HubPages Self Publishing

HubPages is a Train Wreck – And The Next Big Thing

Hey no one can accuse me of always having keyword-optimized titles OK! Oops sorry missed June, left you hanging about the next big thing – me bad.

First the train wreck – if you are thinking about joining hubpages to make money – don’t. If you are thinking about using them for backlinks – maybe. Basically the problem with hubpages is not Panda – if they’d had competent management they could have come through that, in fact the hubs I’ve promoted are pretty much back to where they were pre-Panda. The issue is the unpredictableness of what will happen to the company. They’ve lost their Amazon affiliate status, being a California based company, and they are now experimenting with moving hubs to sub-domains. Titanic and the deck chairs spring to mind, too much stuff not in my control  so I can’t recommend them anymore.

Boat leaving, Boy in Water, Kaiteriteri Beach, Nelson, NZ

But there may be a good side to the loss of hundreds of dollars of hubpages income – while I was resurrecting my vacation packing hub I actually looked at where the traffic was coming from. It was from a slightly different keyword.

At around the same time I bought a Kindle – I like the Kindle, a lot – its not just at a nice price point if you want to give me the commission – but the books are so bloody cheap its unbelievable! In fact I now have about 100 books downloaded inside a month, at least half were free, quite a few others were 99c.

You see its really easy to buy a book on a Kindle – you can browse right from the device, or you can download a preview, and then after reading that the preview says: would you like to buy it now and you click YES. No “are you sure?” no “fill in 25 forms and sign up for a newsletter” – just “YES” and a pre-approved credit card.

Its amazing – and even at full-price the books are a fraction of what I pay for

  • real softback-paper-dead-tree books, and
  • infoproducts – the all-singing dancing pdf of 119 pages of 24 pitch font with 25 additional videos plus bonuses worth at least $997.77 all for $27 – today only – last 5 left.

As I got excited about my new toy – the news broke that Amazon’s ebook sales were higher than their hardbacks. Hmm what does this sound like? Remember how once you could only buy music from record shops, now you download the track you want from iTunes – does anyone else see an industry dying?

In fact it could  already be  on life-support in Australia  with Angus&Robertson and Borders both looking for a buyer, and the major chain bookstore in NZ – Whitcoulls – will only survive by selling cards and wrapping paper, which is pretty much all they sell now.  The trashy novels you can buy in The Warehouse (our local version of Walmart), the odd specialist, high-quality bookseller may survive. The chains not so much.

Which has got precisely what to do with the business of making money online? Well think about it.  Do you know how much a writer makes from a published book, well apparently its an appalling low 10%, in fact sometimes your Amazon affiliate commission may be higher than what the actual author gets!

What does an author get for an ebook on Amazon? If the price is between $2.99 and $9.99 and some other conditions are met – 70%, otherwise 35%.  Plus your affiliate commission.  This has not escaped the attention of smart published authors like Tracey Edwards.

Who can publish on Amazon?  Anyone.

Did you just hear ka-ching?

Do I need to point out that Google does NOT control the best-selling lists on Amazon…

To be continued …





15 replies on “HubPages is a Train Wreck – And The Next Big Thing”

I got a Kindle this year too – love it! Though Kindle books are often a similar price to the physical equivalent on Amazon UK, which is a rip-off IMO (at least the big name titles are – there are cheaper ones from less well known authors too). It’s especially annoying when you can get a marketplace copy of the book for 1p plus postage, and the Kindle version is about £10. But it’s still worth it for titles I’ll reread, just to avoid cluttering the house up with books. Hopefully publishers will adopt a more reasonable ebook pricing model as time goes on, or more authors will go the self-publishing route, where they can charge less, but still make more profits overall.

I was reading the other day about Amanda Hocking, who made over $1m in her first year of self-publishing her novels as ebooks, and now she’s signed a $2m deal with a publisher. Shame I couldn’t write fiction to save my life lol

Yup all from fiction – its interesting isn’t it. The UK ebook pricing is weird – apparently there is VAT on ebooks but not on dead tree books which is part of the problem. We have a double advantage a paperback in NZ is about Stg20 – even shipping the physical book from the US can be cheaper than buying locally – so of course with ebooks its a non-brainer.

Oh and boxes of books -tell me about it – we’ve got rid of tones and still need more bookshelves – no more !

yeah, we have to pay VAT on ebooks & other digital downloads, as well as almost everything else 🙁

£20 for a paperback is very steep – I’m not surprised you like your Kindle!

I like the idea of doing a really great quality non-fiction book at some point, though I have my plate full with other stuff right now. Since not everyone has an e-reader, it could be worth looking into Amazon’s CreateSpace for self-publishing physical books too, especially if you’re writing ‘book length’ manuscripts (as opposed to expanded articles).

And then there is always the ‘free’ download of all books you can think of… 😉

I actually don’t mind paying people for their work – what I object to is paying way over the odds as we do in NZ (as you well know!). And there is in fact heaps of genuinely free stuff – some of which is excellent – and I’d never have bought the old dusty book of. You have to laugh at bookshops – selling Jane Austin etc for over $10 – when its all – free – even on Amazon!

I’m not sure people fully realise the potential what being able to publish directly to the Kindle means for writers now.

For the first time you can get paid directly for your writing rather than have to insert affiliate links, put advertising on your site, or pimp products that you know are less than stellar.

It also means that you can write about your niche and get paid for it AND build a following AND get traffic AND brand yourself as an expert.

No longer do you have to write about something ‘just because it has high paying adsense ads’. But now you can write about something that you truly know something about.

And don’t think you have to write a huge book either, articles are becoming big biz on the Kindle too. (And by article I mean a good 5,000 word piece that covers a topic fully – NOT a 500 word crap article the likes you see on eza or ehow).

If you have an original or thoughtful opinion, can help someone with a ‘how to’, entertain someone with a story, then you can definately make some money.

Let’s do the math.

Say you write a really good ‘how to’ of about 5,000 words and put it up on Kindle for 0.99 cents (recommended for this length).

That means your royalty will be 0.35 cents (or thereabouts).

Let’s say that this article took you 10 hours to write (conservative) plus you spent another 10 hours learning to format it for the Kindle, designing a cover, editing & proofing it to make sure it was good quality.

So 20 hours all up.

You only have to sell 2,886 (if calculated over a year that’s approx 8 per day [again conservative for a good article or story]) for that article to make you $1,000.

So for that 20 hours, you’ve just earned yourself $50 an hour. Nice.

But you want to earn $50K per year? Then you need to write another 49 articles. (You could easily do one per week at this rate and still have plenty of spare time).

THAT is good income. And only likely to increase as more people buy ereaders and tablets and the audience grows.

Now some caveats – your article does have to be ORIGINAL and GOOD QUALITY (so spend some time on your research). Please don’t be lazy and use PLR – it’s unnecessary and likely to be taken down as soon as Amazon sorts out it’s Kindle spam problem. Besides customers are not stupid and will give you bad feedback if you do this. It’s simply not worth it when you can give a good quality original article and reap the rewards. Come on it’s not hard to write a really good 5,000 word article or short story.

oh dear. the secret is out now 😉


p.s. thanks for the linky love Lis!

Oh and you repay my link love by guzumping my soon to be revealed super ebook …just kidding! I hadn’t thought of doing articles (kindle shorts) – its a good point. I found very little about what length people expected non-fiction to be – I’ve ended up with about 20k – which covers the topic – so I don’t really want to add fluff to make it look bigger!

Yeah people seem very good at picking PLR – and they don’t even know what it is – but they don’t like it!

And of course all this income is fairly independent of Google – Amazon has its issues – but at least its not owned by G! And it doesn’t matter what State you live in either in contrast to the affiliate rules!

I love the idea of publishing articles on Amazon, never thought of that. At the rate I write, I could definitely publish one a month, sort of like a very specialized mini-book.

Tracey is right about spam, there’s too much transparency on Amazon via product reviews. And even if someone manages to put fake reviews on the site regarding their own products, people will still sniff it out and write even more damaging reviews.

It bothers me that California can try to impose tax laws favoring brick-and-mortar retailers in order to cut profits from online retailers. The old retail system is dying and the US government can’t save it. People shop for convenience now, especially if they can do it in their pajamas.

Yeah I like how Amazon does product reviews – particularly as it shows whether the person reviewing actually bought the book – not guaranteed because they could have bought the book elsewhere – or got it for free – but helpful!

Food for thought Lis. Adding blogs is one thing but adding books seems like a good business venture. I was looking though the Kindle store yesterday and there are definitely a good few gaps in the market.

Definitely something me and the Wife are going to delve into a little deeper. Tracey makes some good points about the length as well, could be a very interesting business to get involved in. I just got my Amazon post approved as a Kindle book which is going to be interesting, may just need to tidy it up once it goes live and I can see it properly.

But a very inspiring topic and has given us the push to actually do it, rather than just think about it. And a little bit of SEO for Amazon listings should go a long way too 😉

Oh yeah the difference in competition in some topics is stunning – that was what initially gave me my a “wow” moment – go to the amazon kindle store and search on “move to spain” – do the same thing on google … just a thought …

Its a no brainer particularly if you can string some words together, and lets face most of us can – I think I may have found my ‘voice’ – even if I misplace the odd comma and such 🙂

And yeah the SEO for promoting an amazon listing … and lets face it you and I will be old and gone before Google slaps Amazon LMFAO

Hi Lis,

Big apologies for not commenting the first time I read this, but it got me so fired up I went off to Amazon to find out more and forgot to come back here! (ok, lame excuse…)

But your dead on the money! This thing has just been sitting here waiting for us site owners with tons of original content in articles that are sitting there not earning their keep, to get some more mileage out of them. Could be a big seller somewhere in amongst my 5 years worth of ramblings and I didn’t even know it.

As for Hub Pages, there’s another source of original content that might be worth scavenging from my all-but-dead hubs, especially if they’re not going to be earning much in the way of Amazon affiliate commissions any more.

Thanks for lighting a big fire under my arse with this post!

LMFAO Terry so you write compelling content an blogs and friends forget to come back LOL ! You are in big trouble – now I have to get back to some editing of a book!

Comments are closed.