. I look forward to sharing this blog—and your first—with my students. Thanks again for being a great guinea pig and guide! Tim, as always thanks for an insightful analysis — with plenty of real world examples and resource links. Your presentation is straight-forward and makes it much more clear. I especially like the Marketing and Promoting section. I definitely would be interested in more posts like this.
Ah, this is awesome. Thanks Tim. So many book ideas, so little time. Wake up every morning and put in 4 hours. Another awesome article, I will definably have to read all those marketing books you recommended. Great post, Ryan and Tim. Just wanted to chime in with a few other tips based on my experience as a self-publisher:.
Some niches sell more in paper. I publish in LSAT prep. No one mentions e-books on forums, either. Paper royalties can actually be quite high, too. Look for niches that have moats. I only entered the LSAT explanation business for two reasons:. I already had some explanations that I sold through an affiliate blog. I just had to format them to make a book.
I had gotten fast at writing explanations, so I can write new books fairly quickly. This took months of effort. It also means competitors are not likely to enter my niche, as it is not very lucrative. This leads to point 4. There are countless niches capable of supporting this level of book sales. Tim, is there any way to allow us to follow replies to only our own comments via email?
Like Liked by 3 people. Thanks for the great comment, Graeme! I clicked it once… also known as how I learned how to create gmail inbox filters. Thanks Tim! That would be great. Great comment Graeme — I agree with a lot of what you wrote and was about to write a similar comment, especially about the smaller niches. In the first month I did five figures, although that may have a lot to do with the next few months being the most popular time men propose. Writing an ebook is really the easiest part. Promoting and marketing your ebook is what will make the difference between a success or not.
You get instant credibility this way and reach far more people than trying to build up a fan base through your blog. However, in order to do this you have to learn how to think like a journalist, pitch stories that are newsworthy and tied into current events. Again, great post and resources and best of luck to all of you! You can only 3 reviews for the book and claim to make 5 figures in the first month. Thanks for your insightful reply. Any ideas for where to start looking for niches too small for traditional publishers?
Thank you for this in-depth analysis. I have been thinking about releasing non-fiction e-books for kindle, but there has always been consideration in the back of my mind if I should go through traditional route first. I have not made up my mind yet either way, but information like this certainly helps.
There are so many different opinions, so much to know and learn about the industry — but each case is different, and I guess we will all have our individual failures and successes. This article is PERF. It dovetails nicely with the recent Hugh Howey article on Salon. One for inspiration, the other for execution. Please do post more like this! Tim, this is perfect. Goal is to have first book, Tales of Iceland, on Amazon in 2 weeks. Also, most of the world is still way behind the US in ebook adoption.
Even in Iceland where they read more books per capita than any other citizenry in the world , ebooks are still rare…but growing.
3 Self-Published Authors Who Went On To Have Mainstream Success — And How They Did It
So the good news is that as other countries catch up, the potential market will continue to grow. Thanks again. More like this, please! I think the most impressive stats is that digital sales just surpassed printed — This is extremely valuable info. Absolutely would consider doing digital-only. Thanks so much for this!
You have been my mentor and friend in my head! I just finished my kindle ebook and I am working on creating an app talk about synchronicity! This is very helpful! I love U! This is where I plan to go financially. Thanks for an amazing post. I was getting doubtful for a little bit, if I had taken a mistake for taking the summer term off. But as a student, I have very little to lose. Thank you. But, alas, how in the heck am I supposed to take notes on such a great post, when the whole damn thing is worth noting?!
Love it! I wrote a book some years ago about my time in the music business, and how to get a gig in that world — I hired a design student to lay it out for me using Adobe PageMaker, and he also did the cover. I also sell it on Kindle, which is insanely simple.
Want Book Marketing Tips?
Great article but I am certain that the Stephen King, JK Rowling, and Stephenie Meyer did not make it big because they were mercenary about following pop culture trends and finding market niches. You will find it easier to write. It will sustain you through the writing process…and the blogging…and promotions. I agree. I do not try and hijack trends. Lifetime fan value done properly could be x that.
Its like mixtapes in the music game.
Personal Data Collected
Give it away for free and make 10x on your live shows instead. Can even be done with physical books, just book a distribution deal. Tucker realized the power of mass market self-publishing and evidently this is actually news to the publishing world, but rappers have been doing this both mixtapes and sub-labels to be distributed for decades. Time to catch up guys. Good points. You earn a repeat paying customer 2. They tell others that it was good so the exponential impact is amplified. I love this post! This article have me lots to think about.
Got me thinking for sure. Thank you for delivering great stuff again and again. Imformative blog, dropped by to check you out. It will enlighten everyone as to what goes on behind closed doors. All real names will be used in this novel to expose the truth. A book that is so compelling and graphic that has already caused an attempt on my life.
The original copy of that book was destroyed during that attempt. After many years, I have decided to re-write the book. Thanks for giving confirmation to my thoughts with your very informative blog. For those of you who are trying to format your book for the Kindle yourself, I recommend that you use Microsoft Word to do so. Great piece Ryan and Tim. You literally could have written a short ebook on how to write ebooks just using this article.
Been a fan of this blog for several years but this just might be the best post. Thanks Ryan and Tim — really inspiring. And the million dollar question s : What about piracy? Ever checked the torrent sites? Software with DRM-cracking facilities? A substantial part of the music-industry went broke by the peer-to-peer networks. You can use torrents to your advantage. Thanks a lot, very helpful info. I just watched the interview with BitTorrent, quite interesting too.
Imho, the most valid argument you gave to go for ebooks is that they are here to stay. Even so, as you worked with BitTorrent, do you have any idea how many copies of the 4HC were illegally downloaded?
Is this roughly measurable? I wrote years on it and am now gradually focusing on ways to put it into the market and promote it. Great post! What are your thoughts on publishing outside the Kindle store as well? I run Digital Delivery App, which is basically a modern e-junkie, and we have a load of e-book publishers who sell via their own websites. Love this. I plan to start writing soon.
Also, I would be very interested in learning how you built your supplement business back in the day. I have a few ideas about supplements but not sure how to start- legalities, manufacturing, etc. Amazon just recently started a more sophisticated cover creator. You can easily create a really nice cover in minutes. That sounds about right to me.
- Amanda Hocking, the writer who made millions by self-publishing online.
- Meet the Kindlepreneurs.
- Self-Published Millionaire;
- Interview: "How I became a self-published millionaire".
- A Battle of Kings (The Crown Series Book 1).
- Successful independent publishing;
But getting those checks from Amazon every month makes it all worth it. Great article! I work with many authors and they would love this post. Jamie McGuire, Jessica Park and Lauren Clark are all excellent examples of authors that have been incredibly successful going the self-publishing route. Long pots but loved reading it till the end. I would like more of this type of post with steps we can straight use as a practical guidance.
How to (Really) Make $1,000,000 Selling E-Books – Real-World Case Studies
Reading on the Go!! I would like to see more posts with this format commenting on different industries. Unrelated: Tim, you need a word by which your followers can self-reference. You have reached and I am in awe of this a cult-like fervor. I am left to wander the wilderness, with no quick-way to identify myself as an evangelist for the tribe. Great post. Tons of really useful information with links to much more. Thanks for all the info.
Fabulous article! All of them made it so complicated that my book is still unpublished. Thank you!!! Until now one of the all-time favourite articles on your site was the one by Noah mentioned in this article. The detail is incredible and amazingly helpful in so many ways. My personal interest is in the development of online training courses, but is is so easy to see how everything here translates across. I fully plan to exploit the cr p out of every suggestion and resource in here. I just wanted to add that Scrivener is awesome for outputting a Kindle mobi or an ePub formatted book which you can load straight to Amazon KDP.
You can test it on a device which makes it much easier to know what your customers are getting before you publish. This seems to remain unknown in germany. Wow, great post. Thanks for this. The only bad point is, now I have 10 more tabs open I have to read. Interesting to note also: 50 Shades of Grey was initially self-published. By the time it sold k copies she got her publishing deal so she was already doing very well. I think the key in everything you wrote above is…quantity.
All the people Konrath, Hocking, EL James, Hugh Howey who dominated the best seller lists in their categories did so by publshing multiple books one after the other. At one point, Howey was on the sci-fi list. I was at one Amazon event for self-published authors and there was one woman who was making a living from writing there who had published over novels. Take all the covers and then just line them up next to each other. And hang it on my wall so I can see so much love every morning when I wake up. Fabulous starter guide!
I would add that kindle books can be powerful marketing for your other products on Amazon. We have 8 video guides and 9 kindle books, all offering practical sex advice and proven pleasure techniques — and the kindle books are one of our best forms of publicity for the videos. Also would recommend adding a catalog of your products to the end of every book, with easily clickable links directing folks right back to the kindle store. That way, when they finish a book they have loved, you can make it easy for them to get more right away.
I was curious if anyone has any experience with E-Junkie to publish their ebooks? Tim this is legit. WordPress is pretty damn easy to use but it can become more complicated, I guess I just need to spend more time on it. I emailed Matt Mullenweg last year and he actually got back to me. Following you has help me learn about some pretty awesome people. AJ Jacobs is pretty legit also.
Any ideas on how to split the two and sell thru amazon? Tim- Awesome post. One strategy I borrowed from you was launching the landing page before the book was complete. Steve, congratulations. One question for you: how did you market it? Have you already build your audience before launching it? Amazon is great because it really help you market your books. Doing it in-house can remarkably increase profits but the toughest part is generating targeted traffic cheaply!
Oh heck yes. This post is freaking fantastic start to finish. I always hear people saying that self-publishing will guarantee you make lots of mula. I need one but it totally scares me letting someone have my book. How do I find one? In fact I read about books at the same time a week. I read one for an hour,Put it to the side and grab the next been doing It since 3rd grade.
So others make sense of it cause I can go off on a tangent. Tim, a great blog post with lots of helpful advice for my own e-book challenge. Maybe see you in Amsterdam in a few weeks. You have a best-selling cookbook and no one is going to call you chef. You have best selling fitness book and no one is going to call you a personal trainer. You have a best selling book in lifestyle and no one is going to call you life coach. Total synchronicity. I wrote an e-book and have not had the ovaries necessary to market it effectively. I was looking for direction and so checked to see if you had a new post.
Of course. Thank you for inspiring me once again. Somehow you have an intuitive mind that knows what your readers truly need to hear. That totally strokes their ego pardon the pun. Yes, if you have a blog that already has a solid following, this is a great place to cross sell a kindle book related to your blog topic. But putting in the time to start a blog and gain followers just to hopefully get people interested in you enough to buy the book is a huge opportunity cost I think. Lets say after 2 years of a lot of hard work, you have a blog that attracts a solid 25, visitors a month in whatever niche you are in.
So even after all the hard work of creating a blog with a solid following, you would only be cross selling 50 books a month. Unless you are already well established in a certain niche, your time is better spent focusing on perfect your amazon sales page, cover design, etc. Same thing goes for other social media like twitter and facebook.
It might make you feel good or productive that you are creating a facebook page, setting up a twitter, blogging, but the reality is it is not doing anything to convert any real sales volume. I would say only once you are well established, then start utilizing blogs, facebook and twitter to sell more books. Tim the other Tim, lol I completely disagree. Look at Amanda Hocking…before anyone knew who she was and before she sold any books, she communicated with her potential readers via social media and her blog. But, there are many ways to approach the kindle store.
Meaning taking an internet marketing approach to the kindle store. Hiring ghostwriters to write high quality content for certain niches and marketing well. There are many ways to approach the kindle store. There are many test cases of people having 50 mini books in the kindle store in different niches with ghostwritten author names racking in 5, dollars a month.
Or having 15 high quality full books taking in the same amount. The Amazon domain gets high traffic, but a new title in a competitive niche can get buried. A blog provides more opportunites for search optimizations and direct response marketing. A book an Amazon supplemented by a blog and an email list has three traffic vectors, not just one.
You just need a platform for an opt-in box to start building a list to drive prospects to Amazon whenever you have a new title. Andre, I totally disagree. Paul, I disagree with you. Especially if you are relatively unknown. There are lots of blogs out there. Andre is stating that a blog is one of 3 avenues to pursue. And I believe he is saying that all 3 are critical.
The other advantage of a blog is that you get to see how your audience reacts to your writing — both the topic, and the style. As you and your audience evolve, you can incorporate that into your writing. You can start to experiment with marketing and PR with a lower stakes effort so that bombed on that post, no big deal, compared to the fear of taking a step on a 2 year investment of time.
Blogging is playing low stakes poker before you go to the world championships. Thank you so much for the helpful tips. I recently wrote and published a German book in 24 hours: Alles. Everything, Simple. Your 24 Hours Success Book. I wanted to show people that they can make money and be successful if they only have a vision, an ideal, and the guts to pull it through to finality.
The only thing I regret is not having waited a little longer with the print run, as I still found a few typos. Really appreciate the insights! Your recommendations have never let me down. Highly entertaining. Teaching people how to fish as opposed to just feeding them one.
It would be great if every year there was a forum of business leaders entrepreneurs, innovators, thought leaders and political leaders coming together to think of new fresh ideas as to how to really positively impact areas of concern like poverty, education, etc. The best and brightest minds are not being heard in the ways our great country needs them to be heard.
Tim — You seem to always be admirably pushing the edge. I have a suggestion for you, maybe for next year — American Ninja Warrior. I think it would be amazing to hear how you prepare your mind and body for a competition like that. Fabulous post! This information is spot-on.
One question. Some people still prefer by far to read print. What about actually printing books, using the print-on-demand services? Your paper is brilliant! The sections on writing, formatting, etc, are no problem to me. I have just published a book on Kindle, via Amazon, about Shakespeare yawn ; showing that he actually wrote most of the stuff accredited to him shock! My troubles start with marketing. The story is rubbish; the writing variable; the editing apparently non-existent. How do the publishers earn their money? Leslie Rocker.
I have two friends who write — ive shared this post with both of them. Thank you for the detailed insights. Extremely useful not only for book publishers but eters and entrepreneurs. This could not have come at a better time!! I just decided this last week after a friend fervently recommended 4HWW to me to write my own book.
In fact, I just wrote chapter 1 last night. This gave me some much needed insight into how to get started, and I greatly appreciate that. Have the message that you want to share to the world, get someone to research, test the niche, listen to the market etc. Then use creative methods to produce your content.