Monthly Archives: January 2015

SPQ 038: How Do You Balance Attributing Sources with Telling Your Own Story?

girl with a laptop sitting on newspapers

The Question…

“If you use ideas you got from other people, how do you balance the need to credit your sources with the need to tell your own story?”

Biggest Takeaway…

The Answer…

Steve is not a lawyer, nor does he play one on TV, so he recommends checking out The Self-Publisher’s Handbook by Helen Sedwick. She covers everything related to running a self-publishing business, from trademarks to libel and slander. You really need to understand the legalities of running a book-based business. Continue reading


SPQ 037: How to Build Assets with Your Self-Publishing Business

Designer's Desk with Architectural Tools and Notebook

Introducing Self-Publishing Assets

In episode 36, Steve talked about some of his favorite books. One of those books is “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. Although Steve disagrees with a few aspects of Kiyosaki’s brand, he does agree with the idea of building assets.

Steve defines an asset as any item that generates cash flow. Your goal should be to build as many assets as possible. At the time of this recording, Steve technically has about 90 published assets, from Kindle books to audiobooks. He would like to add about 50 more assets to his portfolio in 2015.

Biggest Takeaway

Joanna Penn covered this topic in a blog post titled “It’s Not Just One Book: Your Rights and How to Exploit Them.” She talks about how you can exponentially grow you portfolio with just one book. You can put the book in Kindle format, print format, or audio format; leverage foreign rights to the content; use the books to create information products; turn small pieces of content into apps; or license your content to other people. Continue reading


SPQ 036: What Are the Best Books for Self-Publishers?

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The Question…

Alex asks, “What are some of your favorite books?”

Steve’s Answer…

Steve says a lot of his success has come from reading books on a daily basis. It’s really difficult to pick a list of favorites from all the books he’s read, so this list is limited to books on self-publishing and business. These eight books have a lot of valuable information for authors. Continue reading


SPQ 035: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: Does the “#30,000 Rule” Apply to Categories?

amazon categories

The Question…

Nigel asks, “When determining if a niche is profitable, does the 20,000/30,000 rule apply to the “Amazon Best Selling” rank in its entirety, or does it apply to any of the subcategories?”

Biggest Takeway…

Steve’s Answer…

In his question, Nigel referred to the “30,000 Rule.” Any book that has an Amazon ranking of 30,000 or below has at least five sales per day, which equates to 150 sales per month (or $300). In Steve’s early books, he recommended looking for a ranking of 20,000 or below, but Amazon is more competitive, so now he recommends a ranking of 30,000 as a benchmark. Continue reading

SPQ 034: Disappointing Book Sales – How Do I Increase Them?

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The Question…

Julie from has had disappointing results with her book marketing. She wants to know what she can do about it.

Biggest Takeway…

Steve’s Answer…

When Steve checked out Julie’s website, he noticed she is a doing a lot of the right things to build an author platform. She has her own podcast, writes blog posts, and has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Google+. Continue reading

SPQ 033: How to Write an Author Bio That Sells Books

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Author Bios as Landing Pages

In episode 17, Steve explained how to use an easy-to-remember URL to direct people to your Amazon author page. His URL,, redirects to his author profile and makes it easier for people to find his books.

Your author bio is your personal landing page, or a page designed to sell something, so it should always be helping you sell more books. It’s easy to set up your author bio on Amazon; simply go to Amazon Author Central and follow the steps. You should also set up author pages at Kobo, iBooks, and other platforms.

No matter where you have a bio, you must write something that engages readers and (hopefully) gets them to buy more books. Many readers check the “About” section of the author bio first, so you need to think carefully about what you write. Continue reading

SPQ 032: Can You Build a Book Business and Generate $10,000 Per Month?

american dollars in the handsThe Question…

Sherese asks, “What advice do you have for someone who wants to get into the Kindle business and has a dream of making $10,000 per month in residual income, but without an established platform?” She has always been attracted to Kindle and the idea of producing content for the Web.

Steve’s Answer…

A lot of people ask Steve how to make a certain amount of money per month. He says it’s very hard to make $10,000 per month. Even if you do everything right, it doesn’t always happen. Many full-time authors still haven’t reached their income goals. It’s not something you can do in a couple of months. Continue reading


SPQ 031: What is the Best Way to Format an Ebook?

spq31 format an ebookThe Question…

What’s the best way to format my first book? Is it best to go to Fiverr, or is it better to learn how to do it yourself? I have an older version of Word that doesn’t seem to work with what’s out there. It seems very complicated.

Steve’s Answer…

Steve feels formatting is his Achilles heel. It’s the one aspect of his business he hasn’t totally nailed down, so he recently hired someone to format his books for him. When he first started out, he was really frustrated by the MOBI format, so he created books without formatting. He would use asterisks instead of bullet points so the formatting didn’t look all over the place. It didn’t give readers a quality experience. Continue reading

SPQ 030: Dozens of Ebooks, Low Review Numbers. What Can I Do?

Magnifying glass focused on the word reviewThe Question…

Dennis has about a dozen books on Kindle and CreateSpace. It’s like pulling teeth to get people to review them, even on books that have been downloaded for free on KDP several thousand times. He wants to know Steve’s secret for generating reviews.

Biggest Takeaway…

Steve’s Answer…

In episode 2, Steve talked extensively about generating reviews. It’s not a secret; just talk to people and build an audience. He feels it’s all about getting organic reviews and telling people why reviews are so important. Make sure you tell people exactly what they need to do to leave a review. Continue reading

SPQ 029: My Presentation – The 80/20 of Building a Nonfiction Author Platform

spq29 author platformSteve’s Presentation

In one week, Steve is participating in the Author Marketing Live event. The virtual event, which runs from January 26 to January 30, has 20 speakers giving one-hour presentations. Learn more or register for Author Marketing Live at

Steve will cover the following topics during his presentation:

  • How to identify what works for your business
  • Email marketing
  • Which platforms to focus on
  • How to maximize your book launch
  • Simple marketing tricks that have a long-term impact on sales
  • How to scale your business into a full-time income

Continue reading

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