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SPQ 042: What is Your “Why?”

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The Answer…

This episode was recorded in late January, but it’s going live on February 4, the same day Steve flies from Newark to Amsterdam and then from Amsterdam to Tanzania. He’ll spend seven days hiking Mount Kilimanjaro and going on a safari. These are two things he’s wanted to do his entire life.

There are two reasons Steve is a self-published author: freedom and the ability to live life on his own terms. What is your “why”?

Biggest Takeaway…

Continue reading

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SPQ 041: Can You Use Affiliate Links within Kindle Books?

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The Question…

Tyler asks via email:

“Within Kindle books, can you use Amazon affiliate links to link to other products or books? And can you link out to other affiliate products?”

Biggest Takeaway…

The Answer…

Affiliate marketing is a great way to generate income online. You recommend a service or tool, and if people go through your link and buy it, you get a commission. In a way, you act like a salesperson for other companies. Steve was very successful with affiliate marketing from 2006 to 2014. Even though he sold his last major affiliate marketing site in 2014, he still dabbles in it from time to time. Continue reading

SPQ 040: Free Books – Do They Tick Off Paying Customers?

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The Question…

Tom asks via email:

“If people buy your book, and later you give it away for free or discount it, do you get any negative feedback from those who purchased at full price?”

Biggest Takeaway…

The Answer…

This question is from Tom “Big Al” Schreiter, who is a very prolific writer and a great example of someone who takes action. One-third of his sales come from print books, one-third from audiobooks, and one-third from Kindle. He does a great job finding a good balance with all of his different product lines. Continue reading

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SPQ 039: 30 Days Post-Launch, What’s the Best Way to Revive Sales?

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The Question…

Ted asks via email:

“I published a book recently – Sugar Detox – and it did very well at the start but has now tapered off quite a bit. Do you have any secrets on how to revive books that have slowed down after the initial burst? It’s been about 3 weeks since publication, and I followed the Free – .99 cents – $2.99 format in KDP.”

Biggest Takeaway…

The Answer…

For self-publishers, making sales and reviving flagging sales are two of the biggest concerns. There is increasing competition on Amazon, even though there are a lot of gurus who say Amazon is full of opportunity and infinite abundance. There are a lot more writers who are writing for the same audience, so Steve says the Kindle “gold rush” is over. Gone are the days of throwing a book on Amazon and making a lot of sales without doing any work. Continue reading

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

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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

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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

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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

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

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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 TrulyMadlyDeeplyHappy.com 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, HabitBooks.net, 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

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