Part Four: How to Earn $1,000 a Month From Self-Publishing

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This is a four part series. You might want to start from the beginning. Click here to view part one.

4. September-December

The time has come to really kick things into high gear. You’ve got an entire trilogy of books available. That’s more than most traditionally published authors put out over two years, and it’s worth celebrating. In this final quarter, you’re going to use the power of free to boost your sales. You’ll also take your shot at email advertisers while trying to determine what else might give you a sales boost going forward.

Task 1 – Make Book #1 Permafree

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Promotional strategies change over time, but as of right now, the best one for a new author is to make the first book of your series permanently free. You accomplish this by changing your book price to free on the non-Amazon platforms, and by reporting the lower price on your Amazon sales page. From there, some authors will ask their peers to report the lower price, while others will ask KDP support to make the change for them. Whichever method you decide to use, make sure your book is linked up to the future books in your series.

When you listen to podcasts discussing the secret of some authors’ success, lots of indies point to when they went permafree with their first book. This model opens the marketing funnel much wider at the top. When 10 to 100 times as many people read the first book, there’s a much higher chance that more readers will move onto book two. It can be painful to see your first book out there for free, but it’s currently one of the most effective ways to increase the sales of your later books.

As you work to make your book permanently free, make sure to break ground on the fourth book in your series as well.

Task 2 – Get Email Advertising like BookBub

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Once you go permanently free with your first book, you open yourself up to a whole new side of email advertising. Through Amazon’s exclusive KDP Select program, you can make your book free for up to five days in a 90-day period. This allows you to apply for a BookBub’s service for listing free books, but it doesn’t let the email marketer promote your books to non-Amazon platforms. When your book is permanently free across the board, email marketers can send out the promotion to buyers at Apple, Kobo, Google Play, and more. Combining a permafree book with a successful BookBub is one heck of a jumpstart to any indie author’s sales. Make sure when you apply for a listing to choose every date in a 30-day range as a potential promotion slot. This will give BookBub the flexibility it may need to place your book.

Task 3 – Reach Out to Reps

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Every platform except for Amazon has more than book discoverability in mind. Retailers like Nook, Kobo, and Apple are interested in promoting books that will make them money. Representatives from each of these companies have worked with certain indie authors to include them in storewide sales and email campaigns. In most cases, the reps contacted authors directly when they saw how well their books were selling on that individual platform. It can feel like a Catch-22. You need contact with a rep to get a major sales boost, but a rep will only contact you if you have good sales to begin with.

You can overcome this hurdle with the right connections. When you know somebody who works with a rep, you can often ask them to make an introduction. There also may be opportunities through social networking sites like LinkedIn. Even if you get in touch with a rep, make sure you have a solid pitch ready to send. If you can line yourself up for both BookBub promotions and individual platform promotions, then you won’t have problem reaching a consistent four-figure payout.

Task 4 – Try New Things

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Email advertising campaigns and connections may be the most effective way to get your books selling on multiple platforms, but these certainly aren’t the only ways to get fans. Readers come to new content in all sorts of ways. Younger book buyers learn about readers on WattPad and YouTube. Some audiophiles find out about up-and-coming scribes through serialized podcasts and Podiobooks. Getting immediate sales from your books isn’t enough. You need to go outside the box to try to find new readers. There’s a maxim that says 1,000 true fans will keep you sustained as an artist. Unless you’ve reached or exceeded that same number of consumers who will buy everything you put out without question, then you need to continue building your brand.

Each year, dozens of new tools and ideas come to the forefront. Pick one and work it extremely hard. Outreach projects have a tendency to fail, but you’ll never know if you don’t put in the effort in the first place.

Task 5 – Plan Out The Next Year

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Thankfully, author careers can last much longer than a single year. The final task of your year-long journey should be to plan out the next 12 months. Putting another four books on your production calendar and giving yourself a series of marketing challenges may be just what you need to jump from four-figures to five.

Taking the Micro-view

Seeing an entire year’s worth of work on a single page can be overwhelming. Try breaking down each task into smaller bite-sized chunks. The most successful writers aren’t always the ones who have a massive scope of their growing careers. Sometimes, they’re simply masters at taking on one small task every single day, doing it to the best of their ability, and then suiting up to do it all over again tomorrow. Four-figures of self-publishing income a month will come to those who can plan and achieve the daily task every day for an entire year. Come gold rush or empty mine, these are the authors who will find lasting success.