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The $10k Self-Published Book Launch

 

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by Nick Stephenson in Books and Writing

September has been a busy, busy month, and it’s been one of the least productive in terms of actually getting any writing done. Instead, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time trying to grow some alternative revenue streams, while attempting to keep my existing income steady. It’s been a real slog. But it was totally worth it.

On the 18th of September, I launched a new book. I didn’t publish via Amazon, Nook, Kobo, or iTunes. Instead, I launched the title on WarriorPlus – a popular sales network for internet marketers. Here are the results I woke up to this morning, 2 weeks after launch:

 

sales report

 

The book in question was a re-written version of “Supercharge your Kindle Sales”, with new content and a different cover. With the help of an experienced internet marketer, we were able to recruit 90 affiliates to help us launch this title and drum up over $10,000 of revenue within a couple of weeks.

The best part? That $10,000+ of income was split between me, my JV partner, and eight-dozen self-employed affiliates. Less than 3% went to the WarriorPlus site, meaning 97% of the money we made stayed in the hands of a group of self-made, hard working entrepreneurs. No publishers or retailers required

And even more exciting than that – more than 800 people picked up a copy of the book during the launch (at $11.97), and I’ve had a steady flow of emails thanking me for putting this content together. More important than any of the money I’ve made from this, I’m actually helping others get their foothold in the publishing game, which is worth all the effort by itself.

The end result of this is that September is looking like it’s going to be my best month so far – and it looks like I’ve (finally) been able to find a credible alternative revenue stream to Amazon. Just to put things into perspective, here’s how September breaks down for me:

 

September Sales

 

The WarriorPlus launch is labelled “Affiliate” here, just to make things line up with previous reports. You can check out my previous three months of sales to see how the above stacks up HERE. You’ll notice Amazon has stayed pretty steady, while other streams have risen and fallen. Is it any wonder why Amazon is the preferred retailer for most self-publishers?

I’ve posted before about the apparent obsession many authors have with “being everywhere” as though that’s some kind of sensible strategy. Obviously, it all depends on individual circumstances, but when Nook, Kobo, and Apple make up less than 15% of my overall income, there’s still a huge amount of risk if my other revenue streams go belly up. Just “being everywhere” isn’t going to be enough to protect you, unless you’ve got some kind of marketing plan to keep those income sources growing. So, why not seek out alternative sources of income? There’s more to publishing than Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple – although, I do LOVE Kobo – they’re amazingly supportive to Indies and it’s been worth dropping out of KDP Select just to be listed with them. In short, there are alternatives – you’ve just got to go looking…

My next post is going to cover how to launch a new Kindle release into the top 1,000 paid ranks on Amazon – at full price. I’ve done this three times now, and I’ve got a solid process I’m going to be sharing with you. So, if you’re not signed up for blog posts via email yet, drop your name and email into the signup form below to get updates as they happen. Oh, and go buy my books. They’ll give you inner peace, solve world hunger, and are all an excellent way of eating up space on your internal storage. The paperback versions also make quite serviceable hats.

And now I want to hear from you! Are you finding success outside of Amazon or the other retailers? Are you working on anything to expand your product portfolio? I’ve love to hear from you in the comments section – just leave a note below.

If you want a step-by-step guide to getting started on your email list, go download “Reader Magnets”. This free ebook will show you how to put this process in place and start building your email list – click below to grab your copy:

reader-magnets-3d

 

34 Comments
  1. That’s amazing, Nick. Many congratulatons And thanks for sharing. My income from Kobo and Nook and iTunes is beginning to increase, month on month and starting to make a fair addition to my income. Nothing like the income you’re getting, but heading towards the £200+ a month mark between them. Enough to make the difference between surviving and starving! I hope to find more time for all this analysing and marketing side of the business once I’ve launched the last of my back-list.

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      Thanks Geraldine!

  2. Adam Henig says:

    Great post. Nick. Also, enjoyed your interview on Rocking SPP. I agree about working with Kobo, but, like you, it makes up a very small portion of my total earnings. I’ve actually been thinking of doing the opposite and going KDP Select. I’d like to try it and see if I’ll be able to capitalize on the borrows via Kindle Unlimited.

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      so cool you checked out the Rocking Self Publishing Podcast! I had an awesome time on there. Let me know how it goes with KDP Select – I do know several authors doing really well from it 🙂

  3. L.L. Akers says:

    Very interesting. Thanks, Nick, for being so generous in sharing your info.

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      thanks!

  4. Seeley James says:

    Fascinating, I’ve never heard of WarriorPlus, thank you for sharing.

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      they have some amazing software on there. KindleSpy and KindleSamurai are both awesome.

  5. Seeley James says:

    Fascinating strategy, Nick. You’re blazing a great trail for others and we appreciate your sharing it. Are you planning to do this for your fiction works as well?

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      Probably not… this particular market is geared towards actionable non-fiction content, so fiction probably won’t work so well (actually, it definitely WON’T work as well).

      1. Good insights. Non-fiction is such a different beast than fiction. Do you that find one is easier to sell than the other?

  6. AFN Clarke says:

    You are one of the most enterprising authors I have ever “met”!!! This is astonishing news and congratulations. I guess I have just one question. When do you sleep? Ever?

    My head reels when thinking about putting in the hours you must put in to do what you do. Just trying to write a book I am always behind on my proposed time schedule, let alone anything else. Mind you, I do have a mother-in-law my wife and I are caring for who is slipping into dementia and demanding more and more of our time, 4 daughters and 5 grandchildren who I also want to share time with ……. life does get in the way even though I am normally an extremely disciplined writer ……but you inspire me and frustrate me and inspire me all over again …… good for you for exploring all these options and thanks so much for your willingness to share your learnings so openly. I learn something new and add something more to my own tool box every time I read your blog or books.

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      Thanks!!!!! I don’t actually sleep. I just congeal on the sofa. I’ve got an 18 month old son and another one on the way, but I have a very understanding family – they let me get on with it, mostly 😀

      1. AFN Clarke says:

        Understanding family is what its all about. I could not do what I do without my wife. But what I would give right now for a comfy sofa 🙂 My mother in law’s is 40 years old and feels like it ….

        It’s not easy with a young family, good for you for managing it all and getting the results you do with your writing, it’s fabulous. Cheers!

        1. Nick_Stephenson says:

          My pleasure!

  7. Dusk Peterson says:

    “So, why not seek out alternative sources of income?”

    Perhaps you could add Scribd’s subscription service to your own list? I went looking for Supercharge there last month but didn’t find it. Congratulations on the successful launch of your revision.

    25-35% of my sales income comes from outside Amazon. None of the other stores I’ve sold at amount to much on their own – Amazon outperforms them all in title discoverability – but added together, they’re a sizeable chunk of my income. And I know I’m reaching readers who don’t shop for ebooks at Amazon, which is important to me.

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      I’ve had a couple of books on Scribd but not seen much movement there. I do know some people are doing really well from it, and I hope that continues!

  8. Congrats, Nick. Thanks so much for sharing your journey. I am glad you found this alternative revenue source and continue to be adventurous with exploring new options. I hope you are having a bit of fun as well. I love this blog! You provide a nice counterpoint to stuff I read all the time. I am wishing you absolutely stupid amounts of money. Well done, sir.

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      Thanks Taryn!

  9. mohadoha says:

    Can’t wait for the next post as I have a new release coming up. And I confess I’m a bit intimidated by software and graphs….

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      What are your thoughts on Pie Charts? Mmmm pie….

  10. Katy Walters says:

    Nick You have been so helpful and really helped me get my books on track. After studying your book, ‘Supercharge’ I took the titles and pricing apart then saw tot he websites and now the books are high on the sites and selling really well. So a big thank you. Your energy is incredible. Don’t forget to take the vitamins.

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      Thanks Katy! So glad you’re doing well 🙂 I’ve got my bottles of vitamins lined up!

  11. Anita Belli says:

    Selling books is the hardest part of the whole thing for me. Not doing too well and seem to be putting far more effort in than into writing the next one. I shall read through all of your previous posts Nick and see where I am going wrong. Thanks

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      Good luck Anita! I’ve found having a bunch of books is a good starting point – giving away free copies in exchange for people’s email addresses is key (then you’ve still got full-price ones to sell them too).

  12. louisbille says:

    Hi Nick-

    My latest new fiction release peaked at about 1,200 paid on Kindle. I can pretty much tie my new release performance to my growing mailing list, currently with 1,500 names – of which approximately 20% can be counted on to buy in the first 48-72 hours. Have you experimented with designing a mobile app to build your newsletter subscriptions? I can find NO help on how to construct such an app.

    1. Nick_Stephenson says:

      I’ve never tried an app – I guess it would all depend on what kind of app you’re going for… I think Odesk or Elance would be the place to find a freelancer to design this. I don’t think it would be cheap though 🙂

      1. louisbille says:

        I don’t mind the cost, because I have seen the value of a growing New Release Newsletter. I have used Bookbub for nearly each of my 21 novels over the past 2 years, I was one of their first adopters I think, probably sent those guys nearly $10k – and realized a nice ROI. After chaining together a years’ worth my sales numbers essentially tripled! Anyway, curious to see your New Release strategy, I have one of my own that I have yet to implement –

        1. Nick_Stephenson says:

          It’s definitely worth growing your list – that’s the key to a good launch, as I’m sure you know! I am experimenting with giveaways right now, they seem to be working rather well. More on that when I have the figures!

          1. louisbille says:

            I may steal the idea you used in one of your titles: listing a brief promo link to a free novella in the Book Description section of the Amazon listing page. I think we are quite similar: I too have over a dozen fiction titles and sales approaching the 250,000 mark. I just downloaded Fallen and am looking forward to the read.

          2. Nick_Stephenson says:

            Yes, that really works well. I get anywhere between 20 – 30 signups a day based on that alone. You can imagine, over time, that adds up pretty quick! And when boosted with a Bookbub ad, I’ve seen that figure hit 800 in 48 hours. These guys tend to stick around as well, so getting them on a (well curated and non-spammy) email list is great.

            Thanks! I hope you enjoy Fallen!

  13. Antara Man says:

    I was thinking the same – this works only for non-fiction. However, I think that wattpad might be a good choice for book promotions

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