≡ Menu

I’m not totally against bending rules myself, but here’s a rule I disagree with…

PRETENDING my book which isn’t a new release… is a new release, by changing the release date in the back end of KDP.

Now, I’m sure there were authors who had to update their book regularly (myself included on a keyword research book when the Google keyword tool changed) but I am also certain there were even more authors who took advantage of this glitch/feature to the max, renewing their “hot new release” status just as soon as it finished a month later, even though there had been no updates to speak of.

How to report Kindle Violations Follow Me on Pinterest Personally I’ve seen it all over the “authorship” category, and “black hat” methods like this seem to do little for their sales rank long term. (Or maybe I’m wrong, and things would have been FAR worse without this cheat!)

Anyway, to cut a long story short, this seems to have been cut off at the back end of KDP now. Those who were “cheating” and blocked the “real” new releases from getting a break have been stopped. New authors… You have a better chance now. 🙂

Next up, the people offering rewards for reviews… We’ve all seen the emails!

I don’t want your stupid download if it costs me a false review!

Ahem… Do it like I do, ask for a page share or sumthin’ for your download! Build credibility with the big Google for your own site with those shares.
The alternative is to build an email list… Probably the better option, but for me, thousands of links to my site was a nice way to get this new domain going while getting great info for myself and my readers.

I bet some of those idiots would say I wasted time interviewing other great authors when it has helped bring thousands of visitors to my site… Dollared up Gurus seem to be clueless about the “work your way from the bottom” side of things while they fork out money for ads, or cheat their way to Kindle sales and reviews and slate other people.

Here’s what I got back from a recent chat with KDP when I asked if this method of getting reviews was legal (of course, I’d like to use it myself if it is OK!)…

Hello,

We don’t allow reviews written for any form of compensation other than a free copy of the product provided up front. Other forms of compensation, including gift cards to purchase the product, product refunds, and review swaps, are not allowed.

Customer Reviews are meant to give customers unbiased product feedback from fellow shoppers. Because our goal is to provide Customer Reviews that help customers make informed purchase decisions, any reviews that could be viewed as advertising, promotional, or misleading will be removed.

If you suspect that an author is violating Amazon’s guidelines, please provide us with a specific example by sending us the name of the author or a link to their publication. We’ll investigate and take the appropriate action.

If you have additional questions, please review our Customer Review Guidelines (http://www.amazon.com/reviews-guidelines).

Thank you for your interest in Amazon.com.

You’ll see that some big names are getting away with this at the moment, and it’s the only reason they are “big names” imho. it’s only a matter of time before they are reported by people receiving that kind of email…

I’m of the opinion that the self-publishing community in general are a pretty intelligent bunch and are switched on enough to follow the rules. Those who shove their illegal self promotion in our faces thinking that self-publishers are stupid sheep, are taking a massive risk. It only takes a few hard working self-publishers who are pissed off with all the black hatters to send a quick note inside KDP to get them banned completely… Honestly, 100 and something reviews after 2 days in the publishing category… Steve Scott doesn’t even manage that, but then… he’s all white hat… and still outselling them.

Don’t let them get away with it at the expense of those hard working authors who stick to the rules is my suggestion.

I’ll not get started today on fiction authors/publishers who blatantly put their books in a non-fiction category so that they can claim #1 bestseller status or increase their exposure by pushing those who actually belong in said category down.

OK… I’ll get started a little…

Imagine this… somebody buys their book… asks for refund and gets all their money back because it is fiction, not non-fiction as the category states… leaves 1 star review for deception, or because…

I bought this book because I thought it was a business book, but some idiot put fiction in the business category, so I gave it 1 star.

If it’s black hat on the side of publishing companies or individuals… some people will be seriously unhappy with a few honest reviews like that.

So for you reader, (and author I imagine!) here are the options…

  • Sit back and watch them cheat us.
  • Put a complaint in. It’s your call on how easy it is for them to bend us all over, roger us, get to the top rankings, and then sell us books on stuff totally unrelated to how they cheated their way to the top… With bribed reviews to boot that con every new reader into believing that what those “bribed” reviews hold is the public’s opinion.
  • Where do your priorities lie when you start to realize that the “authors” in the above category hold you back from taking the lions share of sales?

{ 2 comments }

Hey again guys, welcome to yet another expert author interview!

Today we have an author who to my mind, is probably the biggest name in the “Kindle self-publishing help” niche, with regard to finding said help on Amazon.com itself. If there is an angle in this industry you need education on, this guest has likely written THE book. (Apart from keyword research one… Just to be clear, I did that one, not him. Yaaa! In your face Scott!)

Steve Scott Interview Follow Me on Pinterest It’s refreshing that our guest is also willing to let us in on the secret that he is not a “big tools guy” a little way into the interview. I say more power to ya, it takes a brave man to finally come out on a big interview like this, we all still accept you buddy!

After doing some homework on our guest for this interview I’d like to say I know him inside out now, but that’s probably a bad idea after the above paragraph so I’ll just get to the meat interview.

Moving on… I’m not sure why I put up this facade for every interview as if the authors name isn’t plastered all over the title tag and URL, but anyway, here he is…. Steve Scott!

  1. Who has been the biggest influence on you with regards to self-publishing?

    The guys at the Self-Publishing Podcast. While they’re primarily fiction writers, the content they regularly provide can be used to build a successful author platform in any genre or niche. I specifically like the fact that they’re always trying new things and being honest about when things work and when they don’t.

  2. What is the single most important tip you would give to anybody thinking of self-publishing?

    Steve Scott Author Catalog Tactic Follow Me on Pinterest Focus on a single niche or market. Most successful self-published authors take a catalog approach with their business. They consistently create content for a specific type of audience and turn each successive book into an opportunity to reach new readers. And as you build up a catalog of books, you have more to offer people when they first discover your brand.

  3. If you could go back in time and speak to yourself shortly before publishing your first book, what would you tell yourself to do differently?

    I would have focused more on writing quality books, instead of sticking to a specific publishing schedule. Often, I felt it was more important to follow my timeline, rather than write books that solve every problem a reader might encounter. I would tell “Past Steve” that it’s okay to slow down the writing speed and create longer word count books that are chock-full of actionable content.

  4. What is the biggest mistake you have made on your self-publishing journey?

    Not working with an editor from the beginning. While I tried my best to proofread the content, it was no substitute for having someone go over the content and correct the language. Actually, I’m now at the point where I work with two editors and a proofreader. I’m willing to pay the extra cost because I know they catch 99.99% of my stupid mistakes.

  5. Are there any tools you use to help with book publishing that you would recommend to others or are they the work of Satan?

    Steve Scott Kindle Tools Follow Me on Pinterest I’m not really big “tools” guy. From the ones that I’ve seen, most software focus on trends instead of building a brand around a specific audience. Honestly, my preferred tool is creative thinking. I regularly take time to think about what else a reader might want to learn in my market. This habit is far better than using a piece of software because it helps you write unique books instead of publishing another “me-too” title.

  6. Any book’s cover is of course important, this we all know. What recommendations do you make with regards to creating, or outsourcing cover creation?

    I have four pieces of advice:

    • Unless you’re a professional designer, don’t create your own covers
    • Be willing to invest in your cover—I typically spend around $200 for my covers.
    • Find good examples of what you like and show them to your designer.
    • Once you find a good designer, keep working this person and give them additional work. This is how you create a consistent “look” to your catalog of books.
  7. How should you approach writing your book’s description, and why?

    Steve Scott Amazon Description Follow Me on Pinterest I use a three-part approach to writing the description:

    1. Identify the problem.
    2. Describe a possible solution to the problem.
    3. Describe how your book solves that problem.

    Honestly, this is a very simplified version of what the copywriting experts usually recommend.

  8. What other areas of your authors central account should you concentrate on and why?

    The only thing that I use from Author Central is the “Add Your Book” feature, which displays your book under a specific pen name. Besides that, I tend to update and edit my books through the KDP platform.

  9. Do you have any tips to share with us about pricing books?

    Steve Scott Books and Pricing Follow Me on Pinterest I really like the $2.99 price point for my books. Like I said before, I take a catalog approach to my business. Yes, $2.99 is a lower price, but I know that if a reader likes one of my books, she will go on to check out my other titles. So ultimately, I feel lower prices lead to more profit per reader.

  10. For you, is self-publishing the easiest way to make money online at the moment, or is there something easier?

    Steve Scott Income Follow Me on Pinterest It’s definitely not the easiest method because it requires a lot of dedication. However, it’s a great income model for anyone who is willing to work hard. If you’re willing to take the time to understand what works with self-publishing and apply this on a daily basis, you can generate a reliable income.

  11. What was the first book you ever published, and was it a success?

    It was called “Make Money Online – 55 Ways to Make Extra Money Fast Using Your Computer.” I’ll admit the title is pretty spammy. But I’d consider it to be a success because it showed the potential behind Kindle publishing. While I put almost no effort into this book, for awhile it was selling 5 to 10 copies a day ($10 to $20 per day.) It was the seed of the idea where I wondered what would happen if I put a LOT of effort into writing quality books. And as they say, the rest is history.

  12. How can authors get started building income on the back end of Kindle books?

    Actually, my advice is to use “other Kindle books” as your backend. Whereas most people use smaller books to generate interest for a high-ticket item or coaching service, you can build a reliable business by recommending your other titles. Frankly, it’s a heck of a lot easier to get someone to purchase another book when compared to a $97 information product.

  13. Affiliate links inside Kindle books, yes or no? Why do you take that stance?

    Steve Scott Affiliate Links Follow Me on Pinterest In the past I’ve included affiliate links. But now I avoid them because I want readers to know that any outside recommendation comes from a genuine desire to help them solve a problem. Readers on Amazon can be extremely critical. So even if you absolutely love a product, even giving the appearance of being too self-serving could lead to a few negative reviews.

  14. Are there any “myths” or misconceptions about self-publishing (Kindle or in general) which you can dispel?

    Yes, absolutely. The one myth that drives me nuts is the importance of keyword research. Software tools that target keywords do have their place if you’re struggling to find a niche, but if you only rely on keywords, you’ll publish a series of books that don’t relate to one another. This isn’t building a business because you’re not connecting with a specific type of customer.

  15. How realistic do you think it is for the average author to make a full-time living on Kindle?

    Kindle Publishing Fundamentals Follow Me on Pinterest It’s realistic because I know many people who do make a decent living through self-publishing. However, it requires a long-term approach. You can’t publish a few books and expect them to create a full-time income. My advice is to consistently publish books and connection to a specific audience. You really can’t put a “timeline” on when this happens, but if you apply the fundamentals and stay consistent with your efforts, you’ll have more success than the people who try to shortcut the process.

  16. What are your minimum criteria for you to consider one of your books “successful?” (A certain amount of units sold per month? A certain amount of revenue per month? Well received and reviewed by the public?)

    I’m a firm believer in the “baseball approach” to Kindle publishing. I’d consider a “single” to be around the five copies per day sales mark. And I’m happy with anything that’s a single or above because each single leads me one step closer to that home run. 🙂

  17. How long did it take to get a big break, and what was the tipping point for you? Advertising? Someone of influence recommending your stuff? Or did you just go from “shit” to “hit” over night?

    For me, the tipping point was staying consistent. Like I said in the previous question, I followed the singles-mindset from the beginning. So with each book, my revenue slowly grew and eventually I reached a point where I could live just off my Kindle earnings.
    Then on my 40th book (Habit Stacking), I hit that home run that tripled my revenue. From start till finish, it took over 18 months to reach my current level. Hopefully this will grow as I focus on improving the reading experience of every future book.

  18. How soon after seeing a book published do you expect it to start a regular sales pattern? (If you see patterns?)

    Kindle Discount Promotions Follow Me on Pinterest Usually it takes two months from the launch date for a book to hit a regular sales pattern. Before that, a book will sell a lot of copies, simply because it’s new. After that point, the sales will decline and match the performance of other books.
    I try to minimize what I call “book atrophy” by regularly running $0.99 discount promotions and using my email list to push older titles.

  19. Would you like to tell us about your latest projects and/or new releases?

    Right now, I’m mixing it up with the types of books that I’m publishing. Currently, I’m working on a few books that should be moderately successful. But I’d also like to repeat the success of Habit Stacking by putting together an extremely in-depth book that would be heavily promoted using a traditional book launch (something I’ve never tried before.)

  20. Is there anything I haven’t asked about, that you think aspiring authors should know?

    I’d say it’s extremely important for all aspiring authors to focus on building an email list. If you follow my advice (from the other questions) and publish on a consistent basis, you can use each book launch to add more subscribers to your list. So, in theory, your platform will exponentially grow as you create more content. Down the road, you can basically hit the best-seller status simply by harnessing of your email list.

Once again we come to the end of another great set of answers. In parting, I’d like to give a MAHOOSIVE shout out to the legendary Steve Scott for taking the time out of his excessively greedy incredibly busy schedule, and for putting up with my warped sense of humor.
Thank you very much Steve, I appreciate it, and I’m sure all of the other authors who reads this will appreciate it too!

Connect With Steve Scott

Twitter
FaceBook
Author pages at Amazon.com:
S.J. Scott (Personal development)
Steve Scott (Internet business strategies)
SteveScottSite.com

{ 4 comments }

Hey all, in todays interview we have another great Kindle publishing teacher, the Author of “Kindle Bestseller Secrets” and “Why Authors Fail” is going to give us his feedback on my 20 questions.

Once again we have a teacher who likes to impress upon us just how important the mental side of the self-publishing game is, and I’d also like to point out that our interviewee is in tip top physical condition, and has a surname that it’s virtually impossible to know how to pronounce… just like our previous interviewee!

Wow! So, we’re starting to spot common themes already!

Being in a healthy state of mind, while maintaining a healthy body, helps you in any calling, be it authorship or whatever. As I sit here drinking my pint of wine, I can honestly tell you this is fact! Just ask my psychiatrist, I quizzed him on the accuracy of my assumptions, and he was most insistent that I was right while I was shoulder pressing him near his balcony the other day.

“Mens sana in corpore sano.” To quote erm… some Roman geezer.

Anyway, this article isn’t about me. Its about a top notch author with top notch promotional skills to boot… I give you Derek Doepker:


Derek Doepker Interview Follow Me on Pinterest

And did I mention these authors are multi-talented so far? Smart people like me call them “polymaths,” which means they can do mathematics AND other things at the same time!



Go Derek! How about that guys!!!

Derek Doepker Interview

  1. Who has been the biggest influence on you with regards to self-publishing?

    I started self-publishing before I had any major influences in the self-publishing world, but I give a lot of credit to Tom Corson-Knowles for assisting me early on in the process to go from struggling to successful. Thanks to his guidance and studying a lot of different marketers, I was eventually able to reach #1 bestseller status with my second book written exclusively for kindle.

  2. What is the single most important tip you would give to anybody thinking of self-publishing?

    Derek Doepker Quote Follow Me on Pinterest It’s hard to prioritize any one area above another since there are several key pieces that need to be in place, but I can look back and say much of my success has come from my relationships. I see other authors and people in my field as companions rather than competitors.
    Because of this, I encourage any author or entrepreneur to spend time cultivating relationships and creating win-win-win situations where you, the other authority, and the readers all win. This can be done with guest blog posts, providing free content to their readers, and setting up cross-promotions.

  3. If you could go back in time and speak to yourself shortly before publishing your first book, what would you tell yourself to do differently?

    I would tell myself to think from the reader’s perspective and not my own. Does my title and cover grab attention? Would I be intrigued enough by the description to want to read this? Will this stand out among other similar books?
    Many times authors get so stuck in what they want to do that they haven’t spent enough time understanding what their audience wants. Understanding what your audience wants (rather than what you think they should want) is key to effective marketing.

  4. What is the biggest mistake you have made on your self-publishing journey?

    Excuse Derek Doepker Follow Me on Pinterest Not seeking out the guidance of a mentor who specialized in self-publishing. I studied a lot about marketing which helped me out, but it was only after studying other self-published authors and learning their strategies that I saw success. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel if someone else has figured out the solutions already.

  5. Are there any tools you use to help with book publishing that you would recommend to others, or are they the work of Satan?

    There are definitely some good tools out there. I use Kinstant Formatter for formatting kindle books and KD Spy for researching books on Amazon. I also love the site MerchantWords.com for keyword research.
    There are a few other good ones I can recommend, however I would say that no matter what tool I use, it never replaces having to use my brain. even when the data doesn’t match up, if I get a strong enough intuition that something should work, I’m usually right.

  6. Any book’s cover is of course important, this we all know. What recommendations do you make with regards to creating, or outsourcing cover creation?

    ebook cover design for kindle derek doepker Follow Me on Pinterest See it as an investment rather than expense. I’m lucky enough that I have an absolutely amazing designer that designs covers for only $30. It would be worth it to spend five times that much however if it means making ten times as many sales. When people cut corners to save a few bucks on a cover design, they need to ask themselves how much money they’re losing out on because their cover sucks.

  7. How should you approach writing your book’s description, and why?

    There are no hard and fast rules, but some simple principles of marketing entail that it should answer these two questions.
    1. Is this the kind of book for me?
    2. Does it offer enough value to spend money on it?
    How to do this is an entire training unto itself. The good thing is you can study which books in your niche are selling well and model what they’re doing right in their book description.
    The simplest way to approach this is to imagine yourself as a book browser scanning books in your niche.

    • Which descriptions make you want to buy a book?
    • What is it about them that grabbed your attention and made you want to keep reading?
    • How much did they reveal about the book’s content?
    • How much did they hold back in order to trigger your curiosity?

    Learn to ask the right questions and with time and practice, you’ll be able to model what other successful authors have done.

  8. What other areas of your authors central account should you concentrate on and why?

    Derek Doepker Walk the Talk Quote Follow Me on Pinterest Since I write most of my own books from experience as opposed to outsourcing them, it’s helpful to have a bio so people can connect with who I am as a person. People don’t just buy a book, they buy from authors they know, like, and trust. Establishing this rapport through your bio can be critical to attracting new fans. I’m not just a guy that writes about fitness and authorship for fun, I write about it because it’s what I do and know from first-hand experience. When people know I actually walk the talk, it creates trust that makes my books more appealing.

  9. Do you have any tips to share with us about pricing books?

    Generally speaking, I keep the price low at first to build momentum and get reviews, and then raise the price to normal once sales have settled. I will drop the price to .99 cents occasionally for promotions.
    I also think it’s helpful to have shorter books at a lower price to attract new readers and more in-depth books at a higher price to generate a greater income.

  10. For you, is self-publishing the easiest way to make money online at the moment, or is there something easier?

    It’s definitely one of the easiest when you consider the low barrier of entry in terms of cost. What I really like about self-publishing is you have the freedom to experiment. A cover doesn’t work? You can change it in a day. The title sucks? You can update it without reprinting hundreds or thousands of copies of a print book.
    With anything there will be a learning curve. The great thing about self-publishing is you’re not punished too much if (and when) you screw something up as you’re going through the learning process.

  11. What was the first book you ever published, and was it a success?

    Derek Doepker as Sinead O'Conner Follow Me on Pinterest The first book I ever published was a 350 page book called Excuse Proof Fitness and it was a flop. I could barely sell it to my own friends and family. Moving to Amazon helped make the sales process easier as people were more comfortable making purchases on the site. Not to mention getting a much better handle on marketing, and writing effective copy.

  12. How can people get started building income on the back end of Kindle books?

    The biggest key is to build a list from your book. The saying “the money is in the list” applies to authors as much as it does internet marketers. As a fitness author, I offer fitness coaching for people on my email list which helps bring in addition income. Plus it allows me to help people on a level beyond what I can do with books alone.

  13. Affiliate links inside Kindle books, yes or no? Why do you take that stance?

    I’ve found I don’t get a lot of clicks through my books directly to non-Amazon affiliate products. So even if you want to do it, from my experience sales generated would be lower. I would instead suggest focusing on driving links to a website and email list where you can build a relationship. From there, you’re much more likely to have success in offering additional products and services.

  14. Are there any “myths” or misconceptions about self-publishing (Kindle or in general) which you can dispel?

    I don’t know how much of a myth this is, but like I stated before the idea of there being “competitors” is only an attitude. People will buy multiple books on any given topic. I’ve had a lot of success seeing other authors as people to potentially partner with rather than compete against.

  15. How realistic do you think it is for the average author to make a full-time living on Kindle?

    Making a full-time living on kindle is very possible. The model is solid. The question is, does an individual have what it takes? It will take a lot of self-development, education, and practice for the “average” person to have success in any area – self-publishing or otherwise.
    What helped me is I never considered or wanted to consider myself average. I had a “do whatever it takes to succeed” attitude which, from my perspective, isn’t the attitude of the average person or author.
    So my answer is the “average” author won’t have what it takes because the average author sees it as a hobby rather than a business. The good news is that at any time an “average” author can decide they want to be and do more, and with that there are plenty of resources available to help the serious author become a successful full-time author.

  16. What are your minimum criteria for you to consider one of your books “successful?” (A certain amount of units sold per month? A certain amount of revenue per month? Well received and reviewed by the public?)

    Derek Doepker Change Lives Quote Follow Me on Pinterest The subjective measure of success is “did this book positively impact someone?” The fluffy feel good answer is that if I changed even just one person’s life with a book, then it was worth writing it.
    While I do have that attitude, I also like to see hard data in terms of sales numbers and know that I’m potentially impacting a lot of people. I consider reaching top 5 in a competitive category to be a success.

  17. How long did it take to get a big break, and what was the tipping point for you? Advertising? Someone of influence recommending? Or did you just go from “shit” to “hit” over night?

    This is a hard question to answer. The time it took from when I started publishing on Amazon kindle to having a big break was about half a year. The time from publishing my first book in general though was a full year. The time from getting into being an entrepreneur to having a bestselling book took a couple years. The time it took me to learn all the things I needed to learn to be able to write that bestselling book was about ten years.
    This is why stories of overnight successes can be misleading. From one perspective it only took me a matter of months to be a successful self-published author. From another perspective it took me a third of my life (up to this point) to get all the foundational things in place. Derek Doepker Overnight Success Quote Follow Me on Pinterest

    The turning point was when a lot of pieces came together rather than any one thing in particular. One thing I noticed is it had a lot to do with following my intuition in addition to what I studied from others as opposed to trying to follow an exact formula for success. In other words, I was willing to take a risk on something that felt right even though I had no assurance of success.

  18. How soon after seeing a book published do you expect it to start a regular sales pattern? (If you see patterns?)

    From what I’ve seen with my most recent book “Why Authors Fail”, it took about two weeks for sales to stabilize.

  19. Would you like to tell us about your latest projects and/or new releases?

    My newest book “Why Authors Fail” covers the difference between how successful and struggling authors think. A lot of people are looking for tactics or strategies for success, and that’s all well and good. There are plenty of resources out there for that including trainings that I’ve created.
    However, most people aren’t a failure because they don’t have access to the right information. It’s because they’re thinking about things all wrong. If a person can correct their thinking, it can eventually fix a lot (although not all) of a person’s problems with self-publishing or any other endeavor.

  20. Is there anything I haven’t asked about, that you think aspiring authors should know?

    I would say from a marketing perspective, I approach a book with the end in mind. I ask myself “how will I grab a person’s attention and make them want to buy this book?” before I ever write a single word. This means I work out the title and “hook” before putting the book together.
    Derek Doepker Creativity & Innovation Quote Follow Me on Pinterest
    I believe many authors fail because they write a book and ask “how can I make this a bestseller?” instead of asking “what book will be a bestseller?” and then writing that book.

    Some people think this means I oppose creativity. The answer is I don’t oppose creativity, but I believe creation can be combined with imitation to get innovation.

    As a musician, I can write an endless variety of songs but still stay within the confines of a key, tempo, and other parameters that music listeners usually expect a song to have. So putting restrictions on yourself to be within a certain expectation of what an audience wants doesn’t mean you still don’t have a lot of creative freedom. Like most things in life, it is a balance of seemingly opposing forces.

That’s your lot for today folks!

I’d just like to say a big thank you to Derek Doepker for taking the time to give some great answers to my 20 questions, I know my readers will pick up a lot from your insights Derek!

Having witnessed Derek’s marketing skills first hand, I can confidently recommend you check out Derek’s courses and try to pick up as much information as you can absorb from this guy, here are the links to find out more:

Connect With Derek Doepker

Facebook
Author page at Amazon.com
eBookBestsellerSecrets.com/
Kindle Bestseller Secrets course
Hooks for Books course

{ 8 comments }

Welcome to the 2nd edition of author interviews, this time we have 20 questions with somebody who likely needs no introduction for many of you.

Stefan Pylarinos interview Follow Me on Pinterest This is the man who’s is responsible for putting together the Kindle Money Mastery course, and more recently he’s released a new course on how to write a book in less than 24 hours.

Stefan Pylarinos is the man in question of course, but you’ll find there is a lot more to this guy than just making ludicrous sums of money online. Stefan has a whole ritual surrounding his own personal improvement which he generously shares at his blog “Project Life Mastery.”

On top of this, Stefan also somehow finds time to do enough physical training to be able to compete at the WBFF, (World Beauty Fitness & Fashion) and coach others in how to better their lives!

You can get a small insight into Stefan’s routines (not to mention how far Stefan has come) from the video below.

Anyway, enough crap from me… here’s the guy your all interested in…

Stefan Pylarinos Interview

  1. Who has been the biggest influence on you with regards to self-publishing
  2. I’ve never had a mentor or someone that was an influence for me in the self-publishing world, but more so in the “online marketing” world. When it comes to Kindle publishing, I applied everything that I knew and learned from my internet marketing experience and knowledge. When it comes to internet marketing, I’d say that Frank Kern has been one of my biggest influences.

  3. What is the single most important tip you would give to anybody thinking of self-publishing?
  4. Stefan Pylarinos Coaching Follow Me on Pinterest
    To ensure that there is a market, need or demand for whatever it is that you want to publish. Make sure you do all the proper research BEFORE going through the process of writing or publishing your own book. This will guarantee that it’s a success and the marketing will become effortless.

  5. If you could go back in time and speak to yourself shortly before publishing your first book, what would you tell yourself to do differently?
  6. I would tell myself to NOT be a perfectionist. I spent too much time worrying and trying to make sure everything was perfect, which delayed the entire process and prevented me from completing my book. I have the opposite mentality now – I take “imperfect action” and focus less on trying to make everything perfect for myself, but rather focus on making my books serve and add value to others.

  7. What is the biggest mistake you have made on your self-publishing journey?
  8. Early on in my journey, I published some books without doing the proper research to see if the niche or market was profitable. Now I always do my research and select the right niche, keyword and titles for my books to ensure they are a success. But if it wasn’t for those mistakes, I wouldn’t have learned – so I am grateful for them.

  9. Are there any tools you use to help with book publishing that you would recommend to others, or are they the work of Satan?
  10. I use some softwares that are available, such as AK Elite, KD Spy, Kindle Samurai, etc… but they aren’t necessary and I am capable of doing all of my publishing without them.

  11. Any book’s cover is of course important, this we all know. What recommendations do you make with regards to creating, or outsourcing cover creation?
  12. Make sure that the cover stands out from the other covers in your niche. It has to grab peoples attention and make them say, “I want that!” Make sure that the title is visible and easily readable.

  13. How should you approach writing your book’s description, and why?
  14. Make sure that your description has all of the benefits and features of the book. If possible, share testimonials or some of the reviews you have of the book in the description. I’d also make sure that it is written well, is compelling, and really sells the book. The description HAS to be good, as it’s a reflection of the quality of the book.

  15. What other areas of your authors central account should you concentrate on and why?
  16. Your biography is important, as well as your picture. Making sure that your write-up about yourself is high quality and shares your story. People want to connect with the author – so that’s why the more personal and open you can be, the better.

  17. Do you have any tips to share with us about pricing books?
  18. The best price is whatever you can sell your book at with the highest conversion rate. It’s different for every book and every niche. For example, some books can actually make MORE by selling them at $0.99 (even though they get less of a royalty). Others can sell their book at $2.99 and have it convert the highest at that price point, while others at $3.99 or $4.99. It depends on your niche, the competition, your reviews, the length of your book, etc… The best advice is to TEST the pricing.

  19. For you, is self-publishing the easiest way to make money online at the moment, or is there something easier?
  20. Easiest Way to Make Money Online - Stefan Pylarinos Follow Me on Pinterest
    It’s the easiest way that I know of. I make money online using several different strategies, from blogging, product creation, affiliate marketing, consulting, etc… and I’ve found Kindle publishing to be the easiest and fastest way to make money online today.

  21. What was the first book you ever published, and was it a success?
  22. The first book I ever published was on dating and meeting women. It took me over a year to write and I was a “perfectionist” with it. It wasn’t that much of a success unfortunately, because I didn’t do the proper research beforehand to optimize the book the right way and the title I had for it sucked.

  23. How can people get started building income on the back end of Kindle books?
  24. Give something away to your customers that buy your book as a bonus. It can be a bonus free report, audio, or video. Make sure that you’re providing another BENEFIT that they are looking for with the bonus, then offer it within the book. With the bonus, you’ll direct your customers to click a link in your book to go to a squeeze page/landing page, where they will have to enter their e-mail address to get the bonus. By doing this, you are building an e-mail list of all your customers. With this e-mail list, you are now able to build a relationship with them, provide more value, and sell them more stuff (either as an affiliate or your own products.)

  25. Affiliate links inside Kindle books, yes or no? Why do you take that stance?
  26. They aren’t allowed inside Kindle books, so no. The better (and more safer) way is to focus on building a list, then building a relationship and then promoting things as an affiliate. Or to create a “resource page” on a website that you link people to within your Kindle book, then you can put your affiliate links on there. However, there are some people I know that still do affiliate links within their books and haven’t had any issues with Amazon – so you can do it, but it’s at your own risk.

  27. Are there any “myths” or misconceptions about self-publishing (Kindle or in general) which you can dispel
  28. Stefan Pylarinos on Mindset and Competition Follow Me on Pinterest
    That Kindle is saturated, which whenever I hear that, makes me laugh. While more and more books get published daily on Kindle, so do more and more customers become attracted to Amazon and purchase Kindle books. Amazon is only growing and growing. While some niches can become more competitive, I never get discouraged by saturation or competition because I have the mindset that I can compete with anyone. Confidence is the most important skill as a marketer as it allows you to enter into niches or markets and dominate your competition. I love competition, as it validates to me that there is a market for something, and I always believe that I can do a better job than anyone else in that niche.

  29. How realistic do you think it is for the average author to make a full-time living on Kindle?
  30. Very realistic. I have dozens of clients and customers of my program that are making 5-figure and 6-figure incomes every year from Kindle. And they created their income in a short period of time (a matter of months.)

  31. What are your minimum criteria for you to consider one of your books “successful?” (A certain amount of units sold per month? A certain amount of revenue per month? Well received and reviewed by the public?)
  32. Any of my books are a success if a) it makes a return on my investment and continues to make me ANY type of profit each month, and b) it positively helps others and the majority of people are better off for having consumed it.

  33. How long did it take to get a big break, and what was the tipping point for you? Advertising? Someone of influence recommending? Or did you just go from “shit” to “hit” over night?
  34. I had success with Kindle publishing immediately, which is what made me jump in with two feet. I published a few e-books that I was already selling online and they immediately started making me money. From there, it was me seeing the opportunity and taking advantage of it that created my “big break” with it.

  35. How soon after seeing a book published do you expect it to start a regular sales pattern? (If you see patterns?)
  36. After the first month of publishing your book and selling it (with reviews and ranking it), can you start to predict and see how much it will consistently make you.

  37. Would you like to tell us about your latest projects and/or new releases?
  38. I’m currently working on launching a website that will help publishers get Amazon reviews for their books. It’s been created, but is currently in beta-testing mode and I’m hoping to launch it within the next few months. I’m also constantly working on and developing my course, Kindle Money Mastery, as well as my Full Disclosure members area. Every month, I’m interviewing Kindle publishers, learning more, applying more, and sharing my most advanced strategies in the Full Disclosure area of my program.

  39. Is there anything I haven’t asked about, that you think aspiring authors should know?
  40. Stefan Pylarinos Self Publishing Success Follow Me on Pinterest
    Understand that 80% of success in anything is your PSYCHOLOGY, while only 20% is the mechanics. I learned this from Tony Robbins and it’s completely true. The differences I’ve seen between those that are successful with publishing (or anything), has NOT been the strategy, it has been their mindset – their confidence, certainty, determination, consistency, and perseverance.

    Well, that’s just about all folks!

    before I finish up, I’d like to leave you with this video which I found very insightful… even beautiful in some ways! *Cough* I mean that in a masculine, big slap on the back “fancy a beer mate?” kinda way. :-s

    Hope you enjoyed that video guys!

    Finally I’d like to throw a HUGE thank you to Stefan Pyralinos for taking time out of his busy schedule to give us all some insight into how he approaches Kindle publishing, and other related aspects of his business in the process. I’d also like to ask him to get an easier to type/spell/pronounce name, “Pyralinos” made life bloody hard! 😉

    I hope you have all picked up as much gold from this interview as I have, thank you again Stefan!

    Connect with Stefan Pylarinos

    Twitter
    Facebook
    Author page at Amazon.com
    ProjectLifeMastery.com
    Kindle Money Mastery Course
    how to write a book in less than 24 hours

{ 3 comments }

Hey all and welcome to the first of my author interviews on writing for Kindle and CreateSpace. Our first interviewee is somebody you have all likely heard of if you read any kind of “make money online” books from Amazon.

To me, he comes across kinda like the “Rich Jerk” of Kindle publishing, but without being a jerk! He has a style all of his own, and in my honest opinion, is one of the most entertaining writers in the MMO/self-publishing niches.

Yes… You guessed it… It’s… Erm… Well I don’t actually know who it is but he writes under the pseudonym “Von Money.”

Let’s get down to the 20 questions which I’m sure you will find both educational, and entertaining:

20 Questions with Von Money

  1. Who has been the biggest influence on you with regards to self-publishing?
  2. I would say his name, but it’d be like a passive aggressive verbal slap in the face. What happened was I read some of the best selling authors and thought to myself, this is it? I can beat this even on the days the waitress spits in my lemonade.

    I would have self-published anyways, but when I saw the products people were making a ton of money with, I knew I had to hurry up and figure out how to get a book on Amazon.

  3. What is the single most important tip you would give to anybody thinking of self-publishing?

    The formatting and submission part is surprisingly easy. That’ll take care of itself within a day if you really apply yourself – even if you’re starting from 0.
    Von Money Quote on Kindle Complaints Follow Me on Pinterest
    So, the precursor to my answer is not to worry about all the techno babble. It’s very figureoutable. If not, pay someone $5-$20 on Fiverr and they’ll do everything.

    So once that lion is slayed, the most important tip is to write how you want to write and not give a flying FAQ what people might say. I guarantee you 10% of people will bitch about your book just because at least 10% of people will always complain about something. Forget about them, they don’t matter. Just attack your keyboard and write the book you were born to write.

  4. If you could go back in time and speak to yourself shortly before publishing your first book, what would you tell yourself to do differently?

    Wow. Great question. First, hire someone to do a book cover. Second, write more books in non-Internet marketing, less popular niches. Third, churn out books like Mexican candy on a conveyor belt. Fourth, write under my real name and market that brand hard.

    Let me explain.

    1. Book cover. A book cover can almost literally make your book (I’m a little ashamed of the “almost literally”, but not enough to think of something else). A great book cover is inviting and makes you want to open your wallet. It gives you a good feeling when you’re ready to buy. It makes you brush off those 1 star reviews.

      I’d say my Von Money book covers are average. I keep trying to do them myself and it’s been a mild failure in both terms of time spent and earnings lost. My non-Von Money books look like a million bucks.

    2. I write about a lot of “make money” stuff because that’s what’s interesting to me. Problem is every other male between 20 and 45 thinks the same exact way so it’s a high hanging fruit type of a deal. That’s no Bueno. You publish books in other arenas and there’s less competition and it’s easier to make money.

      I’d still write some of these books later on, but it hurts to know how much money some of the weight loss ebooks (and other niches) were making early on. I completely missed the bus with a lot of outside niches.

    3. You gotta get in while the gettin’s good. Some people were made early on because they did just that. I came in at the tail end of an era where a few books were all you saw when you searched Amazon. Those early authors who solidified themselves in the frontier land absolutely banked their ass off.
    4. Von Money Quote Problems With Pen Names Follow Me on Pinterest

    5. The problem with multiple pen names is they fragment your efforts and make it harder to exponentially grow. It’s easier to take off with 10 books than it is 5 in two accounts if you know what I mean.

      I choose a pen name so I could write however crazy I wanted to without thinking twice about it. That’s good in a way, but bad because I found myself attempting to grow two brands rather than one.

      I wish I would have just wrote everything under my real name because not only am I fragmented, but now I keep up this stupid ass charade where I try to keep everything all cloak and dagger. That’s why I make my own book covers.

  5. What is the biggest mistake you have made on your self-publishing journey?

    The biggest mistake was the pen name. Another huge mistake is I thought people would care about my life advice about happiness and success and they do not. I put so much effort into Big Pig Success and it sold like 2 copies total. I’m exaggerating, but yeah, that one sold like a logical version of the National Inquirer.

    Another good/bad thing that happened to me early on was success. I was super successful out of the gates. My first non-Von Money book made me a killing. Within a few months I was doing $700+ in sales from a 40 Kindle page book. “Price Rich” and a few others went over extremely really well in the beginning.

    This made me think my ink was smoother than everyone else’s and I would just lunge off into a golden rainbow, printing money when I decided to publish. Didn’t work out that way.

    Oh, and I feel like I bungled my email lists. I send out stuff to them, but get very little reaction. I think I sent too many mixed messages. Everyone was signed up for Von Money, but I’m a jungle monkey, swinging from one money tree to the next. Not everybody that likes Kindle publishing wants to know about SEO.

    I’ve made a lot, a lot of mistakes. Let’s see… buying domain names for each book, setting up my blog on Blogger, not getting “vonmoney” somewhere in my Twitter name (it was taken), my site loads slow because of my webhost, I’ve put up meager book covers, I’ve priced my books too high.

    This is like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It boring as hell and it just drags on. Let’s just leave it as I continually fudge up things as I figure them out.

  6. Are there any tools you use to help with book publishing that you would recommend to others, or are they the work of Satan?

    I tried Scrivener and I’d use it if it were free, but to me I just felt like I was using a program to use it. It was a marginally nice Word Processor, but I just didn’t get $40 of extra benefit from it.

    I think part of the problem is I don’t need all the organizational stuff. I can just write from my head most of the time. I don’t need to see my chapter outlines and the topics subdivided for each.

    There was an auto formatter out there that looked promising, but the creator fled the scene and left everyone holding an empty bag of support questions. I know Scrivener was supposed to have this, but it wasn’t stupid-easy so I gave up on it.

    If someone came up with an exhaustive auto formatter that actually worked, that would be sweet and I’d use it.

    There was a cover creator software I was promoting – and I still use it – but it’s not anywhere close to the beautiful, custom designs you can get on Fiverr if you just look around. The work those people do for $4 (Fiverr takes 20%) is amazing.

    So other than Fiverr and a formatter that – to my knowledge – doesn’t exist, no.

    If a really awesome cover creator came out that could make me look like a superstar designer, I’d definitely look into it.

  7. Any book’s cover is of course important, this we all know. What recommendations do you make with regards to creating, or outsourcing cover creation?

    Fiverr truly is the best source. It’s cheap as hell and the quality of some designers is unreal.

    Search the different gigs and find someone who creates book covers that you identify with. Tell them exactly what you want and give them a few image examples of the style. They’re really good at conceptualizing, but you’ll be a lot better off if you give them a baseline to work from.

    Don’t be afraid to ask for revisions. Don’t be afraid to buy multiple gigs to get the job done exactly right.

    If you spend $15 on the Cinderella perfect book cover, so what?

    You’ll know the book cover is right when you have no hint of the puppy head tilt in your reaction.

  8. How should you approach writing your book’s description, and why?

    Go back and read the book descriptions of the books that sold you with their description. What about their words hooked you?

    With that in mind, write exactly how you will improve the life of someone that might read your book.
    Von Money Quote Writing Great Book Descriptions Follow Me on Pinterest
    Tell people a story that incorporates the info in your book. Tell them specific benefits. People want to know what happened to you.

    If you have great reviews, include some.

    With a fiction book, you’ve got to make the reader connect with the story. Make it come alive to them.

    Don’t tell people about your book. Don’t pitch your book to them. Make that book become a part of their lives. Write so that you’re talking to people, not lecturing them.

    Never, ever be boring. Stay colorful.

    There are so many tips to writing a great book description. Mine are never ever perfect when I first publish. I spend about 20-30 minutes, fill up as much of the page as I can, and press go.

    Then, I go and improve my descriptions when I can. I’ve read a lot about copywriting and there’s some great info. I hope it’s seeped into my brain enough so that I weave some of the tricks while I go, but the most important part is getting the book out there so I do the best I can in about 30 minutes, launch, and correct all my mistakes when I get a chance.

  9. What other areas of your authors central account should you concentrate on and why?

    A great bio really helps people that are on the fence. I love the Twitter and blog feed options because it keeps your feed fresh no matter what.

    Oh, and I obviously don’t use it for my Von Money stuff, but the more pictures of you, the better. It usually doesn’t matter if you’re ugly or fat or whatever. People like seeing other people because they connect better.

    The only way I can see this backfiring is if you built up some super image and it came crumbling apart. Like right now people see me as some Chris Hemsworth, Thor, figure. If I put a picture of me not being able to meet the roller coaster “you must be this tall” requirements, it might hurt sales. Or it could spike them, who the hell knows.

  10. Do you have any tips to share with us about pricing books?

    Now that the beta pricer is out, I’d definitely give that a whirl and test if it’s right.

    I think the best price point for maximizing value for a heftier book is $4.99. $4.99 seems to be the wallet buster price point where people give up and pay.

    Other than that, I always try to fall onto the $2.99 finish line for most of my books.

    With intro books or smaller “guides”, I’m looking into taking them off KDP and putting them on SmashWords and other market places for free so I can do price match and give them away for free on Amazon.

    With these feeler type of books, while I like 35 cents a lot, it’s more to your advantage to give a great “quickie” book of about 5,000-7,500 words for free and have it promote your other books/products.

    99 cents is cheap, but it even makes more financial sense to me to save my buyers $1 (vs 35 cents for me).

  11. For you, is self-publishing the easiest way to make money online at the moment, or is there something easier?

    Hmmm… You made me narrow my eyes with this question.

    I’d say yes with the caveat that there’s pretty easy money to be made if you can figure out certain stuff. It’s like once you climb the hill, and get over that hump, it’s pretty clear sailing going down.

    But for people starting out, Kindle publishing is a tremendous opportunity. But you gotta put out good stuff.

    If you have the capital, researching lucrative niches and hiring specialty ghost writers can be a great investment. I just commissioned my first ghost writer. Be warned: finding the talent at a fair price is not easy.

    PS The ghost writer is not for Von Money. I’ll always be the person behind VM.

  12. What was the first book you ever published, and was it a success?

    First book I published was a non-Von and yes, it was a huge success (still doing pretty damn good). Probably one of the best financial moves of my life was writing that damn book.

    It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

  13. How can people get started building income on the back end of Kindle books?

    First thing that goes through my mind is setting up a site with natural affiliate products on the back end. So, for example, you have a “How to get started juicing for beginners” book and then at the end refer people to your website or webpage with the best juicers. And since you already know they’re trying to get healthy, maybe something supplemental, you may be interested in… weights, an exercise bike, whatever.

    You never know what some people will buy. It only takes one huge Amazon sale to make $300. I get a multi-thousand dollar sale every few months so it does happen.

    If not affiliate sales, sell your own services or products. If people really like/trust you, they’ll buy you. Just yesterday, someone paid me $95 for phone consultation.

    If you don’t offer it, people can’t buy it.

    Be creative or at least open ended. Put a feeler offer if someone would like to hire you to blog for them, etc.

  14. Affiliate links inside Kindle books, yes or no? Why do you take that stance?

    No on Amazon affiliate links. Yes, on others.

    I used to say none whatsoever, but it looks like everyone else is doing it so I don’t see how you’d all of a sudden get banished for it. Last I looked – and I haven’t for awhile now – but last I looked, it was one of those things that isn’t really addressed directly.

  15. Are there any “myths” or misconceptions about self-publishing (Kindle or in general) which you can dispel?

    I always hated when the early pioneers would assume you had 1,000 Facebook fans and Twitter followers and just tell you to promote your book that way.
    Von Money Quote on Social Networking Follow Me on Pinterest
    Facebook and Twitter work only if people care what you’re doing. If not, you’ll get a big fat nothing burger. No telling how many hours have been wasted trying to generate social interest that was never there.

    You don’t sign up for social accounts and then hold your hands up and say, “Hey everyone, I’m here!” and they run to follow you. Doesn’t happen like that.

    Also, writing 2,000 words a day is not easy. There are some books that say something like, “just write 2,000 words a day, you’ll be done in a week.” That’s a lot easier said than done.

    I’ve had books were I wrote way faster than that, but that’s lightening in a bottle. Not only can I not keep up with that pace, but I’ve got about 5 million other things to do.

    If you can churn out one solid, $2.99 book with 12,000+ words per month, then you are doing really well.

  16. How realistic do you think it is for the average author to make a full-time living on Kindle?

    I know what type of answer you’re looking for on this, but there’s a lot of variables here. First, I don’t know the stats for an average author. How much time do they have? Is this their only job? How fast can they write 12,000 words? Do they have enough money to last for 6 months while they write? Second, what’s a full-time living? Is that $2,500 a month? Third, what types of books are they writing?

    Really difficult to give you an exact answer because of these variables. But, one aims to please so here is my general answer.

    The vast majority of published Kindle authors (meaning those with at least 1 book published) will not earn a full-time income. I’d guess 98%. Not because they can’t, but because you have to invest major time to write high-quality books. It’s a commitment and most people have crying kids, bitchy bosses, or any number of other time commitments.
    Von Money Quote Money Per Kindle Book Follow Me on Pinterest
    Some people just aren’t driven enough to churn out a collection of high quality books. And it’s not like one book couldn’t make you, but that’s very improbable, so you likely need a stable of solid income producers.

    Not only that, but it’s pretty easy to spend a month pounding away on your next masterpiece, press print, and viola, you sell 4 copies with a refund for the month.

    Also, most book sales dwindle as time passes for so you’ve got to produce more as you go to keep bumping up those royalties.

    Kindle publishing is a great way to make money – especially if you’re a fanatic about something niche and can produce a great quality book. But earning a full-time income with Kindle alone takes dedication.

    It definitely can be done though.

  17. What are your minimum criteria for you to consider one of your books “successful?” (A certain amount of units sold per month? A certain amount of revenue per month? Well received and reviewed by the public?)

    I’m a money guy so it’s revenue. If I can write a book in 20-30 hours and have it make me $50/month in perpetuity, I’m very happy with that.

    Of course, I want to make $500/month or more from every book, but some books I write, knowing going in that there’s not enough interest for even $100.

    But you know what, sometimes, I just want to write about a particular topic or something I’m excited about, and so I do it anyways.

    Other times I take a shot with a book – the ol’ throw mud approach.

    In a nutshell, I always want to make more money, but at the same time, I do what I want when I want to do it. If I’m excited about taking apart my computer and putting it back together one day and I want to write a book about it, then by damnit, I’m going to do it. That’s just me.

    On making the world better, I really do like helping people out. I always try to keep connections with people that email me and help them if I can. This always works in my favor anyways because some of them wind up giving me great info or tips.

    The other day a badass CPA gave me amazing free tax tips and told me to let her know if I needed anything else. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

  18. How long did it take to get a big break, and what was the tipping point for you? Advertising? Someone of influence recommending? Or did you just go from “shit” to “hit” over night?

    Von Money Quote Make Money Online Books Follow Me on Pinterest
    I was stupidly successful out of the gates which blinds you in a sense from reality. With Kindle books, I’m a name, but guys like Steve Scott make way more than I do.

    I think what’s made me a success is that people like my writing. I get to the point. I don’t waste time. No fluff. I’m random in an entertaining way. And, if you read my books, you can seriously apply that information to make yourself money.

    All of my singles are under 15,000 words, but I’ll be damned if they don’t slam you with an infolanche.
    They’re never perfect, but they provide great value.

  19. How soon after seeing a book published do you expect it to start a regular sales pattern? (If you see patterns?)

    Usually within 3 weeks unless something dramatic changes (price, book cover, rankings change, etc.) or it’s seasonal or “trendyish” in nature.

  20. Would you like to tell us about your latest projects and/or new releases?

    My to-do list is gargantuan and my girlfriend doesn’t like vying the computer for my attention so it’s one of those things where I’m going to have to make time, but there’s a new book on web assets that I can’t wait to write.

    It’ll be about gathering income producing properties like Kindle books, traffic domains, etc. and using those types of things to produce ongoing money for as far as the eye can see.

    I’m super excited about it.

  21. Is there anything I haven’t asked about, that you think aspiring authors should know?

    There’s so many things. If anyone has a specific question, please feel free to email me or Tweet me.

    For parting advice, I’d say go with your instincts and just try to continually move in the right direction.

    Don’t put a lot of time into stuff that doesn’t go anywhere. Put your time into stuff that results in something accomplished.

    For example, don’t spend 3 hours trying to create a book cover. That’s too much time and should tell you you have no business creating your own book cover.

    Spend your time where your best talents lay; where you end up getting the most stuff produced. Source stuff like web design or book covers to those that eat them like cake.
    Von Money Quote Fake Kindle Reviews Follow Me on Pinterest
    Also, don’t be a jackass. Don’t write a book telling everybody you’re a book selling bad ass when you paid for all your reviews. That still pisses me off.

    Write great info if you’re non-fiction or entertaining info if you’re fiction and treat people right.

    I still think Kindle publishing is a solid outlet for strong writers. Just know that it’s not stupid easy anymore. You can’t just show up to the prom, fat and overweight without a date and expect the girls to run at you like Elvis. Now you’ve got to get in shape, comb your hair, and make a good presentation before asking the girl in your chemistry class if you go with you. And she still might say no!

    Last, don’t let yourself get cornered by what other people (friends, family, acquaintances, or strangers) tell you. There are many paths to success.

    I’ll leave you with this: As we get older, we start narrowing down truths to what we’ve learned from experience and what we’ve been told. This can be a very good thing in some regards. For example, we learn that shaking someone’s hand is a custom that shows respect.

    But this narrowing down is also a bad thing because we shut down a lot of possibilities to ourselves simply because we learned to shut them down, not because they weren’t there.

Closing Words

Well, that’s your lot folks! Both Von Money and myself hope you found these 20 questions and answers helpful.

If you would like to know more about Von Money and his books or even interact personally, you can find him in the following locations:

Twitter
Author Page on Amazon.com

If you have any further questions for Von Money then I’m sure he won’t mind answering in the comments section below, or (as he said) on his Twitter account if you hit him up there.

From myself, I’d like to thank Von Money for taking valuable time out of his day to turn 20 average questions, into 20 entertaining answers!

Chris Naish.

{ 6 comments }

How Too Many Amazon Kindle Keywords Messed Up My Book

After publishing my latest book “CreateSpace and Kindle Self Publishing Matrix – Writing Nonfiction Books That Sell Without Marketing” I’ve found a new rule when using Amazon Kindle keywords in a book title. This concerns the amount of characters (including spaces) which you should use across all 3 of your titles. (Main title, sub-title and series title.)

Below is an image taken from the new books page, it shows where Amazon has “cut” the title down:

Amazon Kindle Keywords Removed Follow Me on Pinterest

The original full title was as follows:

  • Main title: CreateSpace and Kindle Self Publishing Matrix – Writing Nonfiction Books That Sell Without Marketing
  • Subtitle: Publishing an eBook on Amazon Kindle Publishing or CreateSpace Self Publishing How to Guide
  • Series title: How to Write a Book and Make Money with Kindle and CreateSpace Publishing Print on Demand

Disgustingly long and keyword stuffed huh?

Well I thought so all along, but one of the main themes of my book is to show just how powerful using Kindle keyword research, and then using those keywords within the title is.

Now I don’t normally push things this far with keyword inclusion, I feel it looks spammy myself! On this occasion however I really felt I had to include plenty of keywords for demonstration purposes, even at the expense of the title looking bad to potential readers. The lesson for the reader, (to see me rank for these searches) was more important than losing a few sales.

Everything you see colored red in the titles above was “cut out” of the “visible” title on the sales page for my book. This didn’t bother me too much at first, but then I started to notice something funny going on…

While almost EVERY keyword phrase in my titles were ranking, (some better than others of course!) those keywords that were missing on the sales page didn’t show up at all in search results!

2 examples:
“How to write a book” was cut from the sales page title, here are the rankings I tracked:

  • 9th June 2014: Not in top 500
  • 16th June 2014: Not in top 500
  • 24th June 2014: Not in top 500

“Make money with Kindle” was also cut out, here are the tracked rankings for that keyword:

  • 9th June 2014: Not in top 500
  • 16th June 2014: Not in top 500
  • 24th June 2014: Not in top 500

I challenge you to find any other keyword phrase that appears in the “Kindle search drop-down,” and also appears in the titles “in black” above, that I don’t rank (somewhere) for! (OK… Maybe you caught one on a bad day! :-P)

So what have we learned?

  1. If your titles are too long, some part of it is going to get cut out.
  2. If any keyword phrases are cut out, you will not rank for them! (Unless they are in your 7 chosen keywords inside KDP.)

The following are assumptions on my part and they may be out by a couple of characters, I can only speak from monitoring my book:

  1. The first 153 characters are safe and will always appear on a Kindle books sales page. (Probably less/more according to the length of the last word before cut off.)
  2. The last 36 characters across all titles are safe and will always appear on a Kindle books sales page. (Probably less/more according to the length of the first word after cut off.)
  3. By my count that is only 190 characters if we allow for a space between the words before and after the cut (This is obviously under Amazon’s 200 word allowance for title and subtitle!)

This unforeseen mistake on my part first resulted in me cutting the subtitle down to the following…

“How to Write a Book for Kindle and CreateSpace Publishing”

Now, for experimental purposes I have decided to remove the subtitle completely.

Amazon only allow 200 characters in the title and subtitle combined, I have no idea at time of writing if my main and subtitle will also be cut down, (Amazon tells me I have 7 characters left) but in less than 12 hours we will all know. Check back for an update or look at the books sales page if you’re curious!)

Hopefully you’ve learned something from my mistake here today, if you’ve seen similar “cut” Kindle titles I’d be interested to hear about them in the comments. Maybe we can figure out exactly how many characters we should be using to avoid it!

Update 24 hours later…

It turns out that removing the series title allows the whole of the (193 character) main and subtitle to show up. See image below.

Kindle Keyword Research For Book Titles

So… If you are planning on making your first book into a series, make sure you leave enough space for the series title to be included within your 200 characters is my advice! Plan the series title ahead of the curve and get it in right away (on book 1) by all means, this is probably the best way to go about it in fact.

Now… How to clean up my mess so i can use a series title, if or when needed… Hmm

{ 0 comments }

I’m not really a numbers type of guy to be honest, but I did find this Mark Coker (founder of Smashwords) slideshare presentation quite interesting.

The first interesting point for me, was how the length of your book effects your chances of selling. (Page 37-47) I’m guessing this mainly includes statistics for fiction, but I’m sure the same would hold true for nonfiction also, although word count would likely be less.

On a side note, one of the things that struck me as strange about this slideshow, was just how perverted Mark Coker is with his questioning towards readers! For example:

Do romance readers prefer different lengths?

and…

Do erotica readers prefer longer or shorter?

Surely there’s a time and place for this type of question Mark!

Anyhow, another thing I found interesting was on page 52, and you should take this into account on your own Amazon Kindle book pricing strategy…

As you might expect, a 99c book will outsell most other price points, no surprises there. What was interesting however was the drop in sales for books priced between $1.00 and $1.99, and then the steep rise in sales for books priced between $2.00 and $2.99.

6.2 sales per day at the $2.99 price point at Amazon KDP’s 70% = $12.97 a day on average.

Judging by the graph in Marks presentation it looks like a $3.99 book sells around 5 units a day, working out at around $13.96 .

A $4.99 book at 3.4 sales per day = $11.88

A $5.99 book at 3.6 sales per day = $15.09

So we can safely assume that the best price point for sheer income is a $5.99 book right?

Although this may work just fine in some niches, it’s not necessarily right every time to my mind!

If your chosen categories are swamped with free, and 99c books, that high price point might push you off the edge of the top 100 lists and into the eBook black hole. The only ways around this that I can see are external promotions, or a good keyword grounding on Amazon itself.

On top of this, if you are monetizing the back end of your books, or building an email list like Steve Scott recommends, then you are probably cutting yourself off from a lot of readers, and with it, extra income and promotion for your other titles.

I’m speaking here from a nonfiction authors point of view, and fully expect you guys to rip me to shreds if my thinking is wrong… How else will I learn to sell more books! 😉 Make a comment below to let me know what you think…

P.S. If you would like to see how I measure the market for pricing, you can find more information in my own Kindle book: CreateSpace and Kindle Self Publishing Matrix – Writing Nonfiction Books That Sell Without Marketing

{ 1 comment }

I’ve read quite a few books on self-publishing and (obviously) there is good and bad out there, here are the books that I personally recommend.

Derek Doepker

Rick Smith

Nick Stephenson


Free Kindle & CreateSpace Self-Publishing Books

Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success – Mark Coker

{ 0 comments }