For nearly as long as I’ve been in Internet Marketing I’ve heard the old “you must have your own product” to really make it in this industry. The “product” most commonly cited was , of course – an “infoproduct” – a pdf of your real or perceived wisdom typically retailing for around $27 to $97 or $147 – didn’t really seem to matter so long as the price a) ended in a 7 and b) did not exceed your ability to keep a straight face when promoting the price.
I couldn’t buy into it – it sounded like a border-line con to be, and what is worse it was a favoured technique for some of my least favourite people in the game.
But it niggled – how hard could it be to write a book? I’d read books almost all my life, and like any vociferous reader I’d started writing my own book, several times, I never got past Chapter 2. Was it actually possible to produce a “info product” at a fair price, that someone might want to pay me for and read.
I kept on making money with Adsense, and affiliate sales, eBay and Amazon. Panda happened, trashed hubpages, and made me look at a long-ignored hub that was getting good traffic for a keyword that paid very little in Adsense. And which I was an expert on.
And for which there must be a market because a) I knew what the search volumes were and b) there was a new book coming out on the same topic, at $9.99, and there was a real dead-tree version of it to. Publishers only publish books that have a market right? (Well quite possibly arguable – but WTF sometimes they get it right).
So I did some research. I’m good at research – closet academic if not for the students – I figured that someone must have figured out this untapped gold mine of unlimiteless wealth already.
Had The Marketers Figured Out How to Put InfoProducts on Amazon?
Maybe I was late to the party – I’d been spending all my time working, and not keeping up with the latest scams business opportunities. Was writing and promoting eBooks on Amazon – the bloody site that kept out-ranking my little affiliate niche sites – yesterday’s news?
I went to the font of all knowledge – I went to the WarriorForum – nope I’m not helping you by linking to it – lets put it this way its like swimming with sharks, without a shark cage, and with an open bleeding wound …
And naturally enough there was some Kindle Killer Kash Katastrophies (or similar names) for offer at the very reasonable price of $??7.87 – but only for the next 5 minutes. In fact the one I found and bought wasn’t too awful – standard promotion stuff: blog, video, social media, oh and keywords, oh and buy some reviews (are Amazon that stupid?).
But there was a little bit missing – how to write the actual (or virtual) flipping book. I mean I can ramble on this blog until the bovines get bored – but how to write the book?
Oh I didn’t need to write a book – I just needed to add some pictures to some public domain content and then I could charge for a book already available on Amazon for free The Holy Bible yeah right, not feeling like such a good idea anymore.
Or string some PLR together – well most of the reading public wouldn’t know public label rights if they fell over them – but interesting every book I found on Amazon which was PLR had awful reviews – funny that.
The marketers knew how to promote the book, they thought they knew how to find the topics that would sell (I disagree we will come to that), but they were bloody terrified about writing.
But There Are Heaps of Self-Published Writers on Amazon
The joke of course is that there are thousands of self-published writers on Amazon. Check out the popular listings which have anything to do with “twilight” “vampires” “erotica” and quite a lot of sci-fi – check for the 99c and $2.99c prices – yup you found them.
I had met the Indies. Yeah I had to Google it too – Indie=independent NOT Indian (though I imagine some are), as in independently publishing not waiting to get signed by an agent and the agent getting them a book deal. Traditionally (like before 2007 which was when Amazon launched the Kindle) as a would-be author you could either:
- get a deal with a Publisher (preferably one of the “big 6”);
Self- publishing is basically print on demand ie a fancy photocopy of your book bound and which you pay for. Good for publishing your family’s local history – but frankly I’m more interested in making money than spending it.
Writers are waking up to the fact that eBooks give them a way to publish without getting past the gatekeepers of the publishers. And they make more than 10% of the profits, and they don’t have to wait years for their book to get published. Amazon allows anyone to self-publish at Kindle Direct Publishing
There is not just demand from readers for cheap books on Amazon’s best selling product – the Kindle – but there is supply – as writers realise that 70% of lots of $2.99 books is much better than 10% of $14.99 in about 2 years, maybe.
Marketers want to make money – they know how to promote any old crap to make it sell – and a surprising amount of it will. But a considerable number of them are terrified of writing. Writers (may) know how to write – but are mostly are clueless about promotion – particularly online.
I’ve found one guy who managed to combine the two skills sets. I found out about him because Amazon’s newsletter was promoting him (killer promotion tactic that one): How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months by John Locke – even if you don’t write fiction – you should read this, if you don’t think there is money in fiction, you should read it, if you think you have to be a Pultzer Award Nominee to publish a book, you should read this, oh and the fiction is his hobby he’s a successful marketer and entrepreneur. No prizes for supposing that he had decided to hit a nice round number like 1,000,000 before he put pen to paper.
But I was still wondering: was there a market for Indie non fiction?
to be continued ….