This article mainly talks about my average earnings publishing ebooks on places like Amazon for the years 2011 and 2012. I hope this helps others who are still on the fence about writing and publishing your first ebook. If you have any questions, please leave me a comment and I will surely answer you as soon as possible.
How it All Started
My hunt for online cash started in 2007 when I joined the eHow WCP program. Those were the good old days when practically any article shot up to the first pages of Google without little to no effort. Eventually I became a part of Demand Media Studios and earned a substantial monthly amount there as well. Over time, sadly, Demand Media Studios got tough. Titles began to dwindle and so did my earnings. I was still earning a nice income that usually surpassed the $1,100 mark, but nevertheless I was still noticing a steady drop, overall. You see, DMS was my primary source of income, since eHow had closed their WCP program around April 2010, and my AdSense earnings were not that great. As my world was crashing down, my work-at-home lifestyle was threatened. That’s when I started to look into other venues… some conventional, others not so conventional.
I started reading up on Kindle publishing through marketing forums, but initially I didn’t pay much attention to it or took it seriously. The more I read and learned, however, the more intriguing everything seemed. The idea of becoming an indie author and reaching thousands of people through ebooks was breathtaking. Publishing ebooks was definitely a different game when compared to article writing, in some ways.
Around April 2011, I learned the ropes and started writing my first ebook. It was a self-help book that explained various ways to get motivated and keep a positive mentality. Along with this, I published some PLR (which I had written myself and sold in the past) just to build my ebook library. Although PLR is now a BAD thing to publish, back then I was keeping in mind that the content was my own, so I didn’t see much of a problem at the time– despite that content being shared.
First Signs of Money
The first month made me a few dollars from my ebook earnings, but nothing to get excited about. By my second month, however, I was already earning about $15, which actually put a smile on my face. I’ve always been a huge fan of passive income, so I kept working on my library slowly but surely. Sadly, I also have a knack to multi-task a bit much, and was working on AdSense, DMS and ebooks all at the same time. This had drastically slowed down my ebook production and earnings. By September 2011, I was averaging about $30 per month. Although it was exciting, I was still afraid of what might happen in the future, since DMS had less and less titles to write.
So, I began to research the Kindle even further.
I learned which categories were the winners, and which ones I had to stay away from. Long story short, Internet marketing and money-making advice is largely unwelcome on the Kindle. If you want to be successful, relate to every-day people with common topics. These may include gardening, general advice and more.
Anyway, once I learned my lesson, I applied myself a bit more and started to diversify my writing across multiple categories. I also learned about tagging and targeting different audiences (more on that later.)
By October 2011, my income had increased to over $44 dollars. Again, nothing to celebrate, but I was noticing a trend here: My ebook earnings were going uphill no matter what.
Earnings Continued to Increase
Then, November and December came along, and I was no longer feeling so concerned about the possibility of a 9-to-5 job again. By then, I had improved my publishing strategy. Prior to November, my publishing method mainly consisted of experimenting with multiple niches. I tried everything from making-money guides to down-to-earth topics involving food and gardening. After all, this was one of the best ways to find out which topics were the real winners, in my opinion. Once I had slowly identified what the market wanted, I focused most of my energy on the more popular subjects. In short, these mainly include recipes, self-help, health & fitness, lifestyle among others. Feel free to read more about it on my blog.
Once the month of November arrived, I started to notice a significant amount of money as compared to my typical monthly income on the Kindle. As I kept publishing under popular subjects, my income jumped from approximately $44 (October) all the way to (roughly) $118. That was HUGE for me. I was now seeing a three-figure income, something I never thought would happen considering the low amounts I had earned throughout the year.
To me, this meant the beginning of something great. As I previously stated in part one of this article, my comfortable self-employment lifestyle was very much in danger. I had made a promise to myself not to ever go back to an office or desk job, at least not now.
My December Earnings: Even Greater Results Followed
Have you ever won the lottery? If so, that is exactly how I felt once my December earnings rolled in. Surpassing the $100 mark was big, of course, but the monthly income I subsequently witnessed truly convinced me how powerful ebook publishing can be.
While I had only made $118 the prior month, my earnings suddenly jumped to roughly $487 in December, and this was only in the US Kindle store. My total amount for the UK store reached about $25, thus earning me a little over $510.
2012 Earnings Average
Now, I understand I was faced with the holiday season, a time when everyone was buying more products and thus potentially increasing my income. As a result, I wasn’t entirely sure whether my ever-increasing ebook earnings were merely thanks to this, or actually due to the categories I was focusing on. Needless to say, I was happy with the results.
Fast forward to December 2012, and my income remains mostly consistent, although it has dropped over the months (and that’s totally expected). For better or worse, I dedicated the entire year to helping a close friend AND my dad publish ebooks. As a result, I put my own priorities aside for a while. At the time of this writing, he earns an average of $80 while my friend yo-yos from $250 to $400 on “lucky” months. Fortunately, i expect to get back into high gear in 2013 and resume my own account.
Granted, this quantity was nowhere near the typical amount I used to earn on Demand Media Studios, but the Kindle was quickly proving to be darn reliable nevertheless.
Are you an indie author? I’d love to hear from anyone who has already started publishing, as well as those who are considering it. I’d be more than happy to follow you every step of the way, so let’s keep moving forward together. Please comment below or visit my blog for further details.
Best of luck.