Not too long ago, publishing a book was a privilege reserved for the most elite of elite authors. You had to create a manuscript and pitch your idea to publisher after publisher, hoping someone would see and believe in your vision. After all, despite what we want to think about writing being an art form, publishing is purely business.
Here’s how to self-publish a book and earn passive income in as much or little time as it requires you to churn out that manuscript!
Yes, You Can Write a Book
Today, quite literally anyone with an Amazon account is capable of publishing a book. Not only does this bring a warm fuzzy feeling of accomplishment, but it can be a very good source for passive income, as well.
For some people, the idea of writing a book is a thrilling challenge. Sure, it will take some time and effort, but if putting together and communicating ideas is something you enjoy regularly, this could be a fun and fantastic next step in your portfolio.
On the other hand, you might feel a little anxious about going “long format”. It’s one thing to come up with entertaining social media content each day, or to compose an email or blog post of a few paragraphs, but an entire book? It can be intimidating.
However, it doesn’t need to be too stressful. If you’re already producing a regular blog, vlog, or YouTube series, you’ve already laid the foundation of your book.
What Topics and Structure for Your Self-Published Book?
A self-published book does not have to be several hundred or thousand pages long. Many self-published books hover around the 30,000 word mark. When published, this becomes approximately 100 pages, whether your audience is reading a physical book or via e-reader device.
Take a look at the topics you discuss. Look at some of your most popular blog posts or videos. How can you expand upon these entries to make them valuable resources?
Remember: your goal is to sell these books, so make sure you choose a topic that your audience will respond to enthusiastically. You may want to start by looking at what other authors have been publishing in your niche.
Amazon is a very searchable site that will quickly tell you what keywords are heavily searched. Plus, the BSR, or Best Seller Rank (more here), of other books in categories relevant to yours will help you understand what people are buying, as well.
How to Self-Publish Your Own Book
The first thing you’ll need is a KDP, or Kindle Direct Publishing, account. If you already have an Amazon account, you’re almost there. You can get started with your new publishing career here.
The KDP website has plenty of FAQs and help topics to assist you in navigating the site. Remember, as you’re adding information such as your own biography or details about the books you write, that each field is searchable. That means that you have opportunities to put your keywords and website links in a variety of places, all of which provide handy ways for fans of your book to find your business, and fans of your business to find your book.
And all of these can be searchable on external search engines, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
The Format of Your Self-Published Book
You’ll have the option to publish your book as a Kindle or print book. Many authors choose both. From here, you’ll enter the book details and description. Bear in mind that some of these fields cannot be changed once the book has been published.
Therefore, you’ll want to carefully select keywords that not only describe your book well, but will yield results in an online search. Don’t mince words: Amazon provides a large amount of space to include photos, text, and even videos related to your book.
Once you’ve completed all of the steps to add your book’s listing, you’ll click the final button to confirm publishing, and your book will be available to the public in approximately 2-3 days.
What If I have Zero Ideas?
If you are planning to self-publish your own book, but you actually don’t know what to write to your audience, you can outsource the writing part to a professional writer. Just sum up your ideas and let them do the rest.
Making Passive Income with Your Book
As you’re uploading your manuscript, you will be asked to set your pricing information. The amount you make in royalties from sales is tied to the price point at which you sell your book. KDP provides a pricing guide that breaks down how their commission and pricing schedules work in detail.
Remember, however, that your main goal is for this book to sell, and continue selling, in order to bring you a line of passive income. If it is priced too high, you might make a greater profit per sale, but you may sell fewer copies. Likewise, if you price it too low, you may find yourself losing money by printing. You can adjust the price of your book over time, too, depending on how it is selling.
KDP provides analytical tools that give you an idea of how your book is performing, including historical and current sales. This will allow you to adjust your marketing campaign, landing pages, and pricing throughout the year to stimulate or get the most out of sales.
There are other ways to self-publish a book; however, many business people appreciate Amazon’s complete service package. They host the listing, and take care of customer service for delivering Kindle downloads or physical copies to the people who buy them. Essentially, once you’ve uploaded your book, you don’t necessarily need to visit it regularly. Bear in mind, though, that more robust marketing will often lead to more impressive sales.
One fantastic benefit of self publishing a book is that it truly does provide passive income. You don’t need to print the book, stock shelves of copies, or figure out the most cost-effective and reliable way to ship your book out to each customer. Since Amazon handles the customer service aspects, you can truly invest as much or as little time you would like into your book sales.
Add on to that, you have the ability to upload newer editions and tweak your product description as needed, which means you can offer e-copies of your book as promotional items and contest prizes.
Self-publishing a book can be one of the most difficult or easy ways to earn passive income, depending on how challenging you find the writing process. You’ll find with easy upload servand free services such as Amazon KDP, turning your passion project into a source of income.