Notice that five simple ways are just that, simple. But when it comes time to sell your book, especially as a new author, it’s going to take something called time. How much time? I don’t know, but it probably won’t happen in 2019 if you haven’t published yet.
Will it happen in 2020?
That’s a better guess.
If you’re the fittest and most patient individual out there, 2022 would be a decent guess that you’ll be free from the Dreaded Day Job (DDJ) and make a living writing, but you have to follow my steps from the get-go.
Let me be the first to tell you that I’m not making a full-time living off my writing. Not even close. However, I have made strides over the course of my first five months as an indie-published author.
Because I spent months doing the dirty work and researching the hell out of how to make a living as an indie-author.
Why not go traditional?
I have an entrepreneurial mindset and I’m also a free bird, so traditional publishing would never work for me. Maybe it works for you if you want an editor telling you which characters to keep, cut, and which scenes to keep and cut, while also recommending which way your story needs to go.
If you want that, take it, but the route isn’t any easier.
So, without further ado, it’s time to buckle down and get patient while following my easy steps.
Again, this isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, so don’t think for two seconds you’re going to score big within a month or so. However, there is a shot one of you reading this might hit it big and great, you earned it. Most of us won’t, but the good news is we will if we do what any other business owner does: Persevere.
Persevere through the fire, flames, turbulence, trials, tribulations, heartache, loneliness, and sacrifices.
And to think the Communists and Bernie Sanders’ of the world all hate those of us who either are or will one day become successful by taking financial risks and investing in our own businesses.
In the passive income world, those making six to seven figures deserve every penny of it, because this is a gauntlet few are cut out for.
Now, if I haven’t scared you away I’ll reveal how you can become, in time, an author who can make a full-time living.
Covers and Descriptions Matter
I’m rehashing the same hash, or I guess a more relevant term is information rather than hash, though it comes out as hash for new authors or aspiring ones looking for an excuse to not invest $80+ into a professional book cover.
You need a cover that captivates audiences, or at least your own target market—at least.
Pick something that will make a reader do a double-take, and you’re on your way to finding a readership.
This means investing in a professional cover that has good color contrast between your title, author name, and any other written elements on the cover and the cover itself. Make sure the cover looks good in thumbnail, or when displayed in a minimized version of itself. Make sure the cover hints at your story and fits the genre you’re writing in.
Also, don’t just pick a book description and make one up on the fly. For instance, I’d never write, ‘This is a book where an arrogant college athlete sparks a societal uprising.’ That’s called an elevator pitch, as if I were describing my book to someone just asking what it’s about.
A book description should have the keywords you chose at Amazon flowing through them, but not too much, over three-hundred words if it’s the first in a series, is told in present tense, and hints at the finer points of the plot without spoiling anything important.
The underlying rule here is to never underestimate your book cover and description.
Have a Blog
I’ve stated this so many times throughout my own blog. Even if you’re getting 100 new users per week, that’s 100 new sets of eyes on your blog.
See the right-hand side of this article? I have both books linked to Amazon. That’s 400 new eyes per month at this current traffic rate and 4,800 eyes per year.
Now, if your blog is more mature and you gain 1,000 new visitors per week, that’s 4,000 per month, and 48,000 per year.
If your blog is gaining 2,000 new visitors per week, it’s 8,000 per month, and 96,000 per year, and so on.
Now, imagine that in a few years you continue the blog you started this year in January and hit 10,000 new users per week, 40,000 per month, and 480,000 per year.
Imagine if one in every one-hundred in your audience was interested in your book.
That’s 4,800 sales per year, and if your average e-book price on Amazon is $4.99, that’s $16,766 your blog just made you. That doesn’t count other ways to sell your books. It’s one hell of a side income.
Even at 400 visitors per month, with 4,800 per year, you’re looking at 48 sales, where if your book at the same price sells 48 copies, you have $167 per year, meaning the money you’ve invested in a book cover just paid for itself. And even if your book contains a sequel, that book cover just paid for itself.
If you doubled this, both your books and your blog paid for themselves.
Oh, the power of free.
Yes, free works.
Yes, free will entice people to pay their hard-earned money for your products.
But how do we utilize free?
There are two ways.
1. Offer a free series starter, but since Amazon is stubborn these days when it comes to freebies, it might be a little tough to offer a free series starter on Amazon—but if you wanted, you could create a free series starter, upload it to Prolific Works, offer it for free, and link that book to a second book on Amazon. However, maybe the freebie book is a prequel to the series itself, meaning Book II on Amazon is really Book I in the series.
2. Create a novella or novelette series, based around one of your characters. This is my entire purpose behind the Neo Skyehawk Series, which is also slated to contain several books in addition to the four I already have on Prolific Works.
It’s important not to think of free as giving your books away. Instead, think of free as a sample, as a test drive, where the purpose is if the reader likes that they’re reading, they’ll want more.
Write a Series
Yes, if you want to sell a bunch of copies and make a true living as an author, writing a series isn’t a half-bad idea.
In fact, think of it this way.
I have Northern Knights for sale for $3.99.
Swords of Destiny is $4.99.
If the reader liked Northern Knights, it’s likely they’ll buy Swords of Destiny. If they wanted more after Swords of Destiny, they’ll buy Missing in Columbia, and so on.
I came to the conclusion there will be four trilogies in the Lord of Columbia Series:
1. The Original Trilogy.
2. A Sequel Trilogy.
3. A Prequel Trilogy.
4. A Golden Age Trilogy.
5. A Series Finale, which will be the 13th book.
What if some readers loved the series so much, and every series has its readership, I truly believe that, that they’ll buy all thirteen books when it’s all said and done?
And what if each book is sold at an average price of $4.99?
It’s around $45 in profits—per fan.
Persevere through the fire and flames and build the fan base, well, rewards come.
This is why a series will work for you. imagine inventing plots, and not characters. You save time, you have a readership who are fans of the series (YES, IT MIGHT TAKE SOME INVESTMENTS ON YOUR PART!), and with each new book you’ll have sales.
Paid Book Promo
Yep, none of us like hearing it, but paying for promotion works wonders, especially in the early days as an author.
Look, you’re going to have to prove your credibility early on, so paying for promotion, even if you have to promote your books during their five free days in KDP Select if you decide to take that route, you’re going to be rewarded for your efforts.
Early on, you just need one thing: Reviews. Reviews, reviews, reviews, and hopefully they’re good.
If not, don’t sweat, because you can always take the book down and repackage it under a different title after making modifications to it. Change everything in it and enhance the story, republish under a different name, even a different author name.
And that’s all you need to do, but don’t be afraid to pay for promotion. Once you garner enough reviews or enough positive reviews, Amazon will reward you by raising your book through the rankings, making it more visible to readers.
Also, by promoting during its free days, such as paying to expose your book to email lists, and some places like Freebooksy have hundreds of thousands on their list, you will gain exposure that will lead to sales that will lead to higher rankings that will lead to higher credibility that will lead to—me losing credibility by repeating the phrase ‘that will lead to.’
Okay, so in review, the five points are:
1. Covers and Descriptions Matter.
2. Have a Blog.
3. Understand the Power of Free.
4. Write a Series.
5. Understand Book Promotion.
If you have a homemade cover, invest in a premade one. Self Pub Book Covers is a great option and my favorite if you wish to go premade. They also modify covers and make custom ones.
Take your book description seriously and not as an afterthought. Work on and make edits to it as if you were your own book.
Have a blog and make sure the niche is somewhat relevant to your book. If so, you can do what I do and place the cover of your books in the sidebar of your site.
Give away a few freebies so readers become familiar with your work. If they love it, they’ll pay for more.
Write a series, because when readers wonder what’s going to happen next, they’ll stick with you until the very end.
Promote your books and do so when they’re free or at a discount, especially early on. This will grant you a serious readership early in your own indie-author career. Promote regularly and INVEST IN IT! People can’t read your book if they don’t know it exists.