Results of the Kindle Marketing Experiment

Remember the “Kindle Marketing Experiment” post? Well, that post is now gone since the offer is over. But the results are in! And John Breese has generously shared what he’s learned in the following post.

If you’re interested in Kindle Publishing, this will help you make smart decisions as you get started. Enjoy!

-Ryan


Before starting into this post, I’d like to take this time to thank Ryan for being such a great help with my recent experiment in marketing a Kindle book.

This experiment, however, was not only for my benefit. A short while ago, Ryan invited you and the other readers of his blog to take part in our little Kindle marketing experiment, and it resulted in some intriguing data.

So to thank you for your help, I offered to report all my findings from this experiment to give you a more informed perspective before jumping into the Kindle publishing arena.

Why Kindle Publishing Is Worth Considering

I can’t stress enough just how important it is to send as much information you have on your business as possible, no matter what your industry, to the Kindle store.

Even if you sell pistons, you should have a whitepaper in the Kindle store. In fact, when I typed the term “pistons” into the Kindle store I found four books devoted to the industry.

However, the focus of this experiment is moreover for those seeking to set-up additional streams of income.

So I’m going to pick up where we left off — in the event that you missed the initial Kindle marketing book experiment post (which Ryan has since deleted now that the special offer has expired), here’s the low-down:

For the past couple of months, I’ve had two ebooks covering the subject of publishing Kindle books taking up space on my desktop, and after hearing Kindle millionaire Amanda Hocking’s name enough times, I finally grew curious enough to find out what I could get from Kindle Publishing.

My goal was not to mimic Hocking and become the next Kindle millionaire (though I do have some lofty plans for that extra million once it arrives).

My mission was to gauge how easy it would be to create an additional revenue stream, no matter how big or how little that extra income would happen to be.

This goal was based on three criteria:

  • Time investment: Though I’ve seen a few high-end Kindle books (up to $99), those examples are quite rare. The vast majority of Kindle books fall into the $1.99 to $3.99 range. This means that whatever you put out there cannot be allowed to chew up too much of your time — especially when aiming for scalability.
  • Efficiency: Aside from creating the actual work (even for a low-ticket price, I prefer to keep the work I use as original as possible), you must also factor in cover design, comment solicitation, Amazon approval time, and Fiverr gig deadlines (some people will take a few days to complete a job).
  • Cost: Once again, since your profit margins are likely to be low (just keeping a realistic perspective), you want to limit the initial cost as much as possible in the beginning.

Setting Things Into Motion

Let’s tackle the events of this venture by criteria…

Criteria #1 and #2: Time/Efficiency

For the time invested in the project, I took one of my existing in-house products and boiled it down to an adolescent’s comprehension and interest level (which was surprisingly more challenging than I thought it would be).

This took me a total of two days work.

While I plugged away on the revisions, I had someone on Fiverr designing a book cover, which was ready for me by the time the book was done.
Once the book was complete, I hired another worker on Fiverr to convert the book from MS Word to the standard Kindle format. It took him a day and a half to get that done (which is very good work rate for such a gig).

Once I received the files, I logged into the Kindle Publishing site and uploaded all the materials.

Amazon approved it quickly and the book was live for sale twelve hours after I had submitted it for review.

Total time investment and production efficiency: 4 days before going live for sale

Fiverr Kindle Book Cover

Criteria #3: Cost

Now, for a look at the overall costs. My costs were quite minimal, but I could have done better. So let’s tackle them piece by piece:

     $10 – Converting a 70-page document into Kindle standard format. (This
     price will vary according to who you find on Fiverr.)
     $5 – Producing a book cover.
     $5 – Populating a Twitter page
     $5 – Populating a Facebook page
     $15 – Soliciting reviews of the Kindle book
     $10 – Domain name registry
     $7.50 – Giveaway to Twitter users

     Total costs incurred: $57.50

     Total profits to date: $12.75 (over two and a half weeks)

Things I Would Have Done Differently

Looking back on it I believe I had put too much stock in the customer value of Bieber’s fan base. The use of the Twitter and Facebook pages has proven largely arbitrary. So far as I’ve observed they’ve generated no more than two or three sales.

The website I set up for the book isn’t pulling in much organic traffic, so I see it as a waste of time.

Given that this Bieber book is a one-off project and not one I’d seek to continue promoting over the long-haul, creating Twitter and Facebook accounts proved a waste of time and money.

However, if you’re promoting a book that centers around your main business or your brand as an author, I strongly recommend you use these promotional vehicles to perpetuate your brand. But for one-off auto-pilot projects, they’re not worth the time.

By skipping the domain name, plus the creation of Facebook and Twitter accounts, you’d subtract $20 from costs.

A second look at production costs would show that if you skip the solicitation of initial reviews for your book, and you already have a website related to the book (or don’t want one), you could get started for as little as $15 to $20 per book.

Other Recommendations

My initial plan out of the gate was to sell the book at 99 cents to pick up some velocity. If you were to look in on the book now, you’d find it priced at $3.99.

Turns out that I’m not alone — a few authors do this. But from all the seasoned Kindle publishers I’ve spoken with, sticking with the 99 cent price tag is not a great idea, as it fosters a low-perceived value.

On the durability front, it’s still a little early to determine just how things will play out in the long run for the Justin Bieber book. However, if the New Kids On The Block and The Backstreet Boys serve as any sort of a measuring stick, it isn’t the most evergreen product out there.

From what I’ve studied, the books that really make for great automated income streams include anything belonging to the evergreen topics such as health, wealth, education, relationships as well as popular hobbies (gardening, sewing).

So if you’re looking for long-term automated profits, stick to the popular subjects and try to keep away from PLR — though if you want to use one or three PLR articles as additional chapters, there’s nothing wrong with that, either.

Results So Far

So now let’s take a look at the profits of the Bieber book to date for a quick (but not necessarily accurate) view of what could be possible.

Looking at Kindle Publishing from a long-term perspective, if you can assemble a product within to two to four days each month, and keep the costs at or around $25 a month, your total investment would come out to about $300 a year.

If we take a look at the low-end of the revenue stream (like my $12.75 to date for the Bieber book over a two and a half week period) per book, your overall closing revenue for 12 books per month, would amount to somewhere in the vicinity of $1836.

I’ve seen all kinds of different revenues for Kindle publishers, so how about we go with a figure of $53 per month, per book (which quite a few authors achieve), your closing figures for a 12-month cycle would result in profits of $7632 on auto-pilot.

Of course, these are low-ball conservative numbers, but I think they help give you a realistic idea of where you’ll start and what you can set as a goal.

Wishing you luck,

John Breese

Ryan M. Healy

Ryan Healy is a financial copywriter and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like WordStream.com, SmallBizClub.com, and MarketingForSuccess.com.

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