On your road to financial freedom and creating multiple income sources, ideally through passive income, you've probably come across the concept of selling your own books on Amazon.
In September 2021 I finally pulled the trigger. I'd heard about Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) before, and I saw the occasional YouTube video on my feed about how some were making monthly 5 figures from it. You've probably seen them too.
That was a weird month for me. I'd burned out from the rat race and, because I have a few income sources supporting me, I was able to take a few weeks off of working. Kind of recharging the batteries for a busy Q4?
(Incidentally, those few weeks off is when I'd reached a financial milestone of mine that I'd been wanting to achieve for the better part of a year)
I didn't not work. I kept my scheduled meetings and appointments with clients, and did do the work that I was obligated to do. I just put myself in sort of hibernation mode.
About 2 weeks in, I'd seen a video from Dane McBeth. Or I should say, Dane had a YouTube thumbnail that intrigued me (that's how they get you, right?)
Dane is actually legit, and so is his course, according to TrustPilot. So this is no hate at all.
I don't remember what the video was about, but it did lead me to a webinar. Again: that's how they get you, huh?
In that webinar, he spoke of Low Content Books and how you can easily create them, upload them to Amazon and start making money online.
Because I was in that hibernation mode, I didn't act on it immediately. But, I couldn't let it go.
A few days had passed and I said to myself “yknow what, fuck it. I'll create a low content book and upload it. It's experience. If it sells, bueno. If it doesn't sell…that's also bueno.”
And I'm glad I did.
What Are Low Content Books?
Low Content Books are… low in content. Who'd have thought that?
A regular novel clearly isn't low-content. It's 100 – 1000+ pages long and filled with words that someone has to write.
A medium content book can be something like a book full of quotes. For example, a quote book where 1 page is 1 quote, and that's it.
Low-content books are things like journals, planners, log books, music sheet paper, puzzles, and so many more examples.
In other words, low content books are usually books that the reader is filling in most of the content.
You, the creator, are only providing lines, or puzzles, format it according to Amazon's wishes and uploading it to their platform.
I dedicated an entire separate article on how to get started with Amazon KDP here.
My First Month on KDP (September 2021)
This is the only month that I actually spent time on my KDP stream of income, since it was my very first month.
That month, I created 2 types of books.
1 was a as low-content as it can possibly get, since it was a puzzle (created with PuzzleWiz).
PuzzleWiz allows you to very quickly generate some puzzles like word searches, sudokus, and lots others.
After doing some research on Amazon.com, I thought I'd found a unique spin on one of these puzzles, and created 10 different ones of these, with varying levels in difficulty.
After settling on a pen name, I then uploaded these onto my account and, about a week later, they were all approved.
This is definitely a character trait (fine, let's say character flaw), but I wanted to accelerate it from the start. Didn't event want to wait on organic traffic.
I started running Amazon Ads to promote these books.
Do not do this if you don't have any experience with paid media (and if you now have to google “what is paid media”, then you don't). I had about 5 years of experience then.
Luckily, the ads worked. Somewhat. Some sales came in. But, overall, I was spending way more than it was bringing in.
So, while I did sell 21 copies through those ads, good for $61.19 in royalties, I did end up having $120.01 in ad spend, ending the month at a negative ROI of $58.82.
Q4 on Amazon KDP (October 2021 – December 2021)
I wanted to take what I had learned in September and improve on it.
After all, when I created those puzzle books, it was because I saw it recommended in a YouTube video. I hadn't even bother doing any research.
So, I went out and spent the better half of a day doing research. Dane can explain far better than I can how to do some proper research.
I landed on a new niche and started looking for a Virtual Assistant on Upwork to spend a few hours gathering the content that would land in the published book.
I then created this minimalist book cover using Canva, did the formatting of the book for paperback and uploaded it to Amazon KDP.
Now, I told myself: “No more ads. According to the research this should bring in some sales at least.”
So, I turned off the ads for the puzzle book and haven't turned an Amazon Ad back on since. Not for the puzzle book. Not for this new book. Not for Q4.
And the sales did come in.
As soon as I saw some sales coming in for the paperback version, I'd reformatted it for a Kindle version and uploaded that as well.
I ended October with 11 paperbacks (of which 4 were the puzzle book) and 1 ebook sold, for a total in book royalties $42.14.
However, that month, I also had the cost for the VA ($31.4) which still left me with a profit for the month, but not since I started my KDP journey back in September.
This was a very good month for me, especially with holidays like Black Friday. Nothing had changed in terms of strategy. No changing or tweaking the product listing, messing with the keywords of the listing.
Just letting it ride.
If it sells, bueno. If it doesn't, bueno.
I could see that sales were coming in more frequently, and somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd week of November I woke up to notifications of sale every morning until the end of the year.
This month, I sold 26 paperbacks (of which 2 were the puzzle book) and 1 ebook, for a royalty total of $102.82. And this month it was ALL profit!
December 2021 Continuing the Q4 trend of the holiday season, this was my best month yet.
I had the privilege of selling 66 paperbacks (of which 1 was the puzzle book) and 1 ebook in this month, ending this month and the year with $257.89 in royalties. Again, all profit.
Summarized Amazon KDP Results
What is important to note here is that the only work I've done for this project spans about 2 – 3 weeks. Starting somewhere mid-September and ever since the 1st week of October '21 I haven't done any kind of optimization, uploading, or looked into creating more books (more on that later).
Amazon KDP Royalties
$464.04! But that of course isn't all profit, that's royalties (= after Amazon takes their cut)
- VA: $31.40 ($30 + $1.4 Upwork fees)
- Amazon Ads: $120.01
(The tool I used had a 3-day unlimited free trial)
This leaves me with a total profit (as in money in the bank) of $312.63!
All for somewhere between 6 – 7 hours of work total. If you want to calculate that down to an hourly wage (but why would you do that?), that comes down to somewhere $52.11 & $44.66 per hour.
The beautiful thing about all of this, and passive income in general, is that I typically get sales or KENP reads daily. Literally months after I've put in the work.
Am I Still Making Sales?
Honestly, I was very interested in seeing how my sales would be affected post-Q4.
And it's very clear that Q4 definitely was a blessing for me and I'm now back to receiving notifications of sales only every other few days.
Which, honestly, is very fine with me. Since October this has been 100% hands-off for me. Financially, it isn't anything life-changing. But it is part of a debt payment, a part of groceries, a monthly bill or two covered.
All that for 6 – 7 hours of total work on my part? Yes, please.
My KDP Journey (January 2022 – ?)
I am absolutely going to go back to Amazon KDP and creating more content in a few weeks' time.
Now that I've seen firsthand what good market research and quick & effective action can do, this is absolutely something that I'm not letting go. I haven't even touched audiobooks, or ghostwritten high-content.
KDP Champ Amazon KDP doesn't provide any automatic way of notifying you when you've made a sale. I use KDP Champ for that, which sends emails and mobile notifications – those are some good notifications to wake up to!
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