Now you have the niche, the next step is to start creating your book. This is where a lot of people will get put off but even if your English is terrible, I implore you to read on because there are ways around that.
Here’s some bad news if your plan was to flood the Kindle store with low quality books: Kindle books need to be good if they’re going to do well. This is down to the fact that you want to try and get as many positive reviews as possible and as few negative ones. Likewise, it’s also down to the fact that readers can very often choose to read a ‘free sample’ of a book in order to get a taste for it. This means they’ll get to see what the quality of the writing is like, whether the subject matter is any interest to them and whether you appear to know what you’re talking about.
And if your book is low quality? Then they won’t be very likely to order the full thing. Likewise, some textbooks allow students to rent the book for a while on a ‘7-Day free trial’. If you have created an eTextbook for students (an interesting alternative to the career option), then again you need to ensure it’s good if you’re going to hold their attention for long enough.
What Makes a Good Kindle Book?
So with that in mind, what makes a good Kindle book? And what makes a good book generally for that matter?
A good place to start is with the tone and the style of your writing. This needs to be appropriate to the tone of the niche you’re writing for. So if your book is about financial modelling, then it’s likely to be a more formal style of writing than if your book is about drawing cartoons for example.
But in any case, you need to ensure that your content is engaging, that it is fun to read and that people want to keep on reading through it. A good way to achieve this is by using a narrative structure – i.e., make your book a story. Even if it’s a non-fiction topic, that doesn’t mean you can’t open by talking about your experiences and by leading the reader in gently to the subject.
You need to make sure that your content is well written and that it is going to sound professional. That makes it a very good idea to read through the book yourself and to get friends to read through it as well if possible. You want to get rid of as many typos or grammatical errors as possible. A few are absolutely bound to fall through the net but you need to keep them to an absolute minimum in order to maintain that professional and trustworthy impression. If your book is badly spelled or has lots of errors, then your readers will feel tricked or short changed – and they’re unlikely to buy the full book.
Note that Word comes with an in-built spell and grammar checker. Make full use of this! But do bear in mind that it can’t replace having a human set of eyes read over your content for you.
Another tip is to try reading out loud, which will help you to improve the flow of your book too.
Both these last two points are particularly important for that initial 10% of your book – the free sample and a bit beyond. This is how you’ll really engage with your reader and how you’ll get them to keep wanting to read more.
Another tip here is to spend a little time talking about what’s coming up in the book and setting the scene. This is valuable because it will get your readers excited for what they can learn and what they can expect if they buy the full book. Having a ‘what you will learn’ at the start of the book is always a good idea, as is teasing some of the most valuable tips and insights you’ll be sharing later.
At the same time? Make sure you point out just how your book is going to be different from all the others on the market. Especially if you’re going for a big niche – you need to bring something unique and new to the topic that people haven’t read before. If it’s a book containing workouts then you need to discuss the unusual and little known training methods found in that book that no one else is aware of.
That said though, you don’t want to waffle on with so much promise that it looks like you’re just padding out the book. Aim to share at least one actionable tip in your intro that will impress your readers so that they will believe they can get more like that by reading your full text.
More Features and Aspects
As well as ensuring that your book is well written and that you’re providing real value, you can also improve the impact your book has by thinking about some other aspects.
One important thing to consider for example is the length of your book. Of course longer books will at least appear to provide more value, so you need to ensure that your book is long enough to look like it’s worth the money you’re charging. The longer the book, the higher the price tag you can get away with. Of course though it’s not all about the length – there are many other factors that are equally as important such as the value of what you’re sharing. Try to ensure that you’re ticking both boxes – have a long book that is nevertheless densely packed with useful and actionable information.
A good ‘standard’ length is 10,000 words. That is long enough that it will feel meaty and won’t get complaints. At the same time though, you can probably go down as low as 5,000 words and there’s no upper limit in terms of how long you want to make the book. If the mood takes you, you can make your book 50,000 words long! Make sure that you feature that prominently in the description though so that people recognize they’re getting extra value. That length is a selling point!
Another consideration is imagery. Remember we discussed earlier that the e-ink display is black and white, meaning that color images might not have quite the same impact as they could do on another platform/in another format. Nevertheless, choosing to have some images will help to make your book look more professional and will also make it more engaging.
You also need to think about the font, the layout and various other aspects of your book – though we’ll be talking more about the formatting and things later on. Just suffice to say that a large wall of tiny text is not an appealing thing to come across when you get a new book to read. On the other hand, if your book is nicely spaced out with large, crisp fonts, lots of images and a welcoming narrative structure that promises lots of interesting value inside… then that becomes a different matter!
Outsourcing the Creation of Your Book
Now, some people might be reading this and wondering how on Earth they can possibly write a book that’s 5-15,000 words long and format it all beautifully. They say that ‘everyone has a book in them’ but that is not necessarily to say that everyone has the ability to write that book and make it entertaining and engaging. So the question then becomes how you’re going to write that much content without it absolutely killing you.
Moreover, there’s a high chance that some people reading this won’t speak English as a first language or won’t be confident in their ability generally to write in an engaging and entertaining manner. What if you’re just not a good writer?
In that case, you need to think about outsourcing the creation of your content. You can find writers on freelancing sites like People Per Hour (www.peopleperhour.com), UpWork (www.upwork.com) and Elance (www.elance.com) and you can also find them on ‘marketing forums’ like Digital Point Forum and Warrior Forum. You can expect to pay anywhere from $1 to $5 per 100 words but do keep in mind that you will get what you pay for: it’s worth paying a little bit more and getting a writer who will do their research and make your book sound professional.
If you like, then there’s nothing stopping you from creating a detailed set of guidelines for them to follow and helping them to see what the layout of your book should be and which key points
you want included. That way, they write the book but you can remain the ‘director’ as it were.
At these kinds of prices, you can create a book for $100 to $500, which in theory you should be able to make back. Of course it’s better to start with something you’ve created yourself but if this is your only option, then it’s still a viable model. Normally, you’ll find turn around time is very good too – anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
How to Get Content for Your Book
What if you don’t want to write the content yourself but you don’t want to pay someone to do it either?
Turns out, there are still options open to you! One such option is to create something using content that you already own. This is a particularly viable option if you’re a blogger for example.
In this case, all you have to do is to select several blog posts you’ve already written and then write a forward and compile them into a book. Add a couple of ‘unique posts’ to the book as well and this is something you can even market on your site.
On the web, it’s very important that all content be ‘unique’ as otherwise, Google won’t show it.
But in the case of an ebook on Kindle, there’s no way that Google will see the content and you don’t need to rank on Google. As long as the content is yours and you won the copyright, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from publishing it on your blog and selling it in a book that you’ve created!
Another option is to try and get other people to write your content for free. This might sound like it wouldn’t happen but it can do if you find the right crowd and they’re excited at the prospect of people who want to try and get themselves in the anthology. Then just publish those poems and charge a small fee for people to read them. The same goes for short stories.
There are more options too. Depending on your coding prowess for instance, you may be able to write an algorithm that generates certain types of content for you. That might mean writing a program that generates bodyweight workouts for instance, or writing a program that comes up with strange poetry (now there’s an interesting project!).
You can even repackage and sell content that is in the public domain. Books that have no copyright any more are fair game and if you can find something that’s old but still relevant, this is a viable option.
While all these options are legitimate routes to take though, you’ll always have a lot more success if you write your own content specifically for the purpose of selling a book. Remember, people are going to be reading this and you need to impress them with high quality writing and useful information!
Note as well that this also works in reverse. That is to say that there’s nothing stopping you from publishing the book you created for Amazon elsewhere and making even more money from it.
You can publish to Barnes & Noble, Sony’s Nook eBook store, iTunes, Google Play and more – and all of these will help you to get more exposure (this isn’t an option if you want to enrol in Kindle Select though unfortunately).
Better yet, why not physically publish your book? POD publishing is ‘Print On Demand’ publishing and basically means that you can publish a book in a physical format and only pay each time the book is purchased. In other words, you don’t need to order 1,000 copies and then try and sell them. Amazon has its own Print On Demand service even (http://www.amazon.co.uk/b?node=4780051031) which you can sue at the same time as selling through Kindle Select. You can then promote this from your website and in videos and it will look very professional as you’ll have a physical item to brandish! Another option is to use LuLu (www.lulu.com).
That said, if you’re looking for a way to increase the volume of content you can create, or you’re looking for a way to maximize your potential income, then another option is to take the ‘horizontal distribution’ approach. This has a real danger of being spammy, so do be careful here but it’s worth a consideration.
Horizontal distribution effectively means that you’re taking an idea for a book or a service and then you’re marketing that to a wide audience under several different guises with mild tweaks.
For example, if you took the suggestion earlier of creating a book that provides SEO and internet marketing advice for people in particular careers (how to promote your counselling business online), then you can always repackage a lot of that same content for different businesses.
Simply write a forward that is specific to the particular niche that you’re looking for and then write a generic book on how to set up a website, how to market yourself with SEO and how to set up an online order form/email marketing list etc.
Now, each time you mention something that relates specifically to the certain niche you’re interested in, just include a small tag [SPECIFIC]. Now you can search for that [SPECIFIC] tag and simply change the relevant text to relate specifically to your given niche. 90% of your book might use the same content but you can now sell it as:
Online Marketing for Counsellors
Online Marketing for Personal Trainers
How to Market Your Web Design Business Online
How to Market Your Jewelry Business Online
Nobody is going to try and buy more than one of these books as the areas of interest are so diverse – so you’re not cheating anyone out of a high quality purchase. At the same time though, you’ll find that you’re able to get clicks from many different niches and thereby improve your exposure significantly. This is what is meant by ‘horizontal exposure’ because you’re spreading your product out horizontally for lots of people to find.
Likewise, you might be able to recycle specific elements from particular books. So if you have a book on workout out while travelling and a book on working out for students, you could perhaps recycle the chapter that details specific bodyweight workouts and diet tips.
It’s up to you if you want to go this route or not but just note that you can create a lot more products a lot more quickly this way. And if you have 1,000 books in the store, then it doesn’t matter if you only sell one of each a week… that’s still going to be thousands of dollars’ worth of profit. Ultimately, if you can increase the volume you’re putting out, then you can scale your business infinitely and that results in a near fool-proof way to make money.