Market The Book Self Publishing

Kindle Launch and Pricing Strategy

OK, book number two is up, and its only a year after the first one LOL!  The pricing and promotion strategy has been interesting. The decisions went something like this: 

Shall I put it in Select?

Non-Boring Safe Travel GuideMain advantages of Select: Americans in the Prime program can borrow your book, at the moment borrows pay about $2 0o that’s similar to the commission I get for a $2.99 book.  In addition I can set the book to free for up to 5 days in a 90 day period. 

Why would I do that? Visibility, plain and simple. Downloads count towards sales rank, and sales rank makes your book more visible within Amazon. 

The downside – the book has to be exclusive to Amazon while its in Select, and that’s a 90-day period. I signed up, I don’t make huge sales on non-Amazon sites, what did I have to lose? 

Pricing Model

But then the next question is, pricing. Most of the books in the category are more expensive than mine, but they are longer too, and most are traditionally published.  Frankly I can’t imagine paying more than $4.99 for a book by an unknown author.  

For those are not aware of how Amazon does it’s pricing you have to options: 

  • 70% revenue
  • 35% revenue 

Yeah it’s a tough choice, there are some gotchas though. To get the 70% revenue option you must price your book between $2.99 and $9.99 . Plus, you will only get the the 70% if your buyers live in the “right” countries.  And at 70% Amazon has the right to price match and drop your price. Plus you pay for the download by the MB. 

Introductory Pricing At 99c

So why on earth do I have my book for sale at 99c? Particularly as I rather suspect that many readers skip 99c non-fiction eBooks because they have been previously burnt by slightly re-written outsourced fluff. That will be because I actually have …. 

A Marketing Plan For Indie Non-Fiction

There is precious little written about how to promote non-fiction on Amazon. Oh yeah I know Facebook, Twitter, blog blah blah. Well I must say having down quite a lot of that for the last year, and I rather agree with the approach described Make A Killing On Kindle by Michael Alvear, Amazon sells book far more effectively than all the social media in the world, unless you are already a world-famous blogger. The book makes the point that you need reviews to get buys. Initially I was going to go free first to get the reviews, but now I’m trying plan B, get reviews first. Why? So I can then got free with legit reviews, which gives me  a, hopefully, good star-rating. With that rating I can then get promotion on a number of sites which will promote free books but only if they already have stars. 

Why would I promote so that people can download my  book for free. Rankings, pure and simple, the idea is to give lots away free for a couple of days, and then hit payday when the book comes off free and reverts to its regular price. 

It’s an approach that’s worked for others so I am going to give it a go and see what happens. 

Can You Help Me?

LOL you know I was working up to this didn’t you? I would love you greatly if you would like my book’s page and agree with “all 13 tags” at the bottom of the page.

If you like Don’s review “Anything but boring!”  it would be cool if you’d click “YES” to the question “did you find this review helpful”. 

If you have an actual interest in travel, and can afford, it I’d really appreciate a buy, and particularly a review.

The idea at this moment is to get five or six honest reviews. Don’t have to be all 5-star, in fact I think it looks a little dodgy when books ONLY have 5-star reviews. 

As I said – the book will go free either this week (if I have time to get the promo in place), or more likely the following week, so really,  wait if the money is tight! 

And here’s that useful link to Safe Travel Guide buy on and Safe Travel Guide: on (Interesting note – reviews on eventually display on the UK site, but not vice-versa. 

Lis Recommmends Rants

Self Help Guru Scams Revealed! Really

Are you looking for a way to improve your life, make money, or get your ex-back? Then I really think that you should immediately buy Secrets, Lies and Manifestations The Truth About Self Help by Katharine Kershaw!

Seriously I mean it.

Secrets Lies and Manifestations If you are reading this blog you are possibly looking for the simple answer to how to make money. And I’ve always tried to tell the truth – tell you I don’t have the answers, that I’m just bumbling along like the rest of you. Secrets, Lies and Manifestations does much more than that, it explains why you keep buying into books and online products. Buy the book.

I’ve evolved this blog over the years ago. When it started I seriously believed that I could make Passive Income Online. Over the years I’ve come to realise that the truth is much more complex, and getting more so. Many in my little corner of “make money online” Internet, have gone quiet, taken down their blogs, and moved on.

Some of us are focusing more on building our own products and less on ranking sites. Its tricky out there, and getting more and more difficult. One of the things I’m doing is writing more of my Indie Non-Fiction books, and to get into the spirit of things, knowing I would be asking for some reviews soon, I thought I’d get my kharma points up by doing some Amazon reviews on other books while I had quite a number of hours to kill in airports. (In case you are not familiar with how Amazon works, for Indie authors, its really important to get reviews, it helps hugely with sales, so please if you read a self-published book on Amazon, do leave a review, it doesn’t have to be glowing, just honest).

This book appealed because of the title, but I didn’t really expect to be so inspired by it that I would be furiously writing up a review in transit so I could publish it at midnight when I get home for a few hours. I was too brain dead – so here it is several weeks later! 

Katharine ruthlessly exposes the whole rotten core of the entire self help industry. From The Bible, to The Secret, Katherine uses her rather vicious wit, combined with a firm grasp on reality, to explain just why you keep buying and buying more and more products, self-help guides, and why, rather than giving you the key as promised, they doom you to repeat the cycle of failure. Her message is direct. She points out that self-help screws you, dreams aren’t enough, and how ever many times you manifest the desire to win Wimbledon or make a million dollars, your time, money and effort would be much better focused on actually taking some tennis lessons, or developing a product to serve a market that people will pay for. Which is of course the book’s failing. Katharine tells it as it is, and in doing so shatters the illusion.

There is no simple way to make money in your sleep, or to lose weight, and in so doing so she, removes the market for her follow up sequel. I hope not, because personally I’d buy it, just for her writing style and her clear-eyed worldview. So do your self a favour – buy the bloody book.

What’s not to like? Nothing really, her editing is pretty good, and she covered all the pain sacred cows in the industry. I’d probably have liked to learn more about the author, because she’s certainly one I’d buy another book from. And the final joke? The automated list of “customers who bought this book also bought …” Total Law of Attraction: Unleash Your Secret Creative Power To Get What You Want! Dr David Che Please don’t be one of those people – stop buying self-help guides/books/courses about how to live your life. Just. Live. It. Really – it is that simple!  

Although I’m pleasantly pleased to have read Katharine’s book – I’ve got to say, that she’s not going to make a fortune promoting it. Calling “scam” on self-deluded cons such as Empower Network, or Site Build It!, doesn’t exactly rake in the millions. It does, however, make some of us feel good inside.

Katharine should feel very proud of this book. So do her a favour and if you read the book and like it – write her a review on Amazon, and tell your friends.

Self Publishing

Uping My Game on Kindle

Hi – remember me? I used to blog here? Yeah sorry, its been nearly 2 months, but my mother always told me, if you have nothing positive to say keep your mouth shut!  Its been a brutal few months. And yes newsletter subscribers – I’ve not published my income either. Too low to mention. Really. 

So I gave up this making money online lark and got a real job. 


OK – just kidding. 

But on a recent trip out of the country I wrote something different on the arrival/departure cards under “Occupation”. Normally I write something like “web developer” or “business owner” or “entrepreneur” or even “project manager” (a previous life). This time I wrote “writer”. It seems to fit with what I’m doing at the moment, and it kinda made me smile. A little. Unfortunately I am still at the starving writer phase. Fortunately, I have a fairly clear plan as to how to get past the starving phase. 

I noticed that Tracey has a specific goal of making $42,000 self publishing this year. Personally I’m not quite at that stage of making specific goals, but I will be getting to that. 

For the moment I’ve been focussed on getting several more books published. Yeah I’m doing it the hard way, writing them myself, I have some ideas about leveraging this in the future and using other writers, but I need to bootstrap this for the moment. I also need a much better idea of my potential cash flow than I have at the moment. 

Why Is Kindle Publishing So Hot With The MMO Crowd?

New Book Cover – with legit photo and everything

Well I can tell you what’s motivating me. Why when given the choice of trying to get my sites (or new ones) ranking for their previous keywords, or focussing on Kindle, I walked away from my sites. 

And no this is not a new  bandwagon for me – I published my first book just on a year ago. I’ve been tracking its earnings over the year – and its made me just on a grand total of $400.  

Lis, you might say, $400 in ONE YEAR. No I didn’t miss a zero. 

But its the best potential I see across all my efforts. 

Because its – and here’s a word not often used about online income – consistent. Now the book is targetted to the US market (the rest of us don’t go on vacation, we holiday), so I truly expected it to be highly seasonal, and yet its been a pretty consistent earner over the year – here’s the month by month breakdown.  

And you know the most interesting thing? I really haven’t promoted it very much. Sure I built a related website and promoted it on that plus some other sites such as HubPages. But really the book appears to sell itself. 

And then in April, Google knocked almost all my sites, plus hubpages, down to the depths of the SERPS. I lost the rankings for both old and new sites. But guess what? My sales staying consistent, if anything slightly higher. All that effort with the websites? Not selling the books. The ranking of the book Vacation Packing in Amazon (#23 in Travel Tips and #38 in Budget Travel at the time of writing) plus it showing up in the “people who bought this book also bought…” seems to be doing that all by itself.  


Let me clarify that – I can make money from my book on Amazon – without Google loving me. 

THAT’s why so many MMO crowd is jumping on board. 

Because I know, I at least, am very, very tired of being at war with Google.  I’m tired of getting knocked down everytime I make some 1/2 decent money. I’m tired of living in fear of waking up to THAT email “your Adsense account has been closed …” 

Kindle Publishing Will Go The Way Of Niche Sites 

Say the naysayers. Its just another fad. Its not a real business. All eBooks are spam. I’ve heard all of that in the last month or so. Sorry you are not getting it.

Can you publish crap eBooks on Amazon?

Yes you can.

Will they sell?


Why? Because once you piss off a reader enough they will leave a one star (the lowest rating) review. Much more readily than anyone will give you a 5-star review.  You see people who pay money for a book are called consumers, and consumers will complain long and loud if they feel ripped off. 

Amazon Will Kill Indie Publishers

Oh yeah this is a good one. Once Amazon makes lots of money with Kindle they will kill off Indie publishers. Yeah right. Suggest that you spend sometime reading up about Amazon’s business model. Every time I sell a book on Amazon, Amazon makes money. But more than that I help Amazon by taking the publishing houses out of the loop. The gatekeepers are dying, quickly, and all because of Amazon’s war on them. Basically Amazon is providing a platform which connects readers (consumers) with writers (producers) without the middleman. Instead of author’s getting a 10% royalty (which is common in traditional publishing) they are now getting 35-70%. So @ 70% a book that sells for $2.99 gives the author the same royalty as a trad published book at $20 – so who’s the loser here? 

Amazon has ENABLED indie publishers – for very good business reasons of their own. 

I’m happy to have a part of the that.  

And if Amazon pisses me off in the future, I’ll take me book elsewhere. 

 Crap eBooks Will Flood Amazon and Amazon Will Ban Their Authors! 

Already happening. In the last year  they have  banned books that are reprints of existing resources: in my niche all the guides which were reproductions of wikitravel are gone.  PLR was banned before my time, and its hard to get an out-of-copyright book published there now too. 


You see, because I’m not actually gaming the system. I’m writing useful books. Sure I’m not writing blind. I’m using keywords and intend to use every legal trick in the book to promote my books. But my books are not crap. Most importantly, they are professionally edited. Oh and I know what I’m writing about. Amazon won’t ban my books, because my readers like them. My return rate is minimal. My reviews are genuine. 

Most former niche marketers will fail at eBooks. Its hard to write a coherent book. Well harder than writing a 500 or even 1000 word blog post. But given that I now have a whole lot of time freed up from building links to websites, I now have the time to write books. If you are using a writer – you probably need to spending more than 1c/word. 

Yes you can look for the gaps in Amazon’s categories, find the search volumes for keywords using Google’s tools, and then order up a book that provides the answer to the question.  But most will do it poorly and cheaply. And fail. 

That’s why I’m happy to be open about my books here. I have 30 year’s experience behind my writing. That’s hard to copy. I also have fair idea on how to market. 

So come along for the ride. I’ll be writing a series of posts on the subject. 

But if you want to get ahead of the game: check out Make A Killing On Kindle (Without Blogging, Facebook Or Twitter).  I only found it because some “real” authors over at were complaining about it as a particularly evil marketing book. It is. I like it. A lot. And I will implementing mos of his suggestions over the next few weeks.