Leveraging my past successes (example 1 and example 2) I was able to lean on a lot of my existing knowledge to quickly write and publish the book in roughly a week.
The main reason for publishing the Kindle book was to answer the simple question:
Table Of Contents
- Can you make money with short Kindle books?
- So why am I writing this blog post today?
- 2012 Income: $1,118.94 (3 months)
- 2013 Income: $4,755.61*
- 2014 Income: $3,048.66*
- 2015 Income: $821.36
- 2016 Income: $232.05 (9 months)
- Total: $9,976.32
- Why did the income fall off a cliff?
- What is my advice for prospective authors?
Can you make money with short Kindle books?
In first year I earned $4,534.41 while pricing the book for $2.99 most of the time. Not bad for one week of work but not exactly massive either.
Here’s the original chart I created for my 1 year income results blog post:
In my original results post I shared a goal to publish 50 Kindle books that generated $5,000+ a month by November 2014 so that I could add yet another income stream to the mix.
I never completed the 50 book goal in part because I stumbled upon selling physical products on Amazon and later devoted much of my time to building Salesbacker (SaaS for Amazon sellers) and AmaSuite (research tools for Amazon sellers).
I did go on to outsource book creation for 3 other book titles published under a pen name in a completely different niche but the income results were never really enough to justify spending much more time on it. I made a few thousand dollars or so.
So why am I writing this blog post today?
It’s been 4 years since I published the book and I wanted to share with you what the long term earning potential looks like for shorter self published book titles.
Here’s the income breakdown by year for this one Kindle book:
2012 Income: $1,118.94 (3 months)
Monthly Average: $372.98
2013 Income: $4,755.61*
Monthly Average: $396.30
2014 Income: $3,048.66*
Monthly Average: $254.06
2015 Income: $821.36
Monthly Average: $68.47
2016 Income: $232.05 (9 months)
Monthly Average: $25.78
The income total here only covers what I made from book sales, but the book has the additional benefit of helping get more people onto my email list and helped to further promote our WordPress plugin for Amazon affiliates – EasyAzon.
*Amazon changed their reporting in August 2014 and so October 2013 to August 2014 numbers may be slightly off. Did my best to recreate the earnings by month.
Why did the income fall off a cliff?
There were several reasons which contributed to the decline in book sales:
1. Stopped promoting the book
When I first launched the book I ran a few free and discount promotions, mailed my email list and pushed sales using outside traffic. This is a must if you want to generate sales for your book especially in the early days. Frankly I forgot about the book while being busy working on other much larger opportunities and for the past 2 years I’ve done zero promotion.
2. Competition increased
Over the past several years more authors wrote their own books covering this topic which lead to more competition for keyword rankings and fewer sales to go around for everyone. I’m sure I brought some of this competition upon myself with the original case study blog post. I don’t have historical data from when I first published my book but if you search Amazon Associates today and sort by books you’ll find a lot of titles published in the last several years.
3. Amazon changed how authors were paid
One major change Amazon implemented back in mid 2015 was to move from one system of payment called KOLL (Kindle Owners Lending Library) to KENP (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read). Amazon used to pay authors for readers that “borrowed” the book as their free title as a part of the Kindle unlimited program. Amazon likely realized that they could get by paying authors less and so they instead switched to a metric that’s related to how many pages are typically read for a book and then pay out based on that.
Here’s the difference from KOLL to KENP:
June 2015 I made $59.85 from this book. $27.08 of that total was from the KOLL program under the previous payout terms. July 2015 I made $40.38 from the book. Only $3.48 of that total was from the new KENP program.
By mid 2015 the book income had already dropped well off the years prior but this change accelerated the drop in income.
Most non fiction authors of “real books” spend months or longer to write a book. I literally spent about a week putting the book together using content and past knowledge that I had already accrued so the process was incredibly simple.
If you’re trying to accomplish what most traditional non fiction authors are doing with their books to help secure speaking engagements or provide some other business benefit it makes sense to write a “real book”.
If you really want to write specifically for the Kindle market can you make $5,000 a month with 50 books? $10,000 a month?
Yah probably, but as someone that doesn’t particularly enjoy writing there are plenty of other great online business models for me to pursue.
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Do you think that selling Kindle eBooks can be a good addition to a niche affiliate site?
An extra $400 per month won’t make you rich, but it can definitely pay a few bills 🙂
Hey David, to clarify yes it was an extra ~$400 per month but 4 years later that amount has significantly fallen. I do think you can still make money with Kindle books but I think it needs to be a larger focus for someone rather than doing what I did which was just putting out a few books with some initial promotion to see what happens.
Great achievement though! Did you go only a pen name for different niche? Or each niche with different pen name?
Used a pen name for a different niche. But I wrote a few other books that were within the marketing space.
Nice plan for the professional writer. Did you marketing your kindle book other sites or just in amazon?
Just Amazon and a link on this blog here (I don’t get a lot of traffic though)
That’s amazing. I believe this method still works. But then again completing 50 book!
Still exploring ideas.
Interesting to see that without promotion sales fell. Still, for one week of work and little promotion you did the result isn’t that bad at all. 🙂
Hey Nick, yah also I’m sure that I created additional competition for the niche by sharing my year 1 earnings as well. That said it’s no biggie. I’m glad I wrote the original post.
It’s always useful to see a case study with actual numbers, so thanks for sharing! 🙂
Happy to help. The original case study probably created additional competition and lead to the book earning less than it could have but oh well 🙂
hey chris – thanks for all you do – i love all your work and appreciate how you follow up over time. have a great day. – david
Saw your interview on youtube with
“project life mastery” and really liked it, you brought up some good points and great perspectives. Where should i begin in 2017 for a beginner starting of in Affiliate Marketing.
Hey Richard, thanks and sorry for the delayed reply. I would say decide on a niche and get started. If you’re going the SEO route it is going to take you a while to see results anyway.