Publishing Kindle ebooks on Amazon has never been so easy, and while earning money with those Kindle ebooks requires a little more effort and skill – it’s still very much possible and even more profitable.
The great thing about the books is once you’ve found a good opportunity and gotten the ball rolling is that they tend to be set and forget.
They truly are passive income streams.
They are even better than a website which requires constant backend maintenance and front end design updates to stay looking relevant and if you don’t have evergreen content? Then forget about it. They’re a lot of work!
Here are my royalties for last month (July 2017).
I’ve been targeting lower competition keyword opportunities that have been overlooked, but still bring in around $100 – $200 a book per month.
And there’s still plenty of those opportunities out there.
Finding Opportunities And Their Potential Value
There are a few different ways to find opportunities to publish profitable Kindle books on Amazon. They can range from quick and easy to slow and difficult. These also relate to the competition you’ll face in finding opportunities – the easier methods will most likely be the most competitive, the harder methods will be less competitive.
Looking through bestseller lists with poorly reviewed books
Earnings potential: high
This method is a simple way to find high demand opportunities for publishing Kindle books.
The premise is that you drill down into the Amazon best sellers lists and find books with poor reviews, then improve on them.
With a higher quality book, you will receive better reviews and eventually outrank the other book.
So how does it work?
Let’s run through an example.
You need to start on the best sellers page and click on ‘e-books’.
Once you’re in ebooks, you need to keep drilling down deep into the categories.
If you stay in broad categories, it will be very difficult to find opportunities since there will be magnitudes greater number of books.
For this example, I click on Travel > Specialty Travel > Budget Travel
I start scrolling through the best sellers and look what I find at number 41…
It’s a travel guide for Lisbon with 3 stars and 8 reviews.
It’s prime for the taking.
But before jumping straight into it, you should research the book a little more.
This is what the KDP Rocket software is perfect for (if you don’t know what this is I’ll be covering it later in this article including how to use it).
Grab the title and search it under New Idea Search…
After hitting Go Get Em Rocket, you’ll be taken to a new screen with information detailing things like:
- The number of competitors for the keyword
- Average monthly earnings (this is what we’re after)
- Google searches per month
- Amazon searches per month
- Competitive score (also useful)
Now these are some very important numbers.
Numbers that will be able to effectively decide whether this book is a worthwhile investment of our time and money.
We see that the average monthly earnings come out to be around $97.
Now that is pretty good.
Considering these are earnings for a book that has a 3-star review.
Think about what the earnings would be if it were a 5-star review…
KDP Rocket also offers a competitive score which uses known Amazon ranking factors. It provides the score in a figure between 1 and 99 which outlines the difficulty of ranking that book for the specific keyword you have entered. I don’t think it’s perfect, but it is a handy indication of how hard it will be for you to rank.
So we’ve validated that it is a commercially viable opportunity. The next step is to read through the comments.
You should be focusing on the 1, 2 and 3 star reviews and try to find any common themes in the reviews.
For this book in particular there are constant references to a lack of images, lack of maps and generally very thin detail on each of the things to do.
So now you know what you need to do in order to improve the book.
Using Predictive Auto Fill In The Search Bar
One of my favorite ways to find ebook opportunities in the kindle store is by using the predictive text auto fill function on the search bar in Amazon.
I think what makes it so great is that it really requires your creativity in order to find hidden opportunities.
First thing you have to do is make sure you set the category to Kindle Store.
Once you’ve done that you can start searching.
I find the best types of searches are those that are highly specific. Really drill down deep into a topic.
Be aware that this is a very time-consuming method, but the great thing about it is that you can find opportunities that no one else has spotted. That means low competition which is good for your earnings.
When using the predictive text auto-fill form method it’s crucial to find key words to use. Below are some of my favorite words to find opportunities:
Usually you start with how to _____ and fill in the blank with your word of choice.
Play around with the auto fill function and see what you find.
It’s an easy thing to do at the end of the day when you’re too tired to do anything else.
Using Google Search Results
Google loves using results from Amazon in its search results.
Get enough reviews and craft your Kindle page well enough and you might find yourself appearing on page one of Google’s search results.
If this is the method you’re after then you have to remember that you’ll be playing by Google’s rules.
What are Google’s ranking rules? Well, no one knows specifically – Google won’t tell us! But countless people have been deliberating since the beginning the different factors Google uses in its ranking algorithm.
The things you will need to pay the most attention to are:
- keyword placement & density
- Time on page
These are the things that you can control, particularly time on page.
Improving time on page is fairly easy…
…you just have to make use of all the options Amazon provides to detail and explain your book!
That means taking full advantage of the character limit in your product description.
It means building an Amazon Author account and filling it out with readable and interesting information relevant to the book.
It means taking advantage of every single area Amazon offers you an opportunity to place content on the page.
Don’t just copy paste your text all over the place though – that won’t work! And in reality, it would probably deter customers from buying.
Make sure your copy is unique in each area and offers some new piece of information, benefit or insight into the Kindle book you’re selling.
You want the reader to hang around on that page as long as absolutely possible.
A Review of KDP Rocket
KDP Rocket is an extremely valuable tool for creating successful Kindle ebooks.
So what makes it so great?
The thing about KDP Rocket is that it allows you to perform a comprehensive idea search which allows you to discover new opportunities.
Not only that, but it helps you to determine the best keywords to be using with your book (you only get to pick 5).
Once you have a list of potential books you feel like targeting, then you complete a competitor search to look at the competition you’re facing and just how stiff it is.
I’m going to have to write a separate review for the software because there is too much to cover and I don’t want to bloat this post out.
If you’re interested in trying out the software, they have a 30-day risk free trial. I highly recommend giving it a go, it has helped me immensely.
Getting The Kindle Book Written
There’s two ways to getting your ebook written. Either you do the hard yards yourself first and dedicate a month or two to writing every day to produce your book.
Or cough up between $100 – $150 and outsource the work to a freelancer and get them to write it.
Personally, I wrote the first book myself and used the money I earned from it in the following two months to reinvest in getting another book written.
It’s a slower approach but limits your risk (I’m still a university student so I’ll do what I can to save a buck).
If you have a little cash to play around with then I’d recommend going the freelancer option immediately, writing is hard work and I barely made it to the end myself.
Why You Should Use Freelancer If Outsourcing
I get my ebooks written through Freelancer.com. I’ve found it the best resource for this kind of work. I have used Upwork before as well, but have had bad experiences with that platform, some of the freelancers there and particularly the customer service support which is basically non-existant.
To keep things short I was being overcharged by my freelancer. I brought this to their attention and they said they do not get involved in pay disputes. They leave it up to the freelancer and client to settle pay disputes. So if your freelancer doesn’t feel like refunding money, then you won’t get anything back. Not only that but Uwork were not willing to refund any of my money – even though they were taking 20% of all the payments I made to him.
It left me frustrated so I packed my bags and moved to Freelancer. I haven’t looked back since.
The most important thing I learned from this is to protect yourself
When having the work outsourced it is vitally important to ensure you protect yourself throughout the process.
You can do this by setting up milestones and checking the writer’s work every couple thousand words or so.
This is crucial in the beginning – you don’t want to be committing yourself to a large project with all your money up front first, only to have poor quality work submitted.
Even worse, is if a freelancer you hire blatantly plagiarizes other’s work by copying it word-for-word and inserting it into the work you’ve hired them for.
It’s happened to me before and it’s incredibly frustrating.
You can check to see if the work your writer has submitted is free of plagiarism by using plagiarism detectors.
Write it yourself
This is a great option if you are passionate about the topic you plan to publish your Kindle book on. Hell, the first book I published on Kindle I wrote myself. There’s plenty of other people that are doing it too!
It’s a tougher path to go down and will take longer. There are going to be days where you feel like researching and writing nothing at all.
Just remember to keep on pushing and once you see those first few sales start rolling in, all the hard work will have paid off. It’s an asset that will continue to keep paying for years to come!
A Catchy Front Cover Will Take You A Long Way
If you haven’t heard of Fiverr before then you can thank me later.
Fiverr is the BEST resource for getting cheap work done, particularly graphic design work.
This is handy for us when we want to get quality Kindle book covers done for cheap with a quick turnaround time.
Here’s a link to the Fiverr person I use. These are the best covers you will get at the lowest prices. You can’t beat it.
Guidelines to getting the cover you want.
I find that covers that sell the best are either bright with vivid colors and great photography, or minimalist with flat pastel like colors. Experiment between the two, test them and see what you find.
Understanding Amazon’s Ranking Algorithm
Google is still light years ahead of Amazon when it comes to an effective ranking algorithm. That’s why you still see products with keyword stuffed titles that go on and on.
So what does this mean for me?
Well, it’s both good and bad.
It’s good because it’s still in its infancy which means you can exploit it to your advantage.
It’s bad because it’s still in its infancy and others can exploit it to their advantage.
Rather than run through everything about it here, I’ll point you in the direction of the Start Up Bros who have done an incredible job of documenting all the factors that are used in Amazon’s ranking algorithm.
Make An Amazon Author Account
It’s not a question of if you should or not, but you must create an Amazon Author account.
…And this is why
Having an Amazon Author account creates instant credibility. If you develop an author bio around the topic you write about, with a little picture of yourself and story about your writing, it will signal to the potential buyer someone who is interested, involved and passionate about the topic.
Another great benefit is that once you start publishing more books and claiming them as yours under your author account, Amazon will start listing them as other books by this author.
That’s free marketing!
That’s many more eyes seeing your work.
This is why you need an Amazon Author account and why you should take full advantage of it.
Getting Reviews On The Board
Amazon has strict guidelines on what constitutes authentic reviews.
Trying to game the system should be done at your own peril.
Other Tips And Tricks
If you have published a few Kindle books and they are in a relevant category, then don’t hesitate to link to them from within each of your books!
For each book I have published, I’ll link to all my other relevant books at the beginning before the introduction and at the end after the conclusion.
I also link the review page for the book at the end of the conclusion and thank the reader for buying my book.
Something To Think About
As well as making money by selling Kindle books on Amazon, you can also earn extra cash by including affiliate links within your books. Now, whether this is strictly correct remains to be decided.
I’ve read big Kindle books that would have sold tens of thousands of copies, if not more…
…and they included Amazon affiliate links.
I’ve read elsewhere that you shouldn’t include them in your ebooks because it violates Amazon affiliates terms of service.
What you do is completely up to you, just do your research and be aware of the risks of what you’re doing.