SPQ 081: How Would You Start a Book Business with $5?
Michal asks: When I started writing and publishing, I wasn’t in the business owner mindset at all. I published my first book with an investment of just five dollars. I needed to grow and see progress before I was willing to invest more in my books. How would you have started with just five bucks? Forget about your business background when you answer the question. Thanks.
Michal is the first repeat caller Steve’s answered on SPQ. His most recent book, “The Art of Persistence,” has a 7,900 ranking on Amazon, so it’s a solid book that is selling well. Michael is a great example of someone who takes action. English isn’t his first language, but he’s still doing a great job putting out valuable content and building an audience.
Steve says it would be really hard to launch a book with five dollars, but here is the 10-step plan he would follow if he had to try.
- Find the right niche. (Cost: Free) Spend a week or two researching the Amazon marketplace. Look for a combination of profit, passion, and personal experience. You want to find a niche that interests you and makes money at the same time. Steve talked about this extensively in episode 3 and episode 4. If he had to go back and start over again, he’d probably pick travel hacking, running, traveling, or fitness at 40.
- Research a bang-up topic. (Cost: Free) Spend one week researching potential book topics, using Evernote to organize your notes. Steve talked about Evernote in episode 27. He’d probably do something with a number in the title (e.g. 67 tips or 77 tips), or he’d do an interview-style book. He would interview authorities in his niche and ask them to give their best tips for getting started or succeeding in a particular niche.
- Write the best possible book. (Cost: Free) Steve would write a book that is at least 25,000 words long. The book would have a lot of useful content to help readers.
- Barter services with an editor. (Cost: Free) Find a great editor on Facebook or a writing website. Look for someone who is willing to provide their editing services in exchange for a service you provide. If you don’t have a business skill to trade, you could find someone local and offer to do lawn work or provide other services.
- Create a lead magnet. (Cost: Free) Compile a list of free websites, apps, and tools related to a problem you are trying to solve by writing your book. Offer this list as a free download to people who sign up for your email list.
- Sign up for MailChimp. (Cost: Free) This is not Steve’s preferred email service, but you get your first 2,000 subscribers for free. You can also use their opt-in forms to advertise your lead magnet.
- Pay for a book cover. (Cost: $5) Fiverr is not Steve’s preferred design option, but if you only have $5, it’s the best place he can think of to get a book cover. First, research book covers in your niche. Find books that sell well and have eye-catching covers. Save the links to those books. Ask people on Facebook or KBoards.com who they recommend for cover design. When you find a designer, provide links to the examples of covers you really like.
- Launch the book for free. (Cost: Free). Launch your book with a five-day free promo through KDP Select. Focus on promoting your book in as many places as possible. Talk to high-level bloggers and authority figures to get them to share your book with their followers. Steve talked about this in episode 72.
- Reinvest the money you make back into the business. (Free) You can use the money to pay for better covers ($100 to $200), save up for the edits for your next book ($300 to $600), sign up for AWeber ($20 per month), create a squeeze page (LeadPages or OptimizePress), pay for blog hosting ($5 to $7 per month through Bluehost), or pay for a premium theme for your website.
- Rinse and repeat. By repeating this process, you can create a nice passive income.
It would be difficult to do all this for five dollars. Hopefully, this process helps you cut costs while also providing value to your customers.
Resources and Links
SPQ 003: Steve explains how to choose a profitable niche
SPQ 004: Steve talks about the importance of focusing on one niche at a time
SPQ 027: Learn how to use Evernote to organize your book research
SPQ 072: Steve explains how to use paid advertising to launch a book