In this Masterclass with Kindle Entrepreneur Adrian Ingram, we’ll be covering how to start to making money publishing Kindle books without having to write any books yourself.
Adrian is a young entrepreneur from Melbourne, Australia, who started selling on eBay in his teens to now making 6 figures a year from Kindle publishing, all while travelling the world.
In this Masterclass, Adrian shares a mini-version of his process in which he covers fully in his course, Freedom Self Publishing.
This lesson first appeared as a video on my YouTube channel, which you can watch below.
Otherwise, if you’d like to read along, I’ll be sharing my lesson notes in the following paragraphs.
First of all, I just wanted to cover some of the benefits to starting a business with Kindle Direct Publishing.
There’s a lot of talk in the digital nomad world about ‘passive income‘, and when it comes to making money on auto-pilot, Kindle publishing is one of the best hands-off businesses I know of.
Why? – Two reasons
1. You’re selling a digital product
Digital products don’t break, there’s no shipping, no fulfilment. The customer simply clicks the order button and Amazon does the rest. That brings me to my second point…
2. Amazon handles all the heavy lifting
Don’t get me wrong. There is work involved in making money on Kindle but once you put in the work and investment in up-front, Amazon handles the rest. There’s no customer service you have to deal with and once your book is ranking, it should stay in a good position as long as the reviews are positive.
Part 1: Niche Research
The first step to Adrian’s Kindle publishing process is to find yourself a profitable niche. This niche market is who your book is going to be catered to.
On Amazon, this means finding a topic with adequate demand and low competition. Unfortunately, Amazon does not provide publishers with a list of profitable niches, so the onus is on us to do some digging.
First, come up with a book topic that you think might have potential. Don’t worry too much if you’re unsure of its potential just yet. All you need to do first is head to Amazon.com, filter your search by Kindle, type in your topic and click search.
For this masterclass, Adrian and I decided to start with the topic ‘Computer Programming‘.
Step 1: Determine the demand for your topic idea using BSR
Once you click into one of the top books, you’ll want to check for one vitally important metric and that is the book’s Best Selling Rank (referred to as just BSR). This can found in the product description part of the book’s listing.
The BSR is the first important metric you need to look at because it shows you the demand for your topic. If the top ranked books on a given search page have good BSRs then it’s a good indication that there are people buying books on that topic.
While Amazon won’t give you exact sales numbers, Adrian estimates that a BSR of 100,000 or less (ie. within the top 100,000 best selling books on Amazon) indicates a topic in which there is enough demand – ‘enough demand’ meaning that you could stand to make at least $50 USD per month at a $2.99 price tag.
Step 2: Assess your competition
Now that we can see that there is demand for our topic, we now need to assess the competition.
Our strategy depends on our book appearing high in the search results for a given topic. If the there’s too much competition in our topic, then our book might show up at the bottom of the page or worse, further down the list on pages 2 onward. We don’t want that.
So how do we assess our competition?
We need to look at a few key aspects of the listing. The most important being the number of reviews that the book has and the average star rating of those reviews. For Adrian, any book with less 40 reviews represents an opportunity to compete. Any more than 40 reviews and your book might have a hard time making it into the top of the search results.
Other important factors of the listing include:
- The book cover
- The book title, and
- The book description
If the book title or description is poorly written or the book cover has a poor design, this might represent a great opportunity for you to come in with a better design and better sales copy.
Part 2: Get Your Book Written
If you happen to be passionate or knowledgable about your decided book topic, you may want to write the book yourself. A more scalable approach however, is to hire someone else to write it for you. This is what Adrian does for the majority of his books on Amazon.
Adrian recommends three services that can find you a writer. These are:
- Epic Write
- E Writer Solutions, and
Services like Epic Write and E Writer Solutions charge a fixed amount per 100 words and help you get started using a simple form in which you can tell them your book topic and how many words you want them to write.
UpWork on the other hand, is a freelance marketplace. Here you’ll create a job listing and recruit a specific writer, either by searching for freelancers or waiting for them to come to you.
While Epic Write and E Writer Solutions provided a systemised service at a fixed cost, UpWork is completely variable. You’ll have to write a detailed job description, evaluate freelancers and negotiate prices on your own accord.
Regardless of whether you choose to work with a freelancer or write the book yourself, you’ll need to make sure to use a pre-formatted kindle template. For this, you can find an example in Adrian’s full course.
Part 3: Design your Book Cover
When it comes to the cover of your book, you don’t need to be a designer yourself. This is where a super-convenient service like Fiverr comes in.
Fiverr is a marketplace of offers from thousands of freelancers at a fixed price. These offers are called ‘gigs‘ and they start at $5 USD.
Using Fiverr, you can get a book cover created for as little as $5-10 USD and delivered within 24 hours. All need to do is perform a search for ‘kindle book cover‘ or similar, you’ll find a bunch of gigs show up. Select a freelancer, submit your book details and if they do a good job, you can keep coming back to them each time you decide to publish a new book.
Adrian suggests that you ask the freelancer to keep it simple and if you have an idea for your book cover in order to make it stand out against your competition, let your freelancer know.
Part 4: Publish your Book in Kindle
Reminder: if you’re finding this masterclass to be a bit brief, definitely check out the full course on Adrian’s website.
With your the contents of your book written and the cover of your book designed, you’re now almost ready to publish your book to Amazon.
Of course, if the book is fresh off the press from your freelancer or writing provider, you’ll need to proof-read their work and make any necessary edits. Otherwise, you’re ready to go.
First, head to kdp.amazon.com, sign up with your Amazon account and then within your publishing dashboard, click on ‘Create new title‘. This is where you fill in the details of your book and upload your cover and book content.
Adrian makes the following recommendations
- Check ‘Enrol this book in KDP Select‘: This will allow you to run various promotions on your book as well as include it in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program
- Spend time to write an enticing book description: this is your opportunity to ‘sell the book‘. Spend as much time as you need to write a description which will appeal to your target market and use formatting (in the form of HTML) that will bring emphasis to certain phrases and make your paragraphs more readable.
- Choose an appropriate Category: Here’s where you give Amazon the best idea about what your book is about
- Choose 7 Relevant Keywords: you can use your topic as your first keyword and expand that topic into 6 others, making sure you use all of the available keyword spots
Part 5: Create a Paperback Version
While the previous 4 steps are enough to start making money on Kindle, Adrian stresses that you’re leaving money on the table if you don’t offer your book as paperback as well.
Luckily, the process of offering a paperback version of your book is quite simple.
The first step is to re-visit our old friend, Fiverr and search for ‘Createspace Formatting’.
As you’ll soon discover, Createspace is Amazon’s print-on-demand service and while it does involve a separate dashboard, the book will automatically appear next to your Kindle version on Amazon once you finish this process.
Once that’s ordered, you’ll then make a search for ‘createspace book cover’ and order a similar gig for taking your kindle cover (a 2D image) and turning it into a multi-dimensional document with a back cover and spine.
Once you get back those two files from Fiverr, it’s time to submit these files to Createspace. Just head to Createspace.com, create an account and just like we did for the digital version of the book, click ‘Create new title‘.
Adrian recommends the following selections:
- Choose which project you want to start: Paperback
- Choose a setup process: Expert
- ISBN: Createspace assigned
and then upload the book contents in the field for ‘PDF Interior File‘ and the book cover into the field ‘PDF Cover File‘.
There are plenty of other options for customisation but these are non-essential. Just make sure to choose a price, category and set of keywords relevant to your original listing.
The Importance of Publishing to Paperback
You may think of this step as optional – and it is – but trust me, the extra investment of $10-20 will definitely be worth your while.
Adrian reports that 80% of his revenue comes from the paperback versions of his books and for my book, it’s anywhere from 30-50% of my total book revenue. Needless to say, this step has definitely paid for itself.
And, one of the big benefits of publishing your paperback alongside your digital edition is that the reviews and book information are shared between both books.
Part 6: Promotion and Scaling Your Business
Unfortunately, parts 1 to 5 are all we were able to cover in this masterclass but once you have both versions published on Amazon Kindle, the more advanced steps include:
- Running free promotions,
- Adjusting your prices, and
- Hiring virtual assistants to automate your process.
Adrian’s basic process involves pricing the book at a low $0.99 to start with in order to accumulate reviews and sales before increasing the book price to $2.99. Then when the book is eligible, he runs free promotions to further boost book sales and reviews, two very important metrics to optimise for ranking your book.
If you’re serious about starting your Kindle publishing business, I’d recommend you check out Adrian’s full course at Freedom Self Publishing. This is where Adrian goes full-depth into how he makes a great living with little ongoing work, publishing continuously on Kindle.
As a student of his course with my own successful book, I can say from experience that Adrian provides a valuable and easy-to-follow system to making money with Kindle.
So, I hope that helped! Check out Adrian’s course if your interested. Otherwise, check out some of these other free masterclasses (below).
Until next time,
Watch the Full Playlist of Masterclasses here:
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links.’ This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.